There’s a language disconnect when trying to determine any numbers in a campaign, because ROI doesn’t always conform to a neat set of numbers, panelists on Show Me the Money: Proving ROI Has Never Been Easier revealed. “The things that we measure in media don’t often line up with real-life outcomes,” Mike Romoff, Head of Global Agency & Channel Sales, LinkedIn noted. “So, if there is a metric our compulsion is to put it in a spreadsheet, stack rank and cut off the bottom third and say we’re serving. It’ll take a while before we can measure to that level of depth.” As his fellow panelists John Povey, SVP Marketing & Data Analytics, a4 Media; Antonio Tomarchio CEO, Cuebiq; and Karima Zmerli, PhD, Chief Data Sciences Officer, Wavemaker Global added, direct marketing is easy to understand, because the numbers are clean, but if you’re looking to measure a campaign aimed at raising brand awareness, you’ll probably be disappointed by number results. “If we are looking at pushing a brand campaign and basing it on sales, you need a long window, you need a year to see the results based on sales,” said Zmerli. “If we are trying to link long window metric going from awareness to sales in one campaign that only lasts a month, that’s not possible.”
Nobody had to ask where the beef was at the Wendy’s Brings the Sass to Social panel, in which the fast-food company (whose wildly successful We Beefin’? hit mixtape was a Grand winner at Wednesday’s Clio Awards) sat down to talk Twitter strategy, and the virtues of truly knowing your own brand. “You have to play the cards you’ve been dealt based on the history of the company,” said Kurt Kane, Chief Concept and Marketing Officer for Wendy’s. (Other panelists included Marcus Peterzell, EVP, Entertainment at Ketchum; Nina Mishkin, Brand and Content Strategy Lead at Twitter; and actor and social media influencer Josh Peck. “Our biggest advice is to stay true to who you are as a brand, and do the hard work to unpack that.” By turning its Twitter feed into an outlet to diss competitors like Burger King and McDonald’s, Wendy’s has reshaped what’s possible for a brand on social media, he noted, and is willing to talk with followers about anything. On top of that, “We fight McDonald’s every day there,” said Kane. “If the people [at McDonald’s headquarters] aren’t kicking a trash can over something we did, we’re not doing it right.”
Do brands need to stand for something in order to engender consumer loyalty? Brand Love, Brand Loyalty & The Pursuit of Purpose panelists David Gaines, Chief Strategy Officer, Wavemaker and Edwin Wong, VP of Research and Insights, Buzzfeed each had insights into the somewhat gray area between hard commerce and “love” of product. “Be polarizing,” said Gaines, after discussion of Nike‘s recent use of NFL player and activist Colin Kaepernick as the face of their campaign. “People are more inclined to side with a team that has a point of view these days. If Nike can do something as big and bold as this, hopefully other brands will decide they need to stand for something.” For Wong, it’s about “what side of history do you want to be on? Is this all about the money? … Brands that stand up for what’s right will win in the end.”
Not all ads are created equal, particularly when they’re meant to be shared across platforms. So how to reconcile a campaign with the very different needs of different types of eyeballs? That was the focus of the Cohesive Cross Platform panel. For Toddy Stewart, Partner/ECD, Picture Farm, the first issue was finding the right tone. “If you’re looking for something that works across platforms, the core question is, what is the voice?” he asked. And as has been noted on other platforms this week, it’s about understanding your audience first – on TV, audiences will put up with minutes’ worth of ads to watch a football game, but click away if you present them with a 30-second ad just to watch a 1-minute video. “There has to be payoff for the audience,” said Peter Kain, Executive Creative Director, BBDO New York. “You have to study how audiences interact with different platforms.” Advertisers can also be constrained by campaigns that work so well they can’t really be altered too much for new platforms. “You have to find new ways of looking at it,” said Kain, who admitted they were known for “experimenting” on “low-budget” channels with new concepts before attempting to take them wider. “Every day is an experiment,” said Claire Knebl, Head of Brand Marketing, Ritual. “It’s an educated experiment. There are no real mistakes – we just want to see where each post or story takes us.”
The fragmentation of media may be rocking the industry, but the panelists in Go Where Your Fans Are: Bringing TV to Real Life see it as an opportunity. “We’ve embraced the fragmentation,” said Sean Moran, Head of Marketing and Partner solutions at Viacom, noting that because of the company’s young demo, “We had to deal with it sooner than some others…. We had that audience that was saying, ‘We appreciate this, but we’re going go over here…and over here.’” As for the future, Moran, points to companies working together for initiatives like OpenAP, saying, “We can go where we need to go if we do it together.” Carla Hassan, former EVP, Global CMO of Toys “R” Us, noted – with a phrase that earned a thumbs up from the group – that the companies that are winning in the new world of media “are balancing the heart and the science.” The key is getting the right mix, said John Swift, CEO, Investment and Integrated Services at Omnicom Media Group North America: “Fragmentation is such an opportunity. We say to our clients, our job is to put a fragmented world back together.”
Whichever angle they came from, everyone agreed the advertising world needs to evolve. “We can’t continue to keep reaching the same person over and over again who might not even want our product,” said Heather Gundry, Director of Integrated Local Buying, Carat, during the Joint Ventures: How to Live – and Thrive! – in a Fragmented World discussion. Michael McAlear, Partner, Account Services, Universal McCann, pointed out more could be done with the data being collected. “If you have the data and technology, why wouldn’t you use it to make your buy better?” he asked. “I believe with our partners, as we come along in the addressability space, there’s more of a vested interest and they can see the results and go back and look at the data.” Looking back at data is something Julie Anson, Associate Director Partner, Magna Global Analytics, is all for, saying, “The beauty of addressable is the granularity of the post report.”
Digital out-of-home advertising is growing at a faster rate than digital advertising, said Ari Buchner, CEO of Intersection, during his talk, How Digital Out-of-Home Becomes Truly Programmatic. Yet while digital OOH is four times better than any other medium at driving traffic online, and is more trusted than any other form of digital advertising, programmatic remains elusive, said Buchner, adding, “The industry needs to think of this buzzword omnichannel, and come up with a solution that treats OOH screens in a way that makes them actionable” to unlock value for the entire ecosystem.