IAB Annual Leadership Meeting:
Digital thought-leaders and decision-makers reconvened on the morning of Monday, February 27, for a full day of debate, discussion, and inspiration around the theme “Beyond Time and Space,” which captures the significant change in the industry as advertising sales move away from traditional transactions rooted to time and space. But the marketplace is facing many more tectonic shifts. One of those is the industry’s role in Washington, D.C.
Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB, warned that “the threats to our industry are very, very real.” He opened the day with a conversation about the protest around the SOPA and PIPA bills. But rather than congratulate the industry for becoming “the new power in Washington,” as Bill Keller, the former Executive Editor of The New York Times, called it, Rothenberg called the mass protest a black swan. “The technology industry remains almost unengaged in public affairs,” he said. IAB was educating legislators and regulators about SOPA and PIPA for nearly two years before the bills imploded, yet Rothenberg noted it was like ‘pulling teeth’ to get member companies involved with IAB in the process, and many of the companies have actually refused for years to get involved with the IAB. In the wake of SOPA/PIPA, there’s been no following wave of activism. But there are real threats, and as Rothenberg said, “equally grave dangers,” lurking out there. “If you want the Internet to be changed, do nothing. But if you want the Internet to remain the freest and most diverse engine of economic growth and cultural diversity ever created, then you must be engaged.” The companies that are involved have made great strides. Last Thursday, the White House officially endorsed the cross-industry privacy self-regulation program that IAB painstakingly put together over the past four and a half years with partner associations. He offered attendees a list of exciting IAB projects in which they could make a real, vital difference in the future prosperity of the industry. “Become a part, a real part, of the IAB. And build a bigger, better digital world,” he said.
Geoffrey Moore, Author, Speaker, Advisor, explored the state of the digital world, and what it means that the ecosystem is in the process of transformation. He identified the following changes: media is disaggregating; delivery is disaggregating; the volume of content is hyper-inflated; social media is re-aggregating; prior anchors of time and space are being marginalized; and new anchors of execution, presence, and profile, are emerging—only the industry is not organized around the economics of presence and profile. These shifts are disrupting the status quo, causing the re-engineering of processes and a redistribution of power. The new power will be in content, creative, and analytics, he said. To survive, “you have to act ahead of the data. That’s why you have to ask the question of where are we.” Warning signs that your company is at risk include: slowing revenue growth; new players capturing your business; established trading partners becoming competitors; and business model innovation becoming a major threat, yet you’re not the threat. If this sounds familiar, he urged not waiting, not indulging in the human nature to avoid change, but to evolve now. Download his presentation here.
The major marketers’ point of view on the complexity of the marketplace came to life with a candid and compelling presentation by Susan Jurevics, Senior Vice President, Global Retail CRM and Brand Marketing, Sony Corporation of America. She began by emphasizing the power of the media world, noting, “Americans spend more time with media than they do eating or sleeping.” Within this industry, Sony produces all forms of media—music, movies, games, and consumer electronics. Marketing and advertising extends from traditional media to social (which she referred to as “assisted serendipity”), to the in-store sales person, to the second screen, to the third screen, and so forth. Yet, advertisers desire to push one single value proposition and consumers see just one brand, one company, one marketing communication. We’re not organized yet for this reality, she said. What’s more, we’re in an atmosphere of constant change. A major risk is consistently looking for something better. The solution, she suggested, is to stay together. Let’s not be seduced only by what’s new and what’s next, she said. Let’s monitor and share data, turn it into insights. Let’s remember…we are ALL marketers…were all storytellers…let’s get it on.”
Following a vibrant Q&A with Jurevics moderated by Tina Sharkey, Chairman and Global President, BabyCenter, and a refreshment break, Peter Moore, Chief Operating Officer, Electronic Arts, delved into the economic dynamics of the content business in a day and age when consumers are not only in control, but also pickier with how they spend their time, and more demanding than ever. On the positive side, consumers are consuming vast amounts of media, on more devices than ever. He pointed out that by the end of 2012, there will be an estimated 6.8 billion mobile connected devices, just under one device for every person on the planet. Consumers have thus become more accessible to publishers and advertisers. But “reach is no longer enough,” he said. “The opportunity for meaningful engagement is key.” Focusing on building engagement with consumers uncovers new, effective monetization strategies for publishers and consumer relationship-building opportunities for advertisers. For example, as a publisher, Electronic Arts sells downloadable content to existing game players, which sustains the gamers’ sense of excitement and discovery. To advertisers, EA offers to weave them into game play and scenery with display integrations and custom content opportunities. All of these monetization elements function to make the gamers’ experiences more robust. He concluded by reinforcing that marketers have to give a value exchange for the consumers’ valuable time. “The consumer is in control. The moment we forget that is the moment the consumer walks away to do something else.”
Attendees returned from an extended networking lunch to a dive into complexity and creativity issues. Mike Leo, President and CEO, Operative, in his introductory remarks to Tom Bedecarré, Chief Executive Officer, AKQA, boldly said that creative contributes the majority of the effectiveness of a campaign, yet too much attention is directed at technology and too much money is lost in the cost built into the supply chain—an appropriate introduction to the Silicon Valley’s Favorite ad man, as Bedecarré was called by Fortune magazine.
Bedecarré perpetuated the no-holds-barred tone by candidly sharing his own point of view and engaging the entire audience, including attendees Rich LeFurgy, General Partner, Archer Advisors; Bob Jeffrey, Chairman and CEO of JWT Worldwide; Emma Cookson, Chairman, BBH New York; and Steve Wax, Partner, Campfire, Ladies and Gentlemen, and ThirtySix, in an informal, impromptu conversation about some of the biggest issues facing the industry today. He asked, “Why aren’t marketers spending more on digital?” These were the answers he recently got from a marketer: too many options, complexity is overwhelming, people ignore banners, we prefer sight sound and motion, and display is at the bottom of the pile. “Complexity is something I think we underestimate,” he said, asking the audience, “How can we make this easier?” The conversation spanned from shopping lists, better defined buzzwords, and the friendly call for attendees to call out the marketers that spent the least on digital. In pointing out the growing role Facebook in media buys, he said, “If it can topple 40 year-old dictatorships, it can really mess up your media plan.”
Two major announcements came next. In response the morning call for increased participation, Rothenberg announced that Rubicon Project offered 700 million impressions on comScore 500 sites for the “Your AdChoices” advertising campaign of the Digital Advertising Alliance. He followed by announcing the first-ever Mobile Rising Stars winners. The program stems from the larger IAB Rising Stars initiative, which seeks to create new canvases for brand advertising on digital platforms. Five ad concepts from 12 winning companies comprised the honorees, as many companies submitted similar ideas. The group of winners: AOL, BabyCenter, Crisp, Google, Jivox, Mediamind, Medialets, Microsoft, Pointroll, Time Inc., The Weather Channel, and Yahoo!. The number of core publishing companies shows they have built up technical expertise and an understanding of what’s going on in the marketplace, Rothenberg said.
Karim Temsamani, Vice President, New Products and Solutions, Americas, Google presented the audience with three truths. Truth number one: “It’s a completely connected world.” Mobile has become an ever-present, go-to place to find information. Yet we have a lot of work to do, he said. Too many advertisers are lacking mobile optimized sites that provide users with quality experiences, and this cuts ad revenue. Sixty-one percent of users who visit a mobile site that doesn’t give them the information they’re looking for are likely to go to a competitors’ site. Truth number two: “Technology is fundamental.” There are many tools to help with campaign optimization, but algorithms can’t solve our problems. We need to be more creative about the problems we’re trying to solve. Truth number three: “Audience is data.” Dare to treat your audience as the people they represent, not the data. People want to be entertained when consuming content. This increases engagement and engagement is really the only way you can boost advertising dollars.
Jimmy Pitaro, Co-President, Disney Interactive Media Group, in a fireside chat with Rothenberg, talked about the business model of quality content. “If we can really just focus on the guest and create high-quality product experiences and world-class content, we’ll grow our reach and engagement,” he said. “When we do, then, lean back toward marketing, we’ll drive more value to the other divisions of the company.” To demonstrate, he showed a video of Darth Vader and two stormtroopers experiencing Disneyland as they wait for the Stars Tours attraction to open. It drove value to the theme parks and entertained audiences, he said. Another example is the mobile game “Where’s My Water?” Its star, an animated alligator named Swampy, has been a top performing intellectual property across Disney.com. The team now plans to follow up with a Swampy video series. “The idea of failing fast [and learning form it] is more palatable when you’re talking about a smaller investment online [compared to traditional media or console games],” he said. Other topics of the chat included mobile being the teams’ first go-to media, benefits and hurdles in responsive design, and the challenge of talent recruitment.
The day came to a close with a focus on the Chinese digital media and advertising marketplace. Chen Yong, Secretary General, The Interactive Internet Advertising Committee of China (IIACC), and President, Modern Advertising Magazine, China; Ya Li, Chief Operation Officer, Phoenix New Media; and Tong Su, Chief Executive Officer, Hylink Advertising, vividly described the Chinese ecosystem in an effort to help attendees make inroads into the country. Yong advised, “To enter China as a foreign company you have to understand the Chinese culture. You have to go to China to feel it, to experience it, to love the market. Not just, ‘I’m going to this market to make money.’ I think if you have this mentality you will not succeed.” Su talked to the variety of consumers. “Foreigners think, China is just China. But the Chinese see many different markets,” he said. He contrasted the China and U.S. markets by noting that while in America advertising is driven by the “big idea,” in China it is driven by local digital insights. If you want to be truly successful, he said, don’t focus only on the people in the big cities, but connect with those in the smaller, more rural cities and towns. Li also noted that there are 513 million people in China are Internet users, more than the population of the U.S.. As such, the key to success is clearly defining your market. In terms of the state of the marketplace, Yong said the industry is quickly growing. However, a lack of standardization is a significant inhibitor. He hopes IAB might help him solve this issue.
IAB Annual Leadership Meeting in the News
Videos from the stage courtesy of
Geoffrey Moore on Business Network Transforms at 2012 IAB Annual Leadership Meeting
Sony's Susan Jurevics Builds Relationships at 2012 IAB Annual Leadership Meeting
EA's Peter Moore Engages Consumers at 2012 IAB Annual Leadership Meeting
AKQA's Tom Bedecarré Connects Brands at 2012 IAB Annual Leadership Meeting
Google's Karim Temsamani Grows Mobile at 2012 IAB Annual Leadership Meeting
Disney Interactive's Jimmy Pitaro Personalizes Experiences at 2012 IAB Annual Leadership Meeting
Phoenix New Media's Ya Li on Chinese Innovation at 2012 IAB Annual Leadership Meeting
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