Although Richard McDonald calls data the “soup de jour of the marketing world right now,” Epsilon Agency has been stirring this particular pot for a very long time. Almost 35 years ago, it created Apple’s first customer/mail order database. Now it’s helping drive millennials to places like Cracker Barrel with geo-fencing technology.
Along the way, it has morphed into a one-stop marketing organization offering creative services, proprietary data and targeting capabilities. The positioning as a “growth agency” comes at a key time, according to McDonald, who is President of Epsilon.
“I call it the supernova of marketing. Everything’s kind of imploded on itself,” McDonald says in an interview with Beet.TV at the annual IAB MIXX conference in Manhattan. “Everything’s going on. It’s tough for agencies and for clients right now.”
Epsilon’s role is to help marketers navigate new trends and technologies “not with newness in mind but with relevancy,” McDonald says. “It’s less about the new thing than the strategy.”
He cites the recent work his agency did for Cracker Barrel, wherein the Tennessee-based restaurant chain wanted to entice younger patrons to its roughly 640 locations. The result was a humorous campaign around Campfire Meals, which are slow cooked and wrapped in foil, dubbed “The Worst Camper in the World,” Full-Service Restaurants reports.
“We wanted to target younger consumers so using Epsilon Data we identified the type of thing that those consumers might be interested in around camping and connecting to Cracker Barrel,” McDonald explains. Using geo-fencing, the agency was able to ping people with marketing materials as they got close to Cracker Barrel locations. “It’s been pretty successful,” McDonald says.
Asked about the level of trust in the transparency and value of digital media, McDonald allows that it’s “probably pretty low” right now. “But part of the problem is clients are pushing us harder and faster and pushing themselves harder and harder. Technology is often there to help, but maybe all the wrinkles aren’t ironed out yet and it takes a bit of time to really get it right.”
This video is part of Beet.TV’s coverage of the IAB MIXX Conference, 2016, presented by The TradeDesk. Please find additional videos from the Conference here.