August Speaker Interview Featuring Daniel Russell

Could you tell me a little bit about yourself?


I have been all over the block. I studied history and economics in undergrad and then did finance in New York. After that, I got married and moved and wanted to find a different job and that’s how I ended up in marketing. I did marketing consultancy in tech stuff for a software company called Qualtrix. They do survey software for market research and that sort of thing. Then I decided to go to law school. I got my law degree, took the BAR in Maryland, and became an attorney but always wanted to end in business, back in marketing one way, shape or form. [I] ended up joining GoFish Digital, which is the agency I am at now as an in-house counsel and one of our directors for marketing. Now, I help run all of our client project management, still do legal stuff and help innovate on the marketing side to come up with new ideas, services and offerings.


What led to your desire to have a career in marketing?


I have always liked organizational business and the creative stuff, I always thought it was fun. I was exposed to art classes, and then, pottery and when I went to college, I really liked taking classes about art and film and that sort of thing. I would look at the other students in the marketing program and think, ‘man, they get to do that all the time, they get to just come up with funny advertisements and do cool things all the time.’ I thought, ‘l want to do a little bit of both, organizational finance, manning the leadership side and I want to, also, be on a creative side too and have so much fun with it.’ So that’s when marketing appeared as kind of the perfect mix of the creative and organizational side of business.


Could you elaborate on your role as director at GoFish Digital?


I oversee all of our market management. Each of our clients comes in and has a project, or two, or three that they’re working on with us and I oversee all of that process, all of the managers that manage each of those projects. I also oversee quite a bit on the leadership side with interviewing, finances, budgeting and helping direct the agency that way.


In your opinion, what does it take to become a successful marketer?


I see a few things most frequently. The first is the willingness to try new things and experiment and then fail with those experiments. Just because some of our biggest marketing successes have come from risks and doing something we have never done before. Experimenting and being willing to fail sometimes in order to get those really good wins is, I think, really important. The other thing I think is really important is marketing is kind of like the fashion world, it kind of ages so frequently and so rapidly. What is considered new and interesting and on the fringe is even more digital, which is GoFish Digital’s specialty. The digital side of marketing changes almost daily, whether it be Google changes the way it works, or how our advertising platforms are structured, a social media platform, snapchat rolling out their new changes, there are just always all of these new changes coming out. To me, that makes it a lot of fun but it also means if you’re not willing to really be on the cutting edge, you will quickly get left behind.


At the TMC event this August, you’re talking about ‘stealing’ the best content ideas from Reddit. What do you consider to be your favorite thing about Reddit and can you briefly explain it and how it works?


Reddit is a giant sideline forum where subscribers and users create or find content on the internet and post it to Reddit, to this forum. When that content gets posted and Reddit’s, kind of ‘secret sauce,’ since it’s such a big website, is once those users post that content to Reddit, other users can, then, upvote on that content, so they can click to upvote and say they like it or downvote to say they don’t like it -it’s kind of like a ‘thumbs-up,’ thumbs-down’ thing. The reason that’s so special is it gives a hook to the person posting the content, if they get lots of upvotes they want to do it some more, so it really drives participation in the platform, lots of content is constantly being posted and created for Reddit. Also, it helps us as consumers of content only see the best stuff, if we want to. With Reddit they only show you the most popular, most upvoted content. This helps you filter through the less interesting content and you can quickly see some really cool, funny, interesting things and it’s constantly changing because people are posting so often. What makes Reddit tick is, probably my favorite part about Reddit, there is just so much going on and so many people you get these kind of economies of scale. When there’s one person trying to think of cool ideas, and then there are 10 [people] coming up with ideas. But [Reddit] will often see several hundred million unique visitors in just a month so there are so many people, like the equivalent of the United States population, participating in adding new content to Reddit. So you get some stuff that is so creative, so interesting and you also get articles created even elsewhere, Washington Post, NY Times article. They are putting out a lot of articles but not all of them are great then people will post those to Reddit and decide which ones are good and I can just see the best. It’s such a cool platform that way. You get so much participation, so many creative and unique ideas to the point a lot of the viral videos, GIFs and images and stories have started on Reddit. It’s just where the creativity of the internet is focused right now. It’s really useful to me as a marketer because I am always trying to look for creative and fresh ideas, right? I can look on Reddit, look at the coolest, newest liked content that is being put of right now, look at that and say “wow, people really liked this funny GIF, maybe one of my clients could create a funny GIF like this and it would do really well. It’s really entertaining to me personally and it’s really useful to me as a marketer.


Where do you see marketing in the next 5 years?


I think one of the largest things affecting marketing will be artificial intelligence, it already is affecting marketing quite a bit, Google’s algorithms that they use for their search engine and then also for their ads and even now for their display ads -adsense advertising, will all be heavily influenced by artificial intelligence so it’s very likely that will become more the norm. Everything from the commercial you see on television, to what ads are shown to you when you are reading an article, to the way websites are designed, it’s very likely, in the next 5 years, artificial intelligence will have an effect on all of that. It’s going to be exciting to see.


What advice would you like to give to young marketer such as myself?


I would say to, even if you don’t have a job or outlet, to start experimenting on your own. For example, when we are looking to hire new people at our agency, it’s always exciting and beneficial to see a candidate who has created their own website and tried to market that or has branded something of theirs and created a social following around it. That’s one of the cool things about marketing today, with the internet and with the digital side you don’t need to wait until you have a company or agency to work for, if you want to start working on marketing you can start right away. Start experimenting now. The nice thing about that is marketing is quite a big field and you may not know what type of marketing you might be interested in but if you start experimenting now you can start narrowing that down. Maybe you created a website and thought “well, that’s not for me.” [Experimenting] helps you narrow it down, helps you get more experience and it can only serve to impress future colleges and future workplaces.


What is what key takeaway you hope the Triangle Marketing Club audience leaves with after hearing your presentation?


I hope the audience will know how to use Reddit, find cool ideas for themselves and their clients and how they can take those cool ideas and translate them into some of their best marketing campaigns.


Personal Notes for Video:


How Reddit works

Show people the cool content

How to use Reddit

Explaining how GoFish uses that creativity to find creative content marketing ideas from that cool stuff they find on Reddit

Sharing 3 case studies of specific clients on where they have done this