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3 ‘Vs’ of the future – voice, visual, and video – take center stage at CES

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CES is ground zero for new technology and this year offers a host of new innovations and iterations that promise to change how consumers engage with brands. Sure, foldable screens are pretty cool, but even better are the growing opportunities to identify and reach consumers in moments of intent.

The buzz is that 5G will usher in a new era of faster connectivity, one that brings to life the future we’ve been promised where artificial intelligence (AI) runs quickly through our homes, cars, and mobile devices.

To this end, we’ve identified the three V’s – voice, visual, and video – that will impact marketers and how commerce is transacted in powerful ways.

Voice

The announcements out of CES 2019 came fast and furious with countless new products incorporating Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant that will facilitate voice search and engagement.

By 2022, 55% of US households are expected to own a smart speaker, according to Activate. Although actual purchasing via voice has been very low, that, too, is changing. The number of orders placed with Alexa tripled during the holiday season, according to Amazon, and we’re already seeing new consumer behaviors emerge.

Research from Performics Intent Lab, in partnership with Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Integrated Marketing Communications, found that shoppers are most interested in buying household items (19%), meals (15%), and groceries (13%) through voice — all tasks that will be made easier by the newly-enabled gadgets on display at CES.

Brands need to start engaging with consumers through voice early in this adoption cycle. It may not be about saying “buy” right now, but the moment is sooner than we think.

Visual

Images are now more trusted by consumers than text, and the addition of AI to a variety of screens will further emphasize the importance of pictures.

Visual search is manifesting itself in various ways, from leveraging a device’s camera function to using image recognition to deliver search results or letting users scroll through images or icons versus reviewing written descriptors.

The Intent Lab found that 36% of consumers have conducted a visual search, and nearly 60% of those respondents think it’s easier and more trustworthy than text. Plus, 59% of consumers think visual information is more important than textual information across all consumer categories.

Images are an important aid later in the shopper journey; 41% of consumers find visual information very helpful when comparing products on search engines and e-commerce sites. Consumers tell us that visuals are a significant factor in their buying decisions.

Video

Super high-resolution TVs are getting a big upgrade as 4K TV gives way to 8K. Double the resolution with faster speeds means more information and opportunity to stream interactive programming into living rooms. There will be new on-screen search and shopping functions and a customer base becoming more adept at navigating the displays.

The Intent Lab study also shows that video ads are assistive to consumers in their journey and lead to purchase. Video proved 1.2X more effective than text in improving product evaluations when a consumer was in a browsing mode, moving them closer to buying.

Performics found that video content has an especially high impact on brand evaluations, early in the shopper journey as options are considered, before decisions are formed. Reaching and engaging with consumers through video will likely explode as new entertainment platforms come online. The growing number of cord cutters is wreaking havoc in the traditional entertainment channels and this shift, powered by faster speeds, will kick it all into high gear.

Esteban Ribero is senior vice president, planning and insights, Performics, a Publicis Media company

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Billion Dollar Boy hires Kathy Dover as first-ever Director of Client Services as it scales up its business and develops its tech offering

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Billion Dollar Boy, the global influencer marketing agency, has hired Kathy Dover, formerly a client at Maybelline and Garnier as well as Head of Account Management at VCCP Blue, as its first-ever Director of Client services.

On the back of impressive growth in 2018, Billion Dollar Boy has initiated an ambitious scale-up plan, which is centred on expanding its agency business and licensing its own in-house technology, including StoryTracker – the industry’s first and only AI-powered Instagram Story tracking tool.

In her new role, Kathy will work with the senior management team to support the growth plan by adding 15-years of experience on both agency and client-side to the business. She will also take responsibility for the account management teams, developing their relationships with clients and ensuring the delivery of a premium service.

Most recently, Kathy led the integrated marketing communications teams at Maybelline and Garnier UK. Prior to this, she worked as Head of Brand at Lastminute.com. While working agency-side she led the account management team at VCCP Blue where she was integral in developing the original Compare The Meerkat campaign for Comparethemarket.com.

Edward East, CEO Billion Dollar Boy, said: “Kathy has amazing experience on both sides of the fence, which means she is able to see the potential of influencer marketing across the whole marketing mix as well as understand what clients want, and need, from the medium. As we continue to scale up and drive our technology offering, Kathy will ensure we are always communicating this to the client in the right way and bring gravitas and experience to the business.”

Kathy added: “Influencer Marketing is growing so quickly there is a massive opportunity now for us to really raise the standard of measurement and effectiveness and cement its position as an integral part of the marketing mix. Through BDBs tech and measurement advancements, we can really start to bring some rigour and finesse to the medium and achieve this goal. I’m excited to be involved in that and in driving the team’s impressive growth strategy.”

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China marketing specialist Hot Pot hires Cat Navarro as Chief Operating Officer

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Hot Pot, the full-service China marketing agency, has hired Cat Navarro, a business transformation specialist of more than 15 years, as its first-ever Chief Operating Officer.

For the past five years Hot Pot has been steadily growing its business, but with the massive acceleration of Western brands entering the Chinese market and the prediction that China will account for 60% of all e-commerce by 2020, it has put in place ambitious plans to scale-up and match that expansion.

Cat’s appointment reflects the company’s ambition. Her responsibilities will include the dual roles of implementing and overseeing transformation strategies, growth strategies, management structures, operational duties and workflows as well as acquisition, retention and training of talent.

Cat has spent 10 years leading high-profile change programmes for large organisations (SITA, AMP) and Australian government bodies (police force, housing). She then transferred those skills to scaling early-stage London-based businesses such as Quill Content, Ometria and The Sandpit.

Jonathan Smith, founder and CEO of Hot Pot, said: “We are excited to be entering the next phase of Hot Pot’s growth. To successfully scale the business, we knew we needed someone to have the requisite attention to the granular details but also be able to deliver on our overarching strategic goals.

“Cat’s depth and breadth of experience allows her to do this. She is exceptional at putting the right structures in place, operates at pace, and has an absolute passion for finding and developing the best talent.”

Cat Navarro added: “Hot Pot encourages brands to throw away the rule book and do things differently when it comes to marketing in China, and I’m excited to bring this bold philosophy to my role. When scaling a business that’s niche or disruptive, you can’t just rely on what you know or how others do things. Doing that just puts you on the same playing field as everyone else.

“I’m also thrilled to be leading both operations and talent, because the two are so intrinsically linked. It’s great to work alongside a CEO who invests in his staff as much as he does in the growth and profitability of the company and its clients.”

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10 questions with… Anna Watkins, UK managing director of Verizon Media

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In an attempt to showcase the personalities of the people behind the media and marketing sector, The Drum speaks to individuals who are bringing something a little different to the industry and talks to them about what insights and life experience they can offer the rest of us. This week's 10 Questions are put to Verizon Media's UK managing director Anna Watkins.

What was your first ever job?
It would have been washing my dad's car to earn my £1 pocket money each week. Smart man.

Which industry buzzword annoys you most?
Relatable.

Who do you find most interesting to follow on social media?
@POTUS is truly mind-boggling.

what is the highlight of your career (so far?)
Working with such a creative, inspiring and intelligent bunch of people every step of the way.

What piece of tech can you not live without?
It's baffling that I was born in London yet still seem to use Citymapper every day.

Who or what did you have posters of on your bedroom wall as a teenager?
Adam Ant and Count Dracula (aged 7). I'm not quite sure what that says about me.

In advertising, what needs to change soon?
We need a truly diverse workforce.

If you could change anything about a social media platform you use, which one and what would you choose to do?
It’s more a question of changing myself – I need to flex my creative muscles if I’m ever to make more than one friend on Tumblr…

What is (in your opinion) the greatest film/album/book of your life?
Scarface / Sign of the Times / War and Peace – delusions of grandeur, mine and theirs.

Which industry event can you not afford to miss each year and why?
The big awards bashes – it's like going to a series of weddings where you know half the guests.

The Drum's 10 Questions With… runs each week with previous entries available to view here.

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