Q&A with Stuart Sumner, Editorial Director at Incisive Media

Q&A with Stuart Sumner
Stuart Sumner, Editorial Director at Incisive Media, is an experienced journalist, editor, presenter and broadcaster with expertise across all enterprise technology areas. He has successfully lead and developed editorial teams, set editorial strategy, improved brand integrity and focus, developed audience numbers and engagement, and built communities of C-suite executives.

Without that audience understanding, brands will struggle to produce relevant content. There’s no substitute for knowing your audience.



MEDIA 7: Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself. What inspired you to pursue a career in writing?
STUART SUMNER:
I’ve always been interested in writing. As a child I filled exercise books with stories, later I wrote comedy for TV and radio. After a decade working in IT, I realized I wanted to turn my hobby into my profession – and managed to combine it with my experience of IT by becoming a journalist with Computing.

M7: What is your approach to branding your company, its products and services?
SS:
The key is to approach it from the audience’s perspective. What response are they likely to have to your brand, your message, your personality? What are their pain points, their needs? If you understand all of that you’ve got a good chance of success.


The best way to win the content war is to have better, more valuable, and more timely content than your competitors.You need to offer audiences a regular supply of high-quality, in-depth content which they can’t get elsewhere.



M7: How do you ensure that your content team understands the requirements and curates content in an engaging manner?
SS:
Again it comes down to understanding the audience. The best way to develop that understanding is to spend time with them and develop industry contacts. Ensuring the team is regularly interviewing the right people, and attending events (virtual or otherwise) is a good way to do that. As for writing engaging content, that’s harder to develop. Hopefully, if you’ve built your interview process properly you’ll already know something of their writing style, and that ability will come built-in. Otherwise, you’ve got a job on your hands!

M7: What channels do you think are the most relevant for Content Marketing? How do you gauge which ones are the most promising, given your target customers?
SS
: It’s important to understand what your channels are for. I see a lot of brands treating every channel as yet another opportunity to fling sales messaging in front of audiences, most of whom don’t want it. Content marketing works best when it’s entirely native and fits seamlessly with the brand’s other content. That means it needs to be every bit as colourful and interesting as the best editorial, and meet audience needs just as effectively. You can gauge effectiveness by measuring the usual things like engagement, bounce, etc. But there’s no replacement for having a steering committee of senior audience members who you can ask – what do they think of your content marketing and what works best for them.


It’s important to understand what your channels are for. Content marketing works best when it’s entirely native and fits seamlessly with the brand’s other content.



M7: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected businesses worldwide. What has been Incisive Media’s strategy of survival during the tough time?
SS:
Incisive Media moved quickly at the start of the pandemic to move our face-to-face events online. We very rapidly developed a brand new style of a virtual event called ‘Deskflix’, a half-day, multi-sponsor event filled with panels, presentations, networking and even a quiz! The series generated £4.6m of revenue, had over 100 sponsors and served more than 100,000 delegates. We were lucky that we were already very well set up to put on virtual events, given our expertise with webinars, and our dedicated teams of events organizers – not to mention our wealth of excellent editorial presenters.

M7: How do you target content to your audience, and what are the challenges that you face while producing effective content?
SS:
Every brand today faces challenges to secure eyeballs online. Audiences have content thrown at them from every angle, and it can be hard for them to separate the wheat from the chaff. That’s why it’s more important than ever to build and safeguard trust with your audience. Once they start to see your content as trusted and view your site as a safe place away from misinformation and empty marketing, you’ll see improve engagement and lots of returning ‘super users’. You need to offer audiences a regular supply of high-quality, in-depth content which they can’t get elsewhere. Of course, that’s not easy to produce – and thank god for that, because that’s how we differentiate ourselves!

M7: What are your views on content shock? Is it a worrisome trend or a content marketing myth?
SS:
It’s a long-standing trend that will continue, and it’s what I’ve been talking about already in this interview. The way to win the content war is to have better, more valuable, and more timely content than your competitors. How do you do that? Proximity to your audience. If you really know them, including their sub-groups, niches and quirks, then you should understand what they want, how and when.

Computing is very lucky to have an experienced team who’ve worked with the technology sector for many years. We have long-standing ties to hundreds of senior technology leaders, and we speak to them all regularly. We believe we understand our audience better than anybody, and that gives us huge confidence, even in the face of rampant competition and ‘content shock’. Without that audience understanding, brands will struggle to produce relevant content. There’s no substitute for knowing your audience.

ABOUT INCISIVE MEDIA

Incisive Media is an award-winning business to business digital media and events business. It inspires, connects and informs through its market-leading brands. It is the APO digital publisher of the year 2010, 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2020.

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Highlights include: four Fastest Implementation awards, three Easiest To Do Business With awards, four Momentum Leader awards, nine Leader and 30 High Performer awards. “Winning 50 G2 awards across our product portfolio underscores DemandScience’s ability to partner with our customers at any point in their demand generation campaign lifecycle to help them exceed their goals and realize a quantifiable ROI – which is vitally important during these times when marketers are expected to do more with less,” said Peter Cannone, Chair and CEO of DemandScience. “We value each and every customer and are especially proud of these G2 awards because they are based on verified reviews from real users of our solutions.” DemandScience’s Winter 2024 G2 awards are both global and regional, including wins in the Americas, EMEA, and APAC. Examples of recent, verified customer reviews of DemandScience on the G2 platform: “The level of knowledge and attention the team provides is exceptional.” “They are very flexible, quick to respond and are thorough from beginning to end. I enjoy having a full program that provides the level of insight and lessons learned once the program wraps up. I’d recommend…” “DemandScience - A win for Lead Gen.” “DemandScience is the best way to get highly qualified MQA (Marketing Qualified Accounts) using content syndication campaigns…” “Klarity by DemandScience is the wind beneath my wings.” “Klarity has been an invaluable and versatile tool for our Growth Marketing team. We have been able to use it in a variety of ways including database building, pulling in specific segments to run campaigns to, and identifying target audiences for us to run in both content syndication and display with DemandScience.” DemandScience’s Content Syndication, ABM Display and B2B Intent Data products won 25 awards: Award Report Easiest To Do Business With Relationship Index for Enterprise Account-Based Web and Content Experiences Easiest To Do Business With Relationship Index for Enterprise Account-Based Advertising Easiest To Do Business With Relationship Index for Mid-Market Buyer Intent Data Providers Fastest Implementation Implementation Index for Mid-Market Account-Based Advertising Momentum Leader Momentum Grid Report for Account-Based Web and Content Experiences Momentum Leader Momentum Grid Report for Account-Based Advertising Momentum Leader Momentum Grid Report for Buyer Intent Data Providers Momentum Leader Momentum Grid Report for Lead Capture Leader Grid Report for Lead Capture Leader Enterprise Grid Report for Lead Capture Leader Small-Business Grid Report for Lead Capture Leader Americas Regional Grid Report for Lead Capture Leader EMEA Regional Grid Report for Lead Capture Leader Europe Regional Grid Report for Lead Capture Leader United Kingdom Regional Grid Report for Lead Capture Leader Enterprise Americas Regional Grid Report for Lead Capture Leader Small-Business Americas Regional Grid Report for Lead Capture High Performer Grid Report for Account-Based Advertising High Performer Grid Report for Buyer Intent Data Providers High Performer Enterprise Grid Report for Buyer Intent Data Providers High Performer Mid-Market Grid Report for Buyer Intent Data Providers High Performer Americas Regional Grid Report for Buyer Intent Data Providers High Performer Americas Regional Grid Report for Marketing Account Intelligence High Performer Europe Regional Grid Report for Account-Based Advertising High Performer Mid-Market Americas Regional Grid Report for Buyer Intent Data Providers Klarity by DemandScience, the company’s B2B marketing and sales Account Intelligence tool for building, sharing, and prioritizing contact lists has won 25 awards: Award Report Fastest Implementation Implementation Index for Small-Business Lead Intelligence Fastest Implementation Implementation Index for Marketing Account Intelligence Fastest Implementation Implementation Index for Sales Intelligence High Performer Small-Business Grid Report for Marketing Account Intelligence High Performer Small-Business Grid Report for Sales Intelligence High Performer Americas Regional Grid Report for Lead Intelligence High Performer Americas Regional Grid Report for Sales Intelligence High Performer EMEA Regional Grid Report for Lead Intelligence High Performer EMEA Regional Grid Report for Sales Intelligence High Performer Europe Regional Grid Report for Lead Intelligence High Performer Europe Regional Grid Report for Sales Intelligence High Performer United Kingdom Regional Grid Report for Lead Intelligence High Performer United Kingdom Regional Grid Report for Sales Intelligence High Performer Asia Regional Grid Report for Marketing Account Intelligence High Performer India Regional Grid Report for Marketing Account Intelligence High Performer Asia Pacific Regional Grid Report for Marketing Account Intelligence High Performer Mid-Market EMEA Regional Grid Report for Sales Intelligence High Performer Mid-Market Americas Regional Grid Report for Sales Intelligence High Performer Small-Business Americas Regional Grid Report for Lead Intelligence High Performer Small-Business Americas Regional Grid Report for Sales Intelligence High Performer Small-Business EMEA Regional Grid Report for Lead Intelligence High Performer Small-Business EMEA Regional Grid Report for Sales Intelligence High Performer Small-Business Europe Regional Grid Report for Lead Intelligence High Performer Small-Business Europe Regional Grid Report for Sales Intelligence High Performer Small-Business United Kingdom Regional Grid Report for Sales Intelligence “Rankings on G2 reports are based on data provided to us by real software buyers,” explained Sara Rossio, Chief Product Officer at G2. “Potential buyers know they can trust these insights when researching and selecting software because they’re rooted in vetted, verified, and authentic reviews.” G2 is one of the world’s largest and most trusted software marketplaces. For more information on G2 Research Scoring Methodologies, visit here. Learn more about what real users have to say at G2’s DemandScience page and Klarity by DemandScience page. About DemandScience DemandScience is the premier B2B demand generation company accelerating global growth for our clients. The DemandScience intelligence platform empowers B2B organizations to swiftly identify the right accounts and target in-market buyers with precision. By combining groundbreaking technologies, machine learning and data science innovation, the company ensures timely delivery of accurate data, intelligence, and insights, adding value to the end-to-end journey from initial engagement to conversion. Founded in 2012, DemandScience provides 1,500 global customers with superior marketing solutions, B2B data, and leads. With a team of 600+ employees across operations in seven countries, DemandScience is certified as a Great Place To Work, named #5 on Fortune Magazine’s 2022 list of the Best Workplaces in Advertising & Marketing, and one of only 143 companies in history to be named to the Inc. 5000 for 10 consecutive years. For further insights on why DemandScience stands at the forefront of transformative demand generation, visit demandscience.com and connect on LinkedIn, X, Facebook, and Instagram. About G2 G2 is the world's largest and most trusted software marketplace. More than 60 million people annually — including employees at all of the FORTUNE 500 — use G2 to make smarter software decisions based on authentic peer reviews. Thousands of software and services companies of all sizes partner with G2 to build their reputation, manage their software spend, and grow their business – including Salesforce, HubSpot, Zoom, and Adobe. To learn more about where you go for software, visit www.g2.com.

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