What’s the future of marketing?

As previously covered in this blog, we placed a client (Campari America’s Dave Karraker, VP of Engagement and Advocacy) at ad:tech New York, which took place the first week in November. This provided a good excuse for several of us to attend and we’ve captured some thoughts from spending 2 days with the leading and largest agencies serving Fortune 500 companies.

Too much noise! Creative content is king.

While marketers are getting better at targeting specific audiences with the right message at the right time, we are far from proficient, or effective, in the eyes of many experts. The result is just noise. Conclusion: nobody cares if the content isn’t good. This conclusion carries some extra weight when it’s coming from the likes of Microsoft, Kimberly-Clark, Samsonite and others. Implication: great, creative content that addresses consumer concerns will win. Wine and spirits has amazingly rich content, but often we’re not focused on seeing our brands as solving consumer needs or problems.

Practical data use wins out.

The global VP of Media and CRM from McDonald’s gave an impassioned delivery about how companies can do a better job focusing on creating a “value exchange” between company and customer. Conclusion: companies that are best at using their own data to address their customer’s needs will succeed. Develop your own data, and don’t rely just on the walled gardens of Facebook and Google.

AI is scary, not scary.

The Internet of Things (IOT) applications, a subset of AI, are about to play a much larger role in our lives, removing the boring elements of our lives. But, wait. What? We like some of those boring elements! Sometimes, technology seems to replace things that encourage human interaction. What do we lose with efficiency?

AI is here, get over it.

Microsoft’s CMO ran two video ads from Japan and asked everyone to vote on their favorite. Of course, most preferred the artistic one – remember that the audience is full of ad creatives – over the one with a dog spouting green sparks (we’re not making this up). But the ad that did best in Japan was the latter one, created entirely using AI.

Audio search is here

There was much breathless excitement over the advances of voice-based search—not surprising since about 40 million Amazon Echoes have been sold. Also, ad technology, plus the popularity of podcasts, are coming together to provide more opportunities for highly targeted podcast sponsorships and native ad content.

360 Customer Views are a Fantasy

We all hear vendors purport to provide 360-degree views of your customers, a complete history of interactions through multiple touchpoints. But when senior execs from Samsonite and Citibank – who have the resources and a vested interest in this topic – tell you this is pure marketing fantasy, you have to listen. One of them said, and we’re paraphrasing here: “there are only three companies that have a 360 degree view of customers: Amazon, Google and Facebook.” Their recommendation, as we interpret for wineries: work with these “walled gardens” but create your own internal processes for understanding and owning your customer data.

Data, tech, content.

If there’s an overall theme from ad:tech, it’s that these three elements are just getting more important. Control your data destiny and use it to create solutions for your customers (e.g., Fitbit). Adtech technology will continue to improve audience segmentation and targeting (e.g., Facebook). Finally, none of this matters if you can’t turn ad content into desirable content unique to your brand (e.g., the LEGO movie).

It was an inspiring 2-days. But we have a lot of work to do!