MediaVillage's Insider InSites podcast on Media, Marketing and Advertising
CMO Kirk McDonald of AT&T's Xandr on Branding and Storytelling
Jan 17, 2019 · 37 min
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E.B. Moss managed to grab about half hour with Kirk McDonald between his back to back meetings at CES 2019 for this episode 25 of the Insider InSites podcast. Why is he so busy? He’s the Chief Marketing Officer of Xandr, the advertising and analytics division of a little company called AT&T

McDonald’s rise from the world of magazines to heading digital companies, even his recent nod as one of Ebony Magazine’s Power 100, is a compelling story alone, but it’s capped off with a must-read tale of how he’s marketing the new brand and power of Xandr.

We began by discussing his bio, which makes excellent use of storytelling – starting off with a poem about perseverance and ending with his personal mission statement about trust. You'll hear how storytelling is emblematic of McDonald’s own belief system as well as his approach marketing.

We then talked about:

"How was that publishing industry that I'd loved so much going to be disruptive just as our personal lives had been turned over into this new opportunity afforded by the birth of the internet?"

...and about

"the emergence of ad-serving technology and the ability to bring machine learning and algorithms to how we make decisions about where ads would run and how it was going to transform the industry."

I asked:

What’s your perspective on the media and ad environment then and now?

How does Xandr fit in with AT&T, which now has so many media properties as well?  

At your kickoff event, Brian Lesser called Xandr a new kind of advertising company. What does that mean?

How can you bring technology and data to make advertising matter?

In the second half of the podcast

...We delved into the job of developing and communicating the Xandr brand itself, and why a through line is key to this ambitious endeavor for AT&T. Hint: McDonald believes “the success at doing that is in the details.” He explained the thinking behind the brand name, how you market "change" in an industry like advertising and media, and tips for other B2B marketers. 

Listen for their approach to tackling 2020, too!

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