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Behind the Screen with Digital Brand Strategist Heather Sumpter

by aschmidt

Digital Brand Strategist Heather Sumpter is a key part of the team at 2060 Digital and a true advocate for her clients – whether they’ve signed a contract or not. Read on to find out why.

I know there’s not a simple answer, but what does your day typically look like?

Yes, every day is different, which I love. But on an average day, I probably have 3-5 different new client presentations that I’m doing research for – a lot of it is digging through what I can find that a prospective client’s already doing digitally and then choosing certain pieces to really hone in on and see if we can’t get them better results than what they’re currently seeing.

Then, after a presentation, I’ll get our campaign strategists involved and work with them to set up a proposal. If I have five meetings on a given day, a couple of them will be proposal meetings, where I lay out the actual recommendations that I talked about during the first presentation and drill down how the campaign will  make a difference for the client. I also make sure that they’re comfortable and that everything we’re recommending makes sense.

And if I’m not doing research for or meeting with a client, I’m following up with current clients and the Digital Project Managers, checking dashboards for the status of campaigns, and making sure that everything’s performing optimally and that were hitting all the metrics we should be for the campaign.

So, not only are you concerned with what a campaign will look like, but you also have a hand in how a campaign is performing once the client signs on? You don’t just pitch it and forget it?

No, we’re partners through the whole process. When I have a client come on board, the next step is getting them launched, and after they’re launched, making sure the communication is working between the client and Project Manager, that we’re hitting metrics and seeing success, and that the client feels like they know what’s going on.

And after we finish a campaign, I look at the client’s success and start crafting a plan to build on it holistically – are we adding more elements, are we further optimizing the campaign, what kind of challenges did we face and what kind of changes can we make?

Your previous experience helps you empathize with a client’s struggles and challenges, too, right?

Yes, I’ve totally been there. For 11 years I was in charge of marketing budgets that were one size one year, and then slashed the next. I know what it’s like when you think you have everything planned out and then here comes the CFO or the sales manager and some other initiative gets tossed in, and you’re like, “how am I going to work this in?” And I understand that people are knocking down your door to get you to question your current provider, to get you to second guess yourself all day, every day and it can be exhausting – to the point where you’re just paralyzed by the options.

But I’ve also worked in PR, graphic design, sales management, copywriting, event planning, and media buying, so a major part of how I make recommendations is to look at the entire marketing picture as a whole.

For instance, if you’re sending a direct mail piece, I want to know what that looks like. Is there a seasonal CTA, are there brand standards and guidelines that ads should all be adhering to? Your radio spot should push to your website, which should look like your ads, which should also look like your social media presence – everything should be cohesive because that’s what builds a brand, that’s what gives you brand power and makes your organization recognizable against your competitors.

Right. That’s how it is for the big brands of the world – you never see Coke use a funny font on a random ad.

Exactly. And there’s no reason a smaller business can’t use that same mentality of a well-thought marketing strategy.

Because you’re involved with a client before virtually anyone else on the 2060 team, I feel like there’s a real sense of ownership that you take with their campaigns.

Well, the position is unique, because I’m not a sales person. I’m a legitimate strategist who’s working the entire time for the client’s best interest. And the last thing I want is to have a client who fully trusts me and my recommendations not see their campaign perform.

You compromise your credibility when that happens, so I have little more skin in the game, so to speak, essentially putting my reputation on the line any time I make a recommendation.

“Heather Sumpter told me that this is what I need to do with my digital marketing.”

Absolutely, and that’s a sobering feeling, so I think that sometimes your reputation can be an even better motivator than money to really get results for a client.

In fact, you used to be a 2060 client yourself, yes?

Yes, I was the Director of Marketing for six years for Smyth Automotive, and had 136 Facebook fans, and I had worked six months to get that. I heard the pitch and loved the social media options that 2060 Digital was offering at that time, and joined on. The results were no joke. I think Smyth’s now in their fourth year of social media management, and they have more than 7,000 fans.

And when I first learned about the Digital Brand Strategist position at 2060, that’s what attracted me. It was important that I worked for a company I believed in, a company where I could look at myself in the mirror and say “I just told seven clients that we’re the best in the city at what we do and I 100 percent stand behind it.”

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