For over a year now, many event planners found themselves in a position where they had to invite their target groups to online events. It is predictable that our computer screens – and even cell phones – will remain an important window to digital and hybrid events. We must therefore strengthen the ties with partners from adjacent disciplines (AV experts, but also vloggers and influencers, for example) and be on the lookout for fresh formats in digital stageshows.
I was reminded of this when I received an invitation to watch CMOtalk. Or rather: listen to it. CMOtalk is a podcast. A talkshow, not made for radio, but distributed via the web. The 21st century version of good old radioplays and voice recordings. Many people seemingly listen to podcasts in the car or on their bikes. If you’re used to big shows, it’s quite a minimal format. But that’s exactly the strength of these webcasts. Less is more!
The Power of Conversation
CMOtalk is an interview of about half an hour in which Klaas Weima talks to Dutch marketers. He already made a whole series in Dutch and recently started with an international series in English. I see speakers of Heineken, L’Oreal and the Bijenkorf on the list, so there is no shortage of topics to discuss.
Weima is the founder of Energize, a creative marketing agency that focuses on earned attention. I need to explain that briefly. Advertising is paid attention and content with conversational strength can lead to earned attention. Advertising is often perceived as intrusive, while relevant and interesting content has a more random nature. We stumble over it while we’re on the go. Advertisers no longer impose themselves, but give chance a helping hand by making content available (likeable and shareable) via social media. Just like we do with this observation.
CMOtalk has also become a club, a kind of virtual society of chief marketing officers or similar. Meetings are organized for members in the form of dinners with speakers or breakfast roundtables. Real networking opportunities! This is how such a minimal format grows into a serious platform. The founder is doing well because Weima demonstrates his knowledge in the podcast, expands his network and profiles himself as a thought leader.
What is there to experience at CMOtalk? I zapped around a bit. One of the interviews that caught my attention was with Marene Arnold of Mastercard. She explains that the Netherlands was initially slow in accepting contactless payments but now holds a leading position in Europe.
A new emerging trend is voice-assisted sales, which will probably generate forty billion dollars next year. Mastercard is therefore now working with sonic marketing and sonic branding in which sound plays a leading role. This is a next step forward, because earlier they had already shifted the emphasis to visual branding in which the logo (two circles) was made more important than the word Mastercard. The result is that the consumer hears a recognizable sound signal at various touchpoints where Mastercard plays a role as a means of payment. Work to be done for composers, it seems to me.
I also followed the interview with Arjan Dijk of Booking.com who, among other things, addresses questions about government support during the lockdown. Dijk talks about how he is involved in the switch from performance marketing (everything is geared towards a growing number of users and a growing number of transactions) to image and branding, because Booking.com wants to be more than just a vacation booking machine. Interesting detail: he previously worked at Google and reveals what the dress code was at that company. Wear Something!
CMOtalk was set up as a webcasting platform that fits in the Energize’s eco system. But in the eighteen months that the podcast has been in existence, more partners have joined in, notably Adobe and Accenture, and recently Microsoft and Facebook as well. All of them sponsors who want to associate themselves with the club and think it’s important that these kinds of topics are discussed.
We think that the same model can be used in food, in healthcare, in the car industry, in fact everywhere. Put a knowledge partner at the table with a clever event planner who knows his or her way around digital suppliers, and you have made your start as a podcast media mogul. The world of online events offers many new opportunities for smart event managers.
And by the way: the picture we chose to illustrate this story shows Mountain Chief of the Blackfoot being recorded by Frances Densmore in 1916, an early example of sonic history being recorded for future generations. We can learn from the past.