Today I want to have a conversation around how Marketing is changing – both from an expectation on what/how Marketing delivers as well as the skills, tools and data we leverage to be successful. I asked Becky Brown to take a few minutes to answer some questions around her career and the work she is driving. Becky is the Director, Global Integrated Media at Intel. She’s been in this role for the last 3 years, and recently drove a re-organization pulling paid and earned media together. Full disclosure, she works for me but don’t hold that against her.
Becky, thank you for doing this interview. I know you hate talking about yourself. I’ve been trying to get you to sit down and speak to me for ages. If there’s one thing you want to leave our readers with, what is a key defining statement about you as a Marketeer?
I have an incredible passion for data and the science behind marketing. I’ve been in Marketing at Intel (and Adobe) for over 7 years, and I can honestly say this is the most exciting point at time to be in marketing. We have so much opportunity to drive impact – both from a brand and purchase.
Tell me more about your background.
In 1992 I started in Sales. I was a Field Engineer in the Americas Marketing Group. I was later recruited by a senior manager to join the Corporate Marketing Team. I thought I would be a fish out of water. Marketing was all about creative. The most visible roles involved working with agencies and evaluating and producing creative. As an engineer, this is so different from my background and perspective. A few people reassured me that understanding products and the market were equally as important as having creative skills. I joined the Consumer Brand Strategy team and was responsible for translating technology and shaping the external communications for consumers in a way that was motivating and understandable.
Marketing has evolved and changed significantly even since that point. Can you talk to that transformation and how you feel about the area now?
I’ll go back to my excitement around the opportunity I see today. It’s a whole new world of marketing. Data Scientists are sexy. Understanding the complexity of marketing, the role of data and analytics is a powerful business catalyst. Harvard Business Review (oct 2012 article) recently did a great piece titled “Big Data: The Management Revolution”.
Insert quote from article: “Data-driven decisions are better decisions – it’s as simple as that. Using big data enables managers to decide on the basis of evidence rather than intuition. For that reason it has the potential to revolutionize management”.
We are at a moment in time where companies and boards are going to shape the future direction of business in a completely different way. Marketeers who understand, utilize and interpret data will be valuable allies.
That’s a great vision — one that I completely agree with by the way. Let’s talk about when you first started getting excited about data and what you were doing in Marketing.
When I first took over the social Media team at Intel, I felt like a rogue startup. I’d love to say I immediately recognized the potential, but it took some time. I was actually shocked by how much had been done with training, operational structure, etc. All the basics we need to get started were in place. As we matured as a team, we spent more time white boarding, working on our vision. Gradually, we started getting more and more excited and realized that we were onto something not just big but that was going to revolutionize how people think of Marketing. I want to be clear, it wasn’t an accident. I surrounded myself with some incredible people. Any time we found a smart person on Social, we hired them or asked them to talk to us. We learned by trial and error and by being humble about how much we didn’t know.
You now run the Integrated Media Team. Can you explain what that is and your vision?
The world of earned and paid has been overlapping. At one point it hit us that we had similar skill sets across teams, were having the same conversations with partners and were essentially stepping on each other’s’ toes. By combining paid, social and search in one group we’ve achieved efficiencies, collaboration and integrated our efforts and strategies. I love the fact that I was able to do this at Intel. It’s just another example of the team leading the way and creating a path for others to follow. That’s what the vision is all about – improving upon the norm and creating something more powerful. This has really been my first real exposure to the paid media side and I’ve been really impressed by the art of how media professionals, think and act. Couple that with the science element and it’s a match made in heaven.
How is the agency model evolving to support this new area?
The old model was about efficiencies and volume. With the consolidation of agencies and larger offerings, they still remained siloed with specialized capabilities. Integration continued to suffer. New organization and behavior models are putting pressure on old models.
How did the creation of social change this?
Originally PR teams were the first to start thinking about this space. Agency support was fairly slow with the creation of boutique agencies, often with PR backgrounds. As agencies strive to be more competitive, offer additional value and drive differentiation, they started thinking about the role they play in servicing clients across a much broader range. The successful ones have broken down barriers, adding additional skill sets to support the evolving and broader needs of Marketeers as part of the campaign approach.
What kind of changes do you see on the creative agency side?
They are seeking market insight and looking for trends on Twitter and other social vehicles. We are also seeing changes around the role of content. The old days of big budget TV spots and long lead production is making way for videos, snackable content, etc. Creative needs to inspire an action. It doesn’t matter how much or how long it took to produce. We need conversation starters and think about trail of bread crumbs. This “touch points” help develop relationships and engagement.
The idea of the marketing funnel and journey have compeletly changed hasn’t it?
Yes — particularly with younger audiences. They are on 24/7. We can’t predict a linear pattern of behavior. The phases are still relevant, and we need to understand how to motivate people at different points, but the journey is more complicated. We need to be everywhere with content and messages that inspire action of one form or another.
Becky, thank you for sharing with us. Any last thoughts you want to end on?
As you can see, I’m so excited about this space. I never dreamed as an Industrial Engineer that my career would go in this direction and that I would get so much enjoyment and inspiration from my work. The study of Marketing is an important one.
Over time, I believe we will see universities instituting Marketing Science or Marketing Engineering degrees. The skill sets, understanding and capabilities that are demanded will increase the rigor and science behind successful Marketeers.