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“It’s A Wonderful Time To Be A Marketer” – Quotes From The Percolate Client Summit

On Thursday, February 9, 2015, hundreds of marketers gathered at The Times Center in New York City for our partner Percolate’s annual Client Summit. (Learn more about our Percolate partnership here.)

During a day packed with educational insights, inspiration and product demos, we listened carefully for sound bites that captured the spirit of the summit and its core themes:

“Technology is f***ing amazing.”

– James Gross, Co-Founder, Percolate

Citing technology expert Carlota Perez, Gross explained technology revolutions must be integrated into society, build on earlier constructs and have a profound impact. He concluded that we are in the middle of the most important technology revolution of all time, a period when digital and SaaS explosions enable us to study from the past while building the future simultaneously.


“To go beyond social, you have to integrate social into the larger marketing mix.”

– Noah Brier, Co-Founder, Percolate

A major topic was that in order to realize social’s potential to drive transformative business results, people must recognize the opportunity is much larger than likes, comments and shares.

“The biggest change is that we’re seeing data in real time.”

– Noah Brier, Co-Founder, Percolate

In an immersive lecture spanning the history of brand management, Brier explained that in the 1940’s, brands took action and could wait nearly six months before receiving data to inform improvements. Today, audience-response data are available in real time and should be used to amplify what’s working now and cut what’s not before waste has time to accumulate.

“Data shines the light on whether content is useful, or more stuff coming out of the sausage factory.”

– Ben Jefferies, BP, Head of Digital Communications

Jefferies explained that for brands to be successful on digital platforms, every piece of content should be aligned with a larger vision; one that connects digital strategy to hard business goals. That means ensuring there is a clear “why” to every post and tweet fired into the ether, staying selective and using real-time campaign data to guide investment decisions rather than trying to participate in as many conversations as possible.


“The stronger a brand’s point of view, the greater its voltage.”

– Ben Richards, Ogilvy, Worldwide Chief Strategy Officer

Richards built his presentation thematically around “sirens;” mythical figures from The Odyssey that he compared to appealing marketing concepts that are actually sinister. For example, the “siren without a name” is the constant allure of must-have new stuff, which drives many brands to throw a lot of resources into a lot of channels at rapid pace, and hope something sticks. But, by constructing a strong perspective on how a brand wants to impact the world, Richards concluded marketers can avoid the sirens’ song and sail onward toward lasting, meaningful consumer connections.

“Transcend language.”

– Katrina Craigwell, Director, Global Content & Programming, GE

Digital content enables brands to learn more about people than ever before, and achieve personalized marketing at scale. But sometimes, brands put out content so universal that it has a profound impact across geographic and cultural boundaries. Craigwell presented one example from GE, an electronic track called Drop Science created from sounds found inside GE research centers and brought to life by dancer Marquese Scott, which caught fire across the continents.


“It’s reflective of what [people] want to do tomorrow.”

– Tram Nguyen, Partner Manager, Pinterest

As a Percolate platform partner, Nguyen’s presentation focused on clarifying Pinterest’s value proposition for brands. Her key point was that Pinterest is an “aspirational” platform, where people’s pins reflect what they intend to buy. Citing examples from leisure, home improvement and family bonding, her implication was brands can interpret Pinterest search queries as signal flares lit by qualified sales leads.

“Let [SocialCode] do the work.”

– Nate Stewart, Product Manager, Percolate

Stewart described how brands will use Percolate and SocialCode together for a continuous loop of smarter marketing, starting at Percolate for content creation and then turning the assets over to SocialCode’s media experts to test, optimize and scale so that budgets are deployed with razor-sharp precision.

“It really is an ‘and’ story.”

– Max Kalehoff, SVP, Marketing, SocialCode

Kalehoff’s presentation centered on a Fortune 100 financial services brand that used digital insights to consistently lift performance across its 2014 Winter Olympics and World Cup campaigns. When the brand examined the unique audiences reached through its television versus digital ads, and duplication between the two, they found little overlap in their core 18-40 year old audience. To achieve the broadest, qualified reach, brands should deploy digital and television advertising in cooperation, leading with digital to capture real-time consumer insights that can drive smarter overall marketing.


“It has to show that it’s growing the brand.”

– Theresa McDonnell, Director of Integrated Marketing, Unilever

McDonnell stressed that sponsoring an event and advertising during the game isn’t no longer enough when marketing to modern male. A deeper understanding of the consumer needs to be conveyed in the most relevant way possible across every device, and at every touchpoint. That’s what it takes to get consumers not just aware, but excited about a brand in a way that drives sales, as well as shares and comments.

The bottom line?

“It is a wonderful time to be a marketer.”

– Joanna Firneno, Director, Client Solutions EMEA | APAC, Percolate

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  • Ben Weiss, Marketing Content Strategist

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