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Sheila Marmon, Founder and CEO of Mirror Digital

Posted By Sara Smith, Wednesday, August 15, 2018

How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?

Everyone is surprised to learn that I began my career on Wall Street in finance. I was an investment banker in the media and entertainment industry where there is a very close connection to advertising because it is the primary revenue stream for the television, magazine, cable, and digital media companies who were my clients.  

After a big stock market crash, I jumped from Wall Street to Time Warner where I worked in strategic planning for the magazine publishing division. I worked on some groundbreaking projects building digital brand extensions for titles like InStyle, Real Simple, and Time. I also worked on some amazing new business launches in the multicultural space with brands like Essence, Sports Illustrated Latino, Suede Magazine that focus on African American, Hispanic, and multicultural consumers respectively.  

After a successful career in corporate America, I decided to become an entrepreneur to marry my passion for working with diverse voices in multicultural media with my love for the innovation in digital media and technology. The result is my company, Mirror Digital, that I launched six years ago. We are a multicultural ad network, and the largest digital media company focused exclusively on Multicultural America.

What keeps you motivated? Do you have a personal motto?

My personal motto is derived from a quote by Henry David Thoreau: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” Being an entrepreneur is an incredibly challenging path. Additionally, being in the “Ad Tech” sector there are very few women and even fewer women of color represented. That said, every day I remember that I am privileged to be able to run a company doing something that I love.


What excites you most about this industry?

I find it exciting that our clients and agency partners are beginning to realize the tremendous business potential of the multicultural consumer market (African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanics). Through our work at Mirror Digital, our team shares insights on how multicultural consumers contribute to our culture and economy and grow our clients’ businesses with our innovative digital campaigns. 

 




Photos: Steven F. Heuer Studios

 

Where is advertising heading? What do the next five years look like?

 The industry will have to decide the fate of publishing and whether advertising can be as effective without these partners who deliver our clients’ marketing messages.

Being a female, African-American CEO in advertising must not always be an easy journey. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned so far?

When I launched my company, there were almost no black women visible in the technology start-up world which made it impossible to secure venture funding to grow my business like my white, male counterparts do.

When things are difficult, the most important thing I do is just keep going. I stay focused on my purpose and the reason I started my firm. Experiencing success thus far with creating jobs for young people of color in our industry, helping clients achieve their goals, and building a profitable business make it all worthwhile.


What advice do you have for young, black professionals just starting in advertising?

My advice to any young professional starting his or her career is to find a firm where people will train you and invest in helping you build skills. From that point forward, don’t ever stop learning. Be a constant student who is willing to learn from everyone: read the trades, sign up for free webinars, understand the latest trends.

Everyone is extremely busy in our industry, especially in the agency world.  If you can build expertise around a topic that no one has figured out yet (whether it be a new social media platform, new advertising technology, or a new media partner) you can make yourself valuable to your team and your company beyond your specific job title.

 For young black professionals and other under-represented groups, my advice is to find allies early on in your career to help you navigate some of the political situations that you don’t learn about in a text book or in school. Also, remember: these allies do not have to necessarily look like you. Find people you get along with and who are willing to help.

What should our industry be talking about in 2018, 2019?

We should be giving some hard thought to the ongoing consolidation within the media industry and the continued growth of the dominant digital technology and advertising platforms. These changes will have a lasting impact on the economics of our industry as fewer companies amass buying and selling power.


Any closing thoughts for the ThinkLA community?

Los Angeles is one of the most diverse cities on the planet. We cheat ourselves by not fully leveraging the dynamism of this diversity in our industry. I love that ThinkLA helps us by bringing disparate groups together as a community. From this shared sense of community we can see that there is a lot to be gained by offering everyone a seat at the table.

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Sheila Marmon is Founder and CEO of Mirror Digital.


Tags:  #thinkMembers  Brand Marketer  diversity in advertising  marketing  mirror digital  thinkla  woman owned agency 

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Ben Sarmiento, VP Sales at Eyeview and ThinkLA IDEA Council Member

Posted By Sara Smith, Thursday, July 26, 2018

How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?

Fax machines and follow-through is how it all began.

Over 20 years ago, I was a recent UCLA grad with no experience and working knowledge in advertising. I stumbled upon our industry by accident, flooding the market with my résumé for entry level positions. After having been turned down by several agencies for zero experience, I had a great interview with the Sony Theatrical media planning team at McCann-Erickson. Within an hour after it ended, I went straight to Kinko’s, typed out my thank-you letters, and faxed it to every person I met. I got an offer that day and I accepted. Key life lesson learned: be hungry and never underestimate the follow-through.

Since my days at McCann, my career road map has been more like a Lego set: everything connects and builds. It’s very interesting to see over the years what’s been added and taken away, but understanding it is all part of the process.

What has been an important, perhaps the most important, lesson you’ve learned in your career thus far?

Stay even keel, because with every peak, there’s a valley.

What keeps you motivated? Do you have a personal motto?

Being a part of something bigger than me. Seeing how my contribution impacts the greater good. This is why I thrive in start-up environments and why I volunteer my time with ThinkLA.

What excites you most about this industry?

The ever-changing tech landscape. It’s fascinating to see how our industry continues to evolve as new technology gets developed.

 

 




Photos: Don Lupo

 

Where is advertising headed? What do the next five years look like?

Data-driven video creative and analytics will be the next big wave. Consumers want relevancy and brands want to tell their story in a more impactful way. In this mix will come better creative storytelling and the ability to assess its effectiveness.

What advice do you have for young ad professionals just beginning their careers?

The most important brand is you. It’s not the ones you work for or work on, because all of that is temporary. You should ask yourself: What can you do to make your brand unique? Successful? Long lasting? Then put it into action.

What’s been one of your favorite ThinkLA memories?

Winning ThinkLA Sales Person of the Year.

Any closing thoughts for the ThinkLA community?

It’s more a question: What can you do to give back to our ThinkLA community? ThinkLA has helped many of us find jobs, advance our careers, create long-lasting friendships, and even marriages. What can you do to help ThinkLA thrive well beyond our generation?

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Ben Sarmiento is Executive Director, Sales - Auto at Eyeview Digital and currently serves on the ThinkLA IDEA Council as Co-President.

Tags:  #thinkMembers #memberspotlight Advertising  Brand Marketer  Future of Advertising  LA Advertising  Members  ThinkLA  ThinkMembers 

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2018 Marketing and Advertising Predictions

Posted By Emily Hope, Wednesday, January 3, 2018

What's in store for advertising and marketing in 2018? Here's a few thoughts from the ThinkLA community.

RISE OF WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP

"I predict the continued rise of women into the C-suite, as our skills, strengths and values become increasingly critical to the business success of our agencies, our holding companies, and our clients.”
Kristi VandenBosch, Chief Digital Officer, MXM, and ThinkLA Board of Directors Co-President

FUTURE OF VIRTUAL REALITY

"2018 will see VR become more widely accepted not only as entertainment, but as a valuable consumer training tool, especially when it comes to site walk-throughs for travel and commercial applications. It will become a viable first step toward fully immersive environments for all people." 
- Don Lupo, Director of Content and Marketing, ThinkLA

IN-HOUSE PROGRAMMATIC BUYING

"I envision more small and mid-tier agencies following suit of larger agencies, by taking control of their programmatic media buying, and bringing it in-house to utilize a self-service DSP. More advertisers will be looking towards meaningful KPI's - such as offline sales measurement, while traditional KPI's - such as CTR and VCR, will continue to become less relevant."
- Sunny Behniwal, Senior Account Executive, Adelphic, a Viant Inc. Company, and ThinkLA Young Professionals Council Member

A FOCUS ON BRAND VALUES

"2017 forced both brands and agencies to think hard about their values, whether in their responses to the new political climate or to the#MeToomovement. In 2018, people won't be able to hide behind messaging. Marketers will have to decide what they believe, act upon it—and be judged accordingly.”
Jeff Sweat, Founder, Mister Sweatand ThinkLA Board of Directors Member

MICRO INFLUENCERS

"I think we'll see a rise in the "micro-influencer". Given the crowded digital arena, brands will need to have an authentic message to break through the noise, to engage and interact with their costumers. The use of influencers, partners, customers (perhaps through testimonials), and even showcasing employees, will all be relatable ways for brands to tell their stories."
Emily Hope, Communications Manager, ThinkLA

ACQUISITIONS

"Deloitte or Accenture will make a bid to acquire one of the four largest ad agency holding companies.”
Eric Johnson, President and Founder, Ignitedand ThinkLA Board of Directors Member

  SEARCH

"Search will be an x-factor for premium publishers in scaling traffic to quality (not to mention measurable, viewable, safe) content. Where social has long been the dominant source of publisher traffic, a trending uptick in search referral traffic could mean significant monetization opportunities for publishers."
- Claire Thompson, Senior Strategist, VICE Media, and ThinkLA Young Professionals Council Member

AUGMENTED REALITY

"Due to the investments companies like Google and Facebook are making, I believe augmented reality will be adopted by the masses in 2018. We’ll see brands trying to navigate their way through the immersive technology space to see which tech suits their brand/product, and I believe that AR will be that platform."
John Yi, Communications Director, Strategy, MBMGand ThinkLA Young Professionals Council Member

QUALITY CONTENT

"Everyone is on the "content" bandwagon but very few are doing it correctly and effectively. For example, a few CMOs I’ve spoken to, are taking cause marketing in-house to integrate them into their brands, to start putting emphasis on quality communications."

MODULAR MARKETING

"Traditional marketing campaigns will be replaced by Modular Marketing. We will see less identical campaigns, more modular framework for communication. This will allow marketers to be more flexible and able to replace themes, offers, messages within the framework."
Luis Camano, Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Key Activationsand ThinkLA Board of Directors Member

 

MOVEMENTS TURNING MOBILE

"2018 will be a year where all the things we have started in years past, will become more relevant and refined. Ideas, strategies, data, content is all growing to be more agile. We'll see movements be mobile. And, I don’t mean that device that is attached to us at all times, I mean movements that are going new places, transitioning, evolving. We will see adaptive strategies, policies and people, doing things in new more ‘mobile ways’.  

 

Life/work balance (vs. work/life) will be more mainstream as people take life/work on the road, and the increase in collaborate workspaces will continue to change the way the workforce operates. This attitude can be seen in how #MeToo is growing to evolve into bigger conversations, such as #TimesUp.

 

We will see immersive experiences that people will travel for; to interact with brands, art and culture in a single multifaceted event (like 29Rooms, DesertX, Museum of Ice Cream). Big data will finally be activated in a way that can be used in a meaningful way for the consumer, as we now know how to both use it for targeting and content curation."

- Brook Hauge, Strategy Supervisor, Canvas Worldwide, and ThinkLA Young Professionals Council Co-President

 

INDEPENDENT AGENCIES WILL REMAIN APPEALING TO ADVERTISERS

"I’m being a bit selfish here by focusing on a trend that will benefit independent agencies like ours. Although large holding companies will maintain a large share of the market, independent agencies will continue to position themselves as viable alternatives to larger agency networks and win accounts. The stable independent agencies will build enough scale to attract talent, take on more business and provide a high level of service to advertisers."
- Zach Rosenberg, President, MBMG, and ThinkLA Board of Directors Member 

 

 

 


Tags:  2018  acquisitions  advertising  Brand Marketer  earch  marketing  media  micro-influencers  Mobile movements  modular marketing  Quality Content  uture of  uture of Advertising 

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Make Your Voice Heard on the Future of the Industry

Posted By Emily Hope, Wednesday, July 20, 2016

We’re fielding an important piece of industry research on the digital industry and the relationships between agencies, brand marketers, and technology/media solutions providers, and we need your perspective. We’re conducting this research in partnership with more than 15 other local and regional professional marketing associations. The survey is designed to help the industry understand the strengths and opportunities in forging stronger collaborative relationships that help us grow our brands and careers. Will you please take a few moments to fill out our survey?

There are three versions – click the link that’s right for you:

 

Click here if you work for an agency or are a consultant
Click here if you are a brand marketer
Click here if you work for a technology or media solutions provider

 

This survey is an important initiative for the industry and our group. Please take a few minutes now to make your voice heard!

Our region has important perspective on these questions. Let’s make sure we are heard!

Tags:  Advertising  Brand Marketer  Digital industry  IMMA  Industry News  Survey 

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