What We’re Reading—Week Of July 26th

We’re tracking the latest insights from various marketing and advertising publications. Here’s a rundown of what we’re reading for the week of July 26th, 2021.

Google Revenue Surges As Online Advertising Market Thrives

The Wall Street Journal

Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. reported Q2 revenue of $61.88 billion, a 68 percent increase from a year earlier. Profit more than doubled to $18.53 billion and sales from advertising reached $50.44 billion—the latter representing a 69 percent increase.

Why it matters: Chief executive officer Sundar Pichai credits the strong results to “a rising tide of online consumer and business activity,” adding that digital publishers and YouTube partners earned more during the period than any other moment in the company’s history.

LinkedIn To B2B Marketers: It’s Time To Build Your Brand

Campaign Asia

According to a study from LinkedIn’s The B2B Institute and the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute at the University of South Australia, lack of brand awareness is a larger issue by four to eight times than brand rejection, particularly for smaller B2B brands. The study analyzed the buying preferences of over 1,200 buyers of business banking in the UK and business insurance in the US.

Why it matters: While 90 percent of respondents said they won’t reject a brand they’re unfamiliar with, most B2B marketers focus on lead gen strategies at the expense of creativity and brand building.

Cheesecake Factory Plans To Overhaul Its Marketing Capabilities

Restaurant Business

As part of a marketing overhaul, Cheesecake Factory will develop a loyalty program tailored to its hardcore customers, shift its database to a new customer-relations management platform and switch to a more “commerce-forward” website that’s expected to turn more casual visitors into order-placers.

Why it matters: Cheesecake Factory will execute the overhaul with the help of new ample consumer research following successful targeted campaigns it ran during COVID which drove sales and frequency.

As Coca-Cola Auctions Its First NFT, More Brands Are Entering The Metaverse


Coca-Cola is selling a series of four NFTs (non-fungible tokens) as a single asset, with proceeds benefiting Special Olympics International. The NFTs, created with Utah-based startup Tafi, include a pixelated version of Coke’s vintage 1956 vending machine; digital versions of the company’s 1940s trading cards and a “sound visualizer” featuring classic Coke sounds such as a bottle opening and a drink being poured over ice. The NFTs will be sold on OpenSea from July 30 to August 2.

Why it matters: Coca-Cola’s foray into NFTs is an extension of the collectibles it’s been selling in real life for years. On the company’s website, a limited edition Norman Rockwell set of four Coca-Cola prints goes for $400. According to Coca-Cola senior director of global digital design, Joshua Schwarber, NFTs allows the company to reimagine its assets through unique, multi-sensorial experiences.

Transforming The Future Of Work—For The Better

Ad Age

According to the World Economic Forum’s 2020 “Future of Jobs” report, about half of all employees will need reskilling by 2025 due to technological advances, and some 70 percent of employers plan to offer the resources necessary.

Why it matters: A large majority of online-based employers are considering making nearly half of their workforce remote, which means new or existing roles will become location-agnostic. As a result, the potential pool for candidates will expand significantly. Plus, given so many applicants are either advancing their skillset via online certifications or classes, there will be more metrics by which to assess candidates than previously.

Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Jodi Harris On Why Culture Is More Important Than Creativity

Anheuser-Busch InBev won big at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, taking home 22 total Lions—the most ever in the company’s history. But the road to AB InBev establishing itself as a creative powerhouse was no small task. It started a few years ago when the company rebuilt its internal culture around real consumer needs and the power of creativity. Overseeing that process was Jodi Harris, the company’s first-ever global vice president of marketing culture and capabilities. We talked with Harris to learn more about how she and her team implemented that culture shift, how the company empowered its employees, what it’s learning via social listening tools and a trend CPG marketers should embrace post-pandemic.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What does your role as global vice president of marketing culture and capabilities entail?

In 2017, I was the head of US consumer insights and at the end of that year, my boss Marcel [Marcondes] and I discussed revamping something in the US market where, at the time, creativity wasn’t thriving and our employee engagement was quite low. We were going through several different transitions at that time. You could tell people weren’t feeling valued.

So we created something called Marketing Culture and Capabilities. In order to get to the capability building, you have to start with creativity, so we started implementing programs in the US which had never been done before. We didn’t have a town hall for marketing. We did something instead called the “Spark Session,” which was about building confidence, not just in the whole marketing team, but also the senior leadership team, myself included. Slowly but surely as we started opening ourselves up to things, more and more people wanted in. Because it wasn’t everybody at first, I’d say maybe a third of the population were early adopters. By the end of the two, three years, everybody wanted in. The results went from 62 or 64 in engagement to an 80 in two years. It was nuts.

When you believe in the people around you and you’re going to invest in them and their capabilities, then the world is yours. We started feeling that momentum and then we decided to take it global. 

Pedro [Earp], who is good friends with Marcel, is now my boss. We all believe in this so much that not only is it a global role, there’s now a global marketing culture and capabilities team. Every market has at least one person who’s dedicated to driving capabilities, creativity and this culture shift that we’re going through. We actually realized that we’ve got a lot of internal experts. 

What was it like scaling that culture change globally? 

We have a responsibility to make sure our employees are equipped with the right tools and resources to go further. The first thing we did was partner with the General Assembly to get the resources with our online programming that we can start to embed into our marketing team. It wasn’t just the online content. We actually supplemented it with twice-monthly Zoom sessions, and because we’re able to grant live access to these sessions and also the online program, everybody participated. It was incredible. We had over 1,500 people around the world dialing in to these sessions or re-watching the videos online. 

The other great thing is, we never really understood where we sat versus other companies but through the General Assembly program, they have a benchmark for CPGs. We were falling slightly below the CPG average in the beginning of the year where we assessed ourselves. One full year after the program, we surpassed average and we’re on par with digital natives now. So again, another sense of pride and courage is that the teams took these tools and ran with them so fast. That’s where we started getting a lot more intellect on just how to use data properly and how to set the right KPIs.

It’s not just these vanity measures. We also built our own programming as a part of our old marketing excellence program. Now we have everybody in our marketing academy. It’s been a huge, huge success for us.

Did the company launch any programs during the pandemic to strengthen employee bonds? 

The creativity and agility from working together during the pandemic was game-changing. We created a global cross-functional task force to run our agile program called “Ideas of Good.” It was designed to engage our colleagues all over the world to generate, pitch and execute ideas to address critical community needs during the pandemic.

Many of these needs were common around the world, which made our teams excited to learn from each other and empowered them to quickly adapt for action in their markets. Within the first 90 days of the pandemic we launched 100 new initiatives to help people.

Our Tienda Circa program is a beautiful innovation that was born from Ideas for Good. It supported small business owners with the technology to deliver beer and other goods in an effort to stay open during the pandemic. Never before have we seen the power of ideas from our own colleagues make a real difference in people’s lives.

What is AB InBev’s takeaway from winning the most Lions this year in company history?

This year’s Cannes results for AB InBev really solidified the power of our culture. We have a true culture of ownership, and we saw that come to life over the past year. Our teams never gave up. They delivered their best work because they’re invested in the work and the people it impacts. I’m so proud of what we accomplished together.

The actual journey started seven years ago with our previous CMO who created an internal awards program called Creative X, which we still run today. It’s just gotten so much more powerful and has been a great proxy for all of the other festivals. One example of this is Tienda Circa, which was an incredible win for us at Cannes this year. In fact, it was our first Grand Prix for our internal agency draftLine. It was also the first time that creativity pushed beyond marketing and really brought a commercial aspect to it. It solves a real need that you’re not going to find in a research report.

How has draftLine been impacted by the evolving needs of the company’s marketing teams amid the pandemic?

The pandemic validated our internal creative agency. Starting in 2019, we brought our creative center in-house to stay more connected to consumers and move at the pace of culture. We saw this in action during the pandemic as circumstances changed from one day to the next. draftLine allowed us to stay reactive to, and in some cases anticipate, these shifts in consumer needs and behavior. For example, in the first eight weeks of the pandemic, the US team worked on 500 pieces of creative, and they’ve launched over 30 campaigns so far during COVID-19.

Part of AB InBev’s success is rooted in listening closely to the consumer and leveraging culture as a primary source of consumer data. What tools are you leveraging to this aim?

In the beginning, we didn’t leverage social media in the right way. We had all our social listening tools, but it was really about what were the big trends and fads, and underneath all of that was a bevy of insights of how people are feeling and what they’re liking and not liking and the different dialogue.

One great example of this is the Natural Light brand. One of the team members was running the digital platforms and he started interacting with college kids—of legal drinking age of course—about Natty Light and about college life. One of the things that college students are worried about so much is student debt. Once we started conversing with them and speaking their language, we were discovering new terms. We’d find out what a certain word means. We’d say, okay, that’s the new word to use? Got it. That’s how we were interacting. We’d be one of their friends because we had to become part of their circle. That’s how you realize what’s really important to them. From there, we developed programs around college loans and paybacks. We had students send us their resumés and we’d post the best one on a NASCAR car.

That’s one bigger example, but how we stay on top of that is through really interacting with the consumer firsthand, whereas before it was always in focus groups or waiting for the quarterly brand health report to come out. We still all have that information because it’s important to have, but for us to get much closer to the consumer, we had to interact with them. In the US, we have a big online community with more than 6,000 people that we can interact with whenever we want. 

AB InBev is diversifying its outreach to attract more than just the male gaze. Has the change been effective? What are you learning?

Diversity and inclusion are priorities for the company and for the industry. There are a lot of wrongs that we’re correcting in the marketing industry, the inappropriateness of some advertising from the past. But that stays in people’s minds and it’s a mental asset you’ve got to try to break. We do that with more provocative angles in creativity to get people to think a little bit differently. There are a couple of programs that we’re really proud of, like the work that Budweiser has been doing to promote equality, and of course, the angle that we’re taking is in sports. 

In early 2019, we started a program where we re-corrected some advertising out-of-home from the 1950s to today. That was the first time we realized that people are responding to this, the industry is responding to this, this is interesting. This is actually a valid place where we can have a voice and we should have a voice because of the history. And at the time, Monica [Rustgi] was our first vice president of marketing at Budweiser ever. So it just goes to show you the changes you can make when you understand it.

Then it carried on like a hot fire. People started to understand that there really is a divide out there. We started educating people and started doing that with all areas of inequality. 

We’ve done some work with women in football in the UK. I think the Future Sponsor campaign was awesome. We’re really proud of it. It’s not this one-off campaign, it’s an actual program.

In terms of the brands and championing it, we still have a long way to go, but we’ve come a long way. In our Creative X program, it’s the awards, but it’s also our creative center of excellence. We have huge D&I requirements. For our council meetings, when reviewing the work or helping promote the work. It’s a very diverse group of individuals. We have certain standards where advertising doesn’t go out if it doesn’t meet certain criteria and that’s all fed into our D&I for the company. 

I’m very honored to sit on the D&I counsel for the company. As a woman, as a marketer, as an American, I feel like I have a unique voice in that—from helping to write the D&I statement that we put on as a company and some of the new regulations to working with the team to create new benefits packages. 

During the last 12 months, have you seen a change in the seriousness with which CEOs and CMOs consider corporate social impact?

At AB InBev, we’ve always been defined by our purpose to bring people together for a better world. That mission was certainly heightened during this time of crisis, but more than that, the pandemic showed us the true extent of the impact we make—farmers, bar and restaurant owners and customers, small businesses and more.

Our global program with Stella Artois is a good example of how we supported bars and restaurants with resources and infrastructures to bring people together again, safely. That impact inspired us all—at every level of leadership—to keep innovating and reimagining our business in the communities where we live and work.

Something our CMO, Pedro Earp, has championed is a shift in focus—away from creating ads, and toward building consumer solutions, regardless of the tool. It’s clear that social impact will become ever more ingrained in everything we do.

What’s one trend marketers will face or need to embrace as they return to the “new normal”?

I think one of the big changes that we’re seeing, and it’s a behavior change we’ve been seeing for a while, is the moderation trend, mainly for beverages. It’s awesome. It comes down to health and wellness, especially the younger generations that aren’t taking life for granted. It really is about taking care of our planet, ourselves, our communities. 

The value equation has shifted. We’re seeing it with our no-alcohol portfolio, with our low alcohol portfolio. You see it in the US with the hard seltzer market. There’s a shift that’s been coming for a while, but it definitely has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

What We’re Reading—Week Of July 19th

A look at the news and insights we’re sharing internally for the week of July 19th, 2021.

Is Every Marketer About To Quit?


According to a survey MarketerHire conducted among its more than 20,000 newsletter readers, 78 percent of marketers believe marketing will soon see great resignation and 48 percent personally plan on quitting.

Why it matters: One larger trend in the marketing industry driving the belief includes the creator economy. Many marketers can earn more teaching others how to market than they can at a full-time job. Another trend accelerating the great resignation is the freelance economy; on the MarketerHire platform, the highest-paid marketer in 2020 earned more than $300,000 whereas in 2019 he made $90,000.

Visa Rebrands For The Digital Economy


Visa has launched a global multi-year marketing campaign titled “Meet Visa.” In addition to a television commercial that will air during the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony, the campaign includes spots on digital channels and out-of-home placements showing people using cryptocurrency to purchase everyday items such as hats and using their phones to buy from small businesses. Visa also debuted a new logo featuring three horizontal bars in the brand’s signature blue, white and yellow.

Why it matters: Visa’s new campaign aims to reposition itself as an “engine of commerce” that “provides access to the global economy for everyone, everywhere,” according to Lynne Biggar, Visa executive vice president and global chief marketing officer.

Twitter Takes First Step To Give Marketers An Audit Of Its Brand Safety

Ad Age

Twitter will allow the Media Rating Council to conduct a pre-assessment audit of brand safety on the platform, and to audit audience, ad viewability and fraudulent traffic. Similarly, Facebook said it will partner with the Media Rating Council to independently assess its brand safety controls and content monetization policies.

Why it matters: When running ads on digital platforms in areas like Twitter’s timeline or Facebook’s news feed, advertisers want to know how often their sponsored content appears alongside offensive speech or disinformation.

Consumers Want Control, Not Ad Blocking, In Online Advertising

Ad Age

According to a new survey from Magna and Brave, 80 percent of respondents felt they didn’t get much in return for the online ads they saw, with 64 percent saying online ads interrupted their web experience.

Why it matters: Ad blocking may not be the solution to consumers’ frustrations, as 79 percent of respondents said the most appealing option would be to control the number of online ads they see daily. The former preference was more popular than other solutions, such as ads that tell a story or show previously searched products.

Chipotle’s Digital Sales Rose 10.5% During Q2

Restaurant Dive

According to Chipotle’s Q2 earnings call, the company’s revenue increased by 38.7 percent year-over-year, comp sales by 31.2 percent and digital sales by 10.5 percent. Digital sales produced $916.5 million for Chipotle during the quarter.

Why it matters: About half of Chipotle’s sales come from digital channels, which get a boost from its 23 million-member loyalty program and digital-only product launches like its quesadilla. The company’s digital sales comprise less of its overall sales mix compared to Q1 — 48.5 percent versus 50 percent, respectively. This year, Chipotle plans to open more than 200 restaurants, more than 70 percent of which will include the digital, order-ahead pickup lane.

Gen Z Are The Most Conscious Alcohol Consumers

Year to date, the share of ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails is growing at 15 times the rate as hard seltzer on Drizly, according to Drizly’s third annual Consumer Report.

Drizly commissioned a survey among 1,000 Americans over 21 to understand their summer and fall beverage choices, how newfound interests at home could influence consumption occasions in the long term and how they’re buying alcohol.

Traditional beer (61 percent), wine (56 percent) and spirits (44 percent) were the top three categories respondents listed when asked which drinks they’ll be reaching for most frequently this summer.

RTDs beat hard seltzers by 1 percent—30 percent versus 29 percent—despite RTDs share on Drizly being about half that of hard seltzer in 2021. Interestingly, less than a third of respondents could accurately define what hard seltzer is. Just 32 percent of consumers knew the correct answer—carbonated water with alcohol made from malt or sugar.

Twenty-three percent of respondents said they’d be drinking hard alternatives such as hard kombucha, hard tea and hard lemonade. And in last place, agave-based spirits such as tequila and mezcal are what 20 percent will be sipping on.

Consumers are seeking more transparency from alcohol brands about corporate ownership, ingredients listed on cans and sustainability practices associated with the product. Which of these factors matters the most differs across generations, Drizly’s research shows.

When taking traditional drivers like price and availability out of the equation, 39 percent of respondents reported that healthiness and how the beverage is made are what matter most while considering an alcohol brand to purchase, followed by 34 percent who said family ownership, size and localness is the top factor and 31 percent who said sustainable business practices were their foremost consideration.

As for the most important factor in respondents’ decision-making process when choosing alcohol to purchase, 20 percent named the ability to see all of the ingredients and the same number of respondents named calorie count. The third most important factor, as noted by 17 percent of respondents, is sugar content, the fourth is added health benefits like whether the drink contains probiotics and antioxidants, and the fifth most important factor is whether the beverage has a low alcohol level or is non-alcoholic.

Not surprisingly, Gen Z cares most about how their alcohol is made and who makes it. According to Drizly, the group over-indexed on both factors compared to other generations in purchase decision-making. In addition, nearly one-third of 21 to 24-year-olds surveyed cited minority ownership as an important brand choice consideration, followed by millennials at 18 percent, Gen X at 14 percent and baby boomers at 11 percent.

Sustainable business practices are also a driving force for 40 percent of Gen Z who say they factor environmental track record into alcohol brand selection, followed by Gen X at 33 percent, millennials at 32 percent and baby boomers at 20 percent.

For 67 percent of respondents, enjoying drinks while watching Netflix, television shows or movies at home was the top drinking behavior they partook in most during the pandemic. And 49 percent said it was having a couple of drinks on a weeknight.

As Drizly found, however, activities like cooking and streaming are poised to be enjoyed with a drink with the same or greater frequency as during the pandemic.

On-premise consumption is starting to rebound yet 54 percent said they’ll continue to drink at home this summer and fall, while 16 percent of respondents said they plan to drink most regularly at bars and restaurants. For 31 percent of those who plan to drink at bars and restaurants less often or not at all, the leading reasons are that they simply prefer to and that it costs less to do so.

About half (42 percent) plan to celebrate the 2021 holiday season the same way they did pre-pandemic — around friends and family.

One pandemic-induced behavior that will stick is shopping online for alcohol. According to Drizly, 53 percent of consumers will buy alcohol online more than before the pandemic and 33 percent will buy the same amount online as pre-pandemic.

Online marketplaces such as Instacart, Doordash and Drizly are where 72 percent of respondents said they bought alcohol online or for delivery in the past year. Thirty-nine percent listed their local liquor store website or via phone as their most-used channel to order alcohol.

Top Reason Consumers Distrust A Brand? Asking For Too Much Information

As consumers spend more time online, the level of trust people have in brands has become closely linked to how brands use their personal data.

When it comes to communications that are mutually beneficial, Jebbit’s fifth bi-annual Consumer Data Trust Index found that interactive experiences such as product matches and personality quizzes take the cake, increasing consumer trust by 38.4 percent.

The report asked adult consumers in the US to rate, on a scale of one to 10, their level of trust in brands to use their personal data in exchange for relevant promotions, goods and services.

Over half (62 percent) of consumers said they prefer personalized products and experiences but a brand’s approach can make or break how that experience is received. For example, 54 percent of consumers said their trust in a brand decreases when receiving emails based on data they haven’t knowingly shared.

Interactive experiences are nearly tied with personalized emails (38.9 percent) based on knowingly shared data and are the least likely to decrease trust by far, according to the report. Such experiences provide both transparency about how consumer data is used and immediately deliver value on that data through personalized recommendations, notes Jebbit.

Creating a data collection strategy is critical, as 35 percent of consumers told Jebbit that a brand asking for too much personal information was their top reason to distrust a brand—the number one reason for the third time in a row. Jebbit clients have seen increases of over 30 percent in customer lifetime value by collecting as few as three points from each of their customers.

The second reason consumers distrust a brand when providing personal information is a public data scandal, as noted by 21.1 percent of respondents; the third is experiencing “creepy” advertising, as noted by 18.2 percent. Confusing privacy policies was also a factor, suggesting the importance of making consumer-facing copy about privacy laws straightforward and digestible.

Nearly 32 percent of respondents said that they’re more likely to trust a brand that provides an improved experience based on the data they have about them. Another 42 percent said conversational tools that provide personalized experiences increase their trust in a brand.

Among industries, technology remains the most trusted industry overall. Food, beverage and spirits brands are the lowest-ranked industry.

For the fifth consecutive time, Amazon holds the top spot for most-trusted brand while setting a new high at 7.05. Trailing closely behind Amazon is Adidas, with a consumer trust rating of 7.03. Other brands that made the top five include Netflix in third, Google in fourth and Samsung in fifth.

Earning a trust rating of 5.97 out of 10, Facebook landed 97 on the list of 100 and is the least trustworthy out of the social media brands. Instagram fared slightly better, ranking at 71 with a score of 6.23.

See the full list of rankings here.

What We’re Reading—Week Of July 12th

A look at the marketing and advertising articles we’re sharing internally for the week of July 12th.

How CMOs Can Be A Force For Change When Defining Brand Purpose | Partner Content

Campaign Asia

At a roundtable hosted by Campaign and Twitter, Asia’s top marketing leaders agreed that their biggest challenge around fostering brand purpose is public skepticism, but that being consistent about what they stand for can inspire deeper trust from consumers.

Why it matters: According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, 70 percent of people think trusting a brand is more important today than in the past, and another 74 percent say a brand’s impact on society is a reason why brand trust has become more critical.

A TikTok Exec Says Livestreaming And Replying To User Comments Are Key Growth Drivers For Creators

Business Insider

According to Corey Sheridan, TikTok’s head of music partnerships and content operations in the US, creating livestream events and engaging directly with users in the comments are two effective strategies for building an audience on the app.

Why it matters: TikTok’s most recent show featuring Ed Sheeran set a new viewership record, surpassing 5.5 million viewers.

Ad Age’s 2021 Hottest Brands

Ad Age

The brands that made Ad Age’s annual list of ‘America’s Hottest Brands’ include Clubhouse, Draftkings, NFTs, Pattern, Reddit, The Home Edit, Figs and more.

Why it matters: Figs’ revenue surged 138 percent last year, and the brand boosted awareness with ads featuring real nurses’ stories, told on billboards and in subways in major cities. Plus, Reddit says it pinpointed the formula needed to reach $1 billion in ad revenue by 2023; the company raised $250 million in funding in February, giving it a $6 billion valuation

Shaping The Next Era Of Media, Inclusion And Business Ethics

Ad Age

Kirk McDonald, chief executive officer of GroupM North America, believes that brands need to connect with people in a meaningful and respectful way, and without infringing on their data privacy rights. That respect involves how brands deliver convenience and take into consideration the context of consumer needs and preferences.

Why it matters: In May, GroupM announced the formation of the Media Inclusion Initiative to support diverse talent and black-owned media companies and creators. The initiative includes a ‘Diverse Voices Accelerator’ fund which aims to create more diverse media ownership.

Nielsen: Long-Term Growth Requires A Balanced Marketing Strategy

With marketers under extreme pressure to hit revenue targets, upper-funnel marketing efforts have taken a backseat. Yet the need to drive awareness has never been more important for brands, as consumers have greater access and choice and less exposure to logos on shelves and storefronts. Nielsen’s latest report makes the case for adopting a balanced marketing strategy that combines the right message and channel mix to create long-term growth.

The sales impact of lower-funnel marketing strategies materializes quicker but Nielsen’s analysis suggests that brand-building efforts are a lever to drive sales. In measuring how effective a financial services company’s marketing efforts were at driving sales across about 20 markets, Nielsen found that the correlation between the upper-funnel brand metrics and marketing efficiency was significantly strong—0.73. Building brand equity, then, not only benefits direct sales but also improves the efficacy of your activation efforts.

Marketing accounts for 10 percent to 35 percent of a brand’s equity, according to Nielsen. Given equity comes also from visibility, taking non-marketing sources of equity, such as regular product usage and seeing a product on the shelf, for granted is a mistake. For one, fewer shoppers are driving to stores, eliminating the chance that they’ll see logos. Plus, consumers have access to an infinite selection of brands online, making it difficult for single brands to stand out. Lastly, COVID-19 supply disruptions have affected product availability, forcing consumers to try alternatives.

This last point is evidenced by differences in brand retention and trial rates across traditional and digital channels. For example, data from Nielsen Commspoint found that in the US consumer packaged goods market, shoppers say that 4.3 percent of their brick-and-mortar purchases involve a brand they hadn’t bought before. For online purchases, this figure increases to 12.2 percent. That metric drops from 83 percent of brick-and-mortar CPG purchases to 72 percent of online CPG purchases.

Nielsen cautions against assuming you can directly apply benchmarks around which channel is best for equity building for your brand. Channel effectiveness across campaigns can be very diverse, as Nielsen found when measuring the impact of marketing by message strategy for an electronics brand and an auto brand in the short and long term. Upper-funnel messaging on the auto brand was 5 percent less effective than total media in driving short-term sales and 18 percent more effective than total media in driving long-term sales. To deploy the most effective messaging and measure your share of voice within each message strategy, brands can cut their competitive ad data by upper- and lower-funnel creatives.

Looking at the same comparison through the lens of specific channels, Nielsen found that with upper-funnel messaging, video and offline media are very efficient in driving short- and long-term sales. With lower-funnel messaging, non-video and online media are more efficient in driving short-term sales than they are in driving long-term sales.

If optimizing for just one objective was a viable option, Nielsen notes, there wouldn’t be instances where brands such as Gap and TripAdvisor admitted they made missteps in forsaking brand building in the name of a heightened focus on activation.

To optimize for both short- and long-term objectives, brands should consider optimizing their marketing mix for total sales if they’ve already measured short- and long-term return on investment. If a brand lacks the total sales impact, marketers can perform sequential optimization, later weigh those stimulation results together to create a hybrid plan and set targets for what that plan will achieve.

If the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s 2013 research is any indication, long-term efforts are true long-term business drivers. The firm suggests that the optimal balance between long- and short-term efforts is 60-40.

The bottom line: Marketers should consider what the minimum business requirements are in the short term and whether their business has the flexibility to wait for longer-term outcomes.

What We’re Reading—Week Of July 5th

A look at the articles we’re sharing internally this week.

Navigating Ad Fraud And Consumer Privacy Abuse In Programmatic Advertising


Some key steps business leaders can take to guard their reputation and programmatic ad spend include using sophisticated tools to reveal the types of ad fraud attacks affecting their budgets, analyzing their budget with quality versus reach in mind and acknowledging that the ‘age of privacy’ has arrived.

Why it matters: Programmatic advertising is a $200 billion global marketplace, with connected TV (CTV) being its most recent accelerant. While 78 percent of US households are reachable via programmatic CTV advertising, ad fraud rates are still high — 24 percent in Q4 2020.

Four Great Lessons In Human-Centric Marketing


In Mark Schaefer’s book, Marketing Rebellion, the marketing strategy consultant writes that the main idea of “human-centered marketing” is to create an emotional connection with consumers that’s helpful and personal. Like during the pandemic when Burger King UK posted a message encouraging customers to support other fast-food chains and when American Express surprised 100 Black female entrepreneurs with grants of $25,000 and 100 days of resources.

Why it matters: Today, the customer is the marketer and the pandemic has amplified the need for authentic human connection. As Schaefer writes, brands must abandon advertising scripts and make ads based on what normal people do, be vulnerable, put their money where their mouth is and activate all consumers.

From Surviving To Thriving: Reimagining The Post-COVID-19 Return

McKinsey & Company

Reimagining the post-pandemic return will require companies to fundamentally rethink their revenue profile; redesign operations and supply chains to prevent potential shocks; institutionalize forms of speedy decentralization such as small, nimble teams; and set an ambitious digital agenda then deliver it within two to three months, not within a year or more.

Why it matters: One example of how acting with urgency pays off in crises is a Chinese car rental company that invested in micro-customer segmentation and social listening to guide personalization after its revenues dropped 95 percent in February. The result: three new agile teams with cross-functional skills and recovery of 90 percent of its business year-over-year. Before the crisis, the company took up to three weeks to launch a campaign; now it’s down to two to three days.

4 Tactics Mobile App Makers Can Steal From Game Companies

Venture Beat

One key strategy mobile app makers can learn from game companies is leveraging engagements that make their ads more immersive, such as playable ads that hook users before they install the game.

Why it matters: For a fast-casual restaurant, this tactic might translate to a playable ad that invites the user to build their perfect burrito. When finished, they’re inspired to download the app and have that same burrito delivered.

3 Biggest Challenges To Successful Influencer Marketing


Instead of leveraging influencers to highlight product offerings, brands should partner with purpose-driven communicators who seek to change or impact the world in meaningful ways and through them, address the pain points of younger generations.

Why it matters: Recent Harvard research found that the rate of loneliness is particularly high among young people who feel as if no one cares about them.

The Financial Impact Of Customer Connection With Khoros’s Katherine Calvert

Katherine Calvert is the Chief Marketing Officer of Khoros, a digital engagement platform for social marketing, online communities, and customer care.

In this episode, Katherine and I discuss her path to become CMO at Khoros and her perspective on customer engagement. She also shares what platforms marketers should consider if they want to create great experiences for their customers and prospects.

Katherine believes “there is a real opportunity for marketing leaders to be the champion within companies to elevate CX,” saying customer experience should be the “north star” by which they lead. Studies show that over 60% of consumers stop doing business with a brand after just one negative instance. On the other hand, 80% of consumers say they will pay more for the same product or service if it comes with a delightful customer experience.

Listen to find out how customer experience is transformational to your company’s finances.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The importance of staying connected 
  • The financial impact of having good CX
  • Utilizing platforms and channels

Key Highlights:

  • [01:22] Katherine’s brush with Kevin Bacon
  • [02:55] Katherine’s path to becoming CMO
  • [05:32] What you should know about Khoros
  • [09:15] Stay connected with your customers
  • [15:05] How marketers should think about channels and platforms 
  • [20:01] Katherine’s advice for customer engagement
  • [24:15] A defining experience that made Katherine who she is today 
  • [26:34] Katherine’s advice to her younger self
  • [27:29] A topic Katherine believes marketers should learn about
  • [30:24] The brands and companies Katherine follows
  • [32:35] What Katherine says is today’s biggest opportunity for marketers

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.

a.network’s CFO On The Company’s Expansion Plans Ahead Of IPO

We’re proud to say that by 2022, a.network will be a publicly traded company. A company comprising great teams, great businesses and great operators. Under my purview as chief financial officer, there are two requisites for this monumental goal: vision and collaboration.

As the COVID-19 pandemic shifted the physical workplace, so too did it shift our outlook on how we work with others. The metrics and the avenues through which we collaborate have become hybridized, and so far it seems to be working out well. Where it was once the case that merging or partnering companies required the sharing of physical space, there are now systems in place that eliminate that proximity requirement. 

a.network embodies the next phase in the evolution of the workforce and workplace given all our operations are rooted in collaboration—whether that collaboration happens in the physical, hybridized or digital space, it really doesn’t matter. What truly matters is that in the last 18 months, we’ve learned what it truly means to collaborate. Now we’re ready to implement that knowledge into a workable solution for growth.

It’s more clear to me now than ever that guidance and collective intelligence is far more important to smaller agencies who’ve potentially been jolted by the effects of the global lockdown and its aftermath. What a.network can provide those companies is the opportunity to exist as a single or limited-discipline company while operating within our multidisciplinary network.

There’s strength in numbers. Those who were caught off guard or were not in the best position to service sustainably or even better during the pandemic, a.network is the opportunity to shed that inability, thus future-proofing itself against the possibility of another global fallout. Just look at the defining features of companies that were successful in the post-pandemic world: solid infrastructure, great talent and financial backing—three components, along with collaboration and diversity, that a.network can offer. This realization and our plan for implementing it as part of our road to an IPO is primarily exciting for like-minded companies for the three following reasons.


In order to have a successful and scalable company, the infrastructure must be conducive to sustainability and growth. a.network has been investing in and working on its IT, HR and financial infrastructure for the last 10 years or more, and really intensively for the last six years.

Companies interested in coming under the a.network umbrella are already successful, but they may just be starting out, they may be growing faster than they can keep up with and may need help with their infrastructure. Or they may not have the financial backing to invest hard dollars into infrastructure.

We’ve been fine-tuning our systems, not for the purpose of sustainability as we had when we first began, but for the purpose of scalability and adaptability. This means once the onboarding phase is complete, an incoming company will instantly be ready for take-off.


The second element of interest to incoming companies is the way a.network values businesses within our infrastructure. a.network provides the technology and the SAAS platform that network companies can bolt onto their name, thus increasing their valuation. Once they’re through the door, we provide them the technologies and data that will directly improve both their top and bottom line.

As an example, let’s say a service company is interested in joining a.network and their valuation is six times its earnings. Not a bad business to be in. But as soon as that company has the access and ability to add technology and scalable infrastructures into their business model, the multiplier by which they’re judged on Wall Street is taken to new heights. 

That service company’s valuation may now be 10, 15 or 20 times its earnings.

In essence, by joining a.network, what was once a relatively successful service provider is now a very successful technology and brand accelerator, in addition to a service provider. How do we know this? Because we did it. a.network has evolved its business model over time from a pure advertising agency and consulting model to a technology and data-first digital marketing business.

Brick & Mortar

The last element is really two – revenue and operations. As a part of the network, we’d be able to service more revenue for incoming companies, and here’s a summation of how it works. The premise of our “Listen. Create. Share.” model is that no matter which door a company enters through, as a part of the network construct, we’re able to sell more in the other two doors. This is particularly intriguing to companies who’ve become successful for finding their niche market and sticking to it. Their particular discipline and how they operate within it is a part of their secret sauce.

a.network allows them to carry on with that vision while we offer the other two services, thus rounding out the network company and even insuring it against unforeseen disruptions to their business model. Needless to say, rounding out the services a particular company offers its clients will have a direct dollar impact on its revenue and growth.

The second portion of this is simple: operation. In financial terms, this translates into better profit margins. How am I able to make this kind of claim? Ayzenberg has been operating within a.network for the last 10 or so years. We’ve gone through the journey of building infrastructure, investing in technology, valuing technology, creating and implementing the SAAS platform and learning how to service more revenue for our businesses with a better bottom line. None of these feats came overnight. Our hope for a.network is that once a company comes on board, it won’t take them five, six, or 10 years to get to where we’re at today.

Once we really start approaching IPO, we’ll have an infinitely better story to tell because we’re valued at a completely different multiplier. And that’s one of the final elements that makes a.network appealing to companies. As a result, we anticipate an IPO launching within the next two to three years.

And we’re taking a.network participants with us. The forward-focused companies we partner with will receive a multiple-fold lift on their valuation—a result that would otherwise only be possible with an immense amount of time, investment and trial and error. What I know for sure, given that we’ve already gone through the process, is that those within the a.network will get to that greater valuation faster with us than without us.

The time has come for us to propel ourselves into the future together. We’re looking for great businesses and operators with a vision to get there faster with our help and together rather than on their own.