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Guest Post: Gretchen Sword of Bloomberg West

June 15, 2012 • 5 minutes to read

Today's guest post comes courtesy of one of our favorite media partners, Bloomberg West Coast Director Gretchen Sword.

  • Name: Gretchen Sword
  • Company: Bloomberg
  • Position: West Coast Director
  • 140 characters or less: Bloomberg News is the most influential business news publisher in the world. I am also from New Jersey and proud of it!

What is the most difficult piece of your digital media operation to explain to a potential client? How do you overcome this obstacle?

The most difficult piece of our operation to explain to a potential client is that mobile has already replaced newspaper media and sometimes digital, too.

Meaning: people are accessing their news and information from their mobile device in a way that we've truly never seen before - we don't wait to pick up the paper to learn that Whitney Houston died - someone either tweeted it, we got a breaking news alert or a friend's text message with the news.

What success metrics do the majority of your clients use to determine success /failure of a campaign?

Unfortunately, we're still stuck in the realm of click thru rate. Thankfully, we (as an industry) have moved out of the cost per click (read idiotic) model - but I maintain that just because you can measure something doesn't mean you should .

Here's a personal example:  my favorite home decor company (online only) is Serena & Lily.  I visit their website regularly.  Last night, (cleared cookies, new browser)I was on a cooking website and they served me an ad. I did not click on it.  I finished cooking, finished watching my TV show, cleaned the house, etc. etc - and then I thought, I'd like to see if Serena & Lily has anything new for me to check out!  So, I typed it into my browser.  Now, I'm sure that ad had a lot to do with why I wanted to check their site out.  But I took NO action from their digital banner.  My affinity for their brand drove me back to their site - on my own - but it certainly helped that I was exposed to the ad.

So, that's the message to digital marketers: your brand comes first. If it's solid, your digital messaging will only support that.

What's the newest / hottest / shiniest object in your tool bag that your company offers to clients?

Bloomberg unveiled the first ever iPad app that streams LIVE television at the end of last year.  It won 4 awards from Apple and has only been in market for about 4 months.  It won't have any competitors as we're a privately held news company so we can stream our content simultaneously online, on TV and now, on iPads.

The other feature of this app which is truly mind boggling is that as the live feed is coming across, text content on whatever the subject matter is is also educating the viewer on whatever they are watching.  We source tons of other news sources for this content - not just Bloomberg News.

It's hard to describe but easy to see why it's a game-changer when you download it - it's free as all of our products are. It's called Bloomberg TV+ so download it!

Do you prefer to work with clients directly or use an agency as an intermediary? Why? Pros / cons of each?

When pitching a big idea or an integrated marketing idea across our 7 multimedia properties, a client-direct meeting makes more sense than trying to get the various agencies and their various interests all together in a room.

When pitching digital or mobile, we need to have the digital agency in the room - there are SO many intricate pieces of the digital business which are really only intelligible to the client if the digital gurus are in the room.

What's the biggest problem with the media industry today? How is your company addressing it?

The biggest problem, sadly, in the media industry today is that little media companies are being edged out.  What that means is that the only publishers that will survive are those with a strong revenue models other than advertising.  When a media company doesn't have a mobile strategy or mobile apps, that to me is a clear indicator of their impending doom.

This is sad to me because the spectrum of opinions being reported are becoming binary and polarizing. My hope is that outlets like Twitter are allowing the spectrums of opinions to be heard again - but not on a large platform or a national scale.

The popular trend that clients are asking us about is social:  how are business leaders using it, ARE they using it?  Do they gain valuable business insight from it? How should WE (advertisers) use it?

How many of your friends and family members actually understand what you do?

My friends and family enjoy hearing about my job:  it sounds glamorous and fun.  Very few of them understand the nitty-gritty, but, then again I don't understand the financial modeling that my father does or the family, genus, and species of plants like my mother does.

I very much value my friendships at work, though, and I feel confident that our team knows exactly what I do, because they do it too!

Where do you see digital media going in the next year? 5 years? 10 years?

I think the evolution of digital media will be tempered by the changing consumption patterns of the internet.  If Facebook invests and fundamentally changes the way people use the internet in 5 years, I look forward to being along for that ride.

10 years? I can't even begin to predict.  Just 6 years ago, I remember a 'mobile marketer' coming to talk with the team at Esquire Magazine (my first job) to explain how advertising might work on a mobile phone! We all thought she was bonkers - first, we'd have to have phones that had color!

My wild-card question is: what does the internet/changing media consumption represent to you??

And my answer is:  it represents the first visual representation of the connectedness of ALL beings. This is something innate, we all know we are connected.  But the internet allows us to SEE and FEEL how our actions affect others.  It also allows for a desensitizing - but that's for another blog post :-)

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