ORLANDO – Listening to Mastercard’s Raja Rajamannar, one wonders how marketers juggle the myriad the complexities and challenges that did not exist a mere decade ago. Even if they manage to master technology, brand safety, cause marketing and acquiring suitable talent, consumers don’t want to see their ads.
So it’s a bit ironic that brands’ best hope derives from a trend dating to the 1990’s: one-to-one marketing, but with a twist. “Storytelling is dead,” says Rajamannar, who is CMO & CCO of the financial services company. “It’s all about story making.”
Not that pursuing this strategy comes easy, Rajamannar explains in this interview with Beet. TV at the Masters of Marketing Conference of the Association of National Advertisers.
“Many of the CMO’s have bigger technology budgets than the CTO’s. And that really calls for a level of understanding,” he says before declaring that finding the marketing talent that is required these days “is going to be a nightmare.”
While one-to-one personalization became something of a fad in the 1990’s, there’s no reason why the concept won’t work today, according to Rajamannar. But there’s a hitch.
“Should we be focusing on advertising the way we always focused on advertising at all? Whether it’s one-to-one or one-to-many, consumers are telling you ‘I don’t want your stupid ads. I want my uninterrupted experience.’”
As evidence, he points to the continued rise of ad-blocking software, with some 200 million active users at the end of 2016. By the first quarter of 2017, this had increased by about 25 million, driven in part by manufacturers preloading the software into their devices.
“So as a consumer, with two clicks you block the marketers form your interface altogether.”
It gets worse when one factors in services like Netflix, with nearly 100 million users. “That’s millions of hours of viewability that’s gone,” Rajamannar says.
About four years ago, Mastercard pivoted to experiential marketing. One example from early 2017 was its campaign for the Grammy Awards that included an experiential record store and interactive music experiences for fans who unlocked special offers via a $1 Masterpass purchase, as RetailDIVE reports.
“Give experiences to consumers which are memorable, which are positive, which are maybe once in a lifetime. Then they will tell the story of the brand to their circles. They become your brand ambassadors.”
This video is part of a Beet.TV leadership series produced at the ANA Masters of Marketing Conference, 2017. The series is presented by FreeWheel. Please find more videos from Orlando, visit this page.