Custom Content as the King of Luxury Marketing and Beyond

10/02/2012 07:19 pm ET | Updated Dec 02, 2012

Just this past week, Ad Age writer Jason Del Rey penned an article about Time Inc. CEO Laura Lang's 'next generation' ad product foray. The article focused on how the publishing giant is "letting advertisers capitalize on consumers' interest in content, on Time destinations and elsewhere." For those, like me, that have spent the majority of our careers responsible for publishing revenues, it might seem like a bold move that was a long time coming. Certainly, Lang and her team deserve some kudos. For the wide array of data-driven digital marketing technology companies, however, the a-ha moment that content may just be king of digital is hardly an epiphany. Many of these companies have spent the bulk of the last decade and earned the lion's share of their revenues helping premium publishers to find their way back to revenue generation -- via content marketing as well as other forms of targeted audience engagement. So why is content marketing the buzz again? There's good reason. Since my days are spent answering these types of questions for the world's most well-known luxury brands, I will focus on that sector to give the topic color.

Within the affluent audience marketing sector that Martini Media primarily serves today, agencies and the brands they steward already know that to successfully connect with the affluent audience online, engaging rich media units is the best way to get the biggest return on your investment. Their publishing partners get this too. One area less utilized is personalized editorial content, which increases Web traffic and creates a more intimate environment. In truth, I don't think anyone has every thought otherwise. However, the missing link has been the data-centric digital marketing technology means to do it right.

Luxury Daily reports e-commerce sites are no longer enough to engage the affluent, but engaging and thoughtful content is becoming increasingly important especially for the affluent audience. How can this be done?

In my opinion, while it's not easy, the answer is clear. Publishers must create custom engaging editorial content for luxury advertisers. Why? Because over the past 10 years, there has been a large development in new distribution methods, like social media, which makes content extremely important to luxury advertisers. Over the past few years, Martini Media has experienced a surge in requests for custom content from advertisers, and in response, we've made it a priority to enable advertisers to align their brand messages with relevant content.

One of the publishers we started doing this with is Forbes. Leveraging the IAB Rising Star units as a vehicle to deliver content, this exclusive partnership will feature Forbes content integrated right within the ad unit. The content module will link to Forbes articles that correspond to a brand's campaign call to action and intents. When a user clicks on one of the articles within the new ad units, they are then taken directly to the Forbes website where the brand enjoys additional exposure and a 100 percent share of voice surrounding the Forbes content. We see this as the perfect marriage of content and advertising and where the industry is clearly heading. However, in order to get the most out of custom editorial content, marketing efforts must seem organic and be highly curated to uphold a luxury brands status.

How can you do this for your brand and where can you turn for more insight if you are a luxury brand or publisher? During this week's Advertising Week events in New York City, the topic will be covered several times. If interested in learning more, simply reach out to me and I'd be happy to continue the dialog and pass on our most recent study on the subject.