Half a Loaf – TechCrunch

by Jeremy

When Salesforce announced its streaming platform Salesforce+, the CRM Playaz’ Paul Greenberg and Brent Leary interviewed Colin Fleming, SVP of Global Brand Experiences at the CRM company (disclosure: I work at Salesforce). Later, I asked Brent about his show on this episode of The Gang.

Brent: With everything going on with data privacy and cookies going away, companies will have to figure out a way to get first—and that third-party, but first-party data cleanly.
Me: Can you describe the difference?
Well, a third party, you go to a website, and this website has partners that you have nothing to do with. Suddenly, you land on a website, and the next thing you know, you might be getting hit up with an ad or an email from a company you didn’t even expect you don’t have a relationship with. But that company has a relationship with the website owner. So all of this stuff, all of these interactions or nuisance breakup of your day because of ads and notifications you’re getting, you’re getting it not because you had a direct relationship. Still, you landed on a site with potentially thousands of relationships with other companies wanting to get at you.Half a Loaf – TechCrunch
And that’s the third-party cookies’ way of doing things. Well, that’s going away. And one of the things that [Fleming] pointed out is that what Salesforce wants to do is create great content to build a direct relationship and not have to depend on traditional third-party backroom deals. And I thought that was great. I was excited to hear that part because it’s another way of forcing people to get away from this third-party stuff and be more direct about their intentions and what they’re trying to do.

I asked Keith Teare how quickly third-party data is going to go away.

Keith: Well, it’s already starting to disappear because Apple implements iOS blocking things. Microsoft’s browser [market share] is small these days but also stops things. So you’re moving from these common pools, lakes of data, to what you could think more of as walled garden data, meaning first-person data. Companies can’t rely on targeting through the network anymore unless they know the users, and then they can.
So that leads to this big question: what is the right balance between content marketing (which I think Salesforce is doing), where you’ve got a direct audience, versus advertising, where you pay somebody to show an ad? Ad targeting will deteriorate, and content marketing, which is what you could think of as earned media—that is to say, you work to get the attention—will grow. So this is a fairly major shot in the arm of what some people call the creator economy and spreading it into the enterprise. Every enterprise is going to have to become a creator in this world.

Denis Pombriant added:

Denis: I read an interesting report this week. It was the seventh edition of the Salesforce Marketing Survey. The first half of it was very positive about using new technology to support work from anywhere and a variety of other things that free you from the office. But the second part had some very interesting data about where investments were going by corporations into new marketing. No category had more than a 50 percent response, about a dozen types. Saying, yeah, we’re investing enough, or we’re actively pursuing this. So the conclusion I draw from this is that everything we seem to be doing about being more tech-savvy out on the Web and addressing customers and colleagues and cohorts is somewhat lagging and will lag until organizations invest in the skills and the people to support some of the new things like content development, audio content development, video content development, AI, and quite a few other things as well.

I think that’s right. It’s not whether there’s a creator economy or not. While significant and market-making, the investments made by vendors depend on the market expanding beyond its roots. Blogs and podcasts began as an extension of the mainstream media but foundered when readers and listeners moved to social authority as a measure of credibility. Newsletters and lifecasting suffer when the value proposition of the ad hoc media looks too much like the mainstream media it hopes to replace. Instead, we turn the mute button on and escape to fictionalized stories where good triumphs over evil or the reverse.

The creator economy has produced a kind of vaudeville, where talent bubbles up to feed a hungry niche. Real success comes when that consensus of what is suitable for the emotional center mitigates the extremes of the partisan groups and the controversy that drives the current mainstream model. The Rachel Maddow negotiations and the lumbering infrastructure deals suggest progress of moderate success. Maddow is moving toward a weekly show with creator spinoffs yet to be defined. Congress is developing a half a loaf plus a little legislative strategy to carve up an unachievable agenda into small successes loosely joined. Not too left or right, but enough to beat back the assault on voter rights while protecting the middle. Half a loaf is better than none.

The Gillmor Gang — Frank Radice, Michael Markman, Keith Teare, Denis Pombriant, Brent Leary, and Steve Gillmor. Recorded live Friday, August 13, 2021.

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