Tony Zito wants to help you update and upgrade everything you think you know about marketing. We caught up with the CEO of Rakuten Marketing during the company’s inaugural Experience event, held in New York City in early November.

Zito explained that the purpose of the event was to “get people talking and collaborating around different elements and touchpoints, and discussing what it means to be a consumer,  not just someone at the other end of your technology.”

Since collaboration begins with understanding and interaction, Zito reminded senior-level executives of their responsibility to “engage, inspire and influence” potential consumers – tasks that are even “more complex today than they’ve ever been.”

Tony Zito, CEO of Rakuten Marketing, speaks about the future of marketing at Experience 2016

Tony Zito, CEO of Rakuten Marketing, speaks at Experience 2016

So how do you tackle the ever-evolving challenge of marketing to the masses? Zito offered his insights on the way forward.

More touchpoints, more opportunities for engagement – and more problems to be solved

Zito noted that the number of touchpoints that brands now have with their various target consumers continues to increase. “In the old days when we thought about marketing, it was TV, catalogs, billboards; all those mediums still exist today but not at the same scale, because we’ve introduced so many new platforms and touchpoints,” he said.

Zito explained thatconsumers are exposed to content online, on their mobile devices and social environments,” and not all the communication is alike. “Some of it is word-of-mouth, some of it is native content and, in some cases, it’s content that’s been developed as an advertisement in place of an article.”

As the opportunities for connection grow, so do the challenges. As Zito put it, “There are so many places and ways that marketers can reach out to consumers, it really has made the industry more complex and more difficult – and that’s exactly the problem we’re helping marketers solve.”

Empowering marketers

According to Zito, a major objective of the conference was to offer deep insights into the challenges and solutions facing marketers because “our business is built around empowering people through technology and thought leadership.” He added, “I hope people walk away from this event with the knowledge that with us they have a resource in the industry that has a wealth of knowledge and a distinctive perspective on consumers and consumer behavior.”

Data scientists, technologists and fortune tellers

Considering the myriad ways to reach and engage with target consumers, Zito explained that marketers must change to best suit evolving consumer needs. “From content creators to corporations, we’re all faced with the same challenges of consumers jumping from platform to platform and device to device – and we’re all trying to give them a cohesive message. It’s a challenge that we all share, and we’ve managed to come up with different solutions, but we all share that common ground.”

The omni approach and personalization

Zito said the solution is “beyond being clever and engaging or even re-engaging.” He explained that “the more you understand a specific consumer, the more you can offer them ongoing personalization in everything that you do. Know them. Know where they live and the weather they’re exposed to and what’s important to them, and create the ongoing, personalized experience that keeps them coming back time and time again.”


Read more posts from the Rakuten Marketing Experience Conference here.