“Marketing Matters”: Multicultural Marketing and MECLABS

Aired July 19th, 2017

This week on Marketing Matters, Executive Director Catharine Hays was joined by thought leaders changing the ways in which multicultural marketing and data analytics are being used.  Linda Lane Gonzalez (Board Chair, AHAA: The Voice of Hispanic Marketing; President, Viva Partnership, Inc.)  and David Wellisch (Co-Founder and CEO, Collage Group), discussed the importance of the Hispanic Market while Flint McGlaughlin (CEO and Managing Director, MECLABS Institute), and Daniel Burstein (Senior Director and Editorial Content for MarketingSherpa, MECLABS Institute) from MECLABS explained the innovative ways in which they hope to use data as a tool for better marketing.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hispanic consumers are not monolithic; they vary generationally and geographically, and these distinctions influence their behavior as consumers
  • Marketers should imagine variations in target demographics based along cultural lines rather than ethnic lines—it expands the perspective and provides a more holistic framework
  • Data should be used as a tool to develop customer-first theories, but marketers often fail to do this effectively.
Linda Lane Gonzalez, Board Chair, AHAA: The Voice of Hispanic Marketing; President, Viva Partnership, Inc.

This week’s first interview was with Linda Lane Gonzalez, the Board Chair of AHAA: The Voice of Hispanic Marketing and the President of Viva Partnership. Catharine started off the interview by asking Gonzalez what she thought of “Despacito,” the most popular song in the world right now, and what it means in the scope of multicultural marketing. Gonzalez asserted that it’s an exciting reminder that Hispanics have a huge influence on culture and that music is just one of the many Hispanic elements shaping the modern landscape of America, alongside food, dance and more.

Shifting the conversation, Gonzaelez then addressed the uniqueness of the Hispanic market and how language influences consumption behaviors.  To Gonzalez, culture is the distinguishing aspect of the Hispanic market and it influences interactions with the economy.  She emphasized that language is a part of culture and is a bridge people use to connect with heritage.  For these reasons, she claims that it can become a powerful tool to elicit the type of emotions that drive Hispanic consumers to purchase. For example, Gonzalez cites how studies have shown that Hispanic communities communicate with friends and family more than any other ethnic group, and this phenomenon is rooted in the cultural importance of familial piety.  Gonzalez stated that this is relevant for marketers because it means that Hispanics are extremely digital and technologically connected.  She further cites the “Latino Bloomers” as an example of Hispanic millennials that are extremely connected with their heritage and increasingly family-oriented, as well as more educated and affluent than their ancestors, making them a growing and extremely desirable demographic for marketers.  Gonzalez’s closing advice for advertisers and companies seeking to appeal to Hispanic consumers was to remember that they are not a monolithic community, but one that varies along not only geographical lines such as California Mexicans, Texas Latinos, and New York Puerto Ricans, but also generational lines, like the “Latino Bloomers.”

David Wellisch, Co-Founder and CEO, Collage Group

Next to join Catharine was David Wellisch, the Co-Founder and CEO of the Collage Group, a group working to connect top companies with different demographics such as Hispanics, multiculturals, and millennials.  Wellisch helped debunk a series of myths about the Hispanic community, particularly the idea that Hispanic and multicultural markets should be an “addition” to any general marketing strategy. Instead, Wellisch argues that America is inherently a multicultural market and there have been major changes in the Hispanic market segment, making it not just Spanish speakers, but also a much larger group of people with an incredible potential for market influence.  In light of this claim, Wellisch proposes that companies market across a cultural continuum broken down into four different types of consumers: Cultural Explorers, World Citizens, Isolated Americans, and Ethnic Enclaves.  In doing so, marketers expand their perspective and are able to create more holistic campaigns that imagine Hispanic and other multicultural consumers not as supplementary niches, but as integral market segments.  Wellisch says this is a more effective model for marketing than to market by targeting specific ethnic communities because studies show that there are more consumption commonalities among these groups than there are differences.  Companies must focus on passion points, such as music and sports, which translate authenticity—the most important component for any effective advertising campaign across all four of Wellisch’s consumer segments.

Flint McGlaughlin, CEO and Managing Director, MECLABS Institute

During the final segment, Catharine welcomed Flint McGlaughlin and Daniel Burstein from MECLABS Institute. McGlaughlin began the interview by sharing how he started his work at MECLABS, and some of the central questions driving his research there.  He explained that MECLABS works to understand the cognitive psychology of consumer conversion through research and data analytics ultimately geared towards answering the question of “Why do people say yes?”  His research uses consumer data of various forms to establish a framework of behavioral psychology to understand how people make purchasing decisions.  Burstein joined the conversation by explaining how MarketingSherpa, a research institute acquired by MECLABS, works to find and publish inspiring stories highlighting the success of “customer-first” marketing.   Burstein elaborated about the nature of customer-first marketing and what sets it apart from “customer-centric” marketing.  He explained that customer-first marketing is about matching long-term personal consumer goals alongside short-term company goals, whereas customer-centric marketing focuses on how can a company can target and get the most out of a customer.

Daniel Burstein, Senior Director of Editorial Content for MarketingSherpa, MECLABS Institute

McGlaughlin also shared his belief that data is a powerful tool that is not being properly leveraged in the current industry environment:  The work being done with “big data” is only scratching the surface of how this information can and should be used.  McGlaughlin explained his observation that data is often being used to treat people instrumentally rather than intrinsically, and this process ultimately disrupts the ways in which data can be fully utilized.   He feels that companies must reframe the ways in which they conduct research in order to change the culture.  For example, rather than marketers imagining consumers as a “lead” or a means to an end, he wants consumers to be viewed as multifaceted people whom the company is interested in serving.  This can help rehumanize business, and truly create a culture of customer-first marketing.

You can listen to this show and past shows on our radio show page: http://wfoa.wharton.upenn.edu/research-initiatives/radio-show/


By Hyungtae Kim
College of Arts and Sciences ’20

“Marketing Matters”: AI and Creativity

Aired August 2, 2017

This week on Marketing Matters, Executive Director Catharine Hays was joined by marketers leading the way in creative uses of artificial intelligence, more commonly known as AI. Or Shani (CEO and Founder, Adgorithms), Winston Binch (Chief Digital Officer, Deutsch North America), Jordan Bitterman (CMO, IBM Watson Content and IoT Platform), and Aaron Dauphinee (Head of Marketing/CMO, Rubikloud) discussed how they have been integrating AI into their companies and how the intersection of AI and branding is likely to provoke a new wave of innovation in the marketing industry, most notably in data analysis, ad planning, brand persona and resource allocation.

Key Takeaways:

  • Artificial intelligence usage is on the verge of becoming mainstream in advertising, with over three-quarters of marketers believing that consumers are ready for its implementation.
  • AI-integrated operations expedite the rate at which tedious tasks can be completed, thereby freeing other resources for more creative content.
  • AI and voice technology are new tools for creating more holistic “Brand Personalities” for companies.
  • As industry out-innovates policy, regulation of AI will be a necessity to ensure ethical and moral practices.
Or Shani, CEO and Founder, Adgorithms

This week’s first interview was with Or Shani, the CEO and founder of Albert, the first AI marketing platform.  Shani first entered the industry on a traditional executive track, which is where he noticed the limiting effect of calculative work on creative content. To remedy this inefficiency, Shani developed his AI software, Albert, which operates by autonomously tackling execution and back-end calculations for marketing teams.

Shani proposes that by improving the speed at which remedial calculations can be done, marketing teams can refocus greater resources on the creative operations of a campaign. Furthermore, Albert is able to collect long-term consumer metrics that can be used to evaluate the success of past and current projects. The technology also incorporates predictive analytic application programming interfaces (APIs), that make experimentation more accessible—another powerful tool for creative teams.  In closing, Shani noted that almost all of their clientele have been forward thinkers who have been able to look past antiquated ideas of how marketing teams should operate, pushing boundaries and redefining a rapidly changing industry landscape.

Winston Binch,
Chief Digital Officer, Deutch North America

Winston Binch, Deutsch North America’s Chief Digital Officer, also spoke with Catharine about his work with Great Machine and his thoughts on the presence of AI technology in the marketing world. Binch emphasized that there needs to be a paradigm shift in the way executives imagine companies.  He believes that a company’s identity can no longer rest on just the brand alone, but also on what he defined as a cultivated “Brand Personality.” Binch cited TacoBell’s Tacobot as a great first example of technology that pushed the boundary of consumer interfacing and simultaneously expanded a corporate identity.  Companies have to be useful and memorable; he posited that the new way to achieve this is through AI technology that serves as both an instrument for consumer engagement and a tool for commerce that drives sales.

Jordan Bitterman, CMO, IBM Watson Content and IoT Platform

Next to join Catharine was Jordan Bitterman, the CMO of IBM Watson Content and the Internet of Things (IoT) Platform, to discuss his work with The Weather Company, an entity recently acquired by IBM. According to Bitterman, weather is often a driver of business outcomes. Using AI and the IoT platform, sensors around the world are able to collect and receive weather data in order to work with airlines as well as other industries to make informed business decisions. The next step for IBM is to integrate these two technologies together.

Currently, IBM is working on Watson’s ability to learn and reason, and Watson Ads has been created to engage this ability for marketing purposes.  IBM is interested in not only presenting the consumer with an advertisement, but also in allowing the consumer to interact with the ad. Through these interactions, Watson is able to gather much more consumer information and product insights based on what consumers are asking.  Bitterman also expounded on the term “augmented intelligence” to combat the perception that AI is displacing jobs—he sees it as actually expanding the role of creativity in marketing.  Bitterman explains that within IBM they like to use the term “augmented intelligence” because AI technology isn’t used as a tool to replace human intelligence, but to supplement it instead.  In response to the question of who is using Watson Ads, Mr. Bitterman explained, similar to Or Shani, that it is the innovative brands, the ones that are open to experimentation.  He stated that now is the time for marketers to begin using this technology. Catharine remarked, “It’s almost riskier not to jump into the game.”

AI certainly presents a moral dilemma, but Bitterman emphasized that IBM has a high ethical standard by which it innovates.  In terms of regulation, he believes that because the government is slow in creating policy, it will come down to the industry to be proactive in self-regulating these technologies.  While AI is able to solve problems in the marketing industry, it is crucial to not create new quandaries in the process.

Aaron Dauphinee, Head of Marketing/CMO,Rubikloud

In the last segment, Catharine welcomed Aaron Dauphinee from Rubikloud to discuss how his firm has been using AI to transform the playing field for traditional retailers. Rubikloud is a start-up based in Toronto that uses machine learning to gather data from online and offline consumer behavior for retailers to help automate merchandizing and marketing.  Dauphinee explained that machine learning is a subset of AI that is applied to optimize a particular activity, with ultimate control given to the human being.  This allows for the reallocation of team resources, giving them the freedom to think, plan, and innovate to create the best marketing campaigns possible and optimize the process—a concept also highlighted by other show guests.

Dauphinee revealed that machine learning can help brick-and-mortar stores be more competitive in a retail environment being dominated by behemoths like Amazon and Walmart, and stated that it could be a savior for some retail sectors.  He said that his unit has automated “turnkey” solutions that can be implemented in 12-18 months, instead of the years-long timeframe that more traditional turnaround projects could involve on the same scale.  He also shared how Rubikloud’s technology has provided significantly more accurate sales forecasts and resulted in less resource-intensive marketing campaign management for clients.   He believes that the time is now for retailers to take the “leap of faith” and implement automated analytic solutions.

You can listen to this show and past shows on our radio show page: http://wfoa.wharton.upenn.edu/research-initiatives/radio-show/


By Hyungtae Kim
College of Arts and Sciences ’20

The Future of Advertising: Personal and Contextual on All Touchpoints – IBM thinkLeaders Interview

WFoA’s directors, Dr. Jerry Wind and Catharine Hays, were recently interviewed by Tracey Lindeman of IBM’s thinkLeaders blog for an article about the new era of personalization and contextualization in advertising.  Lindeman highlighted WFoA’s Beyond Advertising book and its R.A.V.E.S. guidelines for generating desired ad content as “a roadmap on how to reach increasingly empowered consumers.”

Read the full article, “The Future of Advertising:  Personal and Contextual on All Touchpoints” at https://www.ibm.com/blogs/think-leaders/new-thinking/future-advertising-personal-contextual-touchpoints/