What We’re Reading—Week Of March 15th

Our survey of the marketing and advertising articles you should be reading this week.

Marketing Proves Its Mettle During Pandemic, Job Growth Follows Suit


The 26th edition of The CMO Survey found that there was a 9.1 percent overall increase in the number of marketing jobs added in 2020, with 17.7 percent of the roles going to senior managers.

Why it matters: The marketing job additions are expected to be permanent, with 72.2 percent of marketers reporting that the importance of marketing in their companies grew during the last year vs. the June 2020 survey level of 62.3 percent.

How To Target Generation X Through Paid Ads

Neil Patel

Generation X, the cohort born between 1965 and 1980, have typically been ignored by marketers who are focused on targeting baby boomer and millennial generations. But the reality is they comprise about 25 percent of the population and they outspend millennials by 41 percent and baby boomers by 18 percent.

Why it matters: An effective strategy for reaching Gen X consumers should include paid search ads, email marketing, social media and occasionally, direct mail. The group of shoppers is frugal but also tech-savvy enough to use Google and Facebook regularly, so marketers should use terms like “discount” and “promo code” in their ad copy, as well as ensure their website is clear and contains detailed information and reviews.

Goldilocks Vs. The Three Little Pigs: Three Options For The Future Of The Web


To ensure marketers don’t have to interrupt the consumer journey by asking them to enter an email to access their website, The Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media is advocating for the use of cross-site and app addressable media identifiers together with an enhanced accountability program.

Why it matters: Such cross-site and app solutions can make contextual and encrypted email-based solutions more valuable and supplement other engagement tactics rather than replace them.

Nordstrom Tosses Its Hat Into Shoppable Livestreams


Nordstrom kicked off its foray into shoppable livestreams with a live Burberry virtual styling event. The retailer expects to host multiple shoppable livestreams each week, some of which will be highly produced and include runway footage while others will involve industry experts discussing trends around fashion and beauty.

Why it matters: Nordstrom’s goal is to deliver engaging experiences that “allow for discovery, personalization and service at scale.” Each event will enable customers to click on links that direct them to shop the item on Nordstrom’s website.

The Impact Of Race On Influencer Pricing

Campaign Live

Charlotte Williams, the founder of SevenSix Agency, an influencer marketing agency with a focus on diversity and inclusion, concluded via a survey that a fear of transparency around the pay gap between black and white influencers is impacting the ability to formalize pricing structure, something influencers are desperate for.

Why it matters: Her agency’s survey among brands and influencers found that 57 percent of influencers believe ethnicity impacts the fees they can charge. Forty-nine percent who thought they undercharged and believed their ethnicity affected their fees were black, followed by 18 percent who were South Asian and 13 percent who had a black and white heritage.

What We’re Reading—Week Of March 8th

Our survey of the marketing and advertising articles you should be reading this week.

Sex Sells: Lessons In Depicting Real Women In Advertising

The Drum

In 2018, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) passed a rule banning harmful gender stereotypes, yet sexism in ads persists and research shows that 90 percent of women don’t consider ads relevant to them.

Why it matters: To ensure that women feel seen in today’s advertising, Cindy Gallop, founder of the IfWeRanTheWorld and MakeLoveNotPorn, says brands must mandate that agencies have gender-equal leadership.

Why Planning For The Next Crisis Is The Real New Normal

Ad Age

As a result of the pandemic, Feeding America now expects 42 million people could experience food insecurity in 2021, including 13 million children. Chief marketing officer Catherine Davis says its strong relationships with media outlets and support from purpose-driven brands helped amplify awareness of the growing issue.

Why it matters: Davis says that marketers can more effectively face the next set of unpredictable challenges by planning for what they know, building in time for reactive work and investing in resources that enable them to stay on top of consumer sentiment.

How The Pandemic Challenges Companies That Use Predictive Models


Dan Simion, vice president of artificial intelligence for Capgemini North America, says that companies are struggling to retrain machine learning to keep up with changing consumer behavior, adding that the challenges are acute in commerce.

Why it matters: As an example, Simion mentions how one of Capgemini’s customers—a multibillion-dollar global consumer packaged goods brand in the frozen food sector—had to adjust to trends based on the different pandemic restrictions of specific regions and states.

Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol Shares His Playbook For Leading The Chain To $2.8 Billion In Digital Sales In Just Three Years

Business Insider

Since Brian Niccol took the reins at Chipotle, the business’s loyalty program tied to its mobile app grew to 20 million members since launching in March 2019 while its digital sales grew 174.1 percent to $2.8 billion, accounting for 46.2 percent of sales in 2020.

Why it matters: Under Niccol’s leadership, nothing at Chipotle gets introduced until it’s rigorously tested, its second food line for assembling off-premise orders has been revamped and the brand’s headquarters were moved from Denver to Newport Beach, California.

10 Truths About Marketing After The Pandemic

Harvard Business Review

According to Janet Balis, a principal with Ernst & Young LLP, where she works as a global advisory leader for media and entertainment, says that a new pandemic-induced marketing truth to embrace is not competing with your competitors, but rather competing with the last best experience your customer had.

Why it matters: To ensure their experiences meet their customers’ rising expectations, companies should make brand scores a primary key performance indicator and align individual and collective goals across the journey so that disconnects between functional silos are invisible to the end customer.

The Importance Of Details In Customer Relationships And ABM With Sendoso’s Dan Frohnen

On this 251st episode of Marketing Today, I talk to Dan Frohnen, the CMO of Sendoso. This leading sending platform helps companies stand out by giving them new ways to engage with customers through the buyer’s journey.

In this episode, we talk about what marketers should be thinking about to help companies deliver a better experience for their customers and their employees.

The conversation starts with Frohnen’s transition from the music industry to the tech industry and finally to his role as CMO at Sendoso. Throughout his career, he learned the importance of customer connectivity. For him, the details matter. It’s more than just “spraying them with digital” to get them to act — and more about doing the research and understanding what they’re looking for before offering a solution.

Through the rest of the interview, Frohnen talks about the current state of ABM and how the virtual world has made it even more necessary to be intentional about your outreach.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • What connection means for marketers in a virtual world
  • Why the details matter in customer relationships
  • Why you should research your customer’s intent when they arrive through ABM

Key Highlights:

  • [01:26] Dan’s transition from music to tech
  • [02:21] What Sendoso is, and Dan’s role as CMO
  • [05:07] The definition of a super sender
  • [06:56] How Sendoso connects people in a virtual world
  • [10:30] Dan’s view of the current state of ABM
  • [12:25] Where Dan has seen ABM work well
  • [14:09] The trends Paul sees for 2021
  • [17:32] An experience that defines Dan, made him who he is today
  • [18:55] Dan’s advice for his younger self
  • [19:50] A recent impactful purchase Dan made
  • [20:48] The brands, companies, and causes Dan follows
  • [22:11] What Dan says is the biggest opportunity for marketers today

Resources Mentioned:

Subscribe to the podcast:

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 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.

Just 36 Percent Of CMOs Have A Revenue Attribution Strategy

For chief marketing officers, revenue attribution confirms their contributions to their company’s growth and revenue. Although 95 percent of marketing leaders believe that attribution is critical to strategic success, just 36 percent report having an active and measurable strategy to prove marketing return on investment (ROI). That’s according to DemandLab’s latest report, “The CMO’s Challenge: Revenue Attribution From a Leadership Perspective,” which builds on a survey that DemandLab published in December 2020.

The results show that for 59 percent of marketing leaders, the top benefit of an attribution strategy is having the ability to make better decisions for their organizations. Successful attribution also alleviates friction between the marketing and sales teams, according to 65 percent of respondents. And as DemandLab notes, according to Forrester analyst Tina Moffet, revenue attribution is associated with a revenue lift of between 15 percent and 18 percent for those companies that implement it.

Nevertheless, marketing attribution is some distant, vague goal for CMOs. Just 15 percent are in the process of launching a revenue attribution strategy, 25 percent are planning to roll one out at a later time and another 24 percent have no plans for a strategy. For the last group, DemandLabs suggests weaving attribution into existing marketing initiatives as the first step.

A successful attribution strategy requires resources like technologies, data and trained personnel, many of which marketing leaders lack. Some of the major barriers marketers face in claiming ownership of generated revenue include data quality (53 percent), budgetary constraints (35 percent) and analyzing marketing’s impact on different stages of the buyer journey (34 percent).

The top three digital channels that CMOs find most difficult to analyze when attributing results to sales revenue include social media marketing for 44 percent, content marketing for 39 percent and display advertising for 38 percent.

Additionally, 68 percent agree that the process of aggregating high-quality data across multiple channels, departments and platforms to optimize their attribution requires outsourced expertise.

Looking at the year ahead, 43 percent of marketers plan to increase their dedicated attribution budget moderately or significantly while another 14 percent plan to decrease it.

How Product Experience, Marketing, And Community Coexist With FreshBooks’ Paul Cowan

On this 250th episode of “Marketing Today,” I speak with Paul Cowan, the CMO of FreshBooks, a cloud-based accounting solution for small businesses and self-employed professionals. Over the past 20 years, Cowan has marketed everything from booze to SaaS products, learning that product experience and marketing go hand-in-hand.

In this episode, Cowan discusses the symbiotic relationship between product experience and marketing while touching on the intersection between marketing and community. We also talk of activism — or really slacktivism — and what it means for businesses.

The conversation begins with an overview of how FreshBooks came to be and how Cowan stepped into his CMO role during a company rebrand. Like any good CMO, Cowan believes it’s important for your customers to understand the pain you address, but it’s even more essential for them to understand what makes you different. From a brand standpoint, Cowan says marketers need to look internally and find what he calls the “bits of goodness” that exist within the product experience and communicate that to customers.

Cowan goes on to explain how to use that pain to build a community, what slacktivism means, and how it impacts business, for better or worse.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to take a pain point and use marketing to exploit it
  • How to find your company magic and use it as your superpower
  • What the symbiotic relationship is between product, customers, marketing, and community
  • What role slacktivism plays in marketing and in pushing companies to be purpose-driven

Key Highlights:

  • [01:33] Why Paul isn’t allowed around chainsaws
  • [03:01] What is FreshBooks and Paul’s path to becoming CMO
  • [05:38] The pain FreshBooks set out to solve
  • [07:06] The FreshBooks rebrand
  • [11:42] The overlap of product experience and marketing
  • [13:27] Using pain points to build network and community
  • [19:15] What is slacktivism, and how it applies to purpose-driven companies
  • [27:51] An experience that defines Paul, made him who he is today
  • [29:31] Paul’s advice for his younger self
  • [30:17] A recent impactful purchase Paul made
  • [31:22] The brands, companies, and causes Paul follows
  • [33:03] What Paul says is the biggest opportunity for marketers today

Resources Mentioned:

Subscribe to the podcast:

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 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.

When Should Video Game Marketers Invest In TV?

In the world of performance user acquisition (UA) for games, where does television spend fit? Is it useless? Does it drive installs? Awareness? Lower your cost per install (CPI)? While I was at FoxNext on Marvel Strike Force, we invested in TV for that game’s launch. About eight months in, my boss Rick Phillips said, “Is it doing anything for us?” So we did some research to try to answer that question. If you’re wondering whether TV spend is right for your game, read on below as I unpack my learnings.

Strong Correlation To App Store Search Volume

Whether TV fits in user acquisition (UA) depends on your goal. If performance is a particular KPI, like revenue generation, profit, installs or downloads, then my experience has been not so much. TV is not effective at those—at least not in a way that is clearly attributable. Our research showed that there was no way to attribute those other more typical return on investment (ROI)-driven KPIs—cost per install (CPI) or direct installs attributed by a spend in marketing. If your goal is to drive brand awareness or app store traffic, which is probably less ROI as a goal, then the answer is maybe, and sometimes.

In the case of Marvel Strike Force, the only true correlated lift in our TV spend was driving traffic to our App Store page. We could definitely see that when TV was running, the traffic that went to our iTunes and Google Play stores increased.

Since you can’t actually see the customer journey of exactly what they did and what steps they took, the intuition we have is: You’ve got a phone while you’re on your couch AND  you see a TV ad, so you go on to the App Store. You read about the game. Maybe you install it, maybe you don’t. Most people don’t— at least not on the very first impression. But that is a top funnel action, meaning this is the first impression a gamer has of your game and most likely they will need more convincing before installing. So is a TV commercial effective at driving other results? 

No Correlation To Lowering CPI Or Organic Installs

In Marvel Strike Force’s instance, there was absolutely no evidence that TV affected CPI. In fact, there were many other highly effective ways our UA team could change the CPI. Most of those were directly able to be manipulated by the UA teams themselves. For example, the bid prices they set, the creative they used in their UA campaigns and the timing or the targeting of those parameters. Those were way more effective ways than TV to change a CPI.

But CPI is not the most important KPI for UA. It’s just a factor in an equation. It doesn’t show that you acquired anyone profitably. Just because you can acquire a player for one dollar doesn’t mean you’re making money off that player. CPI is one of the levers that UA teams can use to maximize the most important factor, which is profitability, or return on advertising spend (ROAS).

While TV advertising doesn’t have a positive impact on CPI, it can help boost brand awareness.

Slight Correlation To Brand Awareness

We did find that TV advertising can help make people aware of your game. Yet it’s still hard to attribute. The only real way you can do that is through surveys, or have data scientists run linear regression modeling to prove some amount of correlation to dollar spend versus brand awareness lift.

What was interesting for Marvel Strike Force was that brand awareness was not a KPI we needed help with. The Marvel licence itself came with built in brand awareness so using TV to lift awareness was a meaningless spend. For a new IP that’s launching who doesn’t start off with the brand awareness equity that Marvel has built, if the marketing team decides to chase awareness as the most important KPI to optimize against, then TV could be in the consideration mix because it can and does have the ability to drive awareness around a particular brand or an IP.

Awareness is just a start though. There needs to be a lot of other work, tactics and communication channels to follow up with awareness as a player “considers” your game. Just because somebody knows you exist doesn’t mean that they’re going to look for more information about you, that they’re going to ask their friends about you, become a player of your game or spend money in your game. Those are way further down the list. So you better have all the other tactics ready, so that once you make somebody aware, there’s a natural path that they can take to find out more information about your game. But, TV isn’t the only way to drive awareness.

Alternatives To TV

From my experience, there are other more organic and modern ways to drive awareness, whether that is through social media, original content creation or working with influencers. Having relations with people who are celebrities on channels where viewers are interested in the type of game you would be making—whether that’s a YouTuber, a Twitch streamer, a very influential Twitter person, and now, TikTok celebrities. Understand who their audiences are. If you’re a new IP and your owned channels don’t have a huge following, invest heavily in earned media (EMV) opportunities.

One thing to note is it’s a much more cumbersome process to try to do variant testing with TV spots than with digital ads. Variant testing with TV ads would require way more time and money, whereas we can do multi-variant testing in digital spaces in days and for a fraction of the cost, and have full control over the process.

There are also other ways to drive awareness generation through PR or editorial outreach. Take advantage of editorial outlets and websites. These are all lower cost and lower risk, but maybe not as high a volume in impression generation as you can get on TV. I would exhaust those first before you invest in TV. 

When TV Investment Makes Sense

It depends on your budget and your aspirations for the game. If it’s a giant blockbuster triple-A console game, say the Cyberpunk 2077 holiday release, and you’ve checked off the more cost-effective ways to generate awareness, and you still have a massive budget left, then yes, TV could still be a really important way—especially during launch when you try to maximize impression generation.

For Marvel Strike Force, the end result was that we didn’t need TV for brand awareness because it didn’t help any of our down funnel acquisition metrics. Through this research, we decided to ax the TV campaign. We stopped spending money on TV because we didn’t need it for brand awareness. It wasn’t helping with CPI, and it wasn’t doing anything to organic installs. Yes, it drove traffic to our App Store page, but there are lots of other ways we could drive people to our page, and probably have more qualified people that were driving through that traffic.

For a known IP, sequel IP or something that doesn’t suffer from lack of brand awareness, it would be difficult to justify a big TV campaign. But for a triple-A big-budget, new IP that has backing from a big company, that needs to saturate the market in a short amount of time with impressions to make it known, TV could still work.

5 Tips For Ensuring Your Influencer Marketing Isn’t Misleading

Research from GlobalWebIndex shows that consumers are more likely to consider a brand or product if their favorite influencer has promoted it, and that the largest benefit of discovering a product through an influencer is seeing the product in action. Before the pandemic, and especially after, influencers have been a boon to marketers looking to outsource creative and promote their products as in-person shoots and pop-ups remain canceled.

To help marketers meet Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines, the BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division has rounded up five best practices for making sure that incentivized influencer and customer product reviews are transparent and honest.

#1. Content Responsibility

First, when working with influencers or incentivizing consumers to review their product, marketers should keep in mind that they may be responsible for the content of those posts. Given incentivized posts and reviews may be viewed differently than those posted organically, the FTC requires disclosure of material connections. Brands that lack the required disclosures may be responsible.

#2. Disclosing Disclosure

The National Advertising Division suggests that brands implement policies that notify the influencer or consumer of the need to disclose material connections. The brand should then monitor the post or review to ensure the proper disclosures are made.

#3. Keep It Simple

Disclosures should be in clear language that’s understandable to consumers, such as #ad. The organization found that a disclosure stating that an influencer was “hosted” by the brand doesn’t sufficiently convey the nature of the relationship. A more effective disclosure is: “I really love the free products X brand provided.”

#4. Keep It Close

Brands should also ensure that the disclosure on the post, be it visual or audio, is in close proximity to the endorsement message. For example, if the influencer is posting about a product on their Instagram Stories, the disclosure should be readable or audible at the same time they talk about the product. If the post is published on multiple platforms, for example both on TikTok and Instagram, brands must ensure that the disclosure travels.

#5. Don’t Mislead

Lastly, brands must ensure that an influencer or consumer’s language about a product doesn’t make unsubstantiated claims about the product that aren’t supported. The National Advertising Division suggests brands adopt policies that mandate the removal of false or misleading reviews in the same way they have policies for taking down offensive reviews.

Piotr Urbanski On How Marketers Can Identify Cognitive Bias

In his second a.university course on the topic of marketing science, Piotr Urbanski, Ph.D., Ayzenberg associate director of marketing science, shares how to better identify cognitive biases in decision making, how analysts and data scientists can understand the causes of their data, and how strategists and creatives can ground their concepts in the science of human behavior to inform consumers without being outright deceptive.

Listen In: The Fountain Of Age

Tim Parr, Founder and CEO of Caddis Eye Appliances is fighting the good fight. With culture obsessed with the fountain of youth and marketers seemingly focused only on Gen Z and Gen Alpha, an attitude of “anti-anti-aging” can be downright revolutionary. 

Tim puts it like this: trying to cling to youth is “inauthentic.” And in terms of marketing, authenticity is key. “Authenticity and clarity of mission and transparency… those things are not going away. And thank God.” 

Tim explains how a trip to the optometrist gave him the “vision” of Caddis, why he rebranded his eyewear as ‘eye appliances,’ and explores often overlooked insights into aging purchasers and what the future of the demographic holds for marketers, including the ability to be disrupted. “The fictional construct of age [in America] needs a deconstruct.”

We conclude the conversation by examining a number of misconceptions about ‘the silver economy’ and how to reach this demo.

About Listen In: Each week on Listen In, Bretz and a rotating cast of hosts from Ayzenberg will interview experts in the field of marketing and advertising to explore uncharted territory together. The goal is to provide the a.network audience with actionable insights, enabling them to excel in their field.

What We’re Reading—Week Of February 22nd

We’re rounding up the news and insights you need to know this week.

Cancel Culture Primer For Marketers


With the rise of cancel culture, the public backlash that brands and influencers face when contradicting consumers’ values, brands must adopt congruent branding, or risk getting burned.

Why it matters: According to cognitive dissonance theory, we have an innate drive for consistency. Once the mind registers an incompatibility, we automatically resolve the dissonance by sticking with our own values and thereafter change our allegiance to a brand or celebrity that has contradicted our values.

Nielsen Introduces Cookieless System To Track Online Actions

Marketing Dive

Nielsen launched a cross-platform audience measurement solution called Identity Sync that doesn’t rely on device IDs or the browser ecosystem, but instead on first-party identifiers, to track shoppers’ online activities and responses to ads.

Why it matters: When Barceló Hotel Group used Identity Sync, 96 percent of conversions were attributed to actual marketing touchpoints. The company also unlocked nine percent of potential savings in key areas like paid search by moving away from keywords not leading to conversions.

General Mills CMO Shares Outlook On Purpose, E-commerce And Data As Pandemic Boosts Sales

Marketing Dive

Last February, when China was in the thick of COVID-19, General Mills launched an Accelerate strategy to reinvent its business. It’s based on four directives—building brands with purpose, relentless innovation, unleashing scale and being a force for good at the local and global levels.

Why it matters: Ivan Pollard, chief marketing officer at General Mills, said that five years ago, the company would’ve bought pre-roll on YouTube, whereas today, in response to consumers’ demand for ease, the company adopted a click-to-buy function and infrastructure that sends consumers to the right place to purchase–be it Instacart,  Walmart.com or Amazon.

Spotify To Launch Spotify Audience Network, An Audio Ad Marketplace


In an effort to monetize its podcast investments, Spotify is launching a new audio advertising marketplace, the Spotify Audience Network, which will enable marketers to reach listeners across Spotify’s original and exclusive podcasts and ad-supported music, as well as on Anchor and Megaphone (which it recently acquired).

Why it matters: In Q4, Spotify’s podcast ad revenues grew by more than 100 percent year-over-year, with a 50 percent increase in the number of advertisers compared with Q3. Its total monthly user base grew 27 percent YoY to 345 million, an increase that 

founder and chief executive Daniel Ek attributed to podcast usage.

Adweek Podcast: Challenger Brands Continue To Shake Up The Landscape


Those tuning into Adweek’s third annual virtual Challenger Brands Summit will hear from headline speakers like Jennifer Garner, co-founder and chief brand officer of Once Upon a Farm, a line of cold-pressed organic baby foods. Upon launching in 2016, the company had to rethink its retail placement due to the lack of refrigerated baby food sections, eventually ending up in the produce aisle near juices and sliced fruit.

Why it matters: Adweek reports that the purpose-driven brand grew from less than $1 million in revenue to more than $30 million during Garner’s tenure.

Making The Hybrid Workplace Fair

Harvard Business Review

Hybridity, or working with employees who are co-located in the same physical space as well as employees working remotely, will be the future of the workplace because it offers, among other benefits, a reduced carbon footprint and stronger cultural socialization.

Why it matters: Differences in power will inevitably arise in a hybrid work environment, which could harm relationships, affect collaboration and reduce performance. For hybridity to succeed, managers must communicate with their employees and shift resource accessibility when necessary.