In this new series, we’re illuminating open roles by going beyond the bullet points and chatting with Delphies about new opportunities on their teams. For our first spotlight, we sat down with VP of Marketing, Kevin Hanley, to talk about his experience at Delphic, the growth of the marketing team, and our new Director of Media role.
You’ve been at Delphic for a while now and have seen the marketing team shift and grow; how big was the team when you started compared to now?
In the past two years we’ve doubled in size. We were at six people when I started and now we’re at 12, soon to be 13. It’s been quite the transformation but, what’s interesting is how the skill set has broadened. We’re not only growing within our current disciplines, we’re expanding our footprint in terms of what we can do by bringing in the best talent.
The internal media function existed on a much smaller scale at Delphic at this time last year. What brought about this new full service offering and how has this part of the team developed over the last year?
It actually happened really organically. We do a lot of development and digital strategy work for our clients and on their customer’s journey and, what we’ve found is that that the journey begins way before the customer lands on the website – it begins when they first become aware of the brand – in the brand awareness and consideration stage. What we’ve found is that, through improved targeting strategies and the use of data and technology to execute targeting, the ability to communicate with a customer before they reach they site was really within media.
Once we decided that these new targeting methods were something we were interested in, we started to do a fair amount of it for some of our larger clients and as we grew their digital strategies, these media strategies grew as well, and as we showed ROI through great analytics, we were able to grow their media budgets.
With this initial experience, we decided that it needed to go beyond our traditional media team, which was mostly paid search. We needed someone who had worked in not only the programmatic space (which is kind of a buzzword that boils down to using AI and key indicators to meet a goal for media) and we needed someone with direct buy experience because there’s a lot of branding with our digital strategies that sometimes require maybe not like, a very broad, programmatic experience to meet a goal. Sometimes the goal is, “I want to get in front of as many eyeballs that look like this and act like this as possible” which is more of a direct buy approach.
Our first hire in the media department, Cara Travis had all of that experience and was detail oriented and was a great addition to the team from a culture perspective, but the workload has grown beyond Cara – she’s only one person. We’ve gotten Cara help with additional media support at the associate level and we’re now looking for someone with a lot of experience to help continue to grow Cara in this role as she’s a key piece of the media team.
How big is the media team right now?
Including paid search, it’s made up of 5 people, and this Director of Media role would oversee all of them.
What would a snapshot for the Director of Media – what would a typical day look like for them?
The team starts their days very similarly – you get in, take a look at the previous day’s results – the rolling 7, 30, 60, 90 day performance data which points you in a direction of where you need to optimize and what you need to do to manage the campaigns. After daily insights and optimizations, we’d begin tackling the larger strategic initiatives of rolling out new tactics or brainstorming creative media, thinking about new and interesting ways to target the right person at the right time with the right message, which is core to everything we do.
Those are the things that this person will do and the ratio of getting into the weeds vs high level strategy will vary daily. The type of person we’re looking for will not only be comfortable with that, they’re going to look for it and want to be able to to do it because, I think everyone at Delphic does a bit of that – getting into the technical details and then pulling out and being strategic as well.
Piggybacking off of that, why would the right person would want this job? What’s in it for them?
I think first and foremost, the person who will want this job and succeed in this role is very results-oriented but, more than that, wants to do really interesting work that’s going to push the envelope in terms of what data and technology will allow us to do from a media perspective.
Honestly, the technology is outpacing the strategic ideas coming out of media departments because, traditional media departments, even the larger digital media agencies, become comfortable. It’s become more about the margins and it’s easy to get a little bit lazy, whereas we at Delphic refuse to settle, we aim to always push the data and tech as hard as we can. For us, it goes beyond meeting a KPI to asking, “did this produce a great digital experience for a group of people?” If so, mission accomplished, that’s great. Ultimately, we want to do great work.
To your point of leveling up strategy to reach the full potential of new marketing technology, how do you foresee the Director of Media sourcing the latest information to create boundary-pushing strategies?
An expectation of this position will be participation in the digital media industry from both a data and technology perspective and it will be expected of them not just to go out and bring ideas back but go out and share their own great ideas with both clients and the general industry, to help showcase thought leadership at Delphic in this space.
Drilling down on the team management aspect, what is the current collaboration style of the marketing team and how do you foresee the Director of Media role fitting in?
The marketing team’s collaboration style is free-flowing on an as-needed basis. Because it’s a smaller team, everyone works closely together and they all care about each others’ results and what we’re doing, so, it’s not only just collaboration with the media team but also the analytics and creative teams as well.
There’s a lot of problem solving involved in what we do – for example, tailoring client solutions within budget constraints – and that thought process is a lot of fun and makes collaboration really valuable for the team. For instance, for the last half of Q4 last year, for one hour every Friday we’d get breakfast and plan the strategy for one of our largest client’s 2017 fiscal year. At the end of this process everybody commented that it was their favorite hour of the week because they could leave all the work and to do lists at their desks and come into this think tank for a few hours and just think creatively and ideate on how to make the best 2017 media strategy possible. It’s still early, but I think we did!
How would the Director of Media work with you in your capacity as VP of Marketing?
All of the senior leadership at Delphic play a role in strategy and that goes all the way up to the managing partners, Mark and Lance. I’d love to partner with this new team member on setting up and fine tuning any processes in need of implementation to allow not only the Director of Media but the entire team to work more effectively. This role requires a collaborative effort and, there will be times where I’ll let this person to take a more strategic lead and I’d step back, and other times it could be vice-versa.
How would you describe your management style?
I believe that what people consider good luck and good results are really the result of good planning and good process. So, I always like to encourage my team to slow down and focus on process first. I never put the results, good or bad, on a person, but, I do think it’s important to celebrate success. So, I’d say I’m more hands-off with an eye on process in a bid to give my team the space to grow.
Are there any questions a potential candidate should ask themselves before applying for the Director of Media role?
Are you passionate about digital and digital media? If you could do one thing for the rest of your life and not get paid, would it be this? Are you ready to be a really integral part of the growth of a company? You’ll be stepping into a rapidly growing department and tasked with helping further the growth and if you’re all in, it’s such a rewarding experience.
Define the marketing team’s working dynamic in three words or less.
Passionate, noisy, fun.
And how many times has the marketing team Escaped the Room?
2/2. 100% success rate. We’ve never failed to Escape the Room because we are problem solvers.
This interview has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.
Interested in applying for the Director of Media role? Click through for the full position description.
Want to learn more about other opportunities at Delphic? Visit our Careers page to view more open roles.