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Meredith Corp's Innovation Group leverages technology and shares best practices across portfolio

At this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Meredith announced a new business unit focused on innovation and product development called Meredith Innovation Group, encompassing Meredith Product Studio, Meredith Voice Network, and Meredith Smart Codes. 

The Meredith Innovation Group establishes a unified strategy and approach to emerging technologies and platforms, explained Corbin de Rubertis, head of innovation, VP sales shopper marketing at Meredith Corporation.

 

Corbin de Rubertis ()

Corbin de Rubertis

 

“The Innovation Group serves as a connector and incubator for ideas and products generated across the company,” he said. “R&D is very much part of the group’s mandate, including ongoing research and experiments around social listening and visualisation, voice experiences, AI and augmented reality.”

The Meredith Innovation Group brings this work together and establishes best practices for the whole company, so emerging technology can be leveraged across the entire portfolio of brands.

“Much of the Innovation Group’s current focus is on new ways to connect our content to commerce,” de Rubertis said. “Everything we develop is based on first-party data-driven insights. Voice and DTC product development are two of the first new areas where these data-driven insights, combined with our editorial prowess, marketing and advertising know-how are bringing new forms of utility, value and scale to our consumers and advertising partners.”

Data and insight play a big part in Meredith’s strategy, according to de Rubertis. He said Meredith is also developing several data products including their proprietary “Consumer Decision Frameworks” that capture and visualize daily consumer journeys and decisions in a new and interactive way. “Everything we do is grounded in our rich first-party data and insights,” he said. “With over 175million unique users across our breadth of assets, we see billions of signals that help us identify opportunities and generate insights.”

 

Meredith Product Studio

The product studio, in addition to working directly with clients to develop white label concepts, work with Meredith’s own consumer marketing and licensing teams, which apply the same insight-driven approach to Meredith’s own product development opportunities, de Rubertis explained. The studio will help partners rapidly design and develop innovative direct-to-consumer products.

“The Product Studio is a new, stand-alone group that draws on the Foundry, as well as our business insights, consumer marketing, consumer revenue and licensing teams to develop the right strategy and approach for our partners and then facilitates the execution of that plan,” he said. “Timing varies by project, but in some instances, we are going from ideation to launch in a matter of months.”

 

Meredith Corp HP ()

 

Meredith Voice Network

The Des Moines-based publisher was a pioneer in the voice space - their Allrecipes cooking skill was among the first skills to launch on the Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Show, de Rubertis explained.

“We’re very excited about the opportunities voice creates for our brands,” he said. "Understanding the consumer voice media experience has quickly become a top priority for our client and agency partners.

Voice is an area Meredith is steadily developing with the Meredith Voice Network, which bundles a portfolio of voice and audio experiences based on Meredith's premium editorial content and consumer utilities for advertisers.

“Launching the Meredith Voice Network is our attempt to organise all of the voice opportunities across the company while creating a consistent experience for consumers and a marketplace for our clients as more and more of our premium content transitions to the voice channel,” he said.

Sales of voice-enabled devices over the last couple of years have skyrocketed. New research published by Adobe Digital Insights (ADI) earlier this month suggested that sales of voice-assistant devices grew 103 per cent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2017.

 

Meredith Smart Codes

Also under the Innovation Group are Meredith Smart Codes, which unifies QR code technology across Meredith’s portfolio, connect to a wide range of digital experiences while generating enhanced ad performance and attribution data for advertisers.

De Rubertis explained that Smart Codes will connect print to purchase for Meredith’s partners and consumers. “Smart Codes can drive to a growing range of web-based experiences, from videos to promotions to geo-targeted promotions and even our Universal Shopping cart,” he said. “Unifying the way Smart Codes are deployed and tracked is also creating a new data stream for Meredith and its advertising partners, blurring the line between print and digital media.”

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