This post was originally posted on http://www.spotifyforbrands.com
Just back from Dmexco and a pretty hectic few days as usual. Spotify was in demand this year and we were lucky enough to hit the stage a few times through the two days. I was asked to present our Culture Next Gen Z global trends on the Debate stage which you can see below.
Exciting trends amongst this audience and Spotify sits right in the heart of what they care about, music and podcasting are huge for them and so our work with Culture Coop combined with our first party streaming intelligence has really helped create some clear insights.
How can we adjust how we think about diversity? Diversity is currently dominated by gender, and there is so much going on in that space, which is fantastic, long may it continue, but there is a much wider issue we have to face together. It has been some time that I have been going into schools and talking to students and seeing just how different our working environments are from all of these back grounds.
It is an area that for me is important we begin to focus on more, we pay lip service to it right now, so here are some thoughts about where we can all start to adjust and plan for the future. We should ask ourselves the difficult questions about what we all stand for and whether we really want to drive change.
As a group of companies we need to set some new rules of engagement for the industry if we are going to initiate change. Some of the scenarios that would be fantastic to see change are the following:
- Hiring has to come from outside of Grads, every business should be creating plans to hire a number of school leavers every year and from non white middle class backgrounds, and definitely not related to the boss.
- Every organisation should think about the make up of what they are doing, my latest observation of MediaWeek judges all being white middle class people is an example, I am certain that someone ticked the gender diversity box but nothing else.
- Think about the sub sets of organisations – if you are promoting female diversity and there is a room full of 500 white middle class people, we should not be content with that, we should be supporting diversity within gender.
- If you are creating a List of important people then it should not be the same old, same old, there are talented people out there, we have to find them and create inspiration.
- If we look at panels, events etc all you see is the gender discussion – we need to think outside of that, we need to think about how the panels are made up to represent the world outside.
- Kill two birds with one stone – if you focus on helping under privileged schools rather than the usual grad schemes, you will naturally drive diversity of thinking and people.
It is at the grass roots we are failing – we are not bringing in enough talent early on, when we do it is really fulfilling. Our work placement programme is in its infancy but it only pulls from state schools to make sure we are creating opportunities. It is something I am hopeful we can continue to grow, I would encourage everyone to start these opportunities if you have not already.
Whether it is mentoring, helping organisations that are trying to do this, the industry press, the Twitter commentators, can we all start asking our self the question of whether what we are doing is either bringing in diverse talent, or inspiring it through highlighting the talent we already have in the business. This is not a rant, it is not a preach, it is a gentle call to arms. After my last blog and twitter engagements on mentoring, I know there is so much appetite to do better on this, but it feels on the fringe, so hoping mainstream industry can lead the charge. I am excited to try and do more after engaging with some of the organisations that contacted me earlier in the month, hopefully we all can do our bit.
The ebullient Marco Bertozzi, Vice President, Europe at Spotify, has been one of the driving forces in digital for almost twenty years, with claims to fame including setting up Publicis Groupe’s programmatic operation Audience On Demand in Europe in 2010.
Who is your digital hero?
The late, great Curt Hecht. He was the original CEO of VivaKi Nerve Centre, the digital innovation hub at Publicis Media, and he founded Audience on Demand.
What did he do to win hero status in your eyes?
Curt was the first leader to instil in me the importance of getting out of the office and attending events, talking to companies and learning from the people around you. At a time when CES or Cannes were considered by many to be nothing other than ‘jollies’ he used to argue that if all you did was get your information third hand from a Google rep, then you were not interesting to clients.
A client is going to be far more interested to hear that you just came back from Cupertino yourself, than hearing what someone else told you they heard there. At the time that was hugely refreshing and in a world that is becoming slightly too local, I feel it was an important lesson in looking outwards, not inwards.
How has their heroism helped drive digital?
I would argue that Curt was The Godfather of the Trading Desk.
When VivaKi Nerve Center announced in 2008 that we were launching a platform to allow buyers access to all the top inventory partners at the time – Google, AOL etc, he was a mile ahead of the curve.
His work spawned not just the biggest trading desk in the world, it started the whole programmatic ecosystem and all the amazing data and targeting opportunities we now have access to.
On top of that, he never took no for an answer and would routinely come to countries in Europe and berate the CEOs for being so slow in adopting RTB and Audience on Demand. He had no qualms about doing this, even when they were Global CEOs, he just knew where he was heading and wanted to bring others along with him.
What are the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?
Digital needs to simplify. It needs to declutter, we need to go back to basics.
Our expectations of digital media are so low. Someone watching an ad for 2 seconds – or worse, a person watching an ad for two seconds and partially in view – is just not acceptable anymore. Advertisers need to demand more and pay more for higher quality.
I would like to see premium publishers banish the clickbait and move to premium solutions with real viewability, significant share of voice and quality parameters in place. That’s why I’m now proud to work at Spotify, where we offer that kind of quality solution for clients, as well as a great deal for fans.
We now need an advertiser or two to stand up and raise the bar so high that it starts a revolution instead of this race to the bottom in terms of quality and price like we’re now seeing.
What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?
I started Audience on Demand in Europe in 2010. Back then it was just me and a laptop and it became a multi-million-Euro, multi-market operation at a time when the world was still in love with ad networks.
At the time I had some help and support, but also many detractors, most of whom reversed their opinions over the course of 5-6 years. That was really satisfying to eventually see, but it was frustrating it took so long.
The management team of Audience on Demand during those years, 2010-2014, they know who they are, were a great group and we achieved so much together.
A first for me on this blog is a link to a podcast I featured on with Tom Ollerton a few months back. Here the Drum has a summary of the interview, first published Here
The podcast itself can be found here on Spotify
Spotify’s European sales chief, Marco Bertozzi talks about the latest marketing technology on the Shiny New Object podcast with Tom Ollerton, AI consultant and the former innovation director at We Are Social.
“No-one is going to remember my career” states Marco Bertozzi , VP of Europe Sales at Spotify.
Despite this seemingly self-effacing statement about his career, Bertozzi bubbles with positivity and is powering a mini-movement that celebrates the wonderful parts of our industry in the form of the #LoveAds campaign.
Despite his hippie ideals about adland, Bertozzi is one of the most successful sales guys out there – but getting there wasn’t easy. He confides with the audience that he once sent his pitch team to the client’s office for a pitch whilst simultaneously asking the client to come to the agency for the same pitch. This kind of gaffe would send me into a spiral of self-loathing but Marco seems to draw strength from his miss-steps. He happily chirps that “I’m really good at not worrying about things I can’t do anything about.” He tells us that in the evenings and at the weekend there’s not much he can really do to change anything, so why worry?
However, life isn’t all about work for Marco and he was keen to talk about his love of running – though he warns of doing “junk miles.” where a person repeats their regular exercise and don’t push them self. If this behaviour becomes the norm then it tends to hold back their development.
When asked about how he finds time to run sales at Spotify and keep fit – he insists you have to go to the gym during the working week – forcing people to go at lunchtime is an “archaic model.”
Marco’s shiny new object is “Marketing in a Screenless World” – and he’s on a mission to draw marketers attention away from visual marketing. He claims that “The marketing world is obsessed with video” and tells us of the seismic changes in the industry that Voice Tech and Audio will bring.
I agree with Marco that “People are looking for opportunities not to look at their screens” – with connected speakers, podcasts and audiobooks quietly changing the media landscape. But what is the opportunity for brands in this screenless world? In a word – intimacy. When a consumer is listening to audio on headphones cut through is guaranteed with no distractions. Spotify’s ad suite is taking advantage of this – giving brands the opportunity to make dynamic audio ads that are responsive to the audience in real-time. Snickers used this to powerful effect by spotting when a listener’s music habits took an unusual turn – and served up an ad that called this behaviour out.
If you get the chance to meet Marco then I urge that you do. Or of course, you can just listen to this podcast on Spotify.
LoveAds started as an internal campaign idea ahead of the annual Spotify Europe advertising sales team conference. It was a simple message that we devised for the entire advertising team, Spotify for Brands, to express their pride in our ad products.
Our brand partners are often subscribers to Spotify themselves and can forget that the majority of our users listen to Spotify for free (109 million globally, to be specific), in turn hearing and seeing ads.
We know we have great ad products that work for our users and our brand partners, so why not wear that as a badge of honour?
Although it started as a European initiative, it soon travelled. #LoveAds became a movement within the company, with all Spotify ad sales teams globally now proudly taking part.
The hashtag has given us a common language to highlight campaigns we’re proud to have worked on, ideas we want to push forward and outstanding results delivered for clients.
However, the campaign is not just a hashtag and has also involved tough decisions.
For example, we used to give Spotify Premium gift cards to our advertising clients, but we’ve decided to bring this to an end. Why prevent our partners from hearing and seeing how great their ads are on Spotify? We think it’s important that our partners experience the excellence of Spotify’s ad-supported service.
As we started to share the #LoveAds hashtag outside of Spotify on social media, we saw people take notice and express an interest in what we were doing. We realised our internal movement could be something bigger and more interesting.
In an industry that continually beats itself up, with negative headlines and competing channels attacking each other, our simple theme of #LoveAds is resonating.
It is our hope that #LoveAds becomes a positive message that the whole community can get behind, reminding us all why we should be proud to work in a dynamic, creative, valuable and innovative industry.
We are now working on new ideas to expand the proposition and hopefully find plenty of advocates who want to talk positively on the topic. The opportunities are unlimited, just as the great work we all do is. We just don’t talk about it enough.
Spotify for Brands is going to celebrate what we do and we hope others get behind it, creating a focus for good in our industry.
Please join us and tag all your favourite ads, celebrations of achievement and reasons why you love advertising – #LoveAds.
Marco Bertozzi is vice-president of sales, Europe, at Spotify
What are the key trends and insights driving global media in 2018?
The key insight is that not everything is as it seems. We have come to question so many things around digital media and we are seeing erosion of trust across the board. No one can ignore this as a trend. The positive trend though is a thorough reevaluation of
where advertisers place media. This is encouraging for those who love this industry versus those who just want to make high margin revenue. It means that premium advertising environments are becoming far more sought after and the belief that context and environment are not important is slowing fading and becoming a distant memory. I hope we see this trend continue and the blind, low CPM retargeting networks fade away.
What is the toughest challenge the industry faces?
We have to get ourselves out of the vicious cycle of pitches begetting lower and lower CPM campaigns. This type of behaviour means agencies squeeze publishers, only looking for low cost inventory, and then find themselves at a higher risk of fraud, which then creates mistrust. We need agencies to charge properly for their services, clients to pay for quality service from whomever is best placed to provide it and then we will see a move away from opacity. We are still confronted by too much of a ‘we have to pay less than last year’ attitude. It is a path that leads nowhere for all involved.
What does success look like for you in 2018?
Spotify is on a very exciting journey. My role was to re-look at the European business and accelerate positive momentum and a strong proposition in market. We are well on our way to doing that, and it has been a lot of fun. 2018 is a year in which the topics of audioand programmatic are converging, so we look forward to working with key advertisers and partners on bringing this innovation into the mainstream. Success stories leveraging data and dynamic audio creative suggest this is just the start of a fabulous year.
The second area I will be focusing on is showing the industry that we have some of the best video advertising inventory in town. We only sell completed video impressions, with 100% viewability. Audio has traditionally been our bread and butter but video is a large part of our business and we want more brands to enjoy its benefits. Our current customers all report strong results so we hope the education we are doing across the industry will be music to people’s ears.
What is the key to winning new business?
I don’t think that has ever changed, whether on the agency or publisher side. All you need to ask yourself is whether you are helping the advertiser grow their business. New business needs to be built on insights that unlock something fundamental (and often
very simple) that will create a reaction in consumers. Too often in new business one gets carried away with internal structures and technology. Keep it simple and customer-focused and you can win.
What do you find clients want more than ever?
There is still an eternal hunt for the new thing, the first thing etc, but actually if you just come up with great ideas those usually win out. As I mentioned there is a trend for better environments and contexts taking us back to the basics of advertising. Note
that 2017 was a very strong year for traditional channels like radio, outdoor etc. At Spotify we continue to innovate, which is what makes the company an exciting place to be. And where we develop innovations our partners get to be the first to try things
out, which makes selling a whole lot easier.
How does the industry develop measurement standards for digital that are universal?
Sucha big question.. The only possible answer is relentless collaboration involving both the biggest and smallest players and this is going to be even more true with the GDPR implementation. My view is to worry less about common measurement and keep focused on common standards. Some of the basic requirements are very low in terms of viewability etc. I believe we should raise the bar significantly as a starting point. ‘Three seconds partially-in-view’ inventory should not be the benchmark.
How important is inclusivity to your business?
Inclusivity is enormously important to Spotify. As you might expect from a Swedish business, inclusion is at the core of the Spotify culture and values, and we are putting a great deal of focus on D&I initiatives. Indeed, just this week we held our annual, global, Diversity and Inclusion Summit at Spotify’s Stockholm headquarters, which was an opportunity for members of staff from all over the world to discuss ideas and opportunities to drive change and innovation where needed at Spotify and to make us even more of a leader in this space.
How do media owners and tech companies capitalize on the changing media landscape?
Combine good environment, trustworthy inventory and clever use of technology and data. Technology has a bad rep at the moment, but it is not technology that is the problem, rather how it is used. Used correctly you can achieve great things.
Audio is seeing a resurgence and we are very happy about that, but that’s not about traditional ‘radio’. Across connected cars, homes, voice assistants, speakers, TVs, fridges, you need an audio strategy that is future proof. However, we believe the real opportunity is in combining audio formats with video to generate the greatest impact. The media landscape is definitely changing and Spotify is in a great place to be at the heart of it.
Marco will be speaking at Festival of Media Global next month and Spotify is one of the key partners of the event.