Media Spotlight: Chris Smith, Executive Vice President, Digital

ChrisEditor’s note: “Media Spotlight” is an ongoing series where we interview the wide range of professionals that make up our growing office. From the traditional media planners to our digital buyers, you’ll gain insight into the many levels that make up Media Works Ltd. This week we interview EVP, Digital, Chris Smith.

How long have you been working in media/ advertising?

I’ve been in this industry almost 15 years and have had the pleasure of working on many facets of it.  It doesn’t matter if you call it marketing, technology, media, development, or advertising they all work together.

What are some of the challenges of your position?

I think the biggest challenge is something many of us struggle with and that’s staying abreast of all the options available to marketers now. This is especially true in the digital space where there are new technologies, platforms, vendors, and targeting options virtually everyday.  With so many specialists, until each one of them is purchased by Facebook, Google or Microsoft chances are in order to get the best campaign you will have to work with a handful of companies to pull it together.

The digital space is full with specialists and while its better to work with specialists it can be very consuming.

What’s your all-time favorite ad campaign? What made it special?

As a marketer I think my favorite ad is one that works. However what ads work is pretty subjective.  I’m more amazed at our ability to market specifically to individuals rather than groups of people.

For example I was shopping for tools online and then had ads follow me on Facebook and offer me a discount that I wouldn’t have gotten if I bought them online yesterday when I was on the website is a pretty interesting scenario. I’m a marketer but I’m also a consumer and I’m just amazed at where we are headed as an industry.

Can you name a recent campaign that you would’ve done differently?

At Media Works we believe that where your message is is equally, if not more important than what your message is. Since the media landscape has become so fragmented across mediums, platforms and devices WHERE your message is a top priority.

With that in mind, I occasionally see campaigns that just seem out of place and wonder what that advertiser was thinking.  Why is that advertiser there and not somewhere else? This doesn’t seem like the right placement for an ad like that.  I tend to think everyone should be doing more digital but I think that’s just my job – to make digital easier for advertisers to understand.

What advice would you offer to someone looking to get into the advertising industry?

Get involved. Get informed. Get diverse.

This means following industry news and events, reading online articles, joining your local professional organization and learning a little about everything. The volume of information available to professionals in our industry is abundant and not everything needs a paid subscription or membership. Even if did you should look at as an investment rather than a cost.

I said earlier that there are many facets of our industry – which means there are also many inroads. I think it will be more important in the future if employees are adaptable and have many skills across all technologies and platforms.

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