01.31.2020 Blog

A Decade of Marketing: Q&A with an Industry Expert

In 2010, QR codes were all the rage, social media was up-and-coming and everyone was listening to “Tik Tok” by Kesha. A decade of trends, innovations and new technology has come and gone.

To get a better idea of the gravity of the changes from this past decade, I sat down with our CEO, Mike Sells, and asked him a few questions about what he’s seen in ten years (even though he’s been with Sells Agency for 25, and in the marketing industry for longer). I found it fascinating, and I hope you do, too.

Q: What did the marketing/advertising industry look like in 2010? What were some popular creative advertising trends at the time? 

A: To fully understand what the industry looked like in 2010, you have to consider where we were in 2009. The recession resulted in a significant decrease in advertising spending and agency employment. The industry shrank significantly and we were in a much different mindset.

The recession was also the major impetus for the shift in media spend away from print and into digital. Marketers had to cut their print media budgets during the recession, and once the economy started to recover, the money never went back into print. Marketers were more attracted to the results they could track with digital advertising, so when they had to choose between print and digital, they put their advertising money into the latter. From a creative standpoint, agencies were suddenly thrust into creating more digital content, which requires a different approach than print content.

Q: Are today’s consumers responding to advertising the same way they did in 2010? How has the industry adapted to keep up with these changes?

A: Consumers always have – and always will – respond to good advertising. And by “good,” I mean advertising that is intellectually honest, persuasive and compelling (as in, compelling them to take some action). Granted, there are many more ways to respond today than there were 20 years ago – call, click, visit, buy, email, etc.

The industry has adapted to consumers’ needs by becoming much more data-driven. When I started in this business, there was very little need for an account executive to know how to work a spreadsheet – there just wasn’t much data. Now, we have an avalanche of data, plus the responsibility to deliver the right insights to our clients on a regular basis so that they know what’s working or not working about their marketing strategy.

Q: What is the biggest difference between 2010 Sells Agency and 2020 Sells Agency? 

A: The biggest difference is that we have more specialties. We now have in-house photography, video, social media and more robust digital capabilities.

Q: What are your predictions for the next decade? Are there any exciting trends in marketing or advertising coming up? 

A: More targeting capabilities across more media channels. In ten years, most “TV” advertising will be purchased against a very specific audience target, much like ConnectedTV is today. At the same time, data privacy concerns will likely limit some of the digital targeting that we see today. Good creative (see definition above) will still get the best results and ROI for our clients.

I also hope that our industry will be more diverse in 10 years than it is today.

Q: What was your favorite marketing campaign from the last decade? 

A: Proctor & Gamble’s “Like a Girl” campaign for Always. As the husband of an amazing, smart and talented wife and the father to two incredibly strong and talented daughters – not to mention growing up in a family of passionate, powerful and successful women, this campaign was very effective in empowering girls and women to be who God made them to be with no apologies.

Q: Would you rather take an impromptu road trip with Flo from Progressive or Mayhem from Allstate? Why? 

A: Flo for sure. She’s cool and fun. Plus, I have plenty of mayhem in life and have no desire to take that with me on a road trip.

Q: Volkswagen’s “The Force” (2011) or Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” (2014)?

A: This isn’t fair. I really, really like “The Force” because it features three things I’m a fan of: Volkswagen cars (I’ve had a Passat, a CC and am now driving an Arteon), Star Wars and dads messing with their kids! But, “Puppy Love” has a special place in my heart because it features the actor Don Jeanes as the Clydesdale trainer and we were fortunate enough to work with Don on a client campaign last year. He’s a great actor and an even better guy. So, this one is a toss-up.