With new media on the rise around the globe, even local advertisers are having to find ways to reach the target market. Mobile media, interactive online environments, blogs, podcasts and a number of other avenues are inching their way into the marketing mix. That isn’t to say traditional media doesn’t have its place, but our experts agree that a successful marketing campaign will use the appropriate tools in an integrated approach.
A special thank you to Holland & Hart for hosting the event.
Back Row: Martin Lewis, Utah Business; Tracy Crowell, Crowell Advertising; Kim Jones, Verité; Cameron Jefferies, Siege Design; Brian Rasmussen, R & R Partners; Andrew Howlett, MediaRAIN; Doug Colby, da Vinci Advertising; Preston Wood, Love Communications; Scott Rockwood, Richter7; Mark Dayton, Next Phase Communications
Front Row: John Digles, XanGo; Christy Whitehouse, The Summit Group; Judy Copier, Kim Brown & Associates; Twinkle Chisholm, Lucky Dog Communications; Scott Kempema, McCann World Group; Shelly Storey, The Storey Agency; Cheryl Snapp Conner, Snapp Conner PR; Chuck Penna, Penna Powers Brian Haynes
Tell us about the marketing industry here in Utah. Have you reached a peak or is the industry still on the way up as it was when we met two years ago?
CROWELL: I still think it’s growing like crazy. I don’t know that we are at our peak yet, but this past year I think everybody probably made a lot of money. It’s changing dramatically, but the growth is still there.
WOOD: I think the growth is there, but with the subprime market and other changes, it is going to be a tougher market in 2008. I don’t see how it cannot be that way. We’ll have growth through interactive and other programs, but I think spending will not be the glory days for 2008.
RASMUSSEN: The industry is not just advertising anymore. If you are in our industry it’s new media, it’s public relations, it’s government and public affairs. It’s not just punching out ads anymore.
COPIER: I agree that the outside influence on the media affects the opinions here locally, even though our economy is healthy and strong. But I see growth going into the new media. That’s where new revenue dollars are coming about. The traditional mediums are solid, but flat. It’s diverging into these new other arenas. It’s kind of funny because the trend has gone from broadcast back to grassroots and local ways to break out.
CHISHOLM: It has come full circle, hasn’t it? It is interesting. It used to be everybody trying to do everything for not a lot of money and grassroots kind of ways. Then they branched out and said, “We have to be on TV or we don’t count.” Now it has gone full circle to try to work at it in other ways.
Is there any specific industry that you see leading to the growth?
PENNA: I’ve noticed a change with the Governor’s economic team at GOED and EDCUtah. Years ago there were a lot of warehouses and call centers that moved here, but I have seen a change in corporate headquarters moving here. That’s what communications firms need. It doesn’t help us if someone moves a warehouse to Utah. We need marketing V.P.s here, and they seem to be coming.
KEMPEMA: There’s resurgence in technology marketing for technology companies, not because they are ready to do the old Super Bowl spots and try to make it big on a one-hit wonder, but it’s the consolidations that are occurring and trying to establish brand recognition for these brands that have now become one brand. You see the super brands that are coming to life. For us, that has been probably our single source of strength over the last year.
HOWLETT: We have also focused more on technology, so the last year or two have been real strong for us, and we see the interactive side is growing dramatically. We see that side being a great year for us. I think that the interactive piece is going to continue to grab hold and people are going to spend more dollars on the Web as opposed to traditional marketing.
DAYTON: With Utah’s strength in the entrepreneurial area, especially, there’s always been a lot of opportunity to work with early stage companies who have great hopes but not a lot of budget. Lately, I think we have seen that as they grow and are acquired, they are staying here more than moving somewhere else, and that makes for bigger opportunities for this industry.
Are there any other industries you see doing particularly well because they want more business from you or they are bringing more business to you?
WOOD: I think public relations and government relations are important components of growth. People are relying on those a lot more, too, than traditional advertising. It is really about focusing on channel marketing and really defining your market category.
How do you help the client understand the difference between public relations and advertising and how to balance their marketing dollars?
WHITEHOUSE: In the traditional days you were an account manager. I tell my team we are not account managers anymore. We are marketing consultants. The lines are blurred. The traditional stereotype that you have for public relations has changed because consumers are consuming information in a different way. Word of mouth has now become social media, and it’s a new way to get the message out there.
We have a P.R. component in almost all of our traditional as well as interactive marketing. I think public information practitioners are really stretching in what we do.
We are trying to figure out how to impact the blogosphere. We are doing podcasts. Instead of putting a press release on a P.R. wire, we are trying to figure out how to get it into communities. I think they are really expanding as far as what their role is, which is why we are seeing the growth.
COLBY: Where you used to be able to put a strategy together with or without public relations, now, it almost always includes public relations. It’s not enough to just put a good media or ad spin together. If you can’t get a P.R. element with it, it really doesn’t resonate with the public the way it should.
Is that happening because the clients are coming to you and recognizing that that’s what they want, or are you explaining that to the client?
COLBY: A lot of times you are educating the client to the relevant value of a good P.R. strategy and integrated campaign. I don’t think they get it all the time.
CROWELL: It’s an easier sell than it used to be. Clients are more aware of the value of P.R. so when you go in there with a good P.R. campaign, it makes sense because they have had their friends say, “Boy this is good.”
WHITEHOUSE: We have to educate. There’s a stereotype that P.R. is a press release. We have a lot of clients that say, “I don’t need a write-up in the newspaper. We have folks that do that.” So we are trying to figure out P.R. It fits the mix, it is an old term but it’s a new approach.
COPIER: Because we live in a world where we are so oversaturated with advertising messages, P.R. becomes one more form to try and break out of the clutter and differentiate yourself. That’s why all these other mediums are emerging with Internet strategies and podcasting and all the other things; it’s a way to find one new stream – something that you can really differentiate. It goes away from the big broadcast down to finding your specific consumer and building a plan just for that vein.
DAYTON: I think consumers are savvier. The options for getting information have expanded so dramatically that consumers don’t feel they have to go to the big media anymore. They have a lot of other options, blogs and communities.
WHITEHOUSE: It’s harder as marketers to find the right channels. For Salt Lake businesses we have four major networks, so when doing a media buy, it’s easy to figure your demographic against that. When you are trying to do a new medium, how do you reach it? I think as marketers, our job has gotten harder in this new space to just find the consumers and figure out how to be relevant to them.
WOOD: We were talking earlier, too, about how people are opting in. It seems like people are often receiving messages about whether they want to opt in to something and we look at it and say, “Geez, do I need another e-mail?” I think we are being selective of our media and where we are getting our content, because we come back from vacation and have 350 e-mails in our inbox. After a while you start considering whether you should check that box when you sign up for something. You better watch it, because they are going to talk to you whether or not you want to be talked to.
Let’s look again at the economy in Utah. Obviously things are up. Are you scared? What are you doing to kind of maintain what you’ve got?
CHISHOLM: Customer service. It is about just taking care of the clients and helping them manage fear, because there is a level of fear out there. The mortgage thing has hit here. It is not a small, insignificant thing.
PENNA: I think that the sectors that the Governor’s economic team has been going after in Ogden and Park City would have been unheard of a few years ago, especially for companies of those sizes to move corporate headquarters here.
I remember the story when AlphaGraphics decided to move here. It was difficult for them in the transition because a lot of executives didn’t want to come. I think a lot of the success now is due to the success of the Winter Olympics. People now realize they can have employees that work hard and play hard, and it’s a great environment.
WOOD: You can count on your fingers the big accounts in town. I think people are working hard for the growth, but you can still name the accounts that are big in town and there’s literally only about 10 that spend over a couple million a year. That’s part of public relations, because it’s a time-based interactive. So the income is still there, but it’s not this big growth.
CROWELL: I think that’s looking at traditional media. If you are looking at TV, radio, and newspaper, there are only eight or 10 good-sized clients. But if you are looking at your nontraditional client and marketing, there are a lot of opportunities here and it allows you to deal with clients that are marketing outside of Utah or outside of the U.S., which means you can typically get more money.
Can you offer an example or two?
CROWELL: We are dealing with Blue Cross Blue Shield, which just started Blue Health Care Bank. That is going to use mostly online marketing outside of Utah to the 23 plan holders that they have. They are located here in Utah but all their marketing is outside and connected with Chicago. It gives us an opportunity to get away from TV and radio here in Utah and quit fighting for the same penny, and we are going to be marketing to people in a different way.
If you are just now getting into interactive and online marketing or the new media, if it’s still new to you, your barriers to entry are larger. If you haven’t been doing it for two or three years, you are going to find it’s not that easy, and to pick up nontraditional clients is going to be a tougher sell.
WHITEHOUSE: We are finding that we are getting a lot of organic growth in this new space, too. We are able to offer our clients the interactive space with the public relations. I agree that acquiring a pure play in an interactive space with a client is going to be a lot harder, but we feel like our clients need that service. Utah Business is a perfect example. You are launching the new Website. It’s impacting your business. Our clients are the same way. They all need to participate in that space.
We had a choice as a firm: We could either partner with somebody and let that revenue go externally, or we could make sure that we had strong capabilities so we truly could be full service. Now I think we have to be full service in order to compete, so it’s more legitimate today than when the buzzword came out a few years ago.
CROWELL: If you don’t have in-house online Web marketing and development, you are not full service.
JONES: Not an easy thing to do. I’ve been in interactive for 15 years, and I think it’s a different mind-set than traditional advertising, P.R. and things of that nature. But they are definitely coming closer together.
COLBY: I agree with the conversation but clients weren’t receptive to interactive media five years ago. They just wouldn’t spend for it. Now they are coming to the agency saying, “I think it’s time to rework the Website. I think it’s time to add some elements like a classified section or a community calendar. Let’s put a place for people to blog.”
In the past, they saw the site as a liability because it didn’t make any money. Now it’s just the opposite. They are saying, “We are getting a lot of hits. What else can we do?” I think the clients are helping us drive that right now.
CROWELL: There was a time a Website was hopefully a pretty brochure online. Usually they were ugly. Now people are realizing they are a marketing tool. The last two or three years there has been a lot of opportunity if you’ve looked at it and said, “Let’s make this a tool. Let’s not just make it something people have to find.”
DIGLES: I would certainly define our business at XanGo as nontraditional. But I have to say it scares me when a firm comes in and says, “I’m going to pitch you a nontraditional campaign.” The fact that direct sales is such a big industry here, anyone that comes in and pitches me on newspaper advertising and the combination of factors that we put in the traditional vein is a turnoff. I want to see real innovation when it comes to Websites and banner ads, when it comes to hitting specific constituencies, and then have a true education component to them.
So when I hear that sense of “nontraditional,” it starts to spook me out a little bit in the sense that that’s where I’m going to spend most of our money. I have to know that somebody has a sense of courage to get in that space and be bold with it.
Let’s switch gears a little to talk about the employment situation here in the state. Obviously when the economy is good, it’s hard to find the right people. Tell us about what you are seeing.
WOOD: In that space, it’s almost impossible to hire people. You have to steal people away. When America First has billboards up advertising for a job for a programmer, and Overstock runs an ad that has a long list of people in positions they need to fill, and kids are making six figures, you know it’s going to be tough
COLBY: What about account managers that are willing to retrain and regroup? It’s not just the creative department. It’s account strategies, as well.
COPIER: It’s every department.
WHITEHOUSE: I’m having a challenge with the middle ground, the account manager. I think the entry level, the junior account execs are easy to get, and our goal is to grow those people because it’s the most cost-effective thing to do. Senior people in this market are pretty easy to track. We have good folks there. But that middle ground is the hardest thing to hire for because they are being asked to wear more hats. In those positions you are kind of a master of all trades.
We have had success in people that want to come home. Ironically, even though it is hard to maintain V.P.s when we move companies here, a lot of our folks we have hired back from Seattle or California. They have gone away for a period of time and now they want to come back for family or lifestyle.
But there are talented people here. Salt Lake is not generally on the radar for advertising people, but when people get here for lifestyle, there’s a really talented pool of people here.
COLBY: We have hired the last three from out of state.
HOWLETT: Our company is different in that 75 percent of my employees are programmers, so needless to say, it’s a difficult market for us. We have had to rely on really two things. One is our culture. We have had several people leave and come back because they enjoy our culture.
Number two is programmers love to do cool stuff. They love to be doing cutting edge with the new technologies. So we have had to actually spend to send them to different conferences on the latest, greatest technologies. There are a lot of companies around that say they want us to use the latest technology, even just for the buzz, even if it doesn’t translate into dollars. Whether it’s direct sales or scrapbooking or whatever, if they can say they are on the cutting edge, that earns them points.
We bring the programming guys into the conference room on a regular basis and say, “Brainstorm with us. What are we going to do?” They love that. As a programmer, they want to do something cool with a great environment. That’s what has helped us to retain our employees and attract others.
Tell us more about the account manager positions. What do you mean when you call them a jack of all trades?
WHITEHOUSE: It used to be that firms specialized more. Now as the account person, you are the face to the client so you have to know a little about P.R. You may not execute it, but since you are trying to provide the solution, I think you have to know a little about new mediums.
Where you may have a programmer that programs, and a designer that designs, they have a specialty. But I think the account person honestly has to have knowledge in all areas, even though they may pull in expertise to execute a strategy. You’re the face of the agency, our clients don’t want to talk to 10 different people in the agency. The account team has to be able to recognize when there’s a need or a different tool in the toolbox that can help solve that problem so they know who to pull in. Otherwise, it’s a missed opportunity.
WOOD: It’s interesting, because now radio stations aren’t just radio stations. Their listener base may also opt in with text messaging and stuff like that. We are using tools in the retail environment all the time to look at this new mobile media.
The younger generation will have the phone in one hand, the laptop next to them and the TV on. It’s amazing to watch them in this new space. I pull out the newspaper in the morning and they’re practically saying, “What is that thing?”
They are getting information and they really rely on their communities. It’s not all in MySpace or FaceBook. They may have different communities that they decide where they want to be and where they belong. That’s where it really narrows down the scope of messaging.
STOREY: To that point, I think that makes it challenging to find out that ROI for that client, because there are so many new mediums and so many new ways that people are getting their media and advertising messages. It makes it a challenge for us to be able to say, “What part of this campaign really delivered for you? Was it the e-mail that came in on your phone? The little ad? Or was it the text message?” That’s the challenge for all of us – trying to figure out what it is that is giving our clients results with the new advertising.
PENNA: One thing we haven’t discussed yet, which is becoming so important with all these channels, is the power of research. Clients used to come in and say, “I need a direct mail campaign,” or, “I want some P.R.” Now they come in and they have all the tools swirling around. They have been reading all the marketing articles and they are asking, “What do I do?”
We have seen a real surge in research because clients want to set that benchmark. There’s 40,000 communication channels. Here is my target. What do I do? I think the power of research is critical.
KEMPEMA: To your point about research, the most successful campaigns are the most authentic and truthful campaigns. If you are able to get that message out there and convey the research that validates the points that you are talking about, that’s the most critical piece to your campaign. Because it is one thing to shoot out a message, and it’s another one to land a message.
RASMUSSEN: Gone are the days of demographics. We have five generations in society right now. Especially, you see Generation X and the Millenials, the youngest generation. They are going to have an incredible impact, especially in the elections. How do you communicate with them? Each of those generations has subgroups. Like Preston said, our kids are communicating in a much different way than we ever did. In fact, I read something last week that said the Millenials consumed 37 hours of media in a 24-hour period. They are watching TV, texting and listening to iPods all at the same time.
WOOD: That’s also about the trackability. The days of Nielson Ratings are on their way out. Yet there are five TVs in your household, there are DVRs – it’s such a fragmented market. The media is not dead. It’s just that we use it in a different way.
That leads to the next related question: Can you plan viral marketing? Is that part of the social networking? How do you plan it?
DIGLES: I actually think that there has to be a savviness to where you take a campaign and you make it look a little bit raw sometimes. A couple months ago we launched a Website called XanGoTV. It takes the YouTube model and makes it specific to a brand. It’s the first brand-centric video sharing site. We have distributors from all around the world essentially sending in their videos.
One of the videos that came in was a guy who is one of our distributors who was recruited from Cirque du Soleil. He’s a great acrobat on a bike. He’s got the XanGo brand built into this video. He puts it on our site, and it looks like a raw video. For three weeks, it was one of the most popular videos on YouTube. It’s free. You can take it off the site, put it on My Space, put it on YouTube and spread it around.
But because of that, I’m seeing all of these people that watch it on YouTube are coming back to XanGoTV and clicking into XanGo.com. We have had a pretty nice increase in signups because of that video.
It’s part of a brand message. It’s done by somebody who is passionate about the brand, and we’ve got a tremendous buy-in to it. It is incredibly viral.
WHITEHOUSE: Viral marketing has changed the political arena. With the Mitt Romney campaign, they are now soliciting contributions. It’s shared, so you have to be passionate enough that you will tell that story. It’s the new word of mouth. It has to be edgy or entertaining to make it work, or it has to be the right community that shares a common passion that will pass it around for you.
KEMPEMA: We take a different app-roach. We disassociate our viral activities from the brand. For instance, we have a client by the name of Plantronics. They are known as the headset guys. You can imagine office parodies of being strapped to your phone. So we seeded videos with that idea. We established a site called The Cube Farm, and basically solicited videos to depict different satires in the office or whatever you wanted to talk about.
It was not necessarily an overt marketing approach, but a data capture approach. In other words, we were trying to identify who these people were.
I think that helps us in our attempts to identify who they are, what type of segment they live in, why they would actually want to associate themselves with our brand. It allows for smarter communications. Viral is not just a trick; it’s a marketing connection vehicle that allows you for further extension of that brand to the audience.
WHITEHOUSE: In B2B we have had lots of success with the Podcasting environment. Again, a different slant there. You can’t sell to people, but if you interview industry experts, your brand can be positioned with leadership. Now they are doing virtual events. You can literally go to a trade show from your computer, which I think is exciting. If I can go to a trade show for an hour from my computer and get the same experience as walking the show floor, I would do that. I don’t have four days to go to the convention.
JONES: I think the medium has got a lot of potential with existing customers, too. We are talking about attracting new business, getting the general public and consumers out to certain site properties. One case in point is Uinta Golf. We are doing their Web store, but we decided that the best way to get more people to the store was to build an online virtual club fitting application. That takes them to all the elements of the store; to any kind of product association you want to do, with elements that are in the store.
I think that there’s a whole world of possibilities; not only for consumers you haven’t yet captured, but for your existing marketplace as well.
DIGLES: I think that’s really key. I think that’s a really important way of upbuilding loyalty. I hear a lot of talk about the constant pursuit of new markets, but we all know that it costs a lot more to get somebody new than it does to retain that person. Those are valuable commodities. You are building loyalty because the podcast gives you a sense of intimacy that you couldn’t get with the personalities that run a company before.
We have mentioned that new channels have made marketing more complicated, but it sounds like the different channels have also made some things easier. Can you explain that a little more?
CROWELL: I think it’s a lot easier if you know what you are doing, because there are no limits. There’s nothing you can’t try. What’s cool is so many of the things are measurable. You know if it has succeeded or failed. If it was an idea that was out there and it worked, you are going to be able to sell that client or other clients on doing something that they would consider risky. Most marketing directors are going to opt usually for a low-risk option. If you are studying advertising or marketing and you know all the options that are available, it’s much more fun now than it was 10 years ago.
Being able to track the response to new media is making it easier to say, “Let’s do it again. It wasn’t a waste of money.” We don’t have to do a coupon or put an asterisk with a discount on a print ad to know if it worked.
We just did a campaign for the U of U Counseling Center on suicide. We dropped suicide or depression notes from a journal all over campus. A small budget. Very small audience. We knew who our audience was. We didn’t seed it at all. We just let the first few days work with word of mouth, people finding these. Each note had a Website at the bottom.
The hits to the Website were huge. The word of mouth was big. People were coming in to the counseling center. Then we seeded that viral a few days later with some traditional P.R., magnets and banners on site. It was huge. The awareness was huge. The hits to the site were very measurable. The success on a $20,000 budget was beyond what they could have expected.
ROCKWOOD: It’s always been human nature to want to take control of the situation. Technology has allowed individuals to take control of what they consume, what they see, what they hear. That has made our lives a little more difficult because it has required us to hire a variety of different skill sets within the agency. But it has opened up a lot of new opportunity. As people choose, they say who they are and what they are interested in and what they care about. The most fundamental marketing principal is to know your audience. If you know that, you can market effectively to them.
KEMPEMA: Last week I was able to participate in probably one of the more compelling programs I have ever worked on in my career. The client was General Motors. They are a company in trouble from a branding perspective, so you can imagine the hurdles. They are celebrating their hundred year anniversary, so why are they relevant for moving forward into the next hundred years? That was the communications challenge.
We introduced a challenge called GM Next. It goes back to the point about the big idea. It included user-generated content. It was what the GM brand and associated brands mean to them that allowed us to get the message of validation out to the marketplace. It turned out to be a huge success. There were wikis that allowed communications to occur among other audiences to validate the points of view. There were blogs that allowed it to convey unfettered dialogue.
The message was perishable. It wasn’t this message that we establish that stands the test of time. It was the one that the customer or the audience was actually wanting to convey.
The success on this thing was huge within just a single week, and it goes back to how we can measure success. All the data integration that is occurring makes our job harder. One of the things we have to do as marketers to the next generation is to accommodate these audiences who want to sub-select the content they want, based on their terms.
This was a huge program for us and probably a career maker for me, because it took full circle; public relations, interactive media, Web 2.0, bringing it all together all from a brand proposition that was user-generated as opposed to the one I want to hear in my creative brief.
As you look at the complete marketing mix, do you have control over all of those aspects? What can you do?
WOOD: The problem is it still comes back that you have to fulfill the promise. If the product, whether it’s a hamburger joint, a car dealer, or a multi-level nutritional drink, if it doesn’t fulfill the promise for the value that you pay, you are never coming back. It’s so simple.
A lot of times we build all these integrated programs and you do a site visit and you realize they are not fulfilling the promise. Think of McDonald’s. They spend $150 million on marketing, and yet at store level you can have a 16-year-old cashier ruin the brand experience. I don’t care if you did a blog. I don’t care if you did the coolest ad. The brand experience at the store level is suddenly ruined. If we are selling a hamburger, it better be hot, it better be fresh and it better be good.
KEMPEMA: I think Preston hit it. The one thing that has been overlooked to the highest degree is the channel of distribution of the product. I think that the brands go out there and say, “This is what we represent.” But it’s the guy who was working at McDonald’s last week who is now working at Best Buy today trying to sell a HP printer or an HP computer and doesn’t know what the heck a gigahertz is.
For myself, I’m naive when it comes to what I want. And not only that, you want me to buy more than what I want. It goes exactly to what Preston was saying, which is how to optimize your mix within the channeling.
WOOD: We know of this guy that owns a car lot, and he told us he shut off the wireless Internet in his office because now consumers are in the showroom saying, “I just went on eBay and I found this one right here for this amount with this many miles.” It was driving him crazy. He’s sitting this far from inking a deal and somebody is saying they just found a better deal online.
WHITEHOUSE: Consumers are doing their homework before they step in your store. They are more educated.
WOOD: Your Web page now becomes your store. Before, you’d walk in a Target and have this fun shopping experience and the graphics are great and everything else. Now, during Christmas, I shopped online. I didn’t go into a Target the whole time. But I bought products from there.
As far as traditional advertising goes, what is available locally? Are there any voids? Are there strategies that you are using within traditional advertising that are more successful than they were 10 years ago?
ROCKWOOD: Traditional media is still the backbone of the industry. All the talk about new media is great. There are things that you have to be doing and it is very important to be in it, but having said that, the world is not quite ready for a hundred percent of the marketing to move online or to other forms.
COLBY: I agree. Without the big idea or the traditional media that really gets your branded message out better than anything else, the viral markets just don’t have as much permanence as you would have otherwise.
A good mix includes integrated marketing and strategies, but you still have to have that strong brand building right up front.
WHITEHOUSE: One thing we are doing that’s a little bit different is using traditional media for product placement. But even that gets back to PR. We had a pretty small product called Hydrocoach, that got on Ellen’s 12 Days of Christmas items. That was huge. It took a lot of pitching. It was still broadcast TV, but it wasn’t a spot buy.
Look at American Idol. Text messaging was huge, but people had to see it to vote. So people are still watching, but they are integrating it into that text component. If they don’t watch the spot, they weren’t voting.
KEMPEMA: It goes back to what Scott was saying about knowing the audience. It takes partnerships, affinities, relationships that consumers have with other products, and associating the two to make your product stand up higher in their elevated perception.
RASMUSSEN: How are we going to get around people skipping commercials with their DVR? We have to find ways to get our message so it still breaks that clutter, breaks that opportunity for them to skip through our message. How are we going to deliver that? We have to be creative and come up with new strategies.
WOOD: I still see, when it’s a great spot, people stopping it and reversing back and saying, “Have you seen this spot?” It happens in my household, even though I would say that’s only 10 percent of the time.
HOWLETT: We can build the greatest Website and tool in the world, but if nobody shows up, it is not going to do any good. One of the things that we promote quite heavily is giving users something in a traditional media, an actionable item, something to go and do.
We use this with UCCU – www.uccu.com/autoloan
– those little microsites that get them right to what they want to do. You have caught their attention, so get them there. Now get them doing what you want them to do right away. No clicks to go anywhere. I can build a great microsite but there has to be something that gets them there. Whether that’s a direct mail piece, a TV commercial, or a radio commercial, it’s still got to get them there.
STOREY: If you have a smaller local client, they may not be ready for the World Wide Web or a viral campaign. They may just need people to come into their gift store and buy some gifts. So using those traditional mediums here locally is what they need. It helps companies like me out because the smaller clients need local radio and the local traditional television buy, and they need the magazines and the local newspapers. Eventually, as they grow and expand, sure, they can start looking at some of the new media that come along.
WOOD: Like Colosimo’s Sausage. The launch was all outdoor. They built the brand based solely on outdoor advertising. That’s all the money they had. Altoids was a perfect example when they launched. You can take these mediums that have been around for hundreds of years and use them very effectively and have an ROI. Push people to the product, educate them, put a smile on their face, make them kind of like the brand.
PENNA: I think more than ever, the creative director’s role in an agency is big. Because now when you are doing creative for a campaign, you are not thinking, “That’s a great print ad.” But it has to go across all the different channels and still communicate. It still comes back to the fact that the brand is just that emotional tie to a consumer. It is making the creators’ jobs interesting because they are working in the P.R. world and the interactive world.
KEMPEMA: I was thinking about traditional media being the backbone of everything that we should be doing for the clients. Nine times out of 10, I think you are absolutely right, but I was thinking about brand experiences that don’t necessarily use that. Volcom is a brand that knows the audience, understands the compromise. They basically associate themselves with that particular audience. They use very, very nontraditional approaches to create loyalties that we couldn’t create through a TV spot. But I would agree nine times out of 10 traditional is the necessary evil for every brand.
ROCKWOOD: Any time you make a statement like “backbone” there is always going to be an exception. But there are far more success stories in using traditional media than there are in those who avoided the medium.
As far as outside talent in the area, do you outsource a lot out of the state or are you finding what you need here?
KEMPEMA: We have enormously talented people here. They are also very busy. It is tough to get all the help you need. But it goes in waves; a few years back it wasn’t tough at all. You had quality people beating down your door. That’s not the case today.
COLBY: Outsourcing for us has more to do with workload. If we have time lines and no time to do it, we may outsource more than not.
WOOD: I think our industry is such a roller coaster industry. I’m knocking on wood as I say we have had growth for eight and a half, nine years straight. We have grown from three to 32 people. But you have to be on your toes because it’s a tough industry.
I think you are right on when you talk about work environment. Give people a fun work environment so when somebody else offers them $8,000, $5,000 more a year, you can say, “If you stay here, you are going to make that money. Just don’t leave for that temporary fix.”
We all know about health care costs here. It’s our second largest cost besides salaries. It’s a huge burden to us, but we know it is an important element. Our employees all have families and they are all having kids. I’m not going to be successful if my employee is unhappy and isn’t creating wonderful things. We are all in it together and that’s how we work with our clients.
KEMPEMA: We have a tremendous talent pool here in Salt Lake City but we are resource constricted. We are reaching capacity for the great minds and executioners. In terms of the ideas of breaking through the next level of marketing, you have to go outside of this market perhaps to identify the people who can bring the new ideas to your agency and add competency to your group.
WHITEHOUSE: Demand is high. If I could tell anything to outsiders it would be that you can do marketing and advertising in the state, and the demand is high for that talent. We need programmers desperately. We need account people. It ebbs and flows, but good people have always been in demand since I have been in the business. I just don’t think it’s top-of-mind. People don’t think of Salt Lake City or Utah as being a headquarters for great agency talent, but it is.
JONES: It’s nice that remote working is well received and more popular. We use people both in and out of state. The fact of the matter is face-to-face is very important at a core team level, but you don’t need to have a lot of your team members in front of the client at all times. So you can find pockets of talent in various skill sets both out of state and in state.
I think it is also really important to not only just look for key talent, but maintain long-term relationships with that key talent. Instead of having 40 contractors that supplement your organization that are like a revolving door of people, hold on to 10 or 15 that are really, really good at what they do and know how to be reliable.
RASMUSSEN: We found the entry level employee is much improved. The programs are great at BYU, Westminster, the University of Utah, Utah State. We really value internships. In fact, we have hired the last three interns that we have had, and I think that’s a reflection on the programs.