Future of Marketing Forum with Neustar

Who would have thought that a forum on marketing would have so much discussion about data, research and analytics? So it was at the recent Future of Marketing Forum by Neustar. Steve Wolfe Pereira, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Neustar, painted a dire picture of the state of marketing in his conference introduction. "Over trillion dollars is currently spent in marketing but many companies experienced revenue decline," he began. "The medium tenure for a CMO is now down from 33 to 27 months. This is not a lot of time to achieve impact." And, he continued, "There are challenges from bots, to fraud to even hurricanes. Is this the end of marketing as we know it?"

Here is where marketing is going:

Preparing Content for Sales
There is an increasing viewer backlash to ad loads. Suzanne Vranica, advertising editor at the Wall Street Journal called it the "rise of anti-advertising" where "ad blocking has become a problem." The answer may be to reduce the ad load. But how does that impact revenue? Donna Speciale, President Ad Sales at Turner, explained why her company made it a strategy to reduce the ad loads on their networks. "We are focusing on the consumer," she stated, "Viewer behavior is changing. So, reducing ad loads for us was part of the equation. The messaging has to change and storytelling within pods had to change. We wanted to make the experience better." And, the reduced ad load withtruTV, had “a huge upside with ratings" and revenue-wise, the network "made more money," she added.

Forging Connection
Brands need to reinforce their connection to their customer. But how can we best do that in the cacophony of platform and content choices? Some companies like HBO have a business model based on opt-in subscriptions and a brand promise that has withstood the test of time. Lucinda Martinez, Senior Vice President, Multicultural and International Marketing, HBO, explained, "We deliver an experience that is specific and on brand. We market to a multicultural audience and we are really careful about designing the campaign." It is all about storytelling at HBO where content is designed so that "the story is bigger than the characters," she added.

To insure the connection between content, audience and branding, companies have to have inner connection.  At HBO, department silos have been broken down between marketing and the creators. Marketer Martinez noted that, "We sit in same room as creators so we know when the plot surprise is coming." in this way, marketing messages can be released to coincide with program climaxes that can come in the middle of the series' run. this can create more watercooler moments.

Messaging and Bots
Challenges to marketing and branding seem to abound. So, it is vital that marketers keep up with change. According to Michael J. Wolf, Founder and Partner, Activate, "The stakes are high in the messaging wars. But messaging will not be a winner-take-all. The battle will be fought by bots. People will get more comfortable using chat bots and integrating into their purchasing and personal lives." What this means is an evolution to more sophisticated AI, easier discovery tools, better payment integration and greater cross-platform portability.

The Future of Marketing
The future is a more connected world where there will continue to be great opportunities and vexing challenges. The secret to success is, as Pereira concluded, to get back to basics with a twist. It’s still product, price, promotion and place, in a radically transformed way, and, he noted: “Product becomes all about experience, price becomes the exchange of value, promotion becomes evangelists and place becomes everywhere. We need to focus on the things that matter.”

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Getting Ahead of a Changeable News Cycle. An Interview with Videa’s Shereta Williams

Every day seems to bring a new catastrophic or controversial news crisis that charges the atmosphere. While we cannot control these events, we can control how we respond and navigate through them. Placing advertising that is sensitive to the program content through addressable is a way to demonstrate greater sensitivity as well as protect the brands’ reputation.

I sat down with Shereta Williams, President, Videa and talked with her about the risk to brands in this changeable environment and what companies can do to navigate the shoals.

Charlene Weisler: What would you say is the biggest risk to brands at this time?

Shereta Williams: The biggest risk comes in lacking the agility necessary to respond to the event at hand. If you don’t have the means to respond to a major event that everyone is talking about, you’re risking the possibility of automatically being seen by the general public as associating with the negative aspects of that given event. One wrong message, whether on social media, in a blog post or otherwise, can impact your brand in the blink of an eye.

Weisler: What are the biggest challenges that brands face today?

Williams: Brands are facing the challenge of not being able to adjust their current campaigns that may be negative considering current events, to something more positive. Social media is a perfect example of that and Twitter is an especially challenging channel. One wrong hashtag, or even one wrong “favorite,” can turn your consumers against you. Further to that, going back to a “business as usual” attitude too soon turns people off and can be seen as making light of the tragedy after the fact.

Weisler: Are there any opportunities for brands or steps that they can take in responding to news crisis cycles?

Williams: Don’t be silent. You don’t want to make too much noise, resulting in one of your messages being misconstrued but you also don’t want to sit back and say nothing. Take a stand for what you believe in and craft a message around that belief that doesn’t alienate one person or group. Also, align your marketing and communications efforts so that you can quickly adjust your message in light of current events. They can also take advantage of the opportunity to help in a very visible way. For example, AirBnB’s response during Hurricane Harvey was a perfect marketing moment to both let people know they were making homes available for free and to showcase their compassion by doing so.

Weisler: How can programmatic buying of media assist brands in maintaining their integrity?
Williams:  Data. It’s all about the proper use of quality data, measurement, and analytics. As consumer data sets become richer – beyond just typical household demographics – brands will be able to utilize those metrics in more compelling, possibly safer ways. At Videa, for instance, we use cross-indexing of data from Nielsen and comScore. Those are not complete sets of psychographics, obviously, but they are foundational data that still drive the bulk of automated selling and buying. Because of the speed of today’s news and media, brands and agencies will always have to be on-guard to some degree with messaging at the ready for when emergencies or incidents occur. Programmatic offers an expedient way  to market when a quick response is required, and when paired with intelligent use of data, can be a very powerful way to promote goodwill for your brand.

Weisler: How can brands get in front of these news crises?

Williams: It’s all about planning ahead. Unfortunately, crises are happening all the time. While brands can’t necessarily predict the future, you can craft a narrative for possible scenarios that speaks to your core values so that when the crisis hits, you can adjust that same narrative to be relative to the topic at hand. Ensuring that is communicated across your entire company from marketing to IT is just as important as the narrative itself – you don’t want one person affecting the entire integrity of the brand.

Weisler: Looking ahead to 2020, where do you see the role of media, of programmatic TV and of advertising?

Williams: We are seeing, from the programmatic TV perspective, an increased awareness and adoption of this technology to drive results and maximize engagement. There is momentum from both the buy-side and sell-sides for an easier, more transparent way to buy and sell TV advertising – less of a walled garden approach. We believe, over the next few years, there will also be a stronger movement and embrace of establishing a set of common guidelines and open standards across the industry. We expect there to be more examples of data sharing and transparent fee structures across platforms, and more openness, in terms of technical platform integrations and how business transactions take place.

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Proven By Research, Fans Respond Well to Fewer Ads. An Interview with Turner’s Jeff Grant.

It’s not surprising that viewers prefer to see fewer ads. But Jeff Grant, Senior Vice President of research for Turner’s Emerging Consumers group has proven through research that fewer ads actually benefit  the network and advertisers as well. 

Grant is a Turner Research veteran, with 21 years at the company. In that time, he’s had opportunities to oversee research for a collection of networks – starting at CNN and gradually adding oversight for each of Turner’s emerging consumers brands, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, truTV and Boomerang, or, as he describes them “all the brands that we have that specifically focus on the Millennial generation, as well as what we call the Plurals generation .” (Plurals are also known as Gen-Z - the generation that follows the Millennials. Grant believes that “’Gen Z’ means nothing,” and Plurals is the term, he adds, “that is also used by such companies Insight Research and Magid Research.”)
In late 2015, one of those “Plurals networks”, truTV, announced a large scale effort to drastically cut advertising by half during traditional prime time hours, starting in fourth quarter 2016. It was all part of a larger company effort to, per their brand tagline, “re-imagine television” and deliver an optimal experience for fans. 

With a year of execution under their belt, Grant and the larger research division now have the ability to share with advertisers what it all means for them. Their research focused on the impact of a lower ad load on truTV and how less clutter improved the viewing experience for fans of the programming, delivering increased ad attention, retention and enjoyment. What also stood out about the research was a deeper dive into purchase intent. “We found that when we provided fans more of what they want - more content and fewer ads - truTV delivered what was good for both the viewer and our advertising partners,” he explained. 

He shared more on the study and its impact in our recent conversation:

Charlene Weisler: Tell me about your recent study.

Jeff Grant: The basic reason behind the study is that we are trying to serve our fans especially the younger generations - Plurals and Millennials - the most optimal experience in media. Our brands are very much about the user experience, keeping the fans happy – and that extends not only to the content but also to the advertising formats. So, Chris Linn, who heads up truTV, took a chance and cut the ad load in half, and gave ourselves enough time and content to evaluate if it would make for better results. What we saw in the variety of categories that we tested was that there was greater attentiveness and greater ad recall especially the day after and higher purchase intent compared to previous studies. And viewers rated the program more engaging and better paced than the same episode with a full commercial load.

Weisler: Does that mean the same number of minutes per hour and just shorter pods?

Grant: No. It is half the number of ads you would see in the normal time in primetime. The ad load has essentially been cut in half. That also meant our production teams would need to ramp up the amount of content per hour as part of our original series. So, it also ends up a win for the viewer who gets more story. 

Weisler: What categories did you test and what metrics did you use?

Grant: We measured incremental sales on advertising in the soft drink category, the QSR category and the Snacks category. We found that there is between 4 and 16 times higher incremental sales among viewers that watched limited commercial formats on TruTV than among those who watched competitive networks. It was very efficient for the advertiser. For the QSR category we used Nielsen NBI which matches household credit card usage purchase data with TV viewing. For the consumer package goods category we used Nielsen Catalina Systems which matches grocery loyalty card purchase data with TV viewing. There were a variety of advertisers. We did several studies within the categories.  We examined well-known brands and the results came back with a strong story for all of them.

Weisler: Do you think these results will translate into your other networks?

Grant: Yes, it’s worth noting that TNT is also evaluating the effects of limited ad loads within its new original series, and experiencing similar results. The general principle behind this – that viewers respond better to fewer ad messages in a lower clutter environment – is fairly universal. It lends itself to serving the fan base and what it is that the viewer is expecting as they consume content across the variety of platforms that are out there.

Weisler: Did you look at other Nielsen measurements such as C3 and C7?

Grant: Yes. We are adding ratings growth not only among new viewers to the network’s content, time spent viewing per premiere telecast went up about +18%. truTV C3 delivery grew +17% across all premieres for 18-49 year olds and during that same period, our Live +3 grew +12% suggesting that commercial minutes grew faster than the programming itself. That is a difference in commercial index growth of +3%. With other metrics, truTV had +10% deeper engagement from length of tuning for P18-49 and +30% higher brand unaided ad recall among 18-49 year olds versus traditional pods.

Weisler: How has this been received at the agencies?

Grant: To my knowledge, very well. Any time that you can tell a client that people are sticking around and remembering your messaging, especially the following day, is a strong argument to come back. To be able to share purchase intent with our partners is critical as our sales division is eager to evolve to outcome-based conversations. So what we’re able to tell them based on the research we have done so far is that we have seen +30% higher 18-49 unaided ad recall and +7% 18-49 intent to purchase. For 18-34 it was even higher +15%. That is the average uplift across all advertisers lower ad load vs higher ad load. Ads in truTV limited commercial interruptions deliver anywhere from 4x to 16x more sales of the advertising product compared to the competition. So even the worst category sees a 4x lift. The bottom line is that this research delivers what matters most-evidence that limited ad formats delivers higher ad recall, purchase intent and actual purchases, better than the competition.

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Broadcast Television: Another Technology Able to Adapt

With all the increased competition among content viewing platforms, one might be forgiven for thinking broadcast television is under great strain. But to adapt a phrase from Mark Twain: The report on the death of broadcast television is greatly exaggerated.

In fact, television is not only not dying, it’s poised for a new era of growth and evolution. As Ed DiNicola, head of TV at Cambridge Analytica, notes in MediaPost, “What some are calling the end of TV is just another evolution.”

Working in Tandem
Buying both television and digital gives advertisers greater impact, with the combination of television and digital delivering better results than either can achieve individually. Jasper Snyder, executive vice president of cross-platform research and innovation at the Advertising Research Foundation, actually found a “kicker effect” when TV is added back to digital spending.

Turner’s and Neustar’s recent study demonstrated that television is making good use of advanced...

Read the full article on the Videa blog.


Gen Z vs Millennials. Trends in Brand Attachment Yield Insight

Gen Z and Millennials are very different generations in terms of their life experiences, attitudes and, according to Gary Reisman, CEO and Founder of Leap Media Investments, their emotional attachment to brands. “The challenge is to understand trends.  What do differences in the brands Gen Zs are attached to (or not) vs. their older counterparts tell us about important future market dynamics and who might be the winners or the losers over the next 5-10 years?” Reisman posed. “The differences in brand attachment hold the key to future brand profitability,” he said.

His company, LEAP, develops scaled digitally targetable audiences based on the level of Emotional Attachment consumers have to specific brands.  Part of their offering includes a Brand Intelligence database that tracks Emotional Attachments to over 400 brands across Gen Z, Millennial and Baby Boomer Cohorts.  The insights and learnings can be fascinating. For example, there are many brands that are favorites with both generations, such as Microsoft, Apple and Target, while 13-17 year olds prefer  brands that make sense to the very young such as consoles (Xbox, PlayStation), games (Call of Duty, Final Fantasy), high sugar content sodas (Coca Cola, Pepsi, Mountain Dew) and the usual fast food and casual dining establishments. “Apparently they have not had to hit the gym as hard as the Millennials have … just yet,” but added that “Some brands like YouTube, Samsung and Spotify, are much more highly valued among Gen Z than Millennials indicating great future growth and potential.”

For other brands, Reisman offered a more ominous appraisal: “Some brands either have not achieved or are losing emotional attachment with Gen Z compared to Millennials at an alarming rate,” indicating a harsh future to maintain market share and profitability. “I am referring to you Facebook, Pandora and Amazon,” he intoned.  The reality is that each point of Emotional Attachment can equal hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues and life time value.  

Below are additional interesting findings:

Next Gen Social Media…
While 42.6% of Millennials are highly attached (or extremely unlikely to give up) Facebook, only 27.6% of Gen Zs are similarly attached – a 54% difference in market size.  At the same time Snapchat is much more attaching among Gen Z compared to their older counterparts

                                P18-34                  P13-17                  Gross change
Facebook            42.6%                    37.6%                    -15.0
Snapchat             27.5%                    38.7%                    +11.2

Next Gen Viewing Behavior Trends
It has been reported that TV attachment and viewing levels are evolving among younger generations.  LEAP data suggests forms of viewership may be changing as well. YouTube is actually the brand with the highest emotional attachment, ranking #1 among all brands among Gen Z.  At the same time you can see that attachment among longer form content providers – including Netflix and Hulu - is less so.  “To me this could indicate that Gen Zs prefer shorter form content” Reisman noted.  “The jury may still be out on the future winners of content distribution, but the fact that YouTube is the brand that they most likely to say they are unwilling to give up should be taken very seriously.  Also brands like HBO have a long way to go to seriously compete for relevance among the Gen Z population.”

                                P18-34                  P13-17                  Gross change
YouTube              52.5%                    61.0%                    +8.5
HBO                       29.4%                    19.1%                    -10.3
Showtime           17.3%                    14.6%                    -2.7
Netflix                  55.1%                    52.4%                    -2.7
Hulu                       23.3%                    20.5%                    -2.8

Winners vs. Losers
There are many examples of which brands within a variety of categories are faring better with Gen Z consumers.  For example: Spotify seems to be the choice of a new generation while Pandora is may have trouble.  “If I were a betting man, I’d definitely invest more in Spotify than Pandora based on the shift in Emotional Attachment for Spotify vs. Pandora,” Reisman stated. 

                                P18-34                  P13-17                  Gross change
Spotify                  25.0%                    33.1%                    +8.1
Pandora               28.8%                    23.8%                    -5.0

Many examples are available within Leap’s audience dataset where all of the 400 measured brands can be reviewed to understand what level of effort each brand needs to exert to maintain and build marketing penetration moving forward. 

What leading indicators are most revealing for your brand’s revenue success with the next generation of consumers? According to Reisman, LEAP’s data provides marketers with critical information regarding the consumers who are highly attached or less attached to their brands. Their Brand Intelligence Database also provides a treasure trove of information regarding brand trends in future market size and is a key indicator of future revenue potential.

“Our objective is to help marketers improve the ROI of their marketing efforts and target audiences more likely to engage with their brand.  LEAP’s Emotional Attached audiences help us do that for them,” stated Reisman. “That said, the data can also be used to understand interesting market trends and point out brand deficiencies among next gen markets,” he concluded.

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