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BETSY MCLARNEY  CEO- EMC Outdoor

BETSY MCLARNEY
CEO-
EMC Outdoor

 

EYE REPORTER WITH Betsy MCLARNEY

Betsy McLarney, CEO of EMC Outdoor, leads a nationally-recognized boutique marketing agency. For 27 years, EMC Outdoor, an independent and woman-owned agency, has been committed to providing location-based advertising programs that connect brands with audiences. 

As the driving force behind an agency in a constantly changing media landscape, Betsy has developed a team of knowledgeable, dedicated strategists with expertise in out-of-home, tradeshow marketing, experiential activations and integrated digital offerings. Through creative ideation and a tactical approach, she and her team deliver effective, impactful, relevant results for national and international brands and agencies.

 

EYE:

A good friend travels across the country for the first time to visit you in Philadelphia and is staying in Newtown Square. They have time to see or experience one site and also one meal. What is the one place you take them to see or experience and where do you take them to dine?   

 

MCLARNEY:

Philly is a foodie town; there are so many good places to eat so this is a tough question! However, for a first timer, I would be tempted to go basic and do the cheesesteak challenge. Pat’s and Geno’s live across the street from one another in South Philly and thrive on their reputation to make the best cheesesteak in the city. Pat’s uses chopped meat and Geno’s is sliced, and both serve “wit whiz” or sliced cheese, with numerous toppings on fresh Italian rolls. I would get one from each, minimum, and take the challenge with my friend.  Honestly, there is no right answer—your tastebuds will do the talking.

On the flip side, our city hosts one of the greatest impressionistic art collections at the Barnes Museum. There is a long back story to this collection, which is fascinating and has been made into a documentary, titled the Art of the Steal. In and of itself, it is fascinating to see one collector’s keen eye find the synchronicity between paintings, sculptures, ceramics, woodworking, forged ironwork and more from around the world. The pieces in the collection were grouped by Albert Barnes to educate others on the visual relationships between them. The Barnes is a Philadelphia landmark not to be missed.   

EYE:

You have a day at the beach on your own, a great lounge chair, shade, food and drink and time to read a great book. What is the book you select and why?     

MCLARNEY:

I was given the book Hillbilly Elegy by a friend and found it a fascinating glimpse into a life I knew little about. It is a true story about a boy who finds a way to rise above Appalachia’s community and culture. It is historical, biographical, funny and sad. Best of all, it shows determination and resilience to change and grow—something that others may just accept as a result of their upbringing and the cards life has dealt them. 

EYE:

You walk into an international airport with a round trip ticket and all expenses paid for the weekend to anywere in the world. Where do you go and what do you see? (don’t make travel distance or time a barrier):  

MCLARNEY:

My ideal vacation is to be surrounded by a tropical paradise where the walks along the beach are long, sunsets are magnificent, fresh fruits and vegetables are delectable, and cell phone coverage is unavailable. While there are numerous places around the world that would fit this description, few are no longer reachable by internet service. With discipline and the time difference, Tahiti, Bali, Maldives or Canary Islands would fit nicely into an “off the grid” vacation.

EYE:

What is the last out-of-home ad you saw that made you either go do something (make a purchase, take a trip, see a show, etc.) or stop and say “WOW great execution”? 

MCLARNEY:

I am really loving the McDonald’s “Follow the Arches” campaign. With simplified, iconic creative, McDonald’s is using portions of the arch to provide directions to the nearest location. Billboards are effective when placed in close proximity, nearly at the point of purchase, to their stores. This campaign started in Canada and is scaling worldwide. It is unifying their message, modernizing their brand symbol, and utilizing effective placement to drive restaurant traffic. I am impressed that McDonald’s can build on well established branding, make what is old new, while providing practical information to reach today’s on-the-go consumer.

EYE:

As you look across the out-of-home media landscape, what shifts are happening in 2018 that are having the largest positive impact on our industry?   

MCLARNEY:

The digitization of OOH media assets is stoking the growth of our industry. It presents so many opportunities to be more relevant and creative than ever before. The brand can use OOH as a broadcast medium or it can narrowcast, targeting a well defined audience based on mobile data, demographics and media in market. OOH also compliments a digital marketing strategy by driving nearly a quarter of online traffic, according to a recent Nielson study. Many brands are now recognizing these attributes, and OOH is gaining a larger stake in an integrated media plan. 

We no longer live in a static world. The best brand strategies are capitalizing on screen creativity with OOH media and/or mobile devices to generate a memborable interaction that moves beyond the moment and lives virally online. The result is more recall, brand fame and sales lift.     

EYE:

EMC Outdoor has been very open to digital and digital place based networks.  Describe a recent campaign you executed across digital place based that you are proud of?   

MCLARNEY:

Smile Direct Club came to us with a goal to promote a cost-effective dental service and grand openings to give customers their smile back. The OOH media is currently in-market, reaching a well-defined audience during their daily routines by advertising in corporate complexes with digital elevator ads and running ads on digital networks found in fitness clubs. These campaigns are also supported by restaurant posters, billboards and rail cards in select key markets. 

EYE:

As you look at how 2018 is shaping up, the OOH industry is reporting continued single digit growth but individual operators report mixed results.  What trends are you seeing in 2018 that you believe offer the biggest opportunity for OOH media growth?

MCLARNEY:

OOH is projected to grow 3% in 2019, according to a report from Magna. Most of this growth will be a direct result of digital asset conversion and advertising that occurs in real life where there is no ad blocking. Some of the benefits we see include:

· Planning and buying OOH is more automated, allowing consideration for broad range of OOH media to meet business objectives.

· Pairing digital marketing strategies with OOH infrastructure delivers a more targeted message to a well-defined audience.

· Branding with contextually relevant content better engages an audience, which allows for interaction and more personalized advertising that drives better brand recall.

EYE:

As you listen to your clients are there any trends in what they are asking for today vs. a few years ago and how are you delivering them? 

MCLARNEY:

Clients are becoming less focused on the actual locations and more interested in the data behind how those locations were selected and will effectively reach their target audience. Media operators need to offer more packages that include the data support to prove the best audience reach and alignment with the advertiser’s objectives.

EYE:

Is there anything happening with measurement or use of data that is of particular interest or focus? 

MCLARNEY:

We’re just beginning to grasp and be able to use the amount of data that is becoming available to marketers. The most interesting to us right now is the information coming from consumer’s mobile devices that give us insight into their location and movement. This information is fueling a new type of media planning based on real information about where a particular type of consumer goes in the market, where they travel, etc.  This is what has strengthened GeoPath’s Ratings; as a result, we find there is an extraordinary amount of data at our fingertips. What once took days to gather from multiple sources, and compile and standardize into one spreadsheet, is today a part of a more efficient media selection process. Today, we focus more on strategy and strengthening our recommendations with audited impression and audience data.

EYE:

As static media locations get digitized, what benefits come from sound and motion and what challenges come from multiple advertisers sharing one location when it comes to measurement?     

MCLARNEY:

The benefits from sound and motion are evident with the increased abilities in audience engagement. Recall is much higher when the senses are stirred, which results in cementing the branding in the consumer’s mind. This yields a higher potential for driving action to visit, buy, register, vote, etc.

The measurement challenges with multiple advertisers sharing one location are being addressed by Geopath, the OOH firm that standardizes and establishes OOH ratings. For now, they are able to provide accurate ratings for billboards based on the number of ads during a rotation, the length of those ads (most often 6 or 8 seconds) and dwell time, as measured by the speed of the road traffic. Place-based digital locations are in a pilot measurement program as we speak, the results from which will provide even more accurate viewer data.

EYE:

Out of home continues to hold it’s own against the changing media landscape.  Is there a great out of home media campaign you have seen recently even if not executed by EMC that made you say WOW?   

 

MCLARNEY:

The self promotion of our industry via multiple formats during the 2018 Adweek in NYC was awesome! That is one of the strengths of our medium: we can optimize the message through multiple touchpoints and reinforce it all day and night long. On the digital screens, this campaign also leveraged tweets and Instagram posts that were uploaded making the message contextually relevant in the moment. This program showcased how OOH truly is dynamic and creative!