How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?
I studied PR but I kind of fell into advertising. When I graduated, I was working weddings on the side, and a contact through there also worked in the ad world managing events and facilities. While working a month-long agency project under her, I ended up falling in love with the work and culture.
I stayed on in this hybrid role they created including facilities, reception, and barista. I ended up meeting a ton of people in the agency, (learned how to make bomb lattes) and within a few months, I easily transferred into their PR department. Ever since, I’ve always been involved in events in some capacity, but my main focus has been agency communications and marketing.
What excites you most about this industry?
The fact it’s always evolving. The ways brands are reaching consumers and joining conversations are never the same. When you see someone do it in a clever way and actually add value, it’s gold.
Why are you involved with ThinkLA?
It’s the perfect opportunity to not only meet and network with others throughout LA, but also to make a difference and impact the events in our industry. Even early in your career, you have a voice and opinions, ThinkLA lets you explore both.
What’s the best advice you’d give to someone interested in a career in advertising? Are there any written materials you suggest to read?
Find someone already doing what you want to do and ask for coffee or 10 minutes of their time. See what you can learn from them and how they got to where they are.
For reading materials: Read the trades! Know what’s going on in the industry, the trends, the changes. It’s all valuable.
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 Sweat, and ThinkLA Board of Directors Member
"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
"Deloitte or Accenture will make a bid to acquire one of the four largest ad agency holding companies.”
- Eric Johnson, President and Founder, Ignited, and ThinkLA Board of Directors Member
"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
"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, MBMG, and ThinkLA Young Professionals Council Member
"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."
"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 Activations, and 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
In partnership with Jun Group, we set out to find out what top marketers are doing to attract talent and stay ahead of the curve, win new business, and set Los Angeles apart.
Adam Tabachnikoff, Senior Vice President, Global Marketing, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
“The easy part and the fun part about being a CMO is doing videos, its going on photoshoots—but when I walk into my board meetings, what really becomes sexy is the analytics and the numbers. The prettiest POP (point of purchase display), the best social media, —whether its a JPEG or a short video—are fun to present, but what really goes well, is when we have the analytics and data to show what the ROI was...that we actually drove incremental traffic and profitable sales."
Chris Athens: Associate Media Director, Maxus
“People are not necessarily only converting digitally; in fact, the majority of conversions happen on-air. Breaking down that conversion silo is something that we’ve been trying to tackle with certain partners. Understanding where people are watching, how they’re consuming [video content], and then trying that back to the ad exposure."
Lisa Nichols, Chief Data Officer, Partner, Bloom Ads Global Media Group
"Finding the right people is very challenging. Today, we look to people who have a coding background, people who have mathematical brain, people that understand statistical relevance. But on the other side, talent still must be creative.”
Claire Thompson: Senior Strategist, Vice Media
“We take a very hard line on what we feel is ‘crossing a line’ and making it unclear that something is an advertisement. If we weren’t being so protective of our brand and ensuring that we are not tricking our readers, then we lose integrity with our audience… which is precisely why we are successful and is why we are attractive to advertisers in the first place.”
Don Lupo: Director of Content and Marketing, ThinkLA
“What’s concerning is something that we call agency 3.0. Agencies have to be far more nimble than they were, they have to offer a full set of services and experiences, that maybe you [the agency] did not provide directly in the past. Digital strategists, social media strategists, information architecture and UX (user experience specialists) which is not always something that an agency hired for. The agency has evolved.”
Joey Adler: Chief Executive Officer, Carve Nutrition, Founder, Department of Good
"My motto is: I don’t want to do anything in business that doesn’t support the community. The Department of Good is that. It’s a platform, and it will be the first time I believe that a platform will work with small independent business (focusing on brick and mortar) in a collaborative way. We want to support the small independent brick and mortar store. We want to support community organizations. We want to support people with innovative ideas. And we want to support the consumer to have an experience and to be part of something [community focused]. And we have give back up and down the supply chain.”
Paul Pastor: Executive Vice President, Strategy, Revenue and Operations, Discovery Channel
“Pulling the entire story out of our consumer base across multiple platforms is not easy. What we’ve been able to do is work with our own first party data, with third party vendors, and then with the Nielsen’s and Comscores of the world to put together a comprehensive view of consumers at various stages across different platforms. This informs the content investment we make and how we think about the partnerships we have with advertisers.”
Stephanie Friend, Associate Integrated Media Director, Bloom Ads Global Media Group
“We’re making big movements forward to establish dashboards that link up to all of our digital partners and our DMP. We find the best way to attribute [business ROI] to each medium. We are also in the business of testing — i.e. just TV versus just radio, versus just digital, and showing how that really compares to a truly fully integrated campaign.”
Sage Miller is a recent graduate from LMU and took two classes at M-School during her senior year in college. She is currently the Community Marketing Manager at Wanderlust and uses her M-School learnings as a template for problem solving in her job.
For an LMU M-School class exercise, Miller had to say out loud the name of her dream company and then do a semester-long deep dive. The goal of the project was to learn the ins and outs of a company, tackling a different business problem week that the company is currently or potentially facing, as well as highlight and discuss successful business strategies.
Since some of the obvious companies were taken (Nike, Apple, etc.), on a whim, Miller said: "Wanderlust!" It resonated with her, and she realized it would be a dream company to work for.
Once she graduated and was looking for her first job, Miller used her M-School project as her cover letter and entry point into Wanderlust, which she says made her "weirdly too knowledgeable" about the company. It obviously impressed Wanderlust, as she was hired, and is now Wanderlust's Community Manager.
How did you originally hear about M-School? "At LMU, there's a natural buzz about M-School,: it's marketed really well all around campus."
What's surprised you about working full-time since you've graduated? "College really stimulated me in the sense of variety: being in different classes every day, going to the gym, dinner on campus with different groups, or even spending time at the beach. Now, having a daily routine where I'm expected to show up at the same place, it can be challenging. I crave variety so I find myself bouncing from the office to the cafe, then even working remotely just to switch it up! "
What do you love about marketing? "Being able to market and share something that I'm passionate about. I'm constantly digging to create the message that I feel is going to resonate with people, because it's a product that I believe in. It's a dream for me."
Any advice for students? "Take your class projects seriously and squeeze every drop of learning our of your classes. Also, don't be afraid to cold call companies and ask for informational interviews. Most seasoned professionals feel honored to share their knowledge and wisdom. And you never know where you might make an impression."
M-School was born from the need to transform the way our students learn about and are immersed in the new world of advertising and branding. In doing so, we answered the call to action from the advertising and branding community, specifically our close partner ThinkLA. Learn more about M-School.