To many of us, Philadelphia is known as the “City of Firsts”: the nation’s first bank, first flag, even the first ice cream soda. It’s also where a small cable company decided to put down its roots, eventually becoming Comcast NBCUniversal. That’s why we chose Philadelphia to host NBCUniversal’s first-ever Local Innovation Forum.
Last week, at the Comcast Technology Center, we brought together nearly 50 local businesses and agencies, our local sales team, and experts across the entire NBCUniversal family to discuss One Platform resources that local marketers can begin to leverage, from NBC Spot On, to Open Doors, to our experts across business development, commercial innovation, measurement, and local advertising. We are excited to share key takeaways from the event, further delivering on #OurPartnershipCommitment:
Local Businesses Foresee Global Trends
Kicking off the day, MSNBC Host, ‘Velshi’, Ali Velshi, astutely pointed out that trends impacting the global economy are shaping the local economy, too. Advertisers have a unique point of view, and as Ali reminded us, advertising requires forecasting and planning to get a sense of where the economy is going. From inflation, to supply chains, to labor costs, businesses of all sizes are impacted by the global economy, but local businesses – with their smaller scale and connection to the community – are often the first to know.
Then, on a panel featuring NBCU advertising experts, leaders dove into NBCU’s current resources and future endeavors across data, multicultural audiences, commercial innovations, measurement, and more. Sonali Pathak, SVP, Business Development & Strategy, NBCUniversal, reminded us that local advertisers have been using data-driven, advanced audience targeting long before national and global advertisers. In many ways, local advertisers are pioneers in the space, and listening to their intuition is critical.
Plus, Matt Boxer, SVP, Business Development, NBCUniversal Local, spoke about population changes and how multicultural audiences around the world are growing exponentially. These trends are especially visible to local marketers, and in order to expand their consumer reach, it is critical for them to include multicultural marketing in their media plans.
Resources are Universal – And in High Demand
On the commercial innovations side, Collette Winn, VP, Strategy & Operations, Creative Partnerships, NBCUniversal Advertising & Partnerships, shared inspiring case studies, including a partnership with Philly-based delivery company, GoPuff. These case studies spotlighted local marketers leveraging innovative commercial formats in localized areas, showcasing the unique connection between local advertising and instant gratification with shoppable formats.
In addition, Maggie Zhang, SVP, Measurement & Strategy Operations, NBCUniversal teased an exciting announcement with InnovidXP. In collaboration with InnovidXP, NBCU is rolling out new impact and attribution metrics, giving local marketers real-time, outcome-based KPIs across platforms, allowing better optimization of campaigns and driving more conversions. This latest development brings us one step closer to offering a unified, industry-leading measurement solution for all advertisers, from local to global.
Also, Bo Koelle, VP of Sales for NBC Local Philadelphia, who served as one of the many connecting points between clients and sellers in the room, shared a common obstacle local marketers face: not having enough experts across new media. This was one of the many reasons we started this forum: to ensure all our marketing partners are informed of the resources, tools, and expertise we can offer, and what we can build together.
Ultimately, when we provide local advertisers with resources to innovate—we help super serve businesses of every size.
Connection Requires Collaboration
Finally, we rounded out the day with a tour of the Comcast Technology Center, giving forum members a look at some of the state-of-the-art spaces available to them. Attendees were able to see the expansive local newsroom, where there was purposefully no demarcation or separation between the NBC and Telemundo stations, allowing for true cross-collaboration with equal investment across the spaces. It was clearly one, unified team—and that’s how we hope our partners experience One Platform, be it locally, nationally, or globally.
We also took our guests through the Comcast Labs, which are designed to test and showcase smart devices as well as the startup accelerator Lift Labs, where the local community, entrepreneurs, and clients can connect. The shared sentiment throughout the day was – connection requires ideas, insights and ultimately, collaboration. From cultivating interactive discussions to experiencing The Universal Sphere—an immersive ride in the lobby of the Comcast Technology Center – we left with the inspiration to create together.
Local Communities. Resources. Collaboration. These are the pillars that drive the Local Innovation Forum, and what we offer any business—no matter the size, or zip code—that comes to work with Comcast NBCUniversal. And our forum members agreed, with 100% of clients who took the survey sharing they enjoyed the forum, and found it to be fun, engaging, and valuable to move their local marketing forward.
Based on the success of this inaugural kick-off, next year, we’ll be taking the Local Innovation Forum across the country, to even more markets and partners. As we take this show on the road, we want to ensure our local clients can easily stay in touch with us, and with one another. To that end, we’re launching a LinkedIn group for our Philadelphia ad sales team and local marketers, business owners and agencies. We’re hopeful this online community will become a continued space to share insights, ideas, and questions—while learning about the latest new innovations, announcements, and pilot program opportunities coming down the pipeline.
Philly has been the site of many beginnings, and we are proud to add the Local Innovation Forum to that robust list. This is just the start of our journey to transform the future of local advertising. That’s #OurPartnershipCommitment, and we’re so excited for you to join us on this journey.