Why Personalization Matters

It isn’t that for over 30 years direct marketing has told us relevancy increases conversion rates.

It isn’t because you’ve invested real cash in the tools to personalize but have a hard time managing the complexity of implementing it.

It isn’t because your customers get annoyed if they have to search for the information they are looking for.

It is because no one wants to be lost in a broadcast.

Yes conversion rates go up if you personalize.  And yes you should use the full capability of the tools with simple strategies to get teams moving.

The real reason is to show you have empathy for your customers.  Not because “the customer is always right” but because of the reason you got into your business in the first place.  Because you want to do the right thing for your customers.

Mirum Launch Cited in DCG Report

It is amazing to see 3 years of work summarized into a 1/2 page case study by a great analyst.
Undoubtably one of the easier research interviews I’ve done in a while — speaking directly to what we did, how we ran the workshops, and how we managed communication with the teams across the world while still pitching new clients and new teams was a lot of fun.  I remember thinking I was channeling my business school days at the time.  I guess that is a good thing.  Thank you Columbia!
If you register with the Digital Clarity Group you can download the full report.  Lots of great frameworks and insights into mergers and acquisitions.

Mirum’s Launch Cited as an Example of Organizational Change Best Practice

Time to talk about your plumbing

Steel WorkerCouple weeks ago I attended the Market Marketing Nation Summit and got to revisit how the amazing tribe of demand gen fanatics is going to take over the world.  If direct marketers ever felt email took away the creativity of rolling 0ut an amazing dimensional DM pack with a maltese cross insert, I hope they have lost their spirit.  What is coming next will require a lot of creativity as well as great strategy and understanding of data.

The argument for the CMO and CEO is simple:  You know your customer experience is critical to your success and you believe your marketing is an important part of the brand experience.  Since media has fragmented your anthem TV spot doesn’t define your brand experience, it is every e-mail, banner, sponsored Facebook post and website visit.  You have to make them relevant or your competitors will and your customers will notice.

And of course you can’t manage that without software so it is time to talk about your plumbing, or the engine that powers the front-line of your brand experience.


Horizontality Extends to Practices – WPP Adobe Alliance

Gears working togetherInteresting to see a new corollary to the client Team approach, it is WPP product Alliance.  Supply-side meets Demand-side.  Since we truly can create teams across agencies when clients need them, so why not package them up that way?


WPP, the world’s largest communications services group, today announced the expansion of its strategic partnership with Adobe, the global leader in digital marketing software, to provide marketing solutions to clients through a coalition of specialist WPP agencies called the WPP-Adobe Alliance.

The WPP-Adobe Alliance brings together and makes available to clients Adobe Marketing Cloud capabilities across six WPP agencies and more than 1,000 experts in over 20 locations.

Combining the breadth of WPP’s digital agency network with the depth of its individual companies’ expertise, it also leverages the Group’s access (unique amongst its competitor set) to proprietary data through its data investment management business.

The launching members of the WPP-Adobe Alliance include Acceleration, Cognifide, KBM Group, Mirum, VML and Wunderman. Among these agencies are some of Adobe’s earliest partners, and all have extensive experience of successful Adobe Marketing Cloud implementations for WPP’s top global clients.

As an Adobe Premier Partner, WPP has committed to developing the skills required to design, develop, sell, deploy and operate solutions at a high level of expertise using Adobe technology throughout its network of companies.

WPP agencies hold certifications across the Adobe product portfolio. Wunderman, for example, was the first global Adobe partner to become a Specialized Partner for Adobe Campaign in both North America and EMEA. Cognifide has delivered expertise in Adobe Experience Manager for more than 10 years. Mirum Asia was named Adobe’s Digital Marketing Partner of the Year for three years in a row.

The WPP-Adobe Alliance is headed by Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Kelly Ann Bauer. It is part of WPP’s Technology Partnership Program, an initiative led by Chief Digital Officer Scott Spirit to coordinate and promote the Group’s relationships with key providers of marketing technology services.

Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, said: “The joint Adobe-WPP proposition is a very powerful one: Adobe’s leading marketing technology solutions alongside WPP’s unique ability to leverage the collective capabilities of our agencies, and our proprietary data, for the benefit of our global client base.

“The WPP-Adobe Alliance extends our combined offering beyond the footprint of a single WPP company through the creation of bespoke teams, enabling clients to respond more strategically and more efficiently to their biggest marketing challenges.”

“Through the WPP-Adobe Alliance, WPP clients can now yield the greatest return from their Adobe Marketing Cloud investments,” said Shantanu Narayen, president and CEO of Adobe. “We are excited about taking our successful digital marketing partnership with WPP to another level.”

Further information
Kelly Ann Bauer, WPP: kelly.bauer@wpp.com ; +1 646 339 1056

About Adobe Marketing Cloud
Adobe Marketing Cloud empowers companies to use big data to effectively reach and engage customers and prospects with highly personalized marketing content across devices and digital touch points. Eight tightly integrated Solutions offer marketers a complete set of marketing technologies that focus on analytics, web and app experience management, testing and targeting, advertising, video, audience management, social engagement and campaign orchestration. The tie-in with Adobe Creative Cloud makes it easy to quickly activate creative assets across all marketing channels. Thousands of brands worldwide including two thirds of Fortune 50 companies rely on Adobe Marketing Cloud.

About WPP
WPP is the world’s largest communications services group, with billings of nearly US$76 billion and revenues of nearly US$19 billion. Through its operating companies, the Group provides a comprehensive range of advertising and marketing services including advertising & media investment management; data investment management; public relations & public affairs; branding & identity; healthcare communications; direct, digital, promotion & relationship marketing; and specialist communications. The company employs over 188,000 people (including associates and investments) in more than 3,000 offices across 112 countries.

WPP was named Holding Company of the Year at the 2015 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for the fifth year running. WPP was also named, for the fourth consecutive year, the World’s Most Effective Holding Company in the 2015 Effies, which recognise the effectiveness of marketing communications.

Kit Kat Social – The biggest real-time marketing hit for us yet

Hard to believe it was over 2 years ago that we pitched the KITKAT Global Social work and everything that has followed.
From “Break from Gravity” to “Android KitKat” to this piece here.  Really shows what having the right team and the right approach can do with the growth of social networks.

Two days after KitKat jumped into chatter around Apple’s #bendgate on Twitter with a cleverly-composed tweet, the candy brand’s post has now eclipsed Oreo’s real-time marketing reign.

Toward the end of the day Wednesday, chatter on Twitter started picking up around the news that Apple’s iPhone 6 was bending in people’s pockets, with the #bendgate hashtag.

According to sources, KitKat then decided that it needed to get in on #bendgate because of the alignment with its “Have a break, have a KitKat” slogan. Within 30 minutes, sources said, the brand whipped up an image of a candy bar snapped into a 45-degree angle with a piece of pithy copy and sent out the tweet.


Another Day, Another Panel – ClickZ Keynote – Wednesday

As much fun as it is to talk about moving big brnad dollars to digital channels, I think the real proof is when we do it.  There has been great examples on Macy’szyrtec and J&J’s Zyrtec but we still don’t have the big digital campaign that goes into the minds of a mass audience like “Mean Joe Green”.  Or “15 minutes can save you 15%.”

YouTube creates the memes and everyone has heard of Gagnam Style but this is a cultural entertainment piece, not a brand promotion.  Many even saw the Jean-Claude Van Damme truck split but that is basically a 60 second spot.  It doesn’t use the power of the computer or the network at all aside for delivery.

So we use Fetchback to have Backcountry.com banners chase you around the internet, but no one can come up with a brand story that takes advantage of this technology?  The prize is big.


Afternoon Keynote

Digital Innovation Insights Driving Big Brand Awareness

A rare look at how the world’s leading agencies are making digital innovation the next creative breakthroughs for the brands we all admire most.

In this session you hear from the heads of digital at the most admired and creative agencies on the planet. This bare bones frank conversation about what drove success and even more importantly, how to avoid failed thinking will not only illuminate the agency folk in the room, but will inspire all of us brand and small business marketers to think outside the box and really drive big market share gains through Digital, Social and Mobile Marketing breakthrough ideas.

  • Moderator:
    Aaron Kahlow, CEO & Founder, Online Marketing Institute
  • Panelists:
    John Baker, President, JWT
    Jordan Bitterman, Chief Strategy Officer, North America, Mindshare
    John Burke, VP, Digital Strategist, Entrée Health LLC, A company of The CDM Group
    Jon Wegman, VP Planning and Strategy, Performics

Adobe Summit: Building Brands: 150 years meeting CMOs, and not just for lunch

Just completed a panel moderating how to sell in new platforms and analytics packages to big marketing organizations.  Great session, good comments and questions from the audience.

Of course the biggest question?  When do we stop putting all of our money into traditional TV, print and outdoor.  Should have seen that one coming earlier!


JWT works with big brands and knows how to talk to CMOs. Do you want to connect your work to the brand strategy?  Want to learn how to influence business strategy?  Make sure you are heard at the top of the organization?  Our roundtable discussion brings together a few clients and a big brand advertiser from JWT, a technical platform builder from XM Asia, and a global analytics expert from Digitaria to answer a simple question:  We all want the CMO and CEO’s ear, how do we make sure we talk their language?

Specifically we’ll look at:

  • From pixels to business strategy—How a replatforming brief can drive a completely new approach to doing business.
  • Delivering the news—How to present the campaign results so all of the agencies listen.
  • Signal from noise – How the brand team talks strategy and why the CMO spends so much time listening to them.

This session is relevant to all digital marketers that want to drive strategy with the c-suite.

  • John Baker – Global Digital Strategy Team, JWT
  • Vince Lui – Regional Director, XM Consulting
  • Mia Umanos – Director of Analytics, Digitaria
  • David McBride – Sr Director Analytics, American Eagle Outfitter

Creative Technologists? No, Coders

This is a great piece from Wieden & Kennedy blog called Why We are not Hiring Creative Technologists. The writer is @IgorClark.

The main point is that if you are going to be in the business of making or designing software, you need to have technical people on your team. All sophisticated digital programs are fundamentally software and even if you are working with a production house, you need to understand it to keep your seat at the table. Having only people that only understand he concept is dangerous.

Clearly many non-technical factors are involved, but there is one simple and concrete thing we can do: stop hiring “creative technologists”. Hire coders. Reject compromise on this front, and resist pressure to give in to it. Only hire people to work at the crossover of creative and technology if they have strong, practical, current coding skills.

The challenge is how to attract them. What people often forget is a good developer can be as prima donna as a great creative. At Organic in the first boom we sold eCommerce. 50% of our offices were engineering. In most digital shops the Director of Technology is on par with the Creative Director.

Ultimately, to do that you need to provide an environment that’s as appealing and satisfying for extraordinary, creative software people as the one you already provide is for traditional creative folks. But it also needs to be as appealing to this new breed as their potential alternate settings at Google, Facebook, Tech Startup X. Fortunately, you have the potential to make it even more so for genuine creative coders – because they’re not looking for pure engineering any more than you are.

And this is the great shift marketing technology can offer. We can free the right kind of developer from the racks of coders locked up in banks across the globe working for Accenture. Of course, if 4 out of 5 conversations end in frustration because the broader team doesn’t understand software, doesn’t get the answers the tech team needs or doesn’t understand functionality trade-offs, then they won’t stay in the business.

While you don’t need to become an engineering company, you face some of their challenges. You need to understand, accept and embrace some of the nuts and bolts of software development, and take on board the work dedicated shops are doing on its processes. You need such a strong streak of code running through the atmosphere that coders want to come to you, and everyone else gets code spilling over them.

And this is the key point. If team members say “I’m all for digital, but I’m not technical” then you have to throw them out. It is like saying “I’m excited to work on the Olympics but I don’t like sports.” Digital marketing by definition is technical and this means we need to find a real home for coders in our agencies.

Don’t get me wrong, this is hard, and it’ll take time. It’s not just procedural, but cultural, so a big part of doing it comes down to who you hire and how you let them do their thing. But that’s exactly the point. That’s why it’s most important, way before you get all that fixed, and as the first major step on that road: just don’t hire “creative technologists” who aren’t strong coders.

Agencies and Start-ups

Tech Stars LogoToday is Demo Day at TechStars in New York and David Tisch (@davetisch) is tweeting away about the companies he has pitching this year for VC money.

At JWT NY we have a partnership with TechStars and the companies do a practice run for us and our clients.  We also choose a couple of the start-ups to engage more actively as consultants and looking for real opportunities to do projects together.

Across the ad industry start-up fever continues to build.  As Rishad Tobaccowala said in a speech that will be more remembered for cockroaches and living in the land of the pathetic, every holding company and agency is trying to find links to engage with the start-ups in their region.  And most have multiple approaches.

The challenge from the agency operating company is getting the projects to come to life.  Agency teams like to work with a blank sheet of paper rather than building on other people’s ideas and commercially it is hard to engage external teams outside the production process.

At JWT we are pushing as many levers as we can find to break this and that is why we’ve created dotJWT.  It isn’t easy but once you figure out how to make collaboration not equal compromise, then you have are ready to work in the digital economy.


How successful any of the ventures represented at the event will ultimately be will depends on a variety of market forces that continue to change, evolve and reshape the industry — which is exactly why an organization like VivaKi Ventures is necessary, Tobaccowala said.

He also took a shot at other agency holding company venture models that are based on generating direct returns on their ventures efforts. While he did not cite any names, Interpublic’s Mediabrands unit has made no secret of the fact that it is looking to monetize its work with media startups, and has even brought its own products to market, including its “EML Magic Window” technology. MDC Partners’ two-year-old KBS Ventures unit is so sophisticated, it produces annual reports including details on the “return on equity” of the ventures it backs.

“A lot of agencies think this is a way to make money,” Tobaccowala scoffed.

“It’s a strange way to make money,” he continued. However, he added that it is in fact something parent Publicis is doing too, citing the massive $400 million venture fund it recently launched with Orange.

“There are two ways to do it. One is this way,” he said gesturing around the room of the VivaKi Ventures event. “The other is with heavy air power. We are doing both.”

Read more: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/176818/vivakis-tobaccowala-debugs-mystery-of-agency-surv.html#ixzz1xmkhQF00

Marketing Code Take II – Why Agencies Need to Learn Software Development

A year ago I published a post internally at JWT, and here on Altacircle, talking about why agencies need to learn software development.  The argument was that all good digital marketing is software at the end of the day, and that as long as most agency personnel respond with the expression “but I’m not technical,” it will be hard for us to do good digital marketing.   Today Joe Lozito, SVP Technology at Digitas, published a piece on Digiday titled “Why Marketers Need to Think Like Developers” on the same theme.

A big part of my argument from a year ago was that as our advertising / marketing industry changes, this is a big an opportunity.  IT spending is over 3 times advertising spending and as advertising become more technical, it is likely marketing will call on IT to divert funds from internal infrastructure projects to technical projects that are consumer facing.

Just this past December, Gartner has published its predictions for 2012 and has stated that by 2015 they expect 35% of IT expenditure to be managed outside of the IT department.  This can be seen as a threat if those budgets are handed to traditional IT partners like Accenture or the new breed like Sapient, but it is also an opportunity if the overall IT expenditure remains the same and the funds are shifted to teams that understand consumer needs and how to make a compelling user experience.

Of course these moves don’t happen overnight.  Technical projects include technical people and they have every right to question the capability of their partner doing the work.  So once again, agencies really do need to learn software development.

Marketing Code: Why Agencies Need to Learn Software Development

The world’s fixation with technology isn’t new.

CES is has grown so big people need Segways to get to their keynotes, Intel has posted the highest revenue in it’s 42 year history and  according to Gartner worldwide IT spending will be $2.5 trillion in  2011.  This is a number which is more than 3 times worldwide advertising spending.

What is new is that after years of curiously watching their IT  colleagues wrestle with ERP supply chain systems, marketers are being  dragged in.

Amends on a set of rich media ads aren’t covered in e-mail, they are  managed through an extranet bug tracker.  The campaign planning to  redesign a brand site starts with a workshop to agree use cases.  Under  half way into a six-month project to launch a set of in-store displays  we learn a three day delay on approving the concept will shift the  launch date three days.

This is the world of systems integration and you only need to  consider a few of the activities that make up marketing today to see why we marketers really need to learn software development.