Beyond the Numbers: Interview with Walgreens’ Adam Kmiec


Jessica Jacobs

August 8, 2014 3 min read

Updated on September 19, 2019

For the second installment of Beyond the Numbers, we chatted with Adam Kmiec on the danger of falling in love with one social network, and how he knows his daughter will be his boss one day. Adam is the Senior Director of Social Media and Content at Walgreens, where he is responsible for leading, defining and executing the company’s social media and content strategy. (He’s also an Unmetric advisor!) You can connect with Adam on Twitter here. Enjoy – and stay tuned for next week, when we’ll be featuring Randi Rosenfeld, Director of Social Media at MRM McCann. For last week’s interview with Emoderation CEO Tamara Littleton, click here.

How does your organization define social media marketing, and how does it fit into the larger digital marketing picture?

We try not to define it by scope, teams or as a discipline. That approach can quickly limit its potential impact. Social spans everything from the digital heartbeat of our customers to how we enable our 250K+ employees to stay connected. To me, that’s what makes it so enjoyable; it’s never the same challenge or job every day.

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?

As an industry, we’re data rich, but insight poor. There’s no shortage of data or data providers in the marketplace. As the space has matured, we’ve seen a constant evolution in the sophistication of how data can go from a raw cumbersome feed to something that’s driving business decisions. The real time nature of social data and insights makes it a critical component to all aspects of marketing.

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

A great mentor of mine once advised, “if you’re focused on your competition, you’ll never be focused on what’s important.” There’s so much truth to that statement. Competitive and comparative data is an important diagnostic, but you shouldn’t let what your competition does dictate your strategy.

Social media channels are increasingly moving to where paid content is promoted more than organic content. How do you feel about this, and how has it affected your social strategy?

Time and again, history has shown us that nothing is free. There’s a danger in falling in love with any single platform or network. This space changes too quickly to attach your future success to any one partner. This is where having a solid strategy that’s based on both consumer insights and macro level trends is critical.

What do you see as the single most disruptive force coming to the world of social media marketing?

My kids. I’m serious. There’s so much emphasis on millennials, but if you want to see where real disruption will come from, it’s the kids that growing up 100% digital. My daughter, Cora, is 7. She has an iPhone, a twitter account (@corakmiec) and is already dictating what content I can share (she doesn’t want photos on Facebook). She’s a way better snapchatter than I am. Technology is an enabler to disruption, but make no mistake, it’s the people who lead disruption. I figure in about 20 years I’ll be working for her.

What are the social media metrics you don’t have access to today but would like to be able to leverage in the future?

I can’t point to any one metric. I think a bigger challenge I’d like to see tackled is the standardization of metrics. For example, if you asked 10 companies what for a brand sentiment report, you’ll get 10 different answers.

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