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MARCC Recap: Dotdash Meredith COO Tory Brangham discusses the importance of publishing brands in commerce media

Aug 15, 2023 by Michael McNerney

MARCC events are designed to help industry participants elevate their thinking – to get beyond the day-to-day demands and urgent issues to focus on critical concepts and trends driving our industry forward. This year’s July 31 event in New York continued that tradition by underscoring the fundamental importance of trust. 

Key Takeaways

  • Trust expresses our willingness to have others do things on our behalf. It has three critical components: competence, honesty, and benevolence. 
  • Just as trust is central to customer relationships, working with trusted partners helps brands build stronger bonds and increased revenue by allowing an advertisers to leverage the publisher brand to execute across multiple channels and KPIs.
  • Preserving consumer trust in partner editorial is critical to the success of our industry and why savvy brands understand why content relationships must always put the customer first.
  • Trust also powers the scale and market share of Amazon, and brands need to consider their options for marketing with Amazon as they formulate future growth plans. New and established performance marketing products allow brands to participate in the Amazon ecosystem. 


Years ago, marketers focused enormous attention and resources on garnering shelf space at retail. But the modern-day “shelf space” fight is on publisher websites, where most consumers learn about and select products. Optimizing that shelf space is central to brands’ success.  Their partner relationships should reinforce the messaging, pricing, and product.

According to the thirteen thought leaders who spoke individually and as part of the event’s expert panels, trust is the most crucial element of a successful brand. Our diverse speakers' perspectives made a powerful case, stressing how trust relationships between investors, brands, publishers, agencies, and consumers make a crucial difference in driving results. 


Fireside Chat: Tory Brangham, Chief Commerce Officer Dotdash Meredith


We are also thankful to our close partner CJ, who sponsored our second session, a conversation between Dotdash Meredith Chief Commerce Officer Tory Brangham and Martech Record Founder and Publisher Mike McNerney.  

The fascinating conversation focused on how publishers cultivate consumer trust and what that trust enables them to do. For Dotdash Meredith, delivering valuable and unbiased content to readers is central to every aspect of their business. Performance deals are an integral part of their business model, and their widely read reviews and other sponsored editorial must bring absolute authenticity every time. 


Said Tory Brangham, “Honesty and transparency are everything to us. We want to be totally transparent with the reader. We want to answer their questions like, ‘What is it like using this product? What is good, and what isn’t? What’s gotten better since the last review?’ That honesty is critical to our business.”


Decades of positive trust relationships were critical to why Dotdash acquired the Meredith properties in 2021. “Brands like Better Homes and Gardens have lived their commitment to customers and trust since their founding. The acquisition of Meredith made so much sense because we could bring our successful business model to these great publications and build new trust relationships between consumers and brands.”


Mike and Tory extended our trust conversation by explaining its importance to the relationships between Dotdash Meredith and its agency and brand partners. Editorial always controls the content – something that is in the best interest of everyone. “Merchants appreciate how working with high-trust publishing brands helps them build trust with shoppers.” The conversation concluded by pointing out that a trusted brand allows a publisher to leverage the affiliate tactic across channels and marketing objectives. An affiliate link can enhance branding efforts and close a sale. 


Great Conversations and Networking and Networking


Making connections is an integral part of the MARCC model. This year, we are grateful to three fast-growing agencies who cosponsored our networking session, Gen3 Marketing, LT Partners, and PartnerCentric. With an unprecedented number of brand, agency, network, and publisher attendees, MARCC proved a great place to forge new partnerships.




Partners Share Additional Insights

In the spirit of collaboration, MARCC partners shared their own data and insights with attendees. Here are links to valuable partner resources: 

Gen3 shared their recently released State of the Nation Affiliate Marketing Report (including insight from Martech Record).

PartnerCentric shared their Incrementality Index & Power Rankings, a data driven assessment of content types and performance. shared their new Commerce Content Hub, loaded with insight for publishers.  

Rakuten Advertising recently published and shared their new eBook on Influencer Marketing.  


Martech Record thanks our sponsors, speakers, and attendees for making our fourth live event successful. We wish you great luck in forging new partnerships centered around trust.