“Marketing Matters” Looks Toward 2015 with MDC Partners, Doner and RedScout

Advertising Week in  New York City is an “Opportunity to kick off the new year," as MDC Partners Chairman and CEO Miles Nadal puts it. With the gathering of marketing & communications leaders in full swing last week, Marketing Matters took the opportunity to speak with Nadal— as well as with Doner Co-CEO and President David Demuth and Managing Director of Redscout San Francisco Ryan Ku —about continuing changes in the advertising industry and the strategies they’ve used to prepare for them.

A paramount concern that all three guests reiterated to hosts Jerry Wind and Catharine Hays was the need for innovation, both in approaches to marketing and in how a brand addresses the people to whom it’s trying to sell a product.

Ku, meanwhile, outlined the “brand innovation” process that Redscout uses when working with clients. In solving for particular problem, Redscout brings to bear the tech sector that surrounds it in San Francisco, and the philosophy of “experience design” that the tech industry has incubated. “We step back and put ourselves in the shoes of our most important stakeholder: Our customer,” Ku said “We try to get into the heads, mind, hearts of the customer, and once we map that consumer journey across time it becomes clear where the problems and opportunities are.”

Ku emphasized the importance of understanding people, and delivering creative ideas based on this insight.

Ku emphasized the importance of understanding people, and delivering creative ideas based on this insight.

Collaboration between technical and creative personnel, Ku says, is a key to finding truly innovative solutions. “A ‘technological moonshot’ is not going to solve the problem necessarily. A lot of friction is human-to-human. It can be a customer service or policy innovation… a process, not a gadget. We live in an era where we hear about big data and analysis as a huge narrative. And they’re valid, but there’s still a fundamental customer business relationship that can get pushed to the wayside, and that’s as important as analytics.” Bringing these disparate disciplines together in the same room allows firms to try many possible solutions quickly, a process that Ku refers to as “rapid prototyping,” and which allows adjustments for the increasing rate of change in business. As Ku says “I’ve yet to see a client who said ‘I’d like it slower.'”

Read more at The Wharton Future of Advertising Program here