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Advertising-technological company Crete hopes to move away from the well-known niche leader in advertising and reconsider itself as an “advertising technology campaign for the open Internet”. This responsibility is headed by Megan Clarken, who was hired as CEO in October 2019.
Clarken’s task is simple – ad technologies are struggling to keep up and changing consumer attitudes towards data tracking and targeting, as well as policies and response measures taken by governments and browsers. And global pandemic made it even tougher. I caught up with her hoping to learn more about these problems and how overcoming them would look for both brand and industry in general.
You are instructed to change Criteo business against the background of the global crisis. What would you say to other companies experiencing similar experiences?
The heart suffers when this pandemic affects the daily lives of so many people and their loved ones around the world. Professionally, I often have the question, “Have you ever experienced this before?” And the truth is no; no one has. Gathering steps into unknown territory, like many other leaders. It, on the contrary, reminds me of a previous experience in my career when I was employee number four at startup. As one of the first employees, I was part of a team that turned on the lights and raised money for business growth. Suddenly we got into a dotcom crash and had to let go of all the employees who took a plus 160, eventually turning off all the lights. It was one of the most difficult experiences and in a harsh economic environment that was tackled professionally, but it has faded compared to the situation we are now facing.
What I can say is that while leading an organization through a similar challenge, compassion plus determination guide this is what people need most. It is important for leaders to keep up with their long term strategy, let the team move in the right direction and be nimble. I always come back to the same analogy: Make sure your organization moves like a flock of birds. Everyone needs to know what they are going for, where they are headed and what they personally need to do to achieve a collective goal. If one person deviates in the wrong direction, the people around them should be able to help them get back on track led by the company.
What are the specific challenges facing the advertising industry and how do you help brands navigate them?
The main challenge for marketers is to become even more aware of their messages and adapt them to today’s reality to give the consumer added value. For branding companies, they see a big growth point for person-centered advertising rather than advertising. However, a big part of what we keep doing is helping our customers get the right message to their customers at the right time. For some partners, this can mean helping them showcase the goods their customers need, tailored to their environment.
And brand safety is a constant concern. It is more important than ever to use the right set of tools to avoid brands appearing next to inappropriate or brand-destructive content.
How advertisers can adapt to changing consumer habits as before economy reopens?
Smart marketers will use the data to make informed decisions, set benchmarks and track the progress of their strategies through channels along the way. If you have a complete picture of your customers, you can get an idea to understand how their behavior has changed. Use what you learn to change strategy (e.g., adjusting feature traits and merchandising), and build on current information coverage trends. We are now in the news, so it’s important for advertisers to keep a close eye on what’s working and what changes can be made quickly.
In addition, advertisers enjoy the benefits omnichannel a strategy that provides a single message. During the pandemic, consumers were affected by more channels than ever, with the rise of connected TV, new social media channels and in-app purchasing features, so their shopping habits have changed. Advertisers need to take these new behaviors into account and interact with consumers in ways if they like to shop other than shopping.
What role do you think advertising will play for the revival of brands?
Bounce America will require a significant amount of TLC. Given the different stages of recovery and awareness, it is important for brands to implement marketing strategies that are based at the regional level and adhere to state and local government policies.
There is an opportunity for brands to use advertising as a key component in disseminating their unique messages and as a platform to provide a sense of localized community that ensures consumers feel safe when making purchasing decisions. Advertising industry executives will need to work with these brands to ensure that their multi-colored advertising strategy not only meets the core values they have instilled in their current customer base, but also considers broader regional policies to ensure a smooth transition for the brand. .
As stores begin to open, brands need to constantly inform consumers with information campaigns that reflect the current state of their stores and what consumers can expect as a “new routine” in-store experience. Many consumers will discuss whether to continue shopping online rather than go shopping, and what is reported in these companies, especially price sharing, will help report this decision.
What is the most common advice you give on advertising and marketing right now?
Consumers have access to the products they need and, most importantly, what is available to them and can be delivered. Consumers are also looking for ease to achieve these results. The right message to the right person, at the right time, on the right device is a winning formula. It not only helps with brand awareness, but helps with product and completeness, conversion and loyalty.