Tag Archive: CMOs

  1. The ANA Masters of Marketing 2022: ECI’s key insights

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    The atmosphere at this year’s ANA Masters of Marketing was a combination of excitement and caution. Excitement because this was the first time since 2019 that most of the delegates had travelled to Orlando for the conference; caution because these are difficult times to work in marketing, with budgets threatened and consumers cutting costs. But top marketers from the US ad industry took to the stage to share their insights and experience in not just surviving, but thriving through adversity.

    ECI Media Management was proud to sponsor the Wi-Fi at the conference, and attended the sessions to hear first-hand from some of the industry’s leading lights. Here are our key insights from the three days.

    Invest through the recession

    The looming global recession was top of mind at the conference. Everyone was questioning how best to manage their advertising investments over the next few years – and some were anticipating having to cut their ad budgets. The ANA’s CEO, Bob Liodice, was very clear that this was the wrong strategy in his opening remarks on the first day of the conference: ‘In the next few months, you’re going to be asked to cut your budget. You’ll be asked to find ways to save money. This is not the time to do that’. He argued that successful brands can only win when they differentiate themselves from the competition – and that this can only happen when budgets are protected, no matter the economic conditions.

    At the Masters of Marketing, United’s Head of Global Advertising Maggie Schmerin described how the airline maintained its advertising spend throughout the most difficult days of the pandemic, despite a dramatic loss of revenue. They saw it as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to gain share of mind and emphasise its mission to be a force for good. The campaign was its biggest in a decade, and allowed the company to ‘make leaps and bounds in terms of where we were prior’.

    Read our recent whitepaper for tips on how to market during economic uncertainty.

    Be clear about your brand purpose

    The longstanding theme of the Masters of Marketing is ‘Force for Growth. Force for Good’, so it’s not surprising that a common thread linking the talks at the conference was how activating brand purpose has led to increased sales. Chipotle’s Chris Brandt described how the company brought its purpose – ‘cultivating a better world’ to life across their business by sourcing their ingredients responsibly and supporting farmers. This approach added $2.8 billion to their sales over five years, as well as having tangible impact on the lives of farmers and the health of their supply chain. Chris and all his fellow speakers emphasized that brand purpose must be authentic and have real-world impact – ‘greenwashing’ or ‘whitewashing’ is not good enough and, what’s more, consumers can see it a mile off. Marcel Marcondes, the Global Chief Marketing Officer at AB InBev, talked about the importance of not just talking about what we stand for or only about what consumers care about; it’s about finding the intersection between the two.

    Confirming the key role that media and advertising have to play in the battle against climate change, Cannes Lions CEO Simon Cook announced that entries must disclose the C02 footprint of the work in question. This is an important step towards a more sustainable ad industry, but will leave many marketers scratching their heads over how to measure a carbon footprint.

    Balance investment at the top and bottom of the funnel

    In times of economic uncertainty, it’s tempting for marketers to focus on bottom-of-the-funnel efforts to drive immediate sales. This is sensible, but shouldn’t be at the expense of investment into the upper funnel and brand equity measures. A downturn is an opportunity to drive loyalty and share of mind. Gary Osifchin, CMO and GM, US Hygiene at Reckitt, told delegates in Orlando how Lysol harnessed the cash and brand equity generated from increased sales during the pandemic to invest in new channels and reach new audiences. This approach allowed the brand to maintain sales at 56% higher than before the pandemic.

    Multicultural marketing is mainstream marketing

    Procter & Gamble’s Chief Brand Officer, Marc Pritchard, used his annual keynote slot at the Masters of Marketing to urge fellow marketers to step up their efforts to serve minority ethnic audiences. Not only do these audiences deserve to have products and messaging that resonate with them, but it also makes financial sense for brands. Minority ethnic audiences represent 100% of American population growth in the last decade, and $5 trillion in spending power. Tailoring messaging to these individuals can only reap benefits for both business growth and society.

    Be open to experimenting

    Several of the speakers at the Masters of Marketing shared their experiences of considered risk-taking in their marketing campaigns, and the rewards that have resulted. Soyoung Kang, CMO at Eos Products, shared how their ground-breaking campaign for their shave range would have likely been less successful if they hadn’t taken risks and been open to experimenting. The campaign – which focused humorously on body parts that others might shy away from – drew its success from the team’s willingness to really listen to fans and followers. They constantly checked and monitored responses to avoid straying into vulgar territory, and used what they learned to drive new campaigns. Kang described their use of creativity as ‘rocket fuel’.

    Mastercard’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Raja Rajamannar spoke about how Mastercard has created ‘Priceless’ moments for consumers across the world by experimenting with multisensory marketing, including by creating touch cards for the visually impaired, Mastercard-sponsored culinary experiences, a sonic logo and bespoke fragrances.

    Don’t panic about the metaverse

    The metaverse received less attention than might otherwise have been expected at a marketing conference – largely, one suspects, because marketers have more pressing things to think about right now. When it did come up, the message was reassuring: it’s ok to feel uncertain about it, because it’s uncharted, confusing territory. Jeff Charney from Mkhstry said ‘I know the metaverse is hard to understand. You don’t have to be in it today. Just be aware of it… Be knowledgeable’. Soyoung Kang said that Eos Products is equally measured when it comes to its approach to the metaverse: ‘There are pockets where our consumer is actively engaging. And we just want to make sure that we are testing in a measured way our ability to connect with our audience in those places. It’s all about learning and awareness right now and, if it feels right, dipping your toe in. The metaverse still has a long way to go, so there’s no need to go all in yet.

    ***

    This year’s Masters of Marketing from the ANA provided, as always, a plethora of opportunities to learn and connect.

    ECI Media Management was the proud sponsor of the Wi-Fi at the ANA Masters of Marketing.

  2. ANA Masters of Marketing 2022: Day 1 – it’s good to be back

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    There’s a buzz in the air of the vast space of the Rosen Shingle Creek hotel in Orlando: marketers and industry players from across the US are delighted to be back at the ANA’s flagship event, the Masters of Marketing. For many, it’s three years since they were last here in person. And what a return it is: with more than 2000 people attending in person and 1500 virtually, it’s safe to say that the industry has officially reconvened. The enthusiasm for three days of conversation, learning, inspiration and good old-fashioned fun was palpable.

    Setting the tone: a call to arms

    The ANA’s CEO, Bob Liodice, opened the conference as always with his reflections on the state of the advertising industry in the US. He spoke to the feeling of excitement with a call to celebrate all that we have come through – the pandemic but also stagflation, social strife, global unrest and rising crime. He quoted Unilever’s Esi Egglestone Bracey: ‘We are sprinting through an endless obstacle course. Take a recovery break and reflect on what the world needs now and what we can do as marketers and business leaders to help. The world is ripe for even more purpose and positivity’. Esi’s words set the tone for Bob’s presentation and indeed the whole of day one: marketers and brands have the power to be a real force for good in a world that so desperately needs it. The key is ‘Brands for Humans’ or ‘B4H’ – finding the humanity and purpose in a brand and using that to deliver purpose and drive growth.

    Using a powerful graph that showed in black and white the disparity in growth between companies that invest in their brands and those that don’t, Bob reminded the audience that ‘highly-branded companies’ consistently outperform their competition by a wide margin – so resisting calls from CFOs to cut budgets is crucial for both short- and long-term growth.

    Driving multi-cultural market growth

    Next up on the stage was another well-known figure: P&G’s Chief Brand Officer, Marc Pritchard. His presentation reinforced Bob’s focus on humanity. He took the audience through P&G’s seven habits for market growth, which center on inclusivity, diversity and creativity. He pointed out that 100% of population growth in the US in the last decade came from increases in Black, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native, Indigenous, multiracial and multi-ethnic segments of the population. These groups have a combined buying power of more than $5 trillion, so it’s clear that marketers need to reach them effectively in order to drive sustainable growth. This cannot be done by using old marketing habits: brands need to speak specifically to these people and to meet their unique needs. The one lesson that Marc wanted us to take from his presentation? Multi-ethnic marketing is mainstream marketing – so it’s time to transform our strategies at every level.

    Creativity is the rocket fuel for growth

    The importance of creativity in marketing is another key theme at this year’s Masters of Marketing. Soyoung Kang, CMO of Eos, showed us how Eos has embraced risk-taking, smart experimentation, honesty, creativity and, crucially, truly listening to their consumers, to find new ways to communicate and grow their shaving range. We received a ‘mature content’ warning at the start and it’s fair to say we heard about strategies and messaging that haven’t graced the ANA stage before! Soyoung’s presentation was invigorating and inspiring, encouraging us to find the edges of our comfort zone and then ‘gently and respectfully push boundaries’. It was the Eos team’s willingness to embrace discomfort and really listen to their consumers on social media that allowed them to evolve into a multicategory, 360-degree personal care brand, with some remarkable growth and expansion statistics.

    Purpose at the heart of it all

    The ongoing theme of the Masters of Marketing conferences is ‘Force for Growth. Force for Good’ – and it is brand purpose where those two forces overlap. The morning’s sessions concluded with engrossing presentations from two prominent CMOs talking about how their brand’s purpose lies at the heart of all they do.

    Ford’s Suzy Deering explained how the brand activated its newly defined purpose statement by ‘evaluating company decisions using it, investing on behalf of it and making sacrifices for it’. Faithful adherence to this new purpose – ‘To help build a better world, where every person is free to move and pursue their dreams’ – allowed the company to take what appeared to be risks without fear. This included creating the electric version of the iconic F-150 truck and making plans to build Blue Oval City in Tennessee.

    Bob Liodice introduced Chipotle’s CMO Chris Brandt with some impressive results: they have added $3.8 billion in annual sales by implementing a new marketing strategy and embracing the digital ecosystem. Chris took to the stage to talk about how Chipotle harnessed its purpose of cultivating a better world as the foundation for this growth. The brand has put its money where its mouth is, literally, to promote what it calls ‘real food’, support organic farming practices, help feed communities in need, train the next generation of young farmers and support current ones. And it’s working, for both the planet and the bottom line.

    Breaking through the clutter

    In the last session of the day, Mastercard’s well-known and well-respected Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Raja Rajamannar, started his presentation with the observation that we are living through the most significant paradigm shift in history, with a ‘tech tsunami’, a ‘data deluge’ and huge cultural change. Consumer attention is spread incredibly thin as a result, and they are turning to tools such as ad blockers for some respite. How can brands capture their attention in this brave new world?

    For Mastercard, it has been about harnessing science, psychology, technology and experimentation to explore new, exciting ways of reaching consumers. They observed that marketing focuses on two of the senses – sight and hearing – but that there are three more that barely get a look in. This led the Mastercard team to create ‘priceless’ moments; they worked with scientists to optimize the colors in the logo; they created taste experiences with innovative chefs and food brands; they collaborated with artisan parfumeurs to create bespoke fragrances; they innovated in credit card design to create cards that are more accessible for blind people; and they worked with world-leading musicians and musicologists to create a new sonic identity. Raja’s presentation was fun, invigorating and no doubt inspired his audience to consider new ways of reaching their audiences.

    ***

    Day 1 at the Masters of Marketing was as inspiring, thought-provoking and fun as everyone expected it would be – and it didn’t hurt that it ended with an electrifying performance from none other than Michael Bublé! The bar has been set high for day 2, but the ANA never disappoints…

    ECI is the proud sponsor of the Wi-Fi at the ANA Masters of Marketing.

  3. Is this the end of the entertainment mergers?

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    Last week, AT&T announced a $43 billion deal to combine its content unit, WarnerMediawith factual TV network DiscoveryThe telecommunications giant will unwind its acquisition of Time Warner, which it renamed WarnerMediato create with Discovery a new media company that could be worth as much as $150 billion. The move is a sign that the huge conglomerates which resulted from a flurry of mergers just a few years ago are no longer big enough to contend with the major streaming giants Netflix and Disney. 

    What’s the context behind the deal?

    The much-discussed streaming wars are currently being won, by a large margin, by Netflix and Disney who both enjoyed significant growth during the pandemic. But even Disney is struggling to keep up with Netflix. Netflix has a huge 206 million subscribers and is still growing, albeit more slowly than Disney, which had 106.6 million subscribers as of early April. Netflix had a significant head start over the other streamers, and has a huge international footprint – crucial for continued sustainable growth in this competitive landscape. What’s more, Netflix is finally able to sustain itself financially, and no longer has to borrow money to fund its programming.  

    The American media conglomerates anticipated this situation, leading to a raft of mergers and acquisitions in recent years, such as Disney’s acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox and AT&T’s purchases of DirecTV and, of course, Time Warner. These deals created huge entertainment companies, but the WarnerMedia/Discovery news suggests that even they are not big enough.  

    But the new company created by WarnerMedia and Discovery just might be. 

    Teaming up to win the streaming wars

    The Economist neatly summarised the four key things that a streaming service needs to compete successfully in the streaming wars: scale in the domestic market, high-quality content, a flexible balance sheet and the ability to expand globally. WarnerMedia’s HBO Max meets the first two criteria, but falls down on the third and fourth. Parent company AT&T’s financial woes made it difficult to keep up with Netflix in terms of programming spend, while the decision to licence content to foreign companies, such as Sky in the UK, means that its international footprint is very poor. The merger with Discovery will help WarnerMedia to address both of those problems: it will no longer be held back by AT&T’s revenue sheet, and Discovery+ already has a significant presence in Europe and India.  

    The resulting company will present a significant headache for the current winners Netflix, Disney and Amazon. WarnerMedia and Discovery’s combined content library will be huge and diverse: it will include HBO’s critically acclaimed dramas, Warner Bros’ blockbuster films, Discovery’s unscripted shows and a variety of sport and live news services. It will be very interesting to watch how the company unfolds. Will they merge their streaming services, creating a ‘one-stop shop’ that would compare favourably to Netflix but would undoubtedly have a high price point (HBO Max currently charges $15 a month, significantly more than competitors)? Or will they ‘bundle’ existing services and new ones for a discounted subscription price? 

    An admission of failure by AT&T

    The merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery is a de facto admission by AT&T that its foray into entertainment has failed. When it acquired Time Warner, which it renamed WarnerMedia, just a year after its purchase of satellite service provider DirecTV, the plan was to vertically integrate the businesses of content creation and content distribution – but that plan has been shelved. AT&T’s CEO John Stankey said that the telco giant lacked the global reach necessary to build a successful streaming business that could match the likes of Netflix and Disney. DirecTV will be sold to TPG. 

    What does this mean for advertisers?

    The question on every advertiser’s lips is ‘how many unique individuals can I reach through as few companies as possible?’. By merging, WarnerMedia and Discovery may provide the most convincing answer yet to this question. They will aggregate more inventory than the separate companies already do, and will provide advertisers with a huge, diverse audience. This will put them in a very strong position, particularly as Netflix does not currently host any advertising on its platform. 

    Interestingly, however, WarnerMedia’s ad tech arm, Xandr, is not part of the merger, and will remain under AT&T’s ownership. This is likely because it would take a lot of time, effort and money to disentangle Xandr from AT&T’s customer data, but given the importance of targeting and measurement in TV and streaming, and of mining media companies’ first-party data, it is would certainly be an advantage for WarnerMedia/Discovery to have its own tech stack. 

    A scramble to create more mergers

    With the streaming landscape now dominated by three giants – Netflix, Disney and now the company formed by WarnerMedia and Discovery – the rest of the industry is now scrambling to form mergers of their own. One of the most significant is Amazon’s purchase of Hollywood studio MGM, confirmed this week for a price of $8.45 billion. The deal will bolster Amazon’s TV and film library for its Prime Video service, and the jewel in MGM’s crown, the James Bond franchise, will help Amazon to compete in the streaming wars, even though it will only own 50% of 007. 

    AppleTV+ is yet to take off, despite giving away a huge number of free subscriptions – more than 60% of its 40 million users are thought to be on a free trial. However, it does of course have plenty of money to spend on acquiring another media company if it chooses to do so.  

    The other giants of American entertainment, NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS, themselves the products of huge mergers a few years ago, have found themselves in a difficult position. The very fact that WarnerMedia and Discovery have decided to merge is a sign that even NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS aren’t big enough to compete with Disney and Netflix. The problem? There isn’t really anyone left for them to merge with. They have too much competing content to merge with each other and anyway, the Federal Communications Commission prohibits such a move. That is unlikely to change given the current White House’s stance on antitrust. They could purchase smaller media companies, but this wouldn’t give them the global scale they need. 

    The race to grow and consolidate audiences continues

    As the world opens up again after the pandemic, people will be spending less time in front of their televisions. Many may decide to unsubscribe from some of their streaming services as TV no longer plays quite such a central role in their entertainment schedules. The race to grow and consolidate audiences – and therefore advertising dollars – continues, and the company resulting from the WarnerMedia/Discovery merger will be well-positioned to catch up with the current leaders. 

    Header image: atk work / Shutterstock

  4. Is the future all talk?

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    For 100 years, radio dominated audio media, entirely unchallenged. It still attracts the lion’s share of listeners and therefore advertisers: 92% of Americans listen to AM/FM radio every week – more than TV viewership (87%), PC use (54%) and smartphone use (81%). However, its dominance is becoming less certain with the rise of podcasts and now, social audio. So what does the future of audio look like?

    The impact of the pandemic on our listening habits

    The pandemic has had an impact on the way we live our lives, and that includes our listening habits. Despite fears that radio listener numbers would crash as commutes turned into 30-second walks to the kitchen table, in many countries, numbers increased as people turned to this trusted medium for information, comfort, connection and entertainment. In the UK, 40% of people working from home listened to the radio for an extra two hours and eight minutes a day. However, there is a belief in some quarters that, despite this increased listenership, advertising may have suffered because of radio’s great reputation for brand-building: amidst the hardships and budget cuts of the pandemic, marketers have been under pressure to deliver short-term sales results at the expense of longer-term brand-building ambitions.

    Podcasting followed an interesting trajectory over the course of 2020. Podcast downloads decreased by 10% when the US went into lockdown, and it seemed that the pandemic was threatening to throw off podcasts’ meteoric rise. However, as people adapted their routines, download figures recovered and are even improving. The top 10 US podcast publishers saw a 20.6% increase in downloads in the summer of 2020 compared to the previous summer.

    2020 was also the year that saw the rise of ‘social audio’: with people seeking connection but sick of screen time, social audio apps came on the scene, offering the ‘Goldilocks’ of connection – not too much, not too little, but just the right amount. But more on that later…

    Ad dollars are following ears

    More and more people are listening to podcasts: about 41% of Americans aged 12 and up now listen to one podcast a month, compared to 37% in 2020 and 32% in 2019. Ad dollars have inevitably followed: IAB PwC estimated that US podcast ad revenue would increase by 14.7% to near $1 billion in 2020, despite the pandemic. In 2020, 37% of marketers said they would likely advertise in a podcast over the next six months – compared to 10% in 2015. The highly engaged audiences that podcasts enjoy have shown a propensity to take action when hearing an ad, which is of course very attractive. What’s more, digital audio has the great advantage of not being reliant on cookies in the same way that other digital channels are. It offers other, privacy-centric ways of targeting listeners, such as topic-based targeting – indeed, this type of contextual targeting is likely to become more common across other digital channels after the death of the cookie.

    That said, it is difficult for marketers to track which users end up purchasing their products after hearing a podcast ad. Many are hoping that Spotify and the other podcast platforms will develop a pixel tool, similar to Facebook’s, which will be able to track user activity across the platform. Podcast platforms are aware that marketers need more tools if they are to continue growing their investments in the platform. This awareness has led to acquisitions such as Spotify’s purchase of Megaphone, a podcast ad tech company, in late 2020 in order to expand its self-service advertising platform. Megaphone claims to be able to target ‘types’ of users, so only listeners who fit a specific demographic will be served an ad.

    Social audio – the new kid on the block

    With the popularity of social media and podcasting, it was perhaps only a matter of time before someone created ‘social audio’, where people connect through conversation. The pandemic was the optimum time for these chat rooms to take off, with people yearning for connection but fed up with their screens. Clubhouse is making waves with conversations that people can sit in on or participate in, and its success has spurred established platforms like Twitter and Facebook to create their own equivalents. Twitter’s Spaces and Facebook Rooms are still in the beta phase.

    Clubhouse is, so far, ad-free and seems to actively discourage hard-selling. This means that working with the app’s influencers to create relevant, interesting conversations is the best way for brands to share their messaging with users – and has the added benefit of reaching people who have chosen to be in the room. However, as the social audio apps mature, it’s likely that advertising will become more prolific, as happened with the social media platforms. Experts predict that the explosion in social audio platforms will lead to a secondary explosion in analytics and marketing tools that will help influencers and, most significantly, brands understand their reach and impact in the social audio space.

    Digital audio: the new frontier

    Digital audio is the new frontier in advertising, with plenty of opportunities to engage with interested, relevant audiences. There is still some way to go in the development of tools for marketers to understand the impact of their investment, but they are in the making – this is not a space to be overlooked.

    The future may not be all talk, but there will definitely be more talk.

    Header image: atk work / Shutterstock

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