Digital Summit Spawns Actionable Ideas
Last week marked the sixth anniversary of TNS Media and Compete's Digital CMO Summit and, despite the economic gloominess, attendees' outlook for digital marketing was quite bright. One hundred and fifty senior executives from top brands, agencies and media companies gathered in Newport, R.I. for two and a half days of presentations, knowledge-sharing and extensive networking. The event spawned new ideas about the future of marketing, some forward-looking and many instantly actionable. So, in the spirit of sharing, here are my top five takeaways from the event:
1. There's a new frontier where neuroscience meets online media. (Julie Anixter, Buyology Inc.)
A new class of research, led by marketing guru Martin Linstrom, uses brain imaging to show that what consumers think is equally important to what they say and do. Unfortunately, classic research techniques rely on self-reported behaviors via surveys, when in fact, most consumer decision-making is non-conscious. By linking research on non-conscious behavior to buying behavior, advertisers can get better insights into their audiences and what programs and messaging stimulates their thinking.
2. Base decisions on data, but don't substitute data for knowledge. (Brian Lesser, 24/7 Real Media)
With new audience measurement and Web analytics data, marketers have never had so much information at their disposal. However, data can easily lead to a state of information paralysis. To combat this, make sure your analytics tools are focused on generating actionable consumer onsight, instead of just creating more reports. Train all levels of the organization to look for small insights first, then develop hypotheses and take an iterative approach to optimization.
3. Better creative will help online get beyond direct-response thinking. (Randy Rothenberg, IAB)
Anyone who thinks that the future of online media rests on click-through rates is a nincompoop. The beauty of internet advertising is that it is more measurable compared to other media. But that's also its curse; in their zeal to prove ROI, many advertisers, agencies and publishers have reduced advertising effectiveness to a spreadsheet -- and are designing campaigns to achieve narrow and shortsighted numeric goals. This reinforces the myth that the Web is best used as a direct-response and not a branding medium. Great creative will pave the way for a more holistic view of the Web.
4. Addressable TV advertising is here this year... again. (David Verklin, Canoe Ventures)
Remember Time Warner's Full Service Network in Orlando (I had visions of huge bundles of coaxial cable choking the beautiful Disney skyline)? Twenty years later, the demand for addressable television ads and the underlying capabilities of the cable infrastructure are in sync, and we should expect to see two new advertising capabilities available to national advertisers this year. Ironically, addressable TV advertising will need to meet the same standards that addressable Internet advertising has achieved (ad formats, targeting, measurement, etc.) before it can be widely utilized.
5. In tough times, tough marketers innovate. (Art Muldoon, Aegis Media/Isobar)
Despite this recession, marketing innovation is on hyper-drive. Powerful data, analytics, models, media vehicles, creative are all getting combined into a new marketing recipe for success. Using these inputs, smart marketers are learning how to integrate data across existing silos to achieve cost savings and better targeting in support of business objectives. We have set ourselves up for the Goldilocks moment where marketers have the right data and right message at the right time to engage consumers.
The event concluded with presentations from Josh James, CEO of Omniture, and Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive of WPP. Each focused on the continuous evolution of online marketing and the digital intelligence this trend creates for companies. Using real examples, they emphasized how smart marketers can use the economic slowdown to shift their focus to digital marketing, tapping whatever data they can get their hands on to identify competitive weaknesses and uncover new consumer needs. Both summed up the Summit perfectly when they said, "there's growth to be had, if you know where to look for it."