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Expert Talk: Stacie Thompson on Marketing Trends

Content marketing services agencies can be a challenge to lead, particularly when balancing modern strategy with creativity. Watch this interview with Stacie Thompson, VP/Director of Creative at ES99, to get insights on her approach and where she sees the business of managed marketing services heading.

For the past three years, Stacie has served as the head for both the strategy and creative divisions of ES99, Impact’s managed marketing services provider. Here, she breaks down some of the current trends she’s seen in the industry, talks about the current direction of digital marketing and gives her thoughts on what it takes to lead in a marketing agency setting.

Interested in hearing more from the experts? View more of our Expert Talk video series.

Video Transcript:

My name is Stacie Thompson, I head up the Creative & Brand Insights team here at ES99

What current marketing trends are you seeing?

Trends are funny in that with different industries there’s plenty of trends with connecting on social media, with the importance on SEO, the importance on optimizing websites, showing up at different trade publications and things.

One of the most interesting ones though that I think transcends all of that is the return of direct mail. There was this huge push to get everything online and that’s never going to leave, but when everything went online everyone’s going “Where am I going to put my dollars,” and you’re sending as many messages as possible, people have gotten a little bit immune to all of the digital marketing pieces. In order to stand-out again, people are starting to send mailers. Mailers use to not be a thing anymore and hand-written notes went back to “Hey, we’re not going to do hand-written notes to our customers, we’re going to send them emails.” Now, people are getting so many emails, we’re seeing people go “Hey you know what’s going to be really great? We’re going to send some hand-written notes so people understand how much we care about them.” It went from really human to really digital and we’re going back to human again, which I think is a really cool place to be because standing out in a way that is going to connect is going to help those companies move forward.

What are your goals for the upcoming year?

What’s exciting this year is that because we’ve been doing this great job of collaboratively figuring out some of those trends and some of those things that work across a lot of clients and the things we need to do here to better connect and communicate with each other. This year is about education and so it’s about taking the things that are working, the things that aren’t working and finding those and then educating at a corporate level to all of us on what are some of those best practices and how do we respond when things happen. It’s really about firming up that core as we grow.

What do you think it means to be a leader?

What I think it means to be a leader is to be someone that empowers your team and inspires your team. Leading isn’t just about telling people what to do. I delineate a lot between leadership, mentoring, and management. I don’t like management in anything that we do here because that says that I am taking things and I’m filling gaps and I’m moving people around. Leadership is about – and mentoring because I put those together, I don’t think you should be a leader if you’re not mentoring people. Those go in tandem or maybe you do at other companies but here we don’t. It’s about really starting to see and understand what the needs are like what the possibility in the future of each of your team members are and getting there. And setting a “Hey guys, this is where we’re going. It’s a little bit chaotic” setting a standard that everybody knows but that’s okay. Giving them the things to fall back on and setting that vision, but then also being like “Hey how’re we going to come along for the way? What do you need to know for us to get here?” It’s a combination of that vision-setting and being close and one-on-one with your team and inspiring them and then helping them get there and putting paths in place to do it.