CEO at Linda Smith Agency
Website Address: Lindasmithagency.com
Each week on “Programmatic Champions,” our host Cristin Combs talks to media experts across the country. This week she sits down with Linda Smith from Linda Smith Agency.
To learn more check out Lindasmithagency.com.
What do you do? What is Linda Smith agency?
Sure. A quick overview of me. I’ve been in marketing for 30 years and have done everything from what used to be or what is still considered traditional marketing. And then as the web evolved, I got into Web sites and Web site development from the content design perspective. And then went on to what’s digital marketing today which is really very complex, and so hopefully we can talk a little bit about digital marketing. But what my agency does is in part we act almost like as a virtual CMO. So that’s one facet that we can do. We can kind of come in and be the leadership for your marketing team if you don’t have that. We also do marketing mentoring for a team, we do workshops, but then we can also help with your branding, again, any facet of the digital marketing. So I guess that’s what we do. We really can kind of come in and fill in your marketing gaps that we don’t have to just be a super senior level. We can bring in senior people and fill in at a lower level.
The virtual CMO, was that always kind of where you were headed or did that come with the advent of this craziness that we’re in?
Sure. I have to say the virtual CMO has been for a long time throughout my career. I’ve had had gaps. I think there’s times where marketers, unfortunately, marketing is often the first group to get let go because they’re not always seen as revenue generators. And I will say that I think that that’s changing to some degree and that we’re able to show how we support that more as a result in digital and all the tracking of our campaigns and things. But anyway, so I’ve done it before, I’ve worked from home, I worked virtually, I did consulting on the side when I was working full time a little bit. So we get money kind of thing. So no, it just happens to be relevant right now.
There’s all this data that we have to do and then we’re the ones that are supposed to reconcile that and tell that story. Where did that start for you, the mashing the two of those together and love it?
Right. Great. So the art and science element of marketing is really at the forefront right now. In the past, marketers were first and foremost writing the content, coming up with campaigns, and then they were just measuring the end result. Were the sales generated? Because we weren’t able to track that buyer process into the customer process or the journey rather. So now we can do the marketing automation platforms like HubSpot, Pardot (I’m not being paid by anyone), Marketo. And then you’ve got a bunch of platforms that also measure social media. Those platforms I just mentioned also measure social media. So now we can actually look at the campaigns that we’re doing and test them, and this is where the science and the data comes in. We can test those campaigns and optimize them. So do a lot of e-testing and so to backup the part is really the content creativity. I should really start with the branding. I know, Christin, you and I have talked a little bit about branding and how important I really feel that the company needs to establish their brand, know who their brand is. A term I coined a long time ago was called “Breathing the brand,” And what I mean when I say that is, one, you need to define it for your company and then you need to make sure you communicate it to your company. And as you’re defining it, being a marketing department, defining it, reaching out to sales, if you’re a tech company your developers, tire kicking it up against your customers to make sure that that brand and the messaging and architecture that you develop is in fact accurate for your product, service, or offering and then communicate it out and then make sure that everybody breathes it. So they’re reading it, in everything that they’re saying, the way that they’re acting, and what they’re doing, and also in all of your collateral and messaging and your website. An example from a long time ago, when we used to mail out direct mail only and I would say your brand should be so good so that when someone walks in their office and just a little piece of it is sticking out, you know immediately “Oh that’s a L’Oreal flyer.” Now today, it’s the same thing. Someone quickly sees your ad on Instagram. It should feel like “oh that’s L’Oreal because they have a certain kind of look and feel.” and again they’re reading the brand in a certain way.
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