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The marketing hot spot

Experts Talk Consumer-Centric Marketing During AMA Conference at St. Louis Zoo

Blayzer was fortunate enough to have a presence at the 55th Annual American Marketing Association (AMA) Conference that was recently held at the St. Louis Zoo. As expected, there was some incredible information shared between brilliant minds. A few of the brilliant minds present were Frank Castiglione, Chief Marketing Officer of Total Hockey, Craig Davis, Vice President of Global Digital Marketing for MasterCard, and Fred Ehle, Fmr., Vice President of Customer Strategy for McDonald’s, LLC. We’ve taken some notes and summarized what we found most important.

Frank Castiglione – Chief Marketing Officer

Total Hockey

Castiglione began by talking about their marketing plan and how it impacted growth throughout 2015. After analyzing the competition and their own advertising, Castiglione decided that a shift in strategy was necessary, and it paid off. With the opening of a new store location, in-store and online sales from that area skyrocketed. A rewards program was added to capture meaningful customer data and give incentives for repeat purchases.

Craig Davis – Vice President, Global Digital Marketing


Davis followed, saying MasterCard is becoming more consumer-focused in a new mobile era. They are focusing on “Who?”, “What?”, and “Why?”, and attempting to tell stories their customers relate to. Davis posed the question, “How do we stand out when consumers are overloaded with so much content?”

Answer: Not by creating products, but rather, by creating an experience. This answer began with MasterCard’s “priceless” campaign 19 years ago. Now, they are working to bring this story into the digital age. Davis mentioned, “How you pay isn’t important. The important thing is what the experience opens up to you.”

As Davis put it, they were previously “observing and celebrating priceless moments,” and now, they are “creating and enabling priceless experiences—connecting people to priceless possibilities.” They took this idea to the next level with their new rewards program. Instead of earning points and cash back, customers earn experiences based on the individual. It gives insider information on hotels, sporting events, and other experiences within certain cities to give its customers the “Priceless Cities experience”.

Fred Ehle, Fmr. – Vice President, Customer Strategy

McDonald’s USA, LLC.

What’s different now? In the modern world, that’s a loaded question. With so many advances, the answer to a question like “What’s not different now?” would be much easier. The same goes for marketing. Just as Davis spoke about, Ehle has also noticed a shift from product-focused to consumer-centric marketing. But people are asking “Is this a trend, or an evolution in marketing? And what is causing this shift?” So we’re back to the original question, what’s different now?

Here are 7 things Ehle considered relevant to the recent shift:


Consumer expectations are being set by industry leaders.

It’s imperative to know exactly what the leaders are doing. Make sure your customers are getting the experiences they’ve come to anticipate.


The impact is not always this direct, however.

Brands that deliver the most consumer-centric experiences set standards for not only their industry, but every category. For example, Amazon and Starbucks create an expectation of customer service that consumers are beginning to anticipate from all companies.


Technology gives us the ability to gather and analyze information about basically anything.

It allows us to understand consumer needs in real time and act on them. We can target and deliver relevant messages to individuals easily and at low cost.


Brands must be quick to realize, know, and act on results.

Consumer wants, needs and preferences are always changing. Utilize social media and other research tools; it can show how to best align your company with these evolving needs. Measure your results to further enhance consumer experience.


There is more data than any one company could need.

Be sure the research is relevant to your company and customers.


Consumers can interact with brands directly through social media so keep a sense of accountability.

Consumers now hold the brand, not traditional media outlets, accountable for any information about them. Be thoughtful with every decision, post, and response made.


Most organizations were born before this recent shift

and aren’t built for the constant contact and reaction of consumer-centric marketing. Logistic and infrastructure changes may be necessary to compete with companies built for the change.

So what do we take away from this exciting event? It’s imperative to understand consumer behavior, needs, and wants and what they have come to expect in this new, consumer-centric marketing world. This kind of overhaul can be difficult, and Blayzer wants to help your business take the first step. For a better idea of how to make this transition and how we can help, contact us for a FREE consultation.