Marketing Maestros

Biting the Hand that Feeds You!

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Oct 18, 2010 12:00am ET

Fox and Cablevision are in a nasty battle over the retransmission fees that Cablevision pays to Fox to carry their programming. Negotiations have reached a stalemate and after the contract between Cablevision and Fox expired at midnight Friday, Fox pulled its New York and Philadelphia affiliates from Cablevision's system. This impacts 3.1 million households (including mine!) and likely 10+ million people.
Consumers and advertisers are unfairly caught in the middle. The much hyped pitching match-up on Saturday night between Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies and Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants was nowhere to be found in Cablevision households. Nor was football on Sunday afternoon as fans of the New York Giants undoubtedly turned to the radio or visited their local bars-the ones with DirecTV.
I just returned from the ANA Masters of Marketing annual conference where many speakers preached - "the consumer is boss." Unfortunately, Cablevision and Fox clearly have ignored that marketing principle.
Meanwhile, advertisers also are impacted as 3 million potential households disappeared from media buys. That's just not fair to the many companies that counted on the Fox audiences to move their respective products and services.
The PR machines of both companies are now in overdrive. Fox and Cablevision need to remember that they exist because of consumers and advertisers and that they shouldn't bite the many hands that feed them.

The $ocial Revolution at TurboTax

Posted: Oct 18, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger Lesley Neadel, CooperKatz

Seth Greenberg, the VP of Global Media and Digital Marketing for Intuit, took the stage as the final speaker of the conference to discuss TurboTax's social media activities. He asked how many people in the audience had used one of their brands, and then said thanks, but his focus was really on those who hadn't!

He let us know right off the bat that, "we are on a journey - we're only in about year four. This is one channel that we're really trying to encourage, and alight."  

Intuit has a proven formula for delighting customers - with more than 20 million TurboTax users alone! They are able to do this via fabulous employees. For 7 years in a row, they have been one of the most admired software companies in the business, according to Fortune. They are the number one in consumer tax prep and small business financial management, among others.

How does this factor into media?

Intuit uses in-channel optimization, cross-cannel and platform engagement measurement, predictive analytics and testing for impact. They are constantly asking how they can make these work together tighter, better and stronger.

Years ago TurboTax had an online team and an offline, with different agencies and objectives. Now, they are integrated, and a lot less complex.  They annually poll customers, and in doing so they ask how they first heard about TurboTax. A whopping 41% were via word-of-mouth or recommendations. 

So to help with that statistic, they embarked on their first social media venture: they hired Vanilla Ice to run a Tax Rap contest. They had 500 videos submitted, and business correspondent Ali Velshi even did one on CNN! This was great, but they didn't touch or ignite their key brand messages.

Next year, they hired Jay Mohr for "The Tax Laugh" with the on-strategy message that, "Comedy is hard, TurboTax is easy."

The next year, TurboTax did a social guerilla marketing experiment - "We said let's be extremely entertaining, but also drop in brand messages every few seconds." Greenberg found pro-skateboarder Billy Martin who had a talent with ping pong balls... Total cost? $18,000. The team clearly had no idea what was going to happen but this ended up one of their highest rated videos ever.

Another campaign they started was the "Super Status" - they said they'd pay customers to change their status on Facebook. 10,000 people did, with a fill in the blank status update about deductions. Those status updates reached about 1.5 million people. 

"The closer you are to your product, the more viral it can be, and a bigger impact, it will have," said Greenberg. This is now a key part of their MEdia strategy (emphasis Greenberg's). With all the noise and interruption, they want their campaigns and messages to be really relevant and helpful to people.

So, how does TurboTax cut thru the clutter?  This past year, they did a few experiments.

They first put a "Like" directly into their product. While it was very tough to get a marketing tactic into the actual product, they did so at the bottom of the very last page when customers were doing their taxes. What happened? People clicked it then personalized and shared in their news feed! 10 million people saw the like button. 1% actually clicked - which means that 100K actually "friendcasted." However, they each had an average of 150 friends - so 15 million people saw this.  500,000 clicked on that (you still with me?) leading to 2 million comments, and 100,000 purchases.  79% of these were new customers, who for no cost were touched by a medium that ended up being four times more effective than banner ads, and THE most effective in acquiring new customers.

The next experiment was regarding customer reviews.  Seth brought Bob on-stage to demo this technology. They gathered 100,000 reviews in 6 weeks via opt-in after finishing taxes, and developed a "Friendalyzer" to help potential customers wade through these to show the most relevant to them. Within the "Friendalyzer," the first choice is the most important: life change (job status, bought / sold investments, had a baby, moved) as these are traditionally hurdles for people not wanting to use TurboTax. Once potential users type in their prior tax prep method and family details, they drill down to only those reviews that are the most relevant. For Bob specifically, this went from 100,000 reviews down to 160 - a much more targeted and manageable sample.

The biggest learning here: Don't sit on your assets! TurboTax put these hundreds of thousands of reviews right into their display advertising, creating super relevant ads that appeared in the "hurdle" areas - i.e. people who just bought houses' reviews showing on Trulia and Zillow. Seth also showcased an interactive online ad from Yahoo! With Chris Berman who touted the "Friendalyzer" reviews and an instant refund forecaster as well.

Seth let us know that these components all cooperated to create TurboTax's best year ever - and the bar is only getting higher next year.

Darden Restaurant’s John Caron Addresses Marketers

Posted: Oct 18, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger Luna Newton, CooperKatz

John Caron, Chief Marketing Officer of Darden Restaurants, spoke to marketers this morning on day three of the ANA Annual Conference. With their headquarters located within miles of the Rosen Shingle Creek hotel, Mr. Caron opened with a history of the company and how it began with a small, Floridian restaurant located across from a swamp, literally.

Darden Restaurants currently operates over 1800 restaurants nationwide and has grown to include six different brands, including Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52.  Since the recession, Mr. Caron has noticed three key dynamics taking place, which he shared with ANA marketers:

  1. The restaurant industry is maturing and sales are slowing, making brand building more important today than ever.
  2. There is increasing competition for food and energy supplies, making cost-effective means of operating a necessity for business viability.
  3. There is a greater demand for responsible behavior, making transparency and accountability crucial to business practices.

Darden restaurants are No. 1 in the seafood and Italian food category, and No. 3 in the casual dining steakhouse brand. Though the recession has negatively impacted many businesses, Mr. Caron believes that the recession gave Darden the unique opportunity to accelerate growth into new markets.  He also thinks that the recession benefits those with aggressive investment philosophies. With significant interest in casual dining brands around the world, Darden plans an international expansion to bring meaningful growth opportunities.

Darden seems to be well-positioned to deliver long-term sales growth. Included in their strategy is a commitment to transparency, choice and innovation, in addition to sustainability practices and finding new ways to support society's health and wellness goals. Darden is sure to continue successfully accomplishing its ongoing mission to nourish and delight everyone they serve.

The Future of Advertising: Reinvention for Growth—Cindy Gallop

Posted: Oct 18, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger Telisa Yancy, American Family Insurance

Just when I was settling in to what was shaping up to be a "good" day at the 2010 ANA Annual Conference, Cindy Gallop, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of IfWeRanTheWorld stepped onto the stage and instantaneously made it a "great day." In less than 30 minutes, she personally challenged every marketer and brand in the room, to demand extraordinary performance by taking an intensely serious look into their corporate structures, systems and processes and then "blow them up" and start anew in a quest to move from being brand stewards to becoming the embodiment of the brand's conscious and leveraging it to do good in the world. 

From start-to-finish, Ms. Gallop was both intensively provocative AND simplistically authentic in her challenge to ANA marketers to do and become the proverbial change we all wish to see in the world of marketing.  During Ms. Gallop's, presentation, the audience was given a dizzying array of sound-bites, challenges and even "homework assignments" to overcome the present reality:

"People HATE advertising in general, and LOVE it in particular"

Ms. Gallop's remedy or formula for success to marketers hoping for change in the industry was for marketers to create and shape their own destiny by radically embracing action to create a future for the industry fueled by to 100% committed to five key pillars necessary for the industry's survival:  goodness, transparency, action, agency and production. 

At first blush, these are very, simple words.  However, if you were in attendance at today's conference or have the chance to view it on video, you will quickly find out that these five simple words are really not that simple and may prove to be hard to do without a very visceral understanding of this sometimes hard to follow human truth:

"KNOW that the only person who can make things happen for you, is YOU," Cindy Gallop

In fact, Ms. Gallop stated that the single biggest pool of untapped resources is the good intentions never acted upon, both corporately and individually.  From this huge insight, Ms. Gallop has developed a set of tools to allow people and brands to begin to take micro-actions to translate intention into action.   She calls it emotional software—I haven't quite figured out what to call it except brilliantly inspiring and a personal challenge to everyone who KNOWS that the ideas, tools and processes around which we can radically innovate already exist among us—the question is who will  make the first micro-action to get the snowball started.

A couple of good starting points to solving this equation might be to do some of the homework assignment Ms. Gallop handed out. Here's the list that I managed to capture:

  1. Read Rework--it's a catalyst to help you design out the crap
  2. Visit www.textsfromlastnight.com to get a healthy dose of modern poetry and a good laugh (an essential ingredient to goodness I think)
  3. Read "Cognitive Surplus" by Clay Shirky
  4. Make Something...

So on purpose, I am leaving this blog-post open, unfinished without a nice, neat conclusion because honestly, this conversation is too important to end...I would love to hear your thoughts on how you will apply her raw sentiment to turn all of your great intention into action for the good of the industry, world and perhaps even your soul...

Fidelity and The Green Line Campaign: Staying the Course with One of America's Largest Financial Services Companies

Posted: Oct 18, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger Courtney Kelso, American Express

As marketers over the past 3 years of the global recession, we've all probably wished for "guidance through the storm", and as brand advertisers, wouldn't it have been nice to have had a friendly green path to help us navigate these uncertain times?  Well, today, Jim Speros (CMO of Fidelity Investments) proposed a sort of "green path" for marketers enduring this daunting economic environment. His main message: Develop one core idea and strategy and consistently integrate it through 360 degrees of communication (it also helps to have a simple, strong visual).  He reminds us that this requires a fair amount of centralized control over the brand and communications.  If the Geico presentation earlier this morning provided permission to integrate across a variety of key themes, Speros' message for a financial brand in the face of a broad financial meltdown was the opposite:  One Big Idea and Stay the Course!

Leveraging learning from Fidelity's current "Green Line" campaign, Speros provided great insight into the key elements of a successful campaign (big idea, focus, consistency, engagement, sufficiency of spend, and continuity) while fighting the cluttered landscape by introducing some pretty innovative communications vehicles (can you say "cartoon-vertorial?" Ever hear of "Station Domination?" what about a digital "Knock Down" unit?) Fidelity also innovated their ideation process by involving their media partners as sounding boards before the release of the campaign, and launching first with their 37,000 employees.

Speros provided key takeaways from his experience launching this successful initiative:

  1. Advertising during a downturn pays off
  2. Powerful, relevant ideas matter more than ever before
  3. Engage your employees and treat them as an extension of your camp
  4. Involve your media partners in the ideation process
  5. Leverage all channels of communication and integrate around them
  6. Embrace innovation and take risks (which he likened to "jumping off a cliff and building a parachute on the way down")
  7. Consumer insights and measurement are critical
  8. Treat agency as a partner not a vendor, and drive collaboration
  9. Stay the Course! (a brand will grow tired of their campaign much sooner than consumers will)
  10. Marketing is only part of a larger supply chain that extends to consumers

There is surely something to Speros' advice as the campaign has proven quite successful for Fidelity, and has helped drive large lifts in key brand metrics (like preference, trust and confidence) and significant impact to Net Promoter Score (lifts of 46 points among high value customers).

Speros closed the session by encouraging all of us when thinking through our communications strategies to ask ourselves if we really have a big idea or are we just promoting low level features and benefits. All in all, a great session, and a reminder that a commitment to simplicity, consistency, and one big idea can help marketers navigate tough and uncertain times.

Becoming a Culturally Infused Mass Brand: The Future for Samsung

Posted: Oct 18, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger Courtney Kelso, American Express

How will the world's largest consumer electronics company, a 40 year old Korean giant known primarily for its engineering prowess, achieve its goal to more than triple its current $120B sales to $400B by 2020? It's already #1 in mobile, #1 in LED TVs, #1 in 3D TVs, #1 in French door refrigerators. How will a company, known primarily for quality products, superior design sensibility, and smart business leaders, meet this challenge? It will spend the rest of this decade focusing on unleashing the full potential of the brand, according to newly appointed CMO Ralph Santana. To meet this herculean task, Samsung won't focus on conventional branding wisdom, but rather it plans to employ cultural branding by 1) infusing cultural meaning into the brand, and 2) reaching the masses with that brand context.  Santana points out people all over the world know what the Samsung brand is, but don't know what it stands for. Samsung is a company where its employees take great pride in creating delight.  But how does this become a brand idea?

Santana spent much of this (surprisingly well attended) session early on Saturday morning discussing Samsung's newest imperative. He explains that for Samsung to be successful in this venture, people must want to buy its product not just because of its technological quality, but because they want to be a part of what the Samsung brand stands for. He brings his expertise from Pepsi, where he points out that that brand is exactly what Samsung will try to become-a mass brand that is culturally relevant to millions all over the world.

A Culturally Meaningful Brand

Santana posits that there are several different types of brands that are culturally relevant, but they don't all serve the same purpose. Observer brands reflect and chase what's happening; they pursue a fast and easy way to be relevant (Go Daddy and Walgreen's he believes are examples of observer brands). A sponsor brand does a deeper job by providing enriching experiences, they enable cultural experiences. Santana points out that brands in this category don't have to be endemic to be relevant, and he points to Adidas, GM, and Mountain Dew as key examples of great sponsor brands. In contrast to the above 2 categories, however, Santana clearly views the curator brand as the aspiration category for Samsung.  A curator brand curates culture; they redefine the experience for consumers.  He points to ESPN, Red Bull, Under Armour and NBC as examples.  

Reaching the Masses with Brand Context

Santana  can speak with some experience about curator brands, and points to his last project at Pepsi and the Pepsi Refresh project as an example of a culturally relevant, mass brand igniting a conversation about giving back. The Pepsi Refresh Project's main communications strategy was to ignite a conversation in the digital and social space. By employing only social media and what Santana calls "narrowcasting"-Santana feels that they weren't able to breakthrough as significantly as they would have liked. His key learning was that they needed to make sure the idea was getting enough exposure; they weren't able to reach the tipping point. Santana points out that mass brands are having tougher and tougher times. There has been a striking increase in distrust, consumers have siphoned off into micro communities, and often display an ADD-like mentality.  Back in the broadcast heydays, the masses were more easily reached because of the relatively narrow set of options consumers had to watch-brands could "buy their way into bigness." Today, the broadcast medium can still be effective, but it's a blunt instrument. Marketers have almost overcorrected by using "narrowcasting" to find and reach these micro-targets, but he reminds us there is a hidden cost to narrowcasting-the more you segment, the more costly the effort, making it "hard to buy the love you need."


Given all of these new realities in today's media landscape, Santana recommends what he calls "culture-casting"- unleashing the power brand in a brave new media world. Culture-casting helps to infuse cultural meaning and reaches the masses. To do this, a brand must:

I, for one, will be watching Samsung closely over the next several years to see if this brand focus will help it to deliver its aggressive growth goals. I will also be eagerly checking out the new Samsung Galaxy Tablet which Santana deftly held just out of our reach, as it appears to be a nice pocket sized tablet computer powered by Samsung engineering.


Amway: Building Business the American Way

Posted: Oct 18, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger Telisa Yancy, American Family Insurance

Over the last couple of days of the 2010 ANA Masters of Marketing Conference, I have noticed a distinctive pattern: great companies drive results, revenue and consumer engagement by staying true to two things: purpose and holistic "brand-driven" marketing.  Before this morning's session on "Building Business the American Way", presented by Candace Matthews, I was slightly tempted to begin playing the "yeah-but" game around this topic:

Well, after Ms. Matthew's presentation this morning, I've decided that the pattern of driving growth, revenue and consumer engagement through purpose and commitment to authentically connecting to the consumers you serve best is a universal business truth that marketing must take a leadership role in helping companies exploit. 

To "keep it real", as #ANAmarketers power-tweeter, Hilliary_Ashton, posted during the presentation, there are real challenges to infusing brand excellence in a large, global company like Amway, who's DNA revolves around selling the "AMerican WAY" to distributors versus brands to people. A history of being committed to this business model, almost singularly, allowed Amway to maintain reasonable growth over a long period of time.  Ms. Matthews stated that her formula for infusing marketing into a relatively strong history of success was to "pervasively interrupt the status quo." With that in mind, Ms. Matthews and her team, went about the process of being committed to marketing fundamentals, like strong positioning, clear understanding of their purpose in the lives of end-users, and a methodical plan to move their power sub-brands into the spotlight.

What I found tremendously interesting about Ms. Matthews' seemingness flawless capacity to achieve her plans in an environment where marketing never truly existed before, is her capacity to leverage even "shiny marketing things" like apps, to move the business forward in non-traditional ways. While most marketers and undoubtedly some of their CEOs craved for an Apple app in the hands of their consumers, Ms. Matthews created one for the vast distributor network that has defined Amway for so long, and moved it to #4 in the free app section within 24 hours of launch.  She went on to describe a few other examples of how Amway is straddling the fence that so many marketers are facing---building relevance with consumers/end users while helping the distribution network (whether franchisees, agents, dealers, agents understand that consistent commitment marketing is a foundation for growth. 

With marketing clearly serving as a beacon for continued growth and profits for them, Amway still "sells" the American Dream to its vast network of distributors. It is also beginning to apply their commitment to the concept of the American way by positioning how its products can help the lives of consumers.  Their process for doing this is decided different than those we've heard about this week, but it is working--a 100% awareness in China after being in the marketing for less than 20 years... seriously!  She did not reveal a sexy-social media platform or a website with exploding triple-digit traffic increases--but she did show success, results, revenue growth and an engaged distribution network.    Marketing excellence may not be sexy in every industry, but it is a path to profits and sustainable impact in peoples lives in every business. 

RIM and Starcom Turn Marketing Work Over to the Public

Posted: Oct 18, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger Joshua Kidd, Siemens Corp.

Back for the last full day of sessions here at the 2010 ANA Annual Conference and this morning we have Keith Pardy, CMO of RIM and Laura Desmond, CEO the Starcom Group. Without getting into too much detail I think a number of the same concepts that have been a focus point of this week's conference have emerged.

While I think we would all agree those are qualities almost any company would do well to pursue there were a couple of other items that got my attention, particularly since I come from a highly digital background.

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.

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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.