On the Road to Brandweek: Flipboard’s Marci McCue Discusses Audience Journeys and Mindset Marketing

Looking forward to next-gen innovations for small-screen marketing

Marci McCue, head of marketing at Flipboard, will join the Challenger Brands Track at Brandweek in Palm Springs, Calif., September 23 to 25.
Headshot of James Cooper

Like every other marketing sector, media brands are experiencing disruptions that are changing formats and cycles in order to keep pace with the audience journey. Stir in the hostile environment around news and the debate on what is fake and what is real, and you have a very tough climate to cut through. You not only have to find your audience—you also have to convince them that you are legit.

Additionally, mobile is certainly a key factor for the future of news, news brands and platforms and the advertising forms that support them. The eight-year-old news aggregator Flipboard has stepped into that space to offer up personalized flights of news feed options in a mobile-first way. The brand is also looking at important innovations around mindset-based marketing (moving away from demographics) and small-screen advertising.

This audience-centric way of packaging news content is why Adweek is excited to have Marci McCue, the head of marketing at Flipboard, join the Challenger Brands Track, which features eight brand marketers who have disrupted their respective categories, at the inaugural Brandweek Summit in Palm Springs, Calif., September 23 to 25.

Kristina Monllos, Adweek’s senior editor, brand marketing, caught up with McCue, who was also a founding team member of Flipboard, to discuss media marketing and its constantly shifting audience.

"It’s time to be more creative and find places where our brands are related to an audience’s mindset, not just targeting demographics."

We share three questions from their time together in the continuing On the Road to Brandweek interview series that will feature some of the absolutely stellar marketing executives set to speak. We’re excited to be on the road to Brandweek, and we hope you’ll join us.

Follow this link to learn more and to register.

Adweek: Where’s the future of advertising? TV? Digital? Immersive content? What mediums will be the most effective way to distribute your message.

Marci McCue: With growing and always-on mobile audiences, it critical to have a mobile strategy when it comes to advertising. But the future of advertising isn’t really any one place—it’s an experience.

People want to feel the brand fits into their life and, therefore, the next big opportunity for advertisers will be meeting people in the right moment, when they are reading, watching or doing something related to your brand. Advertising out of context, simply following people around on the web, will lose its attraction in favor of adverting in more relevant moments when people are more “in the mood” to hear your message.

What’s the biggest lesson marketers have yet to learn? 

It’s time to be more creative and find places where our brands are related to an audience’s mindset, not just targeting demographics. We need to take a hard look at what consumers are doing when they see our brands or products. This seems obvious, but marketers today have been pushed toward social media engagements or clicks—in other words, the instant gratification of campaigns rather than more meaningful advertising that builds repeat business.

Biggest lesson ahead: We are in the early stages of navigating and fully appreciating that mobile advertising is a different animal than online/web advertising. More native, experiential integrations (like we see with podcasts or original content today) that allow brands to have a meaningful voice in a small screen will be an area of intense innovation.

Talk about one marketing trend or technique that, in your experience, turns out to be way overrated.

Ads that follow consumers based on cookies or tracking behaviors is a trend I believe will cause growing frustration and irritation among people. These ads are usually out of context and unrelated to the moment and mindset that a person is in, which is why these can over time be a negative for brands. When people feel a brand is aggressively following them, begging for the click, their once interested consumer can get turned off. We may see this popular strategy create a backlash against brands, trading off short-term gains for long-term goodwill.

@jcoopernyc james.cooper@adweek.com James Cooper is editorial director of Adweek.