Advertising Week 2011 Key Themes

Matt Scheckner of Advertising Week begins each panel with the following comment: people always ask what is the theme of Advertising Week this year.  And his answer is that there is not a specific theme.  They identify the themes people care about the most and then find the smartest people to discuss those areas of interest.

So… what are the recurring themes that have bubbled to the top?  Below is my iterative stab at it.  Please share your suggestions, edits, corrections and comments:

1. Social, Social, Social – at least as many social talks as mobile talks.

– Social is a double edged sword.  You have less control over it than we delude ourselves into thinking.  If your product is not good, social will hurt more than it will help.

– Must use social as a listening post – and react quickly: “Fail fast.”  Own up to mistakes, e.g., Domino’s and Virgin.  Don’t take someone on who has a large social following… (Maytag)

2. Facebook, Facebook, Facebook

– “Everyone is on Facebook,” Nick Sheth, Gap Inc.

Walmart has nearly 10 million fans. Coca Cola has 34.5 million.

– The open graph, the timeline and the new ad formats (sponsored stories) that leverage the opinions of your facebook friends. (What, by the way, is Facebook doing to educate its actual mainstream users about these innovations.)

– Do consumers want to have relationships with their favorite brands on Facebook?  Answer seems to be, sure.  I think the key is the right balance between push and pull.  I’m a bit concerned that brands might become to the Facebook community as adults are to kids.  Once too many of them are on the platform, the people may leave… will we kill the golden goose?  It’s a delicate balance.

3. Paid, Earned, Owned

– Separate from this conference, Chris Lubin of Attention USA, added a fourth adjective to this marketing triumvirate: shared.  In a recent blog post, he wrote:  “As social media matures, and audiences grow within branded environments, shared media gains importance. The most efficient way to build audience in social media is to co-opt the audience of a partner or like-minded brand—share. So, smart brands are using social channels to barter exposure, and cross-promote.”

4. Content Creation

– Brand as Content – Content as Brand: Marketers have (or must) become content creators

– People don’t hate advertising, they hate bad advertising.

– That’s an opportunity for agencies

– Deep dive into what Coke has and is doing – beginning with the revolutionary Polar Bear campaign (remember that!)

5. Metrics (and Data)

– Measure it. CMOs continue to be increasingly accountable for ROI, even display ads on in-store behavior

– The census.  What is this data telling us, particularly about cultural diversity and influence.  50 million Hispanics.  (Does this include “undocumented?” I imagine it does.)

– Continued debate and discussion around attribution.

– “A like, a friend, a follower.. a click” what is that worth to a brand?

– The “Data Management Platform,” aka DMP

6. The Funnel (aka Path to Purchase and Consumer Decision Journey)

– The traditional funnel is outdated.  However, much of the terminology has survived and/or been incorporated to the new, bright shiny (Mustard colored) circular tubes.   There is some consensus about the fact that the process is no longer linear but more of a circular conversation.

– However, the term “funnel” as well as “top” and “bottom” of funnel and stages such as awareness, consideration, acquisition were used frequently, particularly by CMOs.  However… the funnel must include advocacy.  (Social, social, social)  And, the funnel is iterative and, well, free flow.

7. Search:

– Google, Google, Google.

– Retargeting.  Performance display.  Auctions.

8. Big, big, bigger

– Most speakers came from or service large advertisers.  Not a lot of insight into how to get started with social, etc. if you’re small.

9. Digital Dollars

– Dollars are shifting into digital – because that’s where the audience is.  But… the livingroom, big screen experience is not going away, particularly with smart/connected TVs

– We’re hearing numbers like 20%, 40%, majority of dollars being spent on non-traditional/digital media including mobile, etc.  (See L’Oreal stats at end of post)

– Media and content providers finding that more of their content is being consumed wirelessly than wired (MLB)

– Yet… prices up 10% during TV upfront despite ratings declines

10. Bright Shiny Objects

– There needs to be a drinking game at these conferences where everyone drinks when they hear this phrase

– Oh, and also a drinking game about references to “Mad Men.”

11. Targeting (and Networks)

– Retargeting, cookie-ing, digital ad trading, real time bidding (RTB).  (These terms and tools seem to have supplanted behavioral advertising; I don’t recall hearing that term mentioned at all)

– Serving ads that are relevant to the consumer

– Dynamic ad insertion – available online – that means the ads are dynamically inserted when the user requests the page so it’s really, really targeted

– The Yahoo!, aol, Microsoft “three-way” designed to give Google a run for its ad network money

– “Data is changing our marketing lives.” – MicroStrategy executive

12. Youth, Hispanics and Moms

– Youth: Do we know how to connect with this savvy group?

– Hispanics: 50 million, according to current census, and many are not assimilating because they don’t have to, e.g., language.  Large families, heavy media users, especially mobile.  Univision is a top 5 network.  Can’t afford to ignore them.

– Moms: How to reach them?  They are not all the same…

——

9. Digital Dollars at L’Oreal:

“After doubling U.S. digital spending in 2010, L’Oreal will spend as much on digital here this year as over the prior two years combined, Mr. Speichert said. That will bring digital to around 10% of L’Oreal’s overall advertising outlay in the U.S., he said. Although he declined to detail spending levels in dollar terms, Mr. Speichert said L’Oreal’s measured spending here was $1 billion last year, up about 25% from the prior year.  L’Oreal is increasing its overall outlay rather than raiding other budgets to fund digital growth, he added.”

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