Interview with Michael Birnstock, Team Leader of Partnerships, Deutsche Bahn AGOn September 9, 2019 by Raul Dinwiddie
I think you can do quite amazing.. really amazing photo shoots to present a product in the advertising world and create an ideal world. But I think a lot of customers, a lot of audience.. really aren’t interested anymore in advertising. They block it especially if you speak about online marketing. So I think if you are really in the content marketing area and the relevance set of the audience of potential clients then it’s better to be useful. Why is pricing no longer the issue? I think pricing is still an issue but to convince.. to get new clients, who never maybe used the train before, pricing is not the only case because we have competitors who have quite lower prices than we have and that we never can offer so it needs to have a USP; why should we use trains? And the time issue is actually a quite relevant issue for a lot of people because they don’t have a lot of time and you really can use your time on board of a train. You have no security check, you have no check-in and you can go directly on board of a train and you can use your time on the train for whatever you do. So you can work, you can be with your family and you can talk with your family or with your partner etc. So meaning this time on board is really your time and that’s why it matters more than a price. Of course we always will have some prices in advertising that’s clear but that’s not the only point in our advertising. How did we go from advertorials to Digital Brand Hub? It was a long way but only eight years actually, well it’s not so long, so we started to do storytelling in print years ago. We never use the word storytelling and we never used the word content marketing back then, but you had to convince people of why they should use a train to go to a city, to discover a city, to go for a hike as well and take the train to go back. So that’s what the first step out of the classical advertising world and next step of course was online but more or less the same; an advertorial online which.. I would say flat, not really deep going, you could click maybe to one website. And the next step.. I think a really big step was to do cross-media meaning print and of course online or audio and online. And so in the end we ended up at native advertising because we can do a lot of things with it. You can be close to the editorial content, you can play with different formats, you couldn’t do that before, so that’s where we are now. Why is labelling so important for us? First of all it’s a compliance reason for our company that really all content ww pay for we as well label on one hand. On the other hand I think you’re more truthful. The audience or the potential clients think you’re more truthful if you really show them it’s advertising and if you can convince them with your story and not like sneak in behave like it would be editorial content when it’s not. Well, we have several KPIs for that. One of them is the average view time. It can tell you something about if it’s interesting or not and of course the engagement rate; did somebody like it? Did somebody share it? And the sentiment ratio; if somebody commented on it. Is there something said about the article and only the article or about the brand as well? That’s, I think, the most interesting part. We really want to react on the reactions of our audience in real time so we want to see if the content we produce, we pay for, is worth it so that the audience click on it or can read or share it. And if we see we that maybe the article.. nobody wants to click on it or use only 10 seconds on it then we can change the headline, we can change videos, we can change photos and it helps us to really succeed with our campaign. Why do I think native advertising is the future of marketing? I think it’s a part of marketing. It never can stand alone because I think native advertising is not for upselling strongly, but to get up the image or to push up the image and the awareness. And I think it’s important to be close to the audience that’s why you need a publisher you work with and to get.. to stay truthful, credible for your potential clients.