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Volume 21 No. 1
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Andrew Varga, Zimmerman Advertising

Agency personnel usually migrate to the client side. Andrew Varga earlier this year did the opposite, leaving Papa John’s after more than three years as CMO to become president of Zimmerman Advertising, the pizza chain’s agency. Many of the sports efforts for Florida-based Zimmerman are coming under the aegis of its Z Sports & Entertainment division, headed by Scott Becher.

— Compiled by Terry Lefton


People will spend a lot of money on a sports platform for the sake of reaching eyeballs, and at the end of the day, there’s no strategic link. No one needs to do sports marketing for the sake of it. It has to tie back to the brand.

Attraction to the agency side:
What we call “brand-tailing” has been in this agency’s DNA since its inception. That’s a way of doing business that says it is not about the output of the work you do, it’s about the outcome for the client. ... There are two scorecards you should have: One is a financial scorecard and an income statement as a proxy; the other is a continuous brand tracker, so you know how the consumer is thinking about your brand. You have to live both those numbers every day.

Frequent sports marketing mistakes?: You can spend lots of money on sports or anything else in marketing, but you’d better be able to fully activate whatever you invest in: short term for sales and long term to position a brand correctly in the minds of consumers.

Motivation for consumers other than price?: Every consumer wants value, so you find out what that means in different segments and attract your consumer through differentiation. Value is what they are willing to pay relative to what you have shown against your competitive set. Value isn’t being cheaper; it’s delivering on a promise to your consumers.

A big miss in marketing: Brands too often miss the ability to monetize consumers. There are so many more ways to do that today because of digital marketing. We believe traditional marketing drives digital marketing, so the combination of that allows us to monetize consumers better.

A brand you admire?: Apple takes a 360-degree approach that produces a consistent message at every consumer touch point. Great brands are built on consistency. The consumer never wonders who Apple is. They never stray from their core brand message.

Challenges of social media: The consumer is driving content; it allows consumers to easily talk about your brand, so now we’re trying to monetize and measure. That’s the challenge all of us are going though.