Visa marketing chief says 140 character briefs are the future

By Brendan Coyne | 19 June 2013
Visa: moving from old commerce to omni commerce

Marketers and agencies that want to work with Visa better get used to briefs in 140 characters. That’s where the smart money is, according to global CMO Kevin Burke. And it’s not ecommerce any more, it’s “omni commerce”.

The company is putting social and mobile at the heart of everything it does. Literally.

That’s because there will be 1.9 billion people on social channels by 2014 with that information shaping the way people transact. According to Burke, 85% of them will consult a friend on social before making a purchase. So it’s 140 characters “or less” for Visa and the key criteria is to make every communication “irresistible” to consumers with whom brands only have a moment to engage.

So how do they know what will be irresistible? By employing “psychics, fortune tellers and soothsayers,” he said.

That’s some job description. But Burke is serious and that is now what tactical advertising must deliver.  “Now is too late”, communications and content needs to be ready before the event, he told a Cannes session on Tuesday.  By way of example, Visa deployed seven teams at the 2012 Olympics to predict 100 different outcomes for events, before they happened, in order to serve up content the second a race was won.

Now the grail is to do that with mobile at the centre, because there will be “620 million searches done on mobile today” leading to purchases and data. Data is “the new social currency”, said Burke.

So to get consumers before they move on, “we ask marketers to view the world in mobile with briefs in 140 characters”. Agencies too: “They have to create work and review work in a mobile context,” said Burke. “It has to be created for the flick”.

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