Edwards: Retailers have more mobile opportunities

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TMA’s Tom Edwards talked about mobile’s role for hoteliers and retailers as they continue to find new ways to target potential customers and build loyalty.

Q: What do you see as mobile’s role in the cross-channel experience hoteliers have to consider creating?
TE: It is incredibly important to create clear and consistent programs that are both contextually relevant and provide utility for travelers. Optimizing the cross channel experience to align with the travelers customer journey is key. Creating a compelling on-site experience all through the lens of a mobile first approach can pay dividends for hotel retailers.  

Q: What opportunities are opened up for marketers on mobile with retailers?
TE: You look at the rise of pre-targeting solutions for mobile that allow retailers to connect to topical halos vs. re-targeting through their own site visits. Retailers can deliver compelling virtual reality solutions through mobile devices and enhancing delivery systems such as Google Cardboard, and the potential impact and relevance of the new Spotlight search announced by Apple recently that will add more discoverability within the app ecosystem.

Why Jordan Spieth is as marketable as Stephen Curry, Alex Morgan

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jordan-spieth-under-armour-3-750xx1023-577-0-101TMA’s Matt Delzell talked with Candace Carlisle from the Dallas Business Journal following Jordan Spieth’s AT&T Byron Nelson performance to talk about his likeability and where the young star could be headed in the future. 

Homegrown Dallas golfer Jordan Spieth has more in common with NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and U.S. Women’s National Team soccer forward Alex Morgan than you might think.

His disappointing finish in the recent AT&T Byron Nelson in Irving notwithstanding, Masters champion Spieth still ranks next to Curry and Morgan (not to mention Denzel Washington) of “Aspiration,” in the latest Celebrity DBI by Dallas-based The Marketing Arm, which is an index for brand marketers and agencies.

“Those are numbers we haven’t seen since Tiger Woods was in his absolute peak,” he added. “Golfers aren’t supposed to be in this company. Golfers aren’t considered cool, or considered to be on the same aspiration level as an A-list movie star. This is rare for a golfer. He is a major needle mover.”

To read the rest of Candace’s article, head to Dallas Business Journal to get the rest of Matt’s thoughts.

Q&A Challenges facing sponsors of Fifa

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FIFA_Logo_Slogan.svgTMA’s senior vice-president of sports, Mary O’Connor talked about the challenges and possible opportunities facing sponsors of FIFA in light of the recent corruption allegations.

Q: To what degree are allegations of mismanagement at FIFA likely to impact the reputation or perception of its sponsors?
MOC: Any impact to the reputation of the sponsors will be directly tied to two things: What FIFA does moving forward and how the sponsors react moving forward.  Do they fight for positive change, and pay close attention to the needs and desires of the fans?

Q: How should companies approach the measurement of such potential impact – are there metrics that can be utilized?
MOC: For starters, sponsors need to pay close attention to the impact this situation has had on the global soccer fan. Will fans’ affinity for the teams and athletes that compete be impacted at all? And if so, what does that do to the value of the FIFA partnerships?

Q: Do you feel that there would be commercial advantage to being the first sponsor to end a relationship with FIFA or will brands be hesitant to do so for fear of losing the commercial advantages that sponsorship offers/open the doors to competitors?
MOC: Sponsors must make sure to align themselves with properties that create a positive connection in the mind of the consumer. And while football remains the most watched game in the world, if something doesn’t change quickly, the negative impact of a connection to FIFA may not be worth the access to hundreds of millions of fans.  But this decision needs to be a thoughtful one  – not one that is purely reactionary.

A number of sponsors have put out messages expressing concern and urging transparency and change, without laying out concrete expectations. Is this the right approach and why?

At this point in the game, yes. It shows that sponsors are rightly concerned, but waiting to gather information in order to make an informed decision regarding the path forward.

Q: Is there benefit from remaining a FIFA partner, helping to facilitate change and then sending this message – i.e. that the sponsor has been an active force driving positive change?
MOC: While a crisis is never a good thing, it provides sponsors with an opportunity to take the lead in driving change for good. Playing an active role in preserving or restoring the integrity of FIFA can have a positive effect on a sponsor’s brand.  Sponsors should demand to know:

— What exactly happened and how did it happen?
— What FIFA is doing right now to correct the situation?
— What concrete steps FIFA is taking to prevent this from happening again?
— What FIFA is going to do to to make things right for those parties who’ve been affected or wronged?

Words are one thing; actions are more powerful — and more credible. Sponsors should call for an independent audit of business practices — and in the spirit of transparency — make the findings of that audit public.

Sponsors can offer FIFA their expertise in developing effective processes and procedures to help ensure a crisis like this never happens again. Press for the formation of a true FIFA “ethics and accountability” committee consisting of corporate and non-profit executives from around the world who will oversee the creation and application of a code of conduct. Further, press for a respected independent expert who can lead the committee on a permanent basis.

It’s about changing the culture inside FIFA. This is a difficult task, but one that sponsors should work together on to force over the coming months.

Out of Scopes Spring Concert

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Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 11.28.04 AM

The Out of Scopes held a spring concert at The Rustic in Dallas with an all new set list and new members, but managed to rock out for nearly two hours on a beautiful afternoon.
Unlike the TMA Holiday Party, The Out of Scopes got to perform outside. Almost every band member got a solo song to sing, meaning TMA’ers heard everything from The Lumineers, Mark Ronson, Jet, Red Hot Chili Peppers and others.

Meet the Band:
Brian Amador — Information Architect… Vocals
Dan Belmont — President… Drums
Claire Burnett — Account Executive… Vocals
Will Clark — Student… Guitar, vocals
Greg Farley — Account Operations Manager… Trombone
Emily Gray — Reception… Saxophone, ukulele
Cameron Kirkpatrick — Creative/Planning Coordinator… Vocals
Lauren Kirkpatrick — Operations Generalist… Vocals
Zack Mullins — Intern… Guitar, mandolin, drums
Justin Runyon — Content Strategist… Bass, acoustic guitar, vocals

Five things you need to know about Facebook Instant Articles

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Last week, Facebook launched the Instant Article feature on its iOS app with nine media partners: The New York Times, BuzzFeed, The Atlanic, National Geographic, NBC News, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel Online, and Bild. Instant Articles appear directly in Facebook mobile feeds without users having to click to the publisher’s websiteThe feature will have large implications for publishers and consumers. It will be fun to watch the whole thing play out. Here are the five things to get you up to speed on Instant Articles.  



1. It’s an upgrade for content consumption 

Linking off of Facebook to articles can be brutal for a few reasons. Mainly:

  • articles can take forever to load (5 seconds and most of us are gone)
  • most mobile websites are awful
  • when we link off and then feel like victims of click-bait, we get salty

So, from a user experience perspective, Facebook Instant Articles look and feel like a compelling and interesting upgrade. We’ll get beautiful news content that loads immediately. The content will be clean and fast. Facebook fundamtentally gets how to deliver content on mobile devices and most of large media companies don’t. The early Instant Article entries stand out in our feed because of their autoload preview videos. When we click through we get highly immersive content features:

  • high res, high impact images that can be scaled and navigated by tilting the device from left to right
  • elegant audio overlays that add additional commentary from the authors and photographers

2. BuzzFeed’s first post is a great showcase of the potential

BuzzFeed took their viral expertise to the new feature with their kick-off post titled 13 Steps to Instantly Improve Your Day. They seemingly used all the new Facebook publishing tools available to them and created an experience that represents a great showcase for the future of mobile content:

  • scrolling up and down and right and left
  • large embedded video content
  • audio integration
  • slideshows
  • great use of right to left tilt to view larger images

I had a similar thought when Snapchat Discovery launched – at first brands are almost trying too hard to show off all their mobile friendliness, but when they settle down a bit, the content actually makes mobile content consumption truly enjoyable.




3. Facebook is starting out with publisher friendly terms

Facebook has given it’s launch partners favorable terms. The publishers can sell their own ads against the content and keep 100% of the money. If Facebook ends up selling the ads, they give the publishers 70%. They are also allowing sponored content beyond just banner advertising. The feature includes customization tools so that publishers have some creative control over how the content is ultimately displayed. The most important piece is the fact that publishers will get data and insights from the content that they surface directly on Facebook. They are also permitted to include 3rd party analytics services such as Quantcast.

On the surface these are great terms. But considering Facebook’s ad revenue and the fact that they already know everything about their users, they aren’t giving up much. And the relationship between the platform and its publishers could/will certainly get wierd down the road.

4. The relationship status is complicated

The relationship between large publishers and Facebook will continue to evolve, but some news publishers are weary. The current sentiment among many journalists seems to be “this is gonna end badly for us.” Facebook is already the preferred web browser for many. The news we see is the news that shows up on our newsfeed. So, if Facebook is our go to destination, the news we get is the news Zuckerberg and Chris Cox, Facebook’s head of Product, think we should care about. Soon though we won’t even have to click through to the actual news sites. Facebook being the middle man for consumers in their news is point of concern.

Journalists also fear corporate censorship – i.e., “What will happen when I want to publish a 10,000 word thinkpiece on how evil Facebook is and to maxmize the article’s reach I want to publish it via Facebook’s Instant Articles? Is Zuck gonna let that through?” But traditional print publications have yet to fully figure out their digital audiences and Facebook has the audience — so now we’re here.

The more successful Instant Articles are, the more publishers will invest in it and the more reliable they will be on Facebook. And that reliance becomes scary. Remember when we thought that The Washington Post Social Reader was the future of content? The app scaled to millions of users quickly and then Facebook dropped it…and we ain’t heard from Social Reader since. Remember all of those FarmVille requests you used to get? When Facebook decided that platform games weren’t part of their strategy moving forward, Zynga’s business shrunk almost over night.

5. Brands can participate, but they’ll need to step their content games up

What does this mean for brands? Instant Articles give the content a centerstage on our newsfeeds. This kind of content will be even more scrutinized. If we arrive on an Instant Article only to feel like we’re getting a lame advertisement as opposed to a great story it’s going to leave a bad taste in our mouths.

With Facebook allowing sponsored content, smart brands will work directly with publishers to use the high impact imagery and audio integration to create sponsored content that entertains. The possibilities seem endless for brands, especially those in the automotive, fashion, tech industries.

The early Instant Articles content shows the potential for truly immersive and engaging mobile content. The challenge for brands will be to think about how they can use this new set of tools to tell amazing mobile stories.

Mike Johnson is The Marketing Arm’s senior director, Digital Strategy. You can follow “MJ” on Twitter at @mjamrst.

TMA takes home first One Show Pencils!

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ONE Show Pencils

The Marketing Arm earned its first One Show Pencils for its Pepsi MAX presents Test Drive 2 with Jeff Gordon work!

TMA’s Entertainment team earned two pencils, a Silver in Film (Long Form) and a Bronze in Branded Entertainment (Long Form). Marc Gilbar, group creative director, said the wins are a tribute to his team’s hard work and effort.

“I am thrilled to bring home these awards on behalf of TMA, but especially proud of my team in LA,” Gilbar (pictured above with Tom Meyer) said. “They worked so hard on bringing an admittedly crazy idea to life. This is dedicated to them.”

Test Drive 2One of the most viral videos in 2014, Test Drive 2 with Jeff Gordon has over 18 million views on YouTube and counting. Congratulations to the team for all the hard work!

For more information on TMA’s Entertainment capabilities, contact Steve Albany at salbany@themarketingarm.com.


The latest Platform news with Tom Edwards

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Tom Edwards, EVP of Strategy & Innovation, talked about the latest in platform news from last week.

Q: What do you think was the biggest platform news for the week of April 27 in terms of having the biggest immediate impact for mobile marketers?
TE: The biggest immediate impact is the Google and Twitter DoubleClick partnership. This move will further align the two and allow marketers to expand measurement and attribution across campaigns. The fact that Twitter inventory will also be available through DoubleClick Bid Manager is also appealing.

Q: Which news can they take a wait and see approach to?
TE: Facebook integrating video calling into messenger is another step towards a truly enhanced messaging experience. By launching messenger as a platform as well as a beta program tied to customer service, Facebook is looking to create a new avenue for 1:1 commerce. It will be a wait and see approach for now but the more traction and engagement they can drive through messenger the higher the probability it will create new opportunities for marketers.

Q: What steps should marketers be taking in the near term to address these developments?
TE: It is important to continually monitor platform announcements and new strategic partnerships. As the platforms shift, we must look to create new use cases or adjust existing frameworks and attribution models to continue to create value and extend our marketing partners mobile investments.

Brands Targeting Audiences Like Never Before

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Tom Edwards, EVP of Strategy & Innovation, talked about brands targeting audiences and how they’re utilizing traditional and non-traditional digital marketing to expand their reach.

Q: To what extent is more specific targeting/buying of audiences growing? If it is growing, why is this happening now?

TE: With the proliferation of device types of all makes and models and the non-linear path to purchase, the industry has shifted towards models and solutions that can create relevant and authentic connections with consumers through our media targeting.

There has been a shift towards personalized creative that appeals to specific segments. This means that data that allows for a higher probability of impacting intent is needed in addition to personalized creative.

This extends well beyond traditional digital. Mobile is key to delivering contextual messaging be it tied to location or sensors. Aligning location, transaction, online behavior and aggregating through an identity management platform that is tied to cross screen networks all while mapping attribution is the ideal that a number of ad providers are moving towards in addition to programmatic platforms.

Q: What are some specific examples of how brands are tapping new tools and services to reach specific groups of individuals/audiences? 

TE: A number of our clients are testing various tools. Everything from custom audience segments, leveraging identity management and media execution platforms and a heavy focus on optimization through data analytics. We are also exploring programmatic creative where we create assets per audience segment and dynamically generate personalized native advertisement to in store partnerships with providers like EyeQ, who provide facial recognition technology that can serve personalized content.

Other examples are similar to EA’s Madden 15 campaign. They partnered closely with Facebook and created 32 separate instances of creative based on NFL fan affinity and delivered personalized creative to further connect with fans.

Q: What are the challenges for brands in doing this on mobile? What things should brands keep in mind in pursuing hyper-targeting of individuals?

TE: There are many challenges as ad providers align their offerings to create the most value for agencies and brands. Identity management, mapping transaction and behaviors, incorporating location all while trying to deliver the most relevant creative is a challenge. The other point to consider is how real 1:1 at scale is. The key is to identify and segment the target audience, create viable look-a-like clusters and test, test, test to see what truly resonates and continually optimize.

It is also important to understand the distribution channels. There is a difference between highly targeted platforms such as Facebook and opt-in platforms such as Buzzfeed and SnapChat and how you structure your programs.

It is also important to know which media channels can drive results for the business as each can play a different role across awareness, intent and conversion. Understanding the channel mapped to the goal in addition to aligning behaviors and creative that is relevant and contextual is key.