Always Innovating: A Conversation with Arm Candy's Founder and CEO, John Lods

September 29, 2020

Coming off of their big wins for Best in Show and Most Effective Awareness Campaign at the recent Dallas Fort Worth Interactive Marketing Association (DFWIMA) AwardsArm Candy is more energized than ever and ready to close out Q4 with a bang! As one of their valued partners, Tremor Video is super excited to work strategically with Arm Candy to activate unique and creative Video solutions that will drive meaningful results for their clients.

Our Director of Sales, Lynsey Skoch, had the pleasure of chatting with John Lods, Founder and CEO at Arm Candy, to hear about what’s on the horizon for this innovative agency as we enter into Q4 and looking ahead to 2021.

Coming off of your big wins at DFWIMA, have you and your team been inspired to try new things for your clients?

We’re always innovating, it’s part of the reason we love the space we’ve built for ourselves. Our clients get just as excited as we do about testing and deploying new ideas, which motivates us to keep pushing the envelope. It’s a rush to be early adopters on new platforms and technologies, whether it’s via a TikTok beta or testing out new shopper-themed opportunities via direct integration with Target. The media landscape continually evolves and partners, whether it be ad tech, data, you name it, are open to just about anything. 

With more TV viewers shifting over to CTV/OTT, how can brands leverage this platform to reach and engage their clients? 

Traditional TV and digital budgets have been consistently siloed over the years. But with the emergence of ACR and the availability of device-graphs, the alignment between ad tech and data has made connecting the dots, much more attainable. And through this lens, bridging traditional and digital strategies into a holistic approach has been a progressive shift for a lot of the large brands we work with who previously had unique teams manage those components separately. 

In my mind, CTV/OTT is the largest player in this traditional/digital convergence as the application of TV is essentially the same. There just happens to be many different ways to plan, purchase and deploy these different executions and clients have really taken hold of the ability to stay in front of their audience exposed via linear TV by leveraging these emerging technologies, building the right audience pools and executing them across CTV/OTT. And most importantly, the ability to measure someone’s activity post-exposure across these different placements—whether it be in-store or online—and the results they’re driving provides clients the data they need to help inform their decisions, which is a wonderful place to be.

Knowing that not everyone is cutting the cord, and more people have been tuning into local TV for news coverage during COVID-19 and in advance of the upcoming elections, how should brands also balance their CTV strategies with their traditional TV strategies?

Traditional TV is highly effective for certain clients, especially those who have products or services the general market can benefit from. There’s a purpose and a place for every single media form out there, whether it be digital-out-of-home, social, traditional TV or Advanced TV; ultimately as a steward of our clients’ dollars, our goal is to invest where we’re most likely to yield the highest returns. 

There’s a strong correlation with supply, demand, and the economics of the different marketplaces depending on the types of media being purchased. Those dynamics help us decide which type (or combination of types) of TV makes the most sense to accomplish a specific client objective.  

If my client has a high-margin item product or service, the premium imposed on CTV is more than likely worth the investment due to the quality of the targeting and placement. Whereas if we’re pushing lower margin items, perhaps scale and overall mass awareness and reach statistically will set us up better for success. 

Media planning is economics, and now more than ever, the disruption caused by the pandemic has created a lucrative opportunity for brands that have the flexibility and capability to take advantage. 

What are some of the top ways you measure the effectiveness of your cross-channel campaigns for your clients?

1:1 sales attribution is a tough measurement tactic to beat. Being able to attribute every single dollar we spend, to the value our clients get in return, cross-channel, has been critical to our ability to help scale and exceed our client revenue goals. 

When you have the ability to attribute every impression to a dollar value, it allows you to analyze data in a whole different light, whether it be by audience, creative, placement, geo, demo, time of day, device, browser, etc. You can get lost in the learnings, but I think that’s a bit of the fun too. 

Aside from sales figures, store visitation measurement has become more valuable due to flexible self-service capabilities being readily available. Through our partnership with FourSquare or our close relationship with NinthDecimal now In-Market, location data is readily available, and we’re able to deploy media toward unique segments who are more apt to going out vs. staying in, or really anyway you want to dice it. Store visits data can help you understand economic mobility scores, helping advise most opportunistic geos on a regular basis and measuring store traffic from your campaigns can give you a better understanding of the impact your efforts are having for your retail clients. 

And with the pandemic having such an effect on traffic, it’s been a critical component for analysis that we’ve relied on to help us identify which channels are driving the most people in store.

How do you think the partnership between Arm Candy and Tremor Video will directly impact your clients’ all-screen video strategies?

Having previously worked with YuMe and then RhythmOne and now Tremor Video, I think we have a unique vantage point of all the technologies that comprise the video solutions that really make Tremor such a unique and competitive player in the CTV, OTT and programmatic video space. 

Not all CTV/OTT is created equal—quality and fraud are such important components that you need to be aware of when identifying your CTV/OTT partner, and you’re not going to find a more quality video advertising partner in the space than Tremor Video.

So it’s an easy decision for us when we’re looking to execute a premium video-based campaign!

And last but not least, as we near 2021, what is on the horizon for Arm Candy and your clients?

We have a ton of things in motion! Our data lake, Parnell, is really coming into its own helping to fuel our proprietary planning methodology. We’re working to build this out so we’re able to offer a data platform specific for each of our agency partners by the summer of 2021, that they can use as an additional resource for insights and planning purposes.  

In addition, the team has doubled in size this year and we’re more than likely going to keep that trend going as we continue to add to our client roster, keeping in mind our 2020 motto “scale responsibility.” 

And finally, we continue to keep an eye out for data and ad tech providers to partner with as we build our unique competitive offering we’re able to extend to our clients. We foresee more of these opportunities coming to light as we close out the year and move into 2021!  

Learn more about Arm Candy here.