Creativity + Media + Tech = One Delicious Cocktail

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When marketing and technology converge, everyone's happy—including the end consumer, says AOL Platforms CEO Bob Lord, speaking at the ARF show today in NYC.



There's no dearth of data—but there is a marked need for quality data that adequately reflects what consumers are actually doing. (P.S., they're doing it on their mobile devices.)

There are several issues facing the measurement industry today and these numbers, from a recent Advertising Research Federation survey, certainly paint the picture. Seventy percent of marketers say that they're held to a higher standard of accountability than ever before. To that end, there's been a 72% increase in marketing analytics spending as part of overall marketing spend, which itself is set to hit more than $1 trillion. Clearly marketers are willing to shell out cash for good info—but right now, only 10% of marketers actually feel like they have the data they need.

So, it's an opportunity and a challenge at the same time.

If you ask AOL Platforms CEO Bob Lord (below), the answer lies in the convergence between technology, media, and creative. When those things come together, top-notch customer experience is the result. That's why measurement is key—if brands really understand the people they're trying to market to, they'll be able to create a brand story that dovetails with consumer need.

“Right now it's about a lot more than just creativity, content, or technology—or how technology will solve all our problems,” said Lord, speaking at the ARF's Measurement Mandate conference in NYC. “But it's also about a lot more than just media and data.”

Technology may not be the ultimate panacea, but it is fueling brand experience in a big way.

“More creative ideas are coming from the technology organization than ever before, both in how we access data in new ways and how we use it in real time,” Lord said. “Technology, media, and creativity operating within the context of business strategy can transform a marketing problem.”

What it all boils down to is using data in the service of consumer experience. Here's how you get there:

Put the consumer at center. Organizations need to be structured around the consumer, which means really understanding his or her actual journey. Delta's a good example. The airline used to operate around silos. The email guy took care of email. The mobile guy took care of mobile. These days, Delta has product managers in charge of different aspects of the experience. One person looks after the pre-check-in process while someone else manages the overall booking process or the in-flight experience. In that way communications are consistent and the customer's experience is considered at every touchpoint.

Think of your brand as a service. Brands aren't just selling stuff these days, they're meeting customer need. Look at Nike and its often-lauded FuelBand. Nike's doing more than hawk sneakers—it's promoting health, overall well-being, mindfulness. It's going beyond the sell. (But if someone buys some Nike gear as a result, that obviously doesn't hurt.)

Reject silos. Customers don't care if you're having interdepartmental problems. They want what they want. Silos = bad. Enough said.

Act like a startup. Simpler said than done, sure—but if you're agile, embrace flexible tools, and keep iterating, your business will thrive, and that is simple.

Embrace diversity. “Sameness will lead us astray—diversity will always exceed your expectation,” Lord said. “Companies with more diverse teams have seen their ROI rise quantifiably.”

And we certainly all like ROI.
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