Author Archives: Chris Smith

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.


LifeBridge Health Announces New ICE App

We recently worked with our client, LifeBridge Health, to launch a very important smart phone App. Their In Case of Emergency (ICE) PLUS  app is more functional than fun, but is no less a necessity than Facebook or Angry Birds, and deserves an icon on your home screen. Sorry Droid users, but your version will be available for download next week. (We will update this blog post when it is available.)

This new App provides your ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact information on your wallpaper, which is viewable above the lock screen. If you are in an emergency and can’t communicate, the authorities or a health care provider can get in touch with your designated contact person.  Additionally, the App collects a list of medications you take or allergies you suffer from and provides a list of physicians and hospitals based on your current location.  Lifesaving information if you’re ever unable to communicate.


The App is functional and informative, and like putting a flashlight in your glove box or jumper cables in the trunk of your car, you hope you never need it, but you’ll be glad it’s there when you do.

Marketing the new App has been under development as long as the App has been in development. Since the App is relevant to so many people (sadly none of us are immune to an emergency situation), it’s important for us to use multiple mediums to reach the diverse audience that can benefit from downloading ICE PLUS.  In addition to the usual digital suspects including SEM, social media ads, online and mobile display banners, radio and print ads are also used as channels in our marketing plan to inform the public that the app is available.

But unlike a Field of Dreams, just because we built it doesn’t mean millions of smart phone users will come. With over 775,000 apps in the App Store even an extraordinary, relevant and functional app like ICE PLUS doesn’t get found without a little paid media behind it. Integrating the new app message into all our marketing materials, not just the ones in the digital space, is very important if we are going to reach the majority of our audience.

The Importance of Establishing Pre-campaign Metrics: An Olympics Metaphor


How are we going to judge the success of our campaign?

It’s a pretty simple question, but you’d be surprised at how often it’s overlooked. The time to determine the metrics of your campaign is not during the flight, or even after it’s complete – it should be determined in advance.

It’s also an important question when you consider the amount of work that takes place. Planners use these metrics to establish the parameters of the campaign, what properties or technologies they may consider, and these metrics are used during the campaign to optimize the overall performance.

If you aren’t asking about successes early in the planning stages, you aren’t setting yourself up for success.

Let me attempt to put this in Olympic context. To my knowledge, the IOC has never said whether the quantity or the quality of the medals should determine a “medal leader”, and that the rankings are for the media’s use only. However, if the International Olympic Committee had established some pre-Olympic metrics, we may be able to sidestep some of these conversations about which metric determines the leading country: is it the total number of medals won or is it the number of gold medals won?

For example, if the IOC doesn’t determine that the overall quantity of Olympic medals won establishes the “medal leader” what’s stopping Mongolia, from saying that they were the “medal leader” with 1 in 15 athletes receiving medals (They’ve received two to date in Judo and they have 30 athletes) as well as the “medal leader” by country population (they have just over 3 million people).

If the media was using a “conversion metric” (number of medals/total participating athletes = medal conversion rate) to report the games, China would be leading the USA at an almost insurmountable pace!

China : 41/354 = 11.6% medal conversion

USA : 37/561 = 6. 5% medal conversion

It’s easy to see how numbers can be skewed for reporting purposes.  Your campaign metrics shouldn’t be so flexible either, and early discussions about how you will judge the campaign performance will help in the long run.

See all the medals here:

Wikipedia also has a great chart for all time medal awards:

Digital Dads

All eyes are focused on Dads this weekend and there is no shortage of online chatter (including this post) about Digital Dads. I consider myself well connected and previously I may have thought it was a byproduct of the industry I’m in, but it’s good to see that Dads are “ranking” and therefore getting their due from marketers. Adweek article

We work hard, we shop online, we clean the house, we post pictures of our kids on Facebook using Instagram, and yes, we do make major purchasing decisions – jointly of course 😉

There’s a great infographic on Mashable about Digital Dads and our use of technology.

62% of Digital Dads say they’re more tech-savvy than the average 15-year-old.  While my kids aren’t anywhere close to 15, I can see that their proficiency with technology at such an early age is a sign of great things to come. While we may consider ourselves Digital Dads, the generation we’ve created will undoubtedly be more versed in technology than we are and we should do what we can to embrace that.

At the end of every workday, I’m greeted by a wonderful chorus of “Daaaaadddy!” and knee-level hugs, promptly followed with my daughter grabbing my iPhone off the desk in the entry. I turn it over to her since, at four years old, she is adept at searching YouTube for Littlest Pet Shop videos and knows the songs I’ve downloaded for her by the album cover art.  My two-year-old son doesn’t complain: He plays with my old iPhone 3G because it isn’t worth a dime in the marketplace.  I have no problem being without my phone because I stay connected in the evening with my iPad, reading emails or news I couldn’t follow during the day. And, once or twice a week, I catch up with Facebook posts.

However, this weekend is Father’s Day and I’ll need to take back my phone. Saturday, I have to post pictures on Facebook of the kids at Sailabration, and Sunday while I’m on the golf course, I’ll use my golf app to find out EXACTLY how many yards it is to the pin, so I can make my club selection.


Today is Friday the 13th and while I’m not entirely free of superstitions; if I say it, I will physically knock on wood (if I can) and I will never walk under a ladder (I don’t know if that’s a result of superstition or just because it’s unsafe) but I’ve never really understood the aversion to the number 13.

The number 13 has some significance to Media Works and is proving to be pretty lucky. So if you suffer from triskaidekaphobia or even paraskevidekatriaphobia then maybe Media Works isn’t the place for you.

We have 13 clients advertising on TV in May alone! No one is more active in Baltimore Media than Media Works. If you are watching TV in May it will be hard not to see one of our clients.

Look for commercials from the following clients :

Community College of Baltimore County

Jiffy Lube


…as well as Feld Entertainment, MHIPAdvance Business System, The Sofa Store, The Big Screen Store, MileOne Automotive, Erickson Living, Maryland Department of Economic and Community Development/Tourism, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, Baltimore Washington Medical Center

We have four clients that have been with us over 13 years! And a few that are approaching 13 years. We are so lucky to have long standing relationships with such great businesses.

Clients that have been with us for over 13 years.

Feld Entertainment, Sinclair Broadcasting, Erickson Living, Advance Business System

We have five employees that have been with us for 13 or more years. We don’t have to try very hard to create an environment that is socially and personally fulfilling. Our clients keep us on our toes and our friends around the office sure keep it interesting.

We aren’t sure how many other agencies can be so proud of the number thirteen. But we never miss an opportunity to celebrate so… we’ll be toasting tonight at Tark’s if anyone wants to come by and raise a glass with us!

13. Our lucky number.

Last but not least, today is Jody’s Son, Austin’s, 20th birthday! Happy Birthday bud!