- Prosumers: the growing market for b2b media brands
- How to engage M&E media amidst cancelled trade shows
- Cybersecurity attacks in M&E: mitigating the threat and impact
- Optimising your social media presence in the media and entertainment industry
- IBC2019: Putting content strategy back on track
Prosumers: the growing market for b2b media brands
By Anna Lapacz
B2b brands in the media and entertainment industry are increasingly opening their doors to prosumers, which has been proven to boost leads and grow sales long-term. The main difference between this audience and consumers is that prosumers can not only interact with brands, but also be active ambassadors. Therefore, if you’re looking to engage with media and entertainment professionals, approaching prosumers can be an extremely effective option. This target group is focused on passionately nurturing its talent, while growing the expertise that will turn them into the industry’s future decision-makers.
Where do they come from?
With various degrees of familiarisation, we’ve probably all heard about prosumers at some point in their 40-year existence. That’s right, the term was first used in 1980 when “pro” surprisingly didn’t stand for “professional” at all! Alvin Toffler in his book The Third Wave first introduced a blend of producer and consumer, thereby bringing the prosumer world to life and establishing the technological breakthrough that sped up the evolution of prosumption. The concept was however first used eight years before that by Marshall McLuhan and Barrington Nevitt, who also predicted that electric technology would turn consumers into producers.
Ten years ago, Forbes published an article emphasising the growing influence of prosumers and attributed this to the rise of social media. Just by browsing digital platforms, we can see how the increasing number of influencers is expanding the prosumer pool. And as the Journal of Marketing states: “in the sharing economy, the consumer is also a producer.”
But the term still feels like a breath of fresh air in the media and entertainment industry. Although marketers know exactly how to speak to their professional and consumer audiences, uncertainty appears when the lines between them blur. Prosumers remain the least defined and consequently, least understood group of technology users.
Where can brands find them?
Universities tend to be a common bridge between an amateur passion and professional expertise. Students fascinated by media start testing different tools and software, learning their functionality and gauging their value before finding the tools that they will rely on throughout their careers.
In order to streamline the transition from education to employment, university staff make sure that these future professionals are equipped with what’s considered to be the industry standard. This shows the importance of engaging with young talent even before they start making decisions in the professional world.
How can brands build relationships?
1. Find them online, listen to their conversations and learn their language
It’s always important to do your research before stepping into uncharted waters. Social media and online forums provide great platforms for gaining insights into the trending topics and products across this audience, as well as the language they speak. And this doesn’t mean you should crack on with your French or German lessons. You will however have to find the right balance between consumer and professional messaging to make sure your audience knows you’re speaking directly to them. Avoid the business jargon, but stay technical as you’re targeting tech-savvy prosumers.
2. Find the right time and place to join their network
Make sure you follow prosumer events, shows and conventions, as this will help you build a further understanding of this audience while opening countless networking opportunities. Events provide a great opportunity to speak to your audience and demonstrate your tools. You can also get involved in discussion panels and speaking sessions, as talking to prosumers through brand ambassadors and influencers can add credibility to your brand’s reputation. Also, providing event visitors with opportunities to test your solutions can help them understand whether it’s the right tool for them. This can be an easy way to boost the standing of your products among prosumer audiences, as there is a huge amount of competition in the media and entertainment industry.
3. Share their passion and tell stories
As the M&E industry is crowded with passionate creatives, it’s important to offer them tools that can serve as an extension of their talents and meet their specific needs. How could you possibly know what these needs are? Just dive into the deep sea of data! Tools such as Brandwatch and Buzzsumo can be used to gather information that can later be interpreted by digital analysts, transforming it into valuable insights. These insights can then shape content to be distributed across the relevant channels. Reviews and how-to tutorials are the most popular types of content among the prosumer audiences, as long as they effectively explain the technology and present the best way of using the tools. Case studies, on the other hand, can offer readers a better perspective on how tools can be used for different projects. It’s also essential to understand how your audience consumes media, as prosumers are less likely to be interested in direct messages typical to press releases, or thought leadership articles on the state of the industry. It’s vital to think back to the passion they have for their work and turn this into a story.
4. Stay in touch
As we’ve heard many times, b2b relationships are like marriages, while b2c relationships tend to be more fleeting. Approaching the prosumer audience can, similar to professional relationships, require a long-term connection. So continue the conversation with those who already have trust in your brand and don’t disappoint them. Put simply, make them want to stay connected to you! Then, stay in touch and make sure you remain relevant as both the industry and your brand continue to evolve.
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How to engage M&E media amidst cancelled trade shows
By Sam Pudwell
Much of the news over the last week or so has focused on the various international sporting events that have been either postponed or cancelled as a result of the ongoing health crisis. But sport isn’t alone in this regard; the world of b2b tech has also seen its event schedule for the next few months decimated.
Amidst so much disruption, tech companies need to think carefully about how they engage with journalists at a time when the industry’s biggest events are being cancelled. This is particularly an issue for media and entertainment (M&E) brands, which are heavily reliant on events to launch new products and speak to the media.
Following on from the cancellation of NAB Show 2020 – one of the biggest events in the M&E calendar – we caught up with several leading M&E journalists to get their views on how they want to receive news in this uncertain and unprecedented time. Here are their top tips.
1. Stick to the schedule
All of the journalists we spoke to said they would still want to receive news either ahead of when the show was scheduled to take place, or during the show’s period. This means brands shouldn’t disregard the news cycle as it was before, even if a certain show isn’t actually taking place.
2. Email rules
Despite many brands trying to reduce their reliance on email, journalists still prefer to receive press releases via this channel. This was followed by one-to-one meetings over the phone, although brands have to keep in mind that journalists won’t be able to fit in as many meetings as they would if they were physically at a show.
Freelance writer Adrian Pennington who writes for top trade publications including Streaming Media, IBC365 andVideonet said that press releases are suitable “as a first port of call, followed by phone briefings if needed. Ideally, I’ll get a genuine flag ahead of time about whether a news announcement is actually worth paying attention to, and if it is maybe an NDA’d briefing ahead of public release.”
3. Think digital
Many journalists pointed to live streams, online webinars and video conferences as replacements for physical press conferences at events. “I would suggest distributing the news releases as would have happened anyway in the timeframe of the event, perhaps supported by a webinar highlighting the main announcements for each company,” said David Davies, freelance writer for M&E titles including IBC365, PSNEurope and SVG Europe.
This thought was echoed by Colleen Dornan, senior editor at Broadcast Film and Video: “If a big trade event has been postponed, it would be beneficial to journalists if the companies could host webinars or interactive sessions. This way journalists would be able to interact with others and it would provide a simpler platform.”
Ultimately, brands have to be prepared to adjust their media engagement practices to cater for big trade events that will be cancelled or postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
They also have to remember that journalists’ schedules have been disrupted just as much as theirs. “Be aware that if a journalist isn’t at a show, they’re probably trying to handle all their ‘usual’ work, which will take up a lot of time,” explains Jenny Priestley, editor of TVBEurope. “Spacing briefings/meetings out over the whole of the month the show should have been on would be great. I would rather have a briefing that is under embargo three weeks before than try to do ten calls/briefings in a day while also trying to write news, sub content, post social media etc.”
For more advice about the best (and worst) strategies to take during this time, read our recent blog explaining the PR dangers of capitalising on the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Cybersecurity attacks in M&E: mitigating the threat and impact
By Kim Willsher
Barely a week goes by without news of another big-name brand falling victim to a cybersecurity attack. And media and entertainment (M&E) companies, whose content and customer data is so precious, certainly aren’t immune.
In October, France’s largest private media group, M6, was struck by ransomware. Fortunately, none of its TV or radio broadcasts were affected, but with phone lines and emails rendered unusable, the disruption was nonetheless significant. The Weather Channel was less fortunate when a ransomware attack last year shut down its live programming for 90 minutes, forcing it to resort to airing a taped program.
Cyber attacks are clearly not going to disappear anytime soon, but what’s their impact on M&E businesses and how can companies mitigate the threat?
The role of M&E tech vendors
For media and entertainment technology vendors, the impact that cybersecurity attacks can have on the industry’s lifeblood—its content—means the issue of content security must be top of mind. This includes everyone, from engineering teams to marketing and communications professionals.
It’s no surprise then, that nearly all our media and entertainment clients have a role to play in – and something to say about – protecting valuable media content. Here’s what they had to say.
Tried and trusted data back up
According to Diana Salazar, product marketing manager at Quantum, best practices around data storage are changing. The “3-2-1” best practice rule of data back up (keep at least three copies of your data, store two backup copies on different storage media, with one of them located offsite) now needs to be the “3-2-1-1” approach, with one copy of data stored offline as well as offsite. This protects against ransomware attacks by creating an ‘air-gap’ between the data and the network, keeping it out of reach of hackers.
Salazar believes tape has an important role to play in this approach, as it provides a sustainable, secure and cost-effective alternative to other backup and archive solutions. “It’s the most cost-effective storage option for long-term archiving (cold storage) and removes the security vulnerabilities associated with storing data online,” she says.
Embracing the cloud
As cloud adoption gains momentum in the media and entertainment industry, companies are increasingly looking to cloud platforms to protect their assets. According to Avid’s CTO, Tim Claman, not only do they offer media organizations an efficient and increasingly affordable means of storing valuable media assets, they also provide extremely high data durability and reliability by replicating data across multiple physical servers and geographies. This means data will still be accessible if something goes wrong.
“Many cloud infrastructure providers now offer eleven 9s of data resiliency, which corresponds to 99.999999999% durability of objects over any given year,” he says. “This level of durability can be hard to comprehend, but effectively means you’re statistically far more likely to be struck by lightning than lose a single song in your cloud archive.”
The future is blockchain
As the media industry embraces cloud-based workflows, an emerging technology that holds great promise for protecting media assets is blockchain. IBM Aspera has collaborated with other industry players like Breaker, Irdeto, Linius and NECF to establish the Digital Asset Trust Framework (DATF), an open-source project that aims to enable companies to co-create and protect content faster in highly distributed, hybrid cloud environments.
DATF uses distributed ledger technology to give media companies the tools they need to secure, trace and record immutable records of actions between parties. It can be integrated with existing tools and workflows to record the people, systems and tools that have touched the asset.
The resulting blockchain environment is a Digital Asset Trust Network (DATN), which contains applied security measures—such as encryption at rest and in transit, secure credential exchange, secure key exchange, forensic tracking and authentication—as well as records of any edits made to the asset throughout its lifecycle.
Protecting your reputation
From content piracy to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and ransomware, media organizations are at risk on all fronts. That’s why it’s so important to have a crisis communications plan in place for any stakeholders who might be impacted by a cybersecurity attack on your company, whether that’s a content producer, distributor, technology vendor or service provider. The key is making sure you have an agreed process, that key people are easily contactable, and that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities.
These are the steps companies should take before a cybersecurity attack occurs to ensure they’re as prepared as possible:
- Form a crisis committee – usually, this includes the CEO, CFO, CMO, head of HR, head of region, head of legal, head of comms/social media, and any PR agencies
- Create a list of first- and second-level responders and their contact details
- Decide on senior spokespeople
- Define roles and responsibilities – across PR, marketing, support, HR, and sales – to ensure a coordinated effort throughout the company
- Group the stakeholders – who would a cybersecurity attack impact most? As well as customers, employees and shareholders, consider channel partners, suppliers, contractors, and industry commentators such as media, analysts, forums and regulators
- Develop messaging – you can’t predict the nature of every potential cybersecurity attack and you need to tailor your responses as much as possible. But having a framework to cover possible scenarios will help you respond more quickly and effectively if something happens
- Hold crisis communications training for the communications, customer support and senior executive teams – this will give them valuable experience and feedback through role-play situations
- Use monitoring tools to flag news of a cybersecurity attack in forums, the media, social media, etc. so that you can take action as soon as possible
If a cybersecurity attack does occur:
- Develop and distribute a holding statement until you know the key facts
- Communicate to employees so they know to refer any customer or media inquiries through a central contact, and not to comment on social media
- Be transparent – get the facts, assess the potential short-term and long-term impact, and decide on who to communicate with and how, what the key messages are, and how to control the message. Never try to cover up what’s happened.
- Communicate consistently – ensure the same messaging goes out across all channels: to customers, employees, investors, partners, media, forums, the company website, etc.
With the media industry’s high-value content and complex supply chain, media companies are uniquely vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks. The media industry as a whole—including technology vendors and service providers—must adopt advanced, multi-layered defences to protect themselves from financial, financial and operational losses. They must also have comprehensive crisis comms plans in place to help protect their reputation should they fall victim to an attack.
If you’re interested in talking about your brand positioning, lead generation or audience engagement needs, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our contact page.
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Optimising your social media presence in the media and entertainment industry
By Dan Simpson
Whether you’re a b2b or b2c company, the media and entertainment industry is a competitive landscape where brands are constantly fighting to stand out. Brand and product awareness are vital for all M&E companies to gain recognition and drive new customers, whether that’s through trade publications, PPC or other forms of advertising, or business development. One area which holds huge value is social media. You might be thinking “this isn’t anything new”, but so many M&E brands are still missing opportunities to reach and engage with their audiences by not optimising their social media accounts.
Many businesses fail to appreciate that optimising your social media marketing goes far beyond including your office locations on LinkedIn or having your website on your Twitter profile (though these are obviously important basics). As such, missed opportunities typically fall into three main buckets:
- Not reaching your desired audience
- Not making the most of your audiences’ talents
- Not putting out content which falls in line with your brand’s skills and story
So, how do you go about solving these problems?
Avoid the void
Picture this: you’ve written and scheduled a whole bunch of social media posts and you’re proud of them. They’re promoting great content and you’re expecting great engagement. Then they start rolling out. A like here, a share there, but all in all a tiny amount of engaging and a very disheartening experience.
This is all too common in the media and entertainment industry and beyond. Instead of trying to fix this and analyse what the problem is, many marketers grumble, moan and do the same thing week after week. The reality is that nothing much is going to change. Engagement might go up a little or it might go down a little, but it’s most likely going to stay the same. So, what can you do to avoid shouting into the social media void?
The first thing to consider is, are you using the right social media platforms? B2b companies tend to use Twitter and LinkedIn (91% of b2b marketers use LinkedIn to promote content) as their primary platforms, while b2c tend to use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. That being said, the media and entertainment industry is in a unique position, as many companies have access to rich media like photos, videos and audio. A b2b M&E brand might also be targeting companies that service consumers, meaning their customers may also be on platforms which aren’t traditionally b2b. Twitter is an example of a platform in the b2b / b2c middle ground, along with YouTube and a couple of others. It’s important for b2b companies to consider what platforms their target audience uses to reach their end user, but also what platforms the decision makers at these companies use themselves.
The second thing which is often mentioned but rarely acted upon as much as it should be is engaging with your target audience. Liking, commenting, sharing and opening public dialogue with the people who you want to be in conversations with, is a great way to get the ball rolling. If you want to talk to someone who doesn’t know who you are (or that you even exist), you wouldn’t wait for them to talk to you first. Social media shouldn’t be any different.
Audiences: your untapped resource
Your audience and clients/users are your secret weapon to success on social media. The media and entertainment industry is a creative melting pot where individuals of many different talents can be utilised to promote your brand. A product-based M&E company is in a great position to build loyal and engaged audiences on social media. This can be done by promoting and showcasing the work they’ve carried out with the help of your product. This will show that you care about your clients on an individual level, which will improve follower retention, reach and open dialogues with existing and potential new clients in their networks.
Sharing the content that your clients have created will also act as a case study by showcasing the capabilities of your product. This can be extremely valuable. At IBC 2019 we ran a marketing survey revealing that case studies and thought leadership are considered the joint most effective methods for generating leads.
Creating communities around your audience and clients can also be a great way to build brand loyalty, social engagement and awareness. Things like Facebook or LinkedIn groups, hashtags or even curated accounts of users’ work can open up dialogue between you and these individuals while cultivating a sense of family. This will turn your audience into ambassadors of your brand, who will in turn vouch for you and recommend your services in the future.
Once upon a time…
Putting out regular, high-quality content on social media can be tough for any business. But the media and entertainment industry is uniquely positioned to have access to different types of high-quality media which can often be produced in-house to tell an engaging story. Storytelling can breathe life into campaigns that would otherwise be bland or get lost in the noise of social media. By adding an emotive element into messaging and social media content, people can build deeper connections with brands. Using joy, compassion or humour can add personality to a brand in the media and entertainment industry and make them more likeable and relatable on an individual level, which in turn builds brand loyalty.
It is also important for M&E brands to showcase their skills through the content types and mediums that they specialise in, and on the appropriate platforms. If a video production company wanted to build its audience, then using video content on a platform like YouTube or Facebook would make most sense. In the case of a CDN company, behind the scenes content on professional networks like LinkedIn may work better since 80% of b2b social media leads come from LinkedIn.
Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet to achieving success on social media. But, by keeping these tactics front of mind, media and entertainment organisations can put themselves in the best position to reach the right audiences and optimise their social media activities.
If you’d like to find out more about our social media or digital marketing services, drop us a line at email@example.com or visit our contact page.
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IBC2019: Putting content strategy back on track
By Anna Lapacz
After a packed few days, our jet-setting lorries team has returned from IBC in Amsterdam and parked back in the London office, ready to power through reports of all the post-show coverage. As well as spending some quality time with our clients and getting up close with some of the latest technologies, we also brought back some insights into what’s trending in the world of content.
As usual, businesses put significant effort into their content production. The show was busier than ever this year, filled with speaking sessions and, more commonly than before, presentation theatres at multiple different stands. The digital conversations around the exhibition were also abundant, with the hashtag #ibc2019 spreading rapidly across social posts written in many different languages. In the expo halls, we could see brand messages popping out at every corner, encouraging the show attendees to visit the companies’ stands.
And this was no surprise, with Neil Patel’s research highlighting that 92% of marketers consider content as key to their organisation. But experiencing the overload of messaging made us wonder what value businesses assign to different types of content.
Our survey said
So we opened an online questionnaire (a challenge when just finding a 3G connection is a blessing) and took a walk around the vast expanse of IBC in search of marketing professionals. Wandering from hall to hall, we got to meet many interesting businesses in the media and entertainment industry and chat to their hard-working marketeers, with our aim being to see how they value different communication tools, from trade events, through to press releases and social media content. It turns out 62.5% of the marketeers in attendance at IBC2019 consider trade shows to be more effective than other marketing methods.
Looking at the survey responses, we can see that thought leadership pieces, blogs and case studies are seen as the most effective types of content, followed by press releases and media alerts. Although social media came bottom of this ranking, 25% of respondents still chose this area as the most important content investment in 2020, with thought leadership/blog pieces leading the way with 31.25%. Interestingly, social media was chosen as a favourite and most frequently used source of information by the survey respondents.
Last but not least, b2b marketers want their content strategy to result in lead generation. This is seen as both a challenge and opportunity for 2020. Are you ready?
Thanks to all those who completed the survey and a big shout out to the 1,700 exhibitors, 55,000 attendees and 300 speakers who gathered at IBC2019. We’re already looking forward to hitting the trade show road again in the coming months – and remember to get in touch if you need help with developing your trade show media strategy!
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