Boingo Wireless CMO Dawn Callahan Explains The Vital Role Of Data

Today’s chief marketing officer has to be a jack of all trades and master of all. Boingo Wireless CMO Dawn Callahan has watched this role evolve over the past 20 years from an age of tedious AB testing to real-time data analysis.

At Boingo, Callahan is in charge of consumer-driven revenue and leads marketing across all lines of business, as well as corporate marketing, branding and PR. Callahan sat down with AList to explain the role that data plays in today’s marketing world and why trust is a CMO’s biggest challenge.

How has the nature of your work changed in the last five years?

A lot. (laughs) The biggest thing for me is investor relations. You’re still a storyteller but now you’re telling a story to the analysts, investors, that sort of thing. Every quarter you have to find a new way to tell that story.

What are the most important qualities of a modern marketer?

There are three things: they’re intensely curious, they’re great storytellers, and the third thing is that they’re data-driven.

Typically when we see a CMO, [people think you’re] in charge of the brand and advertising. I run 50 percent of our company’s business. Marketers today almost have to be a CTO or CEO. In fact, I recently read an article saying that CMO is the next step to CEO. That’s definitely true from where I sit. More than anything else, marketers are having to become massive data experts.

When I think about how I started my career, a lot of it took place in direct mail. That’s the original data-driven [strategy]. We’re doing that but now it’s on a digital platform and it’s so much faster. Synthesizing that data depends on what you’re trying to do. For example, if you want to track a customer journey from beginning to purchase, that’s hard to do—it doesn’t matter how many systems you have in place. But if you talk about using data for things like UX design and A/B testing, [that’s different]. Going back to when I was doing direct mail, you sent out a lot of A/B tests and it took forever. Today, you can do all that stuff in literally 24 hours so you can iterate, iterate, iterate.

What is the biggest challenge facing marketers today?

Trust is the biggest issue that marketers have today. We’re in this environment where news is fake and truth isn’t truth, and so people don’t know what to trust anymore. We also live in this world that is increasingly online so it’s dehumanized in a way. For example, we don’t go to a brick and mortar [where] you can come up to me, see my face and have an authentic relationship with a real person. As we do less and less of that, there’s less human contact and less trust. I have Sirius in my car and I can’t go five minutes without listening to a commercial that’s by a founder, [telling the story] of why they founded the company, etc. It’s cool, but it’s because we have to create trust. One of the ways we do that is by trying to personalize the company. Trust is the biggest thing we all have to worry about right now.

Where do you find inspiration?

It happens everywhere when you’re open to it. For me, it’s definitely art, music, commercials, film or someone wearing something on the street. You can’t stop kicking those ideas around because the cool idea [can come from] idea number 12. We start with a Pendleton shirt and we end up with the patch that goes on a hat. You have to keep going. We’re lucky to have an in-house agency.

Do you have a preference for working with an in-house agency?

Our creative services team does all of our artistic output. But, if we have to do an activation, we’ll work with an activation company because they’re no way we’re going to hire 40 people to go work on it. Depending on what we’re doing, we’ll definitely pick up people—but I cannot imagine working with an outside agency after bringing someone in-house.

For Mobile Video Ads, CTAs Are Critical For Fostering Consumer Relationships

Consumers are naturally more interested in mobile video ads that feature a call to action (CTA), IAB found in a new study. This extra thought and attention, they asserted, lays the groundwork for a direct relationship with consumers.

The Interactive Effect: CTAs in Mobile Video Shoppable Ads” included 70 participants from the Austin and Chicago areas. Respondents were allowed to choose from a variety of short film video content to watch, during which they were exposed to various ads. IAB used biometrics, eye-tracking and surveys to gauge interest both on the conscious and subconscious levels.

The biggest takeaway from IAB’s lab study was that consumers are naturally more interested in ads that feature a “Learn More” call to action prompt. Four types of CTAs were tested—Learn More, Shop Now, Sweepstakes and no CTA as a control.

Ads that invited users to learn more received more interaction and were considered to be of higher quality by study participants. These ads also yielded higher purchase intent than other categories—67 percent, compared to 62 percent of ads with no CTA. Based on heart rate, attention increased after interacting with Learn More ads. While engagement increased upon first exposure to all types of ads, it continues to be active much longer for those that offer additional information.

Shoppable ads showed promise, IAB observed, noting that consumers liked the concept of shopping inside the ads themselves. Among a series of “agree or disagree” statements, the most popular was, “I like the convenience of choosing to get more information about a product advertised without leaving the page,” followed by “It’s convenient to be able to buy directly from an ad.”

Since respondents were able to choose which content they viewed, no ad targeting was used in this study. However, a combination of shoppable ads with focused efforts could prove beneficial.

“These findings indicate that customers note the ability to shop or learn more right from the onset,” said Sue Hogan, senior vice president of research and measurement at IAB. “The great promise for shoppable ads, then, is not only the immediate ability to capture sales but also in smart retargeting.”

Irrelevant Brand Messages Can Lead To Permanent Disconnect

Consumers only want to see relevant brand messages but are reluctant to share online browsing data to get it. According to a new study by Opinion Matters and Emarsys, two out of five consumers would not purchase from a brand again if they receive irrelevant marketing materials.

Opinion Matters surveyed 2,002 UK consumers on behalf of Emarsys in August 2018. The common consensus among respondents was that in order to gain their loyalty, marketers must cater messages directly to them. Only six percent said they already receive clearly relevant offers from brands.

Irrelevant messages are simply being ignored and deleted by 84 percent of respondents, who are not afraid to wipe their hands of a brand thereafter. More than half—66 percent—said they would ignore all future correspondences and 40 percent said they would not purchase from that brand again.

Marketers agree that personalization is vital in today’s world, but accessing the data to fulfill that need can be easier said than done. Opinion Matters found that just five percent of consumers would be willing to share their browsing data with an online retailer. Nearly a quarter said they wouldn’t share any information at all.

The gap between expectation and willingness to share data stems from a simple lack of understanding. While 82 percent were aware of the use of AI in the shopping experience, only a third realized that technology is used for sending personalized offers. Views on AI are mixed, as well. Nearly half of the respondents were happy with intelligent technology as it relates to choosing discounts, marketing materials and which products match their preferences.

The good news is that consumers still very much want brand offers. Loyalty-based discounts were named as a top reason for making repeat purchases, as were bespoke discounts based on a past purchase. Echoing their desire for more personalization, 41 percent said that catered messages would inspire them to buy again.

“As this study shows, consumers aren’t generally fussed about how they are marketed to,” said Emarsys CEO Ohad Hecht. “Ultimately, they want a shopping experience which provides value, both in the product or service purchased, and the act of purchasing itself.”

With #SeeHer, Meredith Corp. Looks To Data For Equality And Accountability

The integration and utilization of data is a key discussion throughout the marketing community, mainly with the aim of resonating with consumers. But that data can also be used to affect social change at scale.

With the aims of using that data and technology for good, The Association of National Advertiser’s #SeeHer initiative has created the Gender Equality Measure, or GEM, that will call-out unconscious bias in ads and media.

While 75 companies representing $50 billion in marketing spend have signed on to support #SeeHer, the Meredith Corporation is having their brands reviewed by the methodology to become GEM certified and plans to “put its vast resources and brand power behind the #SeeHer movement” and will “promote the partnership across all platforms.”

Meredith Corporation expects this partnership to kick off in December and to expand in scope in 2019. For a media company whose reach extends to 100 million consumers, this will put pressure on the media industry at large to follow suit in being more conscious of representation.

“Women influence or make 85 percent of all purchase decisions. As a company that connects and engages with 110 million American women, coming alongside #SeeHer is the right thing to do socially and for the bottom line,” said Alysia Borsa, chief marketing and data officer, Meredith Corporation in a press release.

#SeeHer launched in 2016 with the goal of improving representation of women throughout media by 2020.

This is not the first time data is being utilized to understand gender representation in media and advertising. Actor Geena Davis, who is a member of the advisory board for #SeeHer, has long championed the cause under her organization The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

Last year, research compiled from the Institute’s Inclusion Quotient tool had revealed that twice as many men as women appeared in TV ads, enjoyed four times as much screen time, and had three times as much dialogue—a significant gap in gender representation.

Jägermeister Reveals Halloween Fortunes With AR Tarot Cards

Jägermeister is using augmented reality to celebrate Halloween this year with virtual tarot cards on Snapchat. “Divine the Darke” invites users to unlock AR tarot cards and flip them over to reveal their “cocktail fate.”

Special Jägermeister Snapcodes have been placed in bars and stores this holiday that when scanned, temporarily unlock a tarot card experience. An augmented reality tarot deck will be displayed inside the user’s camera with themes like “The Stag,” “The Ritual,” “The Hunter” and “The Mirror.”

Flipping the card over reveals a glimpse into the future in the style of an alcoholic fortune cookie with statements like, “Trust in your instinct and follow your gut.” Each card also recommends a method for consuming Jägermeister, such as a chilled shot or in a cocktail.

Each AR experience is unlocked for one hour before the code can be scanned again. Doing so allows users to view new cards, fortunes and drink suggestions.

Halloween is one of the biggest holidays for Jägermeister, which reports a 34 percent sales lift during this period. Last year in the UK, the hunter-themed drink launched a Saxon horror-story themed campaign across its social channels. Characters called “The Cursed Four” were featured in a series of videos online and recreated in the form of limited-edition miniatures.

In the US last year, Jägermeister launched print-out origami masks that looked like a skull, bat or stag—the latter being a nod to its mascot.

This isn’t the first time alcoholic brands have employed augmented reality to engage consumers of legal drinking age. Earlier this year, Skybound Entertainment released a special Walking Dead wine featuring AR labels that animated when viewed inside an app. The practice of AR labels has increased in popularity for beer and wine brands, especially those viewed through an app like Treasury Wine Estate or Living Wine Labels.

Jägermeister, amid increased competition from other flavored shot brands, recently partnered with the NHL to become the hockey league’s official shot. The brand sold 1.66 million cases in the US last year, according to Impact Databank.

The State Of Advertising In 12 Charts

Without a doubt there have been some major recent shifts in advertising. This year, the industry has encountered growth in expenditure, an emphasis in the mobile medium and a focus on devoted customers.

Here is a look at 12 charts reflecting the current state of advertising.

Global Look At Advertising

At the start of 2018, WARC, a marketing intelligence service, predicted a global growth of 4.7 percent in advertising expenditure for the year—a total of $572 billion. The company concentrates on the spending of 96 markets. The rise is pushed by major events like the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, FIFA World Cup and the US mid-term elections.

WARC also attributes the global spending increase to the reduced dollar volatility in emerging marketing. Lower volatility means that a security’s (stock, bonds, money market) value does not fluctuate dramatically, and tends to be steadier.

It was estimated North America would see a five percent growth and Asia-Pacific a six percent increase in spending. On the opposite end, The Middle East and Africa will continue to decline its ad spend at -4.1 percent, however at a slower pace than past years.

Overall, it’s an increase in ad spend compared to 2017 when the global growth only rose three percent.

Zenith Media had a similar 2018 advertising expenditure forecast. They predicted a 4.6 percent growth reaching $579 billion. However compared to the nominal GDP, ad spending will not evolve as quickly.

The United States holds the number one spot for top ten advertising markets spending $197 million in 2017 and an estimated increase to $217 million by 2020. Between 2017 and 2020 it’s predicted it will stay quite stable.

The major switch will be Australia bumping France down to take eighth place, and Indonesia will oust Canada to take tenth.

Yet, when examining the various regional blocs, Eastern and Central Asia will have the largest forecast growth of 8.8 percent from 2017-2020. It’s a big turn considering it was the area most affected by the financial crisis of 2008-2009.

Mobile Ad Takeover

Unsurprisingly, the medium with the biggest ad spend increase is internet advertising (desktop and mobile). By 2020, global advertising expenditure for mobile ads will increase to 29.3 percent.

Like any business, it’s typically all about revenue. The Nielsen Company estimates that total media revenues for 2017 decreased three percent from 2016, but digital ad revenue grew 21 percent. Mobile ad revenue rose 36 percent earning $49 billion in 2017.

Until this year, television was the leading advertising medium. The rapid growth of paid search is one of the culprits to its decline in popularity.

Print ads don’t have a bright future. The medium is losing its market share and continues to decline at an average rate of five percent and six percent a year.

In two years, its expected magazines will only have around a 3.8 percent market share.

Amazon Will Not Only Be The Ecommerce King

It seems like 2018 will be the year Google and Facebook’s share of the U.S. digital ad market will decline. It’ll be a first for these giants. According to eMarketer, the percentage of digital ad spending on these two companies will slowly dip even though their revenue is still growing.

The companies are just not keeping up with the digital ad environment and Amazon appears to be getting stronger with ad revenues expected to climb 63.5 percent exceeding two million dollars.

The report estimates Google’s share will decline to 37.2 percent from 38.6 percent in 2017, and Facebook’s will dip from 19.9 percent to 19.6 percent.

Ad Blocker Challenge

Many consumers will avoid ads at all costs and more internet users—about 30.1 percent—will block them in 2018, up from 27.5 percent last year. It means advertisers and publishers need to find creative ways to target their audience.

So what steps are they taking?

One method is publishers have set up a way to detect whether a visitor has an ad blocker enabled. Next, they deliver a message to those users to persuade them to either completely turn off their ad blocker or at least whitelist (a list of acceptable sites) that publisher.

You’ve probably seen these messages. They usually try to compromise with consumers to make them understand the ads are how publishers pay bills.

Research suggests most people simply go elsewhere when faced with the barriers. In 2016, PageFair—an anti-ad-blocking provider—reported that 74 percent of US ad blocking users polled leave websites when encountering an ad block wall.

Loyal Customers, Marketing Analytics, Seize Budget Lead

In a survey conducted by Gartner, it was discovered chief marketing officers are “playing it safe” by putting most of their budget (63 percent) on customer retention and growth instead of giving that money to acquiring new ones (27 percent).

It requires more capital to earn a new customer, but a company should still aim towards profitability.

This shift coincides with how the budget has been restructured.

Marketing analytics takes priority—out of 13 marketing capabilities—in marketing expense budgets. In 2017, 9.2 percent was allocated, resulting in a jump from its number four spot the year prior. The chart also reinforces the importance of web, 8.8 percent of the budget, and digital ads, 8.6 percent.

This turn comes as leaders must make the most out of existing programs and refocus on ROI by centering efforts on the right customers.

However, it’s not all about loyal customers and being stagnant when it comes to new ideas and risk-taking.

The survey discovered marketing innovation secured 10 percent of capital from the total marketing expense budget. Additionally, 23 percent of CMOs have a fixed annual innovation budget.

Companies don’t want to fall behind and usually innovation programs are handled by internal organization concerns.

Wayfair Broadens Strategy With Pop-Ups, Membership and Tech

Wayfair has expanded its marketing efforts with three new strategies—membership, physical retail and mixed reality. According to the direct-to-consumer furnishings brand, these activations are meant to deepen engagement with customers beyond its online presence.

Unveiled this week, MyWay is Wayfair’s answer to Amazon Prime—offering benefits to its subscribers and offering personalized shopping recommendations. For $29.99 per year, MyWay members receive free shipping that includes one-day delivery, 25 percent off in-home services like installation and hand-picked perks and promotions.

“With the introduction of MyWay, we are inviting customers to enjoy an elevated level of service and value while offering yet another reason to make Wayfair their go-to destination for everything home,” said Wayfair’s chief product and marketing officer Ed Macri in a press release.

Considering the fact that around 65 percent of Wayfair sales originate from existing customers, it’s a good idea to make them feel special.

A 2017 study conducted by Forrester Research found that 59 percent of US online adults who belong to customer loyalty programs say that getting special offers or treatment that isn’t available to other customers is important to them. Forrester also learned that loyalty members spend more on average than non-members.

While brick-and-mortar retailers look for ways to sell direct, digital native brands like Wayfair are launching physical locations.

For the first time, Wayfair is launching a physical showroom just in time for the holiday shopping season. Two pop-up retail locations, open from November 1 to January 2, will be installed—one in Massachusetts and the other in New Jersey.

Notably, it’s a good year for Wayfair to test its physical retail presence. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), holiday retail sales in November and December will reach $721 billion in the US. Also, furniture and home furnishing store sales increased 1.5 YoY for the month of September.

In addition to attracting new customers and letting existing ones sample products first-hand, Wayfair is using the opportunity to show off its customer service and technology at these pop-up locations. A How-To station will offer custom furniture design and access to the brand’s website. Both customer service and home design experts will be present in the stores to answer questions, while walking guests through Wayfair’s e-design platform.

Speaking of design, Wayfair also has continued its AR strategy with a mixed reality app called Wayfair Spaces for Magic Leap One. The experience presents a selection of three-dimensional rooms that consumers can explore from a bird’s eye view. Users can then drag individual items outside of the 3D rooms, where they transform into life-size products that anchor to the floor in augmented reality. Product information, prices and reviews can then be displayed by interacting with virtual items.

Balancing CRM Tech With Human Engagement Remains A Challenge, Marketers Say

Automation may be the way of the CRM future, but marketers—and consumers—still value human interaction. Maintaining a balance between the two in a digital world is proving difficult, a new study found, as marketers struggle to use tools efficiently.

Scaling Human Interaction in Customer Experiences” is a study conducted by Harvard Business Review (HBR) Analytic Services and sponsored by live marketing experience provider ON24. A total of 282 readers of HBR completed a survey in November that explores the relationship between automated CRM and in-person customer service.

Maintaining a human element in a customer experience is highly valued by marketers, with 80 percent claiming that this approach gives their organization a distinct competitive edge. As brands invest in data and technology to keep up with consumer demands, however, 60 percent of marketers surveyed admitted that it’s difficult to replicate face-to-face experiences with customers by using digital technologies.

While 58 percent of respondents named CRM as one of the top three technology investments for their organizations, only 36 percent report significant returns. Similarly, social media monitoring and communication management topped the list in terms of investment but only 27 percent reported any significant ROI.

It’s not that technology ruins the customer experience, but you have to know what you’re going for, suggests Christine Jacobs Pribilski, vice president of worldwide marketing for IBM Cloud in the report.

“Often companies tend to buy point solutions or tools in the absence of an overall customer experience strategy,” said Pribilski. “That can potentially limit the impact on the ROI that a company sees.”

About half of respondents say their organizations are trying to create personalized experiences but are still struggling. The top reasons for this include siloed organizational structure, a lack of interoperability between technology systems and a lack of resources.

It’s not surprising that CRM technology providers have conducted many surveys like this one that illustrates a need for brands to seek help for reaching customers. When it comes to a desire for human interaction, however, the customers have spoken. A recent report by Invoca found that around half of consumers across generations would rather speak to a human being than an automated system, especially when it comes to making stressful purchase decisions.

Standard Media Index Makes Deal With Nielsen To Extend TV Data Offerings

Standard Media Index (SMI) has joined forces with Nielsen to provide additional insight into the national television market. The new business relationship will increase SMI’s network reach by nearly two-thirds, combining Nielsen’s TV ratings and occurrence data with SMI’s cost analysis.

James Fennessy, CEO of Standard Media Index told AList that the two companies have been in talks for a few years now and that Nielsen’s data is simply “more accurate.”

“We’ve always believed that the ability to cooperate between our organizations holds great potential for major television networks, agencies and for brands,” said Fennessy in an interview. “It allows us to look at different kinds of TV in terms of syndication and it allows us to look at some of the new and emerging ad formats that Nielsen is uniquely qualified to pick up.”

SMI is able to provide accurate cost data around TV marketing because it sources the information from five out of the seven major media holding groups, as well as several independents. Beginning on October 23, SMI will have access to Nielsen AD Intel that measures occurrence level data, increasing the firm’s reach to 130 channels.

The data relationship between SMI and Nielsen is an answer to the current TV advertising market, Fennessy explained, where digital raises many questions.

“We see major networks building advanced data products,” he said. “Clearly what they’re looking to do is bring in datasets—ratings, advanced audiences, etc. Those models are being used to target brands and advertisers and to prove return on investment. That has always been quite difficult to do in national television.”

Advertising on national TV works, Fennessy observed, adding that the high cost is a trade-off for large engaged audiences, a safe brand environment and quality programming. Ironically, he said, digital networks like Amazon and Google have tapped out their own reach and are now using traditional TV to advertise.

“It talks to the power of the medium,” he said.

SMI’s data relationship with Neilsen is part of an ongoing effort to work on data partnerships and combine different datasets. Fennessy told AList that SMI will continue to improve TV measurement across digital and traditional channels and that the company will release a new syndication tool in early 2019.