Axios Spotlight: What CMOs Need to Know This Summer

This is the first edition of PURSUIT Page, content offering access to the minds of high profile journalists and industry innovators.

Axios media reporter Sara Fischer sat down with PURSUIT PR to share her insights regarding what CMOs and CCOs need to be prepared for going forward. Axios – named after the Greek word for worthy – provides only content worthy of people’s time, attention and trust. It was founded in 2016 by Politico co-founder Jim VandeHei, Politico’s former chief White House correspondent, Mike Allen, and former Politico chief revenue officer, Roy Schwartz. Recently, Axios won “Best Digital News Start-up” at the 2018 North American Media Awards.

Here is Fischer’s perspective on media industry trends and the implications for marketers.


Marketers, Expect Calls from Telecom Providers

In 2017, the House voted to repeal broadband privacy regulations which the FCC introduced in 2016. As Tech Crunch reported at the time, “the law empowers internet service providers to freely share private user data with advertisers.”

The DOJ’s failed attempt to block the AT&T Time Warner merger signifies a big trend. It is likely that more telecom companies will try and buy telecom companies. The next one to look out for is the Comcast/Disney merger with Fox.

Previously, companies like Facebook were empowered to compete with legacy institutions like telecom. However, telecom did not have the ability to collect data before.

Fischer's take: “Everyone is cutting the cord and getting rid of their satellite packages so they need a revenue stream and will head into advertising. Expect more personalized ads now that telecom companies can leverage digital media – compared to linear ads inherent to TV programming. The same way Instagram ads are personalized, you can expect that coming to TV especially now that telecom is able to sell content and partnerships.”

Additionally, she expects bigger companies will do more traditional advertising on TV compared to content creation online.

Fischer says, “broad based marketers need high-end engaging TV content to do broad based consumer advertising. Amazon is really good at direct to consumer advertising; Amazon pioneered the geo-targeting and they recognized the need for a direct to consumer model and Amazon Prime Video.”


News Driven Content Will Add to Tech Companies’ Responsibility

As technology and content become more interconnected, brands want in on the content game.

Fischer’s Take: “I think one of the problems you’ll find is that everyone thinks they can just create content. CNN has their own news show for Facebook and Univision – it will be interesting to see how the big tech companies start adopting the responsibilities for news; they have never been regulated for that type of content. If you are CNN, it’s illegal to produce some of that content. Because the tech companies are so new, they will have to manage the responsibility that comes with managing content.”

“Primetime shows and networks are also trying to get into the space but they will have to invest a lot of money and talent to get there. The networks, say what you will about them, have good content in their DNA.”


Facebook Regulation Coming, But Not Now

As we all know, Facebook has come under fire this year. Questions remain as to how they will rein in their consumer privacy protections and to what extent consumers truly value Facebook despite the privacy headaches.

Fischer’s Take: “I don’t expect regulation on Facebook at least in the near term. Now that we see some national security threats to democracy (fake news and election), it wouldn’t surprise me that in time – as we become more addicted to their services and they become more utilitarian – we could see regulators put some boundaries on these companies.”


Marketers, Take Note: GDPR is a Viable Business Threat

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) came into effect across the European Union on May 25, 2018, bringing tougher rules on data privacy. It is intended to protect consumers’ rights over their personal data and to standardize the practice of data collection among companies in Europe.

Fischer’s Take: “I do think marketers are taking it seriously and understand the viable threat to their businesses. There is a discrepancy between the bigger and smaller companies. If you are a massive multibillion dollar company you have the resources to fund compliance.”

“The big argument is that it is not fit to purpose. It was created to protect consumer data; however, it comes at the expense of small business. Regulators completely understand. Companies who can afford compliance and not be choked out by the very strongest penalties of non-compliance are the giants like Google and Facebook. More marketing dollars are migrating towards them because there is less risk of getting caught up in this issue.”


Brand Marketers Continue to Invest in CSR

In February 2018, in response to continued school shootings, Dick’s Sporting Goods decided to stop selling assault style rifles and high capacity magazines. They also made the move to raise the minimum age to purchase a gun to 21. And their sales soared – in fact, their stock price surged 27 percent after reporting quarterly sales beat estimates shortly after this announcement.

Fischer’s Take: “There have been a lot of poignant societal issues to the point where if brands don’t take an active part in making a stand, they will get creamed.

We are seeing brands launch huge heavy CSR campaigns and spend millions of dollars.

Technology has empowered people to create a company that could be successful overnight because everyone has an audience they can reach overnight through low funnel dollars.

The giants are more threatened than they ever have been. Gillette is a great example. Their business has taken a dive whereas Dollar Shave Club has exploded. Skechers has taken a dive while Albert’s has exploded. If you’re a big company, how will you differentiate from a direct to consumer company? By communicating that you value CSR and have the heft and ability to make a difference and because of this you should want to buy our products or work with us.”

For daily insights from Sara, and others at Axios, subscribe to their newsletters.

Collision 2018: Five Lessons on Tech + Entrepreneurism

PURSUIT PR had the pleasure of attending Collision 2018 in New Orleans. From May 1 – May 3, the world’s leading tech entrepreneurs and founders took over New Orleans. The conversations ranged from what’s next in technology to best practices for entrepreneurism.

Thought you’d be interested in the key takeaways:


1. Virtual Reality is Not a Fad

Kalon Guiterrez, Co-founder and Head of Corporate Development at Nomadic VR, says that #virtualreality is not just hype. Just how people once thought the Internet was dead, and now it’s shown its staying power, the same can be said about VR. Nomadic VR is an immersive entertainment company creating tactile VR adventures for neighborhoods everywhere.

While VR gained initial attention as an expensive in-home product, Guiterrez anticipates that VR will transition from in-home to out of the home – and back in the home at a later stage. In-home, both space and money are needed. Out of the home, it’s a lower cost for the consumer and an even better experience. That’s exactly what Nomadic VR intends to create as they partner with cinemas, real estate developers and more to extend the life of entertainment experiences.


2. Tech Shines a Light on the Human Pysche

The tension between physical and digital reflects the tension between our inner and outer selves. Or at least that’s the consensus among the amazing panel of Saul Williams, songwriter and poet; Ralph Echemendia, The Ethical Hacker; and cyber psychologist Mary Aiken. Saul Williams delivered a gripping song which shaped the panel, a discussion about the use of technology as propaganda of the self. Can privacy and digital co-exist? According to this panel, we cannot legislative ourselves out of our own issues. We need technology that makes us better.


3. AI is the Heart of Robots

According to Fahri Diner, co-founder and CEO of Plume,  we need to pay attention to AI not just to figure out how the computer can adapt to the human. He is focused on learning the psyche of each of Plume’s 1 billion devices. By doing so, he understands how each device behaves and ensures it will provide the best service for the human – anticipating issues before they even arise. Plume is a self-optimizing network powered by the cloud that adapts to your home in real-time so every room and device has a blazing fast connection today, tomorrow, and years from now.

Going forward, Oracle CEO Mark Hurd notes that AI will be a critical part of most company’s strategies. It is less of a solution and more of a feature that needs to be deeply integrated in a company’s DNA. He thinks AI is generally an overused term, in that sense.


4. Generate Wealth or Pay the Bills

Rahul Varshneya, co-founder of Arkenea, and I met at a Young Entrepreneurs Club event. Arkenea offers specialized software development and technology consulting services for fast growing companies. Rahul highlighted the important decisions founders need to make when it comes to building their business. To scale, execution cannot be entirely founder led. However, it depends on whether the founder’s goal is to generate massive wealth or pay the bills and then some. He also talked about the importance of pricing well, and not being afraid to price in line with even larger competitors – as long as you are delivering value, you can price accordingly.


5. Invest in Raw Talent + Stay Grounded

Wyclef Jean is working on a new mixtape, Wyclef Goes Back to School, which will feature young talent he discovers through a nationwide college search.

On a personal level, I had a chance to connect with him in the speakers lounge where he gently played guitar while having conversation. He talked about the intricate experience of life and the “middle” – the path between birth and death and the importance of making the most of it, and how lucky we are. He is clearly grounded by his profound appreciation for life and this undoubtedly fuels his success.

A big thank you to all of the incredibly smart, motivated and kind people we met at Collision. In addition to the above, shot out to inspiring entrepreneurs John Rampton at Calendar (can’t wait to book your basement AirBnb), Andrew Thomas, co-founder at Skybell Technologies, John Hall, co-founder and CEO of Influencer & Co. and Thomas Ma, co-founder of Sapphire Apps.

News To Use: 2018 Outlooks Galore

Happy New Year! Welcome back to reality.

With the struggle being real for many today, we’ve curated news you can use to kick start 2018.

Here’s what media are writing about what to expect this year – and our POV on what stands out. As you figure out your thought leadership, these are trends you can keep in mind. Whether you are a thought leader, or working inside an organization, this backdrop will be important to consider as you look for ways to leverage your news with what is going on in the marketplace.


WORLD NEWS

Axios: The Top Risks to Global Order in 2018
Our POV: Eek, this is a bit dreary – calling for a major crisis. On the bright side, market experts/economists/politicos – this could be a great PR year for you. Womp womp.


MEDIA

The New York Times: From Trump to #MeToo, A Dizzying Year for TV News
Our POV: Even as networks stand strong, how will the ousted stars regain their reputational equity? I sense comebacks…and some good reads.


TECHNOLOGY

Fast Company: The Most Important Tech Trends Of 2018, According To Top VCs
Our POV: Community based businesses + digital/physical experiences are on the list. Hey, I still read hard copy newspapers and actually call people, so I’m all for IRL experiences.


MARKETS/FINANCE

CNBC: Here are Three Key Global Themes Set to Dominate Markets in 2018
Our POV: Prepare for more wrist slapping for tech giants while global growth continues and Trump and Macron ideologies duke it out.


INVESTING

WIRED: Where VCs Will Invest in 2018
Our POV: I’ll be closely watching blockchain and paid media given their relevance to multiple industries.


HEALTHCARE

Vox: 5 Healthcare Predictions for 2018
Our POV: Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid – oh my. Plus, a sweet chart that creates guilt for eating Chobani yogurt.


RETAIL AND CONSUMER PRODUCTS

FORTUNE: Here’s What Retailers Have to Prove in 2018
Our POV: Even if retailers go private to avoid Wall Street pressures, let’s remember they still report to the consumer.


REAL ESTATE

TheStreet.com: 5 Trends Shaping the 2018 Real Estate Market
Our POV: Sounds lovely for the high-net-worth crowd. More opportunities abound for vacation home buyers and second home buyers.

PURSUIT PR IS LIVE!

Today, I’m thrilled to announce the launch of PURSUIT PR. At PURSUIT, we pursue opportunities to achieve brand building results for companies in high growth, change driven sectors such as technology, media, financial services, digital health, real estate and retail and consumer products.

This video provides more information, and a summary follows.