Oppenheimer Funds’ Leonor Palao and BrandStudio’s Annie Grannatstein: Driving Content with Data and AI
What: Leonor Palao (Assistant VP of Brand Marketing and Advertising, Oppenheimer Funds) and Annie Granatstein (Head of the Washington Post's BrandStudio) had a conversation about branded content partnerships and data-driven content at the Portada Data & Content Marketing Forum in NYC.
Why it matters: According to a study by McKenzie, data-driven organizations are more likely to acquire and retain customers.
By Dane C. Rogers
Leonor Palao, Assistant VP of Brand Marketing and Advertising at Oppenheimer Funds sat down with Annie Granatstein, head of the Washington Post’s BrandStudio, to discuss the branded content partnership that exists between the organizations and how data is used to drive content creation.
A research study by McKenzie showed that data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, 6 times as likely to retain customers and 19 times as likely to be profitable. Leonor’s team at Oppenheimer Funds took note of this report, and in an effort to reach the niche financial advisor audience, partnered with the Washington Post.
Being an asset management company, certain data hurdles exist for Oppenheimer that caused it to lean heavily on its partners to drive growth. Fortunately, the Washington Post has the AI and data capabilities that can help Oppenheimer reach new potential customers.
Armed with the knowledge that 58% of marketers say that original written content is their most important digital asset, above video. Being viewed as a “thought leader” on relevant topics is at the core of their digital strategy.
With a talented in-house team of content creators that is capable of producing industry-leading pieces on finance and asset management, Oppenheimer had a goal to cut back on the quantity of articles (from 37 in 2017 to 7 in 2018) and focus its marketing strategy on understanding the types of articles that were most engaging and focused on creating great content and getting it on the proper platform.
Leonor mentioned the partnership Oppenheimer has with Nudge Analytics, an analytics company dedicated to standardizing the engagement metrics across the different media publication sites. Thanks to Nudge, Oppenheimer’s marketing team was able to overcome the rampant inconsistency of engagement metrics to determine the true “winners” of the 37 articles written in 2017.
With this more targeted approach, Oppenheimer has determined that year over year, custom content has had the biggest increase in effectiveness (over audio, display, social, videos, indicated content, and dedicated emails).
Oppenheimer’s branded content sees the Washington Post as the gold-standard in using data to drive content decisions. Annie runs the WP BrandStudio, which created branded content for advertisers. The content studio is a completely separate branch of the Post that has no overlap of personnel or reporting with the editorial staff.
Why is working with WP’s BrandStudio more effective than partnering with a standalone content creation agency? Because they are so much closer to the audience than any agency could hope to be. The level of interaction that a publisher has with its active users allows for a deeper understanding of their preferences.
The BrandStudio has segmented its audience into three subgroups: individual consumers, B2B (financial advisers like Oppenheimer) and thought leaders/influencers. Each segment has a separate list of the most engaging topics that they spend time on.
For example, the business client segment engages most with content related to cybersecurity, AI, and business transformation. They prefer to consume content on mobile and tablets and spend the most time on content with dynamic visuals and infographics. (Influencers, on the other hand, gravitate towards the environment, healthcare and smart cities, and visit websites on their computer browsers.)
The BrandStudio uses its internal “Clavis-targeting” algorithms (similar to Amazon’s search recommendations) to push its consumers to the content that each particular client is most likely to engage with. It does this through on-site, in-app, and external (paid social media and Apple News) recommendations.
Oppenheimer’s usage of partners like Nudge and the WP’s BrandStudio has helped it determine the most effective marketing to help it formulate a successful strategy that has show its best-recorded growth this past year.