While Mint Mobile is looking to prioritize highly engaging content, it will be leveraging event type programming that’s relevant for short periods of time, such as live news and sports. We sat down with Mint Mobile's Aron North, CMO, to discuss the importance of experimentation, new and unproven strategies, and why the brand allocated 10% of its budget for test, try, and learn opportunities.
eMarketer: What is Mint Mobile prioritizing when it comes to the Upfronts and NewFronts, and how are you hoping to expand your marketing opportunities within the Upfronts?
Aron North: I think as we look at Upfronts and NewFronts, we typically prioritize highly engaged content. And by that I mean content that is relevant for short amounts of time. So we want things that you don't really watch on DVR. We're talking about live news, sports, things of that nature. Some event type programming that's breakthrough, if you will. And we look to secure those in the Upfronts and NewFronts. That's really the priority for us.
eMarketer: So how have your priorities shifted with advertising spend in the past couple of years, and how has the role of Upfronts and NewFronts in your ad spend shifted in any way?
AN: The reality is there has been a shift in what we're looking for over the last two years. And the biggest shift is flexibility. Two, three years ago, we had flexibility in our plans as an opportunity. Now it's a must. With volatility in the marketplace, you need to be able to move and adjust and optimize. So one of the things that's really important is having flexibility within your Upfront and NewFront buy, and that's been something that's been paramount to us.
eMarketer: In terms of different shifts and innovation, specifically, what are some new technologies you've been able to implement in your advertising strategies?
AN: We are constantly experimenting and constantly trying the new and unproven. For us, what we've done is we've built 10% of our budget into these test, try, and learn opportunities. That strategically has given us the opportunity to really try a varying degree of new things. So whether they be high-impact units, new types of units, betas, or alphas. I think the approach of never stop trying [something] new and it's okay to fail are two of the principles we deploy when we look at the unproven, the untested. Having that approach allows you to leverage a wide range of opportunities that are presented. And I think that makes us different, and that is something that CMOs should be thinking about: having a large arsenal of things that you are trying at a smaller scale to see how they impact your business.
eMarketer: How do you think brands will participate within the Upfront[s] [and] NewFronts in the coming years, and how will ad spend priorities shift in the next few years?
AN: I think brands are participating in the Upfronts of NewFronts in a more limited fashion. Obviously when you participate in an Upfront there's a price discount to the advertiser, but in many instances you're trading out flexibility for that.
It's not necessarily forced that you have to buy the digital corresponding platform, but it's definitely being pushed. I think what's happening is you're having inside-out thinking at these media or content creators. So they've got inventory, they're thinking we can create inventory and we can sell it out. What I think they should be doing is looking at the needs of the marketplace and what advertisers are really thirsty for and solve for that versus trying to get us to purchase not only their linear or traditional programming, but also their digital programming as well.
This interview was conducted on April 29, 2022.
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