Verizon's marketing chief, Diego Scotti, who is set to be named one of the People of the Year by the Ad Club of New York, offers his views on content consumption, marketing innovations and the biggest challenges being faced by marketers today.
Content consumption has changed rapidly in recent years, how difficult has that made it for you as a marketer to reach audiences?
For marketers, regardless of industry, it means you have to be everywhere that your customer is and offer them an experience that is consistent.
You have mobile-first consumers who depend on their devices for everything. This means the experience they get on their smartphones must mimic the experience they get on their laptops or when they visit a retail store. As more new technology gets introduced, such as virtual and augmented reality, AI, etc., it will continue to change the way that people consume content in ways we can't even imagine.
When it comes to the Verizon brand, how do you ensure that it resonates with people still as the telecoms provider for them?
As our technology continues to evolve, so does our brand. This means transforming from being seen as purely a telecom company to an innovative technology company that puts people at the center of everything we do. For example, our creative shows how our technology and network enhance the ability of people, businesses and society to do more new and more good. And we are doing it in a way that is authentic by nature- using real people and real experiences to story-tell. That has really resonated with consumers.
What are the biggest challenges you currently face as a marketer of such a major organization?
Consumers have more control now than ever before and they have 24/7 access to the information they want, whenever they want it. This means they consume tons of information before they make a purchase decision, and they are wary of marketing tactics and brand interactions. Marketers need to focus on delivering messages that have value for their audiences – does the ad inform me, make me cry, gives me a different point of view? People are wary of advertising because it's become pollution. That's something we as marketers need to understand and address. It starts with us.
What innovation in marketing excites you most currently?
The marketing opportunities that will result from the emergence of new technology is what excites me the most. When you think about the possibilities with 5G, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, Internet of Things, etc., it will unlock opportunities that we can't even fathom at this point.
Advertising has become a bit of a dirty word in recent years as a result of the negative headlines it has generated for various reasons – how can the industry reclaim pride for those working in the sector?
When it comes to connecting with consumers, there is no greater currency than trust. For brands and marketers to be successful they have to deliver on quality and prove that they are reliable and consistent in delivering what they promise.
It's also about creating content that truly reflects the diversity of their customers. To do that you have to have a staff that reflects different cultures, points of views, lifestyles, and unfortunately that has been a big challenge for our industry. Brands and agencies are starting to make inroads, but there is still a ways to go.
At Verizon, we've taken steps to ensure that the agencies that work on the Verizon account are diverse, so the work created is reflective of our customers. We've also taken it one step further and created Adfellows, an eight-month rotation program that takes recent college graduates, all diverse, and immerses them across media, advertising, experiential, PR and digital at both our agencies and at Verizon. It's about creating a pipeline of young talent that can be the leaders of tomorrow.
What do you hope and think receiving this award means for yourself?
I'm incredibly honored to be recognized as Marketer of the Year by the Ad Club. There are a lot of CMOs doing some really interesting and compelling work, so I am grateful that the work we've been creating at Verizon has really resonated and broken through. From diversity and inclusion to humanability, I've been very proud of the work that has come out of Verizon and excited for what's to come.
The People of the Year event, held by The Advertising Club of New York, will be held at Guastavino’s in New York on September 18 from 6pm. Further details can be found at The Advertising Club of New York’s website.