News Corp.'s Dow Jones & Co. bought the 50% of SmartMoney it didn't already own in March 2010. In completing this deal, Dow Jones took full control of the entire SmartMoney brand, including Custom Solutions from SmartMoney.
To take better advantage of this custom content group across all of Dow Jones, the company recently rebranded the unit as the Dow Jones Content Lab. This business offers custom content services to marketers, whether they are clients of SmartMoney or other Dow Jones brands, such as Factiva or The Wall Street Journal, said Andrew Seibert, president of SmartMoney. Marketers not currently advertising with Dow Jones properties can also use Dow Jones Content Labs.
Dow Jones Content Lab offers a variety of content formats: print magazines and newsletters, direct marketing, Web and apps, social media, educational booklets and seminars. “Traditionally, it was custom magazines and custom newsletters,” Seibert said, “but over the last couple of years, our business in digital has exploded. We do more video, microsite development and more custom white papers.”
Dow Jones Content Lab also offers “social media management,” helping marketers, particularly in the financial services arena, develop content to respond to online posts about their brands.
Seibert said that in the digital age, custom content has become more important to marketers, who can now connect more directly than ever with customers and prospects via the communication avenues enabled by the Internet.
“They're using content to engage further with their customers,” he said. “They're using it for thought leadership and to give their brand more of a personality.”
Research shows that custom content has grown in importance. Almost 60% of marketing executives surveyed by phone in January by Roper for the Custom Content Council said they shifted money in their budgets to custom content and away from traditional advertising. An astonishing 84% of those surveyed said they “strongly” or “somewhat” agreed “custom content represents the future of marketing.”
Dow Jones is just the latest b-to-b company to wade more deeply into custom content and marketing services. Penton Media, publisher of Machine Design and Supermarket News, announced earlier this month that it had launched Penton Marketing Services, which offers custom content, SEO, website development and other services to b-to-b marketers.
Penton's foray into marketing services was preceded by International Data Group's Strategic Marketing Services group and TechWeb's offering of “marketing as a service.”