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Q&A: Jason Deal, Managing Director Social Media Services Initiative US on Content Marketing

July 8, 2014 | By Danielle Block, Director, Agency & Advertiser Relations - DCN
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This Q&A is part of OPA’s “Three on Three” series where we ask three industry executives the same three questions on a topic to uncover actionable insights… If you want to learn more, keep an eye out on our site for more interviews. Today’s Three on Three interview is with Jason Deal, Managing Director Social Media Services Initiative U.S, on Content Marketing.

Jason Deal HeadshotQ: How are you selecting partners to work with on content marketing? What is the ideal number of partners and way to purchase content marketing programs?

A: As an owned and earned media service within a media agency we produce a lot of content in-house, but partners are also core to our offering. We do this in a variety of ways ranging from working with partner agencies on shared accounts around campaigns (e.g. creative agencies), to constructing original content with publishers within paid media programs, to studio-style outsourcing with specialty vendors (e.g. infographics design experts). While we’ve not yet had much experience with the large-scale content sourcing solutions, they’re certainly on the radar and part of the discussion as our clients dial-up their brand publishing efforts.

The variety and volume of partners is shaped by the specific brand, audience and campaign objectives. It’s also increasingly shaped by our growing cognizance of which publishers are equipped to expertly manage high-quality original content production on behalf of brands. With the growth of native-ad products and accompanying brand content services by publishers, vetting the production capabilities of these groups is something to which we pay close attention.

Q: What has been the most effective use case for content marketing and how did you prove success?

A: Most of our work is with major B2C brands so earned media value is a primary objective. When we help our clients get to the right piece of content with the right distribution and promotion, we have seen incredible engagement, sharing and conversation lift. We’ve also seen how this can spike web traffic and subsequently sales lift. The (admittedly elusive) trick is getting to the consumer insight and associated creative idea that gets people sharing.

Q: What is the future of content marketing?

A: The current organic reach question on 3rd party social platforms is tripping marketers up a bit, but over the long-haul brands will increase their investments in marketing content. The paradigm shift they are going through now is around content strategy. I won’t beat the dead-horse regarding the need for brands to create unique content value, but will suggest that the next mental shift is going to be around distribution.

For most brands – especially B2C brands that work with a media agency like ours – organic reach and search won’t deliver the visibility and scale they need. Just like the old microsite, if you build it…they will not come. Distribution will increasingly be baked into the content marketing plans including tight orchestration with paid media for amplification of high-performing content. The advent of brand content platforms and native ad products by publishers are filling an important space between traditional digital display and owned-channel publishing. The emergence of this more contextually relevant distribution – along with improving brand content—will drive new levels of engagement and the social sharing that helps brands to win with empowered consumers. A lot of change… but terrific developments for both brands and consumers.


Jason Deal is Managing Director, Strategy for Initiative one of the Interpublic Group’s two worldwide media networks and part of the company’s IPG Mediabrands unit.  Prior to his role in strategy, Jason oversaw all digital marketing efforts including social and mobile on behalf of the agency’s automotive accounts Hyundai and Kia. In addition, Jason served as the head of Initiative’s Prophesee unit, which offers marketers a full-service social media solution from insights to strategy and ultimately execution. Prophesee currently provides innovative social strategies to several of Initiative’s flagship clients including Hyundai/Kia, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and Best Western. Before starting his 15 year career in the agency world, Jason worked as an advisor to several political candidates and causes throughout the United States. A veteran in the digital marketing industry, Jason worked with numerous Southern California-based design, digital and general agencies.


Note: This Q&A is part of OPA’s “Three on Three” series where we ask three industry executives the same three questions on a topic to gain perspective and uncover actionable insights.

Also in this series:

Q&A: Daniele Kohen, Media Director Neo@Ogilvy West, on Content Marketing

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