Michael leads Bloomberg LP's content, creative and digital marketing department, called the Bloomberg Studio. Since joining Bloomberg in 2011, he has been focused on uniquely blending content, design and technology to deliver information and utility through compelling marketing programs across online and offline channels and for audiences around the world. Prior to joining Bloomberg, Michael held multiple roles in GE's corporate technology division, including running GE's global web presence.
Ahead of his presentation at the Digital Marketing Innovation Summit this March 21-22 in New York, we sat down with Michael to discuss digital marketing, from social to the use of data in campaigns.
What social media platforms do you find most useful and how are you measuring your success?
For our product marketing efforts, LinkedIn has been the most effective platform for engaging our various target audiences. This isn't that surprising, given that we provide solutions to professionals that enable them to make better decisions, be more efficient and so on. We measure our success both quantitatively and qualitatively, meaning we not only want to reach more people, but the right people. In some circumstances we are hoping to reach very specific types of people and LinkedIn enables us to target our content to them quite effectively. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter also provide a lot of value to us, especially for our company-level activities, such as recruiting, and certain types of product marketing initiatives.
How does your output across the different social media platforms differ and why?
We first think about what our audiences are likely doing and want to see in a given platform. These platforms are obviously packed with lots of other people and companies saying a variety of things. In order to make it worth someone's time to click, we have to provide an appropriate amount of value to them (a new insight, answer to a problem, etc.). We also feel that a systematic and sophisticated design approach is important. This helps our content stand-out (ex: animation/videos) and increases engagement.
Why has content marketing seen such growth in recent years? How are you capitalizing on this?
We've invested in content marketing for several years and continue to grow our efforts given the positive results we've seen. We live in a complex world and there are a lot of questions out there. Brands like ours have a unique and compelling value proposition and we've found content marketing to be an effective and efficient way to demonstrate that.
When we started, nearly five years ago, we first focused on our technology - building out a web presence (we didn't have a marketing web presence previously), social platforms, email marketing, etc. At the same time, we established a solid UX and design group within our team. When we then started our content marketing efforts in earnest we had a solid base on which to publish, distribute, and measure our performance. We believe that the right mix of content, design and technology is necessary to be successful.
What advice would you give to brands just beginning their content marketing journey?
I think it's important to start out by focusing on a few specific audiences where there can be a measurable impact and where there is already a well of content. It's also a good idea to look for areas where there is the right support internally across marketing, sales, product, etc. and everyone involved knows that it will take some time to get results. Overall, it's important to integrate content marketing efforts into the overall marketing mix - connecting with marketing events and campaigns - and not treat them all as separate activities.
How do you maintain brand loyalty and meaningful engagement in the over-crowded digital space?
We've spent a lot of time thinking about this and our feeling - and what the data supports - is that we need to always ensure that what we're providing to the end user adds value to them. This means avoiding putting content out that is self-serving or us just talking about ourselves. We try to first understand the problem or opportunity and then figure out what we uniquely know and/or provide that is interesting and valuable. This all falls inside of staying true to our brand values and what our clients, partners, and employees expect from us.
How are you tracking your customers' journey and have you seen a change in browsing behaviours? (e.g. move to mobile, two-screens, etc.)
This is certainly something that we keep our eye on both from a macro and micro level. Meaning, we keep our eye on what's happening generally in the digital space to see where changes are happening and what people will expect in the future. We also look specifically at our target audiences and where they are likely to interact with our brand/content. For example, we have some pretty specific professional audiences, so understanding the right time of day to email them (note: email is a very effective channel for us) or when and how we show up on social is really important. Like many B2B brands, we don't think in terms of B2C or B2B in some ways, as in the end we are competing for people's attention alongside everything else that could occupy their screens. We keep close tabs on how things are performing and that influences where we continue to invest or change.
How crucial is the role that data plays in your decision-making?
Performance data is certainly an important part of our decision-making process, but we also take into consideration a number of other factors such as feedback from our audiences and business partners. We also try to approach things with a creative problem-solving lens in order to break through the noise and stand out, so experimenting and testing is a very important part of the process.
What do you foresee to be the biggest marketing trends of 2017?
I think the convergence of content, design and technology will continue to be a major opportunity in 2017. The use of design thinking to tell complex stories along with sophisticated marketing technologies behind the scenes will enable brands to make the right connections and positively impact the bottom line (and be able to prove it).
You can hear more from Michael, as well as many other industry leading digital marketing executives, at the Digital Marketing Innovation Summit this March 21-22 in New York. To see the full schedule, click here.