Want more insights in your inbox?

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter.


* indicates required

Thank you for signing up for Cadent Insight's monthly recap. Please let us know if you'd like additional information about Cadent.

By clicking subscribe you are agreeing to receive Cadent's email newsletter plus additional marketing emails if selected above. Our newsletter will be sent no more than once per week. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website: https://cadent.tv/website

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

5 Cannes Lions Key Takeaways That Are Already Shaping Tomorrow’s Advertising

By Cassidy Clarke and Hanna Wu

This year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity brought together leaders from across the advertising industry to celebrate last year’s achievements and explore where the industry is headed. It was the event’s first in-person awards since 2019, yet the week-long event demonstrated that creative ideas, innovative solutions, and collaborative partnerships are pushing the industry to even greater heights. To reflect on what we learned at this year’s festival, we collected a list of 5 key takeaways. 

  1. TV’s data players are advancing interoperability through collaboration and new technologies

Interoperability took centerstage as companies like Blockgraph, Experian, OpenAP, and TransUnion shared how they are partnering to enable better audience technologies for TV and other media channels. 

As brands demand greater connectivity between partners and suppliers, the industry at large will need to continue to work together for the benefit of advertisers and their consumers.

  1. Coinciding media and tech events highlight shifting trends  

In addition to the Cannes Lions, several other media-related events took place last week. VidCon and NFT.NYC showcased rising industry trends including video creators, social media influencers, NFTs and elements of Web3 technology. 

Companies such as DraftKings, Coach, and Wrangler decided to attend NFT.NYC, while companies like Chipotle, Nestle, and Tinder attended VidCon. Others, including Facebook and parent company Meta, decided to attend all three.

To have that many concurrent events – on opposite sides of the globe – with overlapping themes and stakeholders, it’s clear that the advertising landscape is about to get even more complicated. As new trends in social media, digital video, and crypto continue to emerge, it will be important to keep an eye on their evolution to determine how it will impact the future of media and advertising.

  1. Entertainment and advertising execs continue to push for true diversity, equity and inclusion 

Building on the highly-anticipated return of the Cannes Lions, several organizations used this as an opportunity to reinvigorate conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

During a panel regarding bias in the industry, Issa Rae, the Golden Globe-nominated star and creator of Insecure, challenged marketing and advertising personnel to not only have diversity in front of the camera but to focus on the diversity behind the camera as well. She also revealed that she mandates that all her sets are at least 60% diverse.

In addition to the talk tracks, the World Federation of Advertisers launched a Global DEI Charter for Change at Cannes that identifies 11 ‘main action areas’ that organizations need to take to ensure the marketing industry is truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive. As the industry continues to address its’ shortcomings in DEI, accountability will be critical.

  1. Marketers are expanding their reach at Cannes using virtual experiences in the metaverse

While Cannes was in-person, brands looking to extend their impact beyond the yachts, beaches and villas decided to take things virtual – reality, that is.

Brands are using the meta verse to create captivating worlds, events, and activities to engage audiences like never before. In fact, McCann Worldgroup used Cannes as an opportunity to create the MWVERSE. Their gallery includes 10 rooms of past and present ad campaigns, with prerecorded discussions from leaders of their creative teams. Post-festival, McCann will be preserving many of these spaces preserved and eventually, plan to use the MWVERSE as a space for their clients to meet, build new campaigns, or host events. 

The Cannes Lions is a celebration of creativity, and now with the assistance of the metaverse, more people will be able to express, explore, and connect.

  1. Advertisers and agencies seek to address the global climate crisis with sustainability initiatives

Advocacy for sustainability held a firm presence at Cannes this year and a prominent theme among many of the festival’s events – as well as stunts pulled by activists – was the call for stronger climate action. 

In light of the global climate crisis, leading figures from the global advertising industry announced at their intent to echo and expand the U.K.’s Ad Net Zero objective internationally, with an immediate focus on the US and the EU. 

The Ad Net Zero initiative is committed to curtailing operational carbon emissions and using the power of advertising to accelerate the shift to more sustainable products and services in hopes of reducing the carbon emissions from advertising operations to net zero by 2030. 

The 2022 Cannes Lions served as a reminder of the resiliency of creativity. Despite the challenges of lockdowns, social distancing, and remote work, advertising and media continue to grow and evolve at a rapid pace. As we look to the months and year ahead, we expect collaboration, innovation, sustainability and DEI will remain a core focus for the industry.  

Webinar: How Speaking the Language of Data Will Drive Success for Addressable TV

Today’s marketing is defined by the growing need for improved measurement and attribution. When reflecting on the TV landscape, you discover that addressable TV enables marketers to demonstrate the ROI of their marketing tactics and improve performance from campaign to campaign. However, fragmentation, operational complexity, and a lack of data standards has long hindered the growth of this impactful medium. In this webinar for VAB’s Attribution & Outcomes Week, Jamie Power, Chief Data Officer and COO of Advanced TV, Cadent, will explain the tremendous opportunity addressable TV presents for buyers, and the steps the industry needs to take in order for us to realize its full potential.

Three Keys to Approaching Fragmentation in TV

Taxes are not usually a subject people are eager to discuss. However, H&R Block has leveraged a number of savvy advertising tactics to reach their customers during this less-than-fun time of year – even amid the pandemic. In a conversation between Andrew Martinson, Senior Marketing Manager, H&R Block, and Jes Santoro, SVP, Advanced TV and Video at Cadent, Andrew shares how years of preparation enabled H&R Block to act flexibly and pivot quickly, as well as how they’re approaching today’s TV landscape. 

Catch a video of the full session, and a recap of the conversation, below.

This year’s tax season was unique for a number of reasons, namely, because for the first time in recent history, the deadline shifted back. While this may have been a relief for consumers, it had the potential to wreak havoc on businesses such as H&R Block. Unlike other financial institutions, their messaging has a definitive sell-by date. As Andrew described, “we have such a small window of time to make an impact on people’s lives and our business being accessed.” For H&R Block, at a time when they would typically be using the first quarter of the year to drive consumers to their brick and mortar locations, lockdowns and a new tax deadline meant the need for many changes and quick turnarounds. 

Fortunately, H&R Block’s alignment with strategic creative and technology partners allowed for nimble changes in their advertising plan. For instance, limitations on retail meant foot traffic was no longer the primary KPI. Instead, messaging shifted to, “We’re going to talk to you about our DIY component, or virtual offerings. While you can still get served by a tax pro, but in a different way.” 

When the conversation transitioned to the subject of fragmentation, Jes asked, as viewers continue to be more diluted across an ever-growing number of distribution platforms to find content, how does that affect the way that you are handling that channel-mix planning?

According to Andrew, he’s found a three-pronged approach to handling fragmentation across the TV landscape:

  1. Start with your KPI – What is the primary KPI of your business? This goes across channels. It’s not just television. It’s not just programmatic. It’s not just CRM, but it’s a KPI for the business. Whether you want to measure site traffic based off of an ad that’s played, or you want to measure cross-frequency, or you want to measure reach across different platforms, are you doing something on OTT and CTV that you want to measure against what your partners are doing? Understanding just how those measurements work and what they mean to your business is critical. 
  2. Open yourself up to learning – No matter your role within your organization, take the time to understand the different “fragments” that exist. Don’t limit yourself to what you already know. Where are people watching and how are you talking to them? It’s important for advertisers to be aware of all the players out there. You should also be willing to wear more than one hat – marketers should be no strangers to doing more than one job. When it comes to TV advertising, test out a new capability, take a meeting to learn what else is out there.
  3. Work with partners you trust – You need to know your limitations. Find partners who provide valuable insights and can serve as area experts. However, don’t be afraid to push back. As a brand, it’s still your job to stay involved and ask questions.

At the end of the day, it’s also important to be willing to reevaluate your KPIs. Andrew goes on to explain, “As our programmatic peers did a number of years back, you can pendulum swing that thing a little bit too far. And I think there’s a real risk of saying, ‘Oh wow, I can now look at the measurements that could really help me optimize my television’s bias. I can see programs and networks and types of programs that my customers are engaging with. They engage more, they engage more often and they get better. That’s amazing. That’s something that we haven’t had access to,’ …but the caution there is to not rely so much on that – that it pigeonholes you.” 

Over time, TV fragmentation will become less and less of an issue. The means of buying linear and OTT will become more seamless. The question is, will your organization be prepared for cross-channel buying? 

Cadent has a solution. Reach out today to speak with Cadent about our linear and OTT offerings. 

Learn more about the future of data-driven TV advertising in our series, “Coming to Terms with TV Ad Terms.”

Why Broadcast TV Is More Relevant than Ever

During our Future of TV summit, Rick Beispel, SVP, National Sales & Strategy, Cadent, hosted Steve Lanzano, President and CEO of the TVB, and TD Dixon, Chief Growth Officer, Post Consumer Brands, for a panel on How Broadcast TV Helps Marketers During the Pandemic and Beyond. Catch a video of the full session, and a recap of the conversation, below.

This year has been a big one for broadcast, especially for political dollars. Steve said that during the midterm season in 2018, about $3.2 billion was spent on local broadcast TV, compared to $4.2 billion political is on track for this year.

Below is a lightly edited and condensed version of Rick, TD and Steve’s conversation. 

Rick: The election has been meaningful to TVB association members – how was this political cycle particularly unusual?

Steve: You need timing flexibility and you need creative flexibility. Then you need scale, right? As TD will tell you, if you need to reach a lot of people to move product. That is exactly the game plan that marketers have and why they use local broadcast, TV and political, and exactly the game plan that national advertisers had this year in terms of getting their messages out… So having flexibility, having trust, having scale in premium environments has really been the game plan for all marketers this year and not just the political market.

Rick: There was no playbook for the past few months. The family landscape, which TD serves at Post Consumer Brands, has been altered by stay-at-home orders, virtual schooling and more. How did you alter your approach to better serve your customers?

TD: For us, there were two fundamental consumer behavior shifts. One was what we call retrench…the fear of the pandemic, the uncertainty, created a dynamic that caused people to cocoon back home. The second we call reset, which gets to the uncertainty of the future which resets the shopping behaviors and even the way people decided to spend their money. As marketers and as manufacturers, how do we deliver against those fundamental changes?

Because this notion of safety was such an important part of the new consumer dynamic, comfort brands were important. So we try to leverage brands like Honey Bunches of Oats and Grape Nuts, really tried-and-true brands. We leveraged those brands as our front runners with those consumers.

To deal with the reset, this is where value has taken on a whole other level of prominence, and we’re fortunate that we own the value space within the cereal category with our MOM brand. And again, we really focused on reinforcing that value.

As marketers and as manufacturers, how do we deliver against those fundamental changes? Because this notion of safety was such an important part of the new consumer dynamic, comfort brands were important.” – TD Dixon, Chief Growth Officer, Post Consumer Brands

Rick: With the adaptability that you mentioned, were there localized initiatives to take advantage of particular markets?

TD: It goes back to this notion of trust, right? Not only are consumers looking for brands they can trust, they’re looking to their news outlets and vehicles where they get their information. We definitely were much more hyper-targeted within local markets. There’s a lot of regionality that we have with our brand, but even more so in this hyper-politicized, hyper-polarized time, being able to focus in those local markets and  attach yourself to local entities, as well as your local news broadcast [became important].

Rick: How does an advertiser tap into local sports passion? I think it’s a huge opportunity for marketers.

Steve: Absolutely. Not only professional football, but college football. The Giant games in New York are doing big ratings, right? They might not do a big rating outside of New York. In fact, the Giant-Cowboy game in both Dallas and New York, did you huge ratings. Tapping into that passion is gold for a marketer, and on a local level, doing a promotion with a station, really can up your partnership with that sport.

Rick: The TV marketplace is certainly marked by fragmentation and cord-cutting technology. How are you viewing CTV and OTT?

TD: It’s funny because someone asked, “is TV going away?” I think we can all agree that TV’s not going away, it just had a lot of babies. So, as marketers, we have to determine which are the right babies for us to focus on. And that’s what we’ve done. We spend a lot of time trying to understand not just who the “who” is, but what is it that they want to hear?

I look at it as more of an opportunity than as a challenge because, you know, even though we, we can all remember way back when it was three networks and you just went out there and did a shotgun approach. Now it’s more of a sniper approach – you can not only be more targeted, you can also be more relevant with that specific group.

Rick: TD, you mentioned on our prep call that “People have fallen back in love with TV and that appointment viewing with TV is starting to happen again.” What does falling back in love with TV mean to Post Consumer Brands and the audiences you serve?

TD: When sports live sports came back on TV, that was such a relief for people and a release for people. Those eyeballs are now coming back and leveraging that, albeit on a local level, is really the way for marketers to re-emerge again. One of the things that we have to be conscious of is maintaining that share of voice. Because people aren’t necessarily going into the stores as much as they used to, you have to almost get the decision in their mind before they ever actually make that transaction. And so that’s where TV has been an efficient medium for us to be able to do that.

Rick: And Steve, the local broadcasters have a lot of in the CTV arena. Sinclair has STIRR, and Nexstar has the LKQD platform. It seems like hyper-local CTV is getting traction.

Steve: There’s an insatiable appetite by advertisers for over the top inventory, and there’s not a lot out there right now. Being able to provide that scale and that hyper targeting in terms of over-the-top is a gold mine. And as we get into the new next-gen broadcast product, ATSC 3.0, we’ve been getting more targeted on not only connected TVs, but also mobile devices.

Rick: At the ANA Masters of Marketing conference last week, there was discussion around the importance of brand purpose. TD, Post Consumer Brand’s purpose it to “make better happen.” How did you embody that mantra this year?

TD: For our consumers, obviously cereal is a is a staple of households and becoming even more of a staple of again as people come home. And given all the stay at home orders, all the business closures, all the unemployment, we donated millions of dollars to food banks and hunger relief organizations, Second Harvest and Feeding America, to enable people to have a bowl of cereal every morning. We’re really proud of that.

Maybe what makes me even more proud is what we did for our employees and particularly our frontline workers and our manufacturing personnel. One of the things that our CEO decided to do was offer significant bonuses for people who are willing to work above and beyond in order to keep up with that demand.

Learn more about the future of data-driven TV advertising in our series, “Coming to Terms with TV Ad Terms.”

Reaching Fragmented Audiences with OTT and CTV

Dana Bhargava, Head of Experience Planning & Media, Sanofi Consumer Health, took the virtual stage at Cadent’s Future of TV summit to speak with Jamie Power, Chief Data Officer, Cadent, about getting started with OTT and CTV, reaching fragmented audiences and much more.

Catch a video of the session, plus a full recap of the conversation, below.

Jamie mentioned that during the pandemic, people became more health conscious. How exactly did Dana’s brand supported that behavioral shift?

“Our goal at Sanofi has always been about empowering people to take control of their health,” Dana said. And in trying times, it becomes even more important to communicate that message. Sanofi’s OTC products were impacted by pantry loading earlier in the pandemic, and the brand had to make sure that its distribution channels were clear and that its products were available for customers who depend on them.

The pandemic has accelerated consumer behavior in certain ways, some unexpected, Dana said, putting marketers on their toes: “It’s both scary and exciting at the same time because it really stimulates change within an organization and sets an organization on fire to go chase those areas where we know we’re not going to be able to keep up.”

Reaching fragmented audiences across screens

With so much fragmentation today, Jamie, asked, was Dana satisfied with her insight into understanding audiences across screens, whether it be reach building or frequency building. Dana replied no, that with all the wall gardens out there, “we live in a world where we really don’t really understand duplication at all,” adding, “Some duplication isn’t bad, some frequency isn’t bad. I think there’s work to be done there. Certainly I think we really need to understand that. CTV OTT is just one part of it.”

This whole idea of bringing data to TV is really the start of evolution of all of our channels to make them all more accountable. And I think we have to work as an industry to start breaking down some of these walled gardens.” -Dana Bhargava, Head of Experience Planning & Media, Sanofi Consumer Health

Ad environment is key

Sanofi has always had strong guidelines on content, Dana said, and some those content guidelines don’t exist in other channels. And this year, as social media platforms struggle with brand safety, the issues becomes increasingly important to Sanofi, which Dana said could continue to drive shifts back to looking for those environments where you can have some kind of guarantee of where an ad is actually showing up.

Why buy an ad in a skippable environment? For many marketers, it comes down to going where their audiences go. Dana said, “Audiences still continue to be there [in skippable ad environments]… Audiences are there, and there’s content in which you want to align with.” Sanofi thinks about using the first three seconds of its ads in that context really carefully, and they consider the  specific customer journey stage the person might be in.

Building a foundation for OTT and CTV within a brand

Sanofi’s approach to investing in specific channels, Dana said, is one that is investment agnostic and aims to understand consumers and their consumer journeys, being able to deliver against what an audience is looking for as opposed to having a sort of siloed approach to planning.

Dana said she thinks about using CTV and OTT to increase reach against audiences that might be harder to find in linear TV today: “CTV OTT can be a great add to driving incremental reach against all those precision tactics that you have,” adding that the medium can create quality environments that you want to run in, more opportunities for you to put longer-form content out in front of unskippable content, and importantly, increased scale against a lot of those precision audiences.

Any emerging medium is going to have a ramp up period while marketers try it out and decide if it’s worth the investment. Being a champion for mediums like OTT, CTV or addressable TV within an organization can be difficult, especially if it’s outside of the traditional box.

If you can really focus on what you’re trying to accomplish and what the role of your channels are,  it will almost tell its own story as to why you’re [trying the new medium],” Dana said. If your goal is upper funnel awareness, then you need to drive reach and share of voice against your competitors, which you can’t do successfully without other carefully orchestrated tactics. Dana added, “Contextualizing the spend against what its role is always helps to have those conversations internally.”

Learn more about the future of data-driven TV advertising in our series, “Coming to Terms with TV Ad Terms.”

The Future of Identity in TV: A Conversation with Tegna’s Kurt Rao and Cadent’s Tim Jenkins

With the pandemic came growing local news viewership – particularly during afternoons and evenings, as well as a resurging interest among marketers to merge their linear and OTT campaigns. In fact, according to a recent TVB report, researchers found that TV viewership among key demographics increased an average of 36% year-over-year, between the months of March and July.

To find out how data-driven solutions are fueling the TV industry’s evolution, Tim Jenkins, EVP, Head of Audience & Identity Solutions at Cadent spoke with Kurt Rao, SVP, Chief Technology Officer at TEGNA – the media company that operates countless local news affiliates, television stations and OTT channels – delving into what TV looks like from the inside, out. 

Catch a replay of the session, plus a recap, below.

In recent months, consumers and marketers have become acutely aware of the value of local news. As Kurt describes it, “As global as this pandemic is, its impact has been incredibly local.”

As Kurt Rao, SVP, Chief Technology Officer at TEGNA, describes it, “As global as this pandemic is, its impact has been incredibly local.”

This of course means that audiences are turning to local news stations, such as those owned by TEGNA, to find out what’s happening in their communities. 

Over the course of their conversation, a major topic of discussion was the importance of audience targeting and measurability, for both broadcast and OTT. As TEGNA built out their own in-house product, TEGNA Attribution, they were eager to partner with Cadent to leverage its identity solution. Identity allows networks to get one step closer to creating data-driven content that engages the audience. 

When you combine complementary digital platforms, or as Kurt put it, “find the breadcrumbs that go together,” you are able to create a more unified view of the consumer. From a measurement standpoint, Kurt explains that it comes down to how accurate your predictions can be when planning. Comparing linear and OTT, he says, “The goal is to be as deterministic as possible. And certainly on your digital platforms, you can be a lot more deterministic than on some of your linear platforms, where it’s a lot more probabilistic.”

According to Kurt, the “Holy Grail” for networks would be to get to the point where targeting allows for personalized content. For example, Kurt suggests that if you know, “if the audience that we’re reaching PhD-level audience or a high school-level audience, you can train your on-air talent on the kinds of words they use, the number of words per minute, and whether they’re truly resonating with the audience.” The idea that Identity could influence “what content we make, even before we make,” has the potential to revolutionize TV production. 

Another notable subject Kurt and Tim touched on was the potential for cross-channel linear and OTT campaigns. What they agreed upon is that the proof is there, but adoption has been slow. Kurt explains that linear TV buyers are used to traditional methods of buying, while digital buyers are very data-driven. Consequently, because the “real promise” of OTT is in leveraging richer data sets, it will take time and education before traditional TV buyers are ready for a true audience buy. 

The future of TV could take many paths. Offerings such as Cadent’s identity solution provide a gateway to data-driven buying for linear and OTT buyers alike. In the next few years, it will be up to networks and their technology partners to find innovative ways to make cross-channel buying less cumbersome, improving the pipes and mechanisms that exist today. 

Learn more about the future of data-driven TV advertising in our series, “Coming to Terms with TV Ad Terms.”

The Future of Reaching TV Audiences Will Be About Adaptability

Jim Tricarico, President of Sales and CRO of Cadent, kicked off our Future of TV Virtual Summit today with a simple, but clarifying example of how TV is changing: the kids who watched massively successful programs like The Kids’ Choice Awards 15 years ago have grown up, and they’re watching TV across many different devices and platforms.

And this year, TV has evolved at an even faster clip, accelerated by the pandemic.

More than 25 million people have cut the cord on linear TV, shifting viewing to various streaming services. So what are advertisers to do when TV has grown from broadcast and cable, to what feels like an endless stream (pun intended) of new acronyms? A veteran of the TV industry, Jim Tricarico, President of Sales and CRO of Cadent, posed a new question: “TV is not dead – it is far from dead. But what does TV mean today?” 

And that’s where we begin. TV in 2020 is a far cry from the TV of thirty years ago, let alone the past five. Jim was joined by Cathy Shaffner, Chief Investment Officer of Empower, the “Unholding Company,” to discuss how cross-channel TV campaigns have the power to help advertisers reach their target audiences. 

According to Jim, the TV marketplace currently offers three powerful features: flexibility, the ability to allow advertisers to shift budgets to follow their audiences; addressability, the refined targeting made possible by the advent of things like the device graph and viewer graph; and measurability, the results-driven media buying based on business outcomes of previous campaigns.

Consequently, Shaffner has found that, “It’s all about now finding the audience through that content versus through the channel.” No longer are advertisers going to reach their audience by simply “buying one night of TV or two nights of TV.” The landscape has changed and advertisers have come to expect flexibility, addressability and measurability. 

How can TV provide those all-important attributes with a fragmented landscape? Cathy proposes three keys to combating fragmentation:

Finding the right audience – Cathy said Empower spends an incredible amount of time working with its partners to marry robust and actionable first-party data with third-party data to “really identify the best customer.” 

Content is always king – “Marketing to your audience through the content that they’re consuming – and not through the channel or through the device that they’re using.”

Report to the report – “The business that we drive is all based on the measurement of everything that we do. …it’s not about reach or frequency anymore, as much as it’s about finding the audience in the right moment within their customer journey.” 

In addition to combatting fragmentation, transparency is another hurdle for marketers to overcome. As advertisers demand better reporting, they also expect more transparency into how their campaigns are run.

Cathy Shaffner, Chief Investment Officer, Empower: “Working alongside great partners like Cadent, to make sure that we set the rules of engagement upfront, making sure that the data’s putting us in the right place, helps us with brand safety and helps us with making sure we’re in the right environment for our clients.” 

Still, it’s important to note that, like most things, TV has experienced a dramatic shift within the past few months. As Jim mentions, “Before COVID, everybody was projecting five years out, before you saw a major change and shift from linear TV to OTT.” As we all know, that is no longer the case. The pandemic accelerated the shift to new modes of TV in ways no one predicted. 

“From an audience perspective, I think we’re going to have, as an industry, to really figure out what that new normal is based on what the pandemic has done. It’s going to leave a lasting impact on media consumption. Just think of ourselves as we’re sitting here having this this panel… This is going to become a new normal, even three years from now, as things change and get back in the future as a society, and we’re going to demand change as consumers in how we view the content,” said Cathy. 

And for Empower and other agencies, Cathy said, adaptability will be key – where you work, when you work, how you go to market, how you use data to find audiences, how you seek out content and how you change as the world changes.

Ultimately, the pandemic has raised more questions for the TV industry than it has answered. But in spite of the rapid pace of change, one thing is clear – TV isn’t going anywhere. While it may shift from screen to screen, platform to platform, video will continue to find new ways into consumers’ lives and advertisers’ media plans. 

Learn more about the future of data-driven TV advertising in our series, “Coming to Terms with TV Ad Terms.”

A Fireside Chat with Mars’ Heather Stuckey and Cadent CRO Jim Tricarico

Last week, Cadent President of Sales and CRO Jim Tricarico hosted a fireside chat with Mars Director of Global Media Partnerships Heather Stuckey. They discussed Heather’s exciting work with Ignition Labs, an innovation group within Mars, as well as how Mars is embracing digital transformation and data as a brand serving its customers during unprecedented times.

Watch the full conversation below.

Why Agility in Marketing Is More Relevant than Ever: A Conversation with Dell and Cadent

Jamie Power, Chief Data Officer, Cadent

Liz Matthews, SVP of Global Brand, Consumer and Small Business Creative & Experiential, Dell Technologies

Liz Matthews, SVP of Global Brand, Consumer and Small Business Creative & Experiential, Dell Technologies, and Jamie Power, Chief Data Officer, Cadent, recently took part in a Brand Innovators Women in Marketing Livecast Series, and their discussion touched upon several important aspects of marketing in an age of pandemic.

Read a synopsis of their conversation below, covering agility in marketing; meeting customers wherever their needs are; and being an effective leader to teams during difficult times. 

The following has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

Jamie: You’ve been called the trailblazer. Could you share with us a little about your role at Dell and the journey getting there?

Liz: Absolutely. I started my career with Johnson and Johnson. I’ve always had a love of human behavior, so I haven’t always done marketing. I did sales, I did training and development, I did HR and I’ve probably done every type of marketing. 

One of the reasons that I just fell in love with brands was this idea that I think they’re the soul of companies. There’s so much you can do by being connected to them. And it’s personal and passionate, and it requires energy to move them forward. And you have to listen. Through all the different types of marketing and all the different roles I had in my career, I gravitated to this one because it’s probably the closest connection that I feel to being human.

Jamie: You’ve described brands as living, breathing entities because they’re fundamentally made up of people. With what the world is like today, how does that philosophy guide Dell through these times?

Liz: It’s such an interesting time, right? You’ve probably seen this so much in your every day, more and more the importance of authenticity. And how we show up as a brand is critical. And look, I do say brands are alive, I mean, for people, because we would not be here without the people in our company. And if they’re not bought into your purpose and they’re not bought into what you believe, and they’re not bought into what you’re doing, you have a very inauthentic brand. And more than ever before, ever, ever people can see through that. Generations of people that, in just seconds, can see through that.

Especially during a pandemic, we have focused so much on making sure we’re telling our story internally, just as much as externally. 

We pivoted quickly to idea of “we’re here to help” and focused on being authentic to who we are around being a technology brand and how people can use technology during this time. And in many cases from consumers to business owners from laptops to how people were shifting their business, became a really important story for us.

Jamie: Did that effort help the authenticity of the brand and getting the new messaging out?

Liz: It  did. This brought about just an incredibly, almost human transformation of our company. We talked about digital transformation. We’re going to talk about the digital transformation marketing is going through and how rapid it is. But we believe a product [inaudible 00:06:35] transformation, and a kinder, gentler, more patient, more understanding, listening culture because everyone was going through something. 

If you show up for your team members that way, and you let them know you care, you can’t help but transition that externally. So, the same idea that we were flowing through our team members, which is we’re here to help, absolutely was coming out externally.

Jamie: Can you talk about the transformation or the evolution that you’ve kind of led over the last five years?

Liz: Dell has been around for a long time. It’s actually a 36 year old company… Through a large acquisition and bringing together a number of different technology pieces, we created a completely new company. And when you do that, you have to hold a mirror up to yourself. You have no choice, but to say, “Hey, is this the opportunity to do things different and how do we want to show up as Dell Technologies?”. What do we want to stand for, our purpose? What do team members tell us they want to be? And what are, most importantly, our customers expecting from us?

And so we went through that really robust process to try to transition, and we’re still in that process, Jamie. Transitioning from being known as only selling PCs, to be really being, an essential technology company. 

Jamie: As a marketing leader, how are you helping your team avoid burnout?

Liz: I’ll tell you, never in my career have I sent emails about mental health and mental wellbeing and self care. And that becomes everyday conversations and part of our talk track. Honestly, if I’m not living it and showing it, then my team members won’t see that as an example. And so we’re very conscious about making sure leaders are modeling that behavior.

Jamie: How are you thinking about agility in your marketing?

Liz: The word agility gets used a lot, and it’s true – you have to move super fast. From a media perspective, I think like many women on this call, you have to understand where your consumers were going, how you were going to meet them with the information, and, with Dell Technologies, which is a tech brand, there’s a consumer piece, but there’s a pretty significant business to business component. We still had products we needed to launch, technology we needed to innovate on, to serve our customers during this time. 

Jamie: Can you talk about how your plans changed?

Liz: We pulled down media plans, we re-pivoted, we had agile teams and we’d meet in the morning and meet in the afternoons and think about, what is it that we’re trying to achieve based upon our business segments? Because our segments, while we’re out marketing to people, they do go to many different techniques, have different technology needs. 

We saw, like many, an increase in connected TV. We saw an increase in digital. We saw an increase in the need for more storytelling because people wanted to feel connected and wanted to feel good. At the same time, our big flagship event in Vegas was moved to the fall. So we launched that innovation in pieces, so we could target the audience that we wanted to hit with that message.

Jamie: How do you find the right moments to pivot? At what point do you shift more for consumer B2B focused messaging?

Liz: We’re at that process now and when you think about our tonal shift at the top for everything was really around here to help. And, and now it’s, this slightly tonal shift to we’re in this together, right? And making sure we’re focusing on the products, the services, the things that we have to offer customers during this time and making that really the focus. And in the fall, or even in the next year, it’s really going to be about being ready. How do you be ready for whatever comes next? How are we ready?

Jamie: Here’s a question from the audience: What do you consider your biggest accomplishment?

Liz: I would say when, when my team members get promoted. All the fancy stuff that we’ve done in our careers mean nothing unless I’ve brought people along in that journey and their careers have grown. If someone was promoted within Dell or has gone outside and their career has grown, if they’re growing, then I’ve done my job.

Watch the full interview below.

Read more about Cadent’s mission to restore simplicity to TV and serve as trusted partners to brands, agencies and the broader TV ecosystem.

Why Cadent Is Embracing Automation and Digital Tools for Addressable TV

Cadent VP of Platform Analytics, Rachel Herbstman

Addressable TV is rapidly evolving, and Cadent is evolving with it. Read a Q&A with Cadent VP of Platform Analytics, Rachel Herbstman.

How has the Cadent Platform Analytics team evolved in the past year?

Rachel: We know we need to stay up-to-date  to handle changes in the rapidly evolving media landscape. We’ve made key hires in analytics, focusing on building a team with varied backgrounds – both media and non-media. Our newest team members have data science and computer science backgrounds so pairing those skill sets with more traditional media backgrounds is beneficial as we all have different perspectives and offer different contexts. As an analytics team, we’ve increased our operational efficiencies and it’s fun to collaborate on different insights that some of us that have worked in media for years may not be accustomed to.

With varied knowledge bases and complementing roles, we’re able to surface the performance data quickly by means of standardized scripts which inform our software and analysis. This allows for automation, freeing up our time so we can interpret the results and offer actionable insights. Ultimately, our entire team, from analytics to sales, works together to do the heavy lifting to provide the agency or advertiser digestible and sound data from which they can understand the value of their media spend.

At the conclusion of campaign measurement, our goal is to ensure we’re using our campaign data in the most effective way. Our continued client retention allows us to have a deeper understanding of audiences and viewing environments, seasonality. With more data and campaign experience, we’re able to better understand expected outcomes and therefore plan smarter garnering stronger ROAS for each client.

Over the past year, what’s different? What have you learned and where are you going?

Rachel: Everything’s different… by the day! As the landscape evolves, we’re tasked with keeping up with the challenges and opportunities so we’ve actually transformed our organizational structure to make sure we’re as efficient and current as possible. Our software approach to automation allow us to quickly slice and dice the performance data by various dimensions – audience segments, viewing environments, creative lengths or even multiple dimensions like audience segment by viewing environment. 

There’s a ton to learn from every campaign, but more data does not always equate to more learnings.

For our team, it’s about understanding the overall context of the brand and campaign initiatives and then dissecting the data points that are most relevant. With every campaign, whether it is viewed as extremely successful or not, there are actionable takeaways so campaigns that are deemed less successful by the numbers may actually provide the most insightful learnings for the advertiser. In some cases, we may learn that the proposed target audience is not as responsive as a client initially thought, or we may see that a longer creative length initially thought to be the heavy lifter isn’t actually necessary to drive an efficient response rate. While we obviously always strive to achieve incremental results, sometimes it is the campaigns that prove the opposite that teach us the most and allow the clients to rethink their entire media strategy based on real data.

Back to what we learn, one of my favorite cuts of data is the frequency analysis. For most verticals, we’re able to see the optimal exposure levels against the target  group to drive conversion for each of those audience segments. Then, since we’re executing across various supply partners, we can layer on the complexity of different viewing environments. With that understanding, our strategic recommendation is stronger for the next campaign. Frequency cuts become a pertinent piece of information that allows for campaign optimization, whether that means revised targeting criteria, shifting audience budget allocations, revised unit length mix, etc. and ultimately, stronger ROAS. We’ve had returning clients that have seen ROAS ratios increase from $1: $1.15 to a third or fourth campaign equating to $1:$5 based on those data points.

We’ve also learned that it’s not just about lower funnel metrics that data-driven tactics are generally known for. We’ve also seen other areas of success beyond just closed-loop measurement. Since we all know that audiences are fragmenting, it’s becoming more difficult to find incremental audiences so using addressable as a tactic to complement a linear television campaign could show the value in precision targeting for incremental reach. For a recent campaign, we measured the incremental cost per reach point compared to a linear schedule based on efficiency and were able to understand the point at which reach plateaus. Based on that analysis, we can determine when it is the right time to turn on a targeted OTT and/or addressable approach to increase holistic campaign reach.

How are you thinking about the frequency needed to reach marketers’ goals?

Rachel: We’re continuing to learn and validate that not all impressions are created equal. Based on our data warehouse, we can analyze the data in different ways based on different dimensional cuts. We can look at different audiences based on viewing environment or a combination. For example: We just measured a campaign for a client looking at frequency by audience, and we saw a current customer needed less frequency to convert than a prospect. That current customer likely needed a quick reminder to purchase. We’ve seen other campaigns where linear environments require more exposure. But VOD, a more lean-in space, requires half the frequency to get the same outcome. As another example, for an auto campaign promoting a new vehicle model, we saw an opposite effect – a traditional linear viewer took less frequency to drive a conversion. This was likely because they were exposed in other media content versus a VOD-viewer that may be a light TV viewer or transformational viewer, therefore needing additional brand awareness and addressable exposures.

How are you using data science and predictive business outcomes?

From a more holistic approach, a key component of Cadent’s growth over the past year has been the internal alignment with different groups within our company – not only with our addressable sales and client service team but also data engineering, data science and product teams. Again, with different skill sets across the groups, we are able to leverage historical learnings across a wide swath of advertisers and campaigns to better inform scientific models and forecast particular business outcomes.

We believe advanced TV should embrace the best of digital marketing tools and analytics to deliver valuable insights to clients. We use data science to enable data-driven decisioning on premium addressable video content, including providing insights on business outcomes.

On a campaign, advertiser and category level, we want to make sure we’re using the data that we have in the smartest ways possible. We’re constantly aligning with data science to create a variety of different performance models that will help forecast expected business outcomes. There are definitely nuances to consider like various custom audience segments, campaign initiatives (for instance: conquesting competitive shoppers vs. increasing sales among current shoppers) but with every campaign and additional data points, our models are growing stronger.

How has your understanding of viewing environments evolved?

Rachel: Cadent provides agencies and advertisers an understanding of their audiences and an understanding of how those audiences are consuming content. Based on that content, we ask, how should we be targeting them? We work closely with the advertiser or agency to understand how their current targets are set up so we can use addressable media, whether that’s OTT, VOD or linear to act as a complement and not a standalone tactic.

While our ultimate goal is generally to precisely target the core audience and measure the outcome of the media, as viewing behavior becomes increasingly fragmented, it’s critical to understand the viewing environment in which the content (or ad) is consumed. And then within those various viewing environments, we can leverage historical data to understand the frequencies with strongest conversion rates.

How is Cadent working toward standardizing metrics across the marketplace?

Rachel: This is definitely still a challenge for the industry. As landscape fragmentation increases, there will be more hurdles for standardization. There are industry groups in deep discussions about how to create measurement and currency standards across the advanced TV landscape but as of now, we’re seeing more walled gardens and measurement difficulties. That said, having executed hundreds of addressable campaigns, Cadent has the data to navigate through some of these challenges. For example, at the simplest form – the definition of an impression varies across the landscape. One operator may count an impression if the ad airs for 6+ seconds, whereas another operator may count an impression after the first frame of the ad is served. And there may be three other definitions for various providers, vMVPDs and OTT partners. One of Cadent’s value props is understanding the value of each impression because they’re definitely not all created equal. Understanding the frequency analyses based on MVPD, viewing environment, and audience allows us to normalize the impression delivery and better understand the true value of that impression to influence conversion.

Read more about Cadent’s vision for the addressable marketplace.

Why TV Marketers Shouldn’t Discount the Power of Truly Innovative Creative

When you watch Apple’s new ad “Bounce,” what do you see? Hear? Feel? Smell? Will that ad continue to pop back in your mind later in the day? Was it the music? Colors? Tone? Voice? All of these elements are the basis for developing, designing and producing powerful, innovative creative. 

Bulova Watches aired the first TV commercial on July 1, 1941, which cost $9 and featured a watch floating on the screen for 10 seconds. TV soon became the dominant advertising platform. Now, conversations marketers have with their consumers are much more than a 15 or 30-second promotion of a product or company; they span digital and analog channels. They’re web banners, emails, out-of-home ads and so much more. Marketers have always had to carefully consider how they invest to build their brands, but today, in an increasingly complex and fragmented media environment, that responsibility has expanded. Data drives many brand-building decisions today, and more than ever, proficiency in analytics and measuring the success of creative is just as important as creativity itself. 

It follows that conversations in the industry around creativity focus on tangible results, data-driven messages and relevance. But we can’t forget about the power of a truly innovative creative.

In today’s attention economy, impactful creative still wins the day. And TV is a critical component of the brand-consumer relationship. As Cadent CEO Nick Troiano said, as brand advertising shifts to modern, data-driven techniques, “advertisers continue to rely on television as the most powerful vehicle for emotionally resonant storytelling.” From color to text to sound to movement, each part creates a unique message for the brand, influences the viewer’s opinions of the product and evokes emotion. 

Marketers drive business through creativity

Ads that attain iconic status have a few things in common: strong, consistent brand images and clearly communicated core values. Consumers can simply look at the logo and identify the brand. Creativity weaved into the ad differentiates the company – that’s the art aspect of advertising.

When a campaign is developed, the creative director must not only think about the product they are trying to sell, but the elements: will the beauty, the poetic, the humor, the heroism, the interesting, the bizarre, catch the viewers attention so they don’t click the fast forward or ‘skip ad’ button? Overall, campaigns that rely on creativity are considerably more effective, according to the Harvard Business Review. What makes a successful creative campaign effective? It all comes back to having a purpose – to connect to the viewer through aesthetic communication. 

As Creative Director Chuck McBride said, it’s not “very safe for people in advertising to think of their work as art, because it loses its purpose. We’re here to help business grow.”  

Iasmina Petrovici concludes in her “Role of Aesthetic Communication in Advertising” that “in order to be both expressive and successful, the advertisement imagery must not only convey information, but define an aesthetic function, and determine a positive reaction on the audience.” There is a fine line between art and advertising in many cases. In order to resonate with an audience, marketers must push the limits of creativity.  

According to Nielsen research, creative quality is still is the most important factor for driving sales.

The art and science behind marketing

Burger King CMO Fernando Machado’s approach to brand building is often celebrated, especially in the age of granular targeting and data-informed creative: “Machado remains a champion of creativity. He believes creative marketing truly drives business,” Digiday reports. One example of this is 66 Scenes of America, an ad that used footage of Andy Warhol eating a Whopper for 45 seconds. Millions of viewers during the Super Bowl buzzed about the ad, and searches for Andy Warhol spiked beyond any other search during the Super Bowl. In a survey of 1,200 people, there was a 49% lift in individuals talking about the ad two weeks following the Super Bowl. 

Andy Warhol, a renowned pop culture artist who liked to engage with the lines between art and advertising, was an intentional choice. Machado was quoted as saying that “it’s kind of cool that [Warhol] did a lot of art that looked like advertising and that we are using his art to advertise. It’s like a silent assassin in the clutter of the Super Bowl.” Similar to “Bounce,” this is an illustration of  the “artful business” that marketing is. The measures of success will follow, if powerful creative is implemented. 

Creating artful ads starts with the goal of championing creativity, investing in it, and empowering marketers to be creative and take advantage of aesthetic communication to uplevel their work.