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18 - 19 September 2024
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18 - 19 September 2024
ExCeL London

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29 May 2024

Lipton's Giovanni Pupo on Strategic Media Planning and Data-Driven Decisions

Lipton's Giovanni Pupo on Strategic Media Planning and Data-Driven Decisions

In this article, Gio shares his journey from media agencies to global paid media leadership, highlighting essential strategies for navigating eCommerce, continuous learning, and effective media planning. Discover valuable insights into balancing creativity with data-driven decisions and the future of AI in eCommerce.


Giovanni's career journey and advice

Tell us about your career so far and the essential turning points that got you where you are today.

I started my career in media agencies, beginning at IPG Media Brands, then moving to various publishers, and finally Omnicom. Working with different clients, I gained broad experience in various industries. I began in activation, handling Google and Bing Ads, then expanded to paid social on platforms like Meta, LinkedIn, and Snapchat. Later, I moved into programmatic advertising, covering video and display.

Three years ago, I transitioned to the client side, joining Lipton to lead global paid media, managing client-agency relationships and setting global guidelines. In September, I took on a new role in eCommerce media in Europe, focusing on platforms like Amazon and major UK retailers. My career evolved from media activation to planning, translating business objectives into media strategies.

Looking back at your career, what advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Keep studying. The industry changes rapidly, and continuous learning is crucial to stay relevant. AI advancements make this even more important. Enjoy your work and foster good relationships. Scott Galloway, one of my favourite professors, wrote a book called "The Algebra of Happiness." It highlights that happy people create happy companies and environments. So, enjoy your work, learn to live with people, and contribute to a positive team environment, which benefits the company.


Paid media, leadership, activation tools and creativity

With your expertise in media planning, SEO, SEM, and paid social media advertising, how do you stay updated on industry trends and best practices to continuously improve your strategies?

Staying updated is easier for me because I teach digital marketing at a university in Milan, which requires constant studying. I also attend events, participate in panels, and run a YouTube channel, "A Glass of Marketing with Gio" where I discuss marketing with industry leaders over a glass of wine. Regularly reading trusted websites and actively using platforms like Amazon, Google, and Meta to check new features keeps me informed. It's a mix of learning by doing, teaching, and reading.

A glass of Marketing with Gio

(Image source: A Glass of Marketing with Gio)

How do you keep up with activation tools despite being in a leadership position?

Leading everything at a high level means you have less hands-on time with the tools, essentially becoming a project manager. The challenge is keeping up with the tools, and the reality is that you can't always stay up-to-date yourself. You need to surround yourself with people that keep up and trust their expertise.

In your role leading Amazon activation, what strategies have you found most effective for driving sales and optimising performance on the platform?

I use project management tools like Trello and Asana to ensure clear visibility and execution. Staying updated with Amazon's tools is crucial, and I've found that lately, videos perform very well. Testing new formats, optimising what's not working, and maximising what's already successful are key strategies. Growth involves improving on current successes and experimenting with new approaches. It's like hosting a dinner: you rely on proven dishes for the main course while experimenting with new ones for the sides. Test and learn is essential.

Given your experience overseeing paid media strategy for major brands like Lipton, Pukka, T2, Tazo, and more, how do you ensure consistency across different brands while tailoring strategies to their unique needs?

It's a mix of a centralised approach and local adaptation. As part of the global team, we set best practices, but we also engage with local markets to understand their specific needs, including products, competitors, and communication styles. This dual approach ensures we maintain consistency and benefit from economies of scale, while also addressing unique market requirements.

How do you balance having creativity while maintaining an engineered structure in marketing?

Data-driven decisions are crucial, and I spend a lot of time on Excel. However, it's important to remember storytelling and human connection in marketing. It's not just about numbers and ROI; people want to connect with brands on an emotional level.


Giovanni's conference at eCommerce Expo

Tell us more about your conference at eCommerce Expo titled "Navigating the Digital Maze: Mastering eCommerce with Three Key Strategies."

The title reflects the complexity of today’s customer journey, which often feels like a maze. While the marketing funnel remains, Google's "messy middle" concept illustrates how consumers constantly juggle options, influenced by an overload of information and choices.

At the conference, I'll address how decision-making is complicated by numerous options. For instance, choosing headphones involves comparing many brands within the same price range. Consumers rely on shortcuts like brand recall, emphasised by Byron Sharp's research. It's crucial for brands to ensure they are top of mind and physically available when consumers are ready to buy. If someone wants Coca-Cola but only finds Pepsi, they'll likely buy Pepsi.

To navigate this maze, I'll propose three key strategies:

  • Always On: Maintain a consistent presence to stay top of mind for consumers.
  • Optimised Multi-Channel Presence: Focus on the most effective channels rather than trying to be everywhere. This is more resource-efficient and impactful.
  • Full Funnel Marketing: Engage consumers at all stages, from awareness to purchase, using various campaign types to effectively guide them through their journey.

This approach is straightforward but often underestimated, focusing on consistent presence, strategic channel selection, and full funnel engagement to navigate the digital maze.

Don't miss out on Giovanni's session at eCommerce Expo 2024!



Quick-fire questions

What is your biggest pet peeve as a customer? Bad customer support.

What is your favourite social media platform? YouTube.

Who inspires you on social media? Scott Galloway.

What do you see in the future of eCommerce? AI will choose for us. Voice assistants like Alexa or Google will become smart enough to know our preferences and make purchase decisions for us, acting as personal shoppers. The challenge for brands will be to appeal to these AI assistants. From a customer perspective, having a personal shopper will be very convenient.

What is your proudest moment in your career so far? Teaching at university. I love having an impact on people, even if it's small. Helping others grow and succeed is more satisfying than just helping brands sell products. Teachers and doctors are the professions that truly make a difference in people's lives.

What is your favourite Lipton product? I love classic green tea mint and Pukka Herbs products, which are from Bristol and quite popular in the UK.

What is your favourite tool on your laptop or the tool you use the most? Outlook for email.

Talking about Outlook, how many unopened emails do you have on average or right now? I try to go through all emails and reply to those that are useful. I receive a lot of advertising and lead generation emails, which I can't always respond to.

What is something you're still looking forward to achieving in your career? I want to build a community of marketing professionals who are passionate about their jobs but also want to have fun. Life is too short to not smile every day. This is why I started my YouTube channel, "Glass of Marketing," where I drink wine and talk about marketing with CMOs and CEOs. My goal is to show that you can be serious and have fun at the same time.

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