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Your CTO May Hold the Keys to Digital Converged Media

By Jan 15, 2013

Most major brands have begun to understand the unique advantages of earned, owned and paid media. As three independent channels, these media provide valuable word of mouth and organic exposure, corporate communications, and customer acquisition. But when brands manage these channels in an integrated fashion, they unlock the true potential of converged media.

The term converged media refers to the interplay between these three channels. When brands produce unique, valuable owned and paid content, it often fosters earned media. When brands publish helpful how-to educational content and seed that content with a little paid advertising, for example, that content can take off through earned media.

Earned media is the most sought after type, due to the inherent credibility of consumer perspectives, and achieving earned media at scale is the holy grail of converged media. Customer reviews, social shares, likes and search engine exposure are just a few types of earned media that brands can generate at scale by focusing on the converged opportunity.

Departmental Silos Trap People and Technology

Marketers most commonly think about personnel when the well-documented problem of departmental silos gets mentioned, and that’s completely valid here. Like many challenges facing CMOs, in order to take advantage of converged media, they need their advertising, public relations, social media and other teams to be on the same page, but that alone won’t cut it.

They must also look beyond the walls of the marketing department to address technology silos. Technology platforms and tools also need to hum along in unison. The same standards for data collection, analytics and measurement must be in place across all media channels and internal systems. Brands also need an effective cross-channel attribution solution in place so they can track paid media’s contribution to the successes of earned media, earned media’s contribution to owned media, etc. Without proper attribution in place, it’s impossible to separate the effective marketing from the ineffective marketing, and optimization can’t happen.

Capitalizing on Converged

Brands need cooperation within and across departments to successfully capitalize on converged media. CMOs must break down silos within their own teams and leverage the strengths of the CTO to remove technology silos, and everyone involved needs to be aligned, working toward the same goals.

Consider these three tips to get converged media initiatives off on the right foot:

1.    Appoint an advocate for change: it’s important that a company recognize a leader who will direct the overall integration and convergence of media types

2.    Invite representatives from every affected team to ensure the integration of analytics and measurement don’t shut out any important groups or initiatives

3.    Reward cooperation: incentivize employees to help others succeed, not just themselves; together, they can deliver a seamless experience as consumers move from channel to channel

Choose flexible, adaptable automation technology

With standards in place, brands can leverage technology to automate and scale communications and report and attribute successes across channels. All too often, brands make the mistake of securing technology that addresses their needs today while failing to think about the ongoing evolution of media and consumer behavior. Flexibility should be at the top of the requirements list when shopping for content management systems, marketing automation tools, analytics suites, CRM solutions, etc.

Harnessing the power of converged media won’t be an easy task for CMOs, but those who do it right and well can ramp up fast and set themselves apart from the competition.

Jon Schepke (jschepke@simpartners.com) is president and founder of SIM Partners.