Now is what’s next.

That is how Ben Jones, creative director for Google’s agency team, ended his presentation on creativity in real-time at the 4A’s Transformation conference.

Jones went on to explain that reacting quickly to tent-pole television events with creative yields strong results, and a strong mobile strategy is what will increase brand recognition and loyalty with consumers. Long gone are the days when people would talk about social and mobile as “nice to haves” or “the next big thing.” Mobile and social took a front seat this year for all major brands and agencies.

Like many conferences over the past year, there was a lot of discussion about programmatic and the increasing need for automation within these platforms.

The topic attracted debate, and the question was asked, “Is programmatic ready for prime time?”

Amanda Richman, president of investment and activation at Starcom USA, drove the point of addressability and targeting the audience. (read more…)

There’s an industry gathering for everything these days: Cannes, CES, Social Media Week, and my new personal favorite, South by Southwest.

Although all tend to appeal to marketers, CES historically has been the most technology-driven, whereas SXSW has owned the culture and entertainment space (due to its three-pronged nature of Interactive, Film and Music). However, this year’s festival seemed particularly focused on technology — virtual reality, mobile shopping apps, and beacons dominated sessions and conversations.

Technology and advertising have long gone hand-in-hand. From radio to TV and the Internet, innovation has undoubtedly affected the context in which brands reach their consumers. More interestingly, I’d argue, is the influence of technology on media.

Millennials are particularly familiar with the evolution of media. We’ve been through it all — from e-mail to chat rooms to Myspace and Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram, and — gasp — Meerkat.

Rather than focus on what wearables or beacon tech means for consumers, at SXSW, I chose to learn more about the future of distributed media, in a session led by BuzzFeed’s Summer Anne Burton. (read more…)

Kraft Foods Group faced several marketing challenges in 2010, and wasn’t set up to solve them, said Julie Fleischer, a Kraft executive, in a presentation at the 4A’s Data Summit on Tuesday.

The company was wedded to a TV-centric model, wasn’t committed to measurement, and thought of media buying as the last step in a marketing plan. It also had a “do what worked last year mentality,” which led Kraft to plan for trends that were likely already outdated in the fast-moving digital world.

When forming a reinvention plan about two years ago, Fleischer said the company told itself internally to expect that change will only get faster — there will never be a lull in which you can catch up.

The Kraft strategy can be expressed by three pillars:

1. Data — Fleischer said first-party data represents Kraft’s “unfair advantage,” that knowledge of the consumer will be the only way to separate your company.

2. Infrastructure — This means having the tools to reach the right customers, and backing that up with analytics to show that marketing is driving attitude as well as behavior. (read more…)

Digital tools offer distributors the potential to improve productivity and sales, offer a better value proposition for customers, and strengthen relationships with suppliers, but success isn’t possible without a smart strategy and some trial and error.

That was the conclusion of Mark Dancer and two industry experts on Wednesday at the NAW 2015 Executive Summit. Those experts — Ellen Holladay of Motion Industries and Brian Nichol of Performance Food Group — offered their experiences in planning, testing, deploying and refining digital tools to drive e-commerce sales at their respective companies.

Digital tools, in this context, include the Web/e-commerce, social media, CRM, marketing automation and more. Dancer surveyed wholesaler-distributors on a number of questions, including:

  • Overall experience with specific digital tools, in terms of “experienced user,” “implementer or shopper,” and “person with understanding of features and benefits.”
  • Leading priorities for improving business results, in terms of distributors and manufacturers.
  • The leading benefits of digital tools for wholesaler-distributors.
  • (read more…)

“Video is exploding.”

That statement by Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg during her opening remarks at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s MIXX Conference sums up the sentiment among publishers and marketers as this year’s Advertising Week begins.

Sandberg made her remarks to Katie Couric as the duo shared the stage at the IAB conference. Couric explained that her Yahoo News interviews with baseball legend Joe Torre and Secretary of State John Kerry are available in both snippets and in longer form to take advantage of the multiple ways that consumers now consume content.

“We try to give people options,” Couric explained. “I’m hoping digital content doesn’t make people want things in 30 seconds or less. As we get more involved and more acclimated to this way of consuming information, there will be a desire for longer pieces.”

That demand is being driven in large part by the ready access to mobile devices and high-speed Internet consumers now have. (read more…)