At ad:tech: How social media transformed Visa's marketing

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San Francisco—The rapid rise of social media has led Visa Inc. to radically revamp its approach to marketing, CMO Antonio Lucio said this month in a keynote address at ad:tech here.

“I have never seen such a transformative change as the one that we are living through today,” Lucio said. In response to this change, the world's largest payment network has increased the digital component of its marketing to 36% from about 10%, he said.

Along with the budget reallocation has come a new marketing model built on three premises, the first of which is “think audience first.”

“As a marketer, it's not enough to understand consumer behavior; you need to understand the media interactions along the path to that behavior,” Lucio said.

For Visa, this meant flipping the traditional approach to marketing so that media planning now comes before creative development.

“We had to change our way of evaluating all this media,” Lucio said. “We started requiring a lot more from our media partners.”

The second premise, Lucio said, is to be guided by “the three principles of social media.” These are: 1) “Sharing is the new giving”; 2) “Participation is the new engagement”; and 3) “Recommendations are the new advertising.”

The third premise is to “activate” with a combination of paid, owned and shared media.

Lucio cited as examples of this new marketing approach Visa's major social initiatives in connection with the Super Bowl, Olympics and World Cup.

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