CMO Today: Fox’s Sky Bid Gets More Scrutiny; Nike Capitulates to Amazon; NYT’s Editorial/Ad Divide

Good morning. Just a bit ago, we got word that 21st Century Fox’s bid to take full control of U.K. pay-TV giant Sky may face more regulatory scrutiny and delays. U.K. Culture Secretary Karen Bradley announced this morning that she is “minded” to refer the decision about whether to allow Fox to complete its £11.7 billion ($15.2 billion) purchase of the 61% of Sky it doesn’t already own to the competition authorities for more investigation into the combined company’s influence over U.K. media. Ofcom, the U.K.’s communications regulator, found in its assessment that recent scandals at Fox in the U.S. represented “significant corporate failures” but didn’t affect its ability to adhere to U.K. broadcasting standards. Sky and Fox have until July 14 to make remedies to avoid a referral. (Reminder that 21st Century Fox and Wall Street Journal-owner News Corp share common ownership.)

Nike has resisted Amazon’s advances for years. Nike refused to provide its goods for the e-commerce giant to sell because it wanted more control over the pricing and display of its sneakers and sporting apparel. But Nike recently capitulated and has begun selling its products directly on Amazon, in part so it can muffle the hordes of unofficial third-party resellers who are hawking its goods on the site, The Wall Street Journal reports. This month, Amazon told those sellers they will soon need to stop selling certain Nike items.

—She’s Lost Control—

Cool companies like Nike consider Amazon “a site that sells items, not one that builds brands,” according to the report. This U-turn marks another direct example of Amazon’s gobbling up of the brick-and-mortar retail industry. As malls and retail chains throw down the shutters, Nike’s distribution network has become narrower. Ceding control of merchandising has become a necessary means of doing business and, as more people turn to Amazon as their first port of call when online shopping, Nike doesn’t have a lot of choice. On a related note: Digiday reports that some retailers think Amazon is “not a great partner” when it comes to sharing data.

At most news organizations, there is the expectation of a so-called “Chinese Wall” to separate editorial and commercial operations. But as traditional print advertising continues its precipitous fall and the majority of new digital spend is gobbled up by Facebook and Google, news organizations are increasingly turning to branded content to line their coffers, which is warping that traditionally solid barrier. Columbia Journalism Review has explored what it describes as the “increasingly slippery path between news and advertising” at the New York Times. The longread describes how the Gray Lady’s former executive editor, Jill…

CMO’s top 8 martech stories for the week – 29 June 2017

RadiumOne is snapped up for US$22m

Global digital adtech company, RhythmOne, has acquired the assets of data-driven marketing platform, RadiumOne, in a deal worth approximately US$22 million.

Founded in 2004 in the UK and now headquartered in San Francisco, RhythmOne’s recent acquisition is pitched as fortifying the vendor’s unified programmatic offering, which will now incorporate curated, high-quality audiences from publishers across devices and formats on the supply side, integrated with greater media buying capability to enable advertisers to maximise campaign effectiveness. RhythmOne is paying US$5.5 million upfront in cash for RadiumOne’s assets, with a further US$16.5 million to be paid in shares at a future date. The company has reportedly assumed about US$4m in net liabilities.

“One of the biggest challenges facing advertisers today is how to leverage the rich data they get from customers throughout the buying cycle,” RhythmOne’s CRO, Richard Nunn, said. “RadiumOne’s powerful data-driven marketing platform combined with RhythmOne’s massive, high-quality supply footprint will truly enable brands to develop and activate segmentation and targeting strategies based on unique consumer insights.”

For our full report on the acquisition, read more here.

New consortium looks to blockchain for ad supply improvements

A new consortium has launched to investigate the use of blockchain in driving new transparency and data security across the digital advertising supply chain.

AdLedger is backed by blockchain adtech startup, MadHive, along with IBM, Integral Ad Science and Tegna’s OTT ad subsidiary, Premion. Its ambition is to bring together advertising industry players to collaborate on how blockchain could be employed as a technology to transform the advertising industry, and create a programmatic supply chain where intermediaries and stakeholders that contribute data to a campaign are transparent to buyers and sellers.

“The network will aim to remove layers of inefficiency in technology stacks to address the issue of the disappearing ad dollar, introduce cross-network identity management and attribution reporting, and establish a protocol around a decentralised peer-to-peer data sharing solution,” the group stated. “Based on existing industry standards, AdLedger will also determine rules and standards for the protocol that would apply to audience segments, regulatory compliance, data uploads, encryption via keys, and a universal language for smart contracts.”

According to a report on AdExchanger, the working group specifically plans to take on issues such as technical standards, regulatory concerns and the language of ‘smart contracts’, one of the key capabilities within blockchain. It’s also working on open source code for what it calls ‘the blind trust’, or a method to upload and transact first-party data.

You can read the full AdExchanger report on AdLedger’s plans here.

Hootsuite aims to amplify sales

Social media management vendor, Hootsuite, has extended its platform to sales, launching a new mobile-first solution to help sales teams with lead management across social channels.

Amplify for Selling aims to help sales teams be more successful on social by generating leads and fostering relationships. Key features of the mobile application include integration with CRM, allowing teams to directly import contacts into Amplify for Selling to follow on Twitter, as well as social signal functionality, allowing them to reach out in real time.

The tool also allows sales people to share and curate content across multiple social channels in real time, as well as view and report on how leads engaged with content by use, social network and category.

“Sales reps are constantly under pressure to find and develop qualified leads in order to meet quota. Hootsuite’s Amplify for Selling solution empowers reps to leverage social to nurture and build rewarding relationships that…

CKE names new CMO and COO

Carl's Jr.

CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc., the parent of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, has added two new executives to the C-suite and promoted a third, the company said Wednesday.

Jeff Jenkins (left) and Tom Brennan will serve as CMO and COO, respectively. Chip Seigel has been promoted to chief legal officer.

Jenkins will focus on creative campaigns and highlighting CKE’s food, according to a release.

“I’m honored to be joining CKE, whose uncompromised food quality and innovative creative work are pillars of the company,” Jenkins said in a release. “I’m looking forward to being a part of such a well-established organization that has been a leader in the restaurant industry for more than 75 years, and to creating breakthrough campaigns that expand the company’s success across the globe.”

Jenkins has 15 years of experience in digital and foodservice marketing. He most recently worked at Whole Foods. Previously, he was the director of digital experience and new platforms for Taco Bell.

Can Systems Thinking Help You Think Like a CMO and Drive Marketing Innovation?

systems thinking

Every marketer has felt the pressure to drive marketing innovation. But what does that really mean for the average marketer, whose role includes a diverse range of different factors? Consider a day in the life of a marketer. You’re managing social campaigns on four different networks. You’re editing blog posts, writing blog posts, and trying to solicit contributions from freelancers and internal contributors. There are update calls with your agencies that handle content, creative, and SEO. Your CEO is starting to make noises about redesigning the website again, and that doesn’t even begin to address the actual projects you need to finish this week, including the full setup for a major customer event and all the details for a new product launch.

Just writing that kicked my blood pressure up a few notches, and living it day by day is an entirely different experience. With heavy workloads and ever-changing platforms and priorities, it’s hard for marketers to move from a tactical focus to a strategic one. You often know you need to write and post five tweets a day. But when is the last time you stepped back, asked why, looked at your ROI, and determined how any one activity contributed to your success? If you’re ready to get real results, stay on top of your most important priorities, and ultimately move up in your career, you have to start thinking like a CMO. And that is best accomplished by understanding and mastering systems thinking.

What Is Systems Thinking? Or How I Finally Mastered SEO

Thinking like a CMO involves the ability to see the bigger picture and how smaller factors contribute to end results. However, it also requires the ability to understand how individual factors relate and can lead to meaningful shifts overall. The world is governed by systems: systems we create and systems that we learn how to work within. The same is true about marketing. Systems-based thinking has been described in many ways, but for me, it’s a way to systematically manage complexity and chaos with the aim of deploying the resources you have to accomplish your most important goals.

One official definition of systems thinking is “a management discipline that concerns an understanding of a system by examining the linkages and interactions between the components that comprise the entirety of that defined system.” In other words, it gives you a framework to assess the importance of individual parts of the puzzle, as well as their cumulative impact and how different parts of your marketing strategy affect broader outcomes. That’s what a CMO does differently than a marketer who’s running from tactic to tactic trying to achieve results. They set the vision, assess different options for getting there, and then craft a road map…

CMO Today: WPP Suffers Hack; Brunch Beer; Verizon Pursues Carrier Data Tie-Ups

WPP Chief Executive Martin Sorrell
WPP Chief Executive Martin Sorrell Photo: Niklas Halle’N/Zuma Press

Good morning. Yesterday was frantic for WPP, which was among the many companies hit by a global cyberattack. The so-called Petya virus, a form of ransomware, infiltrated company networks and locked some computers, demanding payment in bitcoin for them to be returned back to normal.

Global firms are scrambling to deal with the fallout from the cyberattack. WPP reacted quickly and told staff yesterday morning U.S. time to log out of its network and shut down their computers as a precautionary measure. Staffers were attempting to conduct business on their cellphones, creatives were reverting back to pen and paper and some employees even resorted to playing board games while they waited for instructions on what to do next. On Tuesday, WPP said its operations had “not been uniformly affected” and that many of its businesses were experiencing “no or minimal disruption.” There have been no reports of a data breach, and WPP is working with its network service provider IBM and law enforcement agencies to get to the bottom of the issue.

—Sorrell Speaks—

WPP Chief Executive Martin Sorrell sent out a memo to all staff overnight, that I have reviewed, saying that “contrary to some press reports, WPP and its companies are still very much open for business.” Mr. Sorrell said that a group of “highly creative, ingenious and dedicated people” should put those qualities into practice to make sure the company’s clients experience no disruption. Business as usual, basically: Madison Avenue is used to long hours, after all.

I have a general rule when it comes to alcohol: Any time after 12 p.m. is permissible. Drinking before midday is socially unacceptable—unless you’ve not been to bed yet. But brewers are now increasingly experimenting with “morning-friendly” beers, designed to be paired with brunch, WSJ reports. Around 21% of Americans say they are likely to drink beer at brunch, according to Nielsen CGA. Brewers’ efforts to magic up a new daypart for beer come as sales of the beverage are falling, both in the U.S. and world-wide. So a marketing effort is under way to convince consumers that they should ditch their Bloody Marys and complement their scrambled eggs or pancakes with flavored beer instead. “We want to make beer more sophisticated,” said…

Pandora closes Aussie operations as global CEO and CMO step down

Music streaming service, Pandora, has confirmed it is closing its doors in Australia and New Zealand after five years.

The announcement came days after Pandora’s global CEO, Time Westergren, president, Mike Herring, and CMO, Nick Bartle, announced they were all departing the company simultaneously.

Meanwhile, the Australian and New Zealand managing director, Jane Huxley, jumped ship only in March this year, after being in the role for four-and-a-half years.

“After diligent analysis, we have decided to discontinue our operations in Australia and New Zealand and expect to wind down the service for listeners over the next few weeks,” a Pandora spokesperson told CMO. “While our experience in these markets reinforces the broader global opportunity long-term, in the short-term we must remain…

CMO interview: How AGL is looking to shake up customer experiences of energy

Sandra de Castro
Sandra de Castro

One of the mistaken beliefs people have around digital transformation is that recruiting for skills and experience is more important than having internal talent, AGL’s chief sales and marketing officer, Sandra de Castro, claims.

“The reality is there isn’t necessarily an enormous amount of experience around in these areas [digital marketing and customer-led transformation],” the recently installed executive leader tells CMO.

“Yes, we are bringing in new talent and capability in terms of trying to inject more digital and integrated marketing experience into our business. But having said that, there are some great people in this business. Nurturing and skilling up the capabilities of the people already there is important.

“It’s as much about recognising the talent you have, bringing them on the journey and giving them the opportunities to be creative with a new set of tools.”

De Castro was appointed the head of sales and marketing at AGL in January, filling a gap left by Mark Brownfield’s departure last year. Prior to joining AGL, de Castro spend six years with National Australia Bank as CMO and executive leader of strategy.

Her arrival comes just months after AGL’s CEO, Andy Vesey, unveiled a $300 million customer experience transformation program aimed at putting digital at the heart of the organisation and the way it engages with customers.

Announced last August, the program sees AGL investing in three core components: Foundational capability, such as IT systems; digital adoption; and “signature moments” for customers around their experience with AGL. A significant portion of investment also relates to data-driven personalisation of services, and the provider is taking on both Adobe’s Marketing Cloud stack, as well as sophisticated decisioning personalisation kit, to achieve these ambitions.

De Castro describes the broad-ranging digital transformation program as “massively ambitious” and one spanning the whole customer end of the business. New products, capabilities and digital offerings are all rolling out in coming months as the customer experience program picks up a rhythm of execution, she says.

AGL is initially looking at five signature moments, all related to delivering digital experiences that charm and delight the customer in unmatched ways. “We have looked at customer experiences in energy, and what are either pain points or opportunities to delight with things that really come to life in the energy space,” de Castro explains.

“For example, one of the moments we’re used a lot in is moving house, and signups. We’ve done a lot of work around that experience. Another is meter reading – in Sydney, there’s still a meter reader man, and we know there’s a lot of pain around that experience. So one solution is around digitising that.”

Then there’s the need to make energy relatable. De Castro points out people often find it hard to understand how the size of their bill relates to energy usage.

Starting with five moments, AGL has 40 it plans to tackle long-term. Some will be supported by above-the-line advertising, others will be details customers feel in the experience, de Castro says. New products coming out will also focused on putting control back in the hands of the customer.

“For some it’s a real issue around the bill being different one month to the next. How to control and find ways to design plans to make it easier to control usage in advance,” de Castro says. “Predictability is another one. It’s a series of products that speak to things customers find unhelpful around energy experiences, or opportunity to do things differently that customers might like better.”

One of the most important things about the transformation program is that it’s tightly embedded with business-as-usual teams, de Castro says.

“That means team members from various parts of my team are all seconded into the program, and I have a couple of direct reports leading different streams of the program,” she says. “The program as an integrated whole but stays very close to the core business, which is great, because if it’s retooling you’re after, what you’re retooling is BAU. It’s not transformation that’s about creating something off to the side, it’s about creating a new way of working.

“I and my leadership team, plus the AGL executive team running the operations business, digital and various component parts, are all intimately engaged with the program.”

The expanding role of marketing

That’s not the only thing that’s kept de Castro busy during her first six months in the combined sales and marketing role, covering all consumer and business customer sales, marketing, product and pricing.

In April, AGL officially launched its new brand campaign, the visual reflection of a broad brand repositioning exercise. The new logo includes a stylised gas burner, and has sustainability and digital user experience as key themes. De Castro says much of the research and strategy work had been done prior to her arrival.

The rebrand fits into the wider transformation program in two ways. The first is AGL’s…

Damien Mahoney, Amazon, and how AI will affect user-generated content — VB Engage

This week, Travis and Stewart interview Damien Mahoney, who tells us everything we need to know about user-generated content, machine learning, AI, and what the future holds for consumer engagement.

In the news, we discuss the marketing implications of Amazon’s intention to buy Whole Foods, a new study that offers hope for competing ecommerce vendors, and blockchain for advertising.

By listening to this episode of the VB Engage podcast, you will hear:

  • Welcome to VB Engage episode 57! [00:10]
  • This week, Stewart was in Barcelona at the I Am Tomorrow conference, a conference focusing on women in tech. [01:15]
  • The conference included 95 percent female speakers and panelists. [02:05]
  • Congrats to Jenny Ham of Topeka, Kansas, who is the winner of our Huawei MediaPad M3 tablet! [02:45]
  • That’s right: We finally got an email response to the competition from a real life person! [03:15]
  • There were over 1,400 entrants in our contest! Thanks to everyone. [04:05]
  • Amazon’s stock rose $15B in market share, essentially getting Whole Foods for free! [04:55]
  • Amazon has purchased over 400 hubs around the U.S. [05:10]
  • One AI-powered solution uses CCTV cameras to identify which items you’ve taken off the store shelves, and it will bill you as you walk out the door. [05:35]
  • Machine learning + artificial intelligence + Whole Foods [06:30]
  • Now that Amazon owns Whole Foods, chances are all Amazon purchases will be taxed locally. [07:10]
  • Don’t discount click and collect, which is very convenient in the UK, with packages delivered at the local corner shop. [08:10]
  • Amazon’s conversational UI, Alexa, and the new Wand. [09:25]
  • Interesting report out this week on the emotional triggers, based on research by Qubit. [10:30]
  • Scarcity, social proof, and urgency are the three triggers that most impact conversion optimization. [11:00]
  • Red buttons don’t work. [11:25]
  • This product is about…

5 successful B2B AdWords best practices for any company

AdWords is a brutal marketplace for many B2B businesses. There’s low search volume and high competition, resulting in extremely expensive CPCs — not good.

Instead of burning your cash on expensive and ineffective ads, consider these five AdWords tweaks and strategies that any company can implement immediately.

1. Start with negative keywords

Homing in on the keywords that work for you is the single most important step for running profitable advertising for your company. The best way to do that is by answering the question, “What were the keywords that actually triggered my ads?” using the Search Terms report, and trimming the nonsense using negative keywords. In this case, there are two important exclusion categories.

Irrelevant searches

Does the search have anything to do with your company? Depending on how broad your keywords are, you’ll need to exclude homonyms, pop culture references (see below), misspellings and NSFW searches.

Here’s a ridiculously hypothetical situation: You sell delicious homemade fig preserves, so you bid on the keyword “jam.” You then realize your ads aren’t doing so hot because most people who google the term “jam” are looking for Michael Jackson’s 1991 smash hit starring Michael Jordan. People then click your ad and leave disappointed, without making a purchase, because they had a glimmer of hope that Michael Jordan also came out with a delicious jam that no one knew about.

I mean, hey, people can be unpredictable sometimes. Spend enough time in the Search Terms report and you’ll know that all too well.

Unqualified traffic

The second type of exclusion is preventing…

Singular and Apsalar merge to create unified marketing analytics platform

Mobile marketing analytics firm Singular is merging with mobile app attribution and audience management firm Apsalar today so the two companies can offer a combined product line for businesses.

The combined enterprise will be known as Singular and will offer an important third-party source of mobile user data on the individual level, said Gadi Eliashiv, CEO of San Francisco-based Singular, in an interview with GamesBeat. The goal is to destroy silos of data and give marketers access to new insights into their customers on a more granular level, he said.

“Mobile attribution is one piece of the equation,” he said. “We are looking at marketing activities from an end-to-end standpoint. The reality is a few companies cannot catch all of the marketing activity of every company in the system.”

Singular is expanding beyond mobile apps to the web, offline channels, and other devices. The combined company will have 110 employees.

“We never could have imagined the crazy ride we’ve been having,” Eliashiv said. “When we talk to Facebook, Google, and others, they are really on board with our approach to the market. Third-party measurement companies are always going to exist, as there is always someone independent that you need to measure.”

Singular has deep-level reporting across marketing platforms — ad networks and life-cycle management companies and agencies — that report various kinds of data, said Singular chief operating officer Susan Kuo, in an interview.

“We’ve got an end-to-end marketing analytics platform,” Kuo said. “We think it will be a watershed for changes in the marketing ecosystem.”

Historically, marketers were forced to collect and connect siloed, non-standardized data from an ever-growing number of marketing solutions and channels. This has resulted in inaccurate data, scaling challenges, and, above all, has prevented marketers from exposing and leveraging the…