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Beyond the Numbers: Interview with Peter Sena

Vikas Bysani

In this week’s Beyond the Numbers we catch up with Peter Sena the Executive Creative Director and Founder of Digital Surgeons. Follow him on Twitter for more insights on how brands approach the digital space.

Read on as we find out how the folks at Digital Surgeons approach social media marketing.

This interview is part of an ongoing series; see other great interviews with industry experts in our Interview archive here.

Peter_Sena_HeadshotHow does your agency approach social media marketing on behalf of clients, and how does it fit into the larger digital marketing picture?

Consumers don’t think in terms of channel, so as an agency that connects brands with consumers, we can’t think that way either. At Digital Surgeons, we’re always looking at the bigger picture and focusing on making campaigns social by design– irrespective of what platforms they live on. What that means is looking at the audience from a rich-data perspective and developing a communication strategy that leverages the strength of each respective channel. In other words, consumers use each platform differently, so we have to follow the mental-models to deliver content in the form that will drive the most engagement. Great content and experiences should be the lynchpin that all campaigns are built on, whether they’re being experienced from the center of Times Square or across the social web.

How have you seen social media greatly impact the business of your clients?

Direct ROI from social media is an interesting conversation among our industries greatest marketers and data scientists. The art of conversation is one of the oldest forms of interaction that long predates advertising and the rise of social media. We all want to belong to something.

As a creative director and digital agency founder, I’ve absolutely seen the way that social media has transformed brands’ abilities to develop deeper and more meaningful relationships with their customers. When I talk about social media’s place in a brand’s marketing mix, I always encourage my clients and colleagues to focus on the convergence of media, or the “holy media trinity”: paid, earned, and owned. 

As marketers in an era of big data, the ability to use social media as an inexpensive data warehouse tool to feed the marketing and information funnel is tremendous. Facebook’s most recent push in the ad-tech space with rebuilding Atlas (formally Microsoft’s leading ad server) shows us that it’s less about “likes”, “shares”, and “engagement”, and more about developing a deeper digital fingerprint on who your consumers are why they love you. Only then can you target, nurture, and compound upon people just like them.

Think “smart media” not “social media”.

When is social media data most critical to your efforts: During the planning process; while you’re executing a campaign, so you can change course or allocate more resources; or afterwards, to measure your success?

Data is the currency of the future. If you are doing anything on pure gut these days, you’re likely headed to pick up your AARP card or fit to be an extra on re-runs of Mad Men.

We utilize data every step of the way. During our planning and ideation phases, while developing our content and experiences, and especially during the campaign to ensure we can quickly optimize and take advantage of learnings as they happen.

What’s more valuable, competitive intelligence on brands within your client’s industry, or being able to look at the efforts from brands in other verticals?

I don’t personally like to think within the confines of a specific industry or vertical. That type of thinking just perpetuates “me too” and “check-the-box” thinking from agencies and brands. Looking at who a brand’s consumers and direct and indirect competitors are seems to be more valuable. Nowadays every brand is fighting for eyeballs and engagement, so it’s not always your competitor you are trying to overthrow, but perhaps an entirely different category all together.

Click here to view more social media insights, thoughts and opinions from agency and brand experts.

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