Millward Brown Digital’s IAB Annual Leadership Meeting Highlights

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Last month, we sent our president and our CMO/CCO out to Palm Desert, California, for the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Annual Leadership Meeting. I sat down with Stephen DiMarco, the CMO, to learn more about what stood out from the conference. Read more below and watch the interview in this post!

Adapted Transcript, Millward Brown Digital’s IAB Annual Leadership Meeting 2014 Highlights

SDM: I’m Stephen DiMarco; I’m the Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Client Officer for Millward Brown Digital. I’ve got responsibility for our strategy, solutions, and our client services team.

Q: Could you describe the IAB, and the purpose of its annual leadership meeting?

SDM: The IAB stands for the Interactive Advertising Bureau, which is a trade association focused on the growth of the digital media industry. It’s chaired by this great person, Randy Rothenberg, who is the driving force behind a lot of the progress the digital media industry has made over the past couple years. The Annual Leadership Meeting is a gathering of all of the members of the IAB, which comprises of mostly publishers, but also agencies and increasingly brands — to come together and discuss the agenda for the year ahead.

Q: The conference topic this year was the “Digital Agenda.” Can you tell us more about this?

SDM: The theme for this year’s ALM was called the “Digital Agenda,” and it really focuses on the pivot that publishers need to make from simply thinking about ad selling to helping marketers build their brands to connect with consumers.

Q: What panels stood out to you, and why?

SDM: The two panels that stood out to me most were, firstly, Neil Ashe, who’s the CEO of e-commerce for Walmart. He talked a lot about what Walmart has to do to succeed online. It’s interesting because he came from a publishing background, so to see him now on the marketer’s side, focused on e-commerce, was a great discussion. Second was Bob Pittman, who’s the chairman and CEO of ClearChannel, which was traditionally a radio and outdoor advertising company that doesn’t have a lot to do with digital. But to hear him talk about reducing the ClearChannel story to something very simple, and matching assets with consumer trends (creating the new app iHeartRadio to compete against Spotify),was a very interesting story and really motivating.

Q: What is Millward Brown Digital’s role within the IAB community?

SDM: We play a very active role with the IAB; a lot of times we participate on different councils or boards, contributing insights to areas like search marketing, how to measure display advertising, or the growth of mobile and video, are all areas where we can contribute. But in many ways, the IAB has 3 different member constituencies: the publishers, the brands, and the agencies. Companies like Millward Brown Digital act as the glue that pulls them all together.

Q: What does this mean for 2014?

SDM: 2014’s going to be another complicated year for marketers. I know we’ve said this in the past, but getting digital right is harder than ever. Marketers really need to figure out how much they should commit on video, what is the native advertising opportunity, how do we truly capitalize on Twitter — these are just some of the questions swirling around in marketers’ heads. Events like the IAB and companies like Millward Brown Digital are here to help navigate that.

The more digital there is (and there’s going to be a lot, lot more), the more difficult it becomes for agencies, publishers, and brands to figure out their marketing strategy without proper data or a focus on new technologies.

The marketers’ questions that Stephen brought up especially piqued my interest. Digital buzzwords (SEO! Big Data! The Internet of Things! Search marketing! Leads! etc) are becoming more popular and more integral to the marketing scene than ever before. There’s a considerable amount of new information to process (now think about all the different devices that all tie in with these buzzwords — multiscreen usage is another item to consider), so marketers have to learn a lot in less time to harness digital potential first. Research becomes all-too-important as some traditional marketing methods require data-centric makeovers to increase effectiveness.

Getting digital right is a top priority — and Millward Brown Digital is here to help. Our Digital CMO Summit is less than a month away — so register now to join other industry leaders in discussing the future of marketing!

About Johanna Gunawan:
A Political Science/International Affairs sophomore at Northeastern University, Johanna joins Millward Brown Digital as the spring '14 Digital Marketing Co-op. Apart from her interest in digital infrastructure and her majors; Johanna enjoys absurd quantities of imported coffee, haggling for cheap flights, and constantly editing her website. Find her on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.