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Twitter CEO Dick Costolo: One-To-One Marketing Is Almost Here, Finally

Jan 8 2014, 2:51pm CST | by

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Twitter CEO Dick Costolo: One-To-One Marketing Is Almost Here, Finally

Twitter’s ad business will help usher in a long-awaited era of one-to-one marketing, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said during a brief appearance at CES today.

His comments came at a “Brand Matters” panel  at the event formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show. Marketers have a big presence here to find out about all the new technologies disrupting their businesses, meet with big clients, and no doubt to see which companies currently have the most money to spend on advertising.

Costolo talked about Twitter’s advertising opportunities in a conversation with Michael Kassan, CEO of media consultant Media Link, who also interviewed agency heavyweight Maurice Levy, CEO of ad giant Publicis Groupe, which is merging with Omnicom. Here’s what they had to say, which honestly wasn’t much:

Q: How can Twitter get the right message to the right person at the right time?

Costolo: It’s almost the perfect way to think about Twitter. We think of it as an indispensable companion to life in the moment. We’re trying to connect marketers with people in the context of what’s happening right now.

Q: Maurice, you began in the IT department of Publicis, so your day has come.

Levy: It’s about time. Though I’m coming to the finish line. The new world of technology is changing everything. It’s not just the way we’re delivering the message but how companies are structured and how decisions are made. It’s impossible to work in siloes today. We see more and more of our clients where the CIO and the CMO are together. You can’t get to the company of tomorrow without changing the organization.

Costolo: This notion of one-to-one marketing has been largely a mythological beast. It’s now the case that customer relationship management and advertising are coming together in one-to-one marketing. So on Twitter, the lines are really becoming blurred. In our roadshow video, a brand responded to a consumer with a customized photo. And that message is amplified to many other people. You get that amplification from the connection to that one person.

Q: What about privacy issues in this new world?

Levy: Privacy is a very serious issue and we should not take it lightly. We should think very carefully about using private data to deliver messages. It is extremely important for us to have access to information–and for consumers. Otherwise they get a lot of spam.

Costolo: It’s important to highlight the issue of data transmission. At least, it needs to be transmitted in https (secure). On the use side, it boils down to trust. We’ve implemented Do Not Track. You can opt out of tailored ads, tailored content. You just need to be clear and direct with your users.

Q: Is opt-out going to be a small percentage?

Levy: Yes. In Europe , it’s below 5%. Consumers don’t want to miss an offer. What they don’t want is to be overloaded… or to be harassed.

Q: How do you define Twitter, since it’s a media, technology, and communication company?

Costolo: It’s all about how do we help you (the brand) connect in the context of what people are talking about now? If you do that, opt-out is low.

Levy: So are a lot of companies–traditional companies are a lot of things. Also Google. Today everything is blurring.

Q: Publicis and Twitter announced a big partnership–what’s it about?/>/>

Costolo: It’s really about forging a partnership rather than just doing a press release. There are all these everyday moments that rise up every day.

Levy: We are extremely pleased with this agreement with Twitter (and with Facebook and Google, with which Publicis also has done deals). We can’t build just a communication system for clients only with Twitter or Facebook or Google. We also need to be on television etc. We the advertising agencies can bring something that Google can’t.

Q: What does the Publicis-Omnicom merger mean to you?

Costolo: It’s two great groups we’ve been working with successfully together. It has to be content that these brands are leading with. I think this merger will facilitate that.

Q: How do you sort out how Twitter and Publicis deal with the same clients?

Costolo: We talk to McDonalds and then we talk to Publicis. We’re pretty open about it.

Levy: Any agency doesn’t own the client. To have the idea that they will forbid the client to have access to the media, I’m not sure this world exists. It’s just normal to collaborate. We have to be transparent. It’s about building the best solution for the client. Having a monopoly with the client communication just doesn’t work.

And that was it for them. No big news, sorry to say.

For you marketing geeks, Kassan also conducted a panel with Scott Dorsey, CEO of Salesforce ExactTarget, Marketing Cloud; Andrew England, executive VP and chief marketing officer of MillerCoors; Carolyn Everson, VP of global marketing solutions at Facebook; James D. Farley, Jr., EVP, of global marketing, sales and service and Lincoln at Ford. Here are the other highlights, sometimes paraphrased:

Q: Andy, how do you view the delicate balance between the client and the agency and tech company like Twitter?

England: I sell beer for a living. This is relatively humble work, so I don’t worry too much about that stuff. I also have a relationship with NBC and CNN.

Q: Jim, how do you navigate this?

Farley: The question comes at a very interesting time, because we’re going through this disruptive time where we’re trying to figure out all these ad platforms. So I can’t think of a better time to have a direct relationship with the media companies, which are also developing their own ad platforms.

Dorsey: We are focused on helping companies connect with their consumers in a new way, and trust is at the foundation.

Q: Carolyn, what has changed about CES?

Everson: The spirit is all about innovation. It is incumbent upon all of us to put ourselves and the consumer in the center of this. It’s become a critical week. The new world of marketing is one of complete collaboration with agencies and clients./>/>

Q: Jim, the big buzz here last year was connected cars, while this year it’s wearables. So what’s the role of the car in consumers’ experience now?

Farley: Wearables are a great step forward for access to the technology. But they will really impact the in-car experience. We’re not anywhere near where we need to be in terms of running apps inside the car. Why would you ask them to invest in a similar technology in the car too.

I can’t count how many companies are showing cars with people inside wearing Google Glass. We’ve got to make sure wearables work really well in the car.

Dorsey: Marketers have an opportunity to re-envision their relationship with consumers through wearables. Data has often been demographic and maybe behavioral, now you have physical data. You can engage them deeper with that information.

Q: How is the Internet of Things changing marketing?

Dorsey: The lines between business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing are really blurring.

Q: How do you view the Publicis-Omnicom merger given that it was posed as a response to the rise of technology companies?

Everson: The truth of the matter is we are so early-stage as an industry. We have to replumb the system of how we’re going to buy and sell media. So with the merger, we can work better with one group. Getting things like multi-touch attribution in place. It comes down to how fast can we change all the systems we have in place and do we have the right creative quickly enough.

Q: What’s jumped off the CES floor so far?

Dorsey: It’s about wearable technologies, connected devices. The consumer is at the center of this wave of innovation.

Q: What changed to make mobile ads successful?

Everson: Mobile has been the best thing for our business. Mark (Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO) fundamentally changed the entire company to be mobile. The psychology of the company changed almost overnight. So did our marketing. Mobile is the closest thing to our consumer. Mobile is the most important thing we are going to see in our lifetime as marketers.

Q: Jim, you have the opportunity to communicate with your consumers through social platforms. Where is the best opportunity to make that work?

Farley: We’re just beginning to deliver on that one-to-one relationship. We do not have a one-to-one relationship with our drivers once they buy the car. We have so much data about our customers. That’s the big change that’s going to happen in our industry.

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