Jamie Gutfreund, Wunderman’s global CMO, is running late for an interview to discuss the role agencies play when working with brands and massive cloud-computing companies.
Gutfreund, in San Francisco for Salesforce Dreamforce, is likely late because it’s near impossible to get anywhere during the three-day event, which attracts some 170,000 people each year. To put that number in perspective, 175,000 people attended the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last year, while 12,000 people were at the last Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.
At Dreamforce, attendees aren’t talking about the latest brilliant creative, but instead speak about the so-called “fourth industrial revolution,” a phrase said countless times during CEO Marc Benioff’s keynote speech on Tuesday. “We started with steam,” Benioff said on stage. “Then it was electricity. Then computing. And now we’re in the fourth; we are all connected and we are all one. Everything is connected.”
That sort of thinking has caused brands to rethink their strategies on how they engage with their consumers, and they’re turning to their agency partners to help guide them through that process.
It ain’t sexy
Bridging the cultural gap between creatives and technologists is where people such as Gutfreund, Wunderman’s global CMO and a dedicated fantasy football fan, come into play.
Telling a story of how a brand successfully used Salesforce is not easy nor is it sexy as a commercial,” Gutfreund says. “There’s a lot to it and it mostly gets lost in translation.”
She says agencies such as Wunderman can be the link that helps brands navigate the adoption of cloud-computing services and the messages they want to send. She says Wunderman helps clients transform what’s a significant marketing investment to deliver campaigns or services.
But to get there, brands must have first-party data, she says, adding that companies such as Unilever bought Dollar Shave Club for that exact reason: “They had to know who their customers are. You are fucked without first-party data. Getting it is hard enough, but what do you do with it once you get it?”
Many of Wunderman’s larger clients will say they want to invest in a technology stack, want innovation and are talking to cloud-computing companies to make it all happen, says Gutfreund.
She says she often tells those clients to first take a step back, as undertaking such an effort is not only expensive, but requires significant personnel trained in using a cloud company’s technology. It’s important, for the brand to first identify what it wants the consumer experience to be like, what its strategy is and what creative it wants to share with their audience, according to Gutfreund.
In many ways, she says, agencies such as Wunderman—which announced on Monday that it had acquired a majority stake in Emark, a marketing technology company—need to act as a bridge between the cloud companies that mostly provide the tech and the clients who don’t know how to efficiently use the tech while delivering the consumer experience they want to provide.
She points to car rental company Avis, which like many brands, she says, was keeping its data in silos. A customer who cancelled a reservation would later get an email saying their car was ready for pickup, often leading to confusion and frustration from the consumer.
“It freaked them out,” she says regarding the consumers. “That event was a single thing for helping Avis get more customer focused and they designed a stack with us and Salesforce to deliver the customer experience they needed. … But this sort of work is not take it out of the box and plug and play.”