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A Conversation With … Ken Taylor

President, ADsmith Marketing & Advertising

Posted online

You assumed the role of president at ADsmith a year ago. What has the company accomplished since then?
Overall, revenues have gone up. We’ve been able to improve our agency branding; it’s been modified and is continuing to be modified and updated to reflect who ADsmith is today. A big part of that was our brand process, which is the foundation for creating the marketing plans for our customers. Our creative and content generation has improved significantly. We’ve had the ability to participate in and win some significant awards that ADsmith never has before, like The Telly Awards. We won two silvers and a gold for video work. Right now, we are roughly at 20 employees. It’s not really about growing employees. It was more about, really the last two years, elevating our team with new talent and getting the current team members in the right positions.

You mentioned your creative has been elevated. Does that speak to a particular part of your company?
We are a full-service agency, so we do all different areas of creative from static print images to digital (and) video work. We are really proud of our video team. Dustin Henderson is our video producer. He’s really pushed us to think more creatively and really elevate our video work to not just be a commercial or an ad but something that we can be very proud of from just a visual standpoint. (It) also gives us the ability to create a lot of small, snackable content that can be used on social as well as digital networks for paid campaigns and organic campaigns.

For the first time in 2017, industry publication Ad Age reported digital spends accounted for more than half of agency revenue. How has that shifted the game for you as an industry?
Digital has changed the way we approach all of our marketing plans from a tactical standpoint and how we measure success. But the fundamentals of marketing objectives, strategy and messaging are very much the same. Digital is the foundation for all of our marketing plans, but we’ve got to keep in mind that traditional media isn’t dead. The trick for ADsmith is finding the right media mix for each category. Digital has given us this amazing benefit of on-demand analytics to tell you if something is working or not. Hopefully, that will turn that into a return on investment for our customers.

Consumers are constantly being bombarded with ads. How do you ensure clients stand out?
It goes back to finding our client’s story and discovering their “why.” That’s going to be the foundation for your messaging. We also do not do cookie-cutter plans. And we like to step back, do a lot of planning and think more intentionally about generating as much content as possible, meaningful content. So even when we’re concepting banner ads, we tend to think from a campaign standpoint: How can we take this effort and produce not just a banner ad? How’s that going to look from my organic standpoint on LinkedIn and Facebook? Is there a video element associated with it? Can we create a 30-second video, a 15-second video and a six-second looping, animated GIF? Can we shoot a video and take 4K still images from it to create a large library to support the campaign? This idea of generating as much meaningful content as possible is very important to us and that helps our clients stand out in this clutter. The other thing we do is we’re constantly growing in educating ourselves on this digital market that’s constantly changing. A big trend right now is OTT, over-the-top television. That’s streaming services like Hulu and Netflix. The broadcast networks are nervous about this because they are losing share to the OTT market. It’s kind of the Wild West.

Ken Taylor can be reached at ken@adsmith.biz.

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