5 Take Aways from the ANA’s 2010 Masters of Marketing Conference

Last year, I had the pleasure of attending my first Masters of Marketing event in Phoenix, AZ (recap here). The thing that blew me away at that event and convinced me not only to come back, but also to sponsor this year, was the amount of talent amassed in one place at one time. Unlike many other conferences, the speakers all stick around and network… for three days. This leads to unprecedented access to people like:

  • Mark Baynes – CMO, Kellogg Company
  • Marc Pritchard – CM, Procter & Gamble
  • Erin Nelson – CMO, Dell Inc.
  • Keith Pardy – CMO, Research in Motion
  • Ralph Santana – CMO, Samsung Electronics NA
  • Jim Speros – CMO, Fidelity Investments
  • Joseph Tripodi – CMO, Coca-Cola Company
  • Ted Ward – CMO, Geico Auto Insurance
  • Mary Beth West – CMO, Kraft Foods
  • Michael Francis – CMO, Target Corporation

What’s amazing is that the ten CMOs I’ve listed above only represent about 1% of the senior marketers attending the event. Given the talent and experience the Masters of Marketing event attracts, you can only imagine the quality of the 3-day marketing “MBA” you receive after attending. And that’s assuming you only make it to 50% of the sessions. Even more impressive is that many of the marketers seemed to be singing off the same song sheet. To that end, here are my five key takeaways from this year’s event:

Top Take Aways

  1. Companies are getting back to basic when it comes to defining what their brand stands for. Several speakers talked about the importance of a brand having purpose and there seems to be a greater awareness of a need for the brand to be better connected with its customers.
  2. While the topic of social media came up in almost every presentation, it’s still not a top priority for most brands. What is encouraging is that if social wasn’t on last year’s CMO’s “must do” list, it definitely is this year, even if it’s priority number 8, 9 or 10.
  3. As a follow up to point number two, most marketers are at least “social curious.” As someone that lives and breathes social media, I had at least a dozen very interesting conversations with marketers who wanted to know more about things like Twitter, location-based marketing and developing a social strategy.
  4. While many of the presenters included clips of their 30 second spots, it felt more integrated versus “showcased” in comparison to last year’s event. In fact, Coca Cola CMO, Joe Tripodi, only showed video clips from Youtube and customer research projects. By the way, with the exception of Seth Greenberg of Intuit, Joe seemed to be the most socially savvy CMO of the bunch.
  5. The uptick in the economy this year was reflected in the event itself. First and foremost, there were easily 50% more attendees this year. Also, the quality of the receptions and entertainment were ratcheted up a notch or three. To me, that’s a good sign that marketers are feeling comfortable (or at least cautiously optimistic) about spending again.

Another thing I included in last year’s wrap up post were some of my favorite tweets from the event (many were quotes from the speakers). You can see all the tweets from the event that were tagged with #ANAMarketers but once again, I’ve selected my top ten (in no particular order) out of the hundreds for your viewing pleasure:

  • @ANAmarketers: Friend casting on Facebook has no media cost. Friend casting was 4 more times more effective then a banner ad for #Intuit #ANAmarketers
  • @StepByStepMktng: AmEx CMO John Hayes: build a narrative around the WHY of what you do inside and outside the company. #ANAMarketers
  • @betterads: #ANAmarketers: @Starcom Laura Desmond – “Paid Media gets the party started, Owned & Earned keeps it going all night long”
  • @ANAmarketers:Very cool: #Target’s take over of the Standard Hotel in NYC http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQ_v_WrahrM #ANAmarketers
  • @WellsMelanie: Social media can do a lot–but it can’t solve brand problems, say top marketers. #ANAmarketers http://bit.ly/dtylTj
  • @lisarosenberg: Univision’s Graciela Eleta: There is no average American. 46% of all people under 18 are minorities. #ANAmarketers #PNID
  • @cindygallop1: All CMOs speaking @ #ANAMarketers showing work – PLEASE give your agency shout-out by name. Best new biz opportunity they will have all year
  • @StepByStepMktng: Dell CMO Karen Quintos: we love data. We measure everything. we’re mining through data all the time. #ANAMarketers
  • @aaronstrout: Laura Desmond also talks about curation, content, conversation. Did she read @JaffeJuice’s #FliptheFunnel book last night? #ANAMarketers
  • @maryleesachs: Joe Tripodi of Coke talks about moving from measuring impressions to expressions, from loyalty to advocacy. Makes sense. #anamarketers

Oh, and while this isn’t really of value to anyone but me, my response on Twitter from the lovely and talented, Leann Rimes, was hands down my favorite tweet during the event. In fact, I did a quick podcast a couple of days later on what brands could learn from how Leann engages` with her customers (and prospective customers like me).

@leannrimes: @AaronStrout thx! It was fun!!!!

As an added bonus, there were some great performers at the event including the Goo Goo Dolls (remember them)? If you liked the song Name, here is a live recording (thank you iPhone 4) of the performance. I have to say, the sound quality is actually pretty good.

What Marketers Want

A couple of months ago, I wrote a post titled, The Start of Something Bigger? It came on the heels of Ants Eye View’s announcement that they had just joined forces with authors/consultants, Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell. Then last week white label community provider, Jive Software, announced that they had purchased listening platform, Filtrbox. All the while I watched with interest knowing that we had some big news of our own to announce in early January.

Let’s start with the news since I know that nobody likes to be left hanging. Today, I’m  proud to announce that Powered Inc is launching a full-service social media agency through the acquisition of industry leaders crayon, Drillteam and StepChange. The reason we’re so excited about this is because we feel that we are now better positioned to help brands (and their agencies) define and deliver comprehensive social media strategies that integrate with their traditional marketing mix. How shall we do this you ask? By leveraging tools and tactics such as Facebook, Twitter, blogger outreach, events, communities and mobile applications of course.

We felt like it was important to take this approach because up until now, marketers have lacked a "go to" resource that could meet all of their social needs. This does not diminish any of the smart, driven and successful other boutiques and consultancies out there that help their clients with their social initiatives but rather that none of them truly provide the end-to-end solutions necessary to meet all of a marketers needs — at least not with scale. While this may not have been a big deal in 2009 when the entire economy took a mulligan, it will be in 2010 as social media moves from experiment to mission critical. Okay, I know you’ve probably got tons of questions. I’m going to try to preemptively answer a few below but you there will also be several opportunities to join us live this week:

As for the answers, here goes…

Why didn’t Powered just develop these additional social media capabilities? We thought long and hard about the “build vs. buy” strategy, but in the end, we realized that we would dramatically increase our speed to market and add some serious talent (not to mention about 50 new brand relationships) to the Powered team by moving forward with these acquisitions.

Who are Crayon, Drillteam, StepChange?

  • Crayon brings extensive experience as a strategic social marketing consultancy to the table. They work with Fortune 1000 brands to develop strategies that positively impact customer relationships through the integration of continuous online conversations into traditional marketing programs. Crayon President Joseph Jaffe and his entire team will join Powered’s robust staff of marketers, content creators and social media leaders, with crayon and Powered immediately merging their capabilities.
  • Drillteam is an engagement marketing agency specializing in earned media.  Drillteam helps brands acquire and energize customer advocates, then sustain momentum through both offline events and online communities, and promotions on platforms like Facebook, niche blogs and Twitter.  Drillteam will retain its name and operate as a Powered company.
  • StepChange enhances a brand’s reach by extending presence into social networks and mobile platforms through Facebook development/applications, social site development, mobile/apps and Widget Ads.  StepChange will retain its name and operate as a Powered company.

Will Joseph Jaffe (Crayon) be staying on? If so, what role will he play at Powered?
Who is Joe Jaffe? Of course we’re kidding. Joe will play a big role in the new organization as “Chief Interrupter” of the group. He will continue to challenge the industry by providing prolific thought leadership, vision and guidance via his Jaffe Juice blog, podcast and TV show, keynote and panel presence at industry events and conferences, as well as his three books (Life after the 30-second spot, Join the Conversation and soon to be released, Flip the Funnel). More importantly, he will serve as a valued resource to Powered clients to “interrupt” the status quo, think through their social strategy and help conceive and flesh out unique and specific ideas and programs in the space.

Does the industry need another agency?
The industry certainly doesn’t need another agency that does the same thing as its predecessors. To be perfectly honest, we’re not exactly enamored with the idea of being called an “agency” at all. But this isn’t about us: It’s about the world’s largest, loved and important brands and what they need. Many members of our leadership team have lived, and successfully navigated through, several key advances in brand management, communication and emerging media innovation—led by the rise, fall and rise again of digital. We see the gaping void, disconnect or chasm between identification of need and the ability to fully deliver against that need. Social media is not another color on the media flow chart and it is not a subservient subset of digital either. Instead, we see social as a truly pervasive and transformational category in of itself that spans the entire marketing gamut—and even beyond it (touching P.R., customer service, R&D, innovation and customer experience). For that reason, we believe that we will be one of the first—and certainly not the last—of specialist, best in class agents that are equipped, staffed and scaled to fully execute and activate against this growing capability, skill set, need and opportunity.

What is a Social Agency?
A Social Agency or social media agency is an entity that assists companies and brands in the new world of conversational marketing. The confluence of digital, virtual and peer-to-peer networks is causing consumers to act more as a collective than ever before, and they are demanding a truly two-way conversation. We are looking to be the partner that will help brands enter and be successful in that conversation, by building a successful strategy that:

  • Connects business to social
  • Joins and manages network presence
  • Builds and manages branded communal spaces
  • Connects conversationally through mobile and physical events

The Social Media Agency is the horizontal layer that must be centrally managed but also closely integrated with all of the traditional vertical functions of marketing, such as media, interactive, PR and creativ

What
else am I missing? A lot I’m sure. But as you know, I’m pretty good at delivering updates real time through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, my blog, etc. Oh, we’re also planning a couple of big blowouts at OMMA Social (January 26) and South by Southwest (SXSW Interactive) in mid-March.

Let’s get it on! 

What You Can’t See: 78% of Your Business

eye-chartRecently, I’ve been a little obsessed with ROI as it relates to social marketing, as I seek to put in more tangible terms what I feel intuitively about this new toolset’s value.

To this end, Adam Cohen hit my Reader just right with a nice real-world post on measuring the marketing effectiveness of social media in general (not another post just on how important it is that it be measured, thank goodness). As Powered has done in our 2009 ROI Report he focused on purchase path as the main way to address the value created by social presence. Truly, resultant sales is the most logical way to measure marketing, and Adam rightly calls for social media tools to be linked along the clickstream more directly with end purchase. Powered’s self-reported data is a compelling indicator, as we typically find on the low end that 1 in 5 consumers report a purchase as a result of social engagement within one of Powered’s client communities.

But there is more here than just getting people to consider a purchase. In our ROI report and with our customers we do focus on a number of statistics that address things like loyalty, advocacy, brand affinity, and insight into consumers. All of these words are abstract; they all refer to things that are intangible. But nevertheless, a marketer’s intuition tells you that these things are the essence of what we seek to impact. Unfortunately, those outside of the marketing profession see those terms as arcane and would rather you just “show them the money.” You can’t really blame them.

It was while considering the intangible and social marketing’s impact on it that I found this article by Christopher Kenton (via David Churbuck) that I found fascinating. Christopher’s article isn’t about social media/marketing, but rather about why CMO’s are being pushed more toward true financial measurability of marketing in general. The premise of his article is built around this finding:

According to Jonathan Knowles of Brand Finance, a consultancy that specializes in the valuation of businesses, the tangible assets that used to account for 75 percent of a company’s stock market value in the 1980s now only accounts for 22 percent of market value.

Wow, I can imagine the CFO-head-scratching that this sea change likely causes. Seventy-eight percent of my company’s value is in assets that I can’t see? Granted, some of these intangibles will reside in the internals: the IP, the human capital, the processes and technological know-how of a company. But no doubt much of this intangible value exists outside: in the brand equity that a company has built with consumers/customers – the affinity, loyalty, advocacy, and market insight that is the department of the CMO.

Today, what the stock market knows has forced the CFO into that CMO’s office to ask for a firmer grasp of the unseen – and for less arcane ways to measure it. Popular but still nascent measures like NPS (Net Promoter Score) seek to fill the gap and make loyalty/advocacy tangible, but more research and development is needed to tie it to financial impact – and that impact likely differs structurally from company to company.

In the meantime, as we wait for more widely accepted measures, I would suggest this hypothesis: there is currently no more powerful tool in the marketer’s toolbelt to impact intangible marketing assets like loyalty, affinity, advocacy, and insight than social marketing. Proof points abound outside of Powered’s walls, but our statistics show an extremely powerful effect that I believe dwarfs other marketing mediums when you take into consideration relative cost. Aaron Strout blogged about them earlier.

And when you’re talking about assets that make up as much as 78% of your company’s stock value, you might as well be talking about your entire business.

In the world of the CFO and company valuation, the two main forces on the positive side are cash flow and assets. So it’s reasonable to predict that someday in the not-so-distant future, the ROI of social marketing (and marketing in general) might not only contain a short-term conversion-based model that looks like the ROI models of old, rolling into cash flows . . . but will also include a more powerful new-world long term model that analyzes the impact of social marketing on intangible assets.

Are you already there? If so, how are you measuring?