ANA Annual Meeting 2014

Reporter's Notebook: ANA Masters of Marketing

Why It's Key to Build Marketing Into Existing Products and Make Every Employee a Marketer

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Credit: Clarion Pictures

About 2,800 marketers gathered in Orlando, Fla. last week for the Association of National Advertisers' Masters of Marketing conference. Big and small marketers alike shared best practices and ideas for growth. Here, we rounded up our reporters' top takeaways and observations from the annual event.

'Purpose' is still hot.
Brand purpose has been a buzzword at ANA conferences for years, and there are no signs of it going away. "What I love about purpose" General Mills CMO Mark Addicks said, is that it "really asks your team to think big. What do you want to be? What do you want to do? Where can the brand grow?"

Former Procter & Gamble Co. Global Marketing Officer turned consultant Jim Stengel made the case for "ambitious purpose" aimed at enacting real change -- citing the work of former competitor Unilever in its Campaign for Real Beauty.

Marketers are drowning in -- but not always using -- data.
As expected there was plenty of chatter about "big data." But an ANA survey revealed that "more than one-third of companies are not using data to make decisions, and almost half say they don't have the right analytics in place."

Programmatic buying gets barbs.
It may be growing like a weed, but some presenters treated programmatic as similarly pernicious. Heineken CEO Dolf Van den Brink juxtaposed programmatic and other efficiency-driven elements of marketing with The Most Interesting Man in the World campaign, noting that a strong creative idea trumps everything else.

The most interesting exchange on programmatic came during the CMO Roundtable sponsored by Starcom. Moderator Jeffrey Hayzlett brought up programmatic, asking: "Are we sick of talking about it yet?" Starcom CEO Lisa Donahue piped in: "I am," adding, "the reason I'm sick of talking about it is that it's missed much of the story. It has become overhyped because it's become data equals programmatic equals cost reduction. ... That is completely underselling the power of data."

Walmart will not be going native.
Mr. Hayzlett found a naysayer on another hot industry trend and buzz phrase, native advertising. When he asked Walmart U.S. Chief Marketing Officer Stephen Quinn if he was using it, he replied: "Not really. Our company is under so much scrutiny on every issue, we really felt like there's potentially a disingenuous piece to that, that could really backfire on us."

Moments lead to momentum.
In a frank presentation, Target's CMO Jeff Jones discussed how last year's holiday season data breach has impacted the retailer. He said that it quickly became evident that as the industry and the world changed, Target hadn't. The fallout provided an opportunity for Target to carefully assess its brand and take action. "Don't let a crisis force you to take stock of your brand assets," Mr. Jones said. "Don't get caught navel gazing like we did. … If you just respond, you will be too late."

Make every employee a marketer.
That's the message Marty St. George, senior VP-commercial at JetBlue, communicates to new hires. The airline recruits people who have the airline's "challenger mentality," so much so that people who don't show the right mindset are sometimes identified and dismissed during orientation. "You probably can't get hired into JetBlue if you haven't studied our values," Mr. St. George said. "And you hear about those values constantly as a JetBlue crew member," as they frequently come up in conversation. Those values, by the way, are safety, caring, integrity, passion and fun.

Build marketing into existing products.
Microsoft is working to do just that as it overhauls its marketing under CMO Chris Capossela. Windows phones, for example, automatically store photos in OneDrive. And OneNote automatically displays when users click the pen that comes with their SurfacePro. Those integrations eliminate the need to spend money marketing OneDrive or OneNote, Mr. Capossela explained.

ANA acquires Business Marketing Association.
The BMA, with more than 2,500 members nationwide in 17 chapters, is the largest business-to-business marketing association in the U.S. "The purpose of the business combination is to bring substantial attention and focus to the B-to-B marketing community," said ANA CEO Bob Liodice in a statement.

Freebies were leaner – with a couple big exceptions.
Giveaways seemed sparser than in years past, aside from an oversized shipment of candy from presenter Red Vines that easily outlasted three days of grazing by a record crowd of 2,800. The other big exception: The U.S. Postal Service and MRM/McCann gave away $1 million in free direct-mail campaign services to a marketer who found the "golden ticket" under a seat during their sponsored breakfast on Oct. 17. Alma Salazar, senior consumer marketing manager of Align Technology, won on the condition she come back next year to report on how the campaign worked.

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