Larry Adams: Q&A Session

Q&A Session: Larry Adams

Larry Adams Q&A Session is happening on November 18th 2020 at 10:00 AM PST (1:00 PM EST)

Larry is a digital marketing and media veteran with years of experience on the client and agency side. Most recently Larry served as Sr. Advisor leading content strategy, marketing automation development, data strategy and organizational design infrastructure supporting Bloomberg 2020 presidential campaign. With an unprecedented 65,000+ concurrent digital campaigns.
As former SVP, head of digital strategy at AT&T & WarnerMedia, Larry led all aspects of digital for consumer products (broadband, video and wireless.) Leading a team of over 500 digital specialists he set the company’s northstar for digital transformation from brick and mortar to digital transactions as well as successfully launching DIRECTV NOW, AT&T’s first over the top platform by adding over 1MM paying subscribers in just 2 months. Plus, leading product experience & growth marketing for HBO Max.
Previous to joining AT&T, he was a managing director, managing partner at Mindshare, a WPP company, leading digital strategy for North America. His leadership experience includes InterActive Corp where he served as VP, Head of Marketing for Vimeo. During his time there, Larry took Vimeo from a niche site for independent filmmakers to a subscription-based service, doubling the company’s revenue. Larry spent six years on the brand marketing side at DIRECTV where he revamped the company’s digital strategy, created social media and mobile
marketing divisions and spearheaded the Video on Demand business unit. Larry’s agency side experience includes stints at TBWA/Chiat Day, Deutsch LA and Hal Riney & Partners where he led strategy and cross-functional efforts for clients like Visa, Mitsubishi Motors, HP, PlayStation and others. In his free time, Larry can be found visiting his favorite Impressionist galleries at the Met with his wife Nina, traveling or chasing after their dog Sawyer. A native Angeleno, Larry holds a Bachelor’s degree from UCLA.
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Larry Adams – Transcript

AMA with Larry Adams @ WalMart

November 18th, 2020

Hi! I’m Larry Adams, CEO of LVA a data first multicultural marketing firm. 
I most recently Larry served as Sr. Advisor leading content strategy, marketing automation development, data strategy and organizational design infrastructure supporting Bloomberg 2020 presidential campaign. With an unprecedented 65,000+ concurrent digital campaigns.  As former SVP, head of digital strategy at AT&T & WarnerMedia, I led all aspects of digital for consumer products (broadband, video and wireless.) I also served as Chief Design Officer for HBO Max and Executive Consultant for Walmart.

Hey Larry! How do you see the media space transforming over the next 5 years? Do you think smaller more independent creators now, like the Mr. Beast Logan Paul types will become the new Warners, and HBOs or do you see more of the conglomerates dominating the space?

Hey Zach! With the increasing number of video screens accessible to users. I think the grip of the major studios will continue to slip. It’s going to a mix of smaller producers and larger producers pumping out large volumes of content but the aggregators will be the big winners

Hey Larry, great to meet you:) I would love to hear your opinion on the importance of data analytics in marketing and what are the main pain points in this area from your experience? Thank you in advance:)

Data analytics is a major component of how I do my job and have found the most success. Data quality and governance is extremely important but the ability to synthesize data and tell stories from it is critical to success in today’s marketing environment. There are too many touch points and audience segments to not leverage scaled data analytics

Awesome, thanks Larry! Love that you mentioned data stories. I am creating a tool that can tell stories from data, and would love to hear your feedback, would that be possible to have a quick call with you next week? No more than 30 minutes, I’m very excited to hear your thoughts:)


Hello Larry, it is great to have you here! What would you recommend people who think about tracking offline and offline media intersection? How can we know that which percent of our users come from our web site via offline media?

We had the problem at AT&T because the company spent so much money in offline activities (TV, Radio, Sponsorships, etc.) We used media mix models based on regression analysis. From other advertisers it’s a little easier because spend is usually timed so one could see a pre & post view of impact of offline marketing. But making sure all digital media is tagged with UTM’s should give you clear pic of what’s coming from digital

Hi Larry, thanks for doing this Q&A – are there any emerging trends that have surprised you this year?

Honestly, everything has been a surprise but the most surprising trend for me was the almost unanimous rebuke of racial inequality. It’s made me hopeful that it  seems most people are learning and trying to make changes individually.

Do you feel like you have finally bridged the divide on people understanding the difference in the platforms of HBO/HBOMax et al or do you still have this as part of your near term roadmap?

There is still confusion from the existing subscriber base of the differences between the different products but as new never-subscribed users onboard that problem will go away

Hi, thanks so much for taking the time. Curious if you start somewhere new that has no marketing plan, what your first actions would be?

Always my starting off point for building out marketing plans is to establish some model for ROI.  From an understanding about profitability you can decide what your next best actions should be.

The Bloomberg digital program was an incredible achievement with a world-class team, major props. Hope to see the team spin out some of that tech into the private sector.What are some of the most useful and interesting innovations your team used to create digital campaigns at scale?

The must useful innovation that I’m still using is blending the organic/paid capabilities of the social platforms. Finding ways to scale up meme distribution and earning impressions was a killer innovation.

Interesting. What’s an example of that in action? Like amplifying ‘viral’ posts optimized for sharing to get more earned reach?

We connected with a ton of content creators and also leveraged a coordinated and scaled multiple account post and boost operation to outsmart the algorithms

Hey Larry, what was the strategy surrounding why HBO is so fragmented or has been seemingly fragmented. There is/has been HBO, HBO GO, HBO Max. What drove this decision?

Hi Danie; lots of legacy systems, distribution agreements and users lead to why there are so many permutations for HBO. I’m sure over time those will clean up and choices will become much cleaner for existing subscribers

HBO Max question: The app is an enormous improvement over the previous version (all titles in Go/Now in a category used to be sorted alphabetically, only  it was overwhelming). However, search and personalization is still a big sticking point for me as a user. How big of a challenge is content search and discovery with an app like Max?

Thanks we worked really hard to improve usability especially from a discovery perspective. With legacy HBO there was a limited number of titles being released and a much smaller category. With HBO Max the goal was to provide more than 10k hours of content on day one so that meant having improved sorting/filtering functionality. The problem we faced with search is that the legacy system used limited metadata and also often times the content we ingested had varying taxonomy methodologies makes search very difficult to perfect or just get right. There is a major initiative to standardize metadata across WM and that should help with functionality.

Hi Larry, thanks for your time today. Your background in digital strategy is impressive and exciting. I run a community that supports professional athletes transition into business. Digital strategy is an important topic in our conversations. Given their aggressive digital reach, what would you suggest be some of the primary focus areas for scaling the digital footprint of new projects and brands they stand up? We love connecting our guys with Experts like you if you’re interested in supporting or mentoring these athletes from various major sports leagues.

Hi Alex; sounds interesting. I’m always interested in connecting. Athletes have such a special connection with there fans and digital is a natural extension (from social to even email). I think the advice I would give anyone creating a digital strategy is consider all touch points when designing an approach. It seems that often email, sms, etc aren’t apart of the plan and sometimes personalities only rely on social .

Hi Larry! Happy to see you.
A company I work with is starting to really scale, it is a marketing automation software with everything a small to medium size business would need to run their business (ecommerce, membership site/ online course creator, CRM, multi channel data reporting, emails, landing pages, referral program, etc.)…
Last year, we launched a ‘free trial’ option, so before they just had to purchase a monthly membership to the software, but now they can get a 2 week free trial. We are finding that the sales cycle from when someone clicks on an ad to when they upgrade ranges from 4 weeks to 10 months, which is a huge time frame and we haven’t found a good average yet.
How often do the executives get together to look at the mass amounts of data from your advertising, SEO, email campaigns, etc etc.. to make holistic marketing decisions based on data? And how do you relay that information to the engineering executives to start tailoring the products to what the market is demanding?

Hi! It really varies based on the LTV subscription lengths, etc on how often we change free trials. Free trials offers are certainly linked to acquisition but based on the length of the subscription commitment there could be different behaviors based on offers taken. So I’d look a the mix of acq and churn. We’d look at those sometimes monthly, quarterly it really depends on the cohort behavior.

Larry- do u think interactive tv will be a demand in the future and if so, in what way? Things like livestream in twitch where the performers respond in real time to audiences . How are the networks looking at that?

Networks are not thinking about community or engagement in the way that digital native platforms do, they’re using ratings to measure success. At this point there isn’t an incentive to change their model as long as the ad dollars keep flowing towards them.

Hey Larry, thanks so much for your time with us today! I’m curious – what are the points at  which digital partners such as studios and agencies can make a real difference to your goals? The inhouse engineering and product teams will be pretty well equipped to build, think and develop products to better CX, so where do external partners ply a big role for you?

Hi Julia!! Thank you for your question. So many brands are insourcing so much work but the ability to scale up and down is always going to be a problem so the need to augment staffing will be a big play for brands. Also, specialization will be key contributions from outside partners.

Hi Larry, I was wondering if there are internal discussions to rebrand HBO Max to utilize some WB branding? It seems that a lot of the streaming services are branded to be connected with the film studio associated with the streaming platform – Disney+, (Paramount+), Netflix, etc.

The only real success stories of the platform tying to studio brand is Disney+ & Espn+, i think because these brands are so specific that they help the customer/prospect know what they’re getting. Others haven’t been so successful. Lots of ideas were tested at WM.

Hi Larry, thanks for your time! I’m at a smaller agency that’s just now embracing digital marketing. One road block I consistently run into is a hesitation in investing in data providers and/or custom third party data reports for crafting a digital strategy. What steps should I take to show the importance of data when creating a campaign strategy?

Hi Dillon! A way to get around that is connecting with a media platform that can use their data integrations to get you some insights. Usually in exchange for them being recommended to your clients as a part of the plan. I would suggest leveraging some partners to help get you the data required to sell through to your clients.

Hi Larry, thanks for doing this! what’s the best ad unit that you used in all your years that had the best recall (except video lol)

Hi Dillon! A way to get around that is connecting with a media platform that can use their data integrations to get you some insights. Usually in exchange for them being recommended to your clients as a part of the plan. I would suggest leveraging some partners to help get you the data required to sell through to your clients.


Thank you everyone! Appreciate all the questions.

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