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Marketers focus content efforts on storytelling

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Forbes Media tapped Tom Davis as its new CMO in April, promoting a former senior VP-sales and marketing who had a hand in building revenue across both print and digital properties. Davis has been an evangelist for the company's innovative digital model, including its BrandVoice platform—a marketing vehicle that allows premium advertisers to be “brand journalists,” who publish content on the Forbes contributor platform. Media Business recently spoke with Davis about what's ahead for Forbes. Media Business: Where do you see room for room for growth? Tom Davis: Big 360(-degree) programs for our premium marketing clients. We will be bringing in the traditional ads certainly and mobile and integrated advertising, with brand voice and our events sponsorships. It is not just about giving everybody a choice but (about) putting all the right pieces together in the right order and increasing opportunities for the marketer—and becoming more unique and bespoke. Our marketing partners are looking for an audience and a connection. We have several products that can do it, but we have to understand their goal, how they are going to measure (results), and then pick the right solution from the product set. Media Business: BrandVoice has proven to be an area of revenue growth. What is next for the platform? Davis: In the last year in particular, marketers are realizing that they want to do storytelling as opposed to advertising. They want to use products like BrandVoice, where they can take advantage of the audience and the navigation tools that the digital sites offer. Over the past few months I've helped reorganize our sales and marketing team so that they focus on premium advertising, and transactional advertising and programmatic advertising. We are putting a lot of our marketing and sales resources behind BrandVoice, so we're going to continue to improve the product and the service. We're making enhancements to BrandVoice and doing more social amplification of our marketers' content. We're getting them published through social media like Facebook and Twitter. We're really looking to (offer) tools and products that are accountable and show a deep engagement. We're measuring everything, and we're showing that return on investment back to our advertisers. Media Business: What are your other initiatives as you move into the new role? Davis: I'm trying to simplify the marketing messages that we are presenting to our advertisers. I'm putting a lot of emphasis on creating bespoke packages that are sponsorable opportunities. And I'm a big believer in using data and analytics tools, so we are constantly testing and measuring advertising and marketing performance for our clients.
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