“Marketing Matters” CMO Spotlight: Live from AdWeek Part 2

In Part 2 of Marketing Matters’ special CMO Spotlight, broadcast from Advertising Week in New York City, WFoA Executive Director Catharine Hays and Forbes’ CMO Network Editor Jenny Rooney continued their discussion with four thought leaders in advertising:  Andrew Essex (former CEO of Tribeca Enterprises, author of The End of Advertising), Jonathan Craig (CMO of Charles Schwab), Diego Antista (U.S. Multicultural Agency Head at Google), and Brian Wong (CEO of Kiip).  Each offered his unique perspective on advertising’s future and effective leadership strategies in an era of constant change.

Key Takeaways:

  • Diversity and inclusion remain key considerations for brands, and agencies must demonstratively reflect appropriate knowledge and awareness in their practices.
  •          Consumers are tired of being bombarded by mediocre advertising – creativity and captivating storytelling are now more important than ever.
  •          Balancing data and technology in advertising is a crucial challenge that advertisers must figure out in order to remain competitive.
  •          Marketing is no longer simply a platform for messages but for services that create value for consumers.

Author and former Tribeca Enterprises CEO Andrew Essex emphasized the continued importance of authentic storytelling in crafting advertising that audiences truly want to see.  The rise of ad blockers and abundance of clutter in the market make it imperative that advertisers create captivating advertisements.  While Essex recently authored a book titled The End of Advertising, he believes that the continued value of agencies lies in their creativity.  Essex stated that ad agencies are “traditionally the guardians of the brand, they have the people in-house who understand how to tell stories for brands in a creative way, and I think the best ones…are going to thrive like never before, so [it’s] the ones that are in the middle, that are essentially proliferating or promulgating mediocrity, that are doomed.”  Both Jenny and Catharine agreed, with Jenny mentioning that industries with historically bad advertising have lots of room for innovation, and Catharine adding that advertisers should aggressively pursue and develop the next generation of great talent.

Andrew Essex, Former CEO, Tribeca Enterprises

On the topic of what brands must do differently to stay relevant, Essex referenced a discussion from one of his Advertising Week sessions, “Extending the Live Experience.”  In today’s world, brands must integrate themselves into experiences to be noticed.  Real-time events and experiences have unique potential to get consumers out of the house, and brands must take advantage of opportunities.  Advertising can also be helpful without being intrusive, as suggested by Essex’s proposal that brands sponsor utilities or services in public spaces.

Johnathan Craig of Charles Schwab shared his acute observations on Advertising Week attendees, noticing that everyone was struggling with similar issues related to technology and data.  Craig articulated one of the main challenges advertisers face: “At the core of it, marketing is still an art and a science, and how do you balance the science and the art, and how do you leverage the technology that’s out there” without getting “lost in the technology” and remaining focused on the client?

Jonathan Craig, CMO, Charles Schwab

Craig also discussed his Advertising Week session, “Principles for Success in Today’s Noisy, Connected Social Media Driven World” in which he championed the idea that “CMOs and marketers really need to be at the forefront of moving their businesses forward.”  He believes that marketing is a core driver of business, and actions matter more than words.  In his perspective, marketers must build trust with consumers and clients, and infuse the brand’s story in every interaction; data should be used to serve rather than to sell, and to make consumers’ lives easier.   Craig also emphasized the importance of brands disrupting themselves even when times are good, acknowledging that it may hurt in the short run but will pay off in long-term benefits to the brand.

Google’s Diego Antista also discussed the necessity for change in advertising, having participated in the Advertising Week panel “True Diversity: Walking the Walk.” In his opinion, advertising today still has a way to go before it can be considered inclusive, and clients are increasingly demanding that agencies step up their efforts in this regard.

Diego Antista, U.S. Multicultural Agency Head, Google

Multicultural-focused business sectors are booming, with large projected increases in various minority populations in the U.S.  Antista identified a major conundrum that clients and agencies have been experiencing:  Clients who need help in multicultural marketing often go to agencies that don’t have knowledgeable resources to suit their needs.   He feels that advertisers must invest in more diverse talent, and increase the number of people of color leading the conversation.

Finally, Catharine and Jenny welcomed back returning guest Brian Wong, CEO of Kiip, a mobile advertising network.  Wong emphasized the importance of consumer-centric advertising, asserting that “marketers are not just here to communicate a message or to tell you about a product, but rather to service you and to give you value.”  He stated that so-called “annoying” advertising is hurting brands, and advertisers must refine their practices in order to keep up with consumers by leveraging all aspects of mobile.  He shared that TV remains the best place to create awareness and branding.

Brian Wong, Founder and CEO, Kiip

CMO needs are also changing, with increased concerns regarding fraud and viewability.  In this vein, Wong noted a need for customized experiences that are also scalable, something that the industry is still figuring out.  As expected, outcome-based/performance driven marketing, and being able to gather data with more precision remains a top priority.

You can listen to this show and past shows on our radio show page: https://businessradio.wharton.upenn.edu/bestof/marketing-matters/?h=r7z5

Access the recorded Advertising Week sessions at: http://newyork.advertisingweek.com/