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Publishing, branding and the transformation of hard-copies to eBooks

As the impact of eBooks hits hard on the publishing industries, thought leader Brian Altounian shared his insights on the changing sales environment at 2012 South by Southwest Interactive in Austin, TX.

Using his creative capabilities and experience as CEO of eBook branding firm WOWIO, Brian Altounian outlined the future of the industry and explained business models that package content in ways that boosts sales. Tips from his talk, “Publishing Models Transforming the Book

Publishing and branding go hand-in-hand

  • Authors and titles are brands. It’s OK to give for free if publishers are making some money
  • Publishers have to do something different, but no one knows what exactly, true for movies, music
  • Aim to create content as a brand & learn so when you get deals you don’t negotiate your rights a la movie rights

Traditional publishers mining nontraditional

  • Traditional publishers are increasingly going to transmedia … Books are made into TV and movies
  • Need more ethnic diversity in authors and audiences to be served
  • Creative people are in constant pursuit for an outlet
  •  Traditional publishers now investing in eBook, print & audio search sites. Bookish focuses on findability

Multimedia  fully under way

  • Why change? People under 40 want content on any device, how and when they want it, and for free
  • Traditional publications ARE changing the way they do things! Free seeds interest for future work but is not sustainable long-term
  • Content creators thinking multiplatform, cross-strategy, toys & merchandise, how to get everyone onboard & protect assets
  • Merchandise deals can take pressure off publishers

What about authors?

  • Marketing, discoverability need to be considered
  • Content creator needs to self-finance to build interest
  • Largest cost to publishers is for talent: paying author and promoting that author
  • How are you using analytics and consumer profiling to create content that fits a ready audience?
  • Retailers getting into book promotion … All about lifestyle, no?

Thanks for sharing highlights @brianjdixon, @Mollybbarton, @swannamac, @DeahlsDeals, @KeithArsenault, @BrianAltounian

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Group Deals Begin to Grow up: Tips for Retailers, Restaurants From South by Southwest Interactive

How can small businesses benefit from group deals like Groupon?

Kara Nortman Senior Vice President of Publishing CityGrid Media

Kara Nortman, CityGrid Media

One of the best South by Southwest Interactive 2012 talks was jam-packed with lessons, tips, and stats on the state of group buying. With fatigue setting in on both sides of the equation, consumers and merchants, how can everyone get what they want?

Kara Nortman, senior VP of publishing at CityGrid Media, took the stage solo and wowed everyone attending.

Here are some highlights

Group Deals Are Killing Your Small Business: How small businesses can uniquely and effectively tap into group deals as a key piece of a smart overall marketing strategy.

Have you heard about Groupon?

Create a more effective group deal strategy

  • SMBs and deal sites are at odds … SMBs must show clear return on investment. Businesses are being more critical
  • Prior to 2008 there were 2 personas: enjoy a high-price experience (get-what-you-pay-for) and the couponer
  • Prepaid transactions are not dead. Consumers will get more relevant deals through them
  • Deal sites need to provide their clients with great analytics
  •  Correlating behavior with credit card data is commencing, but it still needs consumers’ trust with data and privacy
    • Proximity marketing and credit are going to be the most exciting developments in next few years

Deal sites to consider

Think Near

  • Pulls in demand patterns, weather, traffic, and events reports. It allows you to auto-generate 5-10 campaigns each week for each business
  • Targets local, high-quality customers
  • Became bigger than Groupon in NYC


  • Targets high-quality restaurants and has focuses on experience and high value – creating a clear brand can help your deals succeed
  • Forces users to commit to reservations and align them with restaurants’ slow times. Offer 30% off with no embarrassing coupons
  • Encourages diners to post pictures of their receipts that shows their discount


  • Aims to collect who loyal customers are without merchant cooperation, then present to the business owner
  • Users take photos of receipts to collect data for PunchCard
  • Targets low-frequency and high-spend customers

The truth is in the numbers: Group deals statistics

  • 44% subscribe to 4 or more deal services – often causes user fatigue
  • 44% of daily-deal customers will come back, but some might have already been customers
  • 66% of people let their deals expire before redeeming
  • A third of all Americans shopped on Small Business Saturday and saw 23% boost into small shops. This is Amex taking a long-term approach
  • 15% of Punchcard customers generate 50% of revenue – you consolidate loyalty cards and even redeem at businesses that don’t offer cards
  • 20%-30% of Groupon’s 10,000 employees are in sales
  • Studies show it didn’t matter whether you offered 50% off or less, the majority just want some discount and will convert

Thanks to @mauriciopina, @journalynn, @DeeSwartz, and @lorennoel for sharing their insights!


Mad Men: More lessons to mine for Social Media

Don Draper Mad Men

Don Draper Mad Men


Mad Men illustrates our evolution, but have we?

The Mad Men countdown clock is ticking down (too bad there’s no widget to post here), and I’m thrilled. Sadly, no time to use Betty’s party planner, but cheers to AMC for another season of lessons that can be applied to Social Media.

While the social media integration was widely commented on at South by Southwest Interactive 2012 (highlight posts forthcoming BTW), there’s so much more to contemplate.

Mad Men was also mentioned on a panel at the SES (Search Engine Strategies) New York conference yesterday. The panel discussed integrated marketing and mentioned the pitch Don Draper gives to Kodak when the slide “wheel” is introduced.

My Tweet about kicking off the Social Media Strategies course I teach with the Mad Men Carousel clip became a top tweet. Sorry there’s no embed, but click to watch:

Very evocative, no? This is how I want my students to think of the class: interesting, ever-evolving, which reflects where we are in this industry today.

The Sterling Cooper pitch provides a perfect frame for today’s students — and professionals: It illustrates how technology changes, but the desire for human connection pervades.

Meanwhile,  my 2012 conference circuit is echoing: We’ll soon be dropping all the prefixes: e-marketing, online marketing, search marketing new media. It’ll just be straight-up marketing. I read a recent OMMA post that Social Media staffs are being fully integrated into the marketing departments. This make sense, no? You wouldn’t have an email department all by itself and only thinking about getting into inboxes (then what?)?

In essence, we’re all here to align what the company has to offer with customer expectations.

I can’t help but wonder what’s really going through the minds of the Millennials who’ve signed up for Social Media Strategies when I show them a pitch for a product that took consumers by storm decades before they were born. It’s an ideal starter to a class the focuses on engagement and interaction, and we start practicing these fundamentals on Day 1.

I’m eager to see how Mad Men keeps the conversation going, both in my class and in my mind.

What other lessons have you learned as Mad Men shows us a reflection of ourselves in another time?

Pick Monday sessions at South by Southwest Interactive 2010

Which SXSWi sessions should I blog about?

Energy level is still high; I saw a Tweet that said something along the lines of “gorging on awesomeness.” Like Sunday’s sessions, there’s just so much to choose from, I thought I’d ask which sessions you’d like to hear about.

Here are the options, please comment & scroll down for 5 p.m. (CST) sessions if you’re seeing this late:

Monday, March 15th

Concurrent sessions

Don’t Get Sued! A Guide For Content Creators

Funding Your Projects from the Crowd

Managing Your Content Management System

More concurrent sessions

Best Practices for Contextual Applications

Conducting Great Interviews

Indirect Collaboration: Collective Creativity on the Web

Making Content Relevant To Me, Here And Now

5 p.m. concurrent sessions

Augmented Reality – Gimmicky Trend or Market-Ready Technology?

Coconut Valley – Building a Tech Community on the Beach

Passionate People: The Key Ingredient to Social Media Success

Please comment and thanks for the help!

Previous SXSW posts:

Which SXSWi sessions should I blog about?

Thanks to Michelle for voting on Sunday’s SXSW session selections

Which SXSWi sessions should I blog about?

Super-excited to head to Austin tomorrow for South by Southwest Interactive.

There’s just so much to choose from, I thought I’d ask which sessions you’d like to hear about.

Sunday, March 14th

Concurrent sessions

Exploiting Chaos — How to Spark Innovation During Times of Change
Imagineering the Fully Digitized and Connected Future

More concurrent sessions

Blah Blah Blah: Why Words Won’t Work
Can Wikipedia Survive Popular Success and Community Decline?
Extending Your Brand? There’s an App for That

How Social Media Can Destroy Your Business Model
Leave Your Job, Start An Agency

Even more concurrent sessions

Persuasive Design: Encouraging Your Users To Do What You Want Them To!

The 10-Minute Transmedia Experience

Writing Web Content For A Living

See what I mean? And that’s just the start! More general info on SXSW

Please comment and thanks for the help!