Jeff Devlin’s career in advertising is legendary: from launching Diet Coke to landing some of the biggest jobs in government advertising, has seen it all. In an interview with Jeff, we talked about how mobile technology and location is changing the face of advertising. We were excited to get his thoughts on where things are going based on his experience watching agencies and brands evolve over his 30+ year career.
What’s your business background?
I grew up as a TV producer in the advertising arena. My claim to fame was introducing Diet Coke in the 1980’s, and I have continued to work with the Coca-Cola company ever since. I see myself as a business entrepreneur and have owned a number of film companies. I founded a company called Clarity with Col. Jim Kuhn which basically helps Ad Agencies win Governmental business. After that, I got involved with the U.S Navy [advertising team]. I have since been Chairman of the US Government Practice at WPP.
What trends are you seeing in ad agencies and brands today?
This is an interesting period for the advertising industry. Clients are demanding so much from their agencies. Most of what they look for is metrics - the ability to measure how ad dollars are being spent and procurement are running the ad agencies more than ever before. What they are constantly looking for is justification for ad dollars for their shareholders and management, and real results. Technology has certainly helped ad agencies better prove the value of the ad dollars spent.
I believe the shift to mobile is at the forefront of where consumers are, and tracking them on social media away from typical advertising such as print and TV is becoming increasingly popular. Advertisers are focusing on where to find their consumers and target them as much as possible to be able to track consumer behavior. Anything that can help track consumer behavior is a smart tool.
What are the biggest challenges you see facing agencies and brands today?
I think one of the biggest challenges is understanding technology as it is rapidly changing. Advertising doesn't move as fast. I think the focus should be on educating Marketing Managers, CMO’s, Executives, and Marketing Directors at Ad Agencies about the tools that can help them make their advertising dollars work better, smarter, and faster. Skyhook would be incredible tool for research development and supporting their media plans.
What do you see as the next big frontier for location services?
Integrating location insights with client spending and tracking success is becoming increasingly popular. Location is giving advertisers counsel about providing agencies or direct client advertising team’s insight. Understanding where consumers are and giving them as much intel as possible is key. If advertisers stay on that track, they will be most successful.
What other possibilities are there with regard to location-based services in advertising from your perspective?
Data is what’s happening! We hear a lot about the “next generation” and what’s going on with them. One of technologists’ tasks is to educate clients and agencies about what’s out there and what’s available: the ability to integrate insights into their campaign, showing the client that there was this much traffic [to a store] in a campaign.. that’s an amazing opportunity.
How can agencies get more lift in their campaigns?
Clients often need better metrics and tracking success. Agencies are eager to understand new technologies in new ways.
It’s challenging for agencies to say how effective their campaigns are. There’s an old saying, “for every $1 I spent on advertising, I know 50 cents are working and 50 cents aren’t.. I just don’t know which half.” Taking that old idiom and saying we can help with that would be successful. Agencies are looking for location insight, they’re eager to understand new technologies in new ways. It is the million dollar question, so give them the tools. Help make their campaigns more valid.
How important is location accuracy when it comes to mobile ad campaigns?
Location accuracy is critical. It needs to be sold that it’s truly possible to locate customers at the store level. “Accurate location means better targeting for brands and more relevant content for consumers and higher CPM’s for publishers” - that’s an amazing bit of copy. Engagement is a big word, and allowing brands to target audiences more precisely and accurately is a spectacular claim to fame.
How is location-based marketing viewed by Brands & Agencies today?
It is viewed as anything from creepy, to brilliant. It depends on the brand. When used in exciting ways and leaves competitors in the dust, everyone loves it. I believe it’s viewed as an effective tool.
What’s the biggest missed opportunity from Brands & Agencies right now with regard to mobile?
Mobile is powerful tool, and there is so much migration to mobile. Skyhook is a part of that exciting trend! Mobile location insight is going to be used more and more. The mission should be on advertisers understanding what offerings there are in technology and the tools they can utilize to help their campaigns.
What do Brands & Agencies need to accomplish in the next few years to stay relevant?
Understanding the cultures of their brand and how they relate to their consumers is critical. Real-time location will be an important part of agencies to stay relevant and to understand their target audience. By having Skyhook, they can target their message more precisely and accurately. Brands need to know how they can relate to the changing consumers and be a part of their culture.