As it prepares to launch “a new kind of advertising company,” the AT&T Advertising and Analytics unit is doubling down on the attention economy and how marketers and publishers must harness data and technology to attain relevancy amid an explosion of consumer content choices.
“There is almost infinite information fighting and competing for finite human attention,” Kirk McDonald, CMO, says in this interview with Beet.TV. “We’ve embraced this moment in time when we believe advertising needs to be reimagined. It needs to change.”
To help foster that change, AT&T will host The Relevance Conference on Sept. 24-26 in Santa Barbara, CA. McDonald describes the event as an aggregation of thought leaders across entertainment, media, marketing and content production, “to get together to talk about what are the best practices that they have put together around understanding how to engage with today’s consumer and creating moments of relevance for them.”
The invitation-only event will be limited to 300 attendees.
AT&T will share new research at The Relevance Conference about the attention economy. In addition to examining where consumers are spending their time and why and what’s relevant to them, attendees will contemplate how the industry is shaped “both in terms of its organizational structure” and its practices around speaking to people in more relevant ways.
“The reality is today, as we engage with consumers, it is an engagement,” says McDonald. “We no longer tell them what to watch when to watch or where to watch. We actually now engage in a dialogue as that consumer participates in embellishing the content in their own unique ways and they actually filter for the things that are most relevant to them.”
At The Relevancy Conference, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson will participate in an opening fireside chat to share his thoughts on how “AT&T really evolves into a modern media company” combining its technological prowess, some 170 million consumer engagement touch points and the content heft of Warner Media.
“I think the most rewarding thing for everyone is to arrive and realize that they’re sitting across form the people that they work with all the time, or work against all the time, in sort of competing for consumer attention,” McDonald says. “This is a gathering of the shareholders of consumer attention. That’s who’s there.”
He calls data and technology the tools to relevance.
“Data to create an understanding and awareness of the interests or the intentions of a consumer and then technology to enable us to actually find them in the right moment and time,” McDonald adds.
“I think the pendulum is swinging in the direction where we’ll make data and technology enable better storytelling. Better storytelling is the requirement of relevance and this is the right time to happen. I’m very excited about it.
Following The Relevance Conference, during Advertising Week in New York, AT&T will roll-out the new advertising enterprise. “We wanted to not just actually announce the name just because we wanted to give a name to this already nearly $2 billion business. We wanted to actually enter the industry with some substance,” McDonald explains.
This video is part of a Beet.TV series about The Relevance Conference and emerging media trends. The project is sponsored by AT&T Advertising and Analytics.