Jeffery Dachis, co-founder of digital agency Razorfish, is a man who believes in everything digital. In the 1990s, he founded Razorfish with the premise that “everything that can be digital will be digital.” After selling off Razorfish in a multimillion dollar deal, Dachis now focuses his time on his new start-up, One Drop, an app for diabetics. During a recent trip to India, we caught up with him to get his thoughts on the future of digital advertising.
How does a company get earned media and drive paid and owned media?
It is really important to think about their organic strategy for engaging their constituents. That means, creating a programme to engage partners, vendors, shareholders, employees and their customers and potential customers. You need to think about creating content, assets and incentives in each of these categories and work to drive those constituents to amplification via earned media assets and product attributes that the company is trying to put forth. Then you need to take these earned impressions, statements and values to amplify them through owned and paid channels.
How does a company manage balance between earned media and influencer marketing, which is highly incentivised?
I don’t think that influencer marketing, the way it is currently done, has much legs. You have had celebrity endorsers for a very long time and it is a valuable opportunity to have the value of a star persona stand behind a product. Influencer marketing today is blurring a really foggy line between paid celebrity endorsement and utilising an influencer’s existing audience base to peddle products. I am not certain that the influencer marketing landscape, the way it exists today, will continue in the long run.
What advice would you like to give to Indian digital or creative agencies?
I am not one to give advice but I think you need to make sure that you are creating content that is relevant to the audience. Ensure that the content you are giving them is meaningful to them. It does not matter whether the content is meaningful to you, it only matters if it is meaningful to them. So, spend time in doing the ethnographic study, research, customer interviews; find out what are the things that matter to the people you are talking to and find out what is engaging for them. Then you can utilise this knowledge to structure and strategise your efforts to make your product and engagement more useful to them.
What are your thoughts on native advertising in the form that it exists right now?
Owned content that you create will be a crucial core (marketing factor) for companies. Having your company become a content creation engine is super important. It is also very important to let the advertiser know where the line is between advertisement and “trusted voice.” If the native content is disguised as advertorial then it hurts the brand because almost everyone knows the difference. If you have a voice in the marketplace and you are presenting authentic, owned content then I think it is a natural fit. For the most part, companies that do this well build in share, audience and trust with their users.