Only in its second year, the Media Insights & Engagement Conference (MIEC) is quickly earning a reputation as a must-attend event for media and customer intelligence professionals. The annual conference took place in San Diego this month, once again delivering superb speakers and content.
In addition to professionals across traditional media organizations, the conference featured keynote speakers from industry innovators including Revolt TV’s Jake Katz, the Center for the Digital Future’s Dr. Jeffrey Cole, Mondelez International’s B. Bonin Bough, and Streative Branding’s Shari Swan. I had the pleasure of hosting one of the final days’ panel sessions featuring provocative insights from at Christian Kugel, Vice President of Consumer Analytics & Research at AOL; Mark Loughney, Vice President of Animation, Young Adults and Kids Media Research at Turner Broadcasting; and Chris Rethore, General Manager at MarketCast. Vision Critical’s Bruce Friend also presented on the new age of mobile music consumption.
Here are three key MIEC takeaways that resonated most with me.
- Content remains king.
Experts unanimously agree: quality content helps define media brands and separates top companies from the pack. Content helps companies stand out from the growing mass of subscription-based media organizations like Netflix and Amazon Prime that are also looking to develop their own content. The way The Walking Dead helped AMC attract a massive millennial audience shows how compelling content can increase a company’s audience and attract advertisers.
- Not just the Millennials.
Daniel Marcu, VP of Research and Insights at IFC, hosted the conference’s most entertaining session: a discussion on the varying perspectives of different generations and how best to engage with them. While many media companies have focused on millennials in the last decade, they also need to pay attention to Generation Z, the generation after millennials. Experts such as Streative Branding’s Shari Swan said this emerging generation is quickly growing and will increasingly influence trends in the media space and must be engaged in a new format to truly understand them. While marketers are currently focusing on millennials, many don’t realize there is another generation about to hit the scene with drastically different behaviors, spending habits, and media consumption.
- Data needs context.
Big data was a huge topic at the conference. And with the success of hulu and Netflix, expect to see even more new streaming services and apps promising advertisers and media companies even more data. But big data alone can’t help media companies deliver what their audience needs. Media organizations need to put a human touch to the data they have. Making sense of big data—understanding the “whys” behind audience behavior—will give media companies the edge. Audience engagement will get media companies the necessary insight to produce content that will resonate with the masses and that will deliver superior experiences.
Audience behavior will continue to change in 2015 and in the years ahead, calling for unique content on specific platforms. Media organizations need to continue to evolve their platforms of delivery, reassess their partnerships and look for new ways of innovating. This year’s MIEC is a reminder that the companies that put the audience at the core of what they do are well positioned to thrive in today’s dynamic media landscape.