What’s Holding Your Organization Back, and 4 Other Stories You Should Read

Here’s what you missed while you were watching the Stranger Things teaser commercial too many times…

SiriusDecisions: Three Obstacles That Could Be Holding Your Organization Back From Audience-Centricity

Selected by Joe Lazauskas, editor-in-chief

My selections for this series usually fall into three camps: ridiculous humor pieces, thinkpieces about Facebook, and sports essays that I try to relate back to marketing. But not today! Today, I bring to you a blog post from the analyst group SiriusDecisions that answers a question we ask all the time: Why do brands struggle with taking an audience-first approach?

The answer might be surprisingly simple: There’s no one in charge of making sure that actually happens, and as a result, brands struggle to ditch their product-centric ways.

The New York Times: The Media’s Risky Love Affair With Leaks

Selected by Jordan Teicher, managing editor

Based on the snowball of shocking news that’s accumulated since January 20, a scandal that leads to Trump’s impeachment would not surprise anyone. At this point, it almost seems like people expect it. But even if that expectation is the government’s fault, it also sets up a dangerous system where reporters constantly chase down the next big fix.

This week, John Herrman used his column to consider the way leaks influence the media, and by extension, our trust in public institutions. Scoops are great, leaks are (usually) important, but what happens when journalists blindly hunt them down rather than building relationships with reliable sources? Going down this path leaves news outlets susceptible to planted stories. And running with a false story that was intentionally leaked could crush the media’s already-fragile credibility.

BuzzFeed News: Here’s Why Venmo Users Should Care If Sean Spicer Is Being Trolled

Selected by Erin Nelson, marketing editor

In another brilliant yet disconcerting intersection between technology and politics, the public has begun to troll Sean Spicer’s Venmo account. Payment requests range from reimbursements for counseling and women’s health checkups to memorial fees for the victims of the Bowling Green massacre. My personal favorite is 1,445 requests of $0.21 from a woman asking Spicer to address the gender pay gap.

BuzzFeed reporter Katie Notopoulos raises concerns that this round of trolling highlights the lack of safeguards for Venmo users. Currently, there’s no way to refuse payments or make private lists of your friends. Since Venmo is connected to cell phones, maleficent users can contact people directly by process of elimination.

The Ringer: Netflix’s Quest to Reinvent the Preview Screen — and Much More

Selected by Brian Maehl, talent development manager

To properly engage their audiences, some brands are running longer ads to develop more engaging narratives. Think of it as a new kind of branded content. But trailers? Well, Netflix says it’s time for them to get shorter.

Their rationale is simple: Far too many consumers aimlessly scroll through Netflix without watching anything. Previews, which come in the form of static slideshows, don’t do a great job of preparing viewers for what’s to come. At the same time, asking viewers to watch full trailers before making a decision is a lot to ask. In response, Netflix has decided that 30-second trailers are the happy medium (pun intended) the user experience needs.

While I’ve fallen victim to Netflix Indecisiveness Syndrome (NIS), I’m not convinced it’s the right medicine. To me, as with dating apps and taco spots in New York City, the issue lies with the abundance of choice, which makes a final decision that much more difficult.

BuzzFeed News: The Tools Of The Viral Anti-Trump Movement Will Be Used Against It

Selected by Dillon Baker, tech editor

Back when the internet was first taking hold, there were mixed opinions on how it would affect society. Some people thought the internet would bring about a kind of utopia of free information and easy communication (see: most of Silicon Valley). Some were more pessimistic, however, envisioning a dystopia of the addicted and oppressed.

The reality is proving to be a little bit of both. As this BuzzFeed article gets at, the social internet is a double-edged sword. Pro-democratic, populist political movements can organize like never before, but the opposition can also target and oppress these same people with remarkable ease.

Image by CC Zero