Content Marketing All-Stars Q&A: Noah Mallin of MEC Wavemaker

By NativeAI / September 4, 2017

Which fresh content marketing platforms and tactics should you be keeping a close watch on? How can your brand make the most of these approaches?

To find out what’s hot in content marketing – and what brands can do to capitalize on these
new opportunities – we recently chatted with a true industry all-star: Noah Mallin.

Mallin is the Managing Partner and Head of MEC Wavemaker North America, a groundbreaking WPP practice which marries content, data, distribution, and evaluation. In his role he has had a hand in developing a host of highly-innovative – and highly-effective – experiences for a wide-range of brands.

So, which trends is Mallin keeping a close eye on? Which evolutions does he think will matter most in the years ahead? Check out our All-Star Q&A to find out:

Q: What is your background and what your role is at MEC Wavemaker?  

I’m the Managing Partner and Head of MEC Wavemaker for the United States.

Wavemaker is MEC’s content and experience offering. We leverage data to create great experiences that people can have with the brands we represent.

My background is pretty varied.  Before I was at MEC, I was at Digitas, where I had the good fortune to work with clients like American Express. I helped to develop content-heavy programs like Unstaged – which was American Express sponsoring up-and-coming bands and pairing them with hot directors – and Small Business Saturday, which was an amazing  experience as well.  

Before that, I was at Reprise Media, where I started the social practice. I was at Business Wire before that, helping brands tell their stories through more of a public relations lens.

I’ve also been involved with organizations like the Online Publishers Association, which is now Digital Content Next.

So, I’ve had a long history of working with content and experiences , especially in the digital space.  

Q:  Broadly, what do you think the difference is between good brand content and bad brand content?  

A:  Great content is something that’s compelling enough to make a person want to spend time with it and feel like they got some value from it.  

Ultimately, that’s the most important exchange that we can help to foster: that exchange of attention for value.  

If somebody can experience a brand’s content and feel like they learned something, that they felt something, then we know we have been successful.

noah mallin wavemaker on measuring content success

Q: As you look at content marketing in 2017, are there any trends you’ve been watching closely? What has been having a major impact?

The biggest thing that I’ve seen happening is an increasing focus on how data can be used to create the right content experiences for different audiences.

In addition, there’s the increasing use of data to understand what a successful outcome is. From a measurement standpoint, brands are focusing on the role that content plays in the consumer journey. We’ve done a lot of work on that – and I think we have a pretty good system for doing that – and it’s something that I hear talked a lot about now.  

Q: How have you been experimenting with new content formats and approaches in 2017? Are there any examples that you can give?

I think a good example is something that we launched recently for Ikea.

It’s a back-to-school campaign and we knew that we wanted to reach a younger demographic, and that’s an audience that’s tough to reach as well as engage with.  

What we did was work with influencers to connect via Snapchat; not just via our own channels but theirs as well. We worked with them to create video content which was designed so that the people viewing it could alter the outcome – almost like a choose-your-own-adventure.

Although, Snap is where we promoted it we also made sure that it was discoverable in sites like YouTube where people do a lot of searching. What was interesting to us was that we could see a measureable difference in the amount of time that people were spending with the content.  If you think about the perception of a platform like Snapchat, most people would say you’re lucky to get six seconds worth of viewing on any video.  We’re seeing 20 seconds or more on these pieces. 
We even saw fans of these influencers make their own cuts of the videos themselves, so that they could say: “Oh, look what happened when I made these decisions.” When we saw that happen we knew that we are really connecting with the audience we wanted to connect with.


I also like it because it broke the template that people had in their minds of what is possible with a platform like Snapchat. Of course, you have to know a platform well to break the rules, and that’s a big part of why we were successful.

Q: Are there any big evolutions in content marketing that you see on the horizon? What will be impacting the field in the coming years?

A: I think what’s interesting is how many brands are going through transformations and becoming more customer-centric. And part of doing that is being able to convey your brand story.

So, an interesting trend is the shift in how content will be used to bring brands to life. I think we’ll increasingly see things like brand documentaries which tell the stories of these transformations. I think it’s powerful – if done right – to show how their world is changing through elements like digital transformation and the rise of Millennials in the marketplace, and to show how brands are working to match those changes.

Also, and this is almost retro, but I think one thing that’s going to develop over the next few years is brands creating more long-form episodic video content. This is almost a throwback to what you saw in the early days of television, when there were things like the DuPont Theatre or the General Electric Theatre.

Written by NativeAI / September 4, 2017