2016 ANA Masters of Marketing Conference: Event Recap


Imagine more than three thousand marketers, advertisers, technologists and industry-insiders roaming the halls of a Vegas-like conference venue collectively searching, not only for their industry peers and business partners, but for the bleeding edge of marketing. This was the scene at the 2016 ANA Masters of Marketing Conference at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Florida on October 19-22.

I may be biased because I work for the industry’s leading DSP, but I couldn’t help but notice the overwhelming buzz at this year’s event around programmatic advertising, data and analytics, and audience-based marketing/media strategies.

Many interesting points of views were presented at the conference. Here are a few key takeaways and trends I jotted down while there:

1. Mining Data To Sell More In The CPG Category

Alison Lewis, Global Chief Marketing Officer of Johnson & Johnson, spoke onstage about building ambidextrous organizations. Lewis argued that the traditional brands like J&J grew up “right-handed” in what has become a “left-handed” world. She also stated that brands like Uber, Netflix, and others are changing their own approaches altogether by embracing strategies that traditional marketers don’t always consider.

Johnson & Johnson has jumped ahead within the CPG category by operationalizing marketing efficiencies. In one of their programs, J&J mined shopper loyalty card data to discern which customers were using a particular line of products. J&J was then able to advertise a complimentary product to those individuals. J&J used shopper loyalty card data to run digital campaigns highlighting the product pairings. This strategy drove a significant lift in attributable in-store purchases.

2. Soliciting Feedback From Your Department’s Biggest Critics

Diego Scotti, Chief Marketing Officer at Verizon, gave a phenomenal presentation at ANA titled, “The Power of Collaboration,” in which he shared a unique idea that captured a lot of attention from attendees. Scotti created “The Challenger Board” at Verizon to review the ideas and strategies proposed by the marketing department. The board is composed of some of the most vocal critics and naysayers in the organization. He claimed that by subjugating his department’s ideas to this board and getting raw unfiltered feedback upfront, some of the best ideas Verizon has ever produced were born. One of the most recent ideas approved by the board was the use of celebrities like Jaime Fox to tell compelling brand stories and connect with consumers.

3. A Brave New Programmatic World

At one point during the conference, I found myself speaking with a mid-level marketer from a large firm in the Midwest who is involved in traditional marketing such as catalog direct mail. She recently began testing integrations of catalogue CRM with email campaigns. When I encountered her, I found her practically glowing in the hallway after having attended the event’s programmatic marketing overview session. She said simply, “Wow. This technology is so much more advanced than I thought.”

I think this simple statement perfectly captures the sentiment that traditional marketers feel today when they are first exposed to the advanced analytics and programmatic executions at scale that DMPs and DSPs have nearly perfected over the last 8 years. While programmatic may seem complex and opaque at first, it represents a real timesaver and budget saver for marketers everywhere. One just needs to make the time to become educated about its robust capabilities.

The good news is that we’re still in the early stages of what is possible. The programmatic marketing field will only move faster and faster in the coming years as many of the initial hurdles around cross-device and attribution are overcome.

For more on programmatic and cross-device, check out DataXu’s new video: “Cross-Device Solutions Made Simple: Discover DataXu’s OneView Technology.”