WWTT? Netflix to Publish a Print Magazine

It was announced earlier this week that Netflix — the media streaming giant that now also produces original programing — is getting into the print business. Sort of. Ahead of the Emmys, Netflix is planning on producing a 100-page print magazine to promote its original programming and stars, according to Bloomberg News.

Good morning marketers! It was announced earlier this week that Netflix — the media streaming giant that now also produces original programing — is getting into the print business. Sort of. Ahead of the Emmys, Netflix is planning on producing a 100-page print magazine to promote its original programming and stars, according to Bloomberg News.

While Netflix has neither confirmed nor denied this news, the Bloomberg News article shared the following from an email from the company:

“In preparation for a groundbreaking year in film and television, Netflix has gathered some of the most talented and sought after writers and photographers, thinkers and creatives, to make the inaugural issue of Wide, the Netflix print journal.”

While you won’t find Wide — that’s the publication’s working title — on any newsstand, it will be distributed to “industry players” in June, which is when members of the television academy vote on Emmy nominations (with the awards show taking place in September). Talk about being in the right place at the right time.

There is also a mention that the streaming service’s print magazine would be available at the variety of events it hosts. It’s clear that Netflix is hungry for recognition of its studio’s creative works, which in the last year produced approximately 700 programs, ranging from movies like Roma to series such as Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and more.

Now this isn’t the first time an online entity dipped its toes into print. Last year I received a couple of complimentary copies of Airbnb’s print magazine, which you can subscribe to for $18/6 issues. I was surprised when I found it in my mailbox, but I took the time to flip through the piece.

According to Airbnb’s website, aside from the subscription, it also began sending copies of the magazine to its hosts earlier in 2019 … the perfect item to leave out on the coffee table for your guests to remind them that, yes, they’re staying in an Airbnb I suppose. That said, I’m probably more likely to check out the online magazine instead, since I do a lot of my travel reading and planning online.

Luggage company Away created Here Magazine after it noticed that customers were calling customer service looking for travel tips. According to an AdWeek article, the publication is included in every piece of luggage Away sells, standalone issues can be purchased, and there’s an e-newsletter featuring some stories (which is what I’m subscribed to).

Netflix’s decision to put time and money into producing a print magazine to highlight its accomplishments ahead of the Emmy’s tells me this: To Netflix, there is prestige in print. Where some companies, such as Airbnb and Away may see their print publications as a value-add to their products and services, it seems like Netflix feels that Wide is a channel to showcase its creative powerhouse abilities. I mean, you don’t see other Hollywood studios doing that.

But my question is this: Will it be worth it in the end — will Wide help Netflix bring home Emmys in September?

Marketers, what do you think? Tell me in the comments below, and have a great weekend!

 

Airbnb: It’s Good to Be a Revolution

Airbnb is having a moment. Not only has it put together impressive marketing campaigns with the likes of Audi and Sweden, the leader of the sharing economy revolution is beating the giant travel sites online.

Airbnb is having a moment. Not only has it put together impressive marketing campaigns with the likes of Audi and Sweden (yes, the country), the leader of the travel sharing economy is beating the giant travel sites online.

They say it’s good to be king, but it may be better to be a revolution.

As reported by eMarketer, SimilarWeb’s “US Travel Trends and Insights 2017” report found that Airbnb has passed Booking.com, Hotels.com, Marriott International and more in Q1 Web traffic.

Airbnb beats the top hotel sites in online traffic, Q1 2017.

Now, SimilarWeb attributes this success (in a separate case study) to Airbnb using its platform. eMarketer suggests that it’s due to the rising spending power of Millennials (who they say are more comfortable “rolling the dice” on the kind of experience it offers).

I think those are both factors, but they miss the big picture: Airbnb isn’t another hotel website or travel aggregator. It’s a revolution, which lets it change the paradigm and break out compared to the other sites.

That’s a real competitive advantage, and it’s the heart of all Airbnb’s marketing and brand.

eMarketer comes close to identifying that when they finger Millennials, but it’s not that millennials are comfortable with a more crapshoot experience. In fact, much like Uber, Aribnb has built its brand by steadily using reviews to eliminate the crapshoot from its experience.

But Airbnb still does offer a revolutionary, kinda scary, experience. And all revolutions are built on young people converting to those new ways, becoming believers, and then evangelists who are willing to fight for the new way.

And if you think that sounds a bit like the customer journey, you’re right! And that’s really why Airbnb is starting to clobber the competition online. By being a revolution, a movement, it’s become the most exciting travel option, the coolest travel option, and the travel option with the most loyalty behind it.

And nowhere is that better demonstrated than in the Audi and Sweden ads i mentioned at the beginning. Airbnb has other brands paying to be associated with it.

Hotels.com has Captain Obvious.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVlBQtfbiYU

Even Captain Obvious can see Airbnb’s revolution is a massive marketing win.

3 Travel Marketers Break Past ‘Fun in the Sun’

Traveling the world is a thing so many aspire to do, and usually from a young age. And that exciting and romantic notion is something travel marketers have capitalized on for decades (understandably). Who doesn’t want to market something fun, sexy and exotic? Except, as of late, some travel marketers have set down the piña coladas and brochures of smiling families to instead focus their advertising creative and brand messages on their values and politics.

Traveling the world, even your own country, is a thing so many aspire to do, and usually from a young age. From Spring Break in some sunny locale, to backpacking across Europe before heading to college or honeymooning in Southeast Asia for a few weeks, the notion of travel is exciting and romantic.

Travel Not to Escape LifeAnd that notion is something travel and hospitality marketers have capitalized on for decades (understandably). Who doesn’t want to market something fun, sexy and exotic?

Except, as of late, some travel marketers have set down the piña coladas and brochures of smiling families having fun to instead focus their advertising creative and brand messages on their values and politics.

1. Airbnb’s ‘We Accept’

https://youtu.be/5qUTYHnLz2g

I briefly mentioned this commercial from Airbnb during my “What Were They Thinking?” episode about Super Bowl LI’s ads. This 30-second short proclaims simply that no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love, or who you worship, we all belong. “The world is more beautiful the more you accept,” it states, as faces from various cultures, ages and sexes are shown.

As a disruptor to the traditional hotel industry, you’d figure Airbnb’s ads would be more about finding that perfect, unique accommodation (a houseboat in Copenhagen, perhaps?), but in this case they remind us that our hosts (or our guests) are as much like us as they are not.

2. Hyatt’s ‘For a World of Understanding’

https://youtu.be/vOwVmRM9mIM

Like the Airbnb commercial I mentioned above, I also covered Hyatt’s ad in a recent “What Were They Thinking?” episode, applauding the hotel chain’s promotion of cross-culture connectivity. A 30-second version of this ad ran during The Academy Awards in late February, as part of its “For a World of Understanding” corporate brand campaign. As you watch the ad unfold, you see travelers who are in unfamiliar places, interacting with locals who, with a gesture of kindness, help make a connection and bridge a gap between cultures and languages. All the while, the ad is backed by Andra Day’s cover of “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” a hit originally by Dionne Warwick.

As someone who has been in another country, alone, who couldn’t really speak the language, this ad hit home for me. And like the travelers in Hyatt’s ad, I too had locals reach out and help me as needed, and to this day it’s always a part of the story I tell when I talk about travel — making connections and memories.

3. Expedia’s ‘Train’

This commercial from Expedia first aired on CNN on Jan. 20 during the presidential inauguration, and is the most politically charged of the three, in my opinion. The visuals Expedia chooses to show, from military checkpoints to raft-bound refugees and humanitarian protests, all the while ending with the message to “travel the world better.” In a time of such division, the marketer speaks of coming together globally, reminding us that we’re the key.

AdWeek spoke to Expedia about the commercial, and Vic Walia, senior director of brand marketing, had this to say:

We believe that travel has the power to transform you and shape your views of the world. We believe that the more each of us travel and peek over our neighbor’s fence, we learn that we have more in common than we have different. Our hope is that everyone can take this day to reflect on how they can connect to their neighbors across the country and around the world.

Now, if you look at the YouTube comments on these videos — and honestly, I rarely recommend that — you’ll see some people were not into the idea of these marketers sharing these messages. And maybe this causes them to lose some business from folks who believe there’s no place for politics in travel. But then you have TripAdvisor’s CEO Stephen Kaufer standing up against Trump’s first executive order on immigration (aka the “travel ban), making it very clear where they stand.

To me, travel is a means to making connections … connections across cultures, across languages and across borders. Sure, perhaps there’s a Mai Tai in there somewhere, or a little sprinkling of good-natured sightseeing, but when you travel, you’re entering someone else’s world. Be present. Be respectful. And as Airbnb, Hyatt and Expedia all show, be a connection.

Business IS Personal, and Other Leadership Rules

“Business is one of the most human things in the world,” Simon Sinek said early on in his presentation during &THEN. He shared that when he hears someone say, “It’s not personal, it’s business” he just laughs to himself. No, no it’s not … business is personal. It’s human.

I have a new marketing crush. It’s Simon Sinek.

Simon SinekHe was the Monday morning inspirational keynote speaker during DMA’s &THEN event last week and I’m still running over in my head all the things he discussed in under an hour, a week later, because he gave us that much to chew on.

His wonderfully dynamic speaking skills aside, Simon was able to be upfront and frank with a hall full of marketers.

“Business is one of the most human things in the world,” he said early on in his presentation. Then he commented on that when he hears someone say, “It’s not personal, it’s business” he just laughs to himself. No, no it’s not … business is personal. It’s human.

business_personalAnd human is something we could all stand to do a little better, and a bit more often. Especially in leadership roles.

Simon spoke about how in this ever-connected world, technology shouldn’t replace human contact. Instead, it should bring humans together. And leaders need to take the charge.

Certificates Don’t Make a Leader

“[There’s an] incredible lack of leadership across the world today in every industry,” Simon said. It may seem harsh, but hang on before you brush off his point.

As humans, we like intensity because its easy to measure, and this is how leadership is often taught:

  1. Attend a leadership seminar
  2. Earn a certificate
  3. ”I’m a leader now!”

It’s the intensity we crave, but that’s not how it works. Consistency matters more than intensity. Good leaders are built over time, energy and actions.

Another point of his I really liked was that good leaders create an environment of vulnerability, which allows people to speak up and honestly ask for help and feel safe. If you know you can ask for help with a project and not fear a layoff or something else, employees will do so. This builds trust and stronger teams (trust me, THIS WORKS).

Put the Phone Down

We’re all saying this, but Simon both reinforced points and made some new ones.

When someone’s smartphone is out — whether in their hand, on a table or anywhere else visible — it makes the other person in the conversation feel less important. Why? Because at any moment it’s understood that a notification can go off, and attention gets transferred directly to the phone.

During a meeting, a smartphone on the table announces to all “you’re not important.” And yes, Simon let us all know that flipping the phone over in an attempt to be polite is still just as bad. And it’s true! How many meetings have you sat through with all the buzzing from phones being set to vibrate … or the phone with the ringer still on?

It’s distracting, but we all do it … and probably because a fair number of the people in leaderships roles are doing it. Not to be jerks, but because of this need to constantly be connected. Here, the tech gets in the way of the relationships.

Toward the end of his presentation, Simon said, “Whoever understands people the best wins.” “People” are our prospects, customers and even our fellow employees. Make it personal … because that’s just what good business is.

There will probably be a couple more blog posts in the future that will reference Simon’s presentation at &THEN 2016 … he gave me a lot to think about.

5 Good Things Digital Marketers Are Doing in Direct Mail

We’ve all heard a million times that “direct mail is dead” because we live in a digital age.

Talk about a blanket statement! But if it’s true, then someone might want to let a lot of digital-first marketers know that.

We’ve all heard a million times that “direct mail is dead” because we live in a digital age.

Talk about a blanket statement! But if it’s true, then someone might want to let a lot of digital-first marketers know that. They’re using direct mail to stand out from their heavy online competition.

I’ve examined a few old school offline tactics that seem to work well for them, thanks to a look through files at Who’s Mailing What!

1. Compelling Images

ZulilyA_0001Grab the prospect’s attention right out of the mailbox. This postcard from Zulily works because it pairs a large photo of a smiling mom and her child with perfect copy: “everything YOU LOVE in one place.” It perfectly fits the brand.

2. Great Content

AngiesList_0001I won’t go into great detail on this. We know that good content rules wherever it is, in print or online. Angie’s List, the consumer review website, publishes a digest-sized magazine that mixes articles, tips, and a ton of local coupons for members.

It’s a great way to keep them engaged with information that may not be top-of-mind, but may spur later investigation online. In addition, it doesn’t have to compete with other websites for the customer’s attention.

In the June edition, Scott Goldman, Angie’s Senior Director for Content Strategy announced that the magazine is going bimonthly to reduce costs. At the same time, though, he claimed that readership measures 80%. That’s pretty impressive!

3. Sales and Discounts

Chewy_0001This is a common one. Amazon does it. Lots of food delivery services do it. Who doesn’t want to save money?

Chewy.com, which sells pet foods and other products, has a large burst that really pops. It highlights a $15 discount for new customers. The unique promo code allows response to be easily measured. Also, a smaller circle points out an offer for 1-2 day free shipping.

4. Customer Testimonials

HandyA_0001The importance of reviews cannot be overstated. An audience may already place a lot of trust in online reviews, so showing them on a direct mail piece is a no-brainer.

Handy.com, a home cleaning service, puts some social media love to good use on the inside panel of this self-mailer. These were gathered from Twitter and Instagram.

5. Simple Formats

Airbnb_0001Finally, you don’t have to go with an expensive or complicated format. With the exception of the Angie’s List Magazine, many of these efforts I’ve shown are postcards or simple self-mailers. They’re a great way to quickly catch the attention of prospects, give them a good amount of information, and then get them to convert online.

This is a really small direct mail piece, from Airbnb. It measures only 4-1/4”x6” and it lists a few benefits on the back about monetizing your vacation home.

All of these companies are primarily known as disruptors in their respective marketplaces on the web. But by using direct mail, they’re acknowledging the limits of online marketing. It’s another effective tool to help drive traffic online and expand their customer base.

Creative Cage Match: Travel Edition

The weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer … and vacation is on my mind. Luckily, I have a trip planned for June to trek off to the Adirondacks, but that leaves plenty of summer days to do more traveling. And my inbox agrees.

Travel DogeThere’s a reason that pro-wrestling is so popular — and it’s not just the juicy drama and bespangled costumes. People love a good fight, and have for millennia, dating back to the gladiators of Rome and beyond.

So, once a month I’m going to select two marketers and toss them into a Creative Cage Match. I’ll be looking at everything ranging from email to direct mail, website to mobile site. It’ll be a mix of objective and subjective, and each time a marketer will walk out of the ring triumphantly.

The weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer … and vacation is on my mind. Luckily, I have a trip planned for June to trek off to the Adirondacks, but that leaves plenty of summer days to do more traveling. And my inbox agrees.

In this corner, weighing in at 16 years old and chock-full of user generated content by way of customer reviews, we have TripAdvisor. The site is home to robust travel forums, Best of 2016 lists and a selection of apps. TripAdvisor claims to have more than 60 million members and over 170 million reviews. That’s a lot of vacations.

Across the ring we have 8-year-old travel and hospitality juggernaut Airbnb, disrupting the industry in ways that delight travelers — and home owners — worldwide. The startup site allows hosts to list their properties for rent and provides travelers with the opportunity to rent lodgings and “live like a local.” Airbnb has more than 1.5 million listings in 34,000 cities in 190 countries. Talk about options!

Email vs. Email

First, let’s look at TripAdvisor, which hooked me with this subject line: “And the new #1 island in the world is …” Ooh yes please. I want to know this.

Tripadvisoremail_topTripadvisoremail_bottomAs you can see, this email is PACKED. Let’s unpack it:

  • The tease for the No. 1 island (including a bunch of clues on the form of images and review snippets).
  • Call to action to book a hotel in TripAdvisor.
  • Locations for the 25 best beaches in the world.
  • Airfare rates for a selection of cities — some I’ve been to — from my local airport, PHL.
  • A bunch of special offers for hotels and resorts.
  • The call to action “Where’s this?” (Sadly the link wasn’t working for me)
  • And one more call to action about finding and booking a hotel on TripAdvisor.

It’s a little overwhelming, but if you want to cruise through the email and click on the content that is most interesting to you, it’s easy because everything is neatly compartmentalized.

(Oh, and that No. 1 island? It’s Maui … some place I have yet to go!)

So from gorgeous images to teasing text and plenty of content, TripAdvisor’s email gives you something to spend a little time on. Now let’s look at Airbnb.