Are You Relevant in the Publishing and Marketing Industry?

Jeff Hayes
Jan 20, 2012

I attended the Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc. (JEGI) Media & Technology Conference yesterday in New York City along with over 200 CEOs, CMOs and other executives from leading publishers, marketing service providers and technology vendors. For those who don’t know JEGI they are the leading independent investment bank focusing on media, information and marketing services sector. The program was outstanding covering critical issues including:

  • Getting Closer to the Consumer with Smarter Data
  • The Continuing Rise of Big Data
  • The Talent Imperative
  • The Media Equation: Paid + Owned + Earned

There were also presentations about the active M&A scene in the industry by JEGI, G.E. Capital and others. The main messages were deals are up and valuations are rising since lows back in 2009. The only grey cloud is the European sovereign debt situation which is mostly hampering large deals.

The highlight of the program were keynote presentations from:

  • Thomas Quinlan, CEO, R.R. Donnelley & Sons
  • David Williams, CEO, Merkle (largest customer relationship marketing agency in the U.S.)
  • George Colony, CEO, Forrester Research

RR Donnelley — Transforming into an Integrated Communications Provider

Tom Quinlan explained that while the company’s backbone has always been the physical production and distribution of content (print-based magazines, catalogs, direct mail, etc.), RRD is now in the “digital logistics” business. They are focused on helping customers determine what content to send, where to send it, who to send it to and when to send it.

Quinlan stated that RRD is now an “integrated communications” business focusing on print, web and mobile delivery channels. Data plays a “huge role” in their business and has become one of their core competencies in driving print (e.g. personalization with their Proteus printing system), electronic delivery, along with data management and analysis.

Merkle — Marketing in the Age of Customers

David Williams gave an energetic presentation about how marketing has evolved and where it is going. Back in the 1950s through 1970s we were in the Age of Brands where national/mass media dominated (e.g. Budweiser, Chevrolet and AT&T). Things changed in the mid-1990s when we went through the Age of the Channel which was dominated by e-Commerce (e.g., Expedia, Netflix). We are now in the Age of the Customer where social/digital media and 1:1 engagement dominate (e.g. GEICO, American Express,

Companies need to be clear and separate out their Brand-focused marketing activities from their Customer-focused activities. Brand-focused is typically qualitative in nature. It’s where the “big ideas” and “attitude” happen. The messages are universal. Customer-focused is typically quantitative. It’s all about facts, behavior. The messages are unique. Media is the implementation of the brand and customer-focused marketing activities. It includes mass, direct and interactive channels.

Forrester Research — Three Social Thunderstorms

George Colony provided the capstone with a provocative presentation about three major “thunderstorms” that will shake the technology landscape over the next 10 years.

1. Death of the Web (and the PC, and the Cloud)

As Forrester sees things the improvement over time of the “utility per dollar” of processing power and storage capacity is outpacing that of networks. Basically, processing is expected to follow Moore’s law for another 8 to 10 years (which is about as far out as the scientists can reliable project) which means performance will continue to double every 18 months. Storage is on an even faster trajectory with capacity doubling every 12 months. Network bandwidth is progressing at a slower rate as the industry transitions to 4G/LTE mobile networks over the next five years.

The result of these trends is the emergence of a “periphery of devices” around the cloud including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and many other smart products. (If you were at the Consumer Electronics Show last week you have an idea). These devices will leverage both the Internet and Apps for a new paradigm that Colony calls the AppInternet. You won’t know where data comes from, where it is processed or where it is stored. Based on the Forrester Wave, which plots companies based on the strength of their vision and current offering, the leader in this new AppInternet world is Apple (iOS, iTunes, iCloud). The next strongest player is IBM, Amazon and Cisco are contenders with Microsoft coming up fast. Forrester places HP, Facebook, Google and SAP as “risky”.

2. Social Saturation

Colony also noted that we are quickly reaching a point of “Social Saturation” because consumers are running out of hours to spend on social media. According to Forrester’s research people already spend more time on social media than they do exercising, going to church and talking on the phone. Also, penetration rates are very high approaching 80% in Europe, 85% in North America, and 90% in big cities of Asia and Latin America. Colony expects a big shake out soon where all this “Four Square nonsense” will be swept away similar to the “ moment of 2000”. We are entering a  “Post Social” world (POSO) driven by the AppInternet with faster, more efficient, higher value social interactivity.

3. Enterprise Social

The last big thunderstorm is Enterprise Social where large companies use social media to enable better customer interaction, self-service and collaboration. We will move beyond SharePoint (which he views as a horrible product). There will be a rich and growing professional services market for App development. We will experience a much tighter collaboration between Marketing and Business Technology (they don’t call it IT any more).

My Perspective

After listening to over 20 industry luminaries and hearing questions from the audience, here is my perspective:

If you are an executive in the publishing or marketing industry either as a publisher, agency, brand, marketing services provider or technology vendor you need to have proficiency in the following areas to be competitive and positioned for growth.

  • Content marketing
  • Integrated marketing (multi-channel)
  • Data aggregation and analytics
  • Marketing services
  • Mobility
  • App development

You don’t need to have all these competencies in-house, but you do need to have a mix of talent (intelligent, curious employees), partners, and suppliers to engage customers and maximize marketing ROI. Plan your technology investments and M&A activity accordingly or be prepared to be irrelevant and out of touch in the near future.

Jeff Hayes
President, InfoTrends


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