Mining Point of Purchase Intent. Q&A with Seth Bestertnik

Conductor CEO Seth Besmertnik has found a way for companies to discover new customers on the web through targeted content. Conductor bills itself as web presence management which is not native advertising according to Besmertnik. The company advises advertisers on placing relevant content on sites that reach consumers at the “point of purchase intent”. So if I am in the market for a camera, an article on various camera lens might be of interest and useful in my purchase decision.  The recently released Conductor Searchlight™ platform transforms a brand's web presence in 'unpaid' channels, like organic search, content and social.

Besmertnik built his company from the ground up – from an idea in an apartment to, seven years later, over 150 employees. In this fascinating interview, he talks about native advertising, the impact of programmatic, industry silos, viewer intent and online content consumption as well as predictions on the media industry and the use of media platforms for children.

There are four videos in this interview:

Subject                                                 Length (in minutes)
Background and Conductor                        (5:59)
Example, Research                                     (6:34)
Personal Media Use                                    (2:51)
Predictions                                                  (5:48)

Charlene Weisler interviews Seth Besternik who talks about his background and his company Conductor in this 5:59 minute video:

CW: Your company helps to create content on behalf of advertisers. Is Conductor a form of native advertising?

SB: Conductor is not a form of native advertising at all. Native advertising has become effective in some ways because you have a found a way for companies to pay, once again, to get in front of consumers so they will click on your content. It is better than ads. People would rather click on a sponsored piece of content than they would a giant banner ad however people still prefer to click on organic content that is not paid for and as consumers get smarter things like native advertising become more transparent and they will realize that this is paid for and that this is not paid for. What Conductor is trying to do is when you are looking for something, when you have intent, when you go google and search for something, when you go to YouTube and you are looking for something, when you go to Pinterest and you are looking for something, when you are on your phone and you are looking for something we can help it so that our customers show up in the places where you can’t actually use money to buy advertising. An example is Canon. When someone is looking to buy a camera, they usually research things like “What is the best type of camera.” What Canon is trying to do is reach that consumer earlier in their buying process and we help them by looking at their current content and offering them insights into how to make it more effective. We also advise as to how our customers can improve their current websites.

Charlene Weisler interviews Conductor's Seth Besternik who gives some examples of research in this 6:34 minute video:

What is your personal media use? Seth Bestertnik explains his media habits to Charlene Weisler in this 2:51 minute video:

CW: What are your personal media habits?

SB: We haven’t seen any media really die. Some companies have decided to stop publishing magazines and just go online and for that particular company that might be a death. But if you go to any airport, there are plenty of magazines available and it brings a lot of value to people. For me as a consumer, I tend to spend a lot of time with my phone. I spend a lot of time on my desktop, my laptop. I watch minimal TV and when I do it is usually prerecorded like on Netflix or Amazon so I am not watching that many commercials. I watch commercials during the Superbowl or when there are other sports events on but I spend most time on my phone using apps. That is my biggest consumption of media.  Not a lot of magazines and I read my newspapers on the web.

CW: You have two young children. Do you allow them to have screen time?

SB: My family has minimal allowance on using any kind of tablets or phones. They love it – any time you put your phone away they will be the first to grab it. But we don’t let them use our phones or tablets and we let them watch very minimal, educational TV. There is lots of data that talks about how looking at phones up close for children during their early developmental years slows down their brain development. It is not as good as playing with Legos and doing things that are interactive. They also read lots of books. 


Seth Bestertnik looks forward and shares some predictions with Charlene Weisler in this 5:48 minute video:

CW: Give me a prediction about the media landscape in the next 5 years.

SB: The trend that we see now will continue to grow in that the web is going to consume 95% of people’s time with their exposures to the media and as part of that people are going to have stronger preferences and get smarter about what is good content, what is bad content, what are ads and what are not ads. So I think that the trend of consumers interacting with organic content over paid content will continue to grow and from a company’s perspective, I think that they will reorganize their marketing teams. Teams today are siloed – content creation, search, social teams all concentrating in specific area. They will reorganize around a common mission.

This article was first published in www.Mediapost.com

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