"The intersection of content and commerce" asks the question - would you buy Cheesy Blasters while watching 30 Rock? Odds are, you would. And that's the bet that NBC/Universal is placing on investing in bringing DTC brands to their large audiences across their portfolio of original programming and content. From Goop to the Minions we go deep on the opportunity at hand with Evan Moore. Listen now!
- In today's episode, Brian and Phillip are joined by the Vice President of Content and eCommerce at NBCUniversal, Evan Moore.
- Over-personalization has started to run rampant, so how do you battle against too much personalization?
- NBCUniversal has taken a content-first strategy across its vast portfolio to create meaningful marketplaces and platforms for different verticals.
- Empowered creatives are becoming the driving force in the commerce powerhouses of the future.
A Brief History of Evan: The Intersection of Content and Commerce:
- For the past 11-12 years, Evan has worked mainly in a digital product capacity for several different companies (e.g. Ticketmaster, Goop, Beautycounter) all at the intersection of content and commerce.
- At Goop, Evan had the opportunity to put the commerce and content strategy into the world and drive a lot of massive commerce scale using Goop's strong content.
- NBCUniversal was trying to do something similar so they hired Evan to execute the same strategies at scale across their entire content portfolio.
- How did Evan merge the content and commerce to create successful brands?
The Goop Story: From Email Newsletter to a Commerce Powerhouse:
- Brian mentions that Goop is one of the first examples he can think of that has a brand taking an email newsletter and turning it into a commerce powerhouse, but how did that happen?
- Goop has been around for about eleven years and the first six years it was mainly an email newsletter that had recipes that Gwyneth Paltrow wanted to send to her friends.
- Over the next six years, Goop grew organically and built equity with its audience around some lucrative content verticals like clean beauty, high-end fashion, travel, and home goods.
- Just in the last few years, Goop kicked its monetization into high gear by giving brand partners great exposure to its audience and finally launching its eCommerce marketplace.
Plagued by Targeting: What is Too Much Personalization?:
- Having content comes first establishes ideals and allows your audience to almost fanatically align with a brand's ideals.
- Really good content is the antidote to over-personalization of the internet and there are fewer companies that have harnessed the power of storytelling better than NBCUniversal.
- Retargeting algorithms are effective at driving lower funnel activity, but they are not cognizant of who the customer actually is. (Phillip apparently doesn't avidly love toilet seats.)
- Even with how far AI technology has come, we still don't understand how people identify themselves of the meaning they derive from the products that they buy.
The Antidote: Combating Over-Personalization
- The stories that we tell and that we read are how we connect with each other and with the rest of the world, which inevitably informs our decisions on what we consume and the brands that we align ourselves with.
- NBCUniversal reaches a massive part of the US audience lets brands tell stories that its massive viewer base can connect with.
- Create your audience first and then decide what the need before you create a product.
- As we get to a place where more and more content is becoming niche, if a brand has a message that you don't relate to, it will be harder to align with that brand.
Shop With Golf: Capturing a Coveted Demographic:
- The first result of NBCUniversal playing with its new content and commerce model is Shop With Golf, a part of the Gold ecosystem of brands.
- The site fills a white space within the golf that features lifestyle content that relates to golfers, which is a sought after demographic. (Golf is Goop for men.)
- Over the past six months, 45 different brands have been featured on Shop With Golf.
- Bill Murray and his brothers even did a music video for Shop With Golf.
Next Steps: Expanding the Model:
- NBCUniversal is looking at how to apply the model used for Shop With Golf across the entire NBC portfolio.
- While looking at their portfolio, the goal is still to create a marketplace of interesting brands and providing them a platform to tell engaging stories around relevant contact that reaches audiences that care about those stories.
- Evan clarifies that NBCUniversal is not trying to compete with retailers, but are becoming a channel for both consumer/packaged goods brands and direct-to-consumer brands.
- What Evan and NBCUniversal are doing could be an antidote to brands like Away and Amazon are doing.
Bringing Commerce Closer: Purchasing in the Moment:
- Evan joins both Brian and Phillip in their excitement about up and coming shoppable formats.
- Consumers are more willing to transact wherever they are when they are using their digital devices.
- The eCommerce experience is no longer a differentiator as much as it is a commodity.
- Can consumer demand create enough need for brands and marketplaces to pursue options for consumers to purchase at the moment they see a product?
Defying Expectations: Empowered Creatives Driving Progress:
- Phillip asks Evan what it's like bringing transformational initiatives to a larger organization and how that compares to his previous experience.
- Evan would have expected to get more resistance to bringing in new ideas, but the hunger to grow that is present at NBCUniversal has been the opposite of his expectations.
- Empowered creatives working with a plethora of resources and opportunity has proven to have quite the impact.
- Evan has been able to do something different, impactful, and valuable to both consumers and brands on a massive scale.
Standing Out from the Pack: Artistry Leads the Way:
- What should big merchants be doing to separate themselves from other brands?
- Right now, artistry and creatives should lead the way in regards to where a brand's money ends up.
- There is nothing more important right now than telling stories.
- Brands that tell stories and can capture the values and ideals of their customers in a content form are going to be the brands that stand out.
The Future Commerce Send-Off: Predictions for the Future:
- Evan predicts a decentralization of marketplaces occurring at the same time as a proliferation of content channels and commerce will stay closely coupled to the content.
- The antidote to becoming over-personalized is having empowered creatives that are looking at data and making creative decisions about what that data means.
- Brands should be taking a second look at television and the scale that companies like NBCUniversal can bring to brands is a huge opportunity for direct-to-consumer brands.
- The wall between digital video and television and the difference between the two is almost negligible.
Brands Mentioned in this Episode:
As always: We want to hear what our listeners think! How can you use storytelling to reach customers and connect with their values?
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