Dosh CMO Amy Vale on Helping Customers, Storytelling With Data, and Being Agile During COVID-19

Editor’s note: This interview is part of Mission North’s “Marketing Risks Worth Taking” series, an ongoing forum with marketing leaders who are sharing their perspectives about adapting to a new reality. 

The consumer behaviors we took for granted just a few months ago are dramatically different today. To help everyone keep up, Dosh CMO Amy Vale and her team are offering marketers and others a real-time data hub where they can see consumers’ behaviors in designated market areas (DMAs) during COVID-19 around retail, hospitality, wellness and other categories. For instance, marketers can see how groceries, gas, general merchandise and alcohol sales are doing in New Orleans, San Francisco or Detroit, and much more. The free-to-use hub showcases how Dosh (U.K. slang for cash), a cashback mobile app, is offering value to its B2C customers and its B2B advertisers. 

Amy, who is spearheading the project, has an impressive mobile-tech resume—and her expertise is unusually valuable right now since the best apps are doing the most for consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic. For Mission North’s ongoing series about how marketers are adapting to our new reality, we chatted with the Dosh CMO about digital marketing, TV advertising and content in general. Our Q&A, below, has been edited for length.

What’s changed in your planning?

While our marketing strategy hasn’t been upended for 2020, our execution has. We approach everything we have planned with the same objectives in mind, but we are being incredibly thoughtful with how we approach the messaging and delivery of that message. And that message can change from when we begin production to when we plan to launch based on how rapidly things are evolving around us. 

Can you elaborate on what the right approach looks like?

Messaging should be anchored in creating value for the audience, even more so than normal. How we’re doing that is by showcasing how the product offering of our brands and retailers would show up in current consumer circumstances. We’re also checking in with our subscribers—we sent a survey to our base a few weeks ago, and, with 25,000 respondents, we were able to understand how they’re thinking about spending and what they need from brands and retailers right now. And then we are able to consider those sentiments in our communications to both subscribers and our partners. 

Sounds like you are talking about TV ads that tap into sentiment without being helpful.

I’m curious. TV is incredibly expensive for both production and placement, and near impossible to truly track when it comes to ROI. And right now, every marketing dollar is under intense scrutiny. When you layer on the messaging focused on communicating social impact, without any additional value being added to the consumer, I wonder if that could’ve been reinvested in other places that matter more to consumers? I understand the promotion of a brand’s social impact efforts is completely normal, but right now, as we all can attest, there’s very little that’s completely normal. And to be clear, I’m not referring to brands thanking or celebrating essential workers. There will never be enough recognition for these heroes.  

Where are you leaning in?

From a content perspective, data storytelling is taking the lead. People are hungry for information when there’s widespread uncertainty, so we’re doing our part to shed light on what we’re seeing and hearing. 

From a content perspective, data storytelling is taking the lead. People are hungry for information when there’s widespread uncertainty, so we’re doing our part to shed light on what we’re seeing and hearing. 

What does it mean to be agile enough during a time of upheaval like this?

What it doesn’t mean is trying to do too much too quickly. I think there’s an idea that being agile is being exceptionally fast to execute, but it means moving forward with the right checks and balances that are needed to do great work. It really means being willing to pivot and adapt. 

How do you think your brand is performing in the last few weeks?

Our brand message—It all adds up—has never been more relevant as it is now, really zeroing in on every dollar makes a difference. I can’t imagine anyone saying “no” to money just for shopping at the brands and retailers they love.