By: Ingrid Reyes, EVP, Director of Client Solutions, Strategy and Value, EPMG

This year’s 4A’s conference was held in Los Angeles from March 16 to March 19. Agency and advertising leaders were invited to hear successful marketers speak about the transformation that is happening in the industry. This year’s conference was one of the most attended in years, thanks to the prominent lineup of guest speakers.

Some of the hot and most interesting topics included real-time organic social chatter, creating cultural moments, native advertising and how to apply all these to our marketing campaigns. In marketing campaigns, every touch point needs to tell a story, from communicating the benefits of a product to the store experience, it needs to be genuine and authentic. But how do we accomplish that?

Take for example the Samsung Hollywood Star Selfie at the Oscar’s that brought Twitter to a halt. Samsung’s CEO Todd Pendelton explained that the picture taken was meant to be of just Ellen DeGeneres and actress Meryl Streep, but quickly lent itself to the organic, authentic and most famous selfie of all time. The star studded selfie quickly caught fire on social media, leaving the door open for a quick thinking opportunity for Samsung. The CEO captured that opportunity and thought about donating $1 for each person that shared the photo, he called his boss that Monday, after the Oscars, who said yes, and then called Ellen DeGeneres who announced that same during her show that Samsung would donate one dollar each time someone shared or downloaded the picture, amounting to a $3 million donation to St. Jude’s Children’s Research and The Humane Society. This is a perfect example of how you create “cultural moments” with real-time organic, quick thinking opportunities, creating engagement and social conversation globally.

Another great conversation that brought a lot of passion to the conference was about print and how publishers have reinvented the industry. It is a very exciting time for the print industry, it has gone through an incredible transformation, the digital space and content development. The print world has seen a tremendous growth in readership, paid subscription, increased circulation and distribution.

Meredith Levien, EVP, Marketing at New York Times, attributes their success to being a beacon of the truth and master storytellers. Creating content that people want, in both print and digital formats, has led them to a 300% increase on paid subscriptions and over 500% increase on readership, making them the most read newspaper across the globe.

The internet has amplified readership across the print industry, whether English-language or Spanish-language, or African-American titles. According to Larry Burstein, Publisher, The New York Magazine, they owe their growth and success exclusively to the digital transformation they have gone through in the last 10 years. In 2004 their circulation was 3 million, mostly distributing in New York. Their paid digital subscription today is 30 million, distributing across the US and some parts of Europe.

The truth is publishers had to reinvent print and they did it successfully. They are creating content that caters to the paid subscriber and simultaneously providing agencies with programmatic content and mobile with local activation. As advertisers are increasingly asking for top-down strategies, local activation is a must-have. With advertisers like Walmart achieving success with hyper-local activation and Google doing local SEO, the conversation is just beginning.