Chairman & CEO, CDS Global
Folio: As an advisor and service provider to publishers, what’s your main area of focus for the new year?
Malcolm Netburn: Data-driven, customized, and automated marketing efforts for multiple products and services coupled with advanced business intelligence analysis will be CDS Global’s main focus for 2017. This features a highly advanced database environment consolidating data from our clients and will include marketing automation, data lakes, e-commerce, a unified customer view, and advanced modeling and predictive analytics.
Folio: What should your clients’ main focus be?
Netburn: Not to oversimplify, but we believe getting more share of wallet will be key to success in the transforming world of the media business. By tapping into the trend defined as “the emerging subscription economy” (one of the great strengths of magazines), our clients can move to digital distribution with an income stream that will surpass print. Also, by deepening the relationship with the audience, publishers will be able to generate advertising revenue based on quality, not quantity, which is the future of advertising revenue in this digital, measurable era.
Folio: What are some tactics you advise clients to adopt to meet their objectives?
Netburn: Experiment, fail fast, treat every day as if our hair is on fire (it is), quickly remove legacy barriers, be comfortable with discomfort, embrace e-commerce, and focus on brand diversification. Only staff for work that is strategic and differentiates you from the competitive set; outsource everything else to companies that understand strategic partnerships.
Folio: Which channel do you see as most productive, both as a source of revenue and for its value in supporting clients’ marketing efforts?
Netburn: Print for many still pays the bills and drives brand value and audience commitment. But it should be seen as the platform or funding agent to generate revenue for other brand extensions that have more growth potential. E-letters and websites are the most valuable channels for marketing, but only if they are part of a greater data ecosystem that provides for targeting and predictive behavior. Without those tools — predictive modeling, marketing automation, interactive business intelligence—none of the sources will work well.
Folio: How much does technology play a role in media company marketing?
Netburn: You can’t exist without it. Like oxygen.
Folio: Will you be further investing in technology to support your work in 2017? What should media companies invest in on their own, and what should they leave to their service providers?
Netburn: CDS Global’s investment in technology in 2017 will be enormous—in the millions of dollars, as it has been for the last three years. First and foremost, we are a technology company. Technology is expensive, and it becomes obsolete quickly. Most clients do not want—and should not want—to go down that expensive rabbit hole. They should partner with companies that have the scale and focus to make those continual investments. Media companies should invest in content management tools that allow them to redeploy and monetize content across all forms of distribution.
Folio: Are you supporting marketing automation or account-based marketing?
Netburn: Marketing automation is central to what we believe publishers need to power future success. It is an important part of our technology offering that will continue to be enhanced. And account-based marketing, or target marketing, goes hand in hand with marketing automation. Success depends on deploying data more effectively than any other information source. Technologies like marketing automation or audience journey management are no longer options; they are necessities for our collective survival.