Senior Digital Strategist
For those of us not familiar with Fueling Brands, please tell us a little more about your agency, and your role.
FUEL is a multi-faceted, turnkey agency designed to serve as a growth engine for a wide range of small- to mid-size businesses based in Greenville, South Carolina. Over the last several years FUEL has seen the writing on the wall and has grown our digital capabilities exponentially to be able to offer everything a much larger agency can.
As one of our Senior Digital Strategists I get to wear several hats. I work with our amazing creative and content teams to develop messaging that resonates on each platform we have identified as fit for our clients, and then optimize bid strategies and dig into the data to find insight into how our campaigns can perform more optimally or work more cohesively to produce the best results.
What would you say are some of the biggest challenges you face working at an independent agency?
Educating clients on the importance of certain tactics to overall campaign success even though they may not be as sexy as others, like SEO. Finding clients that are patient, trust in the process, and see the value in what we do before we start campaigns is always a tough going. Slowly gaining a client’s trust to do right by their budget and their goals that make our jobs interesting, every client unique, and that make our agency highly adaptable to any industry.
Currently, both of those platforms are head and shoulders above most other platforms when it comes down to the size of potential audience and the ways to target highly specific segments. I see them remaining the bread and butter of most digital media spend in the near future. However, we are due for a major shakeup in digital marketing. The most interesting part of our industry is that technology is constantly evolving the way society consumes content, and it’s left to advertisers to quickly adapt to these changes. The rise of Snapchat, live video streams, personal digital assistants and virtual reality will provide plenty of new opportunities to market successfully outside of those platforms.
Where most other digital strategies are based on convincing an audience to be interested, SEM provides the benefit of already having an audience that is interested. Display, video, and mobile prioritize demographics, but reaching somebody through search marketing requires to the ability to target a thought. 15% of all queries on Google have never been searched before. Getting into the mindset of what a consumer is actually looking for and finding a concise way of providing exactly that is what makes SEM unique.
We work with networks that add additional layers to the ways we can track or target. GDN has plenty of ad space available and a strong ability to target most audiences through typical display ads, so adding more inventory usually is not our goal. Publishers that offer unique ad units, or interesting ways to target have always been appealing to us.
What are your thoughts on programmatic buying?
I’m not one of the doom and gloom professors when it comes to programmatic buying and what it means for media buyers. I think it’s an extremely helpful tool that can provide massive amounts of insight and purchase ad space much more efficiently than the average buyer could. As programmatic becomes more sophisticated it will force media agencies to be more creative and use the insights from programmatic ad buying and apply them in more innovative and forward thinking ways both in digital and traditional campaigns. As somebody young in the media buying profession I can see that my role will need to change as programmatic grows, however humans buy from humans, and there will always need to be people behind the curtain making higher-level decisions.
Are there any innovations happening in digital / mobile advertising right now that excite you?
Everything. We are just scratching the surface with what we can do with mobile. We are all carrying a screen that has access to an infinite amount of content, can pinpoint our exact position on earth, determine our home and work locations, demands immediate attention when it buzzes, and that we tell our deepest, darkest secrets to and all that most advertisers do is optimize their ad for a smaller screen. Retailers are beginning to use beacon technology for in-store promotions while we are shopping, we are beginning to see ads when we get directions, we are repeatedly flirting with the line between insightful and creepy. The growth of these technologies and the eventual capabilities to use marketing as a tool in our daily lives is what’s really exciting.
What are some core, must-use tools that you use at Fueling Brands?
We have a proprietary combination of tools that we use here called, FlightPlan. FlightPlan allows us to combine several metrics, clicks, time on page, form completions, pages visited, etc., from different platforms and then digest them in a way that gives us a unique view into each site visitor, their behavior, their likelihood to convert and then be able to place them into a sales funnel based on that behavior. We are blessed to have some extremely talented programmers in-house that have been able to help build the program as we as a digital media team are curious about different capabilities and ask “what if” that keep FlightPlan growing as our clients needs continue to grow.
We also have fallen in love with the capabilities of Google Data Studio, and are very glad that they removed the maximum number of reports. It has saved us so much time on reporting, especially the repetitive tasks for weekly and monthly reports. It allows us to dig deeper into the data to find unique insights rather than comparing the same metrics over and over.
Lastly, what is your take on the future of the way media will be bought and sold?
Currently, we are all bidding against each other to buy a small space that has been reserved for an ad that most people have learned to skip, ignore or avoid. We will eventually break out of our boxes, character counts and timeframes that we are limited to and begin to work with publishers to create unique content that fits our message. We are already seeing more and more large brands adopt the long-term growth strategy of connecting with a certain cause or investing in quality content. Programmatic ad buying can buy what is already designated as ad space, the future will be the investment of brands in creating their own ad space.