Good morning, Marketers, we know it’s on your mind. 

I’ve been hard-pressed to think of an industry that isn’t or won’t be affected in some way by the coronavirus outbreak. The ripple effects will be felt for months to come. I heard from one company last week that has plenty of inventory on-hand now and expects to be able to resupply for the holidays. It’s back-to-school season that has them worried. That will, in turn, affect how they plan to allocate their marketing budgets for the rest of the year. 

We asked digital marketers across a range of businesses how they’re thinking about the short- and long-term implications of coronavirus on marketing. The answers vary widely, further underscoring the momentous and unknowable nature of the problem.

Keep reading for a timely Soapbox on remembering the fundamentals of customer experience and more. 

Ginny Marvin


Let’s prove to Star Trek Picard that ads don’t have to annoy

Trekkies are thrilled they have Sir Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc back in Star Trek Picard. Like any good sci-fi, the show is far more about the present than it is about the future, and it was amusing to see a scene from the recent episode “Stardust City Rag.”

Picard and company visited the Las Vegas-like planet Freecloud. As they arrive, each person receives their own personalized holographic ad. The ads are personalized and apparently have great engagement. Captain Rios gets an ad for ship repair. Picard gets one for great tea at a hotel. Raffi gets one for sketchy drugs. All things are applicable to them.

Each ad requires interaction, and in the case of the show’s characters, they flick and push away their ads. The ads come across as obnoxious; none of the characters were thrilled about what was served to them. Clearly, the showrunners are mocking some (hopefully, not all) contemporary digital marketing.

This is where we need to use the art and science of marketing to find balance. Many marketers have stated that bad customer experience or user experience can, at times, yield success. Perhaps subpar experiences get people’s attention and engagement. That’s certainly counterintuitive. Having said that, that’s not a license to annoy.

We should aim to find ways to garner high conversion rates without always relying upon gimmickry. It’s easier and cheaper to use spectacle than to focus on developing quality products, services and experiences. Aiming for great engagement and conversions should not come at the expense of longer-term goals in earning the trust and appreciation from loyal customers. Going forward, we need to prove the Star Trek Picard team wrong.

Steve Petersen is a marketing technology manager at Western Governors University.

Soapbox is a special feature for marketers in our community to share their observations and opinions about our industry. Submit your own here >>


The New Customer Engagement Model: How to adapt your marketing in the consumer privacy era

The rules of marketing continue to change – especially in light of data measures like the CCPA and Apple ITP. Consumers now expect privacy-oriented marketing from all brands. Fail to adjust to their privacy preferences, and you’ll undoubtedly see a negative impact on your bottom line. This eBook from BlueConic outlines what your organization must do today to thrive in the increasingly data-conscious, constantly evolving marketing landscape.

Read More »

On the Move

New CMOs head to Arby’s, Jimmy John’s and Accuweather

Patrick Schwing was appointed chief marketing officer for the quick-serve restaurant Arby’s. He will oversee advertising, digital innovation, menu development and branding and report to the company’s president Jim Taylor. “We’re excited to have him take the reins as CMO,” said Taylor, “His extensive experience in brand building, innovation, digital marketing and organizational leadership will be integral in leading Arby’s to its next phase of growth.” Schwing comes to Arby’s after being with Proctor & Gamble for more than 16 years, most recently leading the CPG company’s Oral-B brand within the interactivity and innovation division. 

Jimmy John’s has hired Darin Dugan to replace John Shea as the sandwich shop’s chief marketing officer. Dugan will manage brand marketing and planning, menu development, advertising, digital and loyalty programs. Dugan was the VP of national marketing for Sonic Drive-in — both Sonic and Jimmy John’s are owned by Inspire Brands (along with Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings and Rusty Taco). “His leadership, creativity, innovation and singular focus on guest experience will help accelerate the growth of Jimmy John’s,” said Jimmy John’s President James North. Dugan’s background includes various marketing leadership roles within the food industry, including time at Applebee’s, Kraft Food Group and MillerCoors. 

The global weather and digital media company AccuWeather has named Michelle Harmon-Madsen chief marketing officer. She will report to the company’s founder and CEO Joel N. Myers and oversee Accuweather’s marketing strategy and execution. Advertising, promotional campaigns, websites, PR, branding and new product and services promotions will all be her responsibility. “Michelle has proven herself to be future-fit, digital savvy and on the leading-edge of consumer and B2B marketing,” said Myers. Before joining Accuweather, Harmon-Madsen was the president of ShopperX Lab, a company she founded. She is currently on the board for She Runs It, an organization that supports women in the advertising industry.


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What we're reading

We've curated our picks from across the web so you can retire your feed reader

Don’t Get Trapped by Data When Designing Your Brand Experience  – CMS Wire

Using AI To Identify Your Best Customers In The Future – Forbes

ANA: Marketing’s data-driven potential at risk if educational skills gap persists – Marketing Dive

Twitter CEO’s weak argument why investors shouldn’t fire him – TechCrunch

‘Detox tea’ company will pay $1 million over Instagram influencer ads – The Verge

Publishers Are Wary Of New Tech That Wants To Use Their First-Party Cookies – AdExchanger

Valued at $30bn, Waymo considers its next move – Financial Times