Babar Khan Javed
Sep 15, 2017

'All That Matters' to marketers

Takeaways gleaned from marketers for McDonald's, L'Oreal, P&G, Unilever and Dell at this week's All That Matters conference in Singapore.

Executives from advertising, eCommerce, and programmatic converged to share their key ideas.
Executives from advertising, eCommerce, and programmatic converged to share their key ideas.

The real reason marketers are recalibrating vendor relationships

Brand and marketing managers on the client side of the equation are tasked with the execution of in-year brand and commercial plans. With more seniority, brand and marketing managers are even responsible for the delivery of the portfolio P&L, which includes accountability over a portfolio’s volume, share, revenue and gross profit.

The sessions around marketing at All That Matters in Singapore this week focused on the tactical elements of the job with regards to medium, messaging and partnerships.

“The exciting thing about media today is that the message is no longer the only variable that is paramount,” shared Priyali Kamath, brand director at P&G. “The medium actually plays a big role too, in effectiveness.”

Marketers need to evolve their skillsets or risk becoming irrelevant, she said. One of the most pervasive ways is to recognize that the medium of choice can influence the creative and messaging.

“We have to learn how to make our messages work hard for the medium, and how you market in this era has been redefined,” she added.

After a decade of dealing with vendors and suppliers of digital marketing solutions, she believes that the conversation has been taken away from what matters most: great brand-building and messages that evoke a reaction that matches the KPIs of brand performance.

“We have gotten so convoluted in our conversations about intricate measurement systems that don’t matter at the end of the day,” she said. “It’s distracting from the simplicity and power of great brand messaging instead of helping it.”

How brands can embrace digital transformation

Curiosity might kill the cat, but it’s the only way brand marketers will be able to truly make sense of the emerging media landscape.

Speaking at a panel around media transparency, five brand marketers offered their key lessons for ensuring that digital transformation is fully embraced in companies.

“Especially for some of the larger brands, there’s a difficulty with sticking our necks out, asking more questions, pushing ourselves, as a fundamental fear of failure,” said Silas Lewis-Meilus, senior director and global media lead at McDonald’s. “All of those components lead us to stagnate and not grow or progress.”

The curiosity to probe a vendor or platform claim and insist on more 'why' and 'how'-based information around a tactic is critical, he said. However, it's something marketers in the APAC region are very reluctant to do, he added.

“That is paramount for us to progress this conversation.” he said.

P&G's Kamath said that brands need to invest in spending time with consumers to understand how they feel about a product and how they consume media.

“If you do that, the digital transformation will come from you, instead of suggested by external parties.” she added.

Agreeing with her fellow panelists, Jee Seon Park, APAC media and digital director with L’Oréal, insisted that the transition was dependent on digital vendors and specialists internally and externally that had the brand portfolio’s best interests at heart. “The right partners need to know what is happening and the consequences for the future,” she concluded.

Breaking away from safe narrative, Bryan E. Jones, the senior vice president of North America marketing at Dell, said that there is nothing sacred in the media space any longer.

“I’m going to use whatever media space it takes to connect with my customer,” he insisted. “Whatever it takes. Have a very open-ended plan.”

David Porter, the vice president of media at Unilever, said that now more than ever a brand marketer must take up career opportunities in China to truly experience the deep end of lightning-fast responsiveness. “There are a billion people and their capacity to change at speed is enormous," he said. All marketers would benefit from learning that kind of capacity for change. “There are no adoption curves anymore, it’s on or it’s off,” he said.

He concluded that with everything they do, brand marketers must put people first. "They have driven the digital revolution, they are driving sales and brand purpose.”

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