David Thomchak is something of an overachiever when it comes to digital media. He’s worked at the BBC, The Evening Standard and Number 10 Downing Street in the UK Prime Minister’s office. These days, he’s tasked with finding a way to fund high-quality journalism as Chief Operating Officer for the New Statesman Media Group (NSM).
Last year, NSM launched the Monitor series of niche verticals to provide focused content around property, green energy and foreign investment. The technology underpinning those targeted verticals is now being applied across the business and David said that’s an opportunity to ditch the vagaries of programmatic advertising and use clever AI to match commercial content with specific audience interests.
“Lead Monitor is the commercial infrastructure that sits underneath the group,” he explains. “It’s something that allows us to, basically, change our commercial model. We look at data from a bespoke perspective when it comes to our clients or partners, instead of just spamming people with ad tech.”
With client brands including Barclays, PWC, Chevron and IBM, the Lead Monitor technology provides ‘end-to-end’ campaign solutions using AI technology. It can reach 90 million users with content created by a bank of 700 experts and analysts in relation to 75+ data points.
In practice that means lead generation built off commercial content creation for targeted audience interests. David gives the example of a commercial partner working in the technology hardware sector supplying mainframe computers.
“They will want to advertise to quite a specific person, probably the CTO of a company or maybe somebody associated with the spend around strategy. What we would do in that case would be to pull together a whitepaper on ‘The most effective ways of using mainframes’.”
The root of the Lead Monitor strategy is to make the user journey just complicated enough to weed out people that don’t have a serious interest in the subject matter. “We know the people that are going to get to that whitepaper are probably interested in having a commercial conversation with a mainframe supplier,” David explains.
“When you go to the whitepaper, we say, ‘Listen, this is done in partnership with Mainframes “R” Us. If you want to read this white paper for free, just tell us who you are’. Mainframes “R” Us will have a much better idea about who’s coming to that white paper. But they’ll also know that person’s probably really interested in this stuff, because it is quite technical.”
The interested audience gets proper deep-dive content. The client gets lead generation and qualification and the opportunity to initiate permission-based marketing communications.