Why CMOs Love/Hate Data

Can data be fun? Ayzenberg VP of Product and Technology Chris Strawser believes so. He and Sepulveda Partners founding partner Ben Tiernan join Listen In to make the case that the golden age of data analysis is here—and we need not fear it.

Chris and Ben share the work they’ve put into Datarithm, their solution for making meaning out of the mess and complexity of data. They explain why it’s finally time for CMOs to shake of anxieties regarding data analysis, and to start embracing it.

Watch The Full Video:

Listen To Our Podcast:

About Listen In: Each week on Listen In, Ayzenberg VP and ECD Matt 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.

Alternative Solutions To Third-Party Cookies With Xaxis’s Nish Desai

Nishant Desai, or Nish, is the director of technology and operations at Xaxis, the outcome media company. Nish has over 20 years of experience leading technical partnerships, integrations, and ad operations for thousands of brands, platforms, and partners. 

On Marketing Today, Nish unpacks the future of marketing without third-party cookies. With only a year before the change, Nish’s advice is, “Don’t panic” and look to alternative solutions. 

This interview touches on the events that lead to cookie death, alternative marketplace solutions, and what marketers should be thinking about as this new landscape comes into view. Listen in to learn more about the cookie-less effect on marketers and users.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why third-party cookies are ending
  • The benefits of a flock-based cookie solution
  • The future of a unified ID-based ecosystem 

Key Highlights:

  • [01:48] Nish’s path to advertising, MarTech, and AdTech
  • [02:40] How computer science helps MarTech and AdTech
  • [0316] The death of cookies 
  • [05:15] The difference between browser approach and universal idea approach
  • [07:44] Google’s proposals for browser cookies
  • [12:21] Roadblocks to a browser-based or FLoC based solution
  • [16:30] Survival of the fittest
  • [21:18] Which version is better for users
  • [22:30] Who will be successful in the new cookie world
  • [24:53] Will there be a growth of data stores?
  • [27:03] What marketers should be thinking about to move forward
  • [29:42] A defining experience that made Nish who he is today 
  • [30:46] Nish’s advice for his younger self
  • [32:35] Nish’s recent impactful purchase
  • [33:35] The brands, companies, and causes Nish follows
  • [34:53] What Nish says is today’s biggest threat and opportunity for marketers

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.

Marketers Say Creating Content More Efficiently Is The Best Use Of Automation

Marketers see automation in a whole new light thanks to the demands of the past year. According to Bynder and OnBrand’s State of Branding Report, last year 23 percent of marketers said branding can’t be automated; this year just 1 percent of respondents said the same.

Bynder surveyed 1,600 global marketers and creative professionals to understand the implications of digital transformation during the pandemic. The ensuing report covers the challenges and priorities of marketers when it comes to digital experience initiatives as well as creative output and automation.

First up, 50 percent of respondents report they’ve accelerated digital transformation and digital experience initiatives in 2021. Twenty-four percent are already fully digital, but 18 percent say that digital initiatives slowed or ground to a halt this year.

The top impact of digital transformation for 59 percent of marketers was creating more digital content and creative output. For 58 percent, the top byproduct was implementing new digital experience technologies and for 55 percent it was investing in customer data and analytics.  

With the volume of campaigns and content increasing by 41 percent from 2020 to 2021, respondents were forced to prioritize bite-size content and creativity even more than previously. Eighty-five percent of respondents reported an increase in demand for content in their company due to the pandemic and digital acceleration.

More than half (52 percent) plan to increase their technology budget to scale content creation and 48 percent plan to increase headcount to help address growing content demands.

For 80 percent of respondents, a digital asset management solution (DAM) is the answer to bolstering team performance. Yet, just 54 percent of companies consider DAM a critical part of their marketing technology stack.

Despite the surge in demand for content, 72 percent of marketers say they’re completely or very confident that they can continue to meet the demand. Nevertheless, for 25 percent keeping up with the creative and content requests is a big concern.

An even bigger 2021 marketing concern is reaching audiences on increasingly crowded digital channels. That’s why many plan to invest in tech and personalization, a tactic that’s considered one of the most effective ways of building consumer connections by 82 percent of marketers. 

Still, 45 percent of respondents say that, “making sense of inaccurate and inconsistent data” is one of the three biggest time-wasters for their marketing team. For 52 percent, the solution to efficient data aggregation and analysis means plans to increase investment in tech.

Bynder notes that there is a mismatch between how the content crunch is viewed by chief marketing officers versus marketers in video, design and creative roles. For example, 79 percent of respondents in CMO or vice president roles compared to 62 percent of marketers in video, design and creative roles report feeling “completely confident” in their company’s ability to meet 2021’s creative content needs.

Enter: tech and automation. Eighty-nine percent of respondents believe technology will help support their marketing department’s creative efforts. Nearly all (96 percent) of consumer goods brands say tech will help their creativity, more than any other sector.

Additionally, over half of respondents say automation will either increase efficiency, free up time for brand teammates to focus on more important tasks and/or improve brand consistency for their company. 

According to Bynder, for the second year in a row, marketers deem creating content more efficiently as the best use of automation. Overall, automation will increase the efficiency of marketers’ efforts, as noted by 55 percent of respondents.

Bynder’s findings are based on responses from 1,600 marketing and creative respondents —from the US, the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands—who were interviewed during January, February, and March 2021.

What Radicalization Means To A Brand Marketer With Yonder CEO Jonathon Morgan

On this 249th episode of “Marketing Today,” I speak with Jonathon Morgan, the founder and CEO of Yonder, an AI company that helps Fortune 500 communication teams identify and counteract online disinformation about issues that matter to their organization. 

In this episode, Morgan talks about the power of groups with extreme ideals and how thought radicalization can mean something different for marketers. 

Our conversation starts with understanding Yonder’s mission and how the company originated. Early in his career, Morgan conducted internet research, advising the state department on how they could counter the impact of online radicalization worldwide. 

Morgan explains that the modern concept of the internet is based on a fundamental premise — “there is wisdom in the crowd.”  He soon found out, however, that “if you value crowds, you inadvertently value mobs,” and that someone who manipulates social platforms can have an immeasurable amount of power in swaying the crowd’s thinking. 

From there, Morgan provides insights on the pros and cons of social media censoring and how easily misinformation and extremist ideals can leak into mainstream media. Finally, he talks about how the idea of radicalization isn’t always a bad thing when it comes to brand marketing.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The vulnerability of the internet and our social ecosystem
  • What contributes to the origins of radical groups and how misinformation can spread
  • The difference between good and bad radicalization
  • The importance of authentically communicating your company’s values
  • How to build a coalition for your brand and leverage communication better

Key Highlights:

  • [02:16] Yonder’s mission and how they got started
  • [05:46] How a person can have incredible influence on the way the public thinks
  • [07:44] Motivations behind a mob; looking at the riots on the Capitol
  • [11:17] The pros and cons of censoring on social platforms
  • [15:21] How radical ideals spread into mainstream media
  • [18:40] When radicalization isn’t always a bad thing
  • [24:00] Jonathan’s advice to brand marketers about building a network
  • [32:53] How taking a stand is complicated but essential
  • [35:02] An experience that defines Jonathon made him who he is today
  • [36:27] Jonathon’s advice to his younger self
  • [37:38] An impactful purchase Jonathon has recently made
  • [41:15] The brands, companies, and causes Jonathon follows
  • [42:38] What Jonathon thinks 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.

Ashley Owen On Ayzenberg’s Marketing Science Principles

One valuable lesson the pandemic has taught brands is that constantly aggregating and applying usable consumer data can enable them to pivot on a moment’s notice. Research and data-fueled Ayzenberg’s marketing science department, MarSci for short, long before the crisis hit, but in the past months, an increasing number of brands have turned to the agency’s division to help identify the best ways to engage audiences and quantify performance.

Ayzenberg marketing science vice president of strategy, Ashley Owen, applied 2020 learnings to the department’s updated strategy, which comprises five mindset and behavioral shifts– including thinking audience-first rather than vertical-first, letting the problem guide the work, starting with the “so what?” and more. It’s her hope that these shifts will both empower the MarSci team to listen, create and share more effectively, as well as better serve their clients, in the ever-evolving industry.

Let The Problem Guide The Work

Owen encourages the team to not feel confined by their job titles, but instead to reorient how they view themselves—not merely as strategists and data analysts, but as collective problem solvers who explore new routes to reaching a solution. To apply this mindset shift, she suggests identifying the problem and spending time thinking about how to solve the problem first before jumping into action.

Think Audience-First, Not Vertical-First

Owen believes that narrowing MarSci’s expertise to a particular channel or vertical does the subsidiary a disservice. To create content that genuinely resonates with a brand’s audience, she encourages the team to think holistically of all the tools at its disposal. For example, applying creativity and storytelling to a dense deck, using more than the data readily available and applying a variety of strategic approaches and frameworks.

Leaders, Not Members, Backed By A Team

In replacing the old mindset of viewing members within a team or part of a department, Owen challenges each and every member to view themselves as a leader backed by their team. To apply this shift, Owen says the department is exploring different approaches to bi-weekly “Syncs,” where each person gets assigned one and brings something to teach, share or discuss. In addition, to embrace the messiness of problem-solving, she encourages the team to be open to sharing half-baked work, not just work that’s in progress, and reaching out for help and feedback whenever necessary.

Start With The “So What?”

When working under tight deadlines, it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture, but Owen cautions against thinking of deliverables as the end point. To continue adding value to clients, she says it’s critical for the team to think beyond the deck and start with a definitive point of view, or a “so what?” factor for each project or brief being worked on. Even if a client has only asked for a deck, basic metrics or a few slides, she believes it’s important for the team to share their point of view with clients every change they get.

Power The Agency With Inspiration, Not Information

Data is undoubtedly one of MarSci’s most powerful tools, but Owen believes that what they do with that data is even more important. She encourages the team not to call something an insight if it’s simply an observation. Instead, she urges them to “keep digging” and investigate the data until there’s an insight that inspires, as galvanizing others around that interpretation is when they’re most effective.

The Power Of Audio With Audioburst Founder And CEO Amir Hirsh

On this 248th episode of “Marketing Today,” I speak with Amir Hirsh, the chief executive officer and founder at Audioburst. This AI-powered audio discovery platform helps connect content consumers with relevant audio clips.

Our conversation starts with how people have a tendency to call Hirsh crazy due to his innovative and forward-thinking. Hirsh discusses how 2020 acted as gasoline on the audio fire and how “audio connects people much stronger and creates brand affinity.” In the last year alone, the podcast industry more than doubled in size as more and more people crave content that doesn’t hurl visuals at their eyeballs.

We then dive into Hirsh’s company Audioburst and how it has “built an AI engine that listens to that vast amount of content,” analyzes, and cuts it into short clips to make it more discoverable on the internet. Hirsh explains the massive opportunities that await marketers who can create or participate in their own audio content, as well as sponsor and attach their name to the audio content of others. The power of audio lies in the fact that “it can pretty much follow you throughout your day without interrupting whatever it is that you’re doing at that moment in time.” No matter how many people call him crazy, Hirsh sticks to the guiding principle that has gotten him here. “As long as you are true to yourself, you’ll be a happier and more contributing person in life.”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • As an entrepreneur that has spent his life in innovation and forward-thinking, Amir has been called crazy plenty of times. 1:13
  • 2020 saw the audio industry explode with more people connecting via audio and technology than ever. 2:20
  • Podcasting doubled to 5.5 million podcasts in 2020 alone as more and more time has been spent at home. 2:54
  • Consuming content through the ears rather than the eyes frees up the consumer to do so much more. 3:40
  • Though Amazon was a little bit late to the audio game, it has positioned itself to be the 800lb gorilla in the room. 4:27
  • Voice penetration through Alexa will allow Amazon to push audio content at an entirely new level. 5:36
  • It’s vital for marketers to think about audio as it becomes more available in all industries. 6:40
  • People can connect with brands at a much higher rate through audio than just being bombarded with visuals. 7:10
  • If you are not moving your ads into the audio dimension, you miss out on half of the consumers’ attention span. 8:00
  • Amir started Audioburst to help podcasts and other audio connect with internet searchers. 9:27
  • By adding as much metadata as possible to the audio clips, Audioburst makes audio much more discoverable. 11:00
  • Other than making it accessible, Audioburst aims to make audio easy to use on many different platforms. 11:42
  • Currently, Audioburst partners with the likes of Samsung and Hyundai to integrate into multiple industries. 13:31
  • Rather than answering questions with an automated voice, Audioburst provides an audio clip from an expert in that field. 15:15
  • Audio finds its power in its ability to follow you around throughout the day without interrupting your activities. 16:44
  • Brands and marketers should be open to opportunities both in audio and on audio. 17:56
  • Opportunities in audio involve brands and marketers creating their own audio content, whether producing or being interviewed. 18:24
  • Placing a brand around a playlist, podcast, or audio event is how brands can participate in audio. 19:28
  • Amir attributes all the ups and downs that created his personality as someone that remains true to himself. 22:00
  • Looking back, Amir thinks it’s important never to lose your inner child as you go through the ride of life. 24:26
  • It’s important to actively care about the world you live in and the people around you. 27:30
  • There’s still time for brands and marketers to get in on the audio pie, but the longer they wait, the more they risk missing out. 29:00

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.

52 Percent Of Marketing Budgets Go To Location-Based Marketing

According to the Location Based Marketing Association’s (LBMA) fifth annual Global Location Trends report 2020, 52 percent of marketers globally say their budget went toward location-based marketing, with mobile, static billboards and digital out-of-home (DOOH) considered the top three media considered.

Amid a backdrop of increased application of location data to sell products and services, as well as drive public health awareness around COVID-19, 97 percent of North American respondents say they rely on location-based data—an increase in ten percentage points year-over-year (YoY). Overall, there was an 18 percent increase in the global use of location-based data and services between 2018 and 2020.

Among the location-based technologies that companies currently use, bluetooth beacon technology surpassed WiFi deployments for the first time, with global use of the technology growing 23 percent. Eighty-four percent of EMEA companies use bluetooth beacon tech, followed by 79 percent of North America companies and 75 percent of APAC companies.

A second priority after beacons is GPS-based technology, which LBMA found 52 percent of companies worldwide already using. Here, too, EMEA leads the way (56 percent), with an additional 36 percent planning to add GPS-based solutions later this year. Thirty-eight percent of US respondents aren’t currently using GPS, but plan to by the end of 2021.

As far as smart lighting, LBMA observed a nine percent decrease in investments in the area, which respondents attributed to pandemic-induced store closures and slowed construction of new locations.

Near-field communication (NFC) technology took the biggest hit in 2020, with a 22 percent decline in spend in the APAC region, and an 18 percent drop in EMEA. In North America, just 12 percent are currently using NFC, but an additional 41 percent will utilize it by the end of the year.

When asked what the most beneficial feature of location-based marketing is, 46 percent of respondents globally said the ability to target, followed by its role in increasing brand recall (21 percent) and driving sales at point of sale (17 percent). The benefit that saw the most growth was using location-based marketing to increase brand recall, increasing from just over one percent in 2019 to 21 percent in 2020.

LBMA noticed a 26 percent dip in spending on local search optimization YoY. Driving this shift were COVID-related business closures and advancements in voice and image-enabled search.

Thirty-three percent of companies noted that augmented/virtual reality and merging mobile and digital out-of-home, respectively, will be important topics in location-based marketing. Another 22 percent showed interest in connected car applications.

These findings are based on a survey of 871 companies worldwide.

CES 2021: Home As The New HQ

In 2020, gyms became watches, dining rooms became offices and restaurants came in bags, changes that have resulted in 29 percent of homes having at least one smart home device–a 20 percent increase from one year ago.

As adoption of technology that enhances the at-home experience increases, so do consumer pain points around that technology. During a CES session ‘The Next Big Thing: Home As the New Headquarters,’ CNET editor at large Brian Cooley explores these issues with Jennifer Kent, senior director at Parks Associates, Paul Lee, head of technology, media and telecommunications research at Deloitte London and Megan Wollerton, senior writer at CNET Smart Homes Center.

Research from Parks Associates shows that just 15 percent of consumers had used telehealth services before 2020, as older consumers believed that virtual care couldn’t compare to in-person visits. For the first time, Kent says the firm saw a use case that challenges that, with the number of consumers using telehealth growing to 41 percent during COVID-19. At the source of this shift was people’s fear of contracting the disease during in-person doctor appointments, she notes.

Though consumers are increasingly purchasing connected health devices such as a connected weight scale or smart thermometer, Kent says the data from such devices isn’t integrated with telehealth services, causing a major pain point.

As per Lee, the term ‘telehealth’ is effective as it conveys a familiarity to patients, particularly elders, who may be reluctant to use these virtual services. For the medical industry, Lee emphasizes the importance of having a standard method of communicating telehealth services, and creating a piece of technology that doesn’t make patients more worried.

Lockdowns have also been a boon to the wellness and fitness tech space. In September, Peleton reported a 172 percent surge in sales and a user base of more than 1 million for its streaming classes. The brand recently launched a new indoor cycling, Bike+, and is debuting a new treadmill called Tread in March this year. Similarly, in mid December Apple announced Apple Fitness+, a new fitness service for its Apple Watch.

Wollerton says the complaint she hears frequently from CNET readers about smart home devices is that while they add value to their lives, they still don’t touch on their biggest pain points, namely reducing or alleviating challenges associated with achieving work-life balance at home. On these consumers’ wishlists are devices that can help reduce the time and energy required to cook, do laundry and the like.

Lee says one major area where today’s technology falls short is its inability to recreate the spontaneous moments that occured in the physical workplace pre-pandemic.

“There’s no digital equivalent to those spontaneous conversations, elevator pitches and chats as we walk along, say, to the cafeteria. Zoom and other products like that are fantastic for the meeting room replication, but the reality is business is about more than just the board room,” says Lee.

CES 2021: Microsoft President Brad Smith’s Plea For Greater Cybersecurity

The SolarWinds cybersecurity hack, the passing of data privacy regulations in recent years and the impending demise of cookies all mark one truth: that technology is a double-edged sword. In a keynote at the digital Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Microsoft president Brad Smith urged the industry to take responsibility for creating guardrails to protect humanity against the perils of technology.

Smith’s message echoes one he already conveyed in his 2019 book, Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age, which he co-authored with Carol Ann Browne, Microsoft general manager, chief of staff and executive communication—that the darker side of technology could one day lead to communities’ loss of control over privacy and digital safety.

“The SolarWinds-based attack was a mass indiscriminate global assault on the tech supply chain that all of us are responsible for protecting. We need to come together as an industry, and we need to use our collective voice to every government around the world that this kind of supply chain . . . shouldn’t be allowed to pursue. If we don’t use our voice to call on the governments of the world to hold to a higher standard, then I ask you this: who will?”

Smith took CES viewers inside Microsoft’s data centers in Quincy, Washington, where almost half a million “server computers that fuel our lives” are kept. According to Smith, the server computers hold as much data as you’d find in more than 50,000 Libraries of Congress. 

Fueling this digital infrastructure are over 140 electric generators powered by diesel. Microsoft has pledged to replace them either with those that run on hydrogen power or new advanced fuel cells by the end of the decade–highlighting the powerful intersection of digital technology, energy technology, environmental science and the need for innovation, as Smith put it.

Smith’s plea for protection of the planet’s cybersecurity comes as brands and consumers increasingly use and rely on artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and machine learning to enhance experiences in education, entertainment and beyond. In fact, research from McKinsey Global Institute suggests that by 2030, AI could produce an additional global economic output of $13 trillion per year.

Nevertheless, Smith affirms that AI could pose a threat to people’s fundamental rights, while machine learning can create bias and discrimination. Inspired by John F. Kennedy’s 1962 speech about the nation’s space effort, Smith reminds viewers that whether technology will become a force for good or ill is entirely up to us.

“Tech has no conscience, but people do. As an industry, we must exercise our conscience . . . to ensure the tech we create serves the world.”

CES: The 2021 Consumer Engagement Playbook

Privacy laws, consumer recovery and 5G will be top-of-mind for marketers in 2021. To understand how brands can navigate these trends, Carol Reed, executive vice president of data and product marketing at WPP, discussed the new consumer engagement playbook with three marketing leaders at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), including: Gabby Cohen, brand marketer at Harry’s Inc., Iván Markman, chief business officer for Verizon Media and Alyssa Raine, group vice president of customer marketing platforms at Walgreens.

Amid lockdowns, brands were pushed to find creative ways to inspire togetherness. Markman says that at Verizon, this meant creating shared experiences through a personalized sports community of friends and family. In September, the company debuted a ‘Watch Together’ feature that enables four people to interact via video chats while watching live local and primetime NFL games in the Yahoo Sports app.

At the same time, Verizon debuted a new feature called Yahoo Sports PlayAR, giving fans the ability to see graphical replays of key plays across all games in near real-time through augmented reality (AR). Markman says features like these can help build consumer trust and thereby enable consensual first-party data relationships.

At online subscription-based Rent the Runway, Cohen, the brand’s former senior vice president of brand, communications and business development, and her team responded to the pandemic by building trust and uplifting consumers through feel-good content, rather than content that encouraged buying. There, Cohen was instrumental in overhauling RTW’s membership plans as consumers opted for sweats over dresses in lockdowns, a trend that compelled the brand to do away with its unlimited rental option and create updated plans.

For Raine and Walgreens, delivering exceptional customer experiences to its 100 million loyalty members during the pandemic required leveraging first-party data to understand customers’ individual healthcare needs. In April, the chain announced expanded telehealth features through its Walgreens Find Care platform, including a COVID-19 risk assessment. Raines says personalized experiences will continue to guide Walgreens in the new year given the inherently personal nature of the vaccination.

Further highlighting the significance of first-party data in 2021, Markman mentioned Verizon’s new ConnectID identity solution, which launched in early December of 2020. The new ID aims to help advertisers and publishers navigate audiences and deliver relevant messaging without third-party cookies.