200 Episodes And Counting–A Look Back

During this 200th episode of “Marketing Today,” I look back at the previous 199 episodes and share highlights from some of my favorite interviews over the past five years.

We begin with Colleen Sellers, who spoke powerfully about being a working mom and the only female interviewed that day. Then we look back at a great conversation with the late Tom Bick, who had amazing one-liners and advice for marketers that got right to the point. 

Kim Whitler is one of the academics we’ve had on the show, and we discussed the role of marketers on corporate boards. Then the legendary Phil Kotler told us what has and hasn’t changed in marketing over the last fifty years. He remarked, “Every marketing decision also has some possible impact on our resources, on our communities, on our planet.” 

I also share highlights from my discussions with Kevin Lane Keller, Byron Sharp, and JB Steenkamp. During my second interview with Mark Ritson, he made an incredible endorsement of this podcast. We close out this episode with highlights from my discussion with thought leader Seth Godin, who said, “Marketing…is the act of making change happen.” 

I am thankful for the many friendships formed from these conversations over the past five years and thankful, as ever, for listeners. 

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • Colleen Sellers defines marketing effectiveness. (01:44)
  • Hear Colleen’s thoughts on how customer insight drives strategy. (02:19) 
  • Colleen Sellers on being a working mom and the only female interviewed that day. (02:50)
  • Tom Bick demonstrates his mastery of the art and science of marketing. (07:32) 
  • Tom Bick shares what he thought of as the most significant marketing opportunity out there. (10:59) 
  • Tom Bick demonstrates his irreplaceable wit and intelligence as he shares advice for marketers. (13:06)
  • Kim Whitler on the impact of marketing experience at the board level of companies. (14:49) 
  •  Kim Whitler discusses the place of marketers on boards. (17:25)
  • Phil Kotler describes what hasn’t changed in the last 50 years. (19:35)
  • Phil Kotler describes what has changed over the previous fifty years. (20:03)
  • Kevin Lane Keller addresses purpose in brand. (23:18)
  • Byron Sharp discusses his book How Brands Grow. (28:05)
  • JB Steenkamp describes what inspired his study of private labels. (30:34)
  • Mark Ritson discusses his passion for educating marketers and makes a big endorsement. (32:57)
  • Seth Godin sets a new bar for marketers. (37:12)

Resources Mentioned:

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Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.

Don’t Throw The Boomers Out With The Bathwater: Why Ageism Is The Enemy Of Creativity

Originally published at AW360 by 180KINGSDAY.

Creative director John Messum, 55, and art director Rachel Kennedy, 31, are calling time on ageism in advertising. With twenty years between them, the pair explain why their collaboration works and how the future of advertising needs to be built together, across generations. 

The relationship between old and young has always been tinged with contention. It was George Orwell who said, “Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after.” In recent years, this rift between old and young has widened and we’ve found ourselves in the midst of an intergenerational civil war; one that’s been given a re-up of new ammo in the form of political turmoil, a climate in crisis and social media. 

As colleagues with a twenty-five-year age gap, we have watched, initially with humor and then in horror, as the division has grown. This is evident every day, from the snide discourse around “entitled” Millennials, to “Okay Boomer–” the phrase that launched a thousand memes, fueled as many twitter rants and even found its way into politics. 

Ageism–because let’s call it what it is–has become the last acceptable prejudice. 

In the world of advertising, we’re facing our own issues. We’re an industry, as John Hegarty said, that “overly worships at the altar of youth.” An industry with a median age of 39 and one that boasts a measly 6 percent of employees over the age of 50. If you’re a woman or a minority, these numbers sadly, but unsurprisingly, look even worse.

It’s embarrassing. Advertising is a business built on innovation and imagination, yet when it comes to age, we’re shockingly short-sighted. The obvious irony here is that aging is for the many and not the few. If we don’t start addressing these discrepancies and calling out the lack of representation now, then we’re going to dent, if not destroy, an essential weapon in our arsenal: cumulative creativity. A vital catalyst for innovation. 

Cumulative creativity is far from revolutionary, yet it seems to have been sadly overlooked of late. Forty-five years ago, when Edwin Land, inventor of the Polaroid announced that he had discovered one-step instant photography, he explained that it was prompted by his daughter, who wanted to know why she couldn’t see the pictures she had taken right away. Within an hour of the question being posed, he had conceived of a way to make this happen. When interviewed later, he said, “True creativity is characterized by a succession of acts, each one dependent on the one that went before and suggesting the one after.” As collaborators, with a quarter of a century between us, it is this idea that fuels our work. 

The act of cumulative creativity is what propels us forward. It allows us to draw from our collective experiences, merge the old with the new and take advantage of cross-generational mentoring that elevates us personally and professionally. It means
that we are able to draw on the craft and experience John has accumulated during his thirty-two years in advertising and combine it with Rachel’s innovative approach and alternate perspective to carve a new path. 

Intergenerational collaboration works, and not only for us. Last April, following Billboard’s removal of twenty-year-old Lil Nas X’s song ‘Old Town Road’ from the Country music chat, Billy Ray Cyrus collaborated on a remix. That track gave the fifty-six-year-old his first number one on the Hot 100. 

When fifty-year-old Jennifer Lopez walked the runway for Versace’s Spring 2020 show in “that green dress–” the same she had worn twenty years earlier–she didn’t just “break the internet,” she reportedly made Google $9.4 million in earned media. This sent Instagram–the domain of the young–into a frenzy and generated hundreds of column inches for the sixty-four-year-old chief creative officer, Donatella. 

These types of partnerships spark the sort of creative thinking that boosts business–and isn’t that advertising in a nutshell? The work we produce exists to put our clients front and center in the mind of consumers, yet we also have a unique opportunity to shape and change perceptions. With that comes a responsibility to incorporate the lived experience of a diverse society, something we can only do if we have the right mix of people around the table.

Seventy-nine percent of us believe the advertising industry is ageist. So, let’s stop just accepting this discrimination as a fact and start to do something about it. Let’s create a tribe for the future. A tribe that isn’t built around a wise elder or a bright young thing, but a tribe that is built on collaboration across generations. Where mentorship does not rest on the shoulders of one, but all. In sharing our perspectives, we establish a knowledge exchange, we become more empathetic, more observant, and are able to see the world, not as it is, but as it could be. 

As we live and work longer, the industry’s current median age of 39 is going to seem awfully young for its next generation. So, this is a plea to everyone, what do you want the industry to look like when you’re 53, 63, 73? The ability to change rests on us. When we phase people out of our creative teams because of their age, we lose passionate older hands with the ability to guide thinking, shape ideas and form diverse foundations that, in collaboration with others, will help bring about the type of innovation we seek. The future of our work is found in the fusion between old and young, a tribe of our own design.

Digital Advertising In The Age Of Coronavirus

The global spread of COVID-19 is shaping up to be a crisis like no other. Through analysis of over 100.6 million global “coronavirus” related searches, Captify’s latest Impact study gets a pulse on how this pandemic is impacting consumer behavior and how businesses can navigate through these uncertain times.

The world may have faced pandemics before, but novel coronavirus is different. The first worldwide crisis to hit during the internet age, the spread of this virus has already begun to radically reshape almost all forms of human interaction, and marketing is certainly no exception.

Captify has made it their mission to map these changes as they happen. ‘The London-based search intelligence company is the largest holder of consumer search data outside of Google and over the last few weeks the company has used its unique technology to understand the intent and interests of consumers across all channels, including voice search, desktop on-site search and in-app search. The results make for fascinating reading, more than ever, that search marketing is fast becoming the canary in the coal mine when it comes to mapping and predicting trends in consumer behavior.

Waking People Up To The Danger

The world has been slow to react to the danger of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019). Despite the virus spreading through the Chinese city of Wuhan back in January, the first learning from Captify’s report is that it took a considerable amount of time before consumers reacted to the danger at their doorsteps.

“Initially, we saw a very slow burn because I think people originally thought [coronavirus] was a very Chinese-related virus and it appeared to be spreading slowly,” explains Anand Siddiqui, Captify’s global VP of insights and analytics.

“Our data clearly shows just how people have been taken by surprise. A lot of people were thinking that it was a remote issue, only affecting small numbers. So despite all the warnings, it still took people a long time to wake up to the dangers.”

The trigger that caused the majority of people to sit up and finally take notice wasn’t the high-profile lockdowns of Chinese and Italian cities, but a major celebrity coming down with the virus. “It was only on March 12th when searches for COVID-19 overtook the actual number of cases. That was the day that Donald Trump banned flights from the EU and the NBA suspended its season, but it was also the day the news broke that Tom Hanks had caught the virus. I think this was a wake-up call for a lot of people, as suddenly they thought ‘well, if he can get it, so can I.'”

Search Behaviour In A Time Of Crisis

It may have taken the West a while to cotton on, but since the beginning of March, coronavirus has seen search behaviour change across the globe at a frightening pace. From Millennials to family shoppers, the study looked at how the pandemic drove remarkable changes in behavioural patterns and the brands that consumers are looking towards in this time of crisis.

The results so far have mirrored scenes on the nightly news; fast-moving consumer goods, home delivery services and pharmaceuticals have all seen massive boosts to their usual search interest, while travel, events and luxury goods have all seen declines that border on catastrophic. “We wanted to look at well-acknowledged audience segments and really try and understand the brands and products people are searching for and the motivations behind them,” notes Siddiqui. “Millennials, for example, seem very concerned with streaming and figuring out what they’re going to watch during lockdowns, while family shoppers are much more focussed on healthcare and household goods, searching for brands like Charmin, 3M and Panadol.”

“Generation Z is an interesting bunch,” says Siddiqui. “For them, it’s all about entertainment–with COVID-19 producing a real boom in interest around gaming. Gamers, in general, will be an important segment and we’re already seeing that these are starting to spike. People are already looking for ways to continue their social interactions, and gaming, as well as messaging apps like Google Hangouts and Zoom, are going to become more and more important over time.”

“Similarly, among professionals and business people, we’ve found that mental health has become a very important topic. I mean, it makes sense when you think about it–home is now suddenly a workplace for a lot of people, and there needs to be some sort of balance. With all the pressures that are coming through now, people are looking at ways to stay healthy at home, be that mediation, yoga or pilates.”

A Real Stress Test For Brands

Scanning across the brands mentioned in the study and you’ll quickly see that in these times of uncertainty, many people rely on long-established comfort brands. Part of Captify’s study looked at our current must-have products, and the list reads more like your mom’s shopping list that search history, with the likes of M&Ms, Lysol, Clorox, Bacardi and Cheerios all seeing huge spikes in interest.

“I think in one way, this shows how a real focus on brand-building has really paid off,” explains Siddiqui. “It’s no surprise that products that have made themselves sticky with the consumer are obviously top of mind when it comes to the essentials.”

However, he is keen to stress that it’s still very early. In fact, the study has followed a global spread of panic buying almost in real-time, reporting that there has been a 300 percent increase in searches for bulk buying and multipacks. “It’ll be interesting to see what happens to many brands if supply problems continue. If the trends we’ve seen over the last three weeks are anything to go by once your go-to product is no longer on the shelf, then I suspect your decision making process when looking for a replacement will be far-faster. I think all the money a lot of brands have spent to make sure that they’re top of mind when you’re in the shop will end up being wasted, and it’ll be interesting to see how brands are going to recover from that.”

The End Of Maslow’s Hierarchy

Even at this early stage, the virus is showing how our buyer behaviour has been fundamentally affected by the world wide web, leveling some of marketing’s longest-held orthodoxies in the process.

“I think we’re going to see massive changes in our behavior because of this,” Siddiqui warns. “An event like this has the power to rip up the way consumerism works and that is going to have huge consequences on the way that we shop, socialize and do business. I kind of think someone will rewrite Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ on the back of this. At the moment we’re seeing people hunker down, figuring out what they need to do and reassessing their priorities, and for the first time, things like entertainment and connectivity are being held up as basic needs.”

For marketers, the problem now is how to navigate this new reality. “We’re still seeing budgets being spent and we’re working with brands to help them understand how they can support their business in the coming months,” offers Siddiqui when I ask him for his predictions. “One thing that is glaringly obvious already is that marketers need to adapt and adapt quickly. It’s going to be important for marketers to remain engaged with their audiences, but also shift their message. We need to shift our narrative from ‘how can we sell more?’ to ‘how can we support our customers during this time?’ The messaging needs to be simple, factual and empathetic and focused on identity & values over profit or gain.”

Ecommerce Ad Spend Doubles From $4.8 Million To $9.6 Million

Ecommerce ad spend jumped from $4.8 million to $9.6 million during the course of just one month, from February 17 to March 9, according to MediaRadar. The online shopping boom comes as restaurants remain closed and new teleworking policies are implemented amid the coronavirus pandemic.

To contain the virus, California, Illinois and New York have ordered residents to stay in their homes, restricting any travel other than for vital reasons such as grocery shopping, visits to the pharmacy and medical checkups. With over 70 million Americans practicing social distancing, online shopping activity is growing exponentially. 

According to a survey from Coresight Research, nearly half (47.2 percent) of US internet users in February said they’re avoiding shopping centers and malls. At the same time, about 75 percent of respondents said they would steer clear from shopping centers altogether if the outbreak worsens. Older consumers are being extra cautious as nine in 10 of respondents over 45 said were likely to avoid physical stores in general if the coronavirus spreads.

Digital retailers are adjusting operations to keep up with demand. Last week Amazon announced it would be hiring 100,000 new full and part-time warehouse and delivery workers in the US. Amazon will also increase workers’ pay for a total of $350 million in increased compensation for hourly employees across the US, Europe and Canada.

According to eMarketer, some Amazon shoppers have received notifications that say, “We’re very sorry your delivery is late. Most late packages arrive in a day. If you have not received your package by tomorrow, you can come back here the next day for a refund or a replacement.”

eMarketer updated its 2020 global ad spend forecast from $712 billion to $691 billion. China, the world’s second largest ad market after the US, accounts for most of the reduction as eMarketer adjusted its total media ad spend in China from $121 billion to $113 billion. 

Monthly US Podcast Listeners Exceeds 100 Million

The number of monthly podcast listeners grew 16 percent year-over-year to 100 million (104 million) consumers for the first time in 2020, according to Edison Research and Triton Digital’s annual study, “The Infinite Dial 2020.”

Seventy-five percent of Americans aged 12 and older (about 212 million people) are now familiar with podcasting, up from 70 percent in 2019. Fifty-five percent (155 million) listen to podcasts in general while 37 percent (104 million people) listen to podcasts monthly, up from 32 percent (90 million) in 2019.

It’s more important than ever that brands create content easily retrievable through voice as consumption of both podcasts and voice-operated assistants rise. Over six in ten Americans use some form of voice assistant technology and nearly one-third of smart speaker owners have three or more devices in their homes.

Other noteworthy survey findings include smartphone ownership growing to 240 million, smart speaker awareness growing to about 220 million and smart speaker ownership growing to 76 million. The mean number of smart speakers per household grew from 1.7 in 2018 to 2.2 in 2020. As smart speaker ownership increased, radio ownership decreased, as the mean number of radios per household went from three in 2008 to 1.5 in 2020.

Consumer habits related to smartphones, tablets and smartwatches have shown no new growth, indicating that in-car audio has the most potential for digital audio growth. In fact, 45 percent of Americans aged 12 and older have listened to audio in a car through a cell phone.

Findings are based on a national telephone survey Edison Research conducted from January-February 2020 among 1,502 people aged 12 and older.

What We’re Reading–March 16th

We’ve searched for the most pressing marketing news so you don’t have to. Here’s what’s happening so far the week of March 16.

Gartner: CMOs Must Shift Strategies Amid Coronavirus Threat
Marketing Dive

CMOs need to prepare for disruptions and tread carefully.

Why it matters: Uncertain times call for proactive measures and agile adaptations.

How Brands Are Adapting To The Expectations Of An Increasingly Vegan Generation

With 30 percent of Gen-Zers reporting an intention to be on meat-free diets by 2021, brands need to adapt their messaging due to consumer expectations.

Why it matters: Understanding Gen-Z’s unique orientation toward veganism will show that it’s not a 1:1 with the attitudes of Millennials.

How Bad Times Bring Out The Best In People
Harvard Business Review

In your experience, are you and your coworkers bonding and banding together over the current crisis?

Why it matters: Tough times make it harder to distinguish the difference between our individual needs and those of society. And that can be a good thing.

Coronavirus And The Marketing Industry: What Happens Next?
The Drum

It’s the question everyone is asking: What happens next for the industry?

Why it matters: The widespread impact of coronavirus cannot be overstated. It’s imperative to understand the blow to traditional marketing and its relation to a significant increase in digital ad spend.

How To Design An Effective Schedule During Stressful Times
Fast Company

How to design an effective schedule during the abnormalities we’re currently experiencing (that means recharge time, too).

Why it matters: Even though the disruption of normal activities is trying and its length is uncertain, keeping your environment as similar as possible and adopting a schedule that matches your typical day can go a long way to making it more tolerable and effective.

Olympics Unlikely This Year, Former Team USA Official Says

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are looking less and less likely, at least according to one source.

Why it matters: Advertisers and sponsors are likely to take a drubbing if the 2020 Olympics are called off: You can recoup some things, but lost impressions—especially of this magnitude—are irrecoverable.

What Can Brands Do If the Coronavirus Crisis Drags On for Months?

Now might be the optimal time to pursue cause marketing initiatives as we collectively ascend the upward slope of the coronavirus crisis in both time and scale.

Why it matters: Your back-up plans need back-up plans; strategize for the long-term and multiple “worst case scenarios” with the approaches outlined here.

General Mills Boosts Marketing Spending, Pushes For Appropriate Message During COVID-19
Ad Age

Maintaining a sense of normalcy and avoiding outright reference to “stocking up” are a big part of General Mills’ strategy in this current climate.

Why it matters: General Mills is experiencing something that cereal and canned food brands have crises from the past: a boost as people stock up on dry goods and non-perishables and a need to adjudicate over what’s appropriate messaging given the delicate situation.

Preparing Your Marketing Plans For The Coronavirus Downturn
The Drum

The protocol hasn’t changed much: Take a long-term approach to the current crisis by not immediately looking for short-term cuts to marketing. Do this while retaining your current customers while acquiring new ones and you’ve already started your preparations.

Why it matters: Step #1: Don’t cut the budget. “Maintaining visibility in your market is essential for long term profitability and continued investment.” It’s common to subject the marketing budget to cuts first, but that would be a mistake right now.

Keeping Vision In Focus When The CMO Goes

A problem/solution oriented approach filling the vacuum left by outgoing CMOs: Assign a leader, force collaboration and codify processes, as a start.

Why it matters: More and more organizations are recontextualizing marketing roles, which unfortunately for the CMO means either extinction or adaptation. For the teams that remain, identifying gaps should be a primary concern.

Entertainment Brands Chart Their Next Steps After Canceled SXSW

Entertainment brands are assembling the wreckage after the cancelation of SXSW.

Why it matters: What do you do when the worst case scenario is the scenario?

Which COVID-19-Related Consumer Behavior Shifts Are Here To Stay?

Separating the ephemeral features of the coronavirus crisis from those with lasting impact on consumer behavior.

Why it matters: This too shall pass, but some things may never return t “normal.”

Cannes Lions Officially Postpones Festival Of Creativity As COVID-19 Crisis Worsens

It was inevitable.

Why it matters: The windfall for marketers at events like Cannes Lions cannot be understated. So, what’s next?

What’s Trending: Experts Decode Generation Z
Modern Retail

“Seven Gen Z marketers and entrepreneurs share their insights from the frontlines.”

Why it matters: Widen your analysis of Gen Z’s habits. What was initially thought as indicating a deficit of attention could actually be a product of Gen Z’s media fluency and swift detection—and distaste for—the disinguine.

3 Strategies For Strengthening Brands Amid Coronavirus Uncertainty
Marketing Dive

How to strategically approach this crisis by adapting to changes in consumer behavior that could make your brand stronger.

Why it matters: Adversity is a chance to galvanize. “The best brands are defining themselves with the mission statement and working from that standpoint and recognizing that they can grow share during this period of time.”

What Marketers Can Do Right Now in the Age of Coronavirus: A Letter From Ann Handley

Ann Handley shares her take on what marketers can do right now to confront the coronavirus crisis head-on.

Why it matters: In the face of monumental crises, it’s important to take stock of what actions are needed immediately as well as in the long-term.

Majority Of Marketers Delaying Campaigns As Coronavirus Fears Escalate
Marketing Week

“More than half of marketers (55 percent) are delaying campaigns or have put them under review as fears escalate over the global coronavirus outbreak.”

Why it matters: The impact of coronavirus on advertising and marketing has been profound and necessitates that every marketer look to their planned campaigns to figure out the right path forward.

Facebook’s Sandberg: No One Knows How Much Impact Coronavirus Will Have On Marketing Industry

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg: “This is not going to business as usual, and the marketing industry is certainly going to see a real impact. I don’t think anyone knows how big. So we’re going to watch and look.”

Why it matters: As we examine the extent of the pandemic’s reach, it’s important to look to industry leaders for their perspective on its impact on advertising.

Marketing Events In The Time Of Coronavirus
The Drum

What event organizers, speakers and sponsors need to do in light of the global coronavirus pandemic, from refund recommendations to how to hold virtual events.

Why it matters: Events are essential and the roles involved are numerous, so we need real solutions to limit the negative global impact of coronavirus on the industry.

‘We’re Thinking Like A TV Production’: SAP’s CMO On Rewriting Strategy In A Pandemic
The Drum

SAP’s marketing strategy for the entire year has been scrapped. CMO Alicia Tillman shares what motivated and informed these adjustments and how thinking like a TV production has helped.

Why it matters: A reminder that none of us are now working in a traditional business environment.

DTC Leads the Charge Of Retailers Closing Shops To Slow Spread Of Coronavirus

How direct-to-consumer brands are leading the movement to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Why it matters: Naturally, DTC brands have a thing or two to offer consumers in times of social distancing and retail lockdowns. But not every retailer is putting public health over short-term business goals.

Coronavirus Sparks Huge Jump In Social Media Use, Study Finds
Campaign US

A new study confirms that people are connecting online as social distancing practices go into effect around the country.

Why it matters: Brands can maintain a digital connection as consumers stay indoors due to the spread of coronavirus.

A Proven Battle Plan For CMO’s To Combat This Global Crisis

It’s past time for a battle plan to combat the current global crisis.

Why it matters: We’re confronting a new reality in the workplace and the answer to what lies tomorrow isn’t always clear. Ambiguity is something every CMO can grapple with, however, as marketing leaders’ work environments are always profoundly affected in times of crisis.

Bing’s Coronavirus Live Map Tracks Recoveries, Along With New Cases And Deaths
Fast Company

You can find a quick link to Bing’s tracker here.

Why it matters: Keep a tab open and stay informed about the spread of coronavirus and how it might impact your work.

Influence Through Endorsement: The Power Of Brand Ambassadors
The Drum

Something non-coronavirus related, because if you’ve taken anything from the first article in today’s reading list, the crisis will end.

Why it matters: This Q&A between with Jemma Banks, WW’s (fka: Weight Watchers) marketing director and Mark Stringer, CEO and founder of PrettyGreen, WW’s UK PR agency, covers successful influencer campaign and has insightful words of caution for brands extending their influence through ambassadors.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly reading list is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, March 20. Have a tip? We’re looking for must-read articles related to trends and insights in marketing and media. Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.

Instagram Tests Hashtags For Instagram Stories Highlights

This week in social media news, Instagram tests the capability to add up to four hashtags and a location to your Instagram Stories highlights and more.

Instagram Is Testing Hashtags For Instagram Stories Highlights

According to a report from Social Media Today, Instagram is testing out the ability to add up to four hashtags and a location to Instagram Stories highlights.

Why it matters
: Until this point, Highlights content has not appeared in searches on Instagram or in Explore listings. Jane Manchun Wong’s discovery could indicate a change in the discoverability of Stories Highlights.

The details: Select users are able to add up to four hashtags, as well as a location, to Instagram Stories highlights.

Facebook And Instagram AR Effects Approvals On Hold

Social Media Today reports that staffing changes, as a result of COVID-19, have caused Facebook to announce a hold on AR effects approvals.

Why it matters: Analyzing the impact of COVID-19 on Facebook can help us take the temperature of how media players are reacting. It also serves as a reminder of the major impact of the current crisis.

The details: “Facebook says that all of its Spark AR reviewers will soon not be operating. As a result, no user-submitted AR effects, for either Facebook Stories or Instagram, will be approved until further notice.”

Facebook Expands Ban On Ads Capitalizing On Coronavirus Crisis

According to Social Media Today, Facebook’s ‘Trust/Integrity’ team director for ads & business products at Facebook, Rob Leathern, shares further bans on the platform that seek to capitalize on the coronavirus crisis.

Why it matters: “It’s another step in Facebook’s ongoing effort to protect its users and ensure they’re getting accurate, timely information about the pandemic.”

The details: Facebook will extend their ban on ads that are deemed as attempting to profiteer from COVID-19, including all listings of hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and test kits.

Spotify Releases Podcast API For Developers

According to a new press release, Spotify will allow developers to “explore and build unique experiences to help […] shows reach new listeners in new ways.”

Why it matters: It all leads to enhanced discoverability and more control over the listening environment.

The details: “Our API, just like any other API, simply provides access, but does not prescribe how it’s used; the only limit to how an API is used is a developer’s creativity. In this case, it means third-party developers will be able to build really powerful new experiences for listeners leveraging Spotify’s podcast ecosystem.”

TikTok Penetrates APAC Markets With The Trade Desk Ad Partnership

The partnership will allow marketers to directly access TikTok content across APAC via The Trade Desk platform.

Why it matters: This makes TikTok the first short-form video platform to integrate its ad offerings with The Trade Desk, a lucrative opportunity for APAC brands looking to reach audiences and incorporate short-form videos into their omnichannel campaign.

The details: Pepsi is the first brand to leverage TikTok inventory via The Trade Desk for Lays in Thailand. The partnership between TikTok and The Trade Desk covers 11 APAC markets including Australia, Southeast Asia, India, Russia and Japan.

Facebook Adds “Mood” Mode To Stories Tools

First spotted by social media expert Matt Navarra, the feature lets you incorporate GIFs into Facebook stories. 

Why it matters: 500 million users engage with Facebook stories every day but the format has yet to be as popular as Instagram stories. Introducing GIFs could indicate Facebook’s efforts to appeal to the platform’s older user base.

The details: Upon selecting “mood” from stories tools, users are shown a library of GIFs, any of which can be reposted in square or vertical format on their stories.

Short-Form Video App Likee Is Fourth-Most Downloaded App In The World 

Singaporean app and TikTok competitor Likee said in a press release that it’s making its move into the US.

Why it matters: With 4D effects and a deep-fake style tool called “FaceMagic,” which lets users swap faces with any celebrity in a film, Likee could prove to be TikTok’s biggest competitor. 

The details: Likee saw a 200 percent jump in its audience in 2019 and now boasts 115 million monthly active users (MAU), earning a top spot on App Annie’s ‘Breakout Apps and Games’ report for 2019.

Social Media Consumption To Increase During Confinement 

IZEA conducted a survey between March 12-13 and found that 66 percent of social media consumers expect their social media use to increase during coronavirus confinement and 99 percent of social media users say there’s a chance they’ll buy something online if they’re in household quarantine.

Why it matters: Due to the virus, many employers have implemented work-from-home policies and 20 states have banned in-person dining. Confinement will inevitably lead to a surge in social media content creation and consumption as well as ecommerce activity, making it important for brands to tailor messaging and strategy accordingly. 

The details: Sixty-four percent of respondents expect to use YouTube more and 63 percent expect to use Facebook more. Ninety-two percent who make household purchasing decisions believe they’ll use grocery delivery services. Seventy-nine percent of children ages 3-17 at home think they’ll make a home improvement or DIY purchase while confined. 

Twitter Adds New Options To Invite Guests To Live-Streams Ahead Of Time

A tweet from Twitter Support announced that users could now invite live-steam audio guests before broadcasting.

Why it matters: Though a helpful addition, Twitter’s broadcast approach lags behind that of Instagram’s, which allows for split-screen participants. Twitter says it’s looking into video guests in the future. 

The details: When users start their Twitter stream, they can invite up to three people to join as audio guests. Guests will receive a notification DM instead of a tweet in order to maintain privacy between the broadcaster and guest. Users must start their stream solo before invitees can join.

Facebook Bug Marks Some Links As Spam Including Coronavirus

A bug that hit Facebook’s News Feed spam filter marked some posts from Medium, Buzzfeed and USA Today as spam, TechCrunch reported.

Why it matters: Despite not trusting Facebook, many Americans consume news via the platform, and given the coronavirus pandemic, ensuring information circulates properly is more important than ever.

The details: Upon sharing certain links, users were shown a warning notification from Facebook. Facebook’s VP of integrity/product management Guy Rosen tweeted, “. . . this is a bug in an anti-spam system, unrelated to any changes in our content moderator workforce. We’re in the process of fixing and bringing all these posts back.” Later Rosen said Facebook restored all the posts that were incorrectly removed.

TikTok Announces Content Advisory Council

In a company post, TikTok US general manager Vanessa Pappas said the platform has brought together thought leaders to “provide unvarnished views on and advice around TikTok’s policies and practices.”

Why it matters: The announcement comes a week after TikTok said it plans to open a transparency center in its Los Angeles office where outside experts could give feedback on TikTok practices. 

The details: TikTok council members include experts from the technology, policy and health and wellness industries who have spent most of their lives researching and analyzing issues relevant to TikTok such as child safety, hate speech, bullying and misinformation. The first meeting is set for the end of March and will focus on topics around platform integrity and policies against election interference and misinformation.

Facebook Offers $100 Million In Cash Grants To Help Small Businesses

Facebook says it will offer $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where Facebook operates.

Why it matters: The program is in response to the Facebook business community’s cry for help amid coronavirus induced restaurant and bar closures. Cash grants can help small businesses stay afloat to help cover rent and operational costs.

The details: Facebook says it will begin taking applications in the coming weeks. In addition to the grant program, Facebook is creating “new virtual training to support businesses operating in this new and unsettling environment.”

LinkedIn Rolls Out Conversation Ads To Increase Conversions

LinkedIn’s conversation ads will allow businesses to serve more personalized content based on where their consumers are in the journey, LinkedIn announced on its business blog. 

Why it matters: By giving recipients more ways to respond, brands can increase engagement and generate more conversions. In testing, one brand saw a five times higher click-through rate with the feature.

The details: Conversation ads build on LinkedIn’s current message ads offering to allow brands to create full-funnel campaigns with multiple customized calls-to-action like product education, webinar sign-ups and ebook downloads. The feature will be available globally as a public beta to all advertisers over the next few weeks.

Instagram Is Testing IGTV Monetization With In-Stream Ads

Instagram has confirmed it is testing IGTV monetization by launching in-stream ads for a number of selected channels and creators.

Why it matters: “The capacity to generate real, direct income from IGTV could be a critical lure for top creators – especially given that they’re already able to generate revenue from their content on both YouTube and Facebook.”

The details: The ability to monetize IGTV ads on Instagram will give creators another platform to expand their reach beyond Facebook and YouTube. There has yet to be any word on the threshold for participation as in-stream ads become available to creators, however, those in the program will receive a 55 percent share of all advertising in IGTV according to an initial Bloomberg report.

Instagram Tests “Mirror” Camera Mode For Stories

Instagram is testing a new ‘’Mirror’ camera mode, which comes with five different layout options and allows you to alter the view through your camera.

Why it matters: Instagram has been unveiling new additions to its platform to offer users more dynamic and unique options when creating standout content.

The details: Mirror mode, which splits your screens into different reflected views, is the latest feature to be tested by Instagram that will allow creators on the platform more creative options for Instagram Stories. 

Social Platforms Unify Over Combatting Coronavirus Misinformation

Social media companies and their parent corporations, including Facebook, Reddit, Google, LinkedIn and others issued a joint statement on their efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus misinformation.

Why it matters: This is an unprecedented move by major media platforms.

The details: TechCrunch shared details pulled from each social platform’s latest communications about coronavirus as well as a joint statement issued from those platforms. These communications cover how to deal with fraud related to the pandemic as well as evaluating misinformation.

Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, March 20. Have a news tip? We’re looking for changes to and news surrounding social media platforms as they relate to marketing. Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.

Smart Energy GB Hires Former Channel 4 CMO

This week in marketing leadership moves, Smart Energy GB hires former Channel 4 CMO Dan Brooke as CEO, Tom Brady and Alex Guerrero’s TB12 hires Tara McRae as the brand’s first CMO and Leviton hires Randy Mortensen to serve as its new senior vice president of global distribution sales and marketing.

Smart Energy GB Appoints Former Channel 4 CMO As CEO

Campaign reports that former Channel 4 CMO Dan Brooke has been hired by Smart Energy GB to replace outgoing chief executive Sacha Deshmukh, who is leaving to become chief executive of Unicef UK. Smart Energy’s director of finance and operations, Alistair Gibbons, will act as interim chief executive between now and early May.

Brooke, who has been running a brand consultancy since he left Channel 4, was replaced by BT’s Zaid Al-Qassab.

TB12 Hires Tara McRae As Chief Marketing Officer

Tara McRae joins TB12, Tom Brady and Alex Guerrero’s performance lifestyle brand, in the newly created role of chief marketing officer. McRae joins TB12 from Clarks where she served as CMO. Prior to that, she served as SVP of brand and marketing at PUMA.

Leviton Hires Replacement SVP Of Global Distribution Sales And Marketing

Randy Mortensen joins Leviton as their new SVP of global distribution, sales and marketing. He will take on the responsibilities of outgoing SVP Bill Marshall, who is retiring on December 31st, according to AIthority.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, March 20. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.

Job Vacancies 

VP Of Marketing OperationsCalifia FarmsLos Angeles, CA
Head Of Media, Digital Marketing And CommunityCalibraMenlo Park, CA
SVP, Integrated MarketingZillow GroupPasadena, CA
Head Of MarketingAspyr Media, Inc.  Austin, TX
Chief Marketing OfficerNPRWashington D.C.

Make sure to check out select job vacancies on our Careers page.

What Marketers Need To Know About Earned Media Value

The industry standard for measuring earned media value (EMV), Ayzenberg Group’s Social Index released its Q4 White Paper findings including case studies and insights on the latest social media activations. 

We spoke with Ayzenberg VP of product and technology Chris Strawser to learn how marketers can overcome challenges with organic social, the key to turning owned media into earned media and how to approach social and digital strategies amid the coronavirus panic.

What is the top challenge marketers face today with tracking organic social content and what are some things they can do to overcome this?

As we highlighted in the latest White Paper, organic is a challenge, especially as it pertains or as contrasted to paid media tracking and attribution or any digital channel, because the platforms have a bit of the upper hand on how you’re able to do that. 

In terms of tracking performance, we created Social Index because it allows people to actually put a metric against their performance rather than eyeball their follower count or engagement rates or use some sort of social listening tool that allows them to understand what shared voice they have or how they’re tracking with sentiment against their campaign messaging.

Because social by itself doesn’t necessarily lend itself to any conclusion, part of what we do for our clients is take earned media value (EMV) or social index and put it in a constellation of other data points, drawing conclusions and making recommendations based on what we’re seeing. We’re trying to provide people with a top funnel data point that will lend itself to understanding a little bit better about how social performed for them down the funnel.

Beyond creating meaningful calls to action and planning SMART, how else can marketers get better at converting owned media to earned media?

We used to use the term return on investment (ROI) more than we do now and I think it’s because ROI is a little misleading. When you go to an executive and say, this is your ROI, they’re expecting that to be dollars in the bank, for lack of a better term.

This is more like valuation. So there’s a valuation we’re putting on your current social media performance that through your own channels should then translate into earned media. If you’re evaluating yourself week over week, month over month, quarter over quarter and that valuation continues to increase, you should see a direct cause and effect between the value of your owned channels translating into earned media. And we’re seeing that type of cadence and result for some of our biggest clients. 

But when you’re trying to figure out why the valuation went up for a certain campaign as opposed to the other, it’s about looking at exactly why it worked—was it the creative, the copy or a combination of both. Was it the cadence of the messaging in the campaign, how often you were touching people and reaching out and how often they were engaging?  The valuation that we provide is a springboard for people to then figure out the reason why a campaign was valued more.

Can you explain how the new EMV calculation method Ayzenberg created works and how it solves the issue of comparing EMV to actual budgets? 

What we’re trying to do for our clients is to make sure that they know where they should be spending money, especially in contrast to how they spent it before. We have a lot of clients who are spending inordinate amounts of money on creative. If you’re running something that you know is going to resonate more on Twitter, spending a lot of money on creative isn’t the priority and instead you might need a more tight communication strategy associated with the campaign than you do for Instagram.

We’re also trying to coach people on using EMV the way they calculate it internally because everyone seems to have their own way based on what your campaign KPI is for. If you were going top funnel, say awareness, then go for impressions. Maybe you’re not going deeper into engagement rates because that’s not really the point. If it is about the impression, then maybe you don’t need certain resources allocated against the effort and you can save some time and streamline some of the effort going into it in the future. 

What we had people doing was adding all of the impressions, every share, like, retweet and subscription and then saying, okay, our overall EMV is this. If you looked at that figure more from a statistical perspective, you’re looking at an inflated number because that’s not how most other marketers work through other channels. They don’t have a campaign geared specifically towards certain KPIs and then add in all the other ones that trickled in or came along in the periphery of things.

How should marketers shift their social content strategies during coronavirus?

Even if you have a brand that doesn’t tie directly to anything that’s going on right now, or at least you think you don’t, one of the things that we found at Ayzenberg, especially through our marketing science department, is that younger age demographics, particularly millennials, care about what your brand thinks about other things beyond what the brand offers—your stance is on certain things. Social media right now then is a great way for a lot of brands to make a name for themselves and put forward a certain type of messaging that they haven’t before, but shows a lot more empathy and engagement. For example, share the things they’re doing for the community. 

You’re reaching people on social media right where they are and those people are consuming information in the minute that it’s released. A brand who’s able to capitalize on that real time, ‘this is happening right now’ information is going to see a pretty big lift in earned media. 

This way you’re making the brand much more approachable than maybe it ever had been before, because now you’re talking to people about something they care about at the moment rather than talking about your sale on products and services.

Does that also apply to digital content strategy amid coronavirus?

Most social media managers and teams are able to put out really good quality messaging that reflects very well on the brand very quickly. Whereas with digital mediums, there’s so much lifting that goes on to get something out the door. There is something about social that is so immediate and impactful that I think social should be the leader. Your digital channel should follow. So it’s flipped, especially in times like these. 

But I would even say this applies generally. I think you should be thinking social first, because of the possibilities and then make sure that everyone else falls in line behind it, which is a little bit of a paradigm shift for most organizations. I think we still struggle getting clients and customers to think that way, but times like these help them because they see the impact social can have.

With the rise of social commerce, how important will Pinterest be for marketers looking to boost discoverability?

Social commerce across the board should definitely see an increase in demand however it’s been slow due in part to the user experience that some of the platforms are putting forward. 

Right now, I don’t know if anyone’s really figured out the commerce user experience very well. But I do think that it should play a much bigger part in the next two to three years. These platforms are still playing in a bit of a Wild West and have to figure out on their own since there’s no playbook for them to go on.

Snapchat emphasizes self-service advertising with its Lens Studio and Lens Web Builder while advertising capabilities on TikTok are still nascent. Which platform would marketers be wiser to create owned and/or paid content for today: TikTok or Snapchat, and why?

It depends on what your KPIs are and what your goals and your target audience is. The younger you get in those segmentations I think that both of them become increasingly important. TikTok is a little bit more niche in its communication style, so you may have some limitations based on the campaign you want to run through TikTok rather than Snapchat.

You don’t necessarily have to pick and choose. You have to know what you’re after and who you’re after. Once you have those questions answered, you can start to dig into whether or not you choose one of the two platforms or maybe both. In those cases, most people do both and they tailor messaging to the platform.

Instagram recently said it’s testing IGTV monetization with in-stream ads—how will this affect its performance against YouTube? 

It really depends on who the audience is. YouTube has a strong monthly user base that ranges from mobile to smart TV across every audience. There isn’t a niche not represented on YouTube. We don’t see IGTV as a competitor to connected TV or desktop advertising. While Instagram has become more popular with broader audiences over the years, we don’t think it’s as robust of an audience to sell to as YouTube (plus it’s limited to mobile, and only recently allows horizontal video).

Which tool or strategy to power KPIs for influencer and social campaigns do marketers undermine the most today?

This is relative to what part of the funnel you are targeting with influencers: awareness? consideration? conversion?

For awareness: Here you’re going to want to focus more on total reach and cost efficiency (CPM, CPV) of that reach, along with brand lift as measured by surveys and search lift.

For consideration: If video is available, view duration combined with total views to create a “High Quality Video View” that measures people watching more of the content (this is rare unless it’s run as an ad). Alternatively, typically clicks and website traffic are good targets.

For conversion: Actual Conversions (as defined by the organization) and cost efficient (CPA, ROAS).

One week remains to get our new White Paper promotion.

If you’re interested in seeing how your social campaigns stack up, a.network developed the Social Index tool with the goal of becoming the industry standard for measuring earned media value (EMV) and campaign ROI. 

Social Index 2.0 leverages a combination of expert analysis, machine learning algorithms and vast amounts of proprietary and public data. The index helps brands and agencies take engagement and earned media ROI measurement to the next level.

For more information: https://earnedmediavalues.com/

Coronavirus Hit Food Industry Hard—Here’s How They’re Responding

Coronavirus is coming for the food industry. It all started when brands like KFC, Hershey and Coors pulled television ads to avoid virus insensitivities. The issue worsened when Los Angeles, New York City and Washington officials ordered closures of restaurants and bars, with over a dozen states following suit. In response, big and small eateries alike have had to rearrange stores to prevent the spread of infection or shut their doors completely, including Denny’s, Starbucks and Chick-fil-A. 

According to data OpenTable released on year-over-year seated diners at restaurants, patronage on March 14 decreased in New York City and Boston by 64 percent, 58 percent in San Francisco and Seattle and 47 percent in Los Angeles, compared with the same night last year. 

The economic toll of the closures has already been high as companies are being forced to cancel or postpone some marketing campaigns altogether. With in-person dining off limits, brands are relying on take-out and delivery orders to stay afloat.

Denny’s said it’s keeping many of its restaurants open but reducing the number of patrons in the dining room.

“In keeping with this priority, we have waived all delivery fees to promote remaining at home and social distancing. We are confident that together, we will overcome the challenges posed by this virus,” Denny’s tells us.

Delivery fees for Denny’s orders made online are waived from now until April 12. Denny’s is also eliminating all condiments, silverware and placements from each table, cleaning high-touch areas every 30 minutes and requiring employees to wash their hands every 20 minutes.

This week Starbucks said it would be moving to a “to go” model in all company-owned stores in the US and Canada for a minimum of two weeks. The company post said it will pause the use of all seating in both the café and patio areas, but that customers can still walk up and order at the counter, through the Starbucks app or via drive-thru and delivery. 

In a letter published the week prior, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson spoke about encouraging signs in China, where over 90 percent of Starbucks stores have reopened.

Panera said it may limit its service to pick-up, delivery or drive-thru only while also implementing contactless delivery but has’t said it would officially be closing. It also says it’ll be adding hand sanitizer stands and antimicrobial covers for its fast lane kiosks. 

As coronavirus wreaks havoc on food businesses, restaurant stocks are crashing. On Monday, the S&P Restaurant Index fell more than 15 percent, with every restaurant company stock down by double digits. Denny’s fell 24 percent, Red Robin declined 35 percent and Del Taco dipped by 34 percent.

But there’s a silver lining to the restaurant closures: brands have the opportunity to put public health ahead of profits and help their community through acts of altruism. For example, Yum Brands, parent company of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, plans to pay employees of stores that get closed due to coronavirus. Yum Brands will pay employees their regular hours during closure or quarantine.

Darden Restaurants, Olive Garden’s parent company, too said it would give all hourly employees paid sick leave. Starbucks implemented “catastrophe pay” to US baristas who come into contact with or have been diagnosed with the virus.

DoorDash, Instacart and Postmates have also announced ways to help its workers. DoorDash and Instacart are offering two week paid sick leave to infected workers while Postmates launched a “fleet relief fund” to help cover the cost of its couriers’ medical check-ups.

Many diners have turned to online grocery delivery services, with Instacart, Amazon Fresh and Shipt all seeing higher demand. Instacart says bulk buying has grown and reported a 40 percent increase in orders from customers sending items to someone else.