10 Sep Miller Meet: Zack Zimmerman
Understanding the right (and wrong) marketing tools for your digital campaigns, with Miller Ink’s Zack Zimmerman.
The first question people usually ask before launching a digital marketing campaign is “which tools should we use?” While the right tools are of course critical to creating successful campaigns, what’s often overlooked is how to utilize them to achieve the best results. As Miller Ink Account Executive Zack Zimmerman pointed out during a recent sit-down, digital marketing tools are only as successful as those who are interpreting their effectiveness.
How long have you been at Miller Ink?
I’ve been at Miller Ink for about a year a half.
What is your professional background?
Most recently, I worked at Disney where I wrote copy for the Disney+ platform, as well as other digital and physical campaigns. I also have a background in journalism. I worked for the UC Santa Barbara independent student newspaper called The Daily Nexus for two years as a copy editor. The common thread across all my previous positions is writing, content creation, and digital media marketing.
What is your role within Miller Ink?
I’m an Account Executive, which means I spearhead and manage the day-to-day operations of about five client accounts. This includes ensuring quality control, working with others on the account, and facilitating both internal and external vendors. My main objective is to steer clients toward success, as they often don’t have a background in press, media, marketing, and advertising.
What is your specialty at the company?
My main specialty is my entertainment background. I grew up in Los Angeles and have been adjacent to the entertainment industry throughout my life. This has given me a leg up on how to deal with many of the protocols and personalities in the business. You need to be able to talk the talk and walk the walk because there are certain standards as to how to communicate and keep up. There’s also a particular vernacular and understanding of how things work that put you on the path to success when dealing with entertainment clients. Miller Ink is expanding in this area, so I’m happy to bring that skillset and experience to the table.
Another specialty of mine is developing new systems, such as technical platforms or digital tools that help advance campaigns. As a result, I’ve become familiar with the major software and platforms that pertain to email marketing, social media, data analytics, and advertising. Understanding the digital landscape is really helpful in our role as consultants. This means knowing the pros and cons of each, and making suggestions based on our experience using them.
What are some of the most important digital marketing tools out there?
It’s important to not look at digital marketing tools in a vacuum. There are of course tools that will help you execute a campaign, whether it’s for designing creative or implementing a marketing plan. The other side of it involves using tools effectively to ensure that your campaigns work. That’s the part you can’t miss—the tools are meant to keep you honest by tracking statistics and data to make sure you are hitting your goals.
For social media, I often use Conviva, which is a video optimization and analytics solution. Also, while YouTube is the standard bearer for video platforms, Vimeo is actually a dark horse because it gives you real-time viewing data. You can see exactly where the user drops off in a program, and that helps us analyze what went wrong, and why the audience left. This has been particularly useful during the pandemic, as we’ve done a lot of digital events and webinars. There are other powerful reporting tools like Raventools, Sprout Social, and more that save you time on reporting and help you understand the effectiveness of your digital marketing campaigns.
What’s the best way a business could implement a marketing campaign using these tools?
The first thing I ask any business before launching a marketing campaign is “who are you trying to reach?” I want to know what your target audience is and why you want them to take a specific action. Every company and non-profit is different, so there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer to how you would use and implement certain tools. That’s the benefit of having a team of experts on your side, we have used every social platform on the market and can give you an honest answer as to what works and what doesn’t.
Obviously, everyone wants to get on TikTok these days because that’s where the kids are. There are always creative ways to post on TikTok and communicate your message to a younger audience, but it also requires a cost/benefit analysis. In many cases, you’re better off allocating that time, energy, and money on a platform that better fits your needs and helps you connect with those in your target demographic.
Facebook has a much different demographic layout than TikTok, as does Instagram. So certain platforms might have components that make them especially great for different business. For example, if you have a product that is very aesthetically pleasing, Instagram might work best because it is a photo and visual-based platform. Overall, there is no silver bullet solution for every organization.
For businesses just getting started on social media, which platform would you recommend and why?
For businesses that have never been on social media at all, you just need to start. However, you can’t expect to jump on, post, and grow organically on Day One. It’s very difficult to be heard now that there has been such a flock to social media.
Instead, you must set a foundation and a plan for implementation. Once you have that, and start to build a dedicated following, I recommend allocating a budget for social media advertising or other marketing campaigns to get followers and drive traffic to your business. But the foundation always comes first. After that, devise a strategy to get your message out, and then start your campaign.
What is the future of digital marketing and social media? With the return to normal, will these areas continue to grow, or will they drop off when people aren’t in their homes as much?
Digital marketing and social media are on an upward growth trajectory. COVID-19 taught us that everything, including our client relationships, could be online if we want them to be. As people spend more time online, you’re going to see a lot more segmenting into groups and niche communities. Facebook used to be the place where you’d post your status to everyone. Now Facebook is a useful and vibrant tool for groups.
Businesses must be able to respond from a digital marketing and advertising perspective to that change in communication and how communities form. So, instead of sending a message to the entire world, your goal should be to push out a specific message to a targeted group of people. Sometimes, this involves a lot of scout work or surveying to meet these people where they are. Ultimately, the more sophisticated your digital campaign is, the better results you will get because the people you’re trying to reach are gathering in one place.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I often play guitar, which is my way to decompress after a day at work. I also like to stay very active. I play tennis every weekend, and I also like to go golfing, backpacking, hiking, and camping. I love to travel as well, so if I ever had the opportunity to work in a position where I’m on planes 4 or 5 days out of the week, I would probably take it.
I also have a side business where I buy and sell second hand clothing. So I spend a lot of time in second hand shops and thrift stores finding treasures.. Often times what I buy doesn’t get sold because I end up wearing it myself.
Where is your favorite place you have traveled? And what is one of your dream destinations?
It’s a bit of a cliché, but my favorite place is Italy. Italy is the perfect combination of history, culture, art, and amazing food and people. I also went to Edinburgh for a week, and I fell in love with that city. As far as a place I want to visit, India is at the top of that list. I don’t know much about India other than their food, but I’ve had the pleasure of making friends from India and it seems like a wonderful place to visit.
If you were a punctuation mark, which would you be?
My favorite is the em dash, but I wouldn’t want to be one because it’s a bit overused. If I’m trying to be unique, I’d choose to be a question mark because I believe that in order to grow and build a team that’s successful, you need to be collaborative. A huge part of that is asking questions and getting feedback. You can learn something from everyone, but you’re not going to do so without asking questions.