Brands should think less about creating content that people will enjoy and more about how they can associate themselves with that content that people like, believes Ben Jankowski, group head, global media at MasterCard.
Prior to his talk at next week’s Festival of Media Global in Rome, Jankowski spoke to M&M Global about what a global brand such as MasterCard is doing to reach consumers in this increasingly crowded market and what media innovations are getting his attention at the moment.
“Consumers are consuming content in an infinite amount of spaces, so how do you not get too hung up on being really focused on distributing your own message? I listen to people talk about brands as publishers all the time and I think it’s silly,” said Jankowski.
“Consumers will consume media wherever it’s convenient to them and it’s important to put yourself in that place rather than decide that you’re going to create your own newsroom. No one cares that much – there are very few brands that consumers care enough about that they want to actively go and find content.”
Despite recognising the difficulties that brands are now facing when trying to reach consumers in the market today, Jankowski describes the challenges as “super exciting” as long as you “really focus” and “discipline” yourself.
“It takes a long time to figure this stuff out. We try not to get hung up on making something perfect before we roll it out – we should be out there doing things quicker and leaner and faster and cheaper.”
Shifting agency models
As well as the changing consumer to think about, Jankowski says that the shifting agency model is also making the traditional marketing process much more challenging.
“If you have a changing agency model then it’s more complicated to reach people. The consumers have more choice – then you layer in complexities around ad tech.”
Jankowski believes that any marketer feeling like they have completed that mission is “out of their minds” and that it’s a journey which is going to change “constantly” over the coming years.
“I don’t think we will ever get to a place where we will figure it out,” he said.
But rather than throw up your hands and say that you can’t do it, brands must be rigorous and have discipline. They must make partnerships within the industry in order to “bite off” small pieces, he says.
“We aren’t going to claim to solve the puzzle. We have to go on a journey and know that we’re never going to crack the code but continue to show constant, incremental progress. This is the mind-set that marketers should be in – I think a minority are in that place.
“Any brand that says it’s easy is either way smarter than anybody I know or so clueless that they haven’t really figured it out.”
Science and marketing
In terms of reaching the right people, Jankowski said that, like everyone, MasterCard is focusing much more on bringing together science and marketing.
“We do a lot around data. Around five or six years ago we probably spent around 80% of our budget on TV – today it’s only about 40-50%. We’re probably going to be 40% digital this year. It’s not like we’re a digital giant but it’s better than it used to be.
“We’re using all kinds of data and info to reach the right people. In some cases that’s using what we can get from partners such as Twitter and Facebook and sometimes it’s our own information. We have a lot of our own primary data – occasionally we use third party data.”
But the most important thing that MasterCard is focusing on it relevancy. Jankowski highlights the brand’s ‘Priceless Surprises’ reward programme as an important initiative in motivating consumers to use their cards.
“It’s a pretty saleable opportunity to surprise cardholders. Around these programmes we spend a lot of time catering direct messages towards those consumers,” he says.
“If I can drive a relevant piece of editorial to you around your passion – food for example – then we can deliver you unique messages. We’re doing a lot of work in that space and its turning out to be super powerful.”
“There’s so many cool things we can do around payments,” he adds. “We’ve invested in a lot of cool things as a company like biometric devices. From a marketing space as we move forward and as more people grow, we grow the technology.”
Jankowski will be speaking on day two of next week’s Festival of Media Global in Rome