By: Doug Pace – Bayshore Solutions Executive Team

Welcome back to one of the most beautiful places on the face of the earth – Deer Valley, UT.  Unfortunately the last 24 hours have not been kind to me.  The hotel is at an elevation of 8500ft and because of that I have become far too familiar with altitude sickness.  The second day of the conference looked to be exciting so I pushed through and got some exposure to some great information.

The Inside View: Why The LEGO Group Has Its Own Agency

This session interviewed the vice president for LEGOs internal marketing agency.    The agency has approximately 250 people and was created to eliminate the individual visions that LEGO was experiencing across their various advertising channels.  They wanted to ensure a unified vision and have spent a lot of time to ensure collaboration and the achievement of a single goal. It was interesting to find out that just because they have an internal agency does not mean that they shun external firms.   They look for firms that are excited about their brand and that bring them fun ideas.  They traditionally don’t select a firm based on fees or best creative – they look for people that have a connection to the brand.

The agency has a unique perspective in that it focuses on creating stories and making them come alive across LEGOs line of products.  An example of this is the recent success of Ninjago in which the marketers leveraged TV, Digital, and existing Intellectual Property – making a line of Characters rather than a product.  This storytelling mentality increases a consumers connection with the product and creates an experience rather than just a product purchase.  The Ninjago project proved that kids don’t think about online/offline/TV, they just want to interact with the brand on their own terms – this is very important as marketing channels continue to intersect and the consumers expectations continue to increase.

eXelate Dialog: Identify, Target, Measure: Closing the Loop on Data-Driven Ad Strategies

eXelate is an online data aggregator that provides information for marketers to better understand audience interactions and buying patterns.  They demonstrated a relatively straight forward methodology so that marketers could better use data in their client strategies.  The methodology had 3 components – Identify, Target, and Measure.

  • Identify – Use a collection of customer data, market data, and 3rd party data to find audiences with similar attributes to your core market.
  • Target – Leverage the data to perform audience mapping and model the attributes of your top customers.  As you receive real time data from a campaign, use it in an adaptive fashion and enhance the campaign.  After the campaign is complete re-score the models and find new audiences.
  • Measurement – The most difficult part of measurement is that online has a huge scale making attribution very hard to determine.  One needs to accept that there will be waste on a campaign, but based on today’s targeting tools one can ensure that 30-50% of a target audience will receive your message.  In the end the message must resonate with the audience in order for them to make a response.  If the content does not resonate the campaign should be reworked.

Fixing the Agency Business Model

I was very excited about this session, but disappointed by its execution.  The individual leading the session was not an “agency” guy, but a publisher of content.  He spent more time talking about what was wrong about agency pricing from a “seller of ad space” point of view and not about how to make the agency better.    I did find out that average agency commissions for selling advertising are fairly low (1-2 % for TV ad buy, 2% for Magazine, 4% for newspaper, digital is 7% and going down) and that the average agencies gross profit margins are approx. 12%.

Tech Showcase 2015

The tech showcase looked to enlighten the audience on technologies and concepts that are not currently refined, but poised to make a significant impact on the marketing landscape.  The individual leading the session was attempting to use a movement based PowerPoint presentation (think Nintendo), but had numerous issues with it.  The presenter focused on 6 areas – Quantified Self, POI, Visual/Motion, QR Codes, Digital to Physical, and Crowd-funding.

  • Quantified Self – This is the process of monitoring everything about ourselves and our daily movements/interactions.  There are multiple apps/devices in use today that collect amazing amounts of data – in fact the largest sleep movement database has been recently developed via a new iPhone application.  As you can imagine the healthcare potential associated with these types of application are endless.
  • POI – POI stands for Personalized Objects of Interest or the ability to map, discover, and associate with anything – people, places, or things.  This technology was featured heavily in the recent south by southwest conference.  Two examples were shown – Sonar.me and Highlight.  In both cases the applications help you locate and learn more about people in your close proximity.  The current challenge with the technology is that both rapidly drain battery life on mobile devices.  It seems that the applications combine multiple  services (GPS, Internet Access, etc) and running all quickly drain the battery life.
  • Visual and Motion – The visual and motion segmented focused on virtual reality.  There has been quite a few applications built in this space, but none have commanded any attention.  The audience agreed that the potential is there, but it is still considered overcomplicated for the end user.
  • QR Codes – Although full of potential, QR Codes have not had the impact that one would have thought.  There are a few reasons for this, but two really stand out – 1.users have still not adopted them for lack of understanding and 2. they are ugly.  Toshiba is currently perfecting image recognition software that would make QR codes something of that past – you will just point your phone at an ad or object and be returned everything associated.
  • Digital to Physical – This segment was quite amusing as it focused on making technology as core to a brand rather than just an extension.  Coke’s” I’d really like to buy the world a Coke” campaign was heavily showcased.  The campaign allowed individuals to go online and purchase Cokes for individuals through a network of vending machines around the globe.  Coke has also experimented with creating Branded WiFi hotspot appliances and placing them in public spaces. – Further mixing technology within the core of their brand.
  • Crowd-funding – We are seeing Crowd-funding of projects and events more and more.  With recent legislation and acceptance of the concept this will potentially launch the next Apple or Microsoft.  More than half the audience had tried to launch a project leveraging!

The presentation was summarized by denoting that although the above concepts look promising, who knows what is on the horizon.  The next generation of business people will drive much of the upcoming innovation and have incredible tools to start with.  Areas like San Francisco, Austin, Boulder, Boston, and Israel look to be the technology hubs for the next few years.

Pecha Kucha Presentations

The Pecha Kucha presentations are unique in that each presenter only has 6 minutes to explain a concept and their position on it.  This results in a very limited amount of information, but challenges individuals to get straight to the point.  The agenda for today included 2 Pecha Kucha presentations – Clickable and Verve.

  • Clickable – The presentation started with a question of “How do marketers leverage goals and measurement to delight their social media following? “  The challenge with measurement of Social Media is that most are very complex strategies that are not necessarily direct response.  This fact results in making ROI associated with the channel very difficult.  The goal for measuring Social Media should be changed to focus on its impact within the other channels – How do they work together and influence each other.
  • Verve – Verve is a location centric mobile ad platform.  They work with clients to denote an area and serve both location specific and individual specific advertising through their distribution partners.  They spent their time discussion the mobile ad space – 327 Active Mobile Users in the US, ½ US population owns a Smartphone, ½ US adults own tablet devices, and the mobile ad spend will more than double over the next 2 years.

Hypebusters: The Golden Age of Marketing

There is currently a mentality shift happening in both digital and traditional advertising.  The “I want it now” experience is becoming expected and individuals are becoming more interested in participating in marketing associated with a brand.  Social and Mobile technologies are becoming more reliant on each other and threaten to merge completely.  In fact many of the new technologies being developed are mobile only.  This is a global phenomenon with no single culture opting out.  This level of participation is making the traditional tools used to measure advertising obsolete.  Just to demonstrate – 58% of Facebook Users log on at least once per day, 42% of Facebook users have had a conversation with a brand.

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