Emarsys, the biggest marketing cloud you've never heard of, asked me to join their panel at Advertising Week a couple of days ago. After meeting several members of their new marketing team, brought aboard ahead of the 15 year-old company's Series A round led by Vector Capita in mid-September, I knew my investment of time would be well worth it. I wasn't disappointed. Here's a recap of that session and others I attended over a quick 24 hours running between theaters in Time Square—ground zero for AW XII.
Emarsys Sheds Its Outer Cloak
Like I said Emarsys is the biggest marketing cloud you've never heard of, but that's if you just take a provincial North American point of view, and let's face it, that POV can be debilitating. While only now putting muscle behind its presence in North American, Emarsys has over 1 billion customer records worldwide. Despite adhering to Emarsys strict anti-spamming protocol, its 1,500 customers across 140 countries ranging from eBay and Rakuten to Volvo and Canon, run 250 million personalized campaigns and analyze 1 billion customer records every month. Its CMO, a recovering programmer with marketing and management savvy, sees future marketers thriving in big data via customer intelligence, prediction, automation, and integration.
Panel: The Future of Retail and Commerce Marketing
I was joined on the panel by executives representing the newly minted lingerie brand AdoreMe, Emarsys, Havas Worldwide (technology-based agency), and eConsultancy (U.K.-based training and market research consultancy). The conversation quickly turned to analytics led by AdoreMe and joined by Emarsys before the conversation turned my way. I re-enforced their points and introduced cognitive computing. Polling the audience, none raised a hand when I asked them if they had heard of IBM Watson. To be provocative, I told them "You should. Watson will eat your lunch." Little did I know that next panelist, Jason Jercinovi, president of Havas Worldwide, was a Watson ecosystem partner. In turns we made it clear that what futurist William Gibson has said is true of cognitive computing, and not just in marketing, "The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed."
Attacking Brands Use Analytics
AdoreMe is an attack brand aiming at its category behemoth Victoria's Secret. Brand development leader Sharon Klapka proclaimed that its founder and most of its leadership, excepting of course its design team, don't come out of fashion let alone lingerie. They share a penchant for analytics—applied to marketing, advertising, and product development. Notably in the last regard they take a wisdom of crowds approach to predicting next season's winners—a homebrewed approach that First Insight has taken to nearly three dozen fashion and new product oriented retailers and brands.
Under Armour started as an attack brand and remains one even today—putting analytics to use in that strategy. Bill Besselman spoke to the value of analytics in Under Armour's attack marketing strategy on a panel on the neuroscience of marketing sponsored by Merkle, a CRM performance marketing agency whose retail CPG industry leader is a statistician by training who formerly led its analytics practice. Offstage Bill pointed to the importance of Under Armour's three wearables- and technology-enabled fitness community acquisitions in building a biometrics and behavioral database of 150 million customer members in the U.S. and Europe, mentioning SAP HANA as a key enabler of its participatory customer engagement strategy.
Marketing's Enterprise Connections—Supply Chain, Production, Stores, and Employee Relations
While a couple of the sessions I attended didn't register on my radar, two more in addition to those I've already mentioned particularly resonated with me. All four participants on the Healthy is the New Green panel, led by Digitas Health LifeBrands, made it patently clear that the authenticity and authority of their brand messages depend on excellence in operations. Two health organic food brand marketers affirmed the importance of supply chain, sourcing, supplier development, ingredient integrity, and manufacturing operations in delivering their brand promises. While that's a "no dah" for supply chain and sourcing professionals, it clearly opened some eyes among the marketers attending the session. They practically stormed the stage to talk to the panelists after the session.
Advertising Week sported its first retail track this year, providing a great venue to re-enforce the point that stores still matter even as retail and retail marketing undergo profound digital transformation. Patti Morehouse, a managing director of matchmg, a shopper activation agency, showed the effect of four commonsense store marketing and merchandising strategies revolving around innovation at the shelf, localized assortment, customer experience, and high-fidelity delivery the brand promise in the store.
Only two of Patti's five examples of innovations at the shelf are digital and interactive. Pepsi is using a holistic approach to product packaging and planogram facings to standout on the shelf. Nordstrom is connecting social confidence to table-top displays with mention of a style's performance on Pinterest. L'Oreal is using lighting and lighting for planogram resets resulting in a 30% SKU reduction and a 20% sales increase. Matchmg helped another L'Oreal brand, essie, use "the shelf as a stage" for new product introductions.
One interactive digital innovation centered on the use of a semi-permanent shelf edge attached tablet for display of enhanced product information—giving the shopper an x-ray lens into the product. The tablet's camera fed into video analytics to report shopper demographics.
Maybe it's a self-selection bias, but I came away from Advertising Week thinking that analytics is the unifying bridge across marketing, merchandising, operations, and supply chain.