Recap: CMAinsights – the science of data and the art of marketing, Part 1

By Linda Forrest of CMA's Digital Marketing Council

On Thursday, March 23, the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) presented its first morning event of the 2017-2018 season: CMAinsights. Held at the Toronto Region Board of Trade, a full house of marketers – more marketers than you’d expect to see at 8 in the morning – gathered to hear speakers share insights about the challenge faced by today’s modern marketers: striking a careful balance between the science of data and the art of marketing. Senior marketing leaders from each of the event’s presenting sponsors Kantar Millward Brown, Kantar TNS, Microsoft Canada and Environics Analytics were on deck to speak.

Given the amount of information shared, we’re going to divide this event recap into three separate posts, centred around each of the three presentations. In today’s post, we’ll also provide some detail about the event itself.

Attendees were provided with some valuable takeaways before the programming even got started! Those who got there early were able to pick up copies of some great marketing books: The Age of Persuasion: How Marketing Ate our Culture; Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Followers into Fanatics, and; Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Centre of your Business. Carlton Cards was kind enough to gift attendees with beautiful Papyrus cards to take home and send on their next occasion or “just because.” There was time before the speakers began for attendees to network, enjoy the continental breakfast and check out the exhibits from CNW Cision, Microsoft, and Environics Analytics.

After a warm welcome from Doug Brooks, President and CEO of the CMA, the program began.

Putting the human back into marketing

First up was the topic of Winning the Engagement Battle Through Human-centricity, presented by Margot Acton, SVP, Brand and Communications Practice Leader, Kantar TNS and Cesar Zea, VP, Client Management, Kantar Millward Brown.

The objective of their shared presentation was to encourage the marketers in the room to “put the consumer back into technology advancements.” Their presentation, which made great use of video, started off with a laugh, when they shared a video about getting branding and customer engagement all wrong.

In our hyper-connected world, it’s too easy to neglect the simple facts about consumers and the ultimate arbiter of our efforts’ success or failure: the human brain. Our brains have 11 million entry points, but only 50 of those get through. One key to ensuring that your message is one of those 50 is relevance. Netflix has done extensive data management and mining and is a perfect case study in the fact that if you get relevance right, consumers will invest a huge amount of time and foster long-lasting brand loyalty; get it wrong in the 3 seconds you have to connect using digital marketing, and the effects could be damaging.

Relevance is where the 80-20 rule comes in: 20 percent of your touchpoints with consumers are doing all the work: connecting with the right message on the right channel at the right time. What about the other 80%?  Leaving aside the tremendous opportunity cost associated with creating those ineffective activities, the cost to your brand can be significant – you’re adding to the noise, creating disconnect and discontinuity. 

“I am being stalked by a pair of shoes I bought online five weeks ago!” In an effort to capitalize on the immediacy and the intimacy that digital marketing provides, we have forgotten that there is a person on the other side of the screen. Emotions are the driving force behind human behaviour – touchpoints that matter will tend to create emotional value – and having ineffective digital marketing can have not only financial implications, but leave prospects and consumers with the brand sentiment that your company and its marketing is “annoying and creepy.”

Marshall McLuhan is still a genius: the medium is still the message When you have the right target, the right message on the right platform, you still have to cut through the noise. And you’re competing with tech designed to block you from ads. Powerful biological tech. So, what is the difference between various platforms and how receptive we are to digital marketing on those channels?

For the majority of our engagement with it, watching television has been a passive exercise. Digital, by its very nature, is an active platform – you’re using the device to do something, to accomplish a task. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the data shows consumer receptivity to ads varies based on the platform, and based on the format of the ad. There’s more “noise” on the digital channels and the world’s most powerful ad blocker – the human brain – has figured out how to avoid absorbing digital ads. Kantar TNS data shows that 47% of viewable ads are looked at, 29% of viewable ads are read. And even when they do manage to grab the consumer’s attention, they have a scant 2.54 seconds to hook them. Hence the trend of micro-ads like Jamieson Vitamins’ Got a Second vitamin spray video ads that ran as pre-roll on YouTube.

It is essential to know what your audience is doing online and that your brand quickly adapt to appropriate platforms and tools. Humour and reciprocity, the “what’s in it for me” factor, can be effective tools when looking to attract, engage and drive action. Make sure that you understand which touchpoints matter, engage consumers when they’re receptive and create appropriate ads that enable your brand to effectively engage its audience.

An engaged audience asked the speakers several questions before the next topic and speakers were introduced.

In our next installment of the event recap, we’ll explore what Microsoft Canada’s , Emma Da Silva, VP, Marketing & Operations, had to share about the future of modern marketing and how we’re at the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

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Tags: microsoft, insights, data, environics analytics, analytics, kantar tns, kantar millward brown