“Annnnnd scene” on another Advertising Week New York. Nearly 100K attendees from around the world came to attend the 15th annual event that keeps conversations going with leaders from the marketing, advertising, technology and creative spaces. Over the course of the week, 290+ events covered where we’ve been, where we’re going and what trends, challenges and opportunities are shaping today’s global industry.
It was a big event and first for PAN, who sponsored and attended along with some of our leading retail and ad tech clients like Bazaarvoice, MediaMath and White Ops. This year, the unifying theme of Customer Experience was felt across every stage. In an age where technology holds so much promise for rearchitecting the business processes – fundamentally the way the entire ecosystem operates – it comes down to one simple truth: Put your customer, their data, and their experience at the forefront of your business goals in the most trusted way.
“With so many interesting sessions to pick from, I found that Advertising Week New York had a few common themes: Data, diversity and authenticity,” shared Susan Sweeney, Director of Marketing Communications, CGS. “It was great to hear from legacy brands and disruptors as to how they are responding to the changing industry dynamic. While we’ve all historically relied on data, now more than ever the importance of breaking through the noise and reaching the right audience with the right message is critical. Relaying your brand’s authentic story to today’s diverse, multi-generational audience through various channels requires access to data and a skilled workforce to leverage that information successfully.”
When you have bad data—or don’t trust data—the result is often wasted spend. Clients today need greater visibility into measurement and accurate insight into campaign performance. Channel KPIs traditionally provided clients perspective to make their decisions, but that time has passed. Today, clients must focus on KPIs that align results to customer experience, and that includes better planning in what channels and at what touchpoints you engage. In front of a standing-room-only crowd, PAN SVP and Co-Lead of Client Relations Lisa Astor and Toby McKenna, SVP of Global Advertising at Bazaarvoice, echoed these thoughts.
“One of the most difficult challenges for clients today is the rapid influx of different channels. Our role is to help them form a strategy and understand what channels are right for them – and their customers,” added Astor.
As a tool to help better the customer experience, AI had its own dedicated stage thanks to IBM whose Watson Marketing Insights brought together leaders from several transformational companies including MediaMath. In the age of customer centricity, marketers including MediaMath are using AI to better understand their customer needs and behaviors in real time. Brands are now harnessing AI-powered technology to transform how, when and where they engage with consumers.
“We (and IBM) want consumers to be the first and last thing you think about. We want to delight, inform and empower them,” noted MediaMath’s Chris Victory, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Business Development.
That sentiment was ever present in many of MediaMath’s panels, including one with Uber which illustrated how the ad tech pioneer helped the OG ride share service take their programmatic advertising inhouse, and one with MediaMath Customer Akamai who cited how their work with MediaMath was helping them to target customers without disrupting the user experience. But it was the theme of transparency that ran a red thread through all things MediaMath, as seen in their Open Letter to Supply Side Partners (SSP) that the company would drop those that gamed auctions, and in their final panel of the show on Blockchain with Underscore CLT Founder & CEO Isaac Lidsky. Underscore CLT is backed by MathCapital and incubated by MediaMath.
“The promise with blockchain is in redefining relationships from the conceptual standpoint,” said Lidsky. “What is it that matters to all of us the most? Viewability? Attribution? Once we decide that, the tech will help enable it.” He added: “To say we have a technology that exists to the industry now that properly deployed can improve full transparency is great, but the next question is, is there anyone who wants to be transparent?"
You can read more about Isaac’s call to action for the industry in MarTech Series.
Marc Pritchard, the chief brand officer of Procter & Gamble, captured the essence of this year’s show succinctly, calling for the marketing industry to become more purpose driven in its approach, as this strategy could help fuel positive changes across society as a whole.
“Understanding leads to attitude change, which leads to behavior change, which leads to action,” Pritchard told delegates. “And change won’t come if leaders can’t come to grips [with it] and aren’t willing to go ahead and weather the storm.”