Interview with Joshua Krichefski, CEO, MediaCom

January 27, 2020

Belinda – What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in content marketing since the awards began five years ago?”

Josh – First, it’s worth defining Content Marketing as I think it gets misinterpreted far too often. Real Content Marketing can be defined as “creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.” Ultimately this is akin to an always on publishing model and as such is not something that can be ‘turned on and off like a campaign.’ What that means is that brands doing this properly have had to create very unique infrastructures. So I think the biggest change we’ve seen is those brands that that are embracing proper Content Marketing are really structuring properly to deliver.

Belinda –  What do you think will be the biggest trend in content marketing in 2020?

Josh – Reality is that real Content Marketing isn’t annual ‘trend based.’ Yes, there are winds of change, but these are the same winds of change that impact the entire publishing market. I’m hoping the biggest trend in Content Marketing is that marketers understand the times when it’s a truly useful tool in their arsenal and times when it’s not the answer.

With that in mind, and it’s a broader trend, it’s worth looking at how the many of the originators of Content Marketing – the Direct to Consumer brands like Harrys and Casper – now understand that to kick start a new phase of growth they need to compliment Content Marketing with Broadcast. 

Belinda – Which new innovation do you think has the potential to have the greatest impact on the consumption of content marketing?

Josh – Given a huge amount of Content Marketing is language based I think the recent advances in NLP (natural language processing) has the potential to really help refine content strategy. From understanding topics that will be interesting to optimising language to make content more sticky.  

Belinda – How is data changing the way you design your content strategy?

It’s an obvious thing to say, but data is at the core of any Content Strategy but that many brands miss the requisite data to be able to implement a content marketing approach properly. Yes data is integral when identifying what content you should make but the piece that is often missed is using data for success attribution (because if you can’t do that then you can’t make the case for investment!). As mentioned earlier, it’s no surprise that the brands excelling in this space are Direct to Consumer brands – because they will actually be able to tell you the ROI of Content Marketing and conversely, it’s why so many larger brands fall down in this space – because within their complex communications systems they are unable to unpick the effectiveness of Content Marketing in isolation.   

Belinda – How can brands use content marketing to align themselves with particular values or topical issues?

The core of a good Content Strategy is becoming synonymous with a specific topic. But we shouldn’t let ‘topic’ and ‘topical’ become confused – because a good content strategy needs to be rooted in a topic the brand has the authority to make always on content about and nuanced by topical sentiment. A bad Content approach would be trying to jump on a short term topical bandwagon.  

Belinda – Can you sum up the holy-grail of content-marketing in one sentence?

I’ll do it in one word. Attribution.  

Belinda – What is the secret to implementing a successful cross-border advertising campaign?

  • A central strategy generated with local market input.
  • A central insight and idea that is executed according to local cultural nuances.
  • A simple universal human truth at the heart of the campaign.
  • Share and reapply learnings across markets.


Belinda – What’s the key difference between targeting a domestic audience and an international one?

The question to ask are the same whether domestic or multi-market: where is the growth going to come from?  What motivates that audience?   How can we apply that to our brand?   Are there meaningful differences between different groups within the audience?    How does that affect the way we treat them?

Belinda – How can you measure the success of your partnerships during an international campaign?

Whilst media measurement is local to market, success should be determined by long- and short-term business metrics.

So brand tracking against metrics that drive long-term business success, along with sales / share are key metrics.

Belinda –  What is the best content marketing campaign you’ve ever seen? And why did it stand out?

The reality is that Content Marketing can never be looked at from a ‘campaign’ based lens. That’s framing it as something inherently short term – which Content Marketing in its true form isn’t.

And the reality is that as agencies we often have a blind spot when it comes to truly effective content marketing because so much of the best stuff is done by smaller D2C companies really making it pay off for them. For example there is a Direct to Consumer Beer Brand called Beer 52. They have developed a magazine called Ferment Magazine. This isn’t a campaign but a fantastic example of genuine Content Marketing.

Belinda – Why is benchmarking and celebrating great international advertising strategies essential for the success of the industry as a whole?

The world is getting smaller, clients are seeking greater consistency across territories and the opportunities to deliver brilliant international campaigns are growing every year.  It is important for our industry and our craft to be able to publicly identify the best work and to be able to illustrate its impact so we all have a north star to aim for.

Belinda – What is your top tip for creating a winning entry?

  • An insight that is recognisable as a universal human truth;
  • A big idea which makes me wish I’d thought of it myself;
  • Creative media execution that is flexed according to local market nuances.
  • Business success that can be attributed to the media activity.
  • Work that leads the industry into new territory.

Joshua Krichefski is part of our World Media Awards Jury 2020, as our co chair judge. Read more about how to enter, but remember not to forget the top tips here from Joshua! We look forward to reading your entry.