For many of us, 2020 marked the emergence into a whole new world – one ravaged by pandemic and one awakening to a thirst for fairness.

For Marlo Skiko, it also marked another change. From being EVP ad ad agency Starcom, Skiko went brand-side at Ford Motor Company, as US and global head of media.

In this fireside interview with Mindshare North America CEO Amanda Richman for Beet.TV, Skiko says her time has been characterized by quests toward brand safety, ad-buying transparency and understanding of a diverse consumer set.

New audiences

“As we look for ‘where’s the growth going to come from?’, that leads us to audiences that we may have been courting,” Skiko says.

“But maybe we need to put some more effort there, and understanding that and what that leads us to, ‘Okay, who’s next? How are we most relevant for growth audiences for diverse audiences, for women, audiences that we’re saying we have some of, but these new products may help us engage in even better ways than we have already?'”

That drive is becoming more important. Ford US sales in June 2021 were 26.9% down on the prior year.

But the company is now pushing the pedal on a new generation of electric vehicles, with a Mustang all-electric and electric and hybrid versions of F-150 and Escape.

Resetting with laser focus

Skiko wants to ensure that she has adequate sight of where Ford is showing up.

Last year, she set a new series of expectations around ad transparency and brand safety, re-setting expectations of its partners in a more deliberate fashion.

“If we’re not defined in what our expectations are and we set what the accountability is, it’s really hard to lead that conversation” she says.

“In this past year, we became even more laser-focused and set very refined criteria where there can’t be a question. And we broke it down and had just a very methodical framework.

“Then we went to our partners and we had purposeful conversation … a two way dialogue that we lay out what’s really important to us and that we have a roadmap to get there.”

That roadmap will now be key in Ford understanding who, amongst a diverse customer set for a diverse vehicle line-up, it is reaching and how effectively.

Working together

But Skiko doesn’t think Ford can, or should, make the journey alone.

The group is part of PRAM, the Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media, a diverse range of ad-interested groups trying to re-think the use of technology in light of software vendor changes.

“No one marketer can define this just on their agenda,” Skiko says.

She says she wants to answer a broad set of questions, like: “How are we being perceived? How are we showing up? And what do we need to do to be as clear and transparent to people when they come to us, no matter how they visit us?”

But, she says: “That takes all of us working together because it won’t just fall into place if we don’t connect those dots in the right ways. It really takes all of us together.”

This video is part of the Global Forum on Responsible Media produced by Beet.TV, GroupM with the 4A’s. This track on data, identity and a transparent supply chain is sponsored by MediaMath.  For more videos on this topic, visit this page