Head over to LinkedIn to connect with Mary here https://www.linkedin.com/in/maryperrella/ and check out the original conversation here https://www.theoohinsider.com/669730/10349006-episode-097-place-based-marketing-w-mary-perrella
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Welcome to OOH Insider, the first podcast made just for media and marketing executives about how to create alchemy in the real world - blending marketing art and marketing science to create brand experiences that drive impact you can measure.
My name is Tim Rowe and for the past three years, I’ve been interviewing industry experts for their unique insight on this topic and today’s recap is of episode 97 with Mary Perella from Vengo Labs.
Now if you’ve never connected with Mary before at an industry trade event or just on LinkedIn, I’m going to encourage to do that right now because Mary is one of the kindest people in our industry, always eager to meet a new friend, and just super generous with her experience and expertise, naturally because she did a podcast episode sharing all of that so I linked to Mary’s LinkedIn in the show notes to make it easy for you to connect with her.
And relistening to this episode got me really excited because I forgot how many important real-world marketing concepts we talked about and I think that it really helps to frame the conversation around how brands should consider OOH in the media mix and specifically how place-based media is becoming a viable substitute for exhausted mobile advertising budgets but let’s get into the really tactical stuff that stood out from the conversation with Mary…
The first idea that really resonated in preparation for this episode was the relevance and importance of context. Funny enough, I was catching up with the CEO of Intersection recently, Chris Grosso and he said “context is time and place” and I’ve got it on a sticky note here on my desk so when Mary said the word context it really sent me down a rabbit hole around lean-back vs lean-in moments and how to use the context of an opportunity to determine what type of content should be included in your creative.
If you’re running an a network of 55” screens in an airport, where are they located? Are they near areas where people are sitting down and taking in the environment around them? If so, you could choose to go the full lean-back moment of brand marketing, using the opportunity to remind your audience to ‘Visit Seattle’ or maybe you’re more conversion focused and looking for a bottle of funnel moment, so lean-in content that features an offer or call-to-action.
Yet if those same screens are placed throughout the concourse, where folks are moving from security to their terminal or from arrivals to car rentals, then it may not make a ton of sense to use that opportunity for lean-in, conversion-oriented creative, because the context doesn’t make sense, I’m heads down focused on moving to an objective and have little time to take in the environment around me so a branding message is best.
So context - time and place, and I guess an element of that is “what are you doing at that time and place?”
This ultimately leads into an even larger conversation around measuring impact to the overall marketing mix, which we’ll save for later this week, so make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss that.
Another strong theme throughout the conversation was how place-based media is becoming a viable alternative for mobile advertising that targeted audiences based on where they were or where they had been in the physical world. You’ve probably heard about geofencing, and while the term has come to take on various meanings in different applications, originally that’s all geofencing was - I want to serve mobile display ads to people at this Jamba Juice because I’m targeting people who like Jamba Juice because they may also like my brand or thing or whatever. There was something important about the people at Jamba Juice to your marketing objective, so you served mobile ads to them based on them having actually been there.
Geofencing has been replaced by the rise of retail media networks, the online properties of retailers like Amazon, where brands can run advertising to reach Amazon customers. Amazon’s retail media network of course includes Amazon itself, all of those sponsored listings you see when you’re looking for a pair of socks, things like that but it also extends to Amazon Prime and their other streaming services.
And as retail media networks on the internet have gained in popularity for much the same reason geofencing was so popular, the physical retail media network opportunities - digital screens in the physical brick and mortar retail store, present much the same moment for brands to reach people while they are at a specific place, capitalizing on whatever behavior it is they want to capitalize on.
Maybe they sell a product in the store of the network, or maybe they just have something in common with the audience who shops there. Either way, the point of purchase is in our pockets so place-based media could be a way to hedge against struggling mobile ad performance, if your objective is to reach specific audiences in specific contexts, and thus the rise of programmatic digital out of home.
Ironically, the guest spotlight recap that is right behind this one is with Brooke Ermogenis, founder of DOOHX, the first online academy for learning all about programmatic digital out of home, so there’s going to be a nice theme the next couple of weeks around programmatic and measurement, so again make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any of that great content.
We talked about the value of using the dynamic capabilities that digital offers, being able to call out specific neighborhoods and areas can be particularly effective and is something that scales now. Being able to say “Hey Brooklyn!” on only the ads running in Brooklyn adds an element of personalization that cuts through the noise and stands out, so simple things like that, that brands can take advantage of.
In fact, having a cool conversation yesterday with a brand about using callouts like this across a statewide campaign so thinking about the implications of these things at scale can be really exciting.
Oh I loved this one from the conversation - people are not always on their phones. It has felt like a cop out for years when someone says “everyone’s just on their phones” and I get what we mean when say it, but that’s not really what we mean. If everyone was just on their phone, all the time, the world would be a very weird place…not that it isn’t, it’d just be even weirder. But the reality is, that’s not the case and the data backs it up, advertisers have been talking about the declining performance of online advertising since 2019, months before covid lockdowns forced so much advertising into the palm of our hands. More than half the country is using some sort of ad blocker and 1 in 10 people are masking their location data, so you don’t know where they actually are…how accurate is that mobile targeting now…10% of the audience doesn’t want you to know where they are, 50% of the audience doesn’t want to see your ads, and if they have it their way…they’re just going to avoid your ad altogether online.
Add to that, that 60% of the buying decision is DONE before a customer even contacts your business, it’s a really stark reminder than advertising is much more for discovery and validation than it is for actually “converting” and I’m using air quotes on converting.
The challenge remains though around measurement. It’s not that anyone disagrees with any of what I just said, but despite all of the shortcomings, advertising on the internet, for now, still offers better feedback loops than advertising in the real world and again we’ll be talking more about measurement and how I think you can lead the conversation around it, look for that episode later this week.
We talked about the modern customer journey, and how place-based media offers the opportunity for brands to use a concept I call “real world retargeting” and that is to understand your customer’s literal daily journey, via data sources like Placer.ai, and knowing that my Costco customer goes to Planet Fitness and Orange Theory to workout and that they shop at the mall downtown, and love to frequent a great restaurant near where they work - think about all of the places a potential person in a target audience goes during their day and then explore the opportunities to be there with them, it will do two things: 1) It’s going to make it feel like you’re everywhere, but in a really efficient way because you’re using data-driven insight about their physical customer journey to inform how you reach them during their day and 2) it’s going to create a high-degree of trust with that audience, seeing you in the places that are most important to them too. Trust leads to engagement and ultimately that’s the name of the game - using data, find contextually relevant moments to serve differentiated content that people are likely to engage with. If that’s your advertising strategy, you’ll never lose.
The final thing I’ll leave you with from this episode is defining what an impression is. Yes, impressions have become a unit of measure, a means to standardize pricing if you will. But what is an impression? Literally, the definition? No, not the reach/frequency definition, but what does it mean to impress? Impression - an idea, feeling, or opinion about something or someone, especially one formed without conscious thought or on the basis of little evidence.
Let’s get back to using impressions to make impressions instead of just serving them like roast beef at a carving station - you get an impression, you get an impression, move along, you get an impression. How about getting back to actually trying to IMPRESS someone with your impressions, instead of just using them to calculate CPM and rationalize media cost.