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Over the years, Condé Nast has taken its licks when it comes to digital strategy or, as the media has sometimes suggested, a lack thereof. Lou Cona, chief marketing officer, is ready to change that. “When you see some of this stuff we’re doing, you’ll say, ‘I can’t believe it was developed by Condé Nast,’” Cona said. He maintained that the company has been working with brands all along to help create digital strategies but under the radar. Now, this work will officially be housed in a new marketing services division, Condé Nast Ideactive.
The division will specifically target the nonmedia budgets of brands that Condé already has relationships with to create anything from TV shows to a digital advertisement, app or social media campaign. Ideactive can also produce custom print products. Cona expects the division to be profitable by the end of the first year. “This will be a new revenue stream for the company,” he said. “We were already working in this space but this puts us in the business formally.”
As an example of something that would be created from Ideactive, Cona pointed to Barneys. Earlier this year, Barneys asked Condé Nast to track data collection, initiate social networking and develop e-commerce for a digital campaign that ran on Style.com during New York Fashion Week. “People didn’t know we were doing this kind of thing but Barneys is trusting us to do this,” Cona said.
Condé Nast had been looking to acquire a marketing services division for some time, checking out 40 to 50 outside firms. But Cona said, after considering its own databases, a decision was made to build Ideactive inside 4 Times Square. “We never could tap into consumer marketing, for example, on behalf of our clients. Now we can. We have a 55 million plus records database. And we can tap into our experts if people want custom content. This is not about repurposing although some of it could be. If someone wants custom content related to fashion and beauty, for example, we have the consumer insights to develop it.”