3 Takeaways from Advertising Week: The Importance of Mobile, Cause Marketing, and Mindfulness

October 1, 2015

adweek day 3

This week marks my first visit to Advertising Week in New York City. Having been to AdWeek London earlier this year, I had an idea what this event was going to entail, but this time it’s on a much larger scale. It's the 12th year of this annual conference, which brings together the brightest minds in advertising and the most innovative brands in digital marketing.

There's a cornucopia of various topics and sessions on the agenda, so it's tough to choose where to spend your days. Here are three sessions I attended that I thought were winners. From mobile to mindfulness in the workplace to brands aligning with causes, here's what I took away from each one.

The Mobile C-Suite

I started my first day at Advertising Week by attending a panel that featured mobile advertising experts discussing several of the hottest topics that are top of mind with marketers. Panels can be hit-or-miss, but this one was a home run. For instance, the panel was thought-provoking about the power of marketing in the context of geolocation, relaying the anecdote of PetSmart serving ads to mobile phones when a prospect walks into the store. Geolocation and marketing in context was also brought up. The panel referenced an example of serving up an ad when the prospect walks into a store. The retailer saw an 18 percent increase in clicks using this tactic, which essentially thinks of your store’s front door as the new landing page.

The panel also provided insightful answers on three burning questions about mobile:

Creativity in Mobile Advertising

The burning question: What does mobile creativity have to do in order to be effective on what Frito Lay North America Senior Director of Marketing, Jeannie Cho, called “the first screen?”

Facebook Director of US Agency, Katherine Shappley, offered her take: "Two-thirds of people are checking their mobile in the morning before doing anything else, and video is a huge part of that.”

And Nada Stirratt, CEO at Verve Mobile, answered the question this way: "It’s all about the creative message using this personal device. Billions of dollars a year get spent on the TRP space. Apps are a series of permissions to have a relationship with who you want to market to. It’s very much based on location."

CEO and Co-founder of Grapeshot, John Snyder, answered, "The perfect impression is the really engaging creative. Even to location. You have to entertain them. Being in sync with the user. The right audience in context is much more important that just the right audience.”

The Rise of Ad-blocking

The burning question: What's the big deal with ad blocking and what can marketers do about it?

The panel brought up some great points, but most importantly pointed out that ad-blocking is a symptom of the current environment; bad ads create a bad experience.

Google Director of Ad Marketing Matt Lawson offered his take: "You need to build ads in the experience that deliver value, good for the overall experience. For example, our video ads are mute-able on YouTube."

Verve's Stirratt said, "Focus on taking a segment of usage and make the experience better. For example, gamers don’t want to be interrupted with ads in the middle of their play."

Facebook’s Shappley said, "It’s all about relevance and great storytelling. The right person, the right time, with a personalized message."

And Grapeshot’s Snyder added, "Just as I filter my news and content marketing, can I filter my ads? Are we moving to a model where I can choose the ads that I want to see?"

Cross device attribution: last click is dead

The burning question: How do I track engagement across all devices?

Google’s Lawson gave this answer, "We should focus much broader than just cross screening. What about mobile to app, desktop to mobile etc.? Are consumers converting then walking into a store or getting on the phone? There are just so many ways to measure, but in the end it's more about helping marketers understand the path."

Play it Forward

So this session was right up my alley for two reasons. One, because it involves music, and two, because it examined Cause Marketing. Cause marketing refers to a type of marketing involving the cooperative efforts of a for-profit business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit. It directly relates to thought leadership and it’s incredibly important for marketing to Millennials. Take a look at the numbers:

  • 69 percent of global Millennials want companies to make it easier for consumers to get involved with issues
  • 90 percent of Millennials are willing to switch from one brand to another (price being equal) if one supports a cause
  • Corporate cause sponsorship is expected to grow 3.7 percent in 2015 to $1.92 billion.

For cause marketing to be effective, companies must create meaningful programs that engage Millennials. Organizations such Global Citizen, MAC Presents and many performers recognize the power of the playlist where music is making a difference. Marci Allen discussed how she brought Citi together with some of the biggest names in music by aligning their values with a bigger message and making a difference. "It's important for Citi and their audience to know that they give back. Whenever you can leverage music, it’s incredibly powerful,” Allen said.

Singer-songwriter Greg Holden was on the panel as well and performed his song "Boys in the Street" live during the session. Holden's song is a powerful story about a father coming to accept his gay son. Holden sounded great, and it was a brilliant example of the power of music and storytelling that can truly make a difference in people’s lives.

What’s the Business Case for Well-Being in the Workplace?

This year was the first that Advertising Week featured an entire track dedicated to talent, and I hope to see it back again next year -- because this session was fantastic. According to a recent survey, workplace stress is at an all time high. Research shows that workplace stress more damaging to your health than second-hand smoke. While we are thoroughly educated in the health benefits of not smoking, we carry on with stress at the workplace each and everyday. In fact, every year more$300 billion dollars is lost due to stress-related work absences.

Peter Weng, author of “Search Inside of You,” defines mindfulness as "Developing awareness to focusing on the present and to not have judgment around it." Weng advocates that If you are involved in the creative process, you should become completely engrossed in that moment in a distraction-free environment. Furthermore, if you are speaking with someone, then you should be fully present and totally engaged in the conversation. Mindfulness that requires practice.

The panel also discussed a study that compared stressed reps who meditated versus those who didn’t. The research found that the reps who meditated developed better solutions to their issues, were able to handle difficult situations better, and didn’t respond with an emotional outburst.

At Advertising Week, LinkedIn introduced a new ebook entitled The Little Big Book of LinkedIn Advertising, which addresses many of themes that have dominated this year’s Advertising Week, such as mobile, native advertising, and data. Get your copy today.

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