4 Essential Takeaways From Portada New York’s Conference

What: #PortadaNY was a great opportunity for attendees to discuss passion-point marketing's most imminent issues. Karina Masolova, Contributor at Large for Portada, has put together the following recap of essential takeaways from last week panels.
Why it matters: Attendees were able to take a good look at key insights that are greatly shaping the marketing and advertising industry, specifically for multicultural audiences.

Karina Masolova

By Karina Masolova, Contributor at Large, Portada

Last week at the Yotel Hotel in New York City, the annual Portada New York conference received attendees from all over the Americas, who had the opportunity to network one-on-one with executives of their choice and listen to experts in marketing discuss the most important issues shaping the industry. The Portada editorial team collected the top four key insights that attendees walked away with, in case you missed it.



1. "Total market" was a failed experiment, but don't forget that almost half the "general market" will be multicultural

While most executives agreed that the "total market" experiment has failed to deliver on its promised potential, the business will not be returning to a blinkered, two-track "Hispanic" versus "General Market" approach. Instead, the business will gradually correct itself between those two extremes.

One member of the Agency Star Committee, José Bello of Hearts & Science, joked, "I'm taking 'Total Market' out of my title immediately" after seeing that he was the only one with it. ("Multicultural" is the new preferred descriptor based on other titles in the group.)

What does this multicultural approach entail? Simply put, don't leave Hispanic, African-American, Asian, or any other demographics as an afterthought.

As former Canvas Worldwide executive Cynthia Dickson put it: "Hispanics are people, not a tactic." To that end, Dickson suggests thinking about Hispanics from day one, not three months after writing the initial brief.

While separate insights will, of course, be generated by dedicated and specialized teams, those teams will talk to each other throughout the process to identify common links. A multicultural campaign can be leveraged in the general market, or, as is increasingly becoming the case, vice versa.

After all, it's a simple numbers game. According to the U.S. Census, in 2016 non-Hispanic whites made up 61% of the population. By 2030, that share will drop to 56% and by 2060, it will fall to 44% share. In the meantime, the total Hispanic population was 18% in 2016 and is estimated to reach 28% in 2060. Asians are the fastest-growing population segment by race/ethnicity second only to those identified as being of two or more races.

2. Don't worry about the data. We have it—just do it

If you're a brand and you think that you need to sink in the dollars to do consumer research, you might not have to. Ad agencies, buyers, creative, and your other partners usually have the expertise necessary to get you started. Instead of asking "can my product sell in the Hispanic market?" ask "what kind of creative will appeal to the Hispanic market?"
You can't walk into a campaign blind, but you need less data than you think to get started. Most of the time, between the brand, the ad agency, the creative studio, and other partners most of the market intelligence needed to launch a successful campaign is already there. "It doesn't matter if we identify a dozen markets with their own unique insights, if the campaign ends up being the exact same for all of them," Darcy Bowe, SVP and Media Director of Starcom USA, noted. And in general, marketing to Hispanics is a low bar—many of your competitors are doing absolutely nothing, after all.

José Bello, Total Market, Senior Director at Hearts & Science, said that brands don't necessarily start by spending money on trying to figure out if they can sell their product or service to Hispanics. Instead, spend those dollars on doing market research the old-fashioned way (Cynthia Dickson suggested focus groups and surveys) and in generating more content.
Dana Bonkowski, SVP and Multicultural Lead of Starcom, suggested that marketers "think of Hispanics as a group—just like moms. They're not all the same, but they have something unifying in common." But there is a double standard for multicultural marketers, as Jessica Roman, VP, Media Director at Publicis Media, acknowledged. "When a general market campaign fails, no one says that the market isn't there" or the data is wrong. They just try again.
For multicultural marketers who have to do more with less, it is especially important to leverage the experience and intelligence of partners in building successful campaigns.

3. If you aren't concerned about brand safety right now, you're already behind

As consumers are becoming more attuned to digital issues like fake news, transparency and ad fraud, brands are in turn demanding higher digital advertising standards and policies.

Citing particularly egregious examples of advertiser behavior, panelist Susan Schiekofer, Chief Digital Investment Officer of GroupM, noted that "as an industry, we don’t want to support that type of environment." And more than that, it is just as important for executives to get out in front of consumer's (and, in turn, brand's) concerns and self-regulate. Governments policing the space through regulations like GDPR are not the optimal vehicle.

Specifically, Schiekofer pointed out that the industry has to educate consumers on their business model—"it’s either a paywall or advertising" supporting great content. While many brands are already self-regulating and allow consumers to opt out of data collection, for example, they must do a better job at taking responsibility for outreach.

4. Brands want both attention and engagement. Pick one

Only 7% of U.S. advertisers say that their videos are watched all the way through, according to Seraj Bharwani, Chief Strategy Officer of AcuityAds. While that rate jumps to 12% for LATAM advertisers, those results are still abysmal. And in the face of rising competition for consumers' eyeballs, digital advertisers are under increasing pressure to deliver results.
Bharwani suggested that part of the problem is in how brands are defining results: they want both attention and engagement. But while "you can optimize for one" metric very well, that usually "tanks the other's results." It's incredibly difficult to do both well. The most successful ads, per Bharwani, don't try to do it all but either aim to inform or entertain the consumer.
In summary, we will leave off with the best digital video practices courtesy of Bharwani: Use people’s behavior on social media to tailor content. Don’t force them to watch it. And don’t make them pay for it. Deliver the ad when there is less noise and distraction in the market.

These were only a few of the thought-provoking panels we had prepared for Portada New York, stay tuned for more coverage, and take a look at some pictures of speakers and attendees here!

Portada 2019 Events 

March 15, 2019: Portada Los Angeles -Brands-Sports Summit, Hotel Loews Santa Monica, Los Angeles
April 3, 2019: Data and Content Marketing Forum, New York City
April 12, 2019: Portada Miami:  Hotel EAST, Miami 
September 12, 2019: Portada New York, Yotel New York, New York City 
October 17, 2019: Portada Mexico, Casa Lamm, Mexico City

Editorial Staff @portada_online

Portada Staff


4 Essential Takeaways From Portada New York’s Conference

4 Essential Takeaways From Portada New York’s Conference

#PortadaNY was a great opportunity for attendees to discuss passion-point marketing's most imminent issues. Karina Masolova, Contributor at Large for Portada, has put together the following recap of essential takeaways from yesterday's panels.

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