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THOMAS: We’ve talked about integrated marketing communications, and what I’m hearing around the table is we’re happy to become more conversant with each of the disciplines—communications versus direct, or digital, or public relations and so forth. We’re seeing our advertising people become more conversant in public relations. And vice versa with our PR people, becoming more conversant in advertising. Talking and working more.
Public relations has been largely the red-headed stepchild in that integrated marketing communications mix. We’ve seen that role rise a little bit in recent years. The recession was probably a blessing in disguise, where advertising was cut and public relations actually saw a little bit of an uptick. And through that process we got a seat at the table and have, I think, maintained that seat and had a much greater impact on the overall marketing mix.
PLOQUIN: I echo what’s been said about emotional connection. How do you break through the clutter? Creativity is still key. You still need to have an incredible message, something that breaks through the clutter. And then they may not see your spot at the time that they bought it, but they may see it on Facebook because somebody found it incredibly creative and wanted to share it. And people want to copy your spot and create their own spot. So you’re part of the general conversation still through traditional media, non-traditional. But your product has to be creative. It has to ignite them, connect. And that’s still really the key. Be creative.
PARKIN: From the client side, we’re dabbling more in digital than we ever have. And we’re certainly out there in social and doing some guerilla marketing and some fun things like that.
But we have historically done a lot of traditional media up at the zoo. Why? Because it seems to work. The zoo is a very creative brand, a very visual brand, so we use television—the most visual media that there is. And it works to great effect for us. I just read in The New York Times that over $70 billion are spent in television advertising in this country every year. It’s working for somebody. People are still advertising on television.
Radio also works great for us. It’s a wonderful, solid medium. This is a communal market, so you do outdoor. It’s not brain surgery, it’s just trying to reach who your target market is and what they’re seeing out there.
SNAVELY: I sit on the executive team with the nine sales people who are focused on the dollar today, and then I have the team that wants to pitch them on the money. Right? So what you’re going to see from internal marketers is this challenge to bridge that gap. They have to be selling both sides of it for the right long-term rep of the company—that there is the emotional, there is the storytelling, there is a long-term brand impact and creative idea—and selling it to people who are not wired that way.
KEMPEMA: We had this conversation yesterday with one of our clients, in terms of do we have to have a literal sales proposition: buy this stuff right now. Who in this room will actually consume that message and say, “I’m going to buy it?”
I grew up in the business where you made a friend, you made a proposition. And you do it in that order. That way your brand has likability and the attraction to the offer is that much more compelling. As opposed to just buy it because I say you should buy it.
KNIGHT: I just had that argument. We were just purchased by Blackstone, one of the largest private equity firms. When we were talking about trying to create brand awareness, their very first question is, “How is that going to effect EBITDA?”
So it’s trying to educate the world about what a brand means. For me, it started with we have to be in more conversations. And in order for us to be in conversations, people have to know that we exist.
What are some of the other trends that we haven’t talked about that you see looming on the horizon?
MELCHIOR: For me, one of the scariest things in marketing is privacy right now. Especially coming from the digital side, there’s so much information about you as an individual. When I talk about me being marketed to as an individual, there’s so much information about me out on the web right now, on my social media channels and everywhere else, and I start to get concerned about what information Google has about me. They know every single email I’ve ever sent right now. And they can go through it on a line-by-line basis, find the key words in it and then run ads to me associated with that.
There’s a scene in Minority Report where Tom Cruise is walking through a mall or whatever, and they’re flashing his retinas and then they’re advertising straight to him. “Hey, John, this is for you.” And, “You just bought this.” That’s something that’s really scary to me when I start thinking about the control of privacy and how do we utilize that information appropriately on the marketing side and where do we cross the line and who’s ultimately responsible for that decision.