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4 Predictions about the Future of Advertising with Sascha Lock, AMP Agency: Show Notes & Transcript

Post | Apr 18, 2023

Welcome back to Marketing Smarts! From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini (that’s us) comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. We deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from our combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. We tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

In this episode, we’re talking the future of advertising with Sascha Lock, AMP Agency. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and your other favorite podcast spots – follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re exercising your Marketing Smarts!

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Marketing Smarts: 4 Predictions about the Future of Advertising with Sascha Lock, AMP Agency

Where’s advertising heading in the future? No one knows for sure. But we have a pretty good idea it will center on human connections, require a carefully curated advertising mix, utilize the storytelling of influencers, and focus on systemic tensions over short-term trends. We wanted you to hear from the best of the best when it comes to advertising, so we welcomed on Sascha Lock. He’s the SVP, Media & Performance Analytics at AMP Agency, a full-service digital marketing agency that creates unconventional ideas that grow brands. This episode covers everything from ads to storytelling. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • What will advertising look like in the future?
  • Why is human connection so important?
  • What impact will ChatGPT have in the long run?
  • How do you put together the right advertising mix?
  • Where do you find influencers?
  • What can you do to inspire word of mouth?
  • How can you create long-lasting advertising?
  • What happened with Clubhouse?

And as always, if you need help in building your Marketing Smarts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at:

Check out the episode, show notes, and transcript below:

Show Notes

What is Marketing Smarts?

From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. They deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from their combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. They tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

How do I exercise my Marketing Smarts?

Thanks for listening to Marketing Smarts. Get in touch here to become a savvier marketer. 


Please note: this transcript is not 100% accurate.

Anne Candido 0:02
This is Marketing Smarts – a podcast committed to helping you become a savvier marketing leader, no matter your level. In each episode, we will dive into a relevant topic or challenge that marketing leaders are currently facing. We will also give you practical tools and applications that will help you put what you learn into practice today. And if you missed anything, don’t worry, we put worksheets on our website that summarize the key points. Now, let’s get to it!

April Martini 0:29
Welcome to Marketing Smarts. I am Anne Candido. And I am April Martini. And today we’re going to talk about all things advertising, and specifically highlight some truths about the industry and where we believe it’s heading in the future. Like every industry, the field of advertising has and continues to undergo significant transformations. And there’s tons of reasons for this the world of digital, COVID, the ever expanding ecosystem of options for advertising, you name it, and we will talk about a lot of this today.

Anne Candido 0:57
Yes, and as we often like to do, we will point out some misconceptions about the industry, as well as provide clarity on what we are actually seeing to ensure we are all on the same

April Martini 1:08
page. That’s exactly right. And also, as we often like to do we have a special guests to join us today to discuss the topic. And that is Sascha Lock, SVP of Media & Analytics for AMP Agency. Sasha, please introduce yourself to the guests.

Sascha Lock 1:21
Hi thank you so much for having me, Anne and April. It’s such a pleasure to be here. Sascha Lock, just a quick introduction, you know, I’ve worked 15 years plus in the industry, across the US and Germany, and agencies big and small, including Havas media, Cara, hello holiday. And currently I’m at AMP I’ve been here for five years, I’ve worked on a variety of clients big and small, including, you know, Fidelity Investments, Avocados from Mexico, Just for Men. And my career actually started in digital media planning, where I really learned the ins and outs of buying audience targeting development and strategy. But you know, I vault that career into more of a hybrid role and taking on account management positions, working closely with clients. So here I am today talking to you guys, about media and advertising as a whole and really excited to chat.

April Martini 2:08
Awesome. All right, with that, we’ll get into four predictions about the future of advertising. And the first one here is that human connections will always be at the core of advertising that actually breaks through and and is always the first to say I always steal her expressions. By this time, we’ve spent so much time together, but until robots take over the world, there will always be a job of for those of us in branding, marketing and advertising. It’s not exactly how I say,

Anne Candido 2:34
I know. Well, okay, I, you took liberties with what I say I say until the world’s run by robots will always be a person on the other side of the sale, which therefore, up brand new marketing. I’ve morphed it got it. Right. Okay, just just clarify for our listeners. All right.

April Martini 2:48
So to keep going, it’s because the human connection is what fuels choice. So when consumers are able to connect with you on an emotional level, that’s where we always talk about you’ve struggled. And we’ve seen the advent of so many new things in the technology space to the point of the intro we’ve made. And with that comes in a lot of other industries, said robots and automated systems. So we do see jobs where things like AI and AR and other things are taking over, that just will never be the case here. And Sasha and I talked about, and he’ll give this perspective on this in a minute. But it’s not to say that things like AI and AR, by example, aren’t going to have some sort of role or can enhance the experience or can’t live in certain places where it makes it more optimal for the consumer experience. What we’re saying is that there really is sort of a balance of that creativity and math. And that comes to the balance of human and then what that technology brings. And finally, the other thing I just want to say before I turn it over to Sasha is that while we often think about advertising as an annoying disruption, it’s actually now a fundamental way that people are finding new things, making purchases, looking for recommendations, so their human experience or desired consumer experience has actually changed. And so we think that’s because of that ecosystem that has expanded. So it’s no longer the commercial that interrupts your favorite TV show where you take a chance to go get a drink or a snack or bathroom break or whatever. It’s more about what the journey is, and what it looks like and how many more places we have to touch consumers. And so while the first time and I still remember one of the first few times that those ads popped up on my phone, and it was like, What the heck and I felt like an invasion of privacy and all the emotions now it’s just normal, right? And in fact, a lot of us do shopping or we look for recommendations or influencers or all the things you can discover online, you name it, what used to happen as a first now is just part of our behavior. And really, I think it’s part of the desired consumer behavior. All right, so I’ll stop talking turn it over to you here.

Sascha Lock 4:46
No, I you know, I love that it’s a blend right? It’s it’s human to machine and like, the right formula is probably some mix of the two. I think like we talked about a lot about AI and our ChatGPT and programs like doll II. That concrete ate Leonardo da Vinci like portraits yet, we’re still paying, you know, 100 bucks to go to the museum. And with that in mind, you know, I just want to highlight like creativity, not creative, per se, but creativity is really what fuels decisions that marketers make and how to best unlock that emotional connection. We all hope for that and strike gold as you put it. Well, April, I think, like, from a media standpoint, when we make spend decisions and media, designing beautifully impactful creative and mining for human truths, beyond just the data points, like, we have to really consider, you know, that balance of human and machine. So, for example, like, it’s a misnomer that this industry is suffering, like, this industry is growing adspend is projected to grow about 6-7%. If you look at averages across all of the big forecasters like JP Morgan, magnet, global group M, you know, while ad spend is going to grow, like we all put a lot of trust and faith into people. So I like to say like media mix modeling, it can, it can tell you what an optimal channel might be. But we really need smart media people to design those strategies, and more importantly, be able to pivot them in a moment’s notice, when something like a recession or COVID, hit media mix modeling cannot deliver new strategy to you on a silver platter that you can then use to tweak your dollars when sometimes we have just mere days to change things. And I like to think of this, as you know, back to the episode you guys had been locked on. He was talking about performance max and Google, you know, the mystery black box of you know, give me your creative, tell me the KPI and I’ll hit it. That all sounds, you know, good in on paper, and a lot of it like I do believe it works. But what happens when it doesn’t deliver what happens when you don’t know what’s really driving performance. It’s really not strange to me that programmatic budgets fluctuate up and down all the time. We talked about programmatic when it launched back in, you know, 2005 2006, but TV budgets, like still continue to grow and take share from programmatic sometimes. And I feel like a lot of that comes down to trust in humans, to be able to see a spot, you know, in a brand safe environment. And you know, on the Superbowl, for example, or in an elevator, as much benefits is performance, maximum programmatic and drive, it is that combination of the black box and the machine and then the human, you know, putting the ad in that place that can be seen by the CMO.

Anne Candido 7:17
Yeah, I think that’s all really, really fantastic insight. And I totally agree. And there’s a couple of things that I really wanted to point out. And one is, when you say mix modeling, it’s, it’s very interesting, that’s like pulling me just right out of the seat back into my seat at P&G, because that was like a big part of what we were doing. And I think just the nature of actually having a term means that there’s multiple channels that you need to consider, right. And I think a lot of people, especially alcohol, go back to the P&G world, they focus on a couple of different channels, but even you mentioned, and just a conversation, I mean, of course, you have your traditional advertisement, and you have like elevators, you have, you know, digital billboards that are popping up all over the place. And then you do have the social popup ads, all of those are really important ways that you could or could be conducive ways in order to reach your consumer, your customer or your client, in the idea of being able to find the right mix is actually the strategic choice at all. And the part that a lot of people skip in order to go kind of do the tactical things. I think, in order to figure out what is the right mix my background and I invite you to also come I will say that you need to curate it right, you need to find out where your consumer is. And you need to be able to connect with them on that human level in a way that feels curated. Not creepy, right? So it is kind of ironic now that before when those ads were to pop up, you’d be like, Oh, my god, oh, my god. But now it’s kind of like, oh, yeah, I do need those shoes. I didn’t even know I needed those shoes. But yes, yes, I actually do need those shoes, right. And you’re like, thank you that feels about you at it. And that’s a whole thing that’s working behind the actual screen, if you will, through all the algorithms into retargeting that’s actually bringing you those shoes based on your whole history of searching. But but it’s kind of a weird dynamic that it is kind of starting to shift in the way that we think about what these ads feel like when they kind of pop up. So I don’t know, Sasha, if you have any more to say about that. But that’s just kind of like what I was thinking about, as you were saying all that?

Sascha Lock 9:16
Yeah, I would just add, like, like we talked a lot about value, the best advertising drives value for the consumer and in turn gives value to the brand like value is a tough thing to quantify using data points, because there’s hidden value we all feel in a brand, right? And that’s why a brand is not a product. In fact, if a brand dunwell creates emotional connection, you spend more money on a product. And that value can be something like hey, I buy that car, not because it’s great. And it’s priced. Right, right, which is what an economist would argue, but it’s because I saw a movie when I was six years old, and I fell in love with BMW. And that’s the kind of value like we all strive to get to. And we do things like DCO or dynamic creative optimization to serve you and you know or April, those pair of shoes in maybe maybe a moment where you’re not thinking about Buying a pair of shoes. But yeah, you might have a little extra cash to throw around that that week. And it’s just it’s delivered in a way that the shoes, the color, the style, right is very much relevant to what you’re looking for in that week or not. And it just speaks to you and finds that value all very hard to do with just a machine.

April Martini 10:18
Yes, absolutely. Amen to that point. And you guys sort of preempted a little bit this next one, but we’ll put a finer point on it, which is point to a carefully curated advertising mix will be key in driving efficiency. So you just heard lots of back and forth about the decisions to be made the balance of the computer and the human and all of those things of how to get to the right mix. And then also the flexibility which Sasha, I think you made a great point around the flexibility of having those humans be able to change at a moment’s notice when something happens, that’s unforeseen that that computer could never anticipate, right? But we talked also already about the breadth of options that are out there. And, you know, we use the Superbowl reference a lot to Sasha, not that there’s not a place for that anymore. But no longer is it that we’re putting all of our eggs in that one basket, right. So, you know, it was a sad day for us agency folk, right? When we were no longer getting that 600 grand or whatever, to produce the most amazing spot ever there was going to be on the Superbowl, which I still miss, you know, but I think it’s just now we have the smarter way of doing it. And also, it’s more quantifiable, right. So we talk on the show all the time about testing and learning and then optimizing. And I think that’s a huge piece of this, when you think about your advertising mix is, you know, when you have the Superbowl ads, you’re counting on a number of eyeballs, quote, unquote, but I’ll go back to my comment before about getting up to get a snack or you know, that’s the break when you go to the bathroom, whatever. You can’t even quantify that by the number of people that are watching the Superbowl because they may or may not see your ad. And then you know, after that you can’t even get anywhere further on the journey to see what they go and do. This is again, where the science and art come into play, because we have all of these digital options in these new channels that we never had before. And they let you do things like optimize your spend, or actually follow that consumer journey so that you can see how they discover something and then they learn about it. And where do they buy that pair of shoes? Where does it become the point in the journey where it makes sense for them. And then ultimately, that holy grail of them becoming a repeat purchaser or an ambassador of the brand, right? And so that testing and learning allows you to optimize your mix. And you also don’t always have to spend a whole bunch of money to do it, right. So to get to that carefully curated mix, you can put in small dollar amounts compared to what used to be before we had digital and really see what’s working or do a B testing and see which works better or C can I get the consumer at this point in the journey with the shoes? No. Okay, I’ll try him. And another place here. A big mistake we see is that people get distracted by shiny objects or new things, right. AI and AR are big ones not to keep calling them out throughout the course of this episode. But people get really excited about what could be or the opportunity of being there the cool factor and where we see issues with getting to that right curated advertising mix is when they put dollars behind something or support behind something or people behind something that doesn’t make any sense and wasn’t thought out from a strategic sense. And they go and try it. And then they’re like, oh, worked for so and so why did it not work for me? And it’s like, well, you have to do it in a meaningful way, which goes back to that curation. And you have to have goals to measure your success to know then what do I optimize? Where do I test next? Where do we put my dollars? Where are we on the journey? What do you think Sascha?

Sascha Lock 13:37
Yeah, spot. I think measurement is very key, we think about like the mix, I mean, the only constant advertising is change, right? So that’s because consumers, humans, brands and suppliers change. And really everything revolves around the consumer, this whole industry in the power dynamic is around the consumer. In fact, think about how we used to shop, you know, the brand, or the supplier would tell you where you can buy those pair of shoes, what the price was, and you had to follow those rules. And, you know, the incomes the internet and changes everything. And so that power dynamic is shifting. But if you think about behaviors on media, I mean, digital is really going to endure, because a lot of marketers are held to hitting certain goals. And digital happens to be the most measurable channel. I think a lot of other channels are evolving. There’s providers that are creating solutions to measure things like foot traffic, to measure, you know, post ad exposure to out of home. But really, budgets are gonna be fluid this year, there’s not going to be probably that that much of a degree of change in traditional as there was during COVID. Because we aren’t sitting in lockdown. But if you think about in COVID, and even today, I mean we really we really have three buckets of channels, right? The first bucket is the tried and true must have channels. So these channels, marketers, they know they work, right paid search, great example. These budgets are going to probably stay intact and maybe even see some upticks from channels that have been tested and haven’t worked The second bucket I like to think of as new and emerging channels. So these channels are going to be tested but really with a lot of scrutiny, and this good example is podcasting, audio. You don’t get that immediate sale on the shoes, but what happens in that person’s brain? Have you gotten greater share of mind? And lastly, underperformers, right? These are channels which are probably losing reach to begin with, right? We saw this in the recession 2008 newspapers shrunk by 27%. Guess what grew by 27%. That year, Amazon, these three buckets are how budgets are going to be flowing, right? When I think of new and emerging, probably commerce and content right now, these two channels are colliding. And they’re following the path of paid social commerce right. So retail mediate connected TV are converging their spenders are growing separately, but also together and I think about partnerships like Kroger and Roku, Walmart and Paramount these data partnerships are creating new opportunities. So what we’ll probably see is like CTV becoming more shoppable more addressable, more measurable. So that pair of shoes, you’re not just getting an ad for it on CTV, you’re also able to buy it. The other thing too, I think, like, there’s this concept of physical media really being on the rise, even during a recession. And what I equate that to is, again, back to our human and machine analogy, humans crave connection, they want to go into into stores, they want to touch products, right. And I think physical media, like experiential, like live sports experience, like outdoor media, is really going to see not only budgets being held on tight, but also a lot of innovation in the space. For example, I love this campaign, Netflix for their show called Wednesday, Wednesday Addams, they did a very in your face type of out of home campaign that was like super, super nail on the head, where you were, if you’re on a bus stop, you know, for example, the ad said, you know, This show isn’t as bad as being in a bus stop or something. So, like creative has a huge, huge part in advertising being effective. As we all know, Google, I think said creative has a while back, this was a stat they pulled out creative has a 60% influence on the ad being effective or not media much less degree. So I think beautiful creative paired with, you know, really kind of strong media channels that revolve around the human consumption and their behaviors that are going to work the best.

Anne Candido 17:26
I think that trend is right on. And I think the whole goal, and you hit on this is to drive conversion as quickly as possible. Right. And so you can, you can argue whether or not people have limited attention spans or not, I’ve heard people say on both sides of the spectrum. But that being the case, the tighter in the cleaner, and the more clever, I use clever, just as kind of like an analogy for good your creative can be, the more memorable it is and the more you can drive people down that funnel. And that’s always was like the core of any advertising was recall being a big one, right. And the recall was driven a lot by the creative and the relevancy. But then also, what is your intent to buy as a result. And so now that we have all these things, to kind of mixing together, your intent to buy can be quickly measured by here’s your ad, here is like the button to actually go buy now. And so the everything’s kind of to kind of really tighten up. And because of that you have to be very consistent across the channels. And we’ve said this a lot that in you mentioned the word campaign, and I’m going to bring that back is, as you’re developing these media platforms, it’s still extremely important that they be rooted in some sort of branding marketing effort, which we would call a marketing campaign. And so the brand and the companies and businesses who are doing this really well are deciding what their creative execution is going to be. And then figuring out how to articulate that or how to bring that to life appropriately, through their marketing mix. And through the medium mix in order for everything to kind of coalesce and work together to create this ecosystem that people need around them in order to really drive their intent to buy. And the smarter that you can make these things work together and intertwine them together like your Wednesday example, which I think is brilliant because of the way that they are taking that creative and putting it in the mindset of somebody that you can actually go do now oh, I can look that show up right now is one or like, hey, like, again, like we said before I see that advertisement, I can now buy it right from that advertisement. Those things are starting to kind of create a lot of traction. And I think that mindset of strategically kind of tying everything together as tight as you possibly can and make sure it’s executed appropriate across each channel develops that media platform in a very meaningful and productive way which drives that efficiency we were talking about before. For

Sascha Lock 19:53
sure. And just to add, I remember 15 years ago, not a new example, for Bostonians. Right, the taxi tops. ScrubaDub was the company. It’s like a spa for your car. That was very relevant very on the nose spoke to Bostonians, but I still remember what the brand was. Because I saw it over and over. And this is dating myself back when taxi cabs. No Uber back then.

April Martini 20:17
But yeah. But a relevant example all the same, I think it drives the point home. All right, so number three here, and four predictions about the future of advertising is influencers will rule as brand storytellers. This is one where we’ve been having a lot of conversation, and I keep thinking of the word maturation, right, you know, when influencers first came out, it was a pretty tight definition of what that was. And now when you think about it, you see that it transcends different channels, and it mixes with other words of what you would call these folks, but also what they’re doing. And you know, what their role is. And so really, specifically, when influencers first came out is a pretty simple model, right? You sent someone a person with a large following that hopefully hit the demographic and psychographic of who you are trying to target, right? your product or your service to try and or you would pay them to promote it, right. And oftentimes, this came to life on social channels, or through videos created or posts or blogs, etc. And that was the definition of influencers, it was a way for brands to promote while having someone else speak on their behalf. So they didn’t have to be the mouthpiece, and therefore it helps build some more authenticity and that human experience that we’ve been talking about through all of this, which made sense naturally, right? Because what’s one of the biggest ways we hear about things? And what are brands always chasing word of mouth, right? And so this was a new manifestation of it a new way to go and ask, right or someone you followed, promoted something and said, I use this I put my name behind it, it was like, Oh, well, that’s different than tide, as we always talk about since and worked on tide for so many years, saying, We are the best brand, we do the best job, you know, in the hearts and minds of consumers. We’re the ones that go to those types of things. It’s now coming from someone else. And if you’re following them, you’re likely following them for different reasons, right. And so when we think about the model now, though, and we think about, again, back to that word maturation, I’m starting to think about the conversation we’ve been having around the house, it mixes and it morphs, and it changes and we start to make it tighter, we hope we can get to the conversion faster, and there’s more options. So we have to be tight on the journey we’re trying to put people on, right. So the definition has changed in ways that we see influencers who we wouldn’t put in that traditional model. Right. But they certainly are. I mean, Sasha, you and I talked about Joe Rogan, right? You’ve already talked about podcasts on here, you know, people promoting products or talking about things. I mean, we have a marketing sparks moment, right. So we have to think that Dan and I are influencers in the way that people that are following along and believe in what we’re talking about, hear us in those marketing moments, talk about things that are good or not so good and experiences we have and we are influencing them, right. I’ll give kind of an outrageous example. And for those of you that know me and know me fairly well, I am obsessed with Shaquille O’Neal. Right? Not I’m not an NBA basketball fan whatsoever. It’s all of his post career stuff that he has been doing. And so I follow him online now. I’m not maybe buying the same products, but I can see the beauty of the way in which he’s influencing right so he has his 51st birthday party. He doesn’t say Reebok is the sponsor, but what shoes is he wearing to that sneaker fest? He’s wearing the new Reeboks and calling them out right so influencer in kind of a different way, you know, we think paid celebrity sponsorship, all of those types of things, but the definition kind of goes across I mean, and and I were in Hilton Head last week, and I was like, oh, shoot, we’ve got to get pictures for the fourth right people social, right. And she’s like, this is the world of being an influencer April, we’ve got to make sure that we’re nailing that stuff down. And that was a little bit of a facetious thing. Right, but yeah, tongue in cheek definition of it. But I think just to say that influencers came about at a time where we’re, you know, there was some exploration about what they could be and now it’s just morphed into this word of mouth machine and it’s blending across the channels, the experiences and it’s allowing for a bigger story to be told by all of the channels all the people involved, etc. Yeah,

Sascha Lock 24:26
for sure. And personally for me, I mean an influencer it’s a neighborhood dad with all the best hiking trails you know, I could take my three kids on you know, it’s it’s Business Insider, it’s it’s a YouTube chef who’s selling his own flaky salts and I’m buying them for way too much money for flaky salt. But I think to your point, you know, in advertising influencers have a very specific definition and that is really to have a have a purpose on the media plan and leverage their own clout and leverage reach right and that applies to whether these influencers are micro influencers or macro or anything in between. The purpose is really to endorse brands in a way that can unlock that word of mouth effect. And I think it’s a really powerful channel, because we build emotional connections with humans, using influencers a lot with media. In fact, back when influencer started I was handpicking influencers for Avocados from Mexico. Now we have we have a whole influencer team, this group of amazing people that that’s what they do is they specialize in this channel, and I call it a channel, because it has a very specific role on that plan. Right. I think also something that’s interesting. I recall this back to when I was at the YouTube NewFronts a few years ago, listening to Casey Neistat, who, you know, has millions of followers, he’s a YouTube creator, influencers, as he pointed out, don’t mask the fact that they’re influencers and that they’re endorsing brands, that’s a really good way to lose trust and lose viewers. So now what we’re seeing is very transparent behavior with influencers, whether that’s Joe Rogan, and saying, This episode is brought to you by athletic greens, or you know, Casey Neistat, really at the beginning of the episode or whatever he’s filming, saying that this is a sponsored promotion. And I think that helps to build trust between humans and influencers, because they know that this is sponsored, they also know that sponsoring helps bring revenue to the influencers, which in turn helps them make more content. And I think a lot of people we’ve seen in the data, a lot of people trust influencers, and actually, they make purchase decisions after being exposed to those messages through an influencer. So influencers work. It’s interesting, you know, in one of these channels, it’s not necessarily measurable. But we have seen a lot of collision between affiliate and influencer, the two worlds in these two channels, right? Influencers, leveraging that clout, and great content and affiliate marketing, which is a CPA based or cost per action based channel. influencers are essentially affiliates now, and vice versa. The other thing too, it’s interesting for me personally, is the fact that we have this debate around, you know, influencer versus creator. And these two words are kind of used interchangeably, sometimes, but I feel that influencers typically have the stigma around them, when when it’s the Creator, who’s sponsoring a brand. Even if they’re doing it transparently, there’s still this kind of stigma, that I’m selling something to my viewers, I want to be careful. So some influencers, you know, typically call themselves creators, but as much as we all love to believe the bachelor and Paradise contestants go on for the right reasons. What happens on social after the show isn’t necessarily reflective of that, and a lot of them do become influencers. So, you know, I think that this is a channel that’s growing, evolving, but it really takes a right the right team, you know, and hopefully hired at a good agency, like yours or mine to really nail it for brands.

Anne Candido 27:43
Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. I was around when influencers just started to and actually, I was one of the first people who started to really synthesize a program for p&g, around that, although was not the first person to use influencer. So I don’t know, I just want to be clear for all my P&Gers listening. But I think your point that it’s highly orchestrated is a very good one. And your point about it being a word of mouth machine is also a really good one. Because it’s kind of morph to some extent, where initially, I think the use of influencers was was all about that endorsement. And getting to that audience that was kind of felt elusive to a brand where they couldn’t reach authentically, which is still a core of why people use influencers today. But I’m thinking too, as it’s starting to kind of morph into its own channel, as you said, it’s about the exposure as much as about the endorsement, right? A lot of these influencers and these are creating like these, this following of massive amount of visuals that whether or not they’re going to say, Hey, I put my name on this, or I think you should use this is the best thing ever. The fact that she’s there and the number of eyeballs you’re getting, isn’t exposure play? It’s an awareness play that actually drives a lot of recognition. And yes, does it help when it comes from certain influencers? For sure, but sometimes it’s about just seeing it, and then you see it again in another town, and you see it again, in a different channel. So it kind of just adds to that to that mix. And so I think it’s a really interesting role that the influencers are playing here, in being a channel in themselves, not just from an endorsement standpoint, but from awareness standpoint. And I think that’s all kind of like starting to really become a very apparent thing. So even I’m watching next level chef right now. Yeah, half the people I may or may not be half a good number of the contestants or social media chefs. I mean, all the whole following is just based on the food. Oh, looking good. It may not taste good, right. It’s just them tasting and saying, Oh, this tastes good. Like it tastes like shit. Nobody else would know the difference, right? But the whole reason for having them where you could actually be a chef be like they’re not a real chef. They were not culinary train. They don’t work in a restaurant they don’t like you can sit there and just like bash their credentials all day, but the exposure that they’re putting Foreman’s giving to that show. And just elevating the the status of that show is invaluable. And that’s why it’s so important to consider influencers in the role influencers are playing in your brand. This is not no longer a should I use them this is how am I going to use them?

Sascha Lock 30:17
For sure. Couldn’t agree more. Influencer belongs on every media plan, I think. And a lot of brands have opted to run this channel themselves, just to make sure that the brand messages are coming through. But again, hopefully they hire your agency or mine to do it.

Anne Candido 30:32
It’s not a good thing to run your own influencer marketing campaign. And you’d have to separate church and state I just totally agree.

April Martini 30:39
Number four advertising that has longevity will focus on systemic tensions over short term trends. And Sascha, this is another one that you and I talked about, right. And this is, again, we’re bringing back that humanity lens to things. And we’ve talked about this a little bit so far. But we do see a lot of this post COVID, right, where things that became quote, unquote, trends were more necessity based than actual trends. And so, you know, digital shopping went up tremendously. The wrong assumption to make here was that that was going to be the way of the future without putting the human lens on it on the other side of pandemic, right, we’ve seen in store shopping, come back in a big way, Sasha, you’re the stat man. So I know, you’re gonna have a whole bunch of things to say about this. But now that we can actually go back in and we can touch things and see things and feel the items as well as just be around people in a social environment. Again, to not anticipate that that was going to come back would have assumed that we were always going to be in COVID land, right. And so it’s a misconception. And so you have to think, okay, it may not boomerang all the way back, likely it wouldn’t, right. But you have to accommodate the fact that people are going to want to be able to go back to those behaviors. And also, the truth of the matter is, there are some things that will always be easier to buy in person, whether it’s trying on clothes in a dressing room, or I’m going to go buy things for my house, and I want to feel what that throw is or I want to pick the material for my couch and sit on it, all of those types of behaviors are coming back. Same is true of travel, travel shut down because it was mandated that can be shut down. While we all got a whole lot of stir crazy in us. And while there was some hesitancy to hop back on an airplane, I can tell you after being in airports last week, for a good amount of the week, it was like nothing had ever as ever happened, right? People are going all over the place. In fact, I would say that the airlines are suffering from fatigue, trying to get all of us where we need to be going. But the important thing here is again, to go back to the mix, we’ve talked about the human components of this episode, you have to spread the love when it comes to spend. And remember that again, we’re not robots. And so when you put the lens of the humanity on top of trends, we certainly can’t predict human behavior. But we shouldn’t be able to intelligently look at things and say, Okay, we’ve had some serious swings in recent years. So there’s going to be a resettling and what do we actually think that’s going to look like and therefore what mix? Are we putting together? What’s been and what do we anticipate our consumers are going to be and what their journey is going to be moving forward?

Sascha Lock 33:20
For sure. And you know, I’m just thinking like, the date of this recording is March 15. This is the three year anniversary of essentially COVID shutdowns in the US, right.

April Martini 33:30
I didn’t even realize that. Yeah, yeah, you’re right. Three years ago, I

Sascha Lock 33:33
told my team at the office to take important items home just in case. And we never went back to that office. And fast forward today, you know, where we are living in a different world, it doesn’t feel in a lot of ways, like it’s a 180 from where we started three years ago, but it has changed for sure. So, you think about various verticals. And I mentioned earlier adspend is projected to grow, you know, six to 7% this year, various verticals are picking up you know, two to three times faster than that clip like Travel is expected to grow in ad spend by 20%. Retail by 18%. And these verticals have gone through rapid change. And they continue to evolve a lot of them kind of feel back to quote unquote, pre pandemic normal. But for example, let’s take retail you know, you mentioned online, online shopping and in store shopping retails forever changed right the pendulum right now feels like it’s swinging back to the middle where a lot of shopping is done as omni channel shopping, right? There’s online there’s in store. So you know, think about some stats and thank you for calling me the stat man. I do I do love a good statistic. But you know, I think something like in store sales growing five times faster than ecommerce sales between May 2021 and 2022 is a powerful stat right we crave human connection. We want to you know, feel products in our hands. We want to have that experience and to your point some products are just better bought in person. You can buy everything online and feel fully confident that’s going to be what you need. Meta, you know has a lot of stats around what they call hybrid shopping. So shoppers blending touchpoints researching and purchasing both digitally and in store, often simultaneously, right? Going into a store, researching that product on your phone, maybe buying it on your phone through a cheaper retailer, there was always that example of Best Buy being the showroom for Amazon, right? You’d go into buy a TV, buying that TV, and then you buy on Amazon. And so I give a lot of credit to you know, our grocery clients at our hotel Hayes, who are like at the forefront of omni channel shopping. They understand that most grocery shoppers buy product in store, they buy it online, whether it’s clicking collector or delivery. And you know, what they want to do is be that store that captures that shopper regardless of where they’re buying. The other thing too is like phygital shopping, and I typically hate these buzzwords where you blend two words, like globally, either. I don’t I don’t either. But phygital shopping if you if you Google that a lot of stats around QR code usage. I mean, we all joked about QR codes when they came out into like, they’re still not dead. I don’t know if they’re thriving or not. I feel like I see a QR code and everything but you know, QR code. Usage in store has picked up about 300% between 2020 and 2022. You know, back to back to media for a minute to like 2020 April, we saw drastic changes in how people are consuming channels. We saw huge UPS upticks in social CTB time spent, we were craving connection, we were craving levity. We saw the emergence of streaming audio channels in a new light like clubhouse, the audio only social network, that was never a thing we talked about. But a lot of those media behaviors are kind of back to pre pandemic levels. However, our consumption and you know, different sources of truth, different sources of information, fun and liberty are changed. Now. I’ll give you an example. Like I have started to listen to more podcasts after the pandemic, even though I don’t commute as much. So just like you know, all humans change. I think so will our industry.

Anne Candido 37:04
I agree, although I’ll say the same that just popped in my mind as more things change, the more they stay the same, some extent, which is a really interesting, probably analysis of psychological behavior, which we don’t have time for here. And I’m an expert in but I’m sure Adam Grant would know, Oh, geez.

April Martini 37:23
Anne’s obsessed with Adam Grant.

Anne Candido 37:25
I’m trying to get it into every single podcast episode, just for repetition. Eventually, he’ll hear it. But that’s my influencer thing working there.

Sascha Lock 37:34
But anyways, great. He’s great. Yep. But I

Anne Candido 37:37
think there’s two things I wanted to say about this. And I’d have more but the two things that popped in my mind what is if COVID taught us anything, it’s taught us the need to be flexible, right. And I think that was somebody that will continue to learn that will continue to stay and be the mainstay is that we have to have flexibility. And that we can’t be the one trick pony is we can’t rely on certain channels. And that just be everything that we put all of our focus on all of our money on everything like that, which means we have to have a level of vigilance. And that vigilance helps us to really become aware and be in it to understand where people’s behaviors are shifting and moving. Because like you said, April, some are shifting back. So they’re like, I really do like shopping in store, that’s never gonna go away. When some people were like, you know, that I seem Kroger start to convert to like, purely digital stores. I’m like, it maybe maybe not. But if you were thought that that was gonna be the case, maybe you know that the whole idea of the delivery would have peaked war, frankly, during COVID and sustain itself where I don’t even seen the grocery stores change. Like they’re not ghost towns, right, there’s still people going in to go shopping. So some things are maybe a little bit so before their time. And so in some ways, COVID accelerated other things, right. But I think the one thing here to go back to the point about short term trends versus long term tensions is that some consumer behavior is based on a level of humanity, that’s just intrinsic, of being human. And so we have to recognize those as well as kind of be on the watch out for things that may be kind of flexing in coming in. But instead of glamming, on to these short term trends, which can be very dangerous for your budget, for your brand, reputation, all of those sorts of things. It’s a test to learn around and just kind of see what they do with regards to your brand, reputation, credibility, your business growth, versus kind of going all in and thinking that okay, well COVID Now makes if this like little thing is happening, the whole world’s going to shift, right? I think you have to be careful not to overcompensate or over invest in what we’re seeing, thinking that now the COVID behavior has trained that like every little thing is going to be some sort of massive transition or some sort of massive shift or it’s gonna go and I’m like, I have people tell me that marketing and branding is gonna go away because of these AI bots. I’m like, Are you really serious right now? You think an AI bot is going to replace branding and marketing? Like, I don’t think so? Well, they have a role to play for sure. But it’s kind of like now everybody kind of has this like kneejerk reaction to everything. So I think it’s really important to kind of consider the strategy of it all. And think about how you’re those human tensions that you base your brand on. How true Are they still,

April Martini 40:28
they contain and maintain a hyper vigilance, but not that knee jerk reaction to every single little thing that comes through. Well, and I just to continue the grocery discussion here and sort of the short term versus long term. So one of the things that we’re seeing pop up in Kroger are bars and music being played inside the Kroger’s. Right? So I completely understand how that came to be when we were doing COVID. Or how that would be a natural thing, right? Like, well, people are spending more time in the grocery store. Well, it was the only place we could go right. And now we’ve invested all this money to change the footprint of the store. Now you can always make the argument that if you’ve had a few drinks, and you’re going to go shopping, you’ll likely buy more. I think maybe that’s true. But I don’t fact, that’s what I don’t think that that is the impetus of this, right. And so I’m finding it really interesting to watch. And I will say for the first time ever, this past weekend, I participated, I’ve never had any inclination to do this. It’s because I know the musician he played in our wedding, I adore him. But there was something still very unnerving and unnatural about the situation for me. And so that’s one that I’m watching is kind of one of those knee jerk trends to say, looking into the future and my crystal ball, if I had to make a prediction, it’s that those types of things are going to go away, because we can now go to music venues and bars, and all these other places that I think are just much more conducive. I also feel like there’s a little bit of judging is going on by some of the people not partaking when we’re sitting at the bar having drinks. So if there is, you know, so anyway, I just for contextualization, that was one that popped in as you were talking where I was like, yep, that’s one of those ones that I look at. And I’m like, Ah, I don’t think so.

Sascha Lock 42:08
So, yeah, good, good examples, feel like, you know, back to our whole macro level point about human and machine for our own jobs, I hope that the machine will not replace the human. But I think back to Keanu Reeves movie, circa 1999, that says otherwise, I do like to point out a lot about kneejerk reactions. And I think that’s a very valid point, thinking about market or in decisions, marketers always, you know, have a choice to be the first to fail or to follow, and I think knee jerk reactions, you know, hire a good team that can advise you on on where to spend your money, similar to you know, investments, and, you know, stock advisors, you want to spend your money, hire the people that understand the market, the stock market, they can tell which stocks are going to skyrocket, and then tank or the stocks that are going to very slowly grow, but they’re gonna grow over time. And for me, personally, that’s waste management. So trash, something we’re producing much more of, but I do think it comes back to, you know, keeping humans in our industry, keeping it very human. And the decisions we make, you know, not being knee jerk, but But you know, thought out, not over also overly relying on the data. Sometimes you just have to make gut feel decisions. Yes, supplemented by data. But I’m thinking that like a lot of creative that we produce in this industry is not made, you know, by data points and robots. It’s made by people that feel like, you know, comedy is a great barrier, you know, to break down between brands and consumers. Yeah.

April Martini 43:33
Oh, good points. All right. And our final segment when we don’t have a guest is a brand that’s doing things well or not so well within the marketing space. And I kind of chatted about that before from an influencer perspective. But when we have a guest, obviously, we believe that the guest is doing a good job in the marketing space. So Sascha, we talked about all kinds of things today. So we always encourage our guests to put a fine point on things talk about anything we didn’t cover. And then of course, let people know where they can find you. Give a plug for your business, whatever you want to do. This is your few minutes here.

Sascha Lock 44:06
Now I appreciate it. I think we did cover a lot of ground between shoes. Bachelor in Paradise, grocery shopping and even drinking and being feeling judged.

Anne Candido 44:18
All on Marketing Smarts, everybody. Only on Marketing Smarts.

Sascha Lock 44:20
Yeah, that’s a great conversation. I really enjoyed talking to you both. I think this is a conversation that will keep evolving. And maybe we’ll do another episode sometime. But really appreciate you guys both you could find me at LinkedIn, Sasha Lock, or send me an email I work at an agency. We’re a full-service marketing agency that does things like influencer media, creative, all the good stuff in marketing. But there’s been a lot of fun. Thank you guys.

April Martini 44:52
Thank you. Thank you for joining us. I think this has been great. So just to recap four predictions about the future of advertising number one human connections will be at the core of advertising that actually breaks through until robots rule the world emotion will be the differentiator in that human lens. Number two, a carefully curated advertising mix will be key and driving efficiency. Gone are the days of a single investment in a super expensive TV spot. The right mix ensures optimal success. Number three influencers will rule as brand storytellers, the definition has broadened and change to include many more people as influencers, whether formally or informally. And finally, number four, advertising that has longevity will focus on systemic tensions over short term trends. All trends deserve our attention, but not all of them will have long term impact. And with that, we will say go and exercise your Marketing Smarts! Still need help in growing your Marketing Smarts? Contact us through our website: We can help you become a savvier marketer through coaching or training you and your team or doing the work on your behalf. Please also help us grow the podcast by rating and reviewing on your player of choice and sharing with at least one person. Now, go show off your Marketing Smarts!