Each year, the ANA Masters of Marketing conference attracts the heaviest hitters in the marketing industry.
Keynotes from well-established brands like P&G contrasted with similarly innovative, though wildly different, ideas from Gary Vaynerchuk, and the audience of nearly 3,000 marketers was all the better for it.
Below, our team shares their biggest takeaways from the event, including how creative has gotten lost with higher production needs and why your brand’s promise to consumers is the most important thing you own.
MARKETERS ARE BRINGING CREATIVE BACK TO THE SPOTLIGHT
Nick Tarant, VP of Sales
With the emergence of digital channels and media delivery, clients immersed themselves in attribution and media mix modeling—sometimes dancing on the head of a pin with how to slice and dice campaigns and bullets of information. P&G’s Chief Brand Officer, Mark Pritchard, declared that the result is a lot of “crap in the marketplace,” as far as content is concerned. This sentiment was echoed several times which means a new emphasis on creative content is about to take shape, at least for the larger blue-chip brands who ultimately dictate the tone and manner of the general marketplace.
CREATIVE IS ONLY TRULY GREAT IF IT ALSO WORKS
Debby Hannigan, VP of Sales
This year’s Masters of Marketing was all about the need for creative storytelling. The call for excellent creative—and hiring and retaining that talent—was incredibly strong. Telling a compelling story is the key component for incentivizing action within your customer base. However, the underlying part of any successful creative is being able to measure those outcomes. A brand only really knows that their creative resonated with their audience if it led to real, measurable sales, right?
As Deb Wahl, the CMO of McDonald’s, said, you need to see “business outcomes at every point.” It’s this intersection of creative, data and measurement that will allow marketers to succeed in an increasingly competitive market.
ALWAYS STAY TRUE TO YOUR BRAND—IT’S WHY YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE
Fiona McIndoe, VP of Sales
In an effort to keep up with the always-on, always-connected consumer, marketers are pulled in a zillion directions and the work tends to suffer because of that. We’re creating too much content for too many screens and too many channels. There are so many different outlets that we need to be on nowadays that our core message and value proposition—the key to who you are as a brand—is getting lost along the way.
This issue became a real-world exercise for Mattel when repositioning their Barbie doll line. The brand knew it needed to be more relevant for today’s girls, but prior to being able to decide “what” the new Barbie would look like, Mattel’s Juliana Chugg asked the key question of “why” do girls pick Barbie in the first place? By pausing and answering that at the outset, they were able to reinvent an iconic brand that continued to be true to what the brand is at its core.
It’s a lesson for today’s marketers in a cluttered landscape: Know what you stand for and have a clear promise from your brand.
DATA IS TAKING CENTER STAGE FOR OUTCOME-BASED MARKETING
Dave Donnelly, SVP Sales
With advancements in data and targeting, marketers can really show returns for every single ad dollar they spend. This was the focus for Alison Lewis, CMO for Johnson & Johnson, during her presentation. Leading the marketing for so many brands isn’t easy, but when you start every strategy with consumer data and past purchase behavior, you can expect to see real, measurable returns. Scale and personalization are cornerstones for each of her brands’ marketing efforts; this combination of data and creative led one of her brands to create 88 different creative units for a single campaign that drove $5.40 in ROAS. As Lewis said, “At Johnson & Johnson, we’re all about the outcome.” It shows, and more marketers should put data at the center of their campaigns to drive real outcomes for their businesses.