SIIA’s NetGain – a look at content and technology

As a marketer, content is the new black. OK, content for a marketer has always been the new black – brochures, advertisements, radio spots, billboards, flyers have all be based on messaging and information (i.e. content). But what has clearly changed over the past decade or so is the way in which content is created and disseminated. While there is still a place for whitepapers, brochures and email campaigns for some businesses, there is also a place for Facebook posts, tweets and digital video as well.

Last week I joined the group at the SIIA NetGain conference to learn more about the association and its members who are facilitating the connections between content creation, curation, aggregation, protection and policy.

The Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) is the trade association that supports publishers and content providers and they are actively working to help lead programs and policies around anti-piracy, protecting digital assets, public privacy and intellectual property.

On day one of NetGain there were some contrasting opinions on content and its role in marketing. Keynote speaker Brian Halligan of HubSpot challenged the attendees to think about ways to create fresh content to drive inbound marketing and proposed that previous outbound marketing methodologies are quickly fading. In contrast, Sam Zales of ZoomInfo maintained that outbound email techniques, and B2B communities that voluntarily share contact information, are thriving and evolving even during a downturn in recruitment efforts by businesses.

One of my favorite sessions of the day was John Bloom talking about The Second Web – a look into how everything will be web-enabled and, as Bloom writes in The Second Web book, we’ll discover “devices that will now respond to our faces, our gestures, weather, sounds, touch and more as they tell the world about what they’re seeing and doing and respond to inputs from anywhere and anything.”

A glimpse into the companies that presented on day one can be found on the SIIA web site at

Day two of the event provided insight into innovative trends and concepts as they relate to content creators and SIIA treated all of us to an Innovation Tour around Boston – including visits to ThomsonReuters, The Boston Globe and MIT Media Lab.

During our tour, Chris Mayer, publisher of The Boston Globe, discussed how the evolution of online media has required The Boston Globe (and other traditional print media) to adapt and change in a way that supports both the consumer generated revenue model and the ad supported revenue model. His open approach should prove interesting for The Boston Globe in the coming months.

There were some important connections made between traditional firms that have been aggregating and helping to protect content (digital or otherwise) and marketers who are now shouting from the rooftops “create your own content”. I’ll be keeping an eye on future events from the SIIA as businesses continue to advance in the creation of information, and as technology allows us to distribute it at record speed. How informed are you on policy, protection and advances in digital assets? The content world is changing and it was nice to hear how the SIIA is staying involved.