Alicia Smith: Agency Oasis

Meet Alicia Smith. Now give her drink of water because she is parched, even if she doesn’t know it. Within the last 3 weeks, Alicia began her new role as Client Partner at Agency Oasis (ironic right?), got engaged and still managed to find time to meet with me.

Granted, when our meeting began she was drinking a Snapple (unprompted product placement alert) so perhaps she has time to self hydrate but, given her impressive organizational skills, that is no surprise either; even if she works at an Oasis…

As for me, I am member of Emerson College‘s Global Marketing Communication and Advertising (GMCA) program. In the second edition of my Marketing Maverick series, I couldn’t have been more impressed by the insight I gained from Alicia and, lucky for you, will gladly pass along what I learned. Enjoy!

Do you live by any mottoes?
Yes, “find commonality” and “be inspired.”

What would you say you are best known for?
Being able to manage relationships in order to create products.

You’ve been in digital media for years, most recently at Arnold Worldwide, but what originally inspired you to get into digital media?
I enjoy the logical side of creativity. While working on Capitol Hill as an intern for Hillary Clinton, I got an opportunity to work part-time as marketing assistant, and since it incorporated media, I took it. It was a perfect fit; I even learned SEO while on the job. When I got promoted to project manager, I got to see the fun in being able to wear hats like working with clients, managing digital teams and always learning digital more and more.

What does a Client Partner do?
Client Partner is a standard term that involves working with producers to in order to fit the client and agency needs. I help all teams involved stay on task and remain focused on the solutions and the changes in direction that might take place. Essentially, I am in the business of relationship management and building trust. If there is no trust, it is hard to direct a client down a different, more effective path. At Agency Oasis, I work with the client.

Agency Oasis!

What is you favorite part of working as a Client Partner?I like the day-to-day of project of project management and working as a client liaison.

When working with clients, do you prefer face-to-face?
Absolutely. Distance can make that difficult but I prefer face-to-face to calls unless it is an ongoing conversation. E-mail is also pretty great.

Is digital a fundamental need for all companies?
Yes, at least having some kind of presence, like a basic website or Facebook page to list store hours or location is important. Even if you’re a small local store in a small community, minimal web presence should exist – no excuses.

What are the first steps in creating an effective digital strategy?
Analyze your website, what works and what doesn’t. You also need to look at your competition to see what they are offering, especially as it compares to what you do. Though it varies from client to client, it is always vital to look at your goals and ask key questions. Are you trying to push sales? Are you trying to attract users? Push direction? Also, make sure to Google your company and see what comes up. Can customers find you? Can they easily discover your basic information? Can they find you using social media and engage with you?

Should social media always be used and how?
Yes, in most cases. As long as your website is updated, use social media. Step one should be the website, but step two is social media; it is free!

So what role does creativity play?
Creativity plays a huge role in digital, especially in the realm of social media. Finding ways to use the least amount of words and adding images is the absolute best. Or use VINE which is as close to photography as videos can get. Using a maximum length of 6 second clips makes it like the Instagram of videos.

Regarding creativity, how should/do agencies foster creativity?
They don’t do as good a job as they could. It is not regimented enough and it can be hard to harness it to be effective for your clients. For example, it can be difficult to use metrics to prove an out-of-the-box creative plan and thus is hard to sell to clients.

Is old media still relevant?
It is decreasing rapidly but the tactics are relevant on an online setting so…yes?

Do you miss it?
Not really. The only part I miss is a physical book. On vacations, I do my best to just ‘unplug.’

What “screen” do you see the most?
I prefer to see my iPhone screen most, but it is definitely my work laptop.

Complete the sentence….
In 10 years, Google will………own the world.
In 5 years, Twitter will……….be primarily for getting news.
In 3 years, Facebook will…….partner with Google.
In 1 year, “the cloud” will……grow ten times in strength.
The ‘buzziest’ buzz word is….innovation.
Data-mining……………………..can hurt if you’re not equipped to read it.

What advice do you have for marketing grads?
Get your hands dirty. Go big with an Arnold, Mullen or Hill Holliday and immerse yourself in large-scale intersection of campaigns. Also, live and breathe digital. Read industry news, tweet about it, blog about it and show an interest in it (be the new digital talent). Oh, and if you are in the communications field, make sure to maintain and appropriately manage your social presence. Do it.

Changing gears a bit, what should anyone visiting Boston make sure to do?
If it is your first time, definitely the Duck Tour! You get to drive around town and even in the river. Also, make sure to check out the Boston Gardens, a personal favorite, and ride the swan boat. I’ve loved that since I was a kid.

Duck Tour Boston

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