Issue no. 249. The last one had a 42.62% open rate. The most-read link was Jonah Peretti's letter on building a multi-revenue model. Here is an interesting excerpt for you, if you didn't get around to reading it:

We’re already seeing firsthand that there are more ways to generate revenue from digital media than ever before. In 2017, about a quarter of our revenue will come from outside our direct sold advertising business. In 2018 this will grow to about one third of our revenue, and to around half of our revenue in 2019. Increasingly, we are creating content and brands that generate revenue from many different sources: commerce, advertising, platform revenue, and show development.

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Today's Top Intelligence (11 Reads)
Can Data Mining Make for Cute Ads?
Data: It’s no secret that companies, especially those born in the digital age, are amassing deep and detailed troves of information on the habits and preferences of their consumers. For streaming services, that data fuels the recommendations. But companies are also taking a bit of a risk when they turn those findings into marketing, whether through conversational social media posts or advertisements from Spotify with lines like “Take a page from the 3,445 people who streamed the ‘Boozy Brunch’ playlist on a Wednesday this year.”

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Data: Let us consider trying to personalize the image we use to depict the movie Good Will Hunting. Here we might personalize this decision based on how much a member prefers different genres and themes. Someone who has watched many romantic movies may be interested in Good Will Hunting if we show the artwork containing Matt Damon and Minnie Driver, whereas, a member who has watched many comedies might be drawn to the movie if we use the artwork containing Robin Williams, a well-known comedian.

eCommerce: But in the six months since Nike announced it would become a first-party seller, the brand’s performance has plummeted on Amazon. It’s an important case study in cozying up to Amazon, as the decision for fashion brands around partnering or pushing away the retailer only becomes more important.

eCommerce: The retail & e-commerce landscape is shifting dramatically. Review the current state of retail and you will see the 'retail apocalypse' impacting an incredible amount of household brands, with stores closing with increased frequency. Decisions are being made to shutter less profitable brick-and-mortar locations, while others brands are ditching brick-and-mortar all together. As a result, retailers are doubling-down on their e-commerce efforts at a rapid pace.

Brand: For older brands trying to reach a new customer, awareness is key. That means meeting them where they're shopping, according to stylist Matthew Henson. "You can't always find these brands where you would traditionally find them, like sporting goods stores," he says. "Now they're in high-end stores and boutiques, and the price points are higher, as well."

Retail Real Estate: What will happen to retail properties as stores shut is on the minds of city authorities. Other types of companies may fill vacant space in larger cities. In October Hudson’s Bay, a retailer, said it would sell its Lord & Taylor department-store building on Fifth Avenue to WeWork, a shared-office firm, for $850m. Mall owners hope to find new tenants from service industries such as restaurants and gyms. Retailers such as Bonobos that once sold clothes only online are opening more shops.

eCommerce: What Patrón found was that users are buying. “We learned that purchase intent is still a very natural consumer behavior even if it’s on new technology,” said Parker, though he would not reveal how many people purchased tequila on those platforms. Another key finding was that on top of ordering tequila, a popular Amazon Alexa inquiry was about which bars and restaurants had Patrón on hand.

Brand: All of these asterisks wouldn't be necessary except that Shinola's entire presence is predicated on its ties to the City of Detroit. The justification for the cheapest men's watch being $550? For bicycles that cost a minimum of $1,950? American manufacturing costs more. Quality materials cost more. American products are inherently worth more. Like buying a pair of Toms helps some poor Third World kid, by buying a two thousand dollar bike you're doing your part to help rebuild a fallen American city.

Digital Media: Refinery29 has raised $125 million in funding, including a $45 million round last year led by Turner Broadcasting. Other investors include WPP, Hearst, Scripps Networks Interactive, Stripes Group, Floodgate, Lead Edge Capital, First Round Capital and Lerer Ventures.

DNVB: This year Amazon will leapfrog T.J. Maxx owner TJX Cos. and Macy’s Inc. to become the second-biggest seller of apparel and footwear in the U.S., Wells Fargo estimates. In some categories—like the active wear that Americans increasingly wear all day, whether or not they hit the gym—private labels combined account for 20 percent of the market, according to researcher NPD. That makes store brands in aggregate larger than any single brand, which should strike fear in the executive suites of Lululemon Athletica, Nike, and Under Armour.
Digital Media: Each year, we ask some of the smartest people in journalism and digital media what they think is coming in the next 12 months. Here’s what they had to say.

White Paper: How Amazon Will Eat Marketing and Media
Here is the link to the definitive white paper on Amazon's advantages in commerce, media, retail brand growth, and ad tech.

Key excerpt:

Unlike Facebook and Google, the eCommerce giant is in the business of selling products to shoppers, not selling inventory to brands — a subtle, yet important diference. 

Advertising executives are talking to Amazon’s reps about supply chains and inventory as much as ad copy or keyword strategies, which Jason Hartley, 360i’s national head of search and paid social, admitted “is very diferent and challenging, but absolutely necessary.

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