February 3, 2014

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Industry Professionals Discuss Changing Trends in Advertising, Marketing World

By Rachel Madison

February 3, 2014

Many industry leaders agree that while technology has forever changed the marketing and advertising industries, the fundamentals behind marketing and ad campaigns remain basically the same. This was a major topic of discussion during Utah Business’ annual advertising and marketing roundtable Friday.

Many of the professionals in attendance believe that navigating this major change hasn’t always been easy, but adapting is critical to remain relevant.

 “It’s [all about] strategy and the way we’re reaching our audience,” said Chris Thomas, owner of Intrepid. “While we have to adapt to those different delivery mechanisms, the fundamentals of communication remain unchanged.”

Lance Black, partner and CEO at Eli Kirk, agreed and said the “how” is always changing.

“The how [it’s delivered] always changes, but the reality is we have to embrace the customer, their voice, and give them an emotional message,” he said. “Marketing at a low level hasn’t changed.”

Dave Thomas, CEO of ThomasArts, said the lines between traditional, mobile and digital marketing have become blurred.

“Clients are trying to reach their audiences and they try to reach them in any way they can,” he said. “If you don’t have a good idea and the ability to execute that across literally every platform, then you’re going to be left behind. Companies are looking for un-siloed speed.”

Pauline Ploquin, COO of Struck, said the change, although exciting, has also been a “pain in the butt,” because advertising and marketing firms have had to shift their creativity and strategy to match new technology.

“We really have to focus on the user experience,” she said. “It’s difficult to stretch ourselves from traditional advertising all the way to a user experience for consumers who are on the go. It’s been a challenge.”

Scott Rockwood, CEO at Richter7, said ultimately, social media is the real driver behind the industry’s changes.

“It’s the idea of socialization that’s turning the smart phone into the hub device,” he said. “The ramification of that is if some other device starts to do a better job, then it’ll become the hub. I have no idea what the future will bring, but based on the past, it’s likely to change.”

Because the industry has become so saturated with marketing and advertising campaigns, specifically through social media, clutter has become a common issue. Reaching clients can be more difficult because of the information available to them, and the ability they have to ignore it. Many participants feel like remaining organic and fluid while also creating brand loyalty helps consumers wade through the clutter.

Erik Sorenson, CEO of Sorenson Advertising, said clutter has always been there, but adding social channels and other digital platforms to the mix presents a greater challenge. “It’s a challenge we face every day,” he said. “It’s about choosing the platforms and media that reach the [target] audience in terms of relevancy and provides the best experience and allows [the consumer] high levels of engagement.”

Most participants also felt that Facebook is beginning to phase out when it comes to advertising and marketing, but they aren’t sure what the next big platform will be. While this is a concern for some, John Youngren, vice president at Love Communications, said the real challenge is keeping up. He said some companies are just now learning how to use Facebook to their advantage.

“We still educate clients on what social media even is,” he said. “But every client is different and has their own story line and capabilities.”

Thomas said trying to guess what the next big platform will be is like betting on a horse. “You never know which one is going to win,” he said. “But you can make a mistake by thinking too narrowly.”

The discussion was moderated by Dr. Paul Dishman, marketing department chair at Utah Valley University. The advertising and marketing roundtable will appear in the April issue of Utah Business magazine.

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