Martech interview with SVP, Consumer Partnerships, VDX.television Danielle Cravatt

1. Can you tell us a bit about your role at and how your journey in the industry began?
As the SVP of Client Partnerships at, I work directly with brands to develop more advanced solutions that specialize in digital video and OTT. As the spearhead of the strategic alignment of product solutions with marketing activities and sales activities, I make sure that achieves the best possible result for each customer partnership in order to build and increase revenues.

I got into digital marketing after an opportunity was lost due to luck and hard work. In 2005, while producing for Talkradio, my brother ran the business as COO at TMP, Traffic Market Place. One night after a family dinner, he pulled me aside and said, “You should get out of the dinosaur business before it dies out and join the growing digital Wild West.” He benevolently introduced me to a work friend at Specific Media, now known as Viant, before, and I started as an account manager with custom cue cards for context targeting and impression definition. I quickly found my calling in sales and long-term cooperation with brand partners. In a fast run up to 2020 the circle of context targeting closes as a promising solution for the fast approaching “cookie-less world” and podcasting is the new radio. The digital and marketing industry is proving to be a wonderfully volatile and evolving industry.

2. Localized ads are typically only viewed for regional campaigns. How can brands use these tactics to reach households across the country?
Before COVID-19, localized messaging was largely underused and limited to geo-based efforts to provide local coupons, but the world has changed. Today the community is a driving force among consumers. When Zypmedia asked consumers why supporting local businesses is so important, there were two clear main reasons: an overwhelming desire to support their local community (84%) and the local economy (54%).

Advertisers who focus on consumer interests will win consumer trust and loyalty.

In fact, half of consumers (49% to be precise) made purchases from businesses in their community during the protection period. A national advertiser or retailer making an effort to localize their messages demonstrates reliability and diligence, ushering in trust into an era of distrust. For example, despite large new consumption, only a third of viewers said they had “high confidence” in coverage of city and state COVID-19 regulations. However, confidence in news that focuses on local stories has never been higher. David Muir’s World News Tonight receives higher ratings than any other newscast in the US and anchors the majority of its programming around the local impact of the pandemic. World News Tonight is a national program that prioritizes local stories and gathers audience ratings across all major demographics. Brands have the opportunity to overtake the competition if they meet consumer demand for a local message.

3. What role has the COVID-19 pandemic played in planning local or regional brand advertising campaigns?
Brands have the opportunity to be a reliable source of truth and a stabilizing link at the local level, particularly with a view to improving knowledge and conditions about mercury-containing COVID-19. For example, Walmart closed NetJets to create a centralized system that presents up-to-date local inventory information to make life easier for consumers and gain unmatched brand credibility. If you give consumers more ease in their lives and personalize advertising campaigns with community elements, you will build a trusted, lifelong bond with your brand. Even a nationally targeted advertiser should consider taking advantage of localized news to gain consumer trust and a sense of caring for the community.
As consumers demand information about local store store updates, vendors, retail stores, restaurants, and local “social” socially distant events, tune into that local connection and you will gain consumer affinity.

4. How do household data campaigns indicate when consumers are most receptive to news?
The most effective method is to meet potential customers where they are. Consumer shifts are happening and devices are the backdrop to reaching the right user, in the right place, at the right time with relevant content that piques interest. In fact, Nielsen’s US Digital Consumer Report found that 30% of people consume streaming programs on mobile devices in the bathroom.
Consumption habits and thus the willingness of households to accept vary greatly depending on the DMA (Designated Market Area) and the individual household composition. As a result, timing is different and working with providers who understand the nuances of households and the frequency with which more engaging ads are served is of great importance. For example, a household with two parents who work from home can record the entire episode program at different times and be online at the same time. According to OpenX’s 2019 OTT Consumer Report, 72% of OTT consumers remember seeing an ad, and a surprising 40% of those who saw an ad “paused to buy,” which means they’re pausing content have to buy a product or learn more about a product.
It is just as important which messages are transmitted in order to largely determine future purchases. Advanced TV can increase recording capacity by using viewer data to tailor the video to the buying interests and thus drive customer acquisition. “Advanced” should be aimed at audiences and creatives to complete the consumer journey and should take into account both household viewing habits and online surfing habits.

5. What role do you think localized ads play in this year’s holiday season?
Advertisers should take a DMA temperature measurement in order to understand the propensity to buy and, conversely, the weak points of specific cities and counties.
At we consider a variety of factors to understand the indicators of interest and affordability of consumer households. We take into account zip code, employment numbers, local COVID-19 rules and restrictions, wealth, previous shopping habits and equally important buying patterns after COVID-19. The more an advertiser associates neighborhood news with interesting articles, the more customers become customers.
For example, I live in Palos Verdes, California, in a sub-sector called Rolling Hills. Target locates my area and adjusts the news to consistently incorporate Rolling Hills as a call-to-action alongside items I’m likely to buy. And I hate to admit, but I’ve gotten into the Halloween bin more than a couple of times. Localizing ads grab consumer attention, but most importantly, cement a connection as most consumers experience a greater sense of community and pride in their neighborhood.
This is especially true in this COVID-19 era.

6. What opportunities do local ads offer national advertisers?
85% of Americans change their buying habits because of the virus. Our future (consumer) habits are at stake, and this offers advertisers an opportunity to network and gain consumer confidence over competitors. National advertisers have a tremendous chance of their messages reflecting the new views and local desires of consumers. Several brands have quickly innovated to serve the public interest with community support, including Guinness, which has redeveloped local factories to manufacture safety accessories. Walmart used its media to notify customers of regional parking lots that were open for blood tests.

While it is not possible for every brand to offer financial support locally, adapting news to the local community will attract more consumers to a national advertiser, which ultimately helps to lower the perception of a brand to “relatable” and “cheap” to move. This crisis will forever change the way consumers think and buy. Earning consumer trust today is central to future success. With 65% of consumers trying a new brand or private label over the course of the pandemic, brands moving from national image-based purchases to local brand leaders will win big.

7. What omnichannel methods can brands use to show a community at the local level that they care about them?
Brands should always consider an omnichannel approach that reflects consumer consumption habits, which continue to grow and become increasingly device-independent. With OTT, viewers still prefer a passive viewing experience that requires no mental effort to make decisions or physical effort to pick up the remote control. Localized news should reflect the lean-back preference of consumers and highlight the city or local vibe of a household that is featured alongside the video. According to Kantar, 80% of internet users in the US agreed that brands should offer flexible payment terms and 70% said they should offer free services. Once a consumer finishes all of the episode programming and begins capturing web content and video snippets, consumers are more open to interacting with ads. Using local maps to show closest location and brand safety precautions at the local level will dramatically increase consumer confidence and connection with a brand. Leveraging lean-back, local messaging throughout episode programming, and lean-in, local interactivity opportunities when consumers interact with the web, will ultimately drive more consumers to trust your brand and buy it.

8. Which book are you reading right now?
Range by David Epstein and The Whole-Brain Child by Dan Siegel

9. Which film has inspired you the most?
Big Fish and Tim Burton movies in general

10. Can you give us some insight into the applications that you are using on your phone? Please attach a screenshot of your menu screen.

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