As we’ve discussed at length on Modern Marketing Today, the ever-changing environment presents a number of challenges to marketers trying to meet and exceed their goals. Marketers are being asked to take on roles never before assigned to their departments. So how can marketers overcome these challenges?
We recently had the opportunity to talk with Greg Kihlström, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Carousel30, a full-service digital agency located in Washington, DC. In the following Q&A, he shares with us come of the challenges he sees marketers struggling with today, as well as some of the tools he recommends in overcoming these hurdles. Greg and his firm will also be attending the highly anticipated Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit, so be sure to stop by an d say hello!
Tell us a little about your role at Carousel30.
As Chief Strategy Officer at Carousel30, I lead our client’s strategies as well as the marketing, positioning and business development strategies for the agency itself. As founder of the company in 2003, I have seen a lot of changes and shifts in the realm of digital marketing, and it is my job to stay ahead of the curve and guide our clients in the right direction. This involves staying involved in the industry at large through writing, speaking and participating in industry organizations, as well as by working with the very talented team at Carousel30 to share the latest ideas and trends amongst ourselves. It’s hard to overstate how vital it is to have an enthusiastic, creative team to surround yourself with, and I feel very fortunate to have that at Carousel30.
In addition to my role at Carousel30, I am also President of the Board of Directors of DC Ad Club, the Washington DC Chapter of the American Advertising Federation (AAF). This provides a wonderful opportunity to interact with this amazing community in the Washington DC Metro area and beyond.
Carousel30 works with organizations to help them achieve their marketing and technology goals. What are some of the common challenges you see marketers experiencing today?
There are a few common challenges that are prevalent for all organizations:
- The fast-paced nature of our industry requires agencies to play a guiding role with clients. The days of stable, steady tactics have given way to an ever-changing landscape of continual monitoring, analysis, and adjustment. Clients rely on their agencies to provide guidance and leadership on where they should be investing their time and effort.
- Digital and “traditional” marketing, advertising and public relations continue to converge, meaning that clients need an agency that understands, at the very least, where their strengths are and more ideally, that has a team who works across what have recently been considered unique disciplines in order to get results.
What are one or two areas of digital marketing campaigns that organizations should be more focused on?
First, mobile is receiving more focus and dollars, but not nearly enough. The shift in consumer behavior from desktop to mobile is happening so rapidly that a “mobile first” methodology is required, though rarely adopted. Beyond simply targeting mobile devices, the interaction between humans and spaces is one of the more interesting aspects of marketing today. Technologies like iBeacon and others that help people augment their offline experiences with information and interaction are the new frontier of digital, and take into wearables like Google Glass and smart watches, in addition to smartphones and tablets.
Second, data and analytics gets a lot of press in our industry, but many organizations are still unsure of the right approach to take. Big data takes big investment of time and budget, and many times small data solutions provide a better return on investment. Agencies that understand how to get their clients the right data in order to make decisions are going to become more and more valuable.
Is there any particular campaign or client work that you’re particularly proud of?
Over the last 10 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work on many campaigns and clients that have done amazing things. One in particular that I’m proud of is our work for the Trust for the National Mall, the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, tasked with raising private funds to repair and improve the National Mall in Washington, DC. Starting as a 2-person organization in 2006 that shared an office with a corporation, I have seen them grow into a 20-person organization raising millions of dollars, and forming partnerships with corporations such as Volkswagen, Boeing and many others.
Carousel30 has produced several award-winning pieces of work for them, including their website, a mobile app for the World War II Memorial, and a digital campaign in conjunction with Comedy Central that raised nearly half a million dollars in less than thirty days a few years ago.
While Carousel30 has done work for much larger organizations, including several Fortune 500 corporations, I’m proud of this work because of the level of involvement and the amount of growth we were able to support. At the end of the day, we are marketers that are here to help organizations achieve their mission. That’s why it’s so important that we feel connected to the missions of the organizations we support.
What are you looking forward to most at the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit?
The Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit is a great opportunity to reach marketers, advertisers and communicators of all types that are rarely all in the same place. Content-wise, it is great to see the latest achievements of area companies and agencies, and hear their perspective on the latest trends.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
We live in an exciting time for marketers, and in a growing vibrant place for marketers. Being in Washington, DC and working in a digital agency that is at the forefront of the continually shifting landscape means every day is a new adventure. I’m a continual optimist when it comes to the opportunities that better technology, better understanding of consumers, and better creative ideas will bring to consumers and the brands that wish to engage them.