It feels like a lifetime ago that we were all together for RampUp San Francisco. Back in March—only three months ago—we were not yet sheltering in place, the COVID-19 pandemic had not been declared as such, the recession was just beginning, and ongoing injustice against the black community had not reached a global fever pitch. It’s enough to make businesses pull back and enter survival mode.
The hardest times call for action and boldness, and you know it—which is why more than 3,000 of you registered for our first RampUp Virtual Summit. In the opening remarks, LiveRamp executives Daniella Harkins, GM of Strategic and Media Alliances, and Anneka Gupta, President and Head of Product and Platforms, made the point that now is the time to build the world we want, a call to action that carried through the day’s content.
Insight #1: Turn ‘did it work’ into ‘did it deliver value.’
Opening keynote speaker Joanna O’Connell from Forrester shared this insight after presenting research from a report she coauthored, The Future of Advertising is Imminent Upheaval. Marketers have long been focused on the metrics we want to improve—CPMs, ROAS, CTR, the list goes on—but none of these take the consumer into account. “We’re not paying attention to the way modern consumers think,” Joanna said.
Now is the time to get a handle on this oversight and right the balance among advertisers, publishers, and consumers. People may say that they hate advertising, but according to Forrester research, 42% of surveyed consumers say ads are a good way to learn about new products. Rethink the ways in which you present your products, services, and even your voice—Nike’s Don’t Do It ad is a standout example—and we’ll likely see that statistic increase.
Insight #2: Measure the right thing at different points in the funnel.
You can’t talk about delivering value without measurement. Dana McGraw, VP of Audience Modeling and Data Science at Disney Advertising Sales, made the point of stratifying your messaging and matching it with unique actions across the funnel during our panel titled “Moving to Outcome-Based Measurement.”
This is especially important now, considering that new consumer habits have emerged. Some people may be happy to save more and spend less in certain categories, while others may make up for lost consumerism once they are able to shop in stores again and travel. If the outcomes you’re measuring against are too narrow, and your marketing doesn’t match your audience’s needs, you can turn off a potential customer who isn’t ready to engage.
Insight #3: Be OK with abandoning new and current work.
Continuing on the theme of listening to your audience and understanding their needs, Erin Gulden, VP of Inbound Marketing at US Bank, closed our event with this piece of advice from her presentation, “Marketing with Empathy in a Time of Crisis.”
The brand pulled its Hard Work Works brand campaign soon after the coronavirus was declared a pandemic and millions of people lost their jobs. They also paused campaigns slated for later in the year, such as a series on how children and adults think differently about money. In their place, the bank has run a “thanks” campaign focused on essential workers and volunteers, and also released new content geared toward small business owners and people who have recently lost their jobs.
Through it all, the bank’s marketing and analytics teams are collaborating to ensure that they are striking the right chord and taking their audience’s feedback to heart. If that means their new post-COVID ideas aren’t working, so be it—back to the drawing board. It’s a lesson in bravery we can all take to heart, and it echoes what Anneka shared at the start of our event.
“You have the opportunity to try new things. You don’t have to get it right the first time,” she said. “We can test and learn and use the data we have to get better and better everyday, and put stuff out there that maybe we would have been scared to do before.”