When you find a media company that’s willing to go the extra mile, new ways of doing things can happen — even in the traditional realm of IT B2B. Is the future of cross-channel marketing in product creation and distribution?
We spoke with Christina Torres, media director at the tech agency Swirl, about a program client CA Technologies is running with CNN that ties into the election. Here is an abbreviated version of the conversation.
What’s the background on the program?
CA Technologies is a company that’s been around for 40 years. Best known as a mainframe business, marketing has focused on the large-scale hardware that’s used by many companies around the world. But a series of acquisitions is turning CA into a software company.
The challenge for the campaign was to take an intangible product and demonstrate its value. The solution devised was to create an actual tech integration allowing CNN to take a product they can distribute and use an actual CA software product to make it better.
That’s a fairly difficult proposition. It’s not just slapping a logo on something. Getting it done required a team of product, marketing and technology people on each side. The software being promoted is CA’s API management tool, which powers CNN’s politics app. When the campaign was hatched, no one realized just how interesting the election would become.
What is the cross-channel piece?
The cross-channel campaign on the CNN site is making people aware of CA from ads and home page takeovers. But the real value to CA has been getting journalists talking about the app. It publishes about 10 updates each day — a little snapshot of what’s happening today in the election.
The back end of the actual data is where the story is. The CNN API product brings together a dataset from social listening, exit polls, general sentiment, online surveys, and so much of what journalists use to research their opinions of where things are going. It allows anyone to understand the election in ways you simply can’t get from another single source — it essentially democratizes the data journalists otherwise only have, making the story of this election truly one “of the people” brought to them via software.
Typically, consumers don’t have access to all that information. It’s allowing for a different conversation and understanding of the election by bringing it all together in one place. The next iteration of the app releases in mid-September and an even bigger update in early October.
The next round will feature a greater focus on more real-time “moments” updates, and the final round will integrate even further tech to reveal users’ sentiments from around the globe gathered from special social partnerships.
This program takes partnership to a much deeper level than a mere media buy and creates a stronger tie that will extend beyond the election.
How did it happen?
The budget is not IBM-sized. The agency put out an RFP and by focusing on one committed partner who could bring its own assets to the table, the end result looks large.
CNN is reaping the value as much as we are as they are understanding there is a different model to sell media. But It requires more human, mental capital and investment than there was before. It’s a new model to work with marketers.
The stars aligned in a certain way, but by virtue of grit we got the feeling they were really invested in it. You don’t get that from every media partner — that blood, sweat and tears on everyone’s end. We’ll see where it goes post-election.
The app is available for iOS.