Friday, May 7, 2004

Media vs. Research: Advertising Approaches Expose World Outlooks of KeepMedia and HighBeam

Rafat Ali has a particularly interesting take in his weblog on the differing ad campaigns for KeepMedia, the portal developing around consumer and business magazines, and HighBeam, focusing on the market for research. KeepMedia focuses on exposing consumer-oriented topics and community on high-traffic web sites, while HighBeam focuses on providing ads with search topics that may relate to the content of an article being displayed and encourage further research. Each approach reflects their focus and goals - KeepMedia, focused primarily on consumer publications, must restrain itself to advertising the strengths of that kind of approach to content in outlets that complement their "media" content, while HighBeam, focused on bridging the worlds of open Web content and traditional database-driven content aggregation for both consumers and professionals, takes a more contextual "research" approach. Neither is a right or wrong approach, given the nature of their content, but it seems as if both are suffering somewhat from their own labeling. "Media" is a concept that sees content as a a highly polished consumer product; "research" sees content as something more serious and professional, in which diamonds in the rough are more acceptable. Neither really reflects the outlook that many content consumers have, which is at the same time both and neither of these approaches. Today's content consumers are agnostic - "good content is where you find it," which may mean favoring established brands but equally may mean that people are glad to select any brand for any purpose. It's rare now that I put on my "media" or and my "research" cap consciously; it's all content to me, and whatever works, works. Thought for KeepMedia: treat your audience more seriously, they know what's beyond the "walled garden" of official media as well as the next person and see themselves as more than consumers. Thought for HighBeam: you're on the beam, but lighten up, if you're aiming for the new content consumer they need to sense that there is some fun in finding things - even things that are serious.
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