Technology has democratized publishing. It has, through social media, given advertisers and marketers a way to access their audience without buying space. It has changed the way we distribute content and the way we measure its effectiveness.
Has it changed everything? No. “Technology has not changed the basic human need for a story that’s worthy of our attention,” according to New York Times ad exec Meredith Kopit Levien.
Kopit Levien opened today’s Social Media Week panel discussion by raising the example of Uber. If Uber had focused only on the technology and not the customer experience, they would not have grown the way they have. They “created something much better by caring about the quality of the ride.”
She suggested that the same issue applies to storytelling. The quality of the content though has sometimes gotten lost because it has been subordinated to the “mechanics of distribution.”
“You can buy impressions, clicks and page views,” Kopit Levien said. “What you can’t buy is rapt attention. You can only get that through great storytelling.” She predicted that the next wave of technology innovations will be focused on what goes into the platform not on the platform itself.
The New York Times-sponsored panel included advertisers, marketers and consultants in the space. Although some, like Goldman Sachs’ Amanda Rubin had much trendier sounding titles, Global Co-Head of Brand and Content Strategy. That reflects the direction all the panelists see advertising and marketing as moving toward.
Rubin described “engagement with audiences” as a focus that has superseded advertising. She also noted that it is sometimes hard to stay in touch with the basics of marketing, like reaching a targeted audience, in a world of technology “bells and whistles.”
Edward Kim, founder of Simple Reach, described us as being into the push rather than the pull era of the Internet. In the pull era we would go online, look for the content we wanted and call it up. The push era requires it to be on our phone when we boot it up. The only effective way to bring your message to your audience in a mobile format, Kim said, is content
John Ohara, SVP strategy, Giant Spoon, predicted that the next focus in trying to engage audiences and measure effectiveness will be focusing on commenting and chatting. How do brands become part of a dialogue that keeps them in the conversation.
The archived Livestream feed of today’s discussion is available here.