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Alyssa McBryar

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Sara Whiteleather, AMP Agency VP of Media, Speaks on Global Digital Ad Spending in Latest eMarketer Report

Our own Sara Whiteleather, VP of Media, was recently interviewed for eMarketer's latest report on Global Digital Ad Spending by Jasmine Enberg. The report details fascinating findings, like the fact that for the first time, digital will account for >50% of total global media ad spending.   Sara spoke with Jasmine in depth about the shifting media landscape and AMP Agency’s focus on driving greater efficiency and a stronger customer experience through the convergence of digital and traditional channels.   In the report, Sara shares, “Brands are continuing to break down the traditional marketing silos and think about customer experience first and foremost. That applies to traditional vs. digital and paid vs. owned. They’re thinking holistically about how to reach consumers across all the different touchpoints in the full marketing ecosystem.”   Check out the full report from eMarketer here: https://www.emarketer.com/content/us-digital-ad-spending-2019  

3 Ways to Ready Your Brand for the Data Drought

Over the past several years, we’ve operated in a golden age of data. Between first-, second- and third-party sources, marketers have leveraged this information about their consumers as a powerful marketing tool. But the data well is about to start drying up. Our VP of Strategy, Greer Pearce, and our VP of Media, Kazi Ahmed, talk about the data drought and the three things brands can do right now to ready themselves for it.   Check it out on MediaPost: https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/331299/data-drought-coming-prepare-with-effective-use-of.html

Beyond Personas: Creating Customer Doppelgangers

  Dear smart marketers: it’s time to start dabbling in doppelgängers.   What does this mean, exactly? It means the future of substantial and effective consumer understanding relies on the intersection of behavioral analysis and Consumer Identity Strategy (CIS).   Although consumer research has always been a crucial component of advertising, CIS is a new, more comprehensive level of consumer research. Through CIS, brands establish an authentic and evolving portrait of a consumer and their purchasing journey informed through persistent evaluation of online and offline behavior coupled with demographics and psychographics.   By developing an identity strategy that layers behavioral data onto more traditional methods of qualitative and quantitative analysis, brands are able to truly identify their consumer.   Discovering how, when and where a consumer shops, seeing what brands are stealing closet or cart space, and understanding how customers connect on social channels — brands can even see how their customers behave when they aren’t shopping.   In essence, brands don’t just build personas, but create doppelgängers of their customers through Big Data.   It’s the creation of these doppelgängers that enable brands to attain a comprehensive understanding of how their consumers act, live and behave. With this knowledge, brands can make viable predictions of how particular consumers will shop and act based on similar consumers. This doppelgänger approach can even be applied to the smallest business all the way up through the big leagues. Even in big league baseball.   At age 32, Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz hit a career-threatening slump. But Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com used doppelgängers to refute the conventional wisdom that Ortiz was washed up.   >> Interested in taking a swing at the details of Big Papi’s doppelgängers? Download our white paper now to learn more.   Ortiz ultimately shook his slump and improved his game, just as Silver’s doppelgänger data suggested. With the right amount of the right data, brands can build more effective and accurate personas. They can design strategies to reach and serve their customers not only with the right messaging, but also the right timing and cadence.   Using behavioral data to create a consumer identity strategy is no longer for the Amazons, Walmarts and Googles of the world. It’s for every brand that has a physical, digital and mobile presence in their industry. Brands that don’t focus their marketing dollars on consumer identity strategies immediately will find themselves playing catch-up in the years to come.   Now is your chance to step up to the plate and make bold business moves. Get a deeper look into the power of behavioral analysis and AMP Agency here by downloading the white paper, or visit AMP’s website: www.ampagency.com.

Big Data's Impact on Consumer Research and Strategy

When it comes to the dynamic nature of marketing and advertising climates, stagnancy is rarely recommended.   That’s why it may seem unfathomable that consumer research tactics have seldom adapted since the folks at Arm & Hammer discovered that their customers were putting baking soda in their refrigerators to keep them fresh.   But now, marketers are no longer confined to surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Consumer research is finally following the lead of Arm & Hammer’s customers and freshening things up big-time.   Data scientists and smart data-led marketers today are creating methods that improve and expand upon the insights coming from traditional qualitative and quantitative research. As a result, consumer research as a whole is embracing a new wave of audience understanding thanks to the help of Big Data.   That’s right — Big Data just so happens to be the next big thing for consumer research.   By layering in Big Data, brands can develop a comprehensive Consumer Identity Strategy (CIS): an authentic and evolving portrait of a consumer and their purchasing journey informed through persistent evaluation of online and offline behavior coupled with demographics and psychographics.   The idea of observing people’s actions, habits and behaviors may not seem all that groundbreaking. But being able to observe consumers at scale and use data models based on behavior is, in fact, disruptive for marketers and is rapidly becoming the core of every identity strategy.   By augmenting self-reported surveys, behavioral data analysis builds a picture of a consumer based on their actual behaviors. These behaviors can range from what they purchase online and offline to behaviors as specific as what time of day they like to shop or how often they actually go to the gym.   To see how Big Data and CIS play out in real-life scenarios, just look at Netflix — a company who learned early on in its life cycle that actions speak much louder than words.     >> Read more about how this streaming giant succeeded in using Big Data-driven consumer identity strategy by downloading our complete white paper here.     Netflix grew their business by using behavioral data that showed true consumer behavior. On top of that, this data helps reveal counterintuitive results that may go against what society or individuals believe to be true.   When this behavioral data is layered onto more traditional methods of qualitative and quantitative analysis, brands are then able to truly identify their consumer in ways traditional research methods had not made possible before Big Data came into play.   Now’s the time to be bold and lead with the best tools available.Get a deeper look into the power of behavioral analysis and AMP Agency here by downloading the white paper, or visit AMP’s website: www.ampagency.com.

Unexpected Takeaways From the Ad Club's CMO Breakfast with JCPenney

“Stylish women love JCPenney. Some of them just don’t know it yet.”   Like I had, you might be thinking, “Really now? Coming from a brand with a decades-old value first reputation?” Yes, really. Bear with me on this because I wasn’t buying it at first either, but there’s something fascinating here.   My expectations weren’t exactly clear walking into the AdClub CMO breakfast featuring Marci Grebstein, JCPenney’s recently appointed Chief Marketing Officer. In fact, I hadn’t heard much about JCPenney in recent advertising news at all. So, as I settled into my seat in the Google auditorium, I carried my perception of JCPenney as being an outdated brand with me. What followed in the next 60 minutes of Marci’s presentation radically shifted that perception, and propelled me into a state of furious notetaking. Expectations: 0. Marci: 1. As Marci spoke, my previous perceptions were countered by a surprising portrait of a progressive brand that has altered its messaging to meet the the modern American mom where she actually is, not where the rest of the world expects her to be.   How did JCPenney break from an old brand perception and arrive at their new strategic positioning? With Marci’s lead, the company invested in what many brands have yet to: critical brand perception research and journey mapping. They put in the work to better understand the modern American mom, their bullseye audience. The result? A clear picture of her values that transcend just standard demographics alone—   Convenience: She’s a working mom who doesn’t have a ton of time. Family: She puts extra emphasis on family - her real family, work family, friend family. She loves spending time with them, especially when shopping. Price: She’s on a tight budget, so finding style for less is important. These newly pinpointed values exposed a critical insight that ultimately drove JCPenney’s brand repositioning: The modern American mom wants to find value without sacrificing style.   When you think of value forward, you might think Walmart or Kohl’s. When you think of style forward, you might think Nordstrom or Macy’s. To meet this mom where she is, JCPenney repositioned itself to exist at the intersection of both. This opportunistic white space was the driving force for a major shift in marketing communications—breaking from the old “Get your Penney’s worth” tagline, and transitioning to “Style and Value for All”, a nod to their diverse and value-driven audience.   JCPenney has since rolled out everything from new brand anthem spots touting their new messaging to fresh fashion, beauty, and influencer partnerships—all of which reflect a diverse range of people and lifestyles, centering on shared American values and family.       I applaud JCPenney’s efforts to get smart about their customer. It can be scary for brands, especially ones with long legacies, to step away from the standard. But JCPenney took these consumer insights as an opportunity to break free from the mold and instead represent who their customers really are—people of all different sizes, cultures, family types, and mindsets. But wait, there’s more. Extending beyond a commitment to reflecting their diverse consumer in their advertising, Marci confirmed the brand also puts strong emphasis on diversity in hiring. When I asked if JCPenney works to ensure that the multicultural woman they’re targeting is reflected in their work force and marketing decision makers, Marci met my question with enthusiastic appreciation.   She shared that she thinks diverse perspectives inevitably lead to stronger communication strategies—and that giving traditionally underrepresented populations in business a seat at the table is important to her. In support of this, she proudly shared that 60% of JCPenney’s decision makers are women, and growing numbers are racial minorities.   I’m of the belief that a sea of sameness yields more of the same. Strategies are elevated by the healthy tensions that diverse perspectives bring. And we need more of that.   The sometimes difficult, but always invaluable self-reflection that JCPenney embarked on with their brand perception and consumer research is something all of us as marketers can learn from while navigating the ever changing consumer landscape.   Want to check out Marci’s full presentation and decide for yourself? Watch the full presentation here: http://theadclub.org/cmo/jcpenney/     This blog post was written by: Alyssa McBryar, Marketing Manager Liz Lauzon, Assoc. Business Development Manager  

The Privilege of Taking Risks

The Scoop Last Thursday’s MITX Influence(her) panel, Why It’s Worth Taking Risks, was a platform for an enriching two-way conversation between the audience and four esteemed women who have taken risks in their careers – risks that have propelled them forward in their journey of professional success. The discussion was almost entirely centered on “knowing that the world won’t end if you take a risk,” “going for it,” and “doing what will be most fun”—which was great. It was encouraging to learn that risk taking as it relates to your career sometimes has a huge, often unforeseeable payoff. It really was. Sitting in the audience as a 22 year old woman starting my career—learning that there’s power in making the decision to take a risk—it really, really, really was! The Missing Piece But, something important was missing from the discussion—until Ellen Chisa, VP of Product at Lola Travel Company was prompted to speak on her notion of “the privilege of taking risks.” She only spoke to this notion briefly, and although her discussion of it lasted probably less than 5% of the total length of the panel, I found it to be the most valuable and upsettingly almost-missed key takeaway. You may be trying to connect the dots right now, figuring out how taking risks is linked to privilege. Let me put it this way: while the world may not end if taking a risk doesn’t pan out particularly well, for some people who lack the security and comfort of guaranteed support it may as well. Ellen attributed things like financial security, which allowed her to take risks as large as quitting a coveted position at Microsoft as a recent graduate and more recently dropping out of Harvard Business School, to particular circumstances like not having the burden of student debt thanks to a free-ride during undergrad. Other marks of privilege in addition to financial security include economic mobility, emotional support, and societal acceptance. Without at least one or all of these things, taking a career risk suddenly becomes a lot more difficult to justify. And in a society where systematically oppressed groups are more likely to lack these pillars of privilege, that justification becomes even harder to provide. How can you justify forfeiting the security of a job that makes you miserable for the unknown outcome of starting your own business when your family is relying on you to pay rent? Sometimes you physically cannot afford to take a risk, even if it is the most foreseeably beneficial thing to do. Ellen closed out her brief, but important discussion of the privilege of taking risks by saying “Don’t ever judge someone who appears not to be taking risks to better their career, for you never truly know if they are in a position to do so.” So? So, yes, I think it’s great to have a go-getter mentality; to seek out and create opportunities for yourself, to go for them with everything you’ve got. I’m all for it. But I also think it’s important not to discuss taking risks without sufficiently addressing the reality that not everyone is in a position to take one. It’s not only important to understand this reality, but also to encourage the privileged population to supplement those missing pillars of support for others lacking privilege in any way they can, even if it’s just a “Hey, I believe in you.”

Why I'm Still Thinking About the Women's Leadership Forum Two Weeks Later

I’m still thinking about the Women’s Leadership Forum for a number of reasons, and I don’t expect that to change any time soon. Wondering why? Great, because I’m here to tell you. Yes, you—whatever gender you are or identify with—because what I took away from the Women’s Leadership Forum is not only for women to hear, relate to, or act on. I could write pages and pages about all of what I took away from the Forum and what each of those things mean, but ain’t nobody got time for that, not even me. So, I’m going to focus on the concept that I’ve come to realize has penetrated my daily thoughts ever since that empowering Tuesday afternoon at the Seaport World Trade Center. Unleash your unapologetic tenacity.   –The McBride Sisters, Co-Founders of Truvée Wines The McBride Sister’s notion of being “unapologetically tenacious,” infused with the teachings each and every one of the Forum’s speakers shared, has shaped the way I actively think about myself as a woman, and as a woman in business. You may be wondering what the context of “unapologetic tenacity” is, or what exactly that means, so let me sum it up with another McBride Sisters quote: “If a big old fart gets in your way, go around him, blaze your own trail, and then come back with proof [that you were right].”                                                                         Source: The Ad Club In other words it means never starting your sentences in a meeting with “I’m sorry—I could be wrong—but—and we don’t have to do this—but…” and ending them with “does that make sense?” It means never obstructing a great idea from escaping the confines of your own thoughts for fear of being dismissed. It means exploring your ideas, seeing them through, and refusing to relinquish your determination in the face of rejection, because as a woman you will experience a lot of it. As a society we have been socialized to believe that women have less to offer than men—that they are less than—and so of course we, as women, start our sentences that way and of course we don’t always share our ideas, even when we know that they’re kickass. But a pledge to unapologetic tenacity is a rejection of that socially constructed norm, a recognition that we too have every right to be unapologetically tenacious, and a stride towards breaking the cycle of socialization. Since recognizing a desire in myself to make a commitment to being unapologetically tenacious two Tuesdays ago, I’ve realized how excessively and needlessly apologetic I actually am. I’ve also realized how excessively apologetic my female co-workers, friends, and family members are, too. Amy Poehler once said “It takes years as a woman to unlearn what you have been taught to be sorry for.” I’m ready to unlearn, starting with myself, and then working towards influencing change in others. These past two weeks, I’ve actively worked on changing the way that I outwardly communicate, whether it’s the manner in which I verbally share my ideas or the words I choose to write my emails. I try to avoid the “I could be wrong, but” introduction to an idea. I now actively think to delete the “sorrys” in my emails when they are not needed and keep the word “just” out of my vocabulary altogether because, no, I am NOT “just checking in to see if you’ve had the chance to blah blah,” I AM (definitively) checking in. Almost more importantly, I’m actively working on changing the way I inwardly communicate with myself. Changing “don’t say that because there’s a chance you’re wrong” to “be confident in the larger chance that you’re right and know that the smaller chance that you’re wrong won’t kill you; it’s okay to be wrong sometimes,” which leads me to my next point, so eloquently and succinctly expressed by Reshma Saujani as she closed out the Forum: We’ve socialized our girls to be perfect, and we’ve socialized our boys to be brave. –Reshma Saujani, Founder & CEO of Girls Who Code As I’ve proved, there is something unacceptably damaging about that truth, which should stir in us a desire to change it. This is the part of the post where I make good on the promise I made in my introduction, claiming that what I took away from the Women’s Leadership Forum is important for everyone. This is where I ask our men to let our women be unapologetically tenacious—not at all in the sense of permission, but rather in the spirit of respect where respect is due. I ask our women to commit to it. And I ask us all to encourage our young girls to commit to it as much as we encourage our young boys to already. I promise that the world will be better for it. Source: Rupi Kaur, http://on.fb.me/1Ri658m  Your turn. What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts—agree? Disagree? Let’s talk about it. As I’ve learned, it’s okay to be wrong.

What to Do When Your Brand Can't Exactly 'Pay-to-Play' on Facebook

As social media marketers, we've heard that Facebook is undoubtedly moving towards a 'pay-to-play' model for businesses. But what exactly does that mean? And what exactly does that mean for your brand? It means that Facebook has changed its algorithm to limit the reach of organic content posted by brand pages in an effort to encourage businesses to invest media dollars in paid Facebook advertising and post promotion. Facebook is going head to head in competition with Google to lead in online advertising revenue, which means we can only expect organic reach on the platform to continue to decline as this initiative evolves. That said, the reality is that not every brand has the room in their budget to invest in media dollars on Facebook. So, how do you break through the barriers of this potentially threatening algorithm change with your organic content? Be Real Approximately 63% of consumers say that they are highly annoyed with repeated, generic advertising messages. For Millennials, that percentage is higher. As a result, consumers crave authentic communication and transparent relationships with the brands they love or are interested it. Establish a human voice with your Facebook content. Use the language that your audience uses and responds to. This approach will help you break through the clutter of other annoying posts pushed out by brands who haven't gotten the memo yet and will help you more easily engage in a two-way conversation with your audience. Jump on Real Time Moments Similarly to being real, be relevant. One of the best ways to gain traction with your organic content is to join conversations about viral internet topics that your audience is already discussing and searching on Facebook. When it makes sense, act fast and find ways to naturally insert your brand into these conversations in a fun and interesting manner. When you do this, be sure to use the most popular hashtags and key phrases that your audience is using.  Creating real time content shows that you're actively engaged in the Facebook community and culturally relevant conversations, as opposed to simply pumping out evergreen content on a predetermined schedule. Not only will your reach exponentially increase, your audience will appreciate it'leaving them wanting more. It's proven to ring true with our own social media work at AMP Agency. Here are some great examples of other marketers and brands that get it. Like the time that Twix lit a fire under #TheDress debate:                             And when Arby's asked Pharrell for their hat back during the GRAMMYs: Hey @Pharrell, can we have our hat back? #GRAMMYs ' Arby's (@Arbys) January 27, 2014 Let's not forget about the time Oreo saved the day during the Super Bowl XLVII power outage: Power out? No problem. pic.twitter.com/dnQ7pOgC ' Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) February 4, 2013 Shares, shares, shares When you're relying on organic reach, shares are your best friend. A share extends beyond a like, not only in the expanded reach potential it holds, but also in what it says about the way your audience is engaging with your content. When someone shares your content, they are really saying 'I enjoy or related to this post so much that I wish I had made it myself. I want everyone else to see it and enjoy it as much as I did.'Your ability to relate to your audience is key here.   For example When Bud Light read their audience's mind:                       Or when Forever 21 shared #WordsofWisdom with their millennial audience, 75% of which would like to travel abroad as much as possible:               Designing 'sharable'? content is where you'll need to think very critically about the psychographic profile of your target audience. Think to yourself, 'Is this message something that a member of my target audience would actually feel, say, or think themselves and want to share with their friends?'? Also don't forget to ask, 'Does it tie into my brand's core messaging in some way?' It's important not to lose your brand essence or voice in trying to be relatable or funny to gain shares. Use Video Content As Facebook continues to compete with Google owned YouTube to be the number one video uploading and viewing platform, native video content on Facebook has proven to reach nearly double the amount of people that images do, with 65% of that video content being viewed on mobile. Use this to your advantage! Create short, simple yet interesting video content that will engage your audience and let Facebook's video-favoring algorithm do the rest. source: http://www.beet.tv/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Slide09.jpg                     Next Steps Now, when planning future budgets, should paid social media get a piece of the pie? Yes, absolutely. But in the meantime, you can experiment with these approaches to optimizing your organic content on Facebook to stay afloat in a 'pay-to-play' world. Your turn: What other strategies have you found to be successful?

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