At Avis Budget Group, Navigating the “Purchase Cyclone”

“The purchase cycle has become a purchase cyclone.” That statement from Darren Moore, Product Marketing-Measurement Lead at LiveRamp, set the tone for a terrific half-day Brand Innovators marketing deep dive last week in snowy New Jersey.

“The purchase cycle has become a purchase cyclone.” That statement from Darren Moore, Product Marketing-Measurement Lead at LiveRamp, set the tone for a terrific half-day Brand Innovators marketing deep dive last week in snowy New Jersey.

Marketing Innovation Roundtable Participants

“With more screens, more devices and more influencers,” Moore said, “the customer journey has become more personal and unique to each consumer.” He called out fragmented data as a barrier to insight while stressing the importance of people-based measurement and multi-touch attribution modeling.

Strategery? Nope–Stratecution
Wednesday’s event took place inside the Avis Budget Group headquarters in Parsippany. Our event chair, Chief Marketing Officer Maurice Hererra, started the day with a few remarks, including this challenge: “What has marketing done for revenue lately?”

Maurice Herrera, CMO, Avis Budget Group

Herrera later delivered a keynote in which he winkingly coined a new term: STRATECUTION. “Your strategy is only as good as your execution,” he said, “and your execution is only as good as your strategy.” Herrera pointed out that brands must identify clear objectives early in the process, solicit feedback widely and then operate within an agile framework.

“We see lots of focus on targeting and channels,” he said, “but not enough attention on strategic creativity. Great content in service of the brand is needed so that customers attribute the content back to the brand value. The challenge is: how can you create content with strategic underpinnings?”

Herrera also touted the importance of partnerships. Avis Budget Group works closely with both Uber and Lyft to provide their drivers with cars.

Earned Media Key for Marriott’s Emerging Brands
Not every organization has PR integrated within its marketing department. One brand that does is Marriott. Ryan Anderson, the company’s VP-Marketing for Growth Brands, oversees PR and said that earned media has become an especially powerful tool for Marriott’s emerging brands.

Ryan Anderson, VP-Marketing for Growth Brands, Marriott

Anderson talked about special challenges in the high-touch travel and luxury industry. “It’s so important for us to educate on Marriott’s brand promise and positioning within our larger organization so everyone internally knows what we need to do to deliver on that promise.”

Ryan Anderson (L) with Travis Barnes, Product Marketing Lead, LiveRamp

Anderson urged brands to keep creating strong content but to pay special attention to distribution so the content does not go unseen. He suggested that media agencies can be more involved than ever in searching for content partnerships that help with amplification and distribution plans.

Nestlé Shifting Towards Linear TV
During a panel on the future of media, Mike Sallette, Head of Media for Nestlé Waters North America, said Nestlé is actually shifting its marketing investments back toward linear TV. One of the brand’s holiday gifting pilots right now involves pairing its water brand with–wait for it–Purina pet food. “It sounds like a crazy pairing,” Sallette laughed, “but our data tells us otherwise.”

Mike Sallette, Head of Media, Nestlé Waters North America

Alex Sutton, Director-Acquisition & Paid Digital at Avis Budget Group, told the audience how his brand is leveraging first-party data to better understand its customers and their place in various stages of the customer journey.

Alex Sutton, Director, Acquisition & Paid Digital, Avis Budget Group (center) with Mike Sallette, Head of Media, Nestlé Waters North America (L) and Darren Moore, Product Marketing-Measurement Lead, LiveRamp (R)

Roundtable Conclusion
The event concluded with a roundtable discussion on marketing innovation. Stephen Hunton, Vice President-Social Discipline Leader at IBM stressed the need for accessibility into what he called real customer data that maps the journey not just from path to purchase but throughout the lifetime. Melissa Miller, Sr. Director-Integrated Media for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts said the hardest part of managing 20 brands is–you guessed it–managing 20 brands. “Every brand wants to feel special, and stand out, and it’s important to give each brand the attention they deserve.”

Marketing Innovation Roundtable

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