Eric Mower Advertising Forum: Chris Marino, Director Of Global Social Media Strategy At American Express

Eric Mower Advertising Forum: Chris Marino, Director Of Global Social Media Strategy At American Express

In your fall and spring semesters at Newhouse, there will be great opportunities to learn from people who aren’t your professors. Although the luminous KO (Kevin O’Neill) and CEO-style Brian Sheehan have made my spring semester an incredible learning experience so far, it’s refreshing to hear from someone you don’t see every week. Moreover, these visiting speakers come from a different part of the business world. They are not always someone who is the figurehead of a well-known advertising agency, but that certainly is not a bad thing. In case you haven’t read my other posts, the Eric Mower Advertising Forum speakers are a group of people from around the advertising and marketing world who our Newhouse staff works hard to bring in for us. I hope that current students and future students who did not have the opportunity to see the speakers can take something away from my summary of their presentations here.

On February 13, 2018, we heard from Chris Marino, director of global social media strategy for American Express. I will include my main takeaways from his presentation on B2B (business-to-business) advertising through social media below:

  1. Know Your Audience. I bet any business, marketing, or advertising student has heard this phrase a million times, but Marino mentioned that 85% of small and medium business owners feel frustrated and the people they do business with have a lack of empathy. The smaller businesses generally feel that internal obstacles were the hardest to overcome.
  2. Fish Where The Fish Are. Marino understands that business owners don’t usually seek out content from potential B2B partners, so American Express can’t just turn on the “OPEN” sign and wait for the customers to come running. Business owners (shockingly) are busy! However, you can reach them if you know where they are already spending their time and attention. One thing I found surprising is that small business owners will sometimes use social media to ask about real business problems or decisions. Additionally, small business owners will spend time on sites like Cheddar: a “millennial” solution for financial news. The young adult generation will act like all young adults, their business-life is no exception. Reach your target by looking into where they spend their time as regular people.
  3. Have Conversations With Your Audience. Understand that there are a million ways for someone to say “no” to you. If you find a way to relate to them, level with them, and speak their language, you’ll get to “the power of yes.”
  4. Escape The “Sea of Sameness.” Once you see an idea catch on somewhere, you see it everywhere. I bet you remember approximately how long ago you noticed those first “Tasty” videos on Facebook where you can make some awesome-looking food in seemingly no time at all. How long did it take for your news feed to be flooded with them? Instead of boring people with the same tactics and the same messages over and over, do something that no one is doing. Marino demonstrated American Express’s escape from the Sea of Sameness with projects such as showing 10-second case studies in their ads to small businesses and their execution of the well-known “Small Business Saturday.” Do something different if you want your message to be heard over the rest of the shouting.
  5. Talk To Business-People Like People. Chris said anyone at work is probably the exact same person as the individual at home, after work. A great and simple illustration.
  6. Find A Cultural Tension. Marino showed AMEX’s “Get Business Done” ad, which was created to explain how ridiculous business jargon can be. Instead of learning how to decode business terms, keep it simple and get things done.
  7. Tell The Truth (simple enough).
  8. Advice For College Students: Ask yourself what you’re really interested in. What motivates you and where do you see that fitting into your career? Do applicable hands-on learning, which he mentions is incredibly easy to take on through Newhouse (basically, we’re set).
  9. How To Learn Data Analysis: Surround yourself with people who are great at doing it. Immerse yourself in the world of data, look at it in a way that shows cultural tensions. Other people in your field are going to be better at data analysis than you, but collaborate with the best people and the student just might surpass the teacher.


Joseph Laraiso
Advertising Master's Student, focused in Account Management. Background in finance and investing. Progressive Rock enthusiast. Expert in being very blunt and straightforward.
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