Broadcasting & Cable’s Top Media Planners and Strategists: Dan Eckrote

Broadcasting & Cable has selected Mindshare NA’s Dan Eckrote, Managing Director as one of its Top Media Planners and Strategists – a list that honors the best and brightest talent in the industry. Dan is one of only eight leaders from agencies across the industry to be chosen; this is the fourth consecutive year that one of Mindshare’s leading planners and strategists have been honored by the publication.

Dan’s win comes on the heels of numerous other accolades for the agency worldwide in just the past few months alone, including Ad Age’s Creativity Awards, Cannes Lions, the Effie Awards, and ranking both #1 media agency and agency network in the Mobile Marketing Association’s Global Smarties Business Impact Index.

The full feature can be found on Broadcasting & Cable’s site here. Check out part of Dan’s personal profile below, and see a few of his answers from the industry Q&A with the winners on disruptive forces in advertising, how to combat consumer avoidance of your ads, and more.

Excerpt from Dan Eckrote’s Industry Q&A:

What are the most disruptive forces affecting the advertising business right now?

As both an advertiser and consumer, the opportunities that AI and machine learning present are very exciting, yet they’re something that we should be careful with at the same time. The amount of things that digital algorithms influence is vast – from our music to meals, and even finances to friendships. This has opened the door to scaled marketing opportunities (apps, services, media planning and buying, etc.), but we have to balance algorithmic machine learning with humanity, to still allow emotions and culture to influence the decisions we make. Technology is extremely effective in enabling scale, efficiency and effectiveness, but it’s critical to ensure there is still a human lens applied.

What can you do in planning a campaign to combat consumer avoidance of your client’s ads?

Eckrote: Ad and banner blindness is rampant in this industry, but there is a relatively easy measure to help combat it on behalf of clients – by simply being a consumer yourself. As you scroll through your Instagram feed or flip through the television, which ads do you pay attention to? What connects with you and gets your attention? For me, it’s almost always an ad that either provides a tangible utility, or one that is so intrinsically tied to my mindset that it adds to the moment.

The first (utility-based media) can take many forms, but generally provides a specific value or experience to you as the consumer. Some of the best recent examples I’ve seen use smart technology (such as activations with Amazon’s Alexa) or even out-of-home to provide unique opportunities.

The second (connecting to your mindset) is by no means an original concept in advertising. But as advertisers become more aware of the importance of connecting with cultural moments, combined with advancements in applying technology to help optimize creative for different audiences, there has become an increased ability for brands to build relevance with their customers and avoid ad blindness. American Express has done an exceptional job at tying ads and messaging to the precise moment. For example, our creative partners at McGarry Bowen conceived a video asset with a dynamic tagline, which enabled us to work with them [to] create dozens of ads that literally tied to the programming and moment consumers were watching (i.e. during AMC’s The Walking Dead or ESPN’s SportsCenter). We even took this concept to out-of-home, using digital taxi tops to dynamically serve messages based on your exact location, featuring nearby merchants or neighborhood names.

Attribution is a hot subject right now. How much can you know about how well your campaign is working, and what indicators are most useful to adjust a campaign to make it more effective?

Eckrote: The value of measuring true attribution heavily varies based on what type of behavior you’re expecting from your consumer. Is your KPI simply a website visit? Should they submit a lead? Do you want your audience to complete a purchase?

The challenge for marketers is that often channels are measured in silos, with attribution only based on that specific media channel, and not taking into account the full media ecosystem and external influences (press, word of mouth, research, etc.).

The most effective campaigns that I’ve seen leverage a multi-touch attribution approach which uses machine learning techniques to attribute fair credit to different touch points along the consumer journey. This is used to optimize investments and forecast different scenarios. The best outcome is if you can measure all the way through to the final conversion – whether it’s a vehicle sale (using DMV or first-party data), a CPG purchase (working with location partners in-store), a credit card application and more.

Excerpt from Dan Eckrote’s profile:

Why Advertising: Growing up, Eckrote wanted to be an architect, but discovered media and advertising while taking marketing classes. “I’ve always love to use both sides of my brain, the analytics side and the creative side,” he said. “Instead of building structures like I always thought I wanted to growing up, I’m now building sound advertising campaigns.”

First Job: After doing some freelance graphic design, Eckrote’s first agency job was as a digital assistant at Mindshare. In that job, he did both planning and buying. “I’ve been a lifer at Mindshare,” he said. “I love how they’ve developed the culture here over the years.”

Recent interesting campaign: American Express recently launched a global campaign aimed at customers whose personal and work lives are intertwined. The platform is called “Powerful Backing: Don’t Do Business / Don’t Live Life Without It.” Eckrote’s group looked to spread the message in emerging spaces, and one of those spaces was direct-to-consumer video when ESPN was launching ESPN+. American Express sponsored the launch and gave consumers 30 days of access to the streaming service as a way to help them with lives so busy they need to watch video on the go. As part of the campaign, Mindshare also helped update the on-billboards Amex buys on networks including ESPN, AMC, Discovery, HGTV and Food Network to make them more contextually relevant. Between The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead, billboards carried messages such as “Don’t apocalypse without it.”