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Why You Need to Know Who Lauren Zalaznick Is

Video courtesy of Fora.tv and The Paley Center for Media

By Kimberly Reyes (@CommDuCoeur)

Earlier this month, I attended ad:tech New York at the Jacob Javits Center just a few blocks away from our office.  As usual, there was a long line for either coats or coffee (depending

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Video courtesy of Fora.tv and The Paley Center for Media

By Kimberly Reyes (@CommDuCoeur)

Earlier this month, I attended ad:tech New York at the Jacob Javits Center just a few blocks away from our office.  As usual, there was a long line for either coats or coffee (depending on how confused you were), misleading maps, and a lot of creative professionals in decidedly un-creative garb.

I’ve been on the road attending conferences nearly every month since August, so I’m quite used to the routine: coat stuffed in swag tote, point-and-click on my lap, cell phone fully charged for live tweeting, and notebook open as a safety net for capturing all the insights.  But nothing could have prepared me for Lauren Zalaznick’s keynote speech.

Lauren Zalaznick sits at the top of a multi-media empire called NBC Universal Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks.  The network is comprised of Bravo Media, Oxygen Media, iVillage, and “Green is Universal,” NBC Universal’s ongoing environmental initiative, as well as “Healthy NBCU,” NBC Universal’s health and wellness program.

Zalaznick’s keynote speech at ad:tech was titled “Redefining ‘Digital’—Putting Technology in its Place and Focusing Success on Your Consumers.” Here are some key takeaways from her presentation:

  1. The distinction between old media and new media is superficial.
  2. Marketers should live by 3 rules: consumer, content, and no fear.
  3. Consumers have a boundless appetite for good content.
  4. Consumers dictate the rules of engagement – they decide the medium.
  5. Today’s consumer cannot be typecast: only 21% of American households currently qualify as “the nuclear family.”
  6. “Niche” is the new mantra.
  7. Consumers will pay for something that they used to get for free.  2 good examples: water and ringtones.
  8. Laser-focus your content strategy.
  9. Tell great stories.
  10. Technology is the medium, programming is the message.
  11. Your approach should be 360-degrees, not two-way 180-degrees.
  12. Convert viewers into marketers.
  13. Think no one is going to watch commercials anymore? Leverage the real-time activity of social networks – you have to watch the show live to have the conversation live with other viewers.
  14. Fear is the enemy; it kills invention and innovation. It’s okay to be cautious, but not fearful.
  15. A “Napster-like” environment would have brought down the TV industry the same way it’s bringing down the music industry.

If you’re like me, you may have heard some of these points before, maybe even realized a few for yourself.  And if you’re like me, you probably found some of Zalaznick’s statements to be bold, fresh, and so necessary for the media industry to hear.  There’s a lot of pressure on the shoulders of TV and Publishing execs to integrate their traditional offerings with the digital consumer: one who uses his mobile device as a life management tool, and one who is always connected to his network of family and friends through technology.  If this is a sink or swim era for the media industry, Lauren Zalaznick is leading our Olympic team.

Here at Zemoga, we’ve helped clients like A&E, HBO, The Daily Beast, Rodale Publishing, and Jaimie Oliver’s Food Revolution leverage digital and social media to help them more effectively communicate their brand’s message and interact with their customers.  Rather than just being passive consumers of information and entertainment, people are demanding to have conversations with brands.  How are you responding?

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