Marketing Mavericks: an Interview with Extreme Reach’s Robert Haskitt
Published: May 20, 2015
Author: Molly Shotwell
When you look back at the last six months, what were some of the biggest surprises of your job?
Pleasant Leadership Surprise
How much impact a nimble team of marketers can make when they rally around a single, difficult goal, plan together, and work closely as a team to meet a major challenge.
Our company is growing, both organically and through acquisition. Last year, we acquired two companies within a span of four months. Both acquisitions were very different and each required a number of different marketing programs with many moving parts, including rebranding, product changes, sweeping procedural and support changes, client communications, technology changes, new messaging, PR, awareness programs, website changes, digital programs, events, and more. And, as with most private acquisitions, the planning and execution timelines were short. By clearly defining the lofty objectives, transparently sharing every known issue, and getting everyone involved in the planning on day one, the whole team became more engaged, determined, and invested than I expected.
Interesting Marketing Surprise
That ads running within the Academy Awards are more effective that TV ads that run in the Super Bowl.
Research my company has conducted for the last two years shows a significant benefit of the Oscars vs. the Super Bowl when it comes to the effectiveness of the commercials. Our research shows that the audience’s purchase intent increases by more than 20% (avg.) after seeing commercials aired during the Oscars. That’s 3x the brand lift received by brands/products advertised within the Super Bowl (which this year produced an average lift of 6.5%). Obviously, there are other factors advertisers must consider, like demographics and reach. But for brand effectiveness, the award goes to the Oscars.
What are 2-3 bold predictions you’d make for the next six months?
My company, Extreme Reach, provides ad agencies and brands with technology and services that enable the execution of smart, highly measurable video advertising campaigns. Across our client base, we’re seeing some important shifts in the advertising industry, so I’ll share two predictions along those lines:
Online video advertising is going to grow faster than expected and become more valued by marketers.
This increase will be driven by a number of factors, including the adoption of new, advanced technologies that can help them overcome some of the current drawbacks of running video campaigns online (like ad viewability, fraudulent ad inventory and impressions, and workflows that weren’t developed with digital video in mind and remain outdated and difficult to scale within many ad agencies).
Big brands and ad agencies are going to accelerate their convergence TV and digital video advertising.
A number of trends in the ad industry point to this significant shift in how video campaigns will be handled in the near future. Generally, traditional TV is becoming more like digital, and digital is becoming more like TV. The media companies, workflow, metrics, creative, and other aspects are becoming essentially the same, and the two are becoming so intertwined that it’s become less efficient and less effective to execute and measure them separately.
What’s your favorite recent ad campaign, and why?
McDonald’s has launched a series of commercials designed to elevate their brand. One of the spots features numerous messages posted on the letter boards beneath the golden arches in front of local McDonald’s restaurants across America. Some messages offer supportive words for soldiers, or for locals after a regional catastrophic event. Other messages are supportive of individuals or families. I think it’s brilliant for McDonald’s because they are one of only a handful of everyday brands that are recognized, trusted, and managed by people in just about every community touched by events small and large. The signs neatly and emotionally convey the local connection, involvement and voice of a huge, global and oft-criticized brand.
Here’s the commercial.
If you had $10M, which marketing platform (e.g. Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) would you invest in, and why?
Personal investment: I actually have invested in marketing platforms, including Google and Facebook. However, if I had to pick one for my $10M, it would be Google because they have placed their marketing toll booths on the broadest roads (search and YouTube). They’ve proven their model for those channels, those channels don’t seem to fall out of favor with the consumer audience (like some social platforms), and they are appealing and effective for both B2C and B2B marketers.
If you had $10M, which marketing technology would you invest in, and why?
Smart video advertising technologies that enable, and benefit from, the growth of digital video advertising. More and more advertising dollars are moving to video (for good reason). However, even though it’s growing quickly, it has a long way to go and evolve over the next several years.
Which is more important, attribution or mobile? Why?
This is a difficult question to answer without an “it depends” response.
In some cases, if I had to choose one or the other, I would pick mobile and in some cases, attribution. If I was running a brand campaign or driving awareness, I’d go with mobile because I can still measure mobile ad impressions and other types of activity. If my campaign objective was to drive sales or some other online conversion, I’d go with more attributable media and methods. You have to know who and where those conversions come from in order to optimize.
Are there any specific books that have helped shape your marketing strategy?
Yes. Lots. But when I think about the books that have provided the best, most resonant insights for marketing, some of the books that come to mind aren’t actually books specifically about marketing. They’re books about business, strategy, and consumer behavior.
Good to Great, by Jim Collins
This is kind of a classic now, but still a very relevant read for strategic marketers. Great case studies of big brands that turned a corner by looking at the big picture and taking big steps.
Why We Buy, by Paco Underhill
A great read about the drivers behind consumer behavior. Very “retail”-focused, but very relevant and insightful for marketers of all types.
Punk Marketing, by Richard Laermer and Mark Simmons
An entertaining and irreverent reminder to think and market differently. A good book to keep around for inspiration when your approach starts becoming repetitive, ho-hum, or lost in the noise.
Building Design Strategy: Using Design to Achieve Key Business Objectives, by Thomas Lockwood (Editor), Thomas Walton (Editor)
Real-world examples of how the book’s contributors used design to solve significant business problems.
Brain Rules, by John Medina
While this book has nothing to do with marketing, it’s one of my favorite brain books, because it includes a number of informative sections that are relevant to how people receive and perceive information. As a marketer, I couldn’t help but associate that information with the use of various marketing tactics and the shaping of marketing messages.
More about Robert Haskitt:
Robert’s career spans more than 15 years in both TV and online advertising, with a focus in advancing innovative digital advertising solutions. Before joining Extreme Reach, he led marketing teams for Microsoft Advertising and Atlas, the marketing technology division of aQuantive. Robert is a frequent presenter at industry conferences and has written numerous articles on the subject of cross-media advertising.