An interview with Damon Ragusa, president of idio, about how to design a strategy that will work to distribute content in an intelligent and personal manner and why there is still hope for the future.
I came across this BuzzFeed video and it stopped me in my tracks:
Content has certainly become the King Kong of the digital domain. So much so that now that every human on the planet is a multi-channel content producer, we are overwhelmed with incredibly amazing, addictive, and even sometimes annoying content.
As a business, creating great content is no longer enough. Now, you also need to design a strategy that will work to distribute the content in an intelligent and personal manner, as well as battle the cloud of noise surrounding your topic. I started to ask myself, "Aren't there any simple, easy secrets to deploy a successful strategy?"
I turned to the web to look for solutions. After all, with 278,000 tweets per minute someone has to have posted something useful. While the searching helped, it didn't give me the context I was looking for, so instead I turned to the old-school ways I learned to use early on in my career, picked up my desk phone (yes, I still have one), and scheduled an in-person meeting with Damon Ragusa, president of idio, for some lively conversation. Here's how that went.
Jeanniey Mullen: Damon, with so much content out there, have brands become a mix between blasters and micro-marketers? Is there hope?
Damon Ragusa: For too long brands and publishers have treated the people they want to inform and engage like one big segment due to budgetary restrictions and/or technical limitations. Meanwhile, billions of dollars are spent to hit people over the head with a single micro-targeted ad placement. It's not news to any smart marketer that they need to put the right piece of content in front of the right person to generate better engagement and ultimately better sales performance. The challenge is how to do that quickly and cost effectively. It's one of the reasons companies like my company idio have been formed. And I expect this to be a hot area of growth over the next few years.
JM: I've signed up for, invested in, and worked with many companies that claim to help you build personalized, multi-channel messaging, but it always seems they are limited to a specific type of channel, like social or even email. Are you seeing this same limitation?
DR: This is the big question we've been trying to answer since the '90s when we first described one-to-one marketing. The last five years have seen a massive increase in automating parts of marketing function. And the same is happening with content. With so much potential content across even four or five digital marketing channels, the task for a person to manage the business rules to create an individualized engagement with every customer or prospect is unrealistic. Automation has to happen. The good news is there are companies out there that are focused on the topic of making big data useful and actionable. And these tools integrate with, and/or sit on top of your current infrastructure. The APIs keep the cost down, the semantic intelligence engines drive progress, and those two elements together, combined with the increased ROI, make the cost very justifiable.
JM: I must admit, I first heard about idio from some CMO friends in the space and thought it sounded a bit too good to be true. And, while your answer above is nice, I need some hard facts. Give me the top three business challenges you think idio (or other similar companies) solves for people like me, trying to drive results in a personal way.
DR: Today, the marketing organization is starting to spend significant dollars on content strategies. Idio was designed with a specific intention: enable a dramatic increase in the return on investment by using content to generate a relevant and optimized conversation with each person a brand engages, regardless of channel. If you remove the challenge of distribution and targeting with technology like idio, brands will look for more places to engage people.
As you mentioned, engaging customers and prospects in truly individualized and relevant ways across multiple digital touch points is daunting. Companies like idio enable this to happen automatically and in real time while generating tremendous insight into your customers' content interests. It's more than just the right offer, but it's the right channel and the right "words" to use to make it feel perfect. That makes the second reason simple: relevant, actionable insights.
And finally, the third point is future enablement. Smart brands need to find where their next incremental performance gain will come from (outside of paid media). Companies like idio generate channel- and engagement-based insights in a manner that allows you to more intelligently forecast future budget allocation and sustain a relevant conservation.
There you have it. We are in a world overtaken with communications that we have yet to harness for good. Thankfully there are leaders and innovators out there who are taking the bull by the horns and doing something about it. Which is great, as it will give content publishers and marketers like us more time to "like," "pin," and "hashtag" our way forward with conviction.
Image on home page via Shutterstock.
Jeanniey Mullen is the vice president of marketing at NOOK by Barnes and Noble, focused on business growth and customer acquisition.
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