Rising to the Challenge of Change

The advertising world as we know it is being challenged by forces in the industry and the world at a pace we’ve never seen before. From embracing new technologies and sustaining a healthy hybrid workforce, to meeting zero emission goals while tackling the day to day,  how are companies adapting to keep their people, products, and clients thriving?

Q&A with AD Club Board Director and US Telecom Managing Director at Google, Scott Falzone.

What new technologies and related skills has your company adopted most recently to address client needs?

12+ months ago, AI (Artificial Intelligence) was seldom a topic of conversation. Today, it is central to nearly all our discussions with customers. Similar to many of our customers, my team and I are experimenting with new ways to use AI to improve our work from Google Workspace tools to organizing information with the help of Bard. What we have learned is that leaning into what adds value is paramount. Today, Google and YouTube’s AI powered ads can add value for marketers by uncovering new consumers and driving incremental results for their business. We’ve created this helpful AI Essentials Checklist to help marketers set the right foundation, activate AI-powered ads, and cultivate a culture of learning along the way.

How does your company keep its people poised for success in this fast-changing environment?

As the old adage goes, “change is the only constant.” At Google, we encourage everyone to be agile and open to learning – two traits we feel have been critical to capitalizing on industry transformation in the past and in preparing for what’s ahead. 

What do you say to be the number one challenge your company will face in 2024 and how will you address? 

We’re living in an age of media proliferation. Consumers are engaging with a wider array of content across a wider array of channels. As a result, marketers have a wider array of media  and measurement solutions at their fingertips. This abundance can sometimes lead to confusion or frustration for how to market and measure effectively. Today, over half of marketers admit they’re overwhelmed by the number of data and measurement solutions that are available and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) estimates that US marketers waste $15B in ad spend annually due to a lack of comparable cross-media audience measurement. 

We believe the solution is clear: unify and simplify solutions to benefit marketers. This will improve consumer ad experiences and help drive much needed efficiency in our customer’s media investments. 

Moving forward, we plan to continue to use the best of AI to simplify and consolidate Google and YouTube ad solutions. We will also advocate for and adhere to common principles of third-party cross-media audience measurement. While we are far from perfect, we are committed to improving for our customers and consumers alike. 

What are the keys to breaking through the clutter and really connecting with consumers in a meaningful way? What do you foresee to be the biggest opportunities?

I truly believe that the key to breakthrough creative will be breaking down silos between creative and data. I recently read a post by our VP of Marketing, Marvin Chow, who quoted Nick Law in saying “the top makes beautiful things nobody sees, the bottom’s filled with ugly things we are bombarded with everyday.” And it really resonated with me. Creative is more powerful than people give it credit for, in fact, creative is still the top driver of ROI every time it’s measured. But creative can only be powerful if it is seen and success measured. If marketers want to break through the crowd they need to work to find a more successful way to bridge the two.

How do you stay inspired? 

I get inspired, even excited, after 20+ years in the industry when I consider that I am a part of the 3rd big shift in technological evolution, one that will have an impact at a faster pace than any innovation before it.

First was the Internet, which changed the way we engaged with almost every touchpoint: brick and mortar retail, print publishing, access to information, education, and communications. Then there was mobile computing: which put computers the size of our palm into our pockets, allowed entirely new industries and experiences to be built, and expanded access to information globally and locally. 

Today, AI is the 3rd big shift, and much like the first two, has the opportunity to impact the world in ways we have yet to imagine. Today is still the very early beginning of the AI revolution, and I am humbled and excited by its potential impact. As Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai said, “I’ve always thought of AI as the MOST profound technology humanity is working on - more profound than fire or electricity or anything that we’ve done in the past.”