Marketing Maestros

Geico Un-Boring Insurance with Ted Ward and John Adams

Posted: Oct 15, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger Hannah Cho, Cisco Systems, Inc.

Day two of the ANA Masters of Marketing conference and the morning had some really great speakers, including Ted Ward, CMO and VP of Marketing at Geico with John Adams, Chairman and CEO of The Martin Agency. They presented together covering Geico's marketing history and future and it was nice to get a holistic (hahaha, everyone hates that marketing buzz word and I used it!) view of Geico's campaigns.

First of all, how cute is that Gecko!!! His name is Gary, did you know that? I found it so cool to know that Gary was born on a napkin in a bar from an idea to create a company icon that wasn't a five-letter text block. 

Okay, back to my commentary about the presentation. Geico's seven discoveries over the years are pretty straightforward, but I'll recap them for you anyway (they were delivered by both Ted and John, who heads up Geico's agency):

  1. Don't forget why you were drawn to this business in the first place.  There aren't a lot of maverick marketers in the insurance business, but Ted happens to be one of them and he has stayed true to his wild ways (must be a part of his parole officer past).
  2. Sometimes they know what I need before I do (that was Ted referring to his agency).  Enough said.
  3. The problem with a singular focus is that it's singular.  This was an interesting discovery that John shared and I'll get into this idea more below.
  4. Don't forget the other USP (unique selling proposition AND unique selling PERSONALITY). That's right, a brand should have a personality!  
  5. Lightning strikes vs. Easter Eggs.  It's about the moments of genius versus planting seeds along the journey (like Easter eggs).
  6. It's not all about ads, it's about assets. The fastest growing insurance company in the last five years does heavy brand promotions on just about everything!  Think about the last time you saw Gary the Gecko...it was probably on some sort of merchandising material.
  7. If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right. Based on Geico's campaigns, I would say they are having lots of fun. And based on their business results, they seem to be doing it right.

Growth by Leveraging Multicultural Insights

Posted: Oct 15, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger Telisa Yancy, American Family Insurance

Graciela Elata, Senior Vice President of Brand Solutions for Univision Communications and Howard Friedman, Kraft Foods' Vice President for Cheese and Dairy, combined to give the ANA Masters of Marketing attendees a jolting and inspiring look into the realities of 21st century marketing in the "Growth by Leveraging Multicultural Insights" presentation this afternoon. Note that I have purposely changed the title of this duo's presentation, because embracing the realities they discussed could be the catalyst that turn little known brands into scrappy up-starts and the fuel that helps historical powerhouse brands, like Kraft, maintain their dominance. 

If you don't already know these realities, ask the dynamic Ms. Elata, who, in true, "hot-blooded" latin flavor, owned the stage from the moment she stepped on it, and proceeded to rattle off fact and "gut check" statements as if she was jamming to the the Reggaeton beats of Calle 13, the ten time Latin Grammy winners. With the same power that the Latin rap sensations spit verse, she powerfully and authoritatively rolled off the following statements about the business imperative of multicultural marketing for the 21st century marketer:

Mr. Friedman then took the stage to tell how Kraft, with the help of this force of nature Ms. Elata, leveraged these questions and consumer insights to embark on a journey to authentically connect one of its great brands, Kraft Singles, to this consumer in 2009.  Authentic connections meant starting from scratch, giving up the use of short-cuts and embracing a willingness to adapt and evolve with Hispanic moms. Their efforts were deep and visceral, filled with hours of listening to consumers to develop insights versus asking generic questions about acculturation levels, demographic trends, and language preferences to "just get it done." In Mr. Friedman's words, "there are no quick hits when targeting Hispanic consumers." This commitment to excellence led to a 17% increase in volume and a three-point gain in market share. 

In the end, this presentation  was a brilliant mix of Hispanic marketing imperatives from Ms. Elata and pratical, hard work and wisdom by the Kraft Singles team who worked hard to apply these insights in their quest to recognize and leverage the unique business opportunity found in the targeting  the Hispanic consumer. In the words of Calle 13's Grammy Award winning song, "No Hay Nadie Como Tu," capturing the hearts, minds and revenue of the Hispanic consumers should not be an "accidental loss and failure" on the part of marketing.

Dell’s Erin Nelson and Karen Quintos

Posted: Oct 15, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger Joshua Kidd, Siemens Corp.

Back for my second post of the day and this time we have Erin Nelson and Karen Quintos from Dell Inc. They have the unenviable task of bringing the audience back to life following lunch when their second helping of coffee hasn't quite set in yet, or at least that's how I'm feeling.

For their session the focus was on how a brand can build and nurture an identity that endures. This question necessitated itself because while Dell had experienced a great deal of growth and development over the last couple of years many inside the company believed their best days were behind them based on increased competition in the space.  Compounding this problem was that with this growth came unintended consequences like a splintered company message and lack of consistency in brand image.

The first step in addressing this problem was deciding what the company's purpose was and in order to do that they looked to their customers. The feedback here, which has been discussed in at least 3 other sessions today, was that the consumers want to know "how this helps me, the consumer" rather than "How great you, the company, are." It's this philosophy that drives the overall purpose of the company, which is to delivery technology that helps people achieve more. In doing so Dell is able to match what they're good at with what the world needs.

However, in what is a bit of a change of pace from the rest of the discussion here at the ANA conference, the focus of this campaign, at least initially, was internal employee communications and branding, rather than external advertising. By doing so, you help create some of the greatest ambassadors a brand can have, a motivated and engaged work force, which not only drives the bottom line but also helps with talent acquisition, or as Erin put it, "Marketing becomes the new HR."

Coca-Cola’s Joe Tripodi

Posted: Oct 15, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger Joshua Kidd, Siemens Corp.

Greetings from sunny Orlando...As a part of this years ANA conference, they have asked some of the audience members to blog about the sessions to give their perspective on the speakers and topics being discussed and for my inaugural blog I got to cover Joseph Tripodi, Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer for the Coca-Cola Company.

Joe covered a number of topics that are starting to become reoccurring themes this week, namely diversification of the marketing mix and the need to focus less on product attributes and more on consumer benefits. As it relates directly to the new more diversified marketing arena, social media played a large role in a number of Coca-Cola's most successful campaigns by allowing and embraces audience interaction with the brand image and storytelling efforts. Most notably were the "Wave the Flag" campaign launched around the World Cup in South Africa and the "Expedition 206" adventure currently underway.

Another one of the core concepts he stressed was something he referred to as "The genius of the and." This being the point at which seemingly unrelated or in some cases contradictory concepts cross to form truly powerful advertising opportunities. Things like business growth and environmental impact, global reach and local message, brand love and brand value and inspirational ideas and operational realities. His message being that when you can satisfy the wants and needs of a community as well as your business you give yourself the greatest chance of creating an advertising campaign that has a lasting impact.

In closing a couple of points that stood out were that while ad impressions are great and  a staple of any good campaign, brand expressions are a more powerful result of a well run advertising campaign. And last but not least remember to embrace failure as the unavoidable cost of always trying to remain innovative.

Kelloggs/Pop Tarts and Mark Baynes

Posted: Oct 15, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger Hannah Cho, Cisco Systems, Inc.

The ANA Masters of Marketing conference has had a very full first day-lots of presenters with interesting ideas and stories. Mark Baynes from Kelloggs was the third speaker of the day and I have the pleasure of writing about his presentation.

First, my observations about Mark (yes, we are on a first name basis - he just doesn't know it yet):

  1. He wore a lovely suit and lively tie that matched the ANA color scheme!
  2. He has a really casual presentation manner that made him a personable and compelling speaker-and a cool accent.
  3. He has a passion for Pop Tarts that made what could have been a not-so-interesting presentation pretty interesting and definitely fun.

Now, about his presentation. It was full of interesting tidbits about America's favorite toaster pastry-no longer reserved for just "Milton the Toaster" anymore (apparently they are really good when refrigerated too-who knew).

Did you know that Pop Tarts have been around since 1964? That the name is from the Warhol "pop art" era? That Pop Tarts had 20 years of consecutive growth in their first 20 years? That their target audience for marketing pre-2004 was 10-14 year olds? And most importantly, that there is a POP TARTS WORLD STORE in Times Square?

Mark covered a lot of ground in a short time with a history of the Pop Tart brand building and preference building efforts and how today, with a delicately balanced mix of paid, owned and earned media, Pop Tart continues to appeal to a teen audience. Pop Tart engages them through programs like the "Flavor Tournament" that coincides with NCAA March Madness - "Or is it the other way around...?" asks Mark. And the "Taste of Music" campaign spawned incredible results on Facebook and You Tube for Kelloggs and made mini-celebrities out of young people who sang about Pop Tarts, one of the most memorable songs including the line, "Pop Tarts will never break your heart." In 16 months, Pop Tarts gained 2.4 million fans on Facebook. That's pretty cool. 

From a business perspective, the fact that paid, owned and earned media is over indexing against internal ROI benchmarks is pretty impressive. Pop Tarts seem to have managed to find the appropriate way for teens to want to engage with, tell their friends about and BUY Pop Tarts! Ultimately, that's what it comes down to, right?  Getting your audience to buy your stuff? And Kelloggs does it well with Pop Tarts. I mean, even in the user generated music videos, these kids (and they are all teens) have outfitted themselves in Pop Tarts merchandise and staged backgrounds to include the product packaging and product itself! 

Ok, so if you're looking for the value of the presentation and what the ultimate takeaway is, there are few things that stuck with me:

  1. Just because you can build a brand page, doesn't mean you should.  Let's not get into the mistakes of the dot-com era when everything and everybody had to have a webpage.  Social media takes a passion that exists and amplifies that passion with a community - know how and when to use social media to meet your goals and complement your paid and owned media strategies.
  2. Three key learnings for stronger engagement and deeper relationships between your brand and the customer that are pretty common sense:  a) Clarity of purpose; b) Ideas, ideas, ideas (around points of engagement, connective tissue across all media and upping your product's social currency); c) Experience planning (know what media to use and what purpose it serves, creative linkage across media and points to deepen longer term engagement options).
  3. I've been missing out on the world of Pop Tarts (never had them before). 

So, get on Facebook and become a fan—I did!


Cisco “Flips” in the Midst of Recession

Posted: Oct 15, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger, Karen Hornberger, Allstate Insurance Company

This morning Marilyn Mersereau, Senior VP, Corporate Marketing, Cisco Systems, Inc. showed us a "live" demo of remote conferencing technology "TelePresence." Brendan Shanahan joined us remotely and it felt like he was in the room! Brendan shared plans to put the technology into every NHL hockey rink to allow fans real time interviews with players-pretty cool. Of course, there are lots of everyday business implications too, like saving on travel costs by meeting remotely vs. in person. This is one example of the Cisco brand purpose that Marilyn shared: "changing the way we live, work, play and learn."

Marilyn showed samples of how Cisco has stretched a limited budget to get the most "bang for the buck." She showed examples of branded entertainment in TV shows like 24 and NCIS. The product placement was seamless and at our table, we made a game out of trying to "find" the advertising. As Marilyn explained, and we all agreed, these types of executions have to be a good fit so that it doesn't feel "weird." In what we saw, it wasn't weird at all, but the opposite, it felt like a natural fit in the shows.

The other product demo was the Cisco umi (pronounced "you me"), which is an affordable "at home" conference technology and allows families to be together when they aren't in the same place or for colleagues to connect to collaborate remotely. As a mom of a 2-year-old on a 3 day business trip, I can relate to how nice it would be to say "goodnight" on a video feed vs. a cell phone tonight!  Marilyn encouraged us to purchase umi "only if you love your mother."

The presentation revealed the emotional and human connection that can be made with the use of video. I plan to take Marilyn's advice for what to do first thing on Monday back at the office which is to think of an emotional connection for my brand with my customer.  And then to create a plan to make that connection. 


P&G’s Marc Pritchard

Posted: Oct 15, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger, Telisa Yancy, American Family Insurance

Although the title of the presentation delivered by Marc Pritchard, Global Marketing Officer of the The Procter & Gamble Company, was titled, "Empowering Brands Through Design and Innovation," I believe it could have easily been titled, "Purpose Inspired Brand (and revenue) Building" or "A Guide to the Galaxy for the 21st Century Marketer" because that is exactly what it was. As the world becomes more transparent than ever before and digi-social innovations like Twitter, Facebook, and apps like RedLaser continue to make it possible for any AND everyone to know and influence what the world thinks of your brand in real-time, some brands have simply surrendered to the realities of this new world by leveraging the lowest common-denominator of the consumer conversation—price. 

Not so for the marketers of P&G. Instead, Mr. Pritchard and his team of world-class marketers have leveraged their insights of this new world order to change the conversation to one that centers around the "purpose" of their venerable brands in the lives of the people they serve. Rather than start with the benefits of a product like "Old Spice" (makes men smell like men--in a good way), they started the work on re-energizing the 70 year old, "irrelevant" brand with its inspired purpose—"to help guys navigate the seas of manhood." From this, seemingly simple change in how the brand thought about its role in the lives of the people they serve, came everyone's favorite marketing story and consumer engagement assault of the year—"the old spice guy." This story would be applause-worthy if P&G's marketing led, revenue-enhancing story of the year ended with Old Spice brand, but it did not. Mr. Pritchard went on to tell similar, albeit less chronicled success stories, about both their corporate Olympic campaign and the Always brand. In each example, the inspired purpose of the brand served as a beacon to guide the team to develop big ideas that generated unprecedented consumer engagement and undeniable impact on the bottom line:

Be Authentic in the Social Space

By Cara Brooke Schultz
Posted: Sep 30, 2010 12:00am ET

I sat in on the social media for adults seminar during Advertising Week and listened to Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook talk about how social marketing isn't like any other marketing before—it's living. What does that mean exactly?

It means as a company, you need to be authentic. Your messages need to be consistent across every social media platform, whether you are on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, blogging—whatever you are saying to your consumers/customers, it needs to be uniform. The second you contradict your message, one of your followers can call attention to it and thousands of your people will know about it.

How do you ensure authenticity in social media marketing? Here are a few steps that I hope will help you find your voice in the social space:

  1. Speak to your followers online as if you were talking to them in-person, yet make sure you are always grammatically correct.
  2. Be relevant and responsive, talk about material that you know well and respond in a timely manner to all questions, comments, and concerns.
  3. Have fun and be creative. Let's face it, social media is fun—if it wasn't, you wouldn't see so many people getting involved in their spare time. Your fans and followers will engage with you even more if you find away to make it entertaining.   

Have any other tips you would like to share with your colleagues? Feel free to post them, after all-social media is all about connecting and sharing!




Text Messages – Do They Have a Place in the Marketing Horizon?

By Cara Brooke Schultz
Posted: Sep 21, 2010 12:00am ET

Recently, I've received a few text messages for offers from various companies (I'm glad I have the unlimited text messaging plan). Although the text messages were unsolicited, it got the wheels in my brain turning. How big a role will text messaging play in the marketing/advertising industry in the next 1 to 2 years?  

Our Marketing Knowledge Center has some great information on mobile marketing. After a quick search I found out the following: The mobile platform is the most personal digital medium to date. It tends to either be a "snack medium"-short-form content-or an "action medium"-i.e. a tool to check the weather or look up an address. (For more information on mobile marketing read the snapshot on our website).

My first thoughts, unless wireless phone providers decide to refrain from charging customers for text messaging, I can't imagine an unsolicited text message would be received lightly.  Most cell phone plans have a limit on text messaging, both what you can receive and what you can send. Should you go over that limit (and I know from personal experience) the fees can be excessive!

Some quick research on Google produced an article that addresses text messaging for marketers. The article on marketingprofs.com explains a way around the fees associated with texting, "A good solution to that common mobile-marketing dilemma is FTEU (free to the end-user) messaging, which allows the carrier or a brand to pick up the tab on messaging so the marketing texts don't count against the customer's monthly bucket of messages." Sounds like a great solution huh? Well the article continues to talk about the difficulties that are still associated with FTEU such as negotiating carrier clearance.

Would you use text message marketing? How do you see mobile marketing evolving in the future?



How Marketers Can Use Influence to Gain Respect

By Michael Palmer
Posted: Sep 14, 2010 12:00am ET


Influence is one of a marketer's best tools. In today's environment marketers no longer slog along by themselves, they have to reach out to others, bring them into the fold. Respect for marketing grows dramatically when we help sales do their job better, faster, more profitably. We get few accolades for building a more creative sales brochure or a new advertising campaign.

The question then is, how do you get others into a collaborative mood? A March 2009 study published in the Journal of Marketing affirms that marketing departments are in a weakened position. The article suggests two possible approaches for marketing departments to regain their influence within firms: (1) They should become more accountable for the link between marketing actions and financial results, and (2) they should become more innovative by contributing to the firm's organic growth.

Sounds pretty simple. Prove that the stuff we do moves the needle and creates new growth opportunities. Influence - the action or process of producing effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of another or others. It's what we as marketers can do to create a customer centric organization with a singular satisfaction focus. And by influencing others to put the customer first, we are gaining respect and delivering real value.
Customer insights are the foremost way to influence others - showing them what's best for the customer will help break down silos and get everyone focusing on a common goal - what's best for our customer. Need some help with insight or consumer centric education? Turn to ANA School of Marketing to find the right foundational course.




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About This Blog

To complement our two leadership blogs and build dialogue on the seismic changes happening in marketing, we launched Marketing Maestros. Our in-house citizen journalists will talk about everything from marketing technology to accountability and everything in between. This blog is written for marketers by ANA's marketers whose insights are drawn from the voices of the client side marketing community.