Eric Mower Advertising Forum: Abbey Klaassen, Chief Marketing Officer At 360i

Eric Mower Advertising Forum: Abbey Klaassen, Chief Marketing Officer At 360i

I heard somewhere that “people my age” (also referred to as “millennials”) will find themselves switching career paths between three to five times in the course of their lives. While I don’t agree with the concept of classifying an entire generation into one blanket statement, I do believe that today’s employment market and modern information sharing has exposed us to a wider world of career options. Especially with a Master’s degree from Newhouse, we will have plenty of options open to us after this year-long adventure concludes. Maybe our parents’ and grandparents’ generations stayed at one company for forty years before retiring, but there are many reasons not to fear making a change after we reach the next step in our lives.

Abbey Klaassen, chief marketing officer (CMO) for 360i, is a great example of someone who was able to successfully pivot her professional roles and create her own interesting career path. Here are the main parts of her presentation that I found enlightening when she visited Newhouse in February:

A lot of businesses are averse to change. The goal of 360i is to “help businesses capitalize on change,” but some businesses are slow or reluctant to change. Especially in bigger corporations, there are huge systems of people and processes that are used to running smoothly in a certain way. Imagine if Coca-Cola tried to implement a major change, such as using autonomous vehicles for their total operation. This would be impossible to accomplish within a short timeframe and there would be a huge potential for mistakes and brand losses. Many of these huge brands will change at an unbearably slow pace, if they choose to change at all. Keep that in mind when working with these brands or, if you are inclined to, when you work for one of them.

Voice has emerged, but has yet to explode. We’re familiar with Google Home, Alexa, and Siri by now. These voice-command helpers give us a way to simplify some of the menial tasks in our daily routines and do it hands-free. Abbey mentioned that 20% of mobile search is done by voice, but she predicts it will reach 50% in two years!¬†That’s a short time for a major consumer change. If she’s right, advertising students and professionals would have an edge by learning the fundamentals behind voice-based marketing and advertising.

But voice might come with a challenge. Did you know that Amazon might only suggest Amazon products through the Alexa voice ordering options? She showed a video where Alexa only recommended Amazon Basics batteries. Even when the user said they do not want the Amazon batteries a few times, Alexa finally says “I don’t have any more recommendations.” Clearly, there are other battery options on Amazon, but they have control of the device. This is a challenge that advertisers need to recognize and work to overcome.

What’s more important: Digital or TV? The “old guard” in the ad industry would tell you that television is king. TV definitely has the potential to reach the largest total audience, even in modern times. However, the AdAge Agency Report for 2017¬†shows digital agency revenue growth of 8%, where the average agency growth was 4.4% (AdAge, 2017). Abbey said that digital has passed TV in some metrics, which all of us born into the digital age would not find surprising. However, that leads into another one of her points.

Digital = Discovery. Your brand must be found in the digital landscape. Moreover, be aware of how it is found and what your brand message is. Integrate the message with the places that your brand exists and you’re probably on the right track.

There is a new market trend: C2B. Marketers and advertisers know B2C (Business to Consumer) and B2B (Business to Business) are some of the first pieces of jargon we pick up. The concept of C2B Consumer to Business) seems illogical, but that’s exactly the trend that became possible with the modern digital age. Social media prevalence and instantaneous spreading of information has given consumers more power than ever before. Some brands, especially when they don’t have the power of Coca-Cola or Proctor & Gamble, have gained traction because they have adopted a C2B mindset. Consumers will tell you how they feel about your products. They will tell their friends online. They will block what they don’t like. In short, the power belongs to the people now. Blue Apron, Harry’s, and Dollar Shave Club will tell you the same thing. These brands have accepted the C2B approach and you can tell in their work. They play to be loved, and that’s now a feasible way to win.

Abbey also offered plenty of advice to students who are starting to think about graduation, internships, and professional life. I will include this in an upcoming post.

Joseph Laraiso
Advertising Master's Student, focused in Account Management. Background in finance and investing. Progressive Rock enthusiast. Expert in being very blunt and straightforward.