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ARF @ CES 2016

Day Four Highlights

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Friday at CES brought us the Knight of WPP and the Emperor of CES as Gayle Fuguitt, our CEO & President sat down with Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive Officer of WPP and Irwin Gotlieb Chairman of GroupM.

These daily summaries will provide almost real time perspectives from leaders who are both thought-provoking and thoughtful. Check back regularly to see the interview videos as they post.

Predictions On The Money

We began where we left off 1/8/15 discussing the validity of Sir Martin’s predictions for 2015. Not surprisingly he was very much on the nose.

Sir Martin’s 2015 CES predictions came to pass:

  • Predicted slow growth with the World economy dominated by China and the US.
  • Saw a focus on digital, programmatic and measurement becoming more prominent. He mentioned Xaxis in 2015 would hit almost $1b and it just about will. So despite bots, ad blocking and viewability issues becoming more front & center than anticipated, WPP “skated to where the puck was going”.
  • Also, discussed were tough times ahead for Big Box retailers due in part to the rise of proximity stores and proximity marking in retailing. True in both the US and UK.

In this year’s discussion we heard Sir Martin expand on WPP’s points of differentiation — controlling and managing data to make WPP a “third force.” Providing an independent, objective technology agnostic stack for their Media Investment Management and Data Investment Management. He observed that one immediate result is WPP’s Knowledge Base Marketing division is working closer than ever with GroupM, not just Wunderman.

In looking at his business reviews throughout CES, Sir Martin noted a flip-flop in the Mad Men vs. Math Men roles. Pitches and reviews have become inverted.

  • Instead of the “Don Draper-type” Creative agency leading . . . the Media teams are leading the story.
  • Today’s WPP presentations start with data, here’s what we think is the media solutions and then the Creative solutions that vary by medium.

In spite of all the attention toward agency reviews in 2015, Sir Martin predicted that they will continue.

For 2016 Sir Martin predicts “more of the same” and his challenge is staying on track with their evergreen pillars: 1) Horizontality, 2) focus on fast growth markets 3) digital and 4) data. His 2016 prediction (in addition to his prognostication that “Hillary will win”) is . . . much of the same and the biggest challenge for 2016 is staying on track.

When asked about the role of women in leadership in business and whether more progress will be made, Sir Martin emphasized that women have organizational and leadership skills as differentiators. He postulated that door opening would occur for women of all backgrounds, especially spurred on “if Hillary wins” or as Sir Martin would say “when Hillary wins.”

Media As Virtual Shelf Space

Irwin Gotlieb Chairman of GroupM described his years coming to CES and how GroupM’s perspective varies from the pundits and the press. He takes a fundamentally different approach. Too much of CES’ attention is on the newest shiny objects. GroupM is not just looking at the shiny objects.

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GroupM is more focused on seeing the impact beyond the CES display

  • what does it mean
  • how can it evolve
  • what’s it going to look like in two years and five years forward
  • what are the specific marketing implications and media impacts

Two examples

  • Four years ago, the “the quantum dot” stood out to GroupM. This is the technology that enables flat screen TVs. That technology was predicted to save 60-70% cost of TV manufacturing and allow for cheaper, bigger and better screens – as we’ve seen. The impact of this is also Smart TVs and its impact on content and media.
  • On the flip side is 3-D TV and VR (Oculus Rift). Irwin predicts few will sit on their couch with the funny glasses and headsets on despite the experience. One exception may be gaming applications but regarding more significant content applications . . . he’s not bullish.

Overall his message was about how technologies are changing Media itself. Allowing media a position as virtual shelf space.

Media has moved beyond simply creating awareness and mitigate the decay of that awareness. Today the level of granularity of data is allowing media to activate against and support decisioning across all levels of the purchase funnel — consideration, preference and purchase cycle at the census level

This changed role for media is its embracing transaction capabilities on all media even linear TV.

2016 is about really pushing the industry. A leader has to provide leadership. As Media morphs into being transaction capable it becomes a cost of sale/cost of distribution (not a marketing expense). Media directly moving product boosts not just Media’s value but it skyrockets the importance all of our roles. 2016 is about making that happen.