In a world where there are so many options for user engagement, why is it so difficult for brands to connect with consumers? Digital developments have found marketers scrambling to adapt to an environment that is quickly evolving past traditional advertising. In discussion with Christopher Vollmer, Partner at Strategy&, several marketers and media developers tried to solve this Marketer’s Dilemma – What can really be done to catch up to new forms of audience media consumption?
Many new combinations of content, technology and experience are critical for reaching marketing targets. But, there are so many ways for audiences to avoid messages. Talking to leaders and doing research led to Vollmer and Strategy& finding five dominant capabilities that marketers are focusing on to help solve the dilemma: First hand insights from own channels, integrated brand experiences, breakthrough content, experiments to gain ROI and verification and measurement. With these strategies in mind, Vollmer asked his panel how they focus their time and energy to address the challenge of marketing in 2016.
Marta Martinez, Senior Vice President of AOL Advertising, tries to simplify marketing for AOL’s clients in mobile and digital. It’s important, as she notes, that you have to find that one nugget, that one insight that is incredible useful to the consumer. Venky Balakrishnan, Global Vice President of Digital Innovation at Diageo, who works with major worldwide names like Captain Morgan and Smirnoff, feels that brands need to produce pieces of content that don’t necessarily look or feel like ads.
At Frito Lay, Pat O’Toole, Senior Director of Marketing, tries to do just that. Using a 70/20/10 model of ROI (70 being traditional advertising, 20 being experimental advertising, and 10 being truly experimental ideas that may fail), O’Toole tries to push the envelope. While working with the Cheetos brand, O’Toole tried to appeal to Hispanic families by developing Los Cheetahs – a form of breakthrough content described as “the world’s most entertaining fútbol club.” When trying to be authentic, Pat describes that branded content gets really watered down, and it’s really all about finding the right balance.
Anna Fieler, Chief Marketing Officer at POPSUGAR, says that her brand uses a “portfolio management system” that allows them to go from experimenting on channels to scaling within a short period of time. With internal insights, POPSUGAR found that a lot of people were screenshotting their Snapchat posts of recipes or clothes and then asking “where can I buy this dress?” or “where did you get the ingredients for this?” Upping their game, POPSUGAR developed an emoticode program to seamlessly integrate the “awareness to purchase” process.
To create truly breakthrough viral content, General Manager & Chief Marketing Officer of Seventh Generation, Joey Bergstein, enlisted the help of comedian Maya Rudolph. During a commercial shoot about natural home products, their writer suggested Rudolph to pitch their natural feminine care products based on an old SNL sketch. During a 10-minute window between shoots, Rudolph made movie magic, completely the commercial in one take. “And then we had to figure out how to get that through the lawyers,” jokes Bergstein. The ad, dubbed “Vajingle,” acts as a great example of doing things differently around content.
Moving forward, it’s impossible to know how the challenges of marketing will evolve. Regardless of medium or message, as Balakrishnan puts it, “you will always need to find new models of discovery.”