Associate Fellow Seth Rogin has a distinguished career spanning digital marketing, news, and advertising, as well as having been a backer of a Broadway play.
'The Inheritance' won four Tony Awards in 2021. Seth will be a key speaker at the fifth Future of Marketing Initiative (FOMI) Symposium, at Oxford Saïd on Friday 27 May 2022.
Seth is CEO of Magnolia Media Partners, LLC. He was CEO of Nucleus, a joint venture of some of the world’s largest news companies, including Hearst, Tribune, and Gannett. Seth has mentored a number of emerging media and tech companies and is known in the industry as the 'Dean of Digital Advertising.'
As a member of The Digital Marketing Standards Board, he co-authored a policy to increase Diversity and Inclusion in Advertising and Marketing. He is currently in his second year as co-Head of the Oxford News Marketing Programme, educating news executives around the globe on the fundamentals and future of marketing to sustain the objective journalism on which we all rely.
Ahead of speaking at the event, Seth shares his insights on the role of brands and marketers in driving sustainability and social responsibility, and the challenges AI poses to business and consumers.
- What’s the role of marketers in helping organisations become more environmentally and socially responsible?
Brands are seeing that the old dichotomy of choosing between doing well and doing good need no longer apply. Customers and colleagues want to be a part of a mission that extends beyond revenue to relevance.
Today’s marketers are among the most powerful, highly trained and equipped storytellers that have ever existed. They have studied the arts of creative persuasion, brand definition, and the use of advanced technology to deploy their creations with efficiency and extreme precision. Who wouldn’t want to use that great level of power and proficiency to contribute to the solution of the most urgent issues facing humankind?
The CMO is not only Chief Marketing Officer, he or she is also Chief Mission Officer, defining the brand and its activation. That places the marketer in a truly singular position to drive environmental and social responsibility from within.
- The School is an official Ally of the UN’s Unstereotype Alliance, to challenge stereotypical depictions in advertising. What still needs to be addressed on that journey?
As Co-Chair of the Executive Committee of the Future of Marketing Initiative, I’m particularly proud of this engagement. The Unstereotype Alliance is a global platform working to eradicate harmful stereotypes in media and advertising. Convened by UN Women, the United Nations entity for Gender Equality, the alliance is a unique collective force driving positive change from within the advertising industry.
The Unstereotype Alliance calls upon the advertising community to create content that empowers people and does not objectify them, as well as to drive gender balance in senior and creative roles within the industry. Advertising is supremely powerful, well-funded storytelling on a global scale; the alliance is the first global organization of its kind to work to recognize the responsibility that comes with this power to drive important cultural change from within.
It's clear that the messages funded and created by brands have a deep impact on the cultures and communities they serve. A recent report from the alliance and Kantar showed progress, but also the considerable challenges that remain. For instance, representation of ethnic diversity in advertising grew over the past year, but still only 35% of all ads depicted a mixture of ethnicities or diverse skin colours. While the number of people featured in advertising over the age of 40 grew in the past year, ageism in creative is still pervasive.
- What are the challenges for businesses and consumers, with the rise in the use of AI and managing our data globally?
The challenges of AI are plentiful, but so are the opportunities. Data-informed, automated processes are already deeply engrained in our daily lives, in ways that we no longer consider to be jarring or particularly innovative, because they have been life-enhancing and relatively easy to use. For instance, where would life be without all of the automated intelligence behind geolocation? We no longer find it “magical” that our Uber drivers are able to find their way. In fact, many become frustrated when the ride isn’t exactly in-line with the AI-recommended route. Yesterday’s “magic” becomes today’s base-level expectation.
For business, the ethics of AI remain a territory that urgently needs definition and vigilance. For instance, a pattern recognition algorithm that can predict the politics, orientation or beliefs of a customer may be valuable for serving messages and customized experiences but in the wrong hands could lead to targeted misinformation or perilous persecution.
As AI continues to streamline processes and eliminate costs, our economy and workforce will change with it. Businesses will need to not only think about how AI helps them to optimize and evolve, but also how the evolving economic and informational impact on the consumers they serve will alter the future of consumer discovery and spending.
- What do you consider to be pivotal to the future of marketing?
Marketing is a science but not one that exists solely in a lab. It is engrained not only in the way we choose products, but in the issues we support, the choices we make, our perceptions of the world and people around us. Pivotal to the future of marketing will be our deeper understanding of the technology and AI that powers it, but also its real-life impact on the people it touches.
Marketing holds the power to lift people up, to drive acceptance and prosperity, to drive awareness and action for good. The best future of marketing is one that blends the technology and data with insight, empathy, creativity, and mission.
Noted managers from global organisations including Google, Meta, L’Oreal, JP Morgan, Kantar, WPP, Teradata and the United Nations Unstereotype Alliance, will also share insights.
Professor of Marketing Andrew Stephen, will present the fifth Oxford Future of Marketing Symposium from 10am-5pm at the School and online, on Friday 27 May:
Learn more about Oxford Future of Marketing Initiative, which tackles complex business challenges in marketing, advertising, communications, media, and technology, through world leading research.