We kicked off the RampUp 2018 Preconference today by welcoming 1,815 brand marketers, agencies, data providers, technology providers, and publishers to San Francisco. The opening keynote was a conversation between Wells Fargo CMO Jamie Moldafsky and LiveRamp GM of TV Allison Metcalfe, which brought to mind marketers’ many challenges, from experimenting with new technologies to repairing consumer trust.
Moldafsky touched on Wells Fargo’s fraud 2016 scandal, and the crisis it triggered within the organization. “Everyone will get a crisis,” she said, but “you don’t have a crisis for the things you plan for.” She mentioned cybersecurity as an area where Wells Fargo invests a great deal to ensure that they are prepared should a crisis arise, contrasting this with the widely reported story of the thousands of fraudulent Wells Fargo credit accounts created by employees. This unforeseen crisis became a forcing function for the bank to rethink how it interacted with customers—not just in everyday interactions, but over a long period of time.
The bank initially issued an apology, which Moldfasky’s team discovered did not help them regain trust among consumers. They fielded a survey a few months after the apology, and found that many didn’t even know about the apology. The takeaway was simple—right message, right people, and wrong channel still doesn’t add up to a partial win.
“Consumers don’t just pick a channel and stick to it,” said Moldafsky. “People use different channels, and we [as marketers] need to use them all.” So Wells Fargo kept the PR machine going by delving into its own investigations and sharing with the press their findings on even more fraudulent accounts than originally reported.
It wasn’t enough for Wells Fargo to do better. They also needed to demonstrate that to customers, over and over again.
Customers were seeking communication from Wells Fargo, and Moldafsky saw that as an opportunity to build trust. In today’s busy world, brands need to cut through the clutter and connect with customers—whether that through an apology, an acknowledgment of shared value, a joke, or a well-timed offer.
So when asked about the technologies she’s excited about, Moldafsky cited addressable TV and AI, and their ability to connect with consumers to make brands more human. “People don’t link technology and innovation for the sake of it,” said Moldafsky. “They don’t want another tool.” But she sees the future of marketing in harnessing data and technology to be more personal and more human in every interaction.
Advanced TV’s inflection point
And among the many ways to reach people, TV advertising remains the medium that packs the greatest reach and emotional punch, delivering “personal” and “human” in spades.
“TV is still the most powerful medium to change consumer behavior,” said Walt Horstman, SVP/GM of advanced media and advertising at TiVo.
And according to Jim Nail, principal analyst at Forrester for B2C marketers, advanced TV is about to have its day. Citing Everett Rogers’ diffusion of change theory, Forrester’s survey results suggest that we’re reaching a point of mainstream adoption of advanced TV with a solid 13% of marketers saying they already use advanced TV techniques and another 30% are getting started.
What’s interesting is that these early adopters come from both traditional TV buying and digital marketing backgrounds.
But Nail doesn’t believe either are truly ready to take advanced TV to its full potential yet. Digital marketers focus too much on measuring the immediate impact of their marketing. Traditional TV buyers know TV doesn’t work that way, but don’t yet know how to define audiences in a data-driven world and buy ads against the more traditionally programmatic KPIs.
His advice? “Get lunch. Swap stories. Learn from each other.”
Advanced TV is a channel full of nuance, and marketers still need to hash out the details amongst themselves. Right now advanced TV providers and platforms are willing to speak the language of both sides, according to Doug Fleming, head of advanced TV at Hulu.
“Every new channel goes through growing pains,” said Louqman Parampath, director of product management – advertising, at Roku. Advanced TV’s challenges may be unique, but the fact that it has them isn’t new. And the consensus seems to be that they’ll outgrow them.
Some things change, but marketing’s purpose remains the same
This inflection point in TV re-opens the conversation on creative—which can get lost in the data-driven marketing world we live in where a well-timed banner ad can drive a sale but be worlds apart from TV’s production value and storytelling. As much as we joke about Don Draper not making it in today’s marketing ecosystem, we’d be hard-pressed to find a Mad Men fan who does not remember his stunning pitch for Kodak’s slide carousel as a time machine.
Nail said it best during a fireside chat with Claudio Marcus, GM, Data Platform, of Freewheel, a Comcast company: “An under-appreciated element of advertising is creative.”
Marcus immediately responded by recalling Gilette’s ad of a man and his grown son working together to groom and shave his elderly father, which won gold at Cannes last year. The ability to genuinely move people is an asset that will only grow in importance.
Ultimately, no matter how many changes the marketing ecosystem undergoes, the core of it stays the same—put customers first, and they will reward you.
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