Good morning, marketers, and is every business a content company?
Was it the year before last (or a century ago) that all kinds of companies announced, “We are really a software company”? Based on my memory, I think I’ve heard this from Amazon to AirBnB, from Uber to WeWork. When we blink in the spring of 2021, I see content companies everywhere.
The Equinox Group is a prime example of a company that has invested heavily in the vicinity of hard-breathing bodies. When it turned out that this wasn’t feasible, they switched to Equinox Media for digital content and developed their online and app-based training game.
I think there are many examples of this: the question is whether it is a permanent change. Equinox Media’s Josh Rappaport probably got it right. Engagement in the future will be hybrid (see story below).
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For the Equinox Group, 2020 was the year that fitness clubs were replaced with fitness content. The Equinox group itself and the brands it owns – including SoulCycle and Blink Fitness – had built a personal training business that just wasn’t feasible under Lockdown.
“To take a step back,” said Josh Rappaport, director of post-production and publishing at Equinox Media, “it’s important to note that while our products went through a lot of prep and editing in 2019, they didn’t.” By March 2020, we launched Equinox +, a unique platform for two products: the Equinox + mobile app and the SoulCycle home bike. “
The Equinox + app should always be available to non-members, but the pandemic accelerated the timeline drastically. Equinox Media had already used Airtable, the low-code collaboration service, but the pandemic forced production to halt and the company, like so many others, was forced to reassess its direction and priorities. This had the advantage that the content team could take a step back, rethink workflows and redesign the onboarding for employees.
However, Equinox doesn’t just combine a customer experience for a temporary situation. “We believe the future of fitness is a mix of digital and physical experiences,” said Rappaport. “The pandemic has sparked a forced attempt at digital fitness and accelerated a change in consumer behavior. However, we know that our consumers still crave real-world experiences. Therefore, our membership is based on the understanding that members want the flexibility to exercise on their own terms. “
Airtable serves business teams across the board, but today announced a solution specifically designed for marketers that enables orchestration of campaigns and launches, and measurement of results, as well as management of workflows and approvals for creative results.
Read more here.
The streaming of video continues to grow and tech companies are developing new ways to achieve it. Advanced services and award-winning content provide all kinds of options that attract viewers. However, the resulting fragmentation creates challenges that increasingly require innovative technical solutions in order to deliver relevant, actionable advertisements to consumers.
Marketers at all stages of the supply chain are aware of the price to be paid for delivering more personalized messages on the scale of the streaming audience. As traditional linear television retains a good chunk of its audience and advertising revenue, there have been some changes, particularly in the last year, that indicate a more substantial and complicated transition.
This month, global information company TransUnion partnered with Blockgraph, a data and insights platform owned and operated by Comcast NBCUniversal, Charter Communications, Inc. and ViacomCBS, Inc. – focused identity, data modeling and audience creation by Tru Optics from TransUnion, an OTT and streaming data ecosystem that TransUnion acquired last year.
Since Blockgraph is an open platform identity infrastructure that focuses on data protection, it offers aggregated and anonymized insights as well as measurability and addressability. An advertiser entering this ecosystem now has expanded reach between various linear and streaming properties while maintaining the expected privacy for consumers.
There is no sign of slackening in such collaborations. The marketing specialist Winterberry Group has identified data collaborations in both linear and networked television as growth areas for the outlook for 2021.
“Data collaboration will be equally important in the CTV / linear display markets as we anticipate cable operators, broadcast / streaming networks and device manufacturers to have more private gardens,” said Bruce Biegel, Senior Managing Partner. “Brands and their agencies want to work together to enable insights, activation with range and frequency limits and, above all, measurement.”
Read more here.
If the rapid changes in business over the past year could be summed up in one title, it could be from this new book: Suddenly Virtual: Making Remote Meetings Work. Co-authored by Karin M. Reed (former Emmy Award-winning newscaster and executive coach of the C-Suite) and Joseph A. Allen (professor of psychology at the University of Utah) and is available from Wiley & Sons Publishing.
The book offers some helpful tips and principles for marketers to consider before clicking the next meeting on their calendar:
– Take care of your “personal production value”. How you look and sound on your devices is not just about looking good, it’s also about showing respect to others in your virtual meeting.
– Offline traps for lengthy meetings make virtual meetings even worse. Perhaps in the old days you could cut off some corners to prepare for a presentation or meeting. Not so with virtual meetings. You need to have an agenda and any misstep is compounded. The authors point out that we are on our feet faster personally. In the digital arena, we need every step of a meeting for the benefit of our colleagues.
– The camera is your cable duct. In addition to focusing your eyes, focus your energy through the lens to connect with the people in your meeting.
– Don’t rely too heavily on virtual meetings. “Zoom fatigue” is one thing. Not every touch point needs video interaction to drive the next action.
– Stop consecutive meetings. Everyone needs a breather, especially when people are having less personal social interactions to calm themselves down and keep their balance. A study in this book found that people need 5 minutes to recover from a good meeting and 17 minutes from a bad one.
– Put more humanity in the meetings. Start meetings with basic greetings and show concern. Ask, “How are you?” This type of social lubrication was available in real offices at the water cooler or on the desk-to-desk walk. Smart meeting moderators will reintroduce these necessary parts of office culture into their virtual meetups.
Why we care. As marketers, some of these principles may have occurred to us during the drastic transformations of the past year. However, it is always helpful to give them a voice through serious research and analysis. And with a book like this, it’s easier to purposely promote behavior in your company, even if some of the principles are no-brainers.
“We believe the future of fitness is a mix of digital and physical experiences.” Josh Rappaport, director, post production and publishing, Equinox Media
Kim Davis is the editorial director of MarTech Today. Kim was born in London but has been a New Yorker for over two decades and started reporting on enterprise software ten years ago. His experience includes SaaS for business, data-driven city planning for digital displays, and applications of SaaS, digital technology and data in marketing. He first wrote about marketing technology as the editor of Haymarkets The Hub, a specialty marketing tech website that later became a channel for the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN in 2016 as Senior Editor and became Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief, a position he held until January 2020. Prior to technology journalism, Kim was the associate editor of a hyperlocal news item for the New York Times website, The Local: East Village, and previously worked as an academic publication editor and music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog and has been an occasional guest at Eater.