Patsy Sumner rarely has a moment to sit still these days. As the MediaSpark Founder, she has been busy ramping up the media marketing efforts of businesses in the Midwest and throughout the country. We managed to nail her down for a few minutes while she was drinking her morning coffee to pick her brain about the latest marketing trends and her favorite media strategies.
That coffee smells fantastic. Is that what gets you going in the morning?
Ha! Well, yes, it’s a start. It also helps that I really love my job. There was a time when I needed coffee to get me started, now I find myself logging in before the pot starts brewing.
What is your favorite part of the job?
The strategy of it all. Our clients vary widely, and no one approach works for all of them. I have a background in corporate branding and consumer product marketing, so that helps form the foundation of what I do each day, but what really excites me is seeing all the pieces available—the research, the data, the big picture goals—and crafting a customized campaign for each client.
You say that strategy isn’t one-size-fits-all, but are there some universal tips that could apply to most companies?
A lot of it boils down to budgets and goals. Companies who have a dedicated marketing budget and structured goals tend to me more successful in their overall campaigns. This has less to do with the size of their budget, and more to do with what they are trying to achieve. Being aware of what is and isn’t possible is important, understanding where you stand in relation to your competitors is important, creating space for innovation and growth is important.
I think it’s worth noting, too, that marketing, while an important piece of brand awareness and recognition, is still only a piece of the puzzle; companies still need to keep their customers happy by delivering great service and quality products through happy employees.
What do most companies ask for when they first start working with you?
Most companies want to get more from their marketing budget, which is almost always smaller than it really needs to be. They come to us because they’ve been doing it in-house for years and need better results or they just don’t understand how media buying works or how to make it work better. They almost always want to increase the number of leads they are getting because they want to increase their overall revenue.
We created MediaSpark for these companies. Most of the time we ask them more questions than they ever ask us, and that’s perfectly okay as far as we’re concerned. The more we learn about them and their target audience, the better we can serve them.
Where should people be spending their marketing dollars: Digital, radio, billboards or broadcast?
Ahhhh… Trick question. It depends on what they are trying to do, who they are trying to reach, and how much they are willing to spend for each qualified lead. If budgets are tight and immediate results are needed, I always recommended a super-targeted approach that hits a lead-heavy demographic further down the sales funnel, and this sometimes includes digital media or a paid search program. If budgets are bigger and the lead time is longer, you can be less specific and cast a wider net over broadcast and billboards. More often it’s a crafted mix of several elements.
Last question, since I know your cup is empty. What is one piece of advice you’d give to companies regarding their overall marketing strategy?
Companies should treat marketing like the everyday thing it is. Successful businesses never stop promoting themselves, whether it’s through media channels or good customer service. It’s the strongest way to start each day you open your doors. Make it a priority and don’t skip it. Treat it like breakfast. Better yet, treat it like bacon, which you can eat for more than just breakfast.
P.S. For those of you who know Patsy, you probably know she really dislikes bacon. Who doesn’t like bacon?
Have more questions for Patsy? Email her here.