Marketing in a Digital World 2004 Tour: New York
i20Events' Marketing In A Digital World
November 17th at The Plaza in New York City
Written by John Bohan
The message from i20Events’ first New York conference was clear: “The traditional ad model is broken and there is fantastic opportunity”, said Howard Handler, CMO of Virgin Mobile.
Peter Weedfald, SVP of Marketing for Samsung, couldn’t agree more as he is leveraging new marketing and media strategies to build his brand. For example, as others continue to throw money at TV, Weedfald is using the Internet to generate tremendous brand value for Samsung by placing an ever-present Samsung logo along side the top publishers and television network names in the industry at a fraction of the cost of traditional media. He is a firm believer in the Internet to drive brand and says, “We are using it like a wildcat, 24/7, 365 days per year.”
The executives that spoke at the i20Events’ Marketing in a Digital World conference clearly agreed that control of the media has shifted from the programmers and advertisers to the consumer and they provided examples of how their company cultures and marketing strategies are adapting to this change.
For example, Jeff Carl, VP of Global Marketing for McDonald’s said, “We had become so formulaic in the way that we approached our media. We (then) looked internally and said we’ve got to change. We’re no longer hip; we’re no longer cool. We started to think: who is it we are talking to here; what are they watching; what are they listening to and how are they digesting their media and what is the right message for that media.”
“It’s a much different world out there” Carl continued, “we need our customers to ‘opt in’ to McDonald’s.”
The thought of catering to the empowered consumer is the formula for future success, yet many companies either don’t get it or don’t want to get it. It is hard to realize that the decades of experience in reach & frequency models and GRP analysis will apply less and less to the new world of more innovative ideas, smart partnerships and highly relevant advertising (through behavioral marketing and other smart tactics).
Jim Berrien, President & Publisher of Forbes Magazine Group, added that advertising and marketing is now about “the notion of emotionally connecting with the user.” Berrien continued, “The business has been hurt by the separation of creative and media. You get mismatches all the time. We need to start looking at the customers and look back at the medium choosing the media that is right for the customer, then determine the message.” In his opinion, advertising agencies need to restructure their org. charts so that the media and creative departments work together hand in hand again.
Handler feels that marketers need to see their customers at eye level and then develop campaigns that they can relate to. For example, his MTV Movie Awards sponsorship was not brought to you by Virgin Mobile but rather it was “brought to you by Jessica”. Yes, Virgin Mobile gave away their entitlement rights to a 17 year old girl that went to the event, carried much of the limelight and took home the red carpet. With this campaign, Virgin Mobile put their customers in complete control which is synonymous with their entire brand strategy. Virgin challenges the whole order of the cell phone category by making the consumer the champion.
To cater to the interests of Coor’s Lite customers online, Fred Rubin, Partner and Director of iDeutsch, provides them with NFL information. “The Internet allows us to take partnerships like the NFL,” said Rubin, “and turn it into a brand experience. It’s an opportunity to increase our relationship with the fans.”
While the conference clearly supported the Internet as a brand vehicle, Dean Harris, CMO of Vonage (a broadband phone company), and Brian Harniman, VP of Marketing for Priceline, spoke on our Behavioral Marketing Panel and indicated how they are using the Web to generate immediate returns.
Harris, who spent $25 MM on the Internet in the first five months of this year, has relied heavily on the Web to grow his customer base from 3,000 to 300,000 in just 24 months via highly targeted ad messages. For example, through behavioral marketing, he spots consumers on the Internet who overspend on their phone bills and runs animated creative ads via Oddcast that say, “My God, I can’t believe how much you are spending on your phone bill”. Harris says convincingly that “the Internet represents a better investment (than traditional media).”
Behavioral Marketing has been so successful over the last two years in driving new customers that, according to David Card, VP and Senior Analyst for Jupiter Research, it will grow 60% in 2004 and represent 16% of total online ad revenue.
Harniman indicated that he spends about 30% of his budget on the Internet and uses the medium exclusively as a direct marketing vehicle. He feels that it has been extremely efficient and productive in driving profitable conversions before he even calculates the lifetime value of these new customers. He uses television to build brand and the Internet to convert customers.
The message from the i20Events’ Marketing in a Digital World conference was clear: Stay relevant and in tune with your customer and demonstrate your appreciation for his time by running innovative campaigns and highly targeted ads that assist (rather than interrupt) him in his quest for information and entertainment.
Over the next several years, thousands of marketing and advertising careers will be built and lost over the embracement and denial of customer control. Which direction will you choose?