The Road to Montauk: Part One - A Behind-the-Scenes Look at This Year’s TV & Video Insider Summit - From the Beginning…to “The End”

Montauk may be The End—the easternmost point on Long Island. But for brand and agency executives attending MediaPost’s TV & Insider Summit, next month’s event in Montauk merely represents the tip of the emerging direct-to-consumer world.


We touched base with Steve Smith, editorial director of events at MediaPost, to gain a sense for how planning for this year’s Summit is progressing and what attendees are likely to encounter once they reach “The End.”


Smith started out by noting that viewing options, limited not long ago to the scheduling confines of linear television, expanded exponentially with digital video, premium, and otherwise—affording consumers myriad choices. He added that the rise of OTT, mobile screens, and connected TVs have fragmented the media landscape even further. Now, direct-to-consumer options are becoming more prevalent, increasingly complicating the professional lives of brands and their agencies.


At the same time, Smith said, DTC is providing opportunities to truly connect with the right consumers via pertinent and rich video content, and then reap the benefits tied to measurement and accountability.


“There has been a growing expectation from digital that is now being applied to linear TV, relative to brands gaining a significant return on investment, accounting for every penny,” he said. “With DTC, we have gone to levels we have not seen before.”


At the Summit, which will be held at Gurney’s Resort & Spa in Montauk from Oct. 20-23, top marketers and agency buyers will join together to identify the OTT channels that offer contextual and behavioral opportunities, as well as to assess the various forms of video and storytelling that thus far have resonated with consumers. There will be panels and case studies, including those examining the role first-party data plays in locating prospects across various screens and the ways planners are melding metrics to best measure against campaign executions and KPIs.


Still, Smith reminded us, these are the early innings. “There are no templates in DTC,” he said. “Brands and agencies are deploying various techniques, resulting in very different experiences.”


That extends to the political arena, Smith added, where media buyers are also adapting online targeting practices and performance metrics to television buys. In what is expected to be a highly charged presidential election cycle, brands also need to be aware of the limits on inventory and how they may have to tap alternate plans during the fall of 2020.


Along those lines, while the use of social, paid digital media, and influencer marketing are components not necessarily found in traditional media plans, Karalyn Zamora, director of digital marketing and growth for Gravity Products LLC, who will be part of social media panel (Planning to Be Social) will demonstrate a facility with deploying an array of tactics to help sell the company's line of weighted blankets.


In addition, Summit attendees will learn from keynote speakers such as Matt Myers, head of customer acquisition at Haven Life, the wholly owned subsidiary of Mass Mutual, whose team is building a customer base in an agentless, frictionless environment, and Josie Warren, a senior content producer for mattress manufacturer Sleep Number. A veteran of broadcast production, Warren has brought her passion for storytelling, including content around the NFL and its players, to various consumer touchpoints.

Roundtables have been among the highlights of past MediaPost TV & Insider Summits, and Smith noted that this tradition will likely grow this year with DTC dialog. Executives will gather in intimate groups to exchange ideas, centering on the day’s agenda items.


This collegial setting, he said, yields shared learnings and best practices, leading to fresh thinking and new executions. “We’ve found the Summit to be a must-attend event, as it not only brings us out to beautiful Montauk, but also provides an arena for industry professionals with new and innovative ideas,” said Anthony Flaccavento, CRO, Tremor Video. “We’re looking forward to meeting with DTC brands to discuss ways in which we can help them reach consumers with our proven CTV and video solutions.”


Smith noted that past participants have been very highly engaged. “I have found myself having to break up the roundtables,” he laughed.


He closed by mentioning the guidance he’s been sharing with the speakers he’s prepped—guidance that will clearly redound to attendees as well: “If you have learned something on a project, or there are campaign elements that have surprised you,” Smith said, “share those experiences. They will be beneficial to your peers.”

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