BRIDGE, First Independent DEI Trade Organization, Announces Inaugural Board Of Directors

Since 2020’s racial reckoning, consumers and marketers alike have demanded real change in an industry that mainly pays lip service to diversity. Financial donations were pledged and promises were made by corporations but for true diversity, equity and inclusion change to take root, a top-down and sustained approach is required. 

BRIDGE, the first independent DEI trade organization, aims to provide the global marketing industry with the knowledge and resources to drive meaningful and measurable change in bridging the gaps that have created inequities for underrepresented communities in the workplace, workforce and marketplace.

Founded by former MMA global chief strategy officer Sheryl Daija, BRIDGE—an acronym for belonging, representation, inclusion, diversity and equity—offers its member companies proprietary research, storytelling workshops led by marketing academics from Brown University and Bentley University, events and more to identify and dismantle the structures in place that currently contribute to DEI gaps.

“It is both a business and moral imperative that we shift from talk to action to create an equitable culture in our industry. DEI should not simply be a line item in an operating agenda, it needs to permeate through all aspects of a business—from the C-Suite through product development to customer service—internally and externally,” said Daija.

The organization’s first research report, Voices of Inclusion, will create an industry assessment tool that organizations can use to uncover any management systems that prevent progress in DEI, as well as identify successful policies that can be applied to advance their BRIDGE agenda. BRIDGE is conducting the research for the tool in partnership with an academic team from Emory University, Indiana University and the University of Georgia.

Executives from Campbell’s, Discover, NBCUniversal, IBM and more have been announced as members of BRIDGE’s inaugural board of directors. The full list includes:

  • Jonita Wilson, chief diversity officer, Discover Financial (chair)
  • Christine Escribano, senior vice president, head of One Platform marketing, NBCUniversal Media (vice-chair)
  • Tish Archie Oliver, head of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, Unilever
  • Trixie Ferguson Gray, president, The Newsette  
  • Louis Jones, ​​media and marketing consultant, BSO in residence, Brand Safety Institute
  • Rebecca Messina, senior advisor, McKinsey & Co.
  • Lukeisha Paul, head of diversity, equity and inclusion, GroupM
  • Yin Rani, chief executive officer and chief marketing officer, MilkPEP
  • Deidre Smalls-Landau, US chief marketing officer and executive vice president, global business equity, UMWW  
  • Randi Stipes, chief marketing officer, IBM Watson Advertising
  • Jon Suarez-Davis, senior vice president, marketing, strategy and innovation, Salesforce
  • Leslie Waller, vice president of marketing, Campbell’s

BRIDGE chair Jonita Wilson is the first-ever chief diversity officer and woman of color to chair a key marketing industry trade group.

Each company that joins BRIDGE can choose a BIPOC- or LGBTQIA2+-driven start-up to gain full access as a BRIDGE member.

A study Meta conducted in partnership with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media earlier this year found that almost two-thirds of US consumers expect brands to promote diversity and inclusion in their online advertising, but 53 percent said they don’t feel fully represented in online advertising today.

The study also found that campaigns on Facebook with more diverse representation tend to have higher ad recall compared with campaigns featuring a single traditional representation. These ads also had a greater brand lift.

“Our long-term goal is to create a comprehensive BRIDGE agenda for all companies and to subsequently certify against its implementation and measure its impact. We invite everyone to join us on this journey,” Daija said.

Pivoting Well With Meetup’s David Siegel

David Seigel is the CEO of Meetup, author of Decide and Conquer, Professor of Management at Columbia University, and host of Keep Connected podcast. He’s served as an influential leader at many organizations, including Investopedia, Seeking Alpha, and 1-800-Flowers. David and his team at Meetup are working to cure the loneliness epidemic by connecting people to each other. They’ve navigated major pivots throughout the pandemic as an in-person-first organization, and David has a lot to share about what he’s learned.

On the show today, David and I talked about how Meetup adjusted its tactics while remaining true to its mission. Later, we discuss the power of community in our individual lives and at a business level. David also explains how an engaged community can decentralize your marketing for the better by serving as your most valuable brand ambassadors.

Listen in to learn more.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The most important aspect of pivoting
  • How to decentralize brand marketing
  • The power of community

Key Highlights

  • [03:00] David’s journey to Meetup
  • [06:30] How 9/11 led to the creation of Meetup
  • [08:45] Navigating the pandemic as an IRL-first organization
  • [12:30] Pivoting in the pandemic and beyond
  • [15:30] The benefits of virtual Meetups
  • [18:00] What you’ll find in Decide and Conquer
  • [21:00] Lessons David has learned about community
  • [24:00] How to decentralize brand marketing
  • [30:00] An experience that defines David
  • [33:00] David’s advice for his younger self
  • [35:00] What marketers should be learning more about
  • [38:00] The biggest opportunity for marketers today

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 brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth opportunities. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine companies.

Only 26 Percent Of Marketers Are Fully Confident In Their Audience Data

Marketers have spoken: Building brand awareness is their top priority for 2022. To help them meet their goals amid media fragmentation, Nielsen’s fifth global annual marketing report surveyed global marketers about new marketing channels and associated spend, martech effectiveness, the importance of brand promise and more.

The 1,942 marketers Nielsen surveyed between December 2, 2021 and January 12, 2022 were at or above manager level, working with annual marketing budgets of $1 million or more across automotive, financial services, fast-moving consumer goods, technology, health care and pharmaceutical categories.

First up, it’s important to note marketers’ most important objectives for the next year. From most to least important, Nielsen found that they’re prioritizing:

  1. Brand awareness
  2. Customer acquisition
  3. Customer retention
  4. Customer advocacy
  5. Competitor conquesting
  6. Churn reduction

Marketing accounts for 10 to 35 percent of a brand’s equity, according to Nielsen. As consumers shop in-store less, the online shelf expands and supply chain disruptions cause shoppers to try new brands, the growing reach and utility of digital channels can’t be undermined.

As many as 64 percent of global marketers say social media is their most effective paid channel and many plan to up their social media budgets more than any other channel over the next year. Twenty-two percent of North American marketers, 21 percent of Latin American marketers and 20 percent of Asia-Pacific marketers said they plan to increase their social media spending by 50 percent or more.

Despite the planned spend across social media, marketers told Nielsen they aren’t prioritizing engagement with Gen Z as a key business priority even though their primary increases focus on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

Marketers also plan to increase their ad spending across linear TV and traditional radio significantly less than across social media, for which the aggregate increase is 53 percent among global marketers. 

Forty-seven percent of marketers said they’re either very or extremely confident in the effectiveness of linear TV and out-of-home (OOH), respectively. Meanwhile, 46 percent said they’re extremely or very confident in direct mail, 43 percent said the same about print and cinema, respectively, and 41 percent for radio.

While 61 percent of marketers said they’re confident in their ability to measure the impact of brand building, their planned limited increases in ad spending across traditional mass reach channels highlight a potential misalignment between top business goals and marketing tactics. It also highlights the lower level of confidence among marketers in the effectiveness of traditional channels when compared to digital ones.

After social media (64 percent), marketers said their most effective paid digital channels are: 

  • Online/mobile video (58 percent)
  • Search (58 percent)
  • Online/mobile (58 percent)
  • Email (51 percent)
  • Streaming audio (48 percent)
  • OTT TV/CTV (49 percent)
  • Native advertising (47 percent)
  • Podcasts (44 percent)

After brand awareness (66 percent), the most important marketing metrics for respondents are:

  • Engagement (63 percent)
  • Viewability (61 percent)
  • Marketing mix modeling (61 percent)
  • Full-funnel media ROI (61 percent)
  • Multi-touch sales/attribution (60 percent)
  • Unduplicated reach and frequency (57 percent)

In addition to leaning into the mass reach capabilities of digital channels, marketers must ensure their cross-platform measurement isn’t siloed. Across paid digital channels, global marketers surveyed are most confident in their ability to measure return on investment (ROI) across social media (64 percent are extremely or very confident, equal to their perceived effectiveness of the channel).

Marketers said they’re most confident in measuring ROI from social media yet global measurement confidence is only 64 percent. Confidence in measuring social media ROI is much higher in Latin America (86 percent) and notably lower in Asia-Pacific (55 percent), while North America comes in at 59 percent (behind paid search at 60 percent). Despite the planned increases across social media over the next year, global marketers’ confidence in measuring their ROI—outside of Latin America—is low.

The lack of ROI-proving confidence in these preferred channels gives martech providers a chance to help brands improve their execution and results. As Nielsen notes, perhaps more important is the lack of confidence that global marketers have in measuring ROI across other paid and traditional channels.

As marketers lean into newer channels, they’ve expressed low confidence in being able to prove ROI. Almost half (49 percent) of global marketers, for example, said they plan to increase their spending on podcasts over the next year, with 11 percent planning increases of more than 50 percent. Yet their confidence in measuring the ROI of that investment is fairly low—only 44 percent are either extremely or very confident.

Nevertheless, marketers shouldn’t overlook this growing media channel. Nielsen’s Podcast Ad Effectiveness (PAE) solutions show that host-read ads drive a brand recall rate of 71 percent, which creates high levels of consumer interest, purchase intent and recommendation intent. 

Globally, 65 percent of marketers believe new formats like podcasts, brand integrations and sponsorships are extremely important to marketing strategies. This sentiment is less in Asia-Pacific (59 percent) and EMEA (58 percent), but greater in North America (71 percent) and Latin America (73 percent), found Nielsen.

CTV has become a growing focus for global marketers, with 51 percent planning to increase their over-the-top/CTV spending in the coming year. In North America, the percentage is 61 percent which is in line with the more than 15 million years’ worth of video content Americans streamed last year. 

Only 26 percent of global marketers are fully confident in their audience data. This data insecurity aside, marketers agree data is essential. Sixty-nine percent believe first-party data is important for their strategies and campaigns, and 72 percent believe they have access to quality data to maximize the impact of their media budgets (61 percent in EMEA and 78 percent in North America).

Most marketers surveyed also struggle with elements of audience data. Globally, 36 percent claim that data access, identity resolution and deriving actionable insights from data is either extremely or very difficult. Marketers in North America and Asia-Pacific claim to have the lowest levels of difficulty. To deliver more personalized, relevant experiences, Nielsen suggests marketers combine contextual and behavioral data for targeting.

In addition to amplifying brand exposure and engagement with new audiences, influencer marketing ranks high among global consumers as a trustworthy marketing channel, as indicated by 71 percent. More than influencers, consumers trust recommendations from people they know (89 percent), branded websites (84 percent), ads on TV (78 percent) and TV program product placements (74 percent).

Trend Set: Tinder, WhatsApp & YouTube

Ayzenberg Junior Strategist Ashley Otah recounts this week’s trends.

Radisson Hotel Group

Booked and busy. Raddison Hotel Group unveils “Raddison Inn & Suites,” a brand of limited-service but midscale hotels. The hotel is not like others as it offers a unique lifestyle concept for influencers. Content creators cash out on large partnerships worldwide, which means they need space to create on the go. That is where Raddison’s addition of Creative Content Studio comes in. The Creative Studio allows influencers to stay connected and stay comfortable as they share work with the inherently social world. However, enticing the partnerships may be, brands must align and vet creators as they venture into the booming creator economy. Moreover, brands must ensure their offerings are evolving for the modern world.


Swipe right. Tinder introduces “Festival Mode,” alongside Live Nation, Superstruct Entertainment, and AEG Presents. The partnerships with the app has resurged in relevancy as new lineups roll out globally. As the world “opens up,” and people aim to make up for a lost time, brands have the unique opportunity to bridge the gap and cultivate a community and a space to connect freely.


What’s up. WhatsApp is dipping its toes into the Discord pool with its Communities tab. While still in the works, the feature aims to allow larger groups stay in touch. The addition speaks volumes about how people want to stay connected with loved ones and new people alike. For example, the two are not chained to one country but give access globally to those who wish to partake in something beyond themselves. Making a seamless way for users to connect solidifies, separates, and certifies the best brands versus others.


Past life. Like Twitter, the changes allow people to let go of previous posts. The new feature would make it more challenging to sift through videos, especially from oldest to newest. Whether good or bad, only time will tell. However, the new app features and opportunities highlight the necessity of watching one’s digital footprint, which transcends people, partnerships, and brands.


IRL X URL. Zara releases a new collection where buyers can shop for in-person deals and metaverse steals. The metacolllection also features beauty products that span the two worlds that are quickly colliding. Currently, finding footing is very difficult as the space is rapidly changing. The future will involve virtual and physical elements, and brands should be future-focused, still positively positioning for success in the present.

Earning The Customer Relationship With Vista’s Ricky Engelberg

Ricky Engelberg is the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Vista.

Vista is a marketing partner to millions of small businesses around the world. As CMO, he oversees essential functions such as customer experience and digital products.

In this episode, Ricky and I discuss his early career in the entertainment industry in Athens, Georgia, and how that has shaped his career and how he sees the world today. Tune in to hear more about how the experience made him realize the importance of finding your audience and investing in relationships to make them successful.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The art of finding your audience
  • Creating a customer relationship across all product offerings
  • What makes a successful partnership

Key Highlights

  • [01:41] Ricky’s early entertainment career
  • [04:37] Learning how to find the right audience
  • [09:23] Vista’s mission and vision
  • [13:26] Building customer relationships
  • [15:54] The shift to partnerships in creating brand awareness
  • [19:12] Vista’s partnership with Humberto Leon
  • [24:40] The ingredients for a successful partnership
  • [29:22] An experience that makes Ricky who he is today
  • [31:43] Ricky’s advice to his younger self
  • [34:34] What marketers should be learning more about
  • [39:19] The biggest threat and opportunity to marketers

Resources Mentioned:

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Connect with the Guest:

Connect with Marketing Today and Alan Hart:

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 brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth opportunities. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine companies.

Report: What Makes A Great Customer Experience

Customers have changed the way they engage with brands and crave greater control over their communication with them. But one-way communication just isn’t useful anymore, as Sinch’s annual customer experience report found that 89 percent of consumers want two-way conversations via messaging channels and apps.

To help brands deliver smarter customer experiences, Sinch surveyed about 3.000 consumers globally. Its report, Brave New World: Customer Experience in 2022, shows that the key to sustainable business growth is delivering rich interactions that add value.

From 2019 to 2020, consumers who received “abandoned cart” reminders more than doubled in countries including the US, Canada, Germany and India. It’s unclear what these shoppers’ next steps were, but Sinch found that more than half of customers are frustrated when they receive mobile messages they can’t reply to.

When asked what they want from their in-message interactions:

  • 90 percent of consumers said support or to ask follow-up questions
  • 89 percent want to arrange returns, exchanges or refunds
  • 77 percent said to complete health assessments with doctors
  • 69 percent want to be able to fill out loan applications

Still, one-way messages can be useful and even expected. Businesses must find ways to increase these messages’ value, namely by building the possibility of action into them. For example, package arrival notifications are helpful and relied upon by many industries and consumers. But giving shoppers the ability to change the timing, recipient or location of the delivery without having to reach out to a separate customer support line can boost the value of the engagement.

Sinch’s tips for giving customers real business value via messaging:

  • Let customers check delivery times in Messenger or WhatsApp. Offer options in the text stream to customize notifications or arrange a return—about 90 percent say they’d like this two-way option.
  • Don’t just send a fraud alert to a banking customer. Give customers options, like to freeze a card or request a replacement using conversational artificial intelligence in the messaging stream or banking app.
  • Turn on two-way functionality across all channels, including email and messaging. Let AI-driven chatbots answer routine queries and send more complex ones to online resources or customer service.
  • Don’t ignore the power of SMS for confirming a restaurant reservation, approving a big-ticket purchase or refilling a prescription.

Rich Media

Businesses that are already aware of the type of help their customers most often need and the questions their customers ask shouldn’t wait to reach out with rich media and personalized support. Brands must be proactive when it comes to adding extra value to the customer experience. In doing so, businesses can create higher quality dialogue, and increase satisfaction and brand loyalty.

The types of messages consumers would find most useful include:

  • Video tutorials based on a recent purchase (83 percent)
  • Personalized video tours (81 percent)
  • Buying guide based on previous purchases or activity (76 percent)


Brands are increasingly utilizing the social commerce tools that TikTok and Instagram afford, but unfortunately many still treat these platforms as one-way opportunities to promote—as opposed to tools for conversation. That’s alarming given that 48 percent of respondents said they shop on social media channels but that brands don’t engage with them there. 

Roughly 25 percent of consumers that do message brands on social media report that the response time is one day or more—something these individuals say will make them less likely to purchase from that company on social channels. And fifty-two percent of respondents said it takes brands several hours to respond.


Eighty-seven percent of consumers across all generations avoid buying from brands they don’t trust, especially boomers. To earn consumers’ trust, brands should aim to create positive experiences and convey strong data security. The banking sector, for example, has reported a strong correlation between trust, positive experiences and data security.

Delving deeper into this phenomenon, Sinch’s research found that high-trust relationships between banks and customers are overwhelmingly associated with banks that answer questions quickly, protect their customers’ interests, know their customers’ needs, offer useful financial advice and keep information and accounts secure.

Even within a high-trust relationship, many consumers, especially older ones, are reluctant to talk about financial matters via messaging. Still, brands can find ways to reassure customers as Sinch found only 15 percent of younger generations are unpersuadable.

Here’s what would make customers more comfortable discussing sensitive financial matters via mobile messaging:  

  • Connecting with a human instead of a chatbot (54 percent) 
  • Receiving clear verification from the bank that mobile conversations are secure (37 percent)
  • Using the messaging feature inside of a secure banking app (32 percent)
  • Being able to switch from a chatbot to a live customer service agent (29 percent)

In the healthcare industry too, mobile messaging has the potential to become customers’ top choice. Perhaps due to the potentially emotional nature of the interactions in this space, 62 percent of respondents are comfortable discussing personal or sensitive health matters via mobile messaging. 

In addition, 89 percent of respondents would like to receive medical tests results via messaging, 87 percent want answers to medical questions via messaging channels and 77 percent want the option of filling out health assessments on their phones.

Sinch’s tips for smoothing the path from first point of contact to purchase include:

  • Give customers control over their experiences by offering real-time visibility into inventory, staffing availability and wait times.
  • Rather than send a one-way “abandoned cart” reminder or “back in stock” message, notify customers with a buy button inside the messaging stream.
  • Don’t make customers remember awkward IDs and complex passwords. New mobile identity and security solutions offer one-step sign-ins using the customer’s cell phone number.
  • Offer features such as mobile badges that confirm callers’ identities.


Interactions with chatbots are growing with 76 percent of shoppers having interacted with one in 2021 – up from 51 percent in 2020. Of these, over half appreciate the immediate availability of an automated response. But rather than view chatbots as a standalone solution, brands should let customers escalate complex issues instantly from a messaging chat to a voice call. In fact, 95 percent of respondents said this option would be useful.

Being Curious Enough To Fill The Gap With Bite’s Lindsay McCormick

Lindsay McCormick is the Founder and CEO of Bite, which stands for “Because it’s the earth.” They are makers of plastic-free and cruelty-free products on a mission to become the world’s most sustainable personal care company.

Lindsay has built Bite into a multi-million-dollar company, aiming to remove plastic from our everyday routines. Her first product, toothpaste tablets, went viral in 2018, and since then, they’ve added several other products to the Bite brand umbrella.

In this episode, Lindsay and I discuss her path to founding the company and the moment she turned down a six-figure deal from both Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary on Shark Tank.

Listen to the full episode to learn more about filling a market gap and having an innovative mindset.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Leaning into “filling the gap”
  • Sticking to what’s important
  • Having a “we can always be better” mindset

Key Highlights

  • [01:44] Lindsay’s favorite outdoor activities
  • [02:42] The path to founding Bite
  • [03:55] From TV to toothpaste
  • [05:52] Bite’s mission and vision
  • [07:11] Adding other products to the brand
  • [09:25] Becoming an amateur chemist
  • [11:04] Working two jobs to build Bite
  • [13:43] Presenting to Shark Tank
  • [16:12] Marketing products through advocates
  • [19:45] Experimenting with digital marketing
  • [21:54] An experience that’s made Lindsay who she is
  • [24:10] Lindsay’s advice for her younger self
  • [24:30] What marketers should be learning more about
  • [26:11] Brands and organizations Lindsay follows
  • [27:44] The biggest threat and opportunity for marketers

Resources Mentioned

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AMC Appoints Brian Swarth SVP Of Subscriber Engagement, Product Marketing

This week in leadership updates, AMC names Brian Swarth senior vice president of subscriber engagement and product marketing, Rafael Acevedo exits as Dunkin’s chief marketing officer, Prospect Farms hires Brooke Shields as chief brand officer, Paramount taps Steve Raizes as executive vice president of podcasting and audio and more.

AMC Appoints Brian Swarth SVP Of Subscriber Engagement, Product Marketing

AMC Networks has tapped Brian Swarth to help build and support its subscriber experience as senior vice president of subscriber engagement and product marketing.

Before joining AMC, Swarth was head of podcast marketing for Audacy’s podcast division, which includes Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios. Previously, he spent more than a decade with Showtime and MTV in senior digital marketing and operations positions.

Young Living Taps Lyndi Smith As Chief Marketing Officer

After a yearlong hiatus from Young Living Essential Oils, Lyndi Smith has been named the company’s chief marketing officer.

Smith previously spent nearly 20 years at Young Living in a handful of marketing leadership roles. At the time of her departure, she was senior vice president, global marketing.

Prospect Farms Welcomes Brooke Shields As Chief Brand Officer

Brooke Shields has joined Prospect Farms as chief brand officer. In her new role, she’ll advise and collaborate on product development, marketing and community engagement.

Shields will initially raise awareness for the brand’s CBD sleep and anxiety products after years of searching for her own relief.

The actress has also been appointed to Prospect Farms’ board of directors.

Rafael Acevedo Departs Dunkin’ After Nine Months As Chief Marketing Officer

Rafael Acevedo has exited Dunkin’ after being its chief marketing officer for about nine months, according to AdAge.

Before helming marketing at Dunkin’, Acevedo spent nearly 20 years at Coca-Cola, most recently as ​​vice president and general manager of the company’s tea portfolio.

Qantas Names Petra Perry Group Chief Marketing Officer

Petra Perry, former Mastercard vice president of product and issuer marketing, has been appointed chief marketing officer of Qantas Group.

Perry has been with the company for nearly six years, and most recently was chief marketing officer of Qantas Loyalty and enterprise manager of customer operations and digital.

Izumi World Hires Jamie Davies As Chief Marketing Officer

AR-powered game Izumi World has recruited Jamie Davies as chief marketing officer.

Davies joins Izumi World from Rarible Protocol DAO where he was marketing lead.

Previously, he held senior marketing roles at brands including Samsung, Verizon, Xbox and Gatorade.

Creator Plus Names Peter Sherman Head Of Marketing

Creator Plus has appointed Peter Sherman as its new head of marketing.

Prior, Sherman was senior vice president of HBO Max at WarnerMedia and also held various marketing roles at Google.

Paramount Hires Steve Raizes As Executive Vice President Of Podcasting And Audio

Paramount has appointed Steve Raizes as executive vice president of podcasting and audio. In his new position, Raizes will be leading audio initiatives at CBS News and Paramount’s podcasting unit.

Prior to his new role, Raizes worked as Viacom’s senior vice president, podcasts and live.

Smokey Bones Elevates Nichole Robillard To Chief Marketing Officer

Casual dining chain Smokey Bones has promoted Nichole (Cole) Robillard to chief marketing officer.

In addition to leading marketing for Smokey Bones’ 61 restaurant and ghost kitchen locations in 16 states, Robillard is also leading marketing efforts for the company’s two virtual brands, The Wing Experience and Burger Experience.

Robillard first joined Smokey Bones as vice president of marketing in March 2021.

Purdue University And Purdue University Global Promote Ethan Braden To Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing And Communications Officer 

Purdue University and Purdue University Global have elevated Ethan Braden to executive vice president and chief marketing and communications officer.

Braden was previously Purdue’s senior vice president of marketing and communications.

Edible Arrangements Taps Heather Schlesinger As Vice President Of Marketing

Edible Arrangements has appointed Heather Schlesinger as vice president of marketing.

Before joining Edible, Schlesinger served as chief marketing officer at the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

Spotify Expands Advertising Sales Leadership Across Europe With Google And LinkedIn Execs

According to Adweek, Spotify has recruited Yves Brunschwiler and Christine Jolly to lead sales for Central and Western Europe, respectively.

Brunschwiler will become Spotify’s head of sales for Central Europe across Germany and Austria, while Christine Jolly will become head of sales for Western Europe across France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Brunschwiler spent over a decade at Google prior to Spotify, most recently as head of performance specialists. Jolly joins Spotify after working for about seven years at LinkedIn, where she was head of agencies and channels. 

70% Of Businesses Believe They’re Delivering Suboptimal Hybrid Customer Journeys

Consumers continue to expect seamless experiences across digital and in-person touchpoints, but a new Forrester study commissioned by Uberall shows just how difficult creating an end-to-end hybrid customer journey is for brands.

The findings of the “Reignite Growth with Hybrid Customer Experiences” study are based on a survey of over 200 decision-makers at US and European companies with 150 or more locations. It sheds light on the challenges companies face in breaking down departmental silos and offers insights into the importance of adapting to customer demands.

Businesses Lack Confidence In Their Ability To Deliver Seamless Hybrid Customer Experiences

More than half of companies are confident they are good or excellent at table stakes activities, such as making it easy for customers to find the closest in-store location online (62 percent) and responding to customers’ feedback, ratings and reviews on their own (55 percent) or others’ channels and touchpoints (54 percent).

But the vast majority of organizations struggle with more advanced yet essentials elements of hybrid customer experience. For example, 70 percent of decision-makers believe their company does a sub-optimal job at providing seamless customer journeys and consistent brand presences across all online and offline touchpoints.

Seventy-two percent also reported being interested or very interested in a platform that addresses several marketing and customer experience needs.

Customer Engagement Is A High Priority Post-Pandemic

Business as a whole has shifted since the pandemic began with many now focusing on customer relationships. As much as 70 percent of businesses reported that a more comprehensive understanding of their customers is more important now than it was pre-pandemic. 

Additionally, 74 percent of companies are prioritizing customer engagement via social media while 72 percent intend on increasing customer retention and loyalty.

Fragmented Teams And Solutions Create Fragmented Experiences

The study found that 75 percent of activities related to the beginning and end of the customer journey are managed in-house while 25 percent are outsourced. What’s worse, those portions that are managed in-house are split between a collection of different teams from customer service to digital marketing.

More than a third of businesses rely on external partners to manage tasks such as intelligent communications (42 percent), customer journey data analytics (39 percent), social listening (36 percent), and ratings and reviews (34 percent). But as the report notes, without alignment businesses risk fragmented customer experiences and inconsistent brand presence.

Many companies address problems using an array of standalone solutions, which, when combined with the fact that important customer experience data are stored away in silos, can hinder progress.

The top three standalone solutions businesses employ are social listening tools (76 percent), intelligent communications solutions like chatbots (70 percent) and ratings and review management solutions (70 percent).

In-Store Digital Capabilities Are Key But Hard To Implement

Seventy-three percent of company decision-makers feel that physical locations require digital capabilities such as QR codes, self-checkout and contactless payment to a greater degree now than they did before the pandemic. Nevertheless, 45 percent of respondents also labeled digital capabilities in physical locations as among the most difficult projects to implement.

Tracking And Analyzing Real-Time Customer Behavior Remains An Effort

Challenges with data security, team alignment and legacy technology are the biggest barriers to creating a seamless hybrid customer experience. Most businesses do an average, fair or poor job at tracking and gaining a clear picture of customer behavior across end-to-end customer journeys, the report shows. In fact, more than 60 percent of organizations struggle to get a holistic view of end-to-end customer journeys and to connect data across multiple systems.

The most critical element to consider when assessing the optimal technology solution to support marketing and customer experience at physical locations was the ability to link feedback and customer interaction data throughout the customer journey. 

One issue that often arises in this context is achieving the amount and depth of understanding required is difficult when customers’ expectations change so quickly. But real-time insights can address that issue and help companies adapt to hybrid consumers’ changing demands.


Consumers Want Companies To Deliver On Social Purpose

Consumers want companies to pursue social purposes and marketers say their firms are responding to improve their bottom line. That’s according to the American Marketing Association New York’s (AMA NY) Future of Marketing survey.

Based on data gathered from online polls of 506 consumers and 411 marketers around the US in August 2021, the report highlights the importance of corporate purpose in influencing purchase intentions and reveals consumer and marketer attitudes towards post-COVID marketing. 

Consumers say the top purposes they want companies to pursue are fair employment, anti-racism, corporate citizenship and environmentalism, and that they’d be willing to pay more for a product based on a company’s actions on purpose. 

“These findings underline what marketers should have learned after a couple of years of social turbulence: your customers are interested in what your firm is doing about issues they care about, not just what you’re selling – and you’d better respond to them,” said AMA NY president Jason Revzon.

Key Findings

  • The most important purpose that companies should be promoting is how to be a good employer with fair pay and labor practices.
  • After fair employment, consumers believe companies should promote racial equity, corporate citizenship in their communities and environmental sustainability.
  • Gen Z consumers rank racial and environmental justice as corporate priorities higher than older generations do.
  • Minorities believe racial equity is the most important social goal companies should act on.
  • Companies are listening to consumers’ needs and responding to those that are promoted most heavily.
  • Males, baby boomers and upper-income consumers stress corporate action for democracy.
  • Females, younger individuals and low-income consumers feel companies should promote women’s rights.
  • Consumers and marketers agree that “purpose packs a punch at checkout” 
  • Purpose has a noticeable effect on corporate image.
  • Consumers punish companies that aren’t particularly focused on purpose.
  • Many customers report being willing to pay higher prices for products from companies that align with the customer’s stance on socio-political issues.
  • Some consumers remain skeptical about the sincerity of corporate commitments.
  • Buyers want independent sources of information on company performance on purpose.
  • Purpose matters, so pay attention and analyze by target demographics.

Purpose has become an essential part of marketing for companies that want to retain and gain customers, especially in the US where social, environmental and political issues are at the center of many people’s lives. 

According to AMA NY’s findings, marketers must convey profit isn’t their only pursuit. Ironically, marketers’ primary motivation for doing good in the world is, usually, to drum up more business.

That makes sense given that regardless of age, gender or race, consumers have affirmed that a corporation’s purpose will have an effect on its public image and bottom line. 

The survey shows there exists a noticeable gap between the issues marketers believe companies are addressing and those that consumers feel companies should be addressing. For example, both marketers and consumers agree that being a good employer is the top-most purpose companies should be promoting. While 47 percent of marketers believe companies are addressing this purpose, only 34 percent of consumers believe the same. 

That same gap for racial equality is 10 percent, for giving back to the community it’s 19 percent and for sustainability and for a company’s environmental impact it’s 14 percent. At 25 percent, the largest disparity between marketers and consumers is diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Because there are so many issues people could care about, AMA NY suggests companies looking for alignment listen to the specific concerns of their customer base. 

Marketers have responded to the public’s sentiment by showing concern for purpose, but consumers believe independent verification of such pursuits would help the company’s credibility and therefore its bottom line.

Not all consumers are interested in the same issues. For example, Gen Z consumers—comprised of equal parts white and non-white individuals—prioritize social justice and sustainability rather than workplace purposes. They rank racial equality first (35 percent); followed by sustainability (31 percent); diversity, equity, and inclusion ( 27 percent) and women’s rights (22 percent). 

Millennials, on the other hand, prioritize a good employer (34 percent), followed by corporate citizenship (30 percent), sustainability (25 percent) and racial equality (23 percent). 

For Gen X consumers the list goes as follows: a good employer (35 percent), racial equality (30 percent), corporate citizenship (25 percent) and sustainability (20 percent). 

Baby boomers prioritize a good employer (40 percent), sustainability (28 percent), democracy (27 percent) and corporate citizenship (24 percent).

Just as purpose priorities shift with age, race and ethnicity also have an effect. White consumers rank good employer first (38 percent), followed by corporate citizenship (27 percent), sustainability (26 percent) and racial equality (22 percent). 

Black consumers are more interested in racial equality (32 percent), followed by DEI (30 percent), good employer (24 percent) and corporate citizenship (24 percent). 

Latino consumers also feel racial equality is the most important purpose for companies to address at 34 percent, followed by good employer (28 percent), sustainability (25 percent) and women’s rights (25 percent). 

Some marketers reported that their companies are active on lower-tier issues. About 35 percent say they’re seeking to promote women’s rights, 31 percent to protect voting rights and democracy, 29 percent to support criminal justice reform and 27 percent to advance LGBTQ+ issues.

Sixty-eight percent of consumers in the US report being more likely to purchase from companies taking action on the social issues they care about. Twenty-nine percent go a step further and say they’re much more likely to do so, with income and area of residence (urban vs. rural) affecting that decision.

Of the consumers that are much more likely to buy from companies they view as purpose-driven:

  • 15 percent earn under $25,000 per year
  • 25 percent earn between $25,000 and $50,000 per year
  • 35 percent earn between $50,000 and $125,000 per year
  • 51 percent earn over $125,000 per year

Companies hear consumers loud and clear, with 80 percent believing customers are likelier to purchase from companies addressing the purposes they value and 50 percent believing customers are much more likely to do so. These sentiments remain consistent regardless of the size of the company or in which sector(s) they operate. 

Nevertheless, AMA NY found that it’s the fastest-growing companies that are most likely to believe purpose matters—65 percent of those growing by 15 percent or more per year versus 37 percent of those not growing or growing by under 10 percent per year. In total, 56 percent of marketers say that purpose has helped their company become more profitable.

Not only does purpose-driven action impact the bottom line, but it also affects consumers’ perceptions. Seventy-two percent of consumers say they view firms that act on social issues in a more positive light – this holds true across age, sex, income, educational level and race. And as much as 69 percent of the survey respondents say they would be less likely to buy from a company that does poorly.

Some customers are willing to go so far as to pay higher prices for products from firms doing well on issues they care about. Forty-eight percent of consumers in the US report the willingness to do so, while 41 percent wouldn’t be willing – with income, area of residence and race playing critical roles in the decision. 

Of those consumers willing to pay more for a product based on the corporation’s actions on purpose:

  • 34 percent earn under $25,000 per year
  • 48 percent earn between $25,000 and $50,000 per year
  • 53 percent earn between $50,000 and $125,000 per year
  • 64 percent earn over $125,000 per year
  • 70 percent are Gen Z 
  • 63 percent are millennials 
  • 50 percent are Gen X 
  • 24 percent are baby boomers

Marketers‘ perceptions of consumers’ willingness to pay more, on the other hand, vary by industry and the growth rate of the company:

  • 37 percent of companies are in retail
  • 39 percent are in business services
  • 44 percent are in consumer, durables
  • 48 percent are in producer, durables
  • 52 percent are in consumer, non-durables
  • 68 percent are in consumer services

For these marketers:

  • 33 percent are in companies that grow by less than 10 percent per year
  • 49 percent are in companies that grow by 10 to 15 percent per year
  • 57 percent are in companies that grow by over 15 percent per year