Where Relationships And Creativity Matter

Carol Bartz, CEO of Yahoo, and Peter Sachse, CEO of Macy's, spoke at the New York Athletic Club earlier this month. According to Sachse, digital marketing is the only component of the media mix where Macy's is spending more money. "It's where [the consumers] are," he noted, while in the same breath claiming to be media agnostic. Wait a minute ... is anyone really media agnostic? Since digital is so incredibly important to a brand's strategy and customer experience, should any online retailer claim to be agnostic?

While the big idea used to be the hero, I hope we have entered the Age of Good Experience, and whether you live in New York City or Bozeman, Mont., you engage with your favorite brands online. Furthermore, with display advertising driving people to stores, Macy's is cognizant of creating a consistent and personal experience when the brand is face to face with a customer or nurturing the relationship in a digital environment.

With digital touchpoints like "My Macy's" and the Back to School fashion design promotion this season, Macy's hyper-localized approach online is both effective and personal. In the realm of dynamic, custom home pages and online dominance, it is easy to see digital as the weapon of choice for retailers, but what is missing? Creativity. Bartz explains that historically, digital has been viewed as a place for information rather than a place for creativity. "The whole concept of great advertising is great creative," Bartz champions. "There is not enough of that. Yahoo needs to be a great experience. It needs to hit you emotionally."



Bringing more motion, interactivity and beauty to the digital space is important. In order to achieve this, more brands need to look beyond standard online approaches such as viral videos.

Let's think profoundly about what makes users feel excited and then connect with them in a way that makes them feel special. Part of this objective is delivering customized, relevant information as Yahoo does. However, that is not the whole story.

Clients have a number of screens to use, and as Bartz underscores: "If you are going to use the space, use it well." This is where some marketers begin to feel overwhelmed, and the temptation is to take the same creative concept and re-fit it for the remaining targeted media channels. It is an over simplification to assume that one big idea will translate well online, on-air and on mobile.

When it comes to creative, both traditional and digital agencies need to present better, break the rules and forget about some of the legacy we see week after week on TV shows like "Mad Men." Advertising campaigns should break your peripheral vision and engage consumers on all screens in a way that is genuine, sincere and, above all, creative. Clients need to challenge agencies and agencies need to educate brands.

As industry experts, we need to think about a more evolved or nuanced notion around what a campaign is -- perhaps as a more dynamic and less linear experience. As we look toward 2011, let's bring back the excitement and the promise of a good consumer experience in our online and analog lives.

2 comments about "Where Relationships And Creativity Matter ".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Alex Valderrama from Cranium Studio, October 20, 2010 at 12:37 p.m.

    Great perspective Elizabeth. Couldn't agree more.

  2. Steve Schildwachter from Enterprise CMO, LLC, October 20, 2010 at 10:53 p.m.

    None of us is media agnostic! How about "media neutral"?

Next story loading loading..