mediaXchange 2017: Algorhythm

By Cam Ellis, Special to the Alliance

MediaXchange 2017 kicked off on Monday morning with a keynote address from Mitch Joel, President of Mirum. A titan of digital marketing, Joel jumped right into a discussion centered around understanding the dramatic and shifting intersection of consumers and technology.

He began the keynote by taking a look at the way people view the word ‘disruption.’ “How do you define disruption?”, he asked. “People have very different definitions of the word, and I’m always very surprised by people’s responses. Because to me, their definitions always sound more like destruction than disruption.”

To better illustrate his point, Joel drew parallels to the story of the Big Bad Wolf and Three Little Piggies. Industry disruption, he argued, is seen as the “big bad wolf.” The three little piggies, he added, were transformation, innovation, and transactions.

“Transformation, to me, is when you are operating your business with the same technology that your consumers use with one another,” he said. “You can’t claim to be in era of transformation if you’re not up to date.”

The second little pig, Joel said, is innovation. There is a difference, he stated, between innovation and iteration. Using the example of a security camera system that Best Buy sells, Joel talked about how their implementation of an app created a deeper relationship with the customers and users. Not only that, but it provided the company that makes the cameras more information about the customers that were using the product. That, to him, was a “powerful form of true innovation.”

The last little pig, and Joel’s personal favorite, is transactions. He detailed how publishers are now in the world of what he called  “micro transactions.” Some of the biggest examples of these micro transactions are Facebook posts and newsletters, among others. Essentially, Joel said, these transactions were all centered around trying to make your dollar work quickly for you and force people to think differently about the business models in a different way.

To further explain how publishers are adapting to the changing media landscape, Joel used Snapchat, the popular photo-taking app, as a case study. He said that Snapchat’s refusal to sell their app to Facebook for $3 billion struck him as powerful because “what makes the digital market amazing is that every newspaper can choose their own path to success, but mobile first is working best.”

“Snapchat was the first digital platform to take the way you communicate in real life and move it to a digital format,” he added. It was the first brand to embrace what Joel coined as “the impermanent internet.”

More broadly, Joel pointed out that the “impermanent internet” was changing consumer habits. No longer are people buying DVD’s, for example, and storing them at home. Now – whether it’s movies, music, or television – consumers are preferring to pay for access to a library, as opposed to building one themselves. “Technology,” he said, “was removing technology from technology.”

Joel ended with stressing the importance of tracking the habit changes of consumers. “We’re in the age of efficiency … you need to understand how environments evolve,” he said. “Don’t worry about what’s next, worry about what’s now.”


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