The merging of man, machine and magazine

  • Gratuitous self-promotion
  • February 28, 2013
  • Ben Fahy
The merging of man, machine and magazine

Digital, online, interactive, cyberspace, the intertubes … whatever you like to call it, there’s no denying it’s all up in everyone’s face at the moment—and it’s growing rapidly (not your face, the techy space). And, as we’re sure you’ve noticed, this evolution is having a rather large impact on the marcomms industry.So, not surprisingly, there is a huge appetite for stories and information on the subject from those who are hoping to harness it. As such, the March/April edition of NZ Marketing magazine is dedicated to all things digital, from search engine marketing to the changing face of TV to the importance of social media to the need for agile thinking to the rise of collaborative consumption and plenty more inbetween. 

The cover story focuses on Mike Ballantyne, a former ad man from TBWA\ who now heads up the $140 million company you've probably never heard of, Online Republic. And, as Sim Ahmed discovered, he's hoping to turn it into the $1 billion company everyone's heard of by the end of the decade by moving away from ego-stroking digital campaigns and focusing on the unsexy—but increasingly important—realm of search engine marketing. 

In addition to the nuts and bolts of this growing business, Ballantyne and co. have also recently opened a new search-specific agency called Search Republic. So why, in an already over-saturated SEO market, is his offer any better? 

"We have eight years of experience, and more than $25 million of lessons learned. We’ve already put our money where our mouth is."

We also feature stories from a few of the industry's young digital cutters and thrusters, Ben Young and Daniel Phillips from Young & Shand and Jen Flitter from Shine, all of whom ventured to America last year to report on the digital zeitgeist and bring some of the knowledge and enthusiasm back to New Zealand. 

Following a trip to the ad:tech conference in New York, Young and Phillips zero in on the Big Four trends—social media, big data, mobile marketing and real-time marketing—and discuss what they mean for Kiwi marketers (their advice: don't forget about the idea; use digital when it's right to use digital; focus on efficiency; and test, find success, explode).

Flitter, the winner of the Hyperfactory's inaugural Future Marketing Scholarship, filled her calendar with a trip to New York to take in Brian Solis' Pivotcon, as well as tacking on visits to Facebook, Bloomberg, The New York Times and a range of exciting start-ups. Her conclusion: "The next ten years will transform marketing, communications, consumer behaviour and branding like never before. Businesses and brands that fail to adapt to these changes will not survive. It’s as simple as that ... There is so much we can borrow from the pace and drive of those minds leading the marketing behind some of the world’s most successful brands, and a lot we can learn from the dynamic cultures of scrappy startups, so future New Zealand marketers can not only contribute to the vision of what the future looks like but take full responsibility for and ownership of achieving it. That’s something I will pass on to as many others as I can. Because by beginning to stop saying 'no', we are free to push forward to ask 'how?'"

We've also compiled a bunch of stats from Nielsen and Colmar Brunton to create a visual look at the state of digital play in New Zealand, examined how the digital realm is affecting both TV and TVC production, chatted with collaborative consumption proponent Matt Knight of Sharedspace.co.nz and departing TBWA\ executive creative director Andy Blood; and collated all the winners of the newly refreshed New Zealand Direct Marketing Awards. 

As for the columnists, Contagion's Tom Bates talks about the necessity of agile thinking, Claudia Batten pins her social colours firmly to the mast, Saatchi & Saatchi's Philip O'Neill says bravery needs to be a two-way street, Anthony Gardiner says brands need to help stories not hinder them, Jenny McMillan runs through the science of yes, Jacqueline Ireland looks into her crystal ball, Andrew Lewis finds ignorance is bliss for many consumers, Tricia Pink goes on assignment to the US, Dave Mansfield says conquest is over-rated, Caroline Atford looks at what we watched in 2013, and Matt Devine discusses the importance of design registrations. 

See you in the future. 

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