Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Marketing Musings: Publishers Must Rebuild or Perish

I saw a good post from Barry Chu recently that outlines the modern advertising value chain and zeroes in on why Google and Facebook will continue to dominate. The post covers a topic near and dear to my heart – making sense of the marketing ecosystem. I agreed with most of what Barry said but one area could do with expansion – that is, the whole concept of what it means to be a publisher in 2008. Guns and Ammo magazine is used as an example but let’s face it, any attempt to aggregate an audience around a topic that is collated and edited and pushed to an audience is more or less finished, especially in terms of advertising dollars.

Everything “publishers” build going forward needs to be consumer driven, or initiated, or pulled. Barry hinted at this when he spoke of enhancing the knowledge around “intent” of a consumer. I believe in this to an extent but ultimately I think services need to be architected this way from the start. Publishers who lack this knowledge of intent need to rebuild a service the new way then kill off their old offering, not tweak the old version.

So my test for a modern “publisher” is:
  1. Does the service put the user in charge of the interaction, on their terms?
  2. Is a value exchange with the user inherent in the service?
  3. When customers are using the service, does the publisher absolutely understand the intention of their attention?
  4. As a result of the service, does the publisher learn more about the customer (i.e if they sell them a ring tone or article covering global warming, they really don’t. The point is, such a transaction is not a value exchange and the publisher can’t claim this consumer is a targetable entity going forward.)

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