American Express CMO John Hayes: Marketers Win By Interpreting Change

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When American Express CMO John Hayes entered advertising 37 years ago, media plans were simple, he says: TV, print, radio. Today, TV ads carry calls to tweet and technology keeps accelerating. How to survive as a marketer? Stay with the fundamentals, especially the ability to interpret change.

Hayes gave a keynote address at the 4A’s Transformation conference today — the annual gathering of the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

Advertising is ”about the creation of demand and desire to ignite growth,” Hayes told the audience, fundamentals with two common denominators to drive growth: creativity and interpretation.

Agencies, he said, often overlook the importance of interpretation focusing instead on creativity. So for his address, he focused on examples of how changes to driving habits and the American family could be interpreted by agencies to anticipate how to lead their clients into the future.

That also means not getting lost in data or the technology itself but looking where change is heading.

“Too often we tend to think of change in a very singular mindset, technology,” he said. “But technology is not the real issues, not the root cause. It’s an effect, for sure… [but] the real driver of societal change is society itself, not your smartphone.”

“I love it when one of my agency partners tells me I’m wrong…. it tells me they’re thinking about our business.”

Below is a live blog of his talk.

Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Features & Analysis | Live Blogging

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About The Author: is Founding Editor of Marketing Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search marketing and internet marketing issues, who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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