GM is shifting ‘significant’ dollars to connected TV advertising
General Motors is shifting “significant” dollars to advertising on connected TV, says global Chief Marketing Officer Deborah Wahl.
“We think there is enormous potential,” Wahl said during an interview this week at CES. “Just this year, our [connected TV] budgets have increased by 66 percent. It represents a significant portion of our overall media investments.”
Connected TV—which refers to platforms such as Hulu and Roku—is expected to lure more than $10 billion in advertising by 2021, according to an eMarketer forecast. Of course, that is still just a fraction of the $70 billion TV ad marketplace.
But an uptick in investments from a giant spender like GM could move the connected TV needle significantly, especially if other big automakers follow suit. The automaker—whose brands include Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC—ranks as the nation’s fifth-largest ad spender at $3.14 billion in 2018, according to the latest figures from the Ad Age Datacenter. Of that total ad spend, 83 percent was shoveled into TV.
Wahl did not say how much the 66 percent shift amounts to in raw dollars, but she is bullish on connected TV’s targeting capabilities. “We are seeing that it returns results so quickly,” she said, referencing a three-month test performed by Cadillac that led to what she described as a “10 percent increase in effectiveness.” That, she added, “allows us to re-put those dollars into more investments.”
Wahl was named global CMO in September after leading Cadillac’s marketing since March 2018. She was previously CMO of McDonald's USA for three years. She is GM’s first global CMO since 2012.
In the interview, she discusses the CMO role and other topics, like the potential commoditization of in-vehicle technology.
How are you approaching the global CMO role?
I think of it as a chief contributing officer, really. That means my purpose is to drive growth and value for the company. Also to really push and support disruption and pace and how fast we move. And then finally, to be the chief advocate for our customers.
How do you ensure GM’s in-car tech is differentiated?
If you think about it, every morning you probably do five things when you get into your car—you decide which podcast or which entertainment you are going to listen to, you order your coffee, you think about who you need to call. So how do we do what I call an intuitive ‘pre-sponse’ for all of that. So we are building all of that. And how you deliver it for our brands will different between Cadillac and Chevy. It will be a unique experience.
Give us some predictions on the marketing industry for 2020.
We are going to bust the myth that there is a divide between creativity and analytics. I think we are going to see all of that come together for amazing experiences for our customers. The second thing I think we’re are going to see is the rise of corporate leadership to address the challenges of our time … We are all going to grow up and really take the reins and change the world.