Tag Archive: artificial intelligence

  1. Gaming: an exciting way to engage passionate audiences

    Comments Off on Gaming: an exciting way to engage passionate audiences

    In recent years, we have seen the perception of PC and console gaming pivot from an unsociable medium to an activity that is universally enjoyed. This shift was accelerated by the pandemic, when users were searching for new and more entertaining ways to connect. However, despite mobile gaming already establishing an effective marketing tool via in-game programmatic ads, PC and console gaming had been relatively under-utilized, especially considering users often play for two or more hours in one sitting. This is because it is more challenging to reach consumers in an environment in which they value their experiences greatly and do not wish to be interrupted. By understanding how consumers value video games and the experience they demand, marketers will be able to set a different path to optimizing engagement and campaign effectiveness – learning from past successes and failures while leveraging new and exciting technologies to endorse their brand.

    A surge in popularity

    In the spring of 2020, gaming emerged as one of the most popular activities during the outbreak of Covid-19; engagement and spend surged between February and April. Statista revealed that Gen Z and Millennials spent 23% and 21% more time respectively gaming as of March 2020.

    What’s more, a wider demographic was exposed to gaming during the pandemic. There was a spread to non-traditional audiences and to a greater proportion of the younger generation. There was a 200% increase in over 60s searching for games, whilst 93% of under-18s admitted to gaming regularly. Gaming moved away from the stereotype that it is isolating and unsociable, instead being enjoyed by all ages, both alone and as a social activity.  New groups emerged: ‘downtimers’ were parents or young professionals looking for a break, whilst ‘social gamers’ utilized gaming as a new way to connect with friends.

    However, the industry saw a slight slowdown in 2022 as global inflation tightened purse strings, and chip shortages led to supply issues with gaming hardware that could not keep up with demand. Nevertheless, despite the 2022 slowdown, by the end of that year the gaming market was almost four times the size of what it had been in 2019. Following the brief contraction, many expect the industry to continue growing, and is set to be worth $321bn by 2026.

    New and existing opportunities to advertise to gaming audiences

    A unique opportunity has therefore been presented for advertisers to reach younger audiences in a non-traditional format. Gaming audiences skew younger: 74.2% of A18-24 play video games in the US, according to Insider Intelligence, while TV penetration is just 58.2% and falling. One media trends report showed that playing video games is the favorite entertainment activity among Gen Z respondents in five different countries (US, UK, Brazil, Germany and Japan). Gen Z spends a quarter of their leisure time gaming, more than on any other medium.

    Traditionally, mobile gaming has been the most effective channel, and 45% of all video gaming ad revenue comes from mobile to this day. Programmatic in-game advertising is seen as the most sustainable ad business for most marketers, with technology capable of measuring and tracking ad performance. PC and console gaming is the most attention-rich and immersive environment, but has historically been under-utilized by brands to access a hard-to-reach audience.

    Trailblazing the PC and console platforms was battle royale game Fortnite, which collaborated with brands to create interactive and immersive experiences for the consumer. Starting off relatively small in 2018, Fortnite introduced soccer skins and interactive pitches in celebration of the World Cup, as well as cosmetic tie-ins with the NFL. Marvel then teamed up with the game to create Fortnite x Avengers crossover events, where players could collect infinity stones and become Thanos. Since then, Fortnite has hosted game modes for franchises such as Star Wars, John Wick and Avengers: Endgame. Fortnite innovated to create branding that no longer felt like advertising; firstly, it was optional and secondly, had an immersive nature, bringing new and exciting elements to the game as players were seamlessly familiarized with the brand or product.

    Such innovation demonstrated how branding can effectively reach the consumer within console and PC gaming. Players invest significant time and money into playing these games and do not want to be slowed down or have their experience hampered by repetitive on-screen ads as are too often seen on free-to-play mobile gaming and traditional linear media. Such ads led to criticism of NBA 2K19, where players were disappointed to find unskippable ads surfacing within the game. Conversely, Fortnite’s use of branding to complement the game added further value and engaged players in a positive way.

    2023 and beyond: an exciting frontier for advertisers in gaming

    The outlook for 2023 and beyond is positive for the gaming industry. The US economy is on the road to recovery, as falling inflation bolstered by support from the federal reserve indicates consumers may be more inclined to spend. In Asia and the Middle East, rapidly-growing economies are expected to see continued and sustained mobile gaming growth. PC and console gaming is to continue with multi-platform investment, along with further commercial diversification in the eSports industry.

    In the console and PC space, game publishers will seek to further leverage technology to help create a more personalized gaming experience. Using new technology such as generative AI, machine learning and zero code platforms, storytelling through gaming will become increasingly bespoke. The role of brands – as we saw with Fortnite – will be most effective when facilitating the creation of such experiences, further enhancing them with added value and benefits.

    It is clear that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach that may have been effective across traditional media will not go down well in a landscape where gamers are unwilling to endure linear commercial activity that interrupts their game. Thoughtful, tailored approaches that enhance, rather than detract, from the user’s experience will be the most successful.

    Marketers therefore need to begin by gaining a comprehensive understanding of the game, the experience it offers to the consumer, and the content and culture surrounding it. It is then about working out how the brand can create added value within the game, in a way that is engaging, interactive and memorable.

    There is a growing body of experts and organizations who can guide advertisers as they navigate this new and exciting territory. The IAB recently released a report, ‘Finding Success with In-Game Advertising: Perceptions of Buyers and Sellers’, and its Experience Center focuses on emerging platforms and evolving consumer behaviors in fields such as gaming.

    As advertisers adapt to challenging times, the opportunity to reach passionate, highly engaged audiences in a way that enhances their experience and familiarizes them with your brand is too good to pass up.


    Header image: Anton27/Shutterstock

  2. India becomes the world’s most populous country: a huge opportunity for brands

    Comments Off on India becomes the world’s most populous country: a huge opportunity for brands

    China has long been the world’s most populous country but in 2023, that is set to change – if it hasn’t already. India, which for many years had a significantly smaller population than its northern neighbour, is set to overtake China, possibly in April. This shake-up at the top of the world’s population rankings is a reflection of the two countries’ differing economic and demographic trajectories, and will have long-term consequences for the domestic and global economies. After all, China’s huge population has long been a crucial source of both labor and demand – will this baton now be handed to India?

    What’s driving India’s population growth?

    In the 1951 census, India’s population was 361 million – in the ensuing 70 years, it has grown by more than 1 billion and is currently estimated to be 1.4 billion. One of the most significant factors behind this population growth is the vast number of young people in the country: people under 25 years of age account for more than 40% of India’s population, and one in five under 25s globally are Indian. To give an idea of the comparative youthfulness of India’s population, the mean age in the country is 28, while in the US it’s 38, and 39 in China – both countries have rapidly aging populations. The sheer quantity of young Indians is a huge workforce and source of consumption and will be the key to India’s economic success, if they are leveraged properly.

    What’s behind the decline in China’s population?

    In January, China’s National Bureau of Statistics announced that, for the first time in decades, the country’s population had fallen – by 850,000 in 2022. This decline has its roots in the strict one-child policy that was imposed in 1980, which limited the number of children that a couple could have to below the average of 2.1 needed to maintain a stable population. The fall was accelerated by China’s zero-covid policy, with couples delaying having children, or deciding against it altogether. This population shift threatens to end its role as the capital of global manufacturing; its seemingly never-ending supply of cheap labor is starting to run out, and the country is unlikely to return to its pre-pandemic economic growth rates.

    What are the implications for India?

    India’s leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, are positioning the reordering of the world’s top population rankings as a reason to invest in Indian manufacturing. The population boom that the country is experiencing is causing its working—age demographic to bulge, which means that there is a huge opportunity to create jobs and ramp up manufacturing. However, India’s leaders must take advantage of this opportunity by creating those jobs (unemployment is currently high), preparing workers and improving infrastructure. The majority of India’s industry is in the wealthier south and west of the country, but more babies are being born in the north, making high-quality transport and telecommunication links crucial for when those babies grow up and enter the workforce. The government also needs to address the regulations, low productivity and bureaucracy that make investing in India slower and more difficult than it needs to be.

    If the country’s leadership does get that right, however, then the opportunities are seemingly endless. More workers procuring more goods and services will have larger incomes, which will in turn allow them to fuel consumption and investment. The Confederation of Indian Industry has forecast that India could become a $40 trillion economy by 2047 if it effectively leverages its youthful population.

    More immediately, India’s position as the most populous country in the world will call into question the fact that it does not currently have a permanent position on the UN Security Council.

    An exciting opportunity for brands

    India presents an exciting opportunity for brands, whether they are already present in the market or looking to enter it. So what are the factors that make it so appealing?

    An increasingly young and aspirational customer base

    We’ve seen above how India’s population is growing, and how youthful it is: that in itself is a huge tick for brands seeing to embed themselves in the market. But what’s even more important is their growing aspirations. They are more confident than their elders and – should the government make good of the employment opportunity – will have more disposable income as well. As internet penetration increases (it is expected to lead to more than a billion internet users in the country by 2030), it will drive aspiration and the desire to invest in more comfortable living – those who are connected have a greater sense of what is desirable, and are willing to spend in order to get it. What’s more, Indians have long shown a high propensity to adopt new technologies, for example bypassing landlines and going straight to mobile phones, and embracing mobile payments. E-commerce is taking share from traditional retail at very high speeds. This increased wealth, connectivity and aspiration will bolster an already-growing middle class, which is expected to grow to 547 million people by 2025, creating a large, solid consumer base.

    A dynamic media landscape

    The media landscape that serves India’s huge population is dynamic and diverse, and is rapidly evolving in line with increasing smartphone penetration and internet connectivity. TV remains king in terms of both consumer consumption and advertising dollars; there are around 900 national and regional TV channels, attracting an average minute audience of around 1.6 trillion. There was a slight decline in 2021 over 2020, but the 2020 peak was likely driven by pandemic-induced lockdowns.

    Online media has experienced huge growth in India in recent years, in line with increasing internet penetration. Global players such as Meta, Google, Amazon and Netflix are all present (although TikTok has been banned, along with 300 other Chinese apps), and there are several key domestic companies such as Hotstar, JioTV and Voot.

    Media inflation in India has stayed relatively consistent over the last five years, other than the shock that it experienced in 2020 – Offline media types were particularly affected. This year, TV inflation is expected to remain similar to 2022 levels, while Online and OOH will likely rise above their 2022 positions. You can discover more about media inflation in India and around the world in our recent Inflation Report, which provides forecasts for media inflation and explores the economic and global context for those forecasts.

    An improving business environment

    India has long been notorious for its red-tape heavy bureaucracy and burdensome regulations. However, the government has recognised this as a barrier to international investment and is working to lighten the bureaucratic load, with measures such as the simplification of foreign direct investment (FDI) regulations and raising foreign equity caps for insurance and defence. These improvements led to India jumping 14 places to 63rd place on the World Bank’s Doing Business study in 2020.


    India clearly presents a huge opportunity, both for brands already in the market and those seeking to enter it. Advertisers eager to seize this opportunity will need to embrace the idiosyncrasies of the Indian market. This is a vast country (significantly larger than Western Europe) with 22 official languages (and hundreds of other languages spoken as mother tongues), wildly different cultures and varying rates of urbanization and progress. Winning in this exciting, dynamic market will mean embracing these differences and speaking to the growing aspirations of young people, both urban and rural. The challenge is great, but the opportunity is far, far greater.


    Header image: RawPixel.com/Shutterstock

  3. Chat GPT on ChatGPT

    Comments Off on Chat GPT on ChatGPT

    ChatGPT has been the talk of the town in recent weeks. It’s a simple AI chatbot, created by OpenAI, which seems capable of creating remarkably human responses to almost anything asked of it. From general questions to super-specific requests, the text it immediately responds with is measured, readable, intelligent and, yes, very human, if a little wooden. There is alarm around how ChatGPT could be used, from writing academic essays and papers to creating malware and giving unfounded mental health advice. But there is also a lot of excitement about the opportunities it presents. The response from the advertising industry has been mixed – there is enthusiasm for the potential to create ad copy, for example, or to come up with creative ideas; by the same token, however, many fear that it could eventually nullify the need for some key jobs in the sector.

    So what is the role for ChatGPT in advertising? And should we worry about its potential to take away our jobs? Who better to ask than ChatGPT itself? The process was very easy – we simply gave ChatGPT the instruction ‘Write an 800-word article about how ChatGPT can be used in the advertising industry, and if there is still a role for humans’, and an article started to appear.  It is written clearly and concisely, with an introduction and conclusion, and makes some interesting points around how it can be used by the advertising industry, as well as offering its opinion about whether it will one day replace humans (thankfully, it doesn’t think so!). Its language lacks colour, and its counting leaves something to be desired (we asked for an 800-word article, and got 572 words), but we were impressed by the cohesiveness of the text it produced, and the potential to use it as a tool for generating ideas.

    The rest of this article was written by ChatGPT. It is unedited and does not necessarily reflect the views of ECI Media Management.

    The advertising industry has seen a significant shift in recent years, as digital marketing and artificial intelligence (AI) have become increasingly prevalent. One area where AI has shown promise is in the use of chatbots, such as ChatGPT, which can engage with customers in a more personal and natural way.

    ChatGPT is a language model that has been trained on vast amounts of data and can understand and generate human-like text. It can be used in a variety of ways within the advertising industry, including customer service, lead generation, and even creating ad copy.

    One of the most significant advantages of using ChatGPT in advertising is the ability to provide personalized customer experiences. By analyzing data on customer behavior and preferences, ChatGPT can create tailored responses to customers’ inquiries or concerns, making them feel heard and valued. This can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, which can translate into higher sales and revenue for businesses.

    Another area where ChatGPT can be useful is in lead generation. By engaging with potential customers in a natural and conversational way, ChatGPT can collect information about their needs and preferences, which can then be used to target them with relevant ads and offers. This can help businesses to generate more leads and increase their conversion rates.

    Additionally, ChatGPT can be used to create ad copy that is engaging and effective. By analyzing data on what types of ads perform well with different demographics, ChatGPT can generate text that is more likely to resonate with the target audience. This can lead to higher click-through rates and ultimately more sales.

    However, while ChatGPT has many benefits, it is important to note that there is still a role for humans in the advertising industry. While ChatGPT can handle many routine tasks and provide personalized experiences, it is not capable of understanding complex emotions or handling situations that require empathy or intuition. In addition, ChatGPT is only as good as the data it is trained on, and it may not always be able to accurately interpret customer intentions or preferences.

    Therefore, it is crucial for businesses to use ChatGPT as a tool rather than a replacement for human interaction. By combining the strengths of AI with the skills of human employees, businesses can create a customer experience that is both personalized and authentic.

    Another potential issue with relying too heavily on AI in advertising is the risk of algorithmic bias. If the data used to train ChatGPT is not diverse or representative, it may create responses that are discriminatory or exclusionary. This can lead to negative consequences for businesses, including reputational damage and legal liabilities.

    To mitigate these risks, businesses should ensure that the data used to train ChatGPT is diverse and representative of the target audience. They should also regularly monitor and audit their AI systems to ensure that they are not creating biased or discriminatory responses.

    In conclusion, ChatGPT has the potential to revolutionize the advertising industry by providing personalized customer experiences, generating effective ad copy, and increasing lead generation. However, businesses must use ChatGPT as a tool rather than a replacement for human interaction, and they must ensure that their AI systems are trained on diverse and representative data to avoid algorithmic bias. By combining the strengths of AI with the skills of human employees, businesses can create a customer experience that is both personalized and authentic, leading to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and ultimately, revenue.


    Header image: Phonlamai Photo/Shutterstock

  4. AI will make personalisation even more powerful: advertisers must exercise restraint

    Comments Off on AI will make personalisation even more powerful: advertisers must exercise restraint

    In advertising, personalisation is king. As the mantra goes, right message, right time, right place – if you can tick all three of those boxes, your ad will be much more relevant to the consumer and therefore so much more powerful. In the rapidly approaching age of artificial intelligence, it will be easier than ever to personalise your advertising: when machine learning is applied to the vast quantities of data, advertisers can understand the motivations of almost every consumer on the planet. That promise holds a great deal of power and potential wealth, but as they say – with great power comes great responsibility, and advertisers must consider carefully how they will use and handle customer data.

    Personalisation will become ever easier with widespread uptake of AI

    Advertisers are understandably excited about the prospect of artificial intelligence; just twenty years ago, it was almost inconceivable that brands would be able to directly target individual consumers based on their unique behaviours and motivations, with messages that were relevant to them. To an extent it is possible now, but it will become increasingly easy as artificial intelligence becomes more widespread, particularly as it is harnessed by programmatic platforms for real-time optimisation, for example.

    But personalisation can annoy consumers

    Some research indicates that consumers actively want advertising that is relevant to them; indeed, they’re even willing to give away their personal data for more personalised advertising. But there’s a fine line between advertising which is more powerful because of its relevance, and advertising which is annoying or just plain creepy. That’s down to a number of factors: bad targeting, use of sensitive personal data, placement, frequency or a lack of relevancy. You can understand why. If, for example, a consumer has recently purchased a pair of blue shoes online and is stalked around the internet by ads for blue shoes, it’s annoying and the ad simply serves to remind him or her that their activity is being tracked – they no longer need blue shoes. Ads for a blue handbag, for example, or for nice socks, might be more relevant – but that is when the mighty GDPR starts making its presence felt. The EU data regulations, which any advertiser with a European target audience will be all too aware of, make the transfer of consumer data between one company and another very difficult.

    Of course, this example assumes that there are two companies involved, and that the brands themselves are doing the selling. The inability to share data will give more power to the platforms where consumers can buy from a large selection of brands: they will be able to harness their first-party data to build a more complete offering for their consumers, and more targeted marketing. The brands themselves could begin to lose the battle to understand and successfully reach audiences.

    Where is the line between persuasive marketing and behaviour control?

    Brands shouldn’t just be concerned about not annoying consumers. The amount of data at their disposal – and the tools available to process and understand it – means that they can have an astonishingly complete understanding of their consumer – and that means marketing which is too effective and too persuasive. The art of persuasive marketing could be elevated into the science of behaviour control. Layer that with the ability to exploit people’s inherent prejudices and insecurities and we’re into some seriously apocalyptic territory. Need we mention Cambridge Analytica?

    The golden rule: always remember the data belongs to the consumer

    In order to avoid annoying consumers and indeed to avoid straying into unethical territory, the answer is to always remember one golden rule: a consumer’s data belongs to that consumer, and must be handled with the care and respect that would be afforded to their other possessions. When collecting data, be transparent: explain how you will use it and ask for the consumer’s consent. Like any relationship, trust is critical and transparency is the way to earn that trust. Personalisation must be voluntary, overt and transparent.

    Thumbnail image: Shutterstock

  5. Day 3 at the ANA Masters of Marketing

    Comments Off on Day 3 at the ANA Masters of Marketing

    More inspiring content and ideas to take home from day 3 at the Masters of Marketing.

    Delegates at the 2018 ANA Masters of Marketing were treated to yet another delicious dinner on Thursday night and a breath-taking performance by the ultra-talented Kelly Clarkson. It was an evening to remember and a feast for all the senses, while the sessions on Friday were a return to a more intellectual kind of feast.

    Taking back control

    Friday kicked off with a panel of top marketers from some of the world’s most recognisable brands – Jill Estorino from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, American Express CMO Elizabeth Rutledge and Deloitte Digital’s Alicia Hatch, facilitated by P&G’s Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard. They discussed leading disruption as a way to drive growth and to ensure that marketing still matters into the future. A Cannes Lions CMO Growth Council has formed a movement that is ‘taking back control’ of marketing, with a focus on five core tenets to drive growth: data and technology; talent and capability; customer centricity, brand experience and innovation; and society and sustainability. Each panellist took the audience through an example of how their company is implementing initiatives in these five tenets. Jill Estorino explained how Disney has put the customer – and the future customer – right at the centre of their product innovation and experiences by harnessing data, while Marc Pritchard put forward the argument for increasing brands’ social and environmental responsibility – half of consumers take a more positive view of a company that takes a stand on an issue.Taking smart risks to drive growth

    Staying relevant by focusing on your greatest asset

    If attendees thought that the session following Jeff’s would be lower energy and they’d be able to relax a bit, they were mistaken. The WNBA’s equally charismatic Lisa Borders talked to us about how the WNBA grew to become a major entertainment – not just sports – brands in a little over 20 years. Their focus has always been to remain relevant by focusing on their greatest asset – their players, using their own authentic voice, embracing who they are and leveraging that in their communications and brand identity.

    Earning loyalty to drive growth

    Next up was Greg Revelle, CMO of iconic American retail brand Kohl’s, which is going from strength to strength despite the challenges faced by the retail sector. He explained how overhauling the cherished Kohls Cash rewards scheme allowed them to accelerate the rate of customer acquisition and retention, whilst deepening customer engagement and simplifying their value proposition. The key to the success of the new programme was asking the customers themselves – and not just researchers – what they wanted from the loyalty programme. Greg’s top tips to marketers were to start from your company’s roots and scale up from there; see industry challenges as opportunities; ask your customers what they want and measure everything you can.

    Humanising personalisation

    After Greg, American Express CMO Elizabeth Rutledge returned to the main stage to relay how she has driven a sea change – and global growth – at her organisation with a new brand platform – ‘American Express has your back as you do business and live life’. The entire strategy is rooted in humanity and the ‘humanisation of personalisation’: Elizabeth kicked off her presentation with Muhammad Ali’s moving short poem, ‘Me? We.’ She went onto explain how her ‘aha’ moment was realising that marketing is only a ‘sliver’ of the way that American Express engages with its customers – the real human connection is via the customer services team, so the new brand platform had to revolve around the entire company – who they are, what they do and what they say. There was a renewed focus on their employees, ensuring that they were satisfied because ‘a happy employee is a happy customer’. The new platform and approach has been a huge success for the brand so far, raising brand value by 8%. Elizabeth’s key takeaways for the audience? Data is critical but, on its own, not sufficient; we – marketers – are the stewards of ‘we’; and we must infuse the personal into personalisation.

    Brand versus performance marketing

    With that rallying cry we moved to the second stage to listen to last year’s top-rated speaker, Clorox’s Eric Reynolds, talk openly and honestly about Clorox’s journey towards achieving the right balance between performance marketing and brand marketing.

    He shared lessons that they’ve learned along the way, using a gut health brand and an anti-ageing DTC acquisition as case studies. The critical lesson? Like so many others at the conference, it was to put the consumer as a person at the heart of what you are doing. Marketers from both the brand side and the performance side must consider the consumer’s personal goals and their unique path to purchase, and find the best way that the brand can be useful to them. For CPG brands like Clorox, that means going back to the industry’s roots – being useful to real people, every day.

    An unconventional path to growth

    From gut health to gut instinct: back at the main stage after lunch, the CMO of privately owned bread brand King’s Hawaiian, Erick Dickens gave an enjoyable, informative session about their unconventional path to growth. Always following his gut – his key piece of advice for the audience – he had to do things differently thanks to a limited marketing budget. That included bankrolling the best agency talent to start their own agency as he couldn’t afford to pay for them in their existing roles; working directly with media properties so he could cut out the middle men; thinking big (they even made a film with their limited budget!); and picking high impact placements – namely the Oscars and the Super Bowl – using existing creative. Not only did they spend a fraction of what the other brands spent on their creative, but their spots when straight into the top ranked ads at the Super Bowl! Erick’s bold and unconventional approach has earned him fantastic results across all key metrics, including uplifts in unaided brand awareness and household penetration.

    Marketing’s time to shine

    We finished the day with an inspiring and heart-felt presentation by Deloitte Digital CMO Alicia Hatch, who explained why this is marketing’s moment to shine. With so much disruption and transformation in the marketing industry, now is the time to use our brand’s purpose to create a force for good. Through the prism of Deloitte’s work with National Geographic to create the amazing Women of Impact campaign, Alicia described that the secret lies in brands really understanding where their consumers derive meaning and really understanding what matters to their brand. If they can create brand experiences where those two areas intersect, that’s where a brand has the power to elevate the human experience and become a powerful force for good – which in turn drives business growth. The Women of Impact campaign harnessed cutting-edge predictive AI technology which allowed the team to respond to the community they had created at the speed of culture – allowing National Geographic to move from earning a share of voice to earning a share of culture. In the end, it’s all about data

    We ended day two with a session on how to turn your data into an emotional connection courtesy of Bank of America’s Lou Paskalis. He stressed how in the future, marketing will be data-driven, connections-based and customer-obsessed. plan xox black People buy with their hearts and then rationalise their purchases with their brains: if your brand can connect with their hearts, you win. Lou also made the pithy observation that data is the new oil: in its raw form it’s just a material, but if you refine it in the right way, it will inform your marketing vision.

    Customer-centricity, brand purpose and using data well

    As always, the Masters of Marketing was a festival of ideas, inspiration, food for thought and energy. The main themes that came out time and again were customer-centricity, brand purpose and how to use data as a means to create meaningful, authentic connections – not as as the end itself. It’s always inspiring to hear how talented and dedicated marketers are harnessing the rapid changes in the industry to make their discipline a driver of growth and a force for good. For those looking to drive growth for their brand, ECI Media Management has years of experience helping marketers do just that, and we’d be delighted to hear how we can support you. Feel free to contact us on value@ecimm.com

    Thumbnail image: Alexandra Matthews

  6. Day 2 at the ANA Masters of Marketing

    Comments Off on Day 2 at the ANA Masters of Marketing

    The conference officially started on Thursday with energising, thought-provoking and fascinating talks.

    The conference officially starts

    As we described in our blog post from the first day, the ANA Masters of Marketing conference started with a bang with some thought-provoking and fascinating pre-conference sessions, followed by dinner and a performance by Train. If delegates were a little bleary-eyed after that, the official start to the conference at 8am this morning ensured that they were fully alert!

    Opening remarks from ANA CEO Bob Leodice

    The CEO of the ANA, Bob Leodice, opened the conference with remarks on the critical importance of growth. More than half of Fortune 500 companies have suffered a decline in growth and it is the responsibility of marketers – many of whom were in the room – to lead a drive to recover that growth. The ANA supports its members in many ways, including with playbooks that they have created for ‘distinct and direct action’. These playbooks cover many hot topics such as data and technology, transparency, measurement and accountability, and talent development. Bob also showcased several particularly touching and effective campaigns from the last 12 months, including the #seeher campaign which is fighting the conscious and unconscious bias against women and girls in advertising.

    Bob concluded his session by reminding his audience that the opportunity to elevate growth is within their grasp – and, if they do that, that there is so much progress to be achieved. Marketing can, and should, be a force for good and for growth.

    Taking smart risks to drive growth

    Bob was replaced on stage by Jeff Charney, the extraordinarily charismatic CMO of insurance-firm-with-a-difference Progressive. He exploded onto the stage to talk to the audience about risk and how we as marketers are not taking enough of it. He claimed that driving growth is fuelled in part by a willingness to take smart, insight-led risk because in this day and age you can’t just stand still and hope that growth will find you. He defined the right way to take risks with a clever acrostic: Relevance not Recklessness, Information not Impulsiveness, Speed not Siloes and striKe out, not Know-it-all. Jeff even took what could have been a huge risk during his talk – persuading nearly 3000 delegates to sing Belinda Carlisle’s ‘Heaven is a Place on Earth’ acapella…

    Jeff also explained his unique network philosophy, where great characters create great content that is placed in the right content – and have control: Progressive has taken a significant portion of their agency activity in-house, with huge success. If that’s something you are considering, we have a list of the top ten things to consider.

    Building a brand the WNBA way

    If attendees thought that the session following Jeff’s would be lower energy and they’d be able to relax a bit, they were mistaken. The WNBA’s equally charismatic Lisa Borders talked to us about how the WNBA grew to become a major entertainment – not just sports – brands in a little over 20 years. Their focus has always been to remain relevant by focusing on their greatest asset – their players, using their own authentic voice, embracing who they are and leveraging that in their communications and brand identity.

    A second stage for more choice and intimacy

    After Lisa’s session, ECI moved over to the second stage. The second stage is a new feature for 2018, in response to delegate feedback that they wanted some choice in the agenda and some more intimacy. The experiment is evidently a huge success, with people standing around the edges of the room to see some big names from Unilever, Bank of America, eMarketer and others give inspiring and insightful talks.

    What marketers can learn from D2C brands

    First up was Luma’s Terry Kawaja: an investment banker isn’t the obvious choice for speaker at a marketing conference, but, being as he is at the intersection of media, marketing and technology, Terry’s insights were of course highly relevant to his audience. He explained what marketers could learn from the new generation of ‘D2C’ (direct to consumer) brands that are proliferating in an age when so many traditional, incumbent brands are facing declining growth. We discovered that the tactics of D2C brands – who are often essentially marketing companies with a product to sell – are so good that they even sell bad products! So what are these tactics? They include focusing on the consumer, recommitting to product design, adopting performance media, deploying content marketing and even making select acquisitions of D2C companies.

    Trust: the basis of eBay’s interaction with consumers

    Returning to the main stage, we were lucky enough to see eBay Americas CMO Suzy Deering talk about her company’s focus on trust: her brand – a ‘human platform’ – is very aware that consumers want to trust and will support brands that are purpose-driven. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. vTFCgkT6VUuBkosD. That basic tenet of trust is the basis of the three principles that are the foundation upon which

    eBay’s approach to consumer engagement is based. The first – built on trust. The second – powered by purpose. And the third – using data to connect to buyers and sellers in meaningful, authentic ways. With these in mind, eBay leans into culture in a way that feels true to consumers’ wishes, using data to understand what consumers want and how they behave – and respond accordingly.

    How to market successfully in the age of assistance

    Over a delicious lunch, Google’s President of the Americas Allan Thygesen spoke to delegates about marketing in the age of assistance – where empowered consumers are more curious, demanding and impatient than ever thanks to the ability to effortlessly navigate life and make decisions. In this intent-driven world, the opportunity for marketers to lead their companies’ growth has never been greater: brands must grab with both hands the opportunities that are arising from the fact that intent is redefining the traditional funnel, the new shapes of today’s dynamic consumer journeys and the new formula for success. Allan explained that successful marketers are making three fundamental shifts to drive growth in this new world: focusing on business outcomes, not media metrics; stopping marketing to the average; and automating everything. Brands need to earn the trust of their consumers – the takeaway phrase from this presentation was that when people can count on brands, brands can count on growth.

    A crash course in the hottest emerging trends

    Suitably refreshed and ready to absorb whatever the afternoon’s speakers could throw at us, ECI headed to the second stage for ‘a crash course on the hottest emerging trends in marketing’, courtesy of eMarketer’s Geoff Ramsey. He managed to fit an extraordinary amount of content into a mere 30 minutes, including media spend, the colliding worlds of TV and digital video, how AI will change everything, the rise of voice search and how AR is moving into the mainstream. We were particularly interested to hear him talk about the rise of Amazon as a media company – not just a retailer: he expected to see them double their media dollar growth over the next few years, making them a serious competitor for the Google-Facebook duopoly, as we discussed in a blog post from a few weeks ago.

    The shift of viewers from pay TV to streaming providers such as Netflix was an important topic – and how that presents a major challenge for advertisers: a key reason that people are moving is to minimise their exposure to ads. We’ve written about this topic in the past – you can read more in our blogs on the battle for the future of entertainment and how video streaming services are forcing the TV industry to transform.

    Geoff also explained how newer technology – AI, voice search and AR – are all major trends that we will be seeing much more of in the coming years. Each will fundamentally change how consumers behave and therefore how brands interact with them. He was particularly surprised by the rise of voice search, driven by the proliferation of voice-activated devices such as Alexa and Google Home. It could have major implications for smaller and challenger brands as there is often only one single answer to a voice search query: in the future, this benefit could be sold to the highest bidder.

    In the end, it’s all about data

    We ended day two with a session on how to turn your data into an emotional connection courtesy of Bank of America’s Lou Paskalis. He stressed how in the future, marketing will be data-driven, connections-based and customer-obsessed. People buy with their hearts and then rationalise their purchases with their brains: if your brand can connect with their hearts, you win. Lou also made the pithy observation that data is the new oil: in its raw form it’s just a material, but if you refine it in the right way, it will inform your marketing vision.

    The consumer: front and centre of all marketing strategies

    In our two days at the Masters of Marketing so far there has been no escaping that, in order to drive growth and ‘win’ at marketing, a marketer’s focus must always, always be on the consumer. Putting the consumer at the heart of your marketing strategy and really understanding what they want from your brand – and then giving it to them – is the surest way to drive growth for your company and, in turn, make marketing a highly valued department in your organisation. We’re sure that this theme will continue on day three of the conference – we will of course be covering the sessions in real time on LinkedIn using the hashtag #ECIatANAMasters, and we will release a blog post summarising the day tomorrow evening. As always, if there is anything you’d like to discuss with us in more detail, you can contact us at value@ecimm.com.

    Thumbnail image: Alexandra Matthews

  7. The ANA Masters of Marketing conference: Day 1 download

    Comments Off on The ANA Masters of Marketing conference: Day 1 download

    The 2018 ANA Masters of Marketing conference has kicked off with aplomb.

    The pinnacle of the US marketer’s year

    The ANA Masters of Marketing conference is a key fixture in the calendars of many US marketers. In a world where technology is changing the landscape at an unprecedented rate, the opportunity to meet your peers, discuss the major issues the industry is facing and come away with some answers – or at least food for thought – is one that’s not to be missed. With that in mind, many marketers from across the US have descended upon Orlando in the last few days. Those from more northern cities surely appreciate the balmy Florida weather, but none of the attendees will be letting sunshine and blue skies distract them from the matter at hand!

    This year’s theme is growth – against a challenging backdrop

    As was to be expected, the Masters of Marketing started with a bang with some thought-provoking pre-conference sessions on Wednesday. The official theme, as has been the case for 10 years, is ‘growth’ – an increasingly elusive concept for many organisations. The sessions today were a showcase for how marketers can drive growth for their organisations by harnessing the transformation the industry is undergoing and using it to future-proof their marketing strategies.

    The awareness versus performance debate

    ECI started with a session that examined the ongoing debate between driving awareness and performance in the era of artificial intelligence – something that we are particularly interested in. We are all aware of the huge disruption that AI is causing in the advertising industry (and indeed in all industries). It is the equivalent of the internet back in the late nineties – we are possibly over-estimating its significance in the short term, but woefully under-estimating its long-term impact. A graph showed in no uncertain terms that we’re rapidly approaching an inflection point where machines will become more intelligent than humans. This will only be exacerbated by the arrival of 5G, which will unleash an unfathomable amount of data and, with that data, the Internet of Things will come into its own.

    Against that backdrop, the audience was given a crash course in harnessing that wealth of data and the increasing importance of mobile to drive sales and customer loyalty. Rachel Tipograph, the founder of MikMak which has reinvented infomercials for a generation of digital natives, taught the audience how to harness first-party data in the most effective way to create campaigns that drive sales and brand loyalty. Working on the basis that ‘if it isn’t Instagrammed, it didn’t happen’, we were taken through a step-by-step process, from setting a campaign objective (bottom-of-the funnel, such as link clicks

    or landing-page views) to identifying laser-focused audiences, developing ‘thumb-stopping’ creative and optimising your landing page – which is now more likely to be your product page than your home page. Rachel emphasised the importance of the pixel to capture real-time data for optimisation and build qualified audiences for prospecting or targeting – something we will be examining in our post-conference series of articles next week.

    Where next for advertising?

    The session that followed was an AEF (ANA Educational Foundation) symposium entitled ‘The end of advertising as we know it: what next?’ The premise for this session was the fact that advertising is increasingly seen as an interruption in what the consumer wants to be doing, and – in an age of ad-blockers and paid-for, ad-free streaming services such as Netflix – marketers need to find new ways to meaningfully connect with and engage with their audiences so that adverts are welcome and not seen as an intrusion. Mark Truss of JWT presented the keys to humanising a brand: transparency, brand contribution, business conduct, brand purpose, value beyond the customer and employee appeal; he also laid out how brands should behave in order to maintain a real and lasting relationship with consumers. Crucial behaviours included humanising customer support, being true to your brand purpose and identity, and using social media to be social – not just as a platform to drive sales.

    The scene is set for an invigorating few days

    The pre-conference sessions at the Masters of Marketing were more than a taste of what is to come – they set the scene for what will undoubtedly be an energising, challenging and thought-provoking conference. We anticipate a lot of discussion around data privacy and the challenges that entails for marketers (particularly in light of federal investigations into media-buying practices and the introduction of GDPR), what the future holds for marketing and how best to invest those precious ad dollars.

    Get the latest insights with ECI

    We will share a download of each day of the conference on our blog, ECI Thinks, as well as real-time insights from each session via LinkedIn – you can follow these using our hashtag #ECIatANAMasters. Next week, we’ll release a series of articles summarising our learnings from the conference and their implications for marketers. And of course, if there is anything mentioned in these articles that you would like to discuss with us in more detail, you can contact us at value@ecimm.com.

    Thumbnail image: Alexandra Matthews

124 queries in 2.062 seconds.