The State of Advertising and Marketing

08 May The State of Advertising and Marketing

Our own Elizabeth Shea participated on a panel this afternoon titled “The State of Advertising and Marketing.” The industry experts covered a wide range of topics from the evolving C-Suite to finding talent to managing expectations. The panelists included:

  • Greg Kihlström, Founder & CEO, Carousel30 and President DC AdClub
  • Eileen Bramlett, Vice President of Marketing Worldwide ERC and President of American Marketing Association DC
  • Elizabeth Shea, President & CEO SpeakerBox Communications and President of The Marketing Alliance
  • Linda Kempin, Managing Director, Art of Digital Prominence and Vice-Chair of Marketing Executive Networking Group (MENG) DC Chapter
  • Moderator: Cary Hatch, CEO & Brand Advocate, MDB Communications

After brief introductions from each panelist, our moderator, Cary Hatch, jumped right into a discussion on agency and client roles and how they have affected the industry.

Elizabeth Shea: We have a seen a lot of different trends when it comes to the agency/client relationship. At first the big thing was to have a large global agency, then splinter off into several agencies, then go back. It really depends on where you are in the corporate lifecycle and what verticals you really want to hit.

Greg Kihlstrom: I agree, it’s cyclical. Take social media for example. Not too long ago companies and organizations didn’t have an internal social media person, but now we see that you don’t do marketing without social so it often is brought in house. Agencies are now focused on strategies and tactics more than that type of commodity.

Linda Kempin: We have so many more areas of constraint, particularly in the healthcare and financial services industries. When we run into compliance issues, like what we can say and who we can talk to, we end up looking towards specialty firms that are aware of these issues that were never on our radar before.

Cary Hatch: Lets talk about the changing role of the CMO in today’s world

Eileen Bramlett: I think it depends on who you work for. I work for a CEO who is extremely dedicated, interested in, and knowledgeable about marketing. Because of that we can invest in marketing, hire a great team, and grow our efforts.

Elizabeth Shea: I’ve been surprised recently to see and hear that CMO’s are going on to be CEO’s. We have a TMA event once a year where we bring in board members and potential investors and ask what they’re looking for. Several have said that the CEO should be looking more towards the CMO than others in the C-Suite!

Linda Kempin: There is a trend right now where CMO’s really need to have more of that business acumen to better fit in the C-suite. Having that skillset and knowledge makes the transition to CEO easier.

Lets talk about your experiences with managing expectations and how people have been able to validate those contributions. 

Elizabeth Shea: People continue to talk about the need for ROI but it’s often difficult to demonstrate. Today we have a lot more tools to help show ROI, to really show analytics that track your success. We’ve heard a lot today about the importance of marketing and sales integrating, that couldn’t be more true. Returns for the sales team based on what we do are great endorsements.

Eileen Bramlett: It’s so important to track and analyze data so you can pivot when you see that something isn’t working. It allows you to be more experimental if things are successful. I have recently put this set of metrics and analytics into place and people really love having that level of accountability and ability to measure success. My advice is to make it easy and to report often.

Greg Kihlstrom: Everything we do is direct marketing. Everything can be tracked now, so everything has a direct marketing component. There is always a hashtag which is track-able in real time, in different increments.

Lets talk about the kinds of talent that it now takes and what has been changing over the past few years. You’re looking for “unicorns” that are fluent in multiple areas, who can think strategically. What has that been looking like for you? 

Linda Kempin: It’s definitely not easy to find multi-faceted team members, but they’re out there. Personally, I recognized that ability in a past intern and now she’s going to be working for us. The great thing I’m seeing about millenials is that they’re very tech savvy, they’re fluent in social media, and they’re eager to learn. Go look for them and then train them and keep them happy. They can be a gold mine!

Greg Kihlstrom: I’ve seen that a lot of students now are learning social media more than traditional media, which is really cheating our youth. It makes me a little hesitant about the future, to be successful for the long term students need to understand those tactics.

Elizabeth Shea: The biggest challenge that I’ve heard lately is product marketing and product management. I hear that there is not enough talent in general and that there’s not enough here. What I think we should be doing is bringing in the rock star product marketers and having them mentor the great new talent to help them grow. They’re still going to need the strategy, but younger people are going to be more adaptable.

People are keenly interested in making sure there’s ROI for every dollar. What are your thoughts between clients who take a 70:20:10 split between something we have always done, something a bit more innovative, and something completely new?

Eileen: Based on my own experience in speaking with members of AMA DC and in my own position, its tough to take risks but people are doing it all the time. As competitive as it is out there, people know to succeed they need to take more risks. We are not only investing heavily in marketing/communications but we’re taking risks. We want to pivot and make sure that our members, as well as the industry, knows that while our industry is over 50 years old we are willing to take a risk and stay current.

Elizabeth Shea: Because of all the tools that are out there this is an entirely different story. Our TMA speakers have to show something bad, and it gives us all the opportunity to examine what everyone else has done. We have seen that people are so much more willing to try new things because it’s become so much easier to course correct.

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Sally McHugh
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