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Never a Dull Day in Marketing

Andy Maier

Thirty years ago, the marketing landscape looked much different than it does today. The internet wasn’t around, there were limited media options and data took a while to compile, analyze and act upon. Today, marketing moves at the speed of light. There are thousands of ways to reach your audience. Data is readily available, decisions happen instantly, changes to campaigns can be made immediately. That’s the beauty of marketing, it is always changing.

While change at times can be hard, having the ability to change leads to results and growth. For over 30 years, our guest Andy Maier has worked in marketing for a variety of agencies and currently on the client-side for the past 9+ years. He and our host Susan Jones will discuss his marketing journey and why two days in marketing are never the same.

Susan Jones: Your first job was at Ross Roy Advertising in Detroit. Tell us a little bit about that and how you would contrast that with marketing today.

Andy Maier: I n the mid-eighties, Ross Roy was a big privately-held agency in downtown Detroit. Everything is digital today and done on computers where back then, art directors are doing things on key lines. As an account person, we would have to stick the key lines in a pizza bag and walk down the street to Chrysler, who was one of our clients, and present that board to them. We were a pretty good size agency, and we had big accounts with Chrysler, Ameritech, Kmart, State of Michigan travel and Blue Cross Blue Shield. So, it was very diverse. It was a little bit like Mad Men—there was smoking in the office, there was drinking during lunch. But, they were also cutthroat days. Everybody wanted the Chrysler business. So, in Detroit, everyone's working towards that. You're never safe and you always have to go above and beyond what they're asking you to do and prove your value. The internet wasn't available back then and you did a TV ad, you did a direct mail or you did billboards. You had only so many mediums that you could do and it took forever to get the creative done and out the door. And if you needed to make a change, well that was going to be another two, three weeks to get a new TV spot cut. It's so different, but it's uniquely the same too. It's still understanding who the customer is, what their challenges are that you're trying to solve, and building a campaign using many, many, many different mediums in order to be effective.

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SJ: And the other thing I wanted to ask you about is the use of data. We just didn't have that data back then, right?

AM: We did not. It wasn't like it is today. We might have in certain forms, that you would get information about how effective is the TV spot doing for Chrysler or Buick or GMC or other brands that I've worked on. But, it took long to get that information. You'd have to get ratings, you'd have to get sales, you'd have to run it to these big computer systems to in order to get it. That's why it was just so slow. But today, everything is so focused on instant gratification—we ran a social media campaign this morning, how's it doing this afternoon? Now you have departments totally dedicated to digital marketing and all they're doing is just Facebook and social ads. They're not even thinking about doing that other media, the traditional media. So, it's just broken into so many different areas. There are data scientists.

SJ: Who were some of your favorite clients?

AM: GMC trucks was great, because the second biggest purchase that people make is a vehicle. Back in the nineties, trucks were not as beautiful and didn’t have the many creature comforts they do today. GMC was a lot of fun because it allowed us could do great creative. But it was also tough, because my role was to help dealers, and dealers are pretty cut-throat. So, you're responsible to serve GMC from a national corporation, but you're responsible to work with your local dealers. Another one that was great was called AMI Jukebox. It was a lot of fun being involved in the music and entertainment business. Back in the day, when smoking was banned from restaurants and bars, there was a huge concern that business was just going to tank. And that was a great opportunity to say, “Hey, we can keep pe ople in the seats if you offer them music and entertainment.” With the introductions of mobile phones and smartphones, they've got an app now that you can control the jukebox sitting on your phone, which is kind of fun to do because then you can take over somebody else's music if you have enough points and things. 

SJ: What are some of the things you do to make sure you stay on top of these constant changes?

AM: That’s what's uniquely energizing about this industry. My role on the digital products team is marketing. It's my responsibility to market our digital tools to our customers, potential customers, but also to our sales team. I do use digital marketing for some of those approaches, but you have to stay up on top of it by going to conferences and talking with people. I have a network of connections that I’ve made over the last 30 years who are in different fields within marketing, they play different roles of media buyers, researchers, data analysts, creative people. I stay in touch with them and get advice. It's just that constant education, self-education.

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