Amanda Richman and Denise Ocasio

Amanda Richman and Denise Ocasio: Q&A Session

Q&A Session: Amanda Richman and Denise Ocasio

Amanda Richman and Denise Ocasio Q&A Session is happening on February 22th 2022 at 11:30 AM PST (2:30 PM EST)

Amanda Richman and Denise Ocasio

Amanda Richman:

Throughout her career, Amanda Richman has helped the world’s biggest advertisers solve business challenges through media. Today as North America CEO, she drives the strategy and activation of Mindshare’s capabilities and solutions across the U.S. and Canada, connecting the culture of more than 1,700 colleagues and working with leading global brands including Unilever, Ford, General Mills, and more.

Richman partners closely with Mindshare, GroupM, and WPP leaders across the global network to drive good growth for the agency’s wide-ranging client base and people. Her energy for industry change and empathetic leadership style creates a culture that develops the next generation of advertising leaders.

Prior to Mindshare, Richman served as the U.S. CEO of Wavemaker, where she led the transformation of two GroupM agencies (MEC & Maxus) into a thriving modern media business, earning Adweek’s “Agency of the Year” (2020). Before that, she served as President of Investment at Starcom where she broke down channel silos to build one integrated investment team across traditional, digital, local, and programmatic divisions.

Richman’s numerous accolades include Campaign’s “Female Frontier Awards” (2021), 4As “100 Greatest People in Advertising” (2017), and ad:tech “Industry Achievement” (2015) recognition. She also served as the Chairman of the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Board.

As a career-long advocate for inclusion, Richman is passionate about advancing Mindshare’s good growth agenda and solutions, from the Inclusion PMP series and Data Ethics Compass to the ‘Change’ transformation consultancy. She’s proud to lead #TeamMindshare, who have earned Campaign’s Media Agency of the Year, MediaPost’s Media Agency of the Year, and Ad Age’s Agency A-list in just the last couple of years, among other accolades.

Denise Ocasio:

As Executive Director of Investment, Denise consistently works to futureproof the investment capability for Mindshare. This includes leading a highly skilled and passionate investment community focused on delivering the best value and investment opportunities for clients and working with the marketing industry to push forward solutions around better audience targeting and measurement. In addition to her savvy negotiating experience, her expertise includes product and content integration deals with major television properties (such as Survivor, The Amazing Race, ESPN Sunday Countdown, The Voice, and many others), and multi-year cinema contracts and partnerships with major sports entities (ranging from the NFL to NASCAR to the NBA).
With 28 years of experience in the industry across a broad spectrum of clients—from Domino’s to Unilever, Kimberly-Clark, General Mills, IBM, TJX, and many more, she has been a part of numerous significant brand launches and large-scale strategies to create Good Growth for clients—growth that is enduring and sustainable for the long-term. She and her team use marketing to change the world by connecting brand purpose with business goals through the intentional use of media. GroupM’s ‘Responsible Investment Framework’ underpins this approach, spawning such efforts as Mindshare’s Private Marketplaces (PMPs) that direct investment into journalism and content from marginalized groups.

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 Amanda Richman and Denise Ocasio – Transcript

AMA with Amanda Richman and Denise Ocasio @ Mindshare

February 22nd, 2022

It’s Q&A Session time and today we have two awesome guests! Please give a warm OG welcome to Amanda Richman and Denise Ocasio from leading global media agency Mindshare. Amanda is North America CEO and Denise is Executive Director, Investment. The global Mindshare network features 10,000 people worldwide, operating in 116 offices in 86 countries. Amanda and Denise work together to help the world’s biggest advertisers solve business challenges through media. They’re excited to take your questions, from how to grow a career in media/marketing, to how marketers can leverage their media dollars with more intention, to thoughts on the big challenges facing brands today, and more!

Thanks Mike – Denise and I are thrilled to be joining the community today! Ask away…

How do you recommend budgeting for influencers? Or – what metrics make it worth it, when selling using influencers to a client?

Great question – we’re fortunate that we have a specialist unit at GroupM called Inca, that helps us both identify key influencers and quantify how we engage/set budgets, as well a tool suite for looking at total allocation across channels.  But partners in the space are a great source too for defining a starting point – in budget-setting and in helping define metrics.  Thankfully we’re beyond the world of ‘likes’!

When considering influencers, the first thought should be around brand safety and reputation of the influencer; brands borrow equity in every environment they are in. Furthermore, consider how the influencer costs fits within your overall social budget- there is no “set” amount, it should be considered as part of the whole.  Our specialty unit Inca can help!

Hey Amanda Richman, what’s your advice for freelancers on what agencies want from them when outsourcing work?

Hopefully they start the conversation helping to define that – not just the assignment, but timelines, the output, how they want to engage these days remotely, through what channels. These days every agency seems to be turning to more flexible freelance talent – but the one consistent ‘want’ is to deliver what was committed on time, and clear communication along the way…asking them questions when they come up so that you can adjust.

Would love to hear any tactics around visually showcasing a service/community brand without getting lost. We are a travel club with community at it’s core. I often feel like our (stunning) hotel partners shine more loudly in content than the club itself

When a brand is trying to “outshine” the competition and stand out, we usually start with the concept of “fewer, bigger, better”.  Find places that your brand will resonate with an audience and utilize creative assets that are different and stand out.  Aligning with the correct context is half of the job, creative differentiation really helps you stand out.

Hey Amanda Richman, can you suggest how I can master in ASO (App store optimisation)

Sorry Armaan, I’m no master there – but there has to be some good online sources of intel…throwing this back to the online geniuses!

How can marketers leverage their media dollars with more intention?Especially in the current landscape (emergence of TikTok and influencer/UGC content trumping high-production content, privacy changes, etc.)?

This is such a great conversation  that we’re engaging our clients in at Mindshare/GroupM. Like everything, it starts with an understanding of their business goals and audiences they’re trying to reach, and partners where they’ve seen success. But by going deeper to understand their values as a company, the values of their customers, and the spaces where they meet, we can start to guide their media investments to where there’s a multiplier effect – driving performance and doing good.  Sometimes the opportunity is in expanding to more diverse audiences, other times we look at the sustainability commitments of media partners if that’s the priority for clients/customers, or investing in PMPs designed to support the deal flow for minority-owned media companies.  Hopefully a few useful thought starters!

I would add that once there is a deep understanding of a company’s values, then its time to work with partners that share those same values.  Our RFP process includes a discussion about intentional investment and brand suitability so that we can review together with platforms to understand our shared values and activate against them.

Amanda Richman, I’m a co-founder of a SaaS platform and my target audience are enterprise agencies that manage paid search. My challenge is outreach. What would be the best way to reach out to prospective agencies just like Mindshare? Does cold email still work?

Call it multi-touch marketing…email can still work if right moment/right need, LinkedIn network reach out, one day back to on site events too.  But be to the point in any format – ‘the problem we solve for is…’ and ‘we’ve done it before with Client Y (insert recognizable brand)’…or ‘the results we drive are…’.  Keep persisting!

Ladies, I have a couple questions from other members who are “timezone challenged” but asked that we get them in the thread.
Denise Ocasio, What are your thoughts on some of the emerging media investment opportunities in things such as e-sport teams, and Play to Earn platforms that are emerging in the Blockchain space?  Is it to soon, or is now the time to be thinking about this?Both – Are their any media trends that you are seeing emerge in EMEA and APAC that NA based Marketers should be paying attention to? If so, any specifics?

Great questions on “emerging media”, which is very quickly moving from “emerging” to the “here and now”! There is a wide spectrum of opportunities to consider in these “newer” spaces and test and learn tactics are the best way to explore these spaces ie, the metaverse.  Before doing so, however, it is critical that companies review their own “risk tolerance” scales because many of these newer spaces are not regulated and there is an amount of risk associated with regard to brand safety.   So worth exploring…..if your audience is there and you can afford a bit of risk in a new platform!

Also, I mentioned shoppable ads and their growth in another thread, this tactic definitely took off in APAC first and is now just starting to grow here in NA as more and more media becomes addressable.

Amanda Richman, When do you know it is time to drop a campaign for performance reasons? How long is long enough?

Alas, there’s no rule of thumb – but hopefully at the start of the campaign the team has established the KPIs for success, based on past performance or industry benchmarks (and yes, an informed best guess for test & learn firsts).  And with that, your budget and timeline provides guidance on when to shift, and what to shift (messaging change? shift to other partners?), building learnings for future campaigns.

Our agency’s main goal for 2022 is answering the question: how can we make our clients stronger with their online marketing? In case you ever question this yourself, could you give an example of how do you do this?

Great goal – and unique to all of your clients I’m sure. One path in would be to set aside time with your clients to ask them ‘what areas would you like to strengthen, what gaps do you see ahead’ so you can pinpoint what help looks like – stronger in building their brand? in customer acquisition? in innovation or doing more with less media dollars?  Then keep asking questions to get to the heart of what success looks like, and what would make your partnership stronger with them – from which you can narrow down to 3 priorities and build out an action plan (or learning plan) to get some momentum.  It’s a good ambition for 2022!

How can a small agency thrive?

Know thyself!  What are the 3 things your agency does best, what are the problems you can best solve for, and how do you make your agency even more distinct in delivering that.  Small agencies have immense strengths in their personal relationships with clients, their talent who can grow quickly in their roles and take on new challenges, and in being nimble and serving as an agile extension of your clients’ teams.  Play to your strengths – there are many at small agencies!

Based on your experience, what have been some of the biggest growth drivers and tactics lately?

With all media becoming more addressable, we are definitely seeing how the worlds of media and commerce are melding.  Shoppable ads on linear TV and streaming services are becoming more common (Look at Coinbase’s QR code in the Super Bowl!) and most tactics are evolving to become a combination of reaching audiences and then getting them to “lean in” and take an action with a brand.

100% – and I’ll add to that (and back to the intentional media question), marketers that run towards multicultural audiences, with relevant messaging in relevant content, can realize next level growth as well.

Both –  As Senior Executives of one of, if not the largest media firm in the world, time is valuable, what are you reading or listening to, to stay current?  Any blogs, podcasts, books, or other resources you are tapping into to keep it fresh?

We are so fortunate to have an in-house Business Intelligence source that provides us updates on the latest in the marketplace as well as a view on media trends.  I read everything Brian Weiser sends me!  I also just started reading “Be a Happy Leader” by Tia Graham as it is a great source of inspiration on how to keep such a large team motivated!

You said OG…so OG it is…yes, scanning the daily email newsflash (WSJ CMO Today, AdAge, Mediapost, AAF Smart Brief) is still a great scroll for headlines – NYT The Daily podcast is a great source for story depth (alongside NPR…yes, my colors are showing), with a range of POVs and thought leadership pieces at our agency that bring fresh perspective.  Brian Weiser, Joe Maceda, Rachel Lowenstein, Whitney Fishman-Zembar…read ’em when you see ’em.

Amanda Richman, Do you have ay suggestions around content marketing for a service based company like Digicorp. The services include web app development, app development, Custom design, UI/UX etc.
Also, how we can start influencer marketing for a service based company like Digicorp?

A starting point could be following other companies/competitors you admire – what content are they creating/sharing, with what frequency and tonality. What would you say that may be unique, and who might fit that profile whether a current influencer or a company voice that is authentic and not paid for.  Alas, not my area of expertise but observing others’ approach is a first path…

What comes first the people or the clients?

At the start of the pandemic, I heard a great piece of advice….take care of your people, they’ll take care of your clients, and your clients will take care of your business growth.  Our people are what our clients invest in – their expertise, their passion for their business, their willingness to go the extra mile…so now more than ever, it’s critical that we understand and respond to what motivates our people to inspire our clients.

I will always say people come first. Ensuring that a person is heard is critical to any healthy relationship, whether personal or professional.  When you remember that your clients are also people- not just clients- you understand better their goals and aspirations.  So whether its a client, or your own team- make sure you are really hearing them in order to produce the best work.

How do you see communities fitting into a company’s marketing strategy?

Great question – I see more marketers going beyond defining their ‘customer’ as an individual, and thinking about both the communities they live and work in (customer, and marketer), as well as the community formed around shared values (whether an online group, super fans, or common beliefs that connect their customers beyond demos).  Understanding the role marketers can play in these communities – the problem they solve for, the value they create – and creating spaces for two-way feedback is making marketing so much more interesting these days!

I’ve heard from more than one agency that they have decided to take an ethical stand against working with and spending on platforms (Facebook in particular) that continue to enable dis- or mis-information efforts as well as ignore various privacy considerations. Curious if that is a direction you have considered, or if you would ever attempt to dissuade spending on platforms that don’t meet an ethical standard a business may otherwise maintain.

Each client, each company, has their own ways and paths to responsible investment and we work with brands to help them find that path and to make changes if they decide to. The decision to support a platform is very specific to each marketer; we work with each of our clients to determine where their media spend should go, and which partners they should work with to accomplish their own chosen path of responsible investment.

Thanks Matt – this is a question that many agencies and marketers are taking on, with recognition that how our media dollars are spent matters – in positive and negative lights.  As Denise shared, it’s a very client-specific discussion – based on their values, their customer’s values and concerns, and how we can help guide their media investment to deliver on their business goals as well as make a positive impact (whether that’s supporting under-represented voices for instance, or doing no harm to the planet).  GroupM was at the forefront of GARM with marketers to surface these challenges including mis/dis-information, and hold media partners more accountable – and many of them have leaned it to try to resolve the issues.  There’s no single solution – but it starts with a conversation with clients…hope you’re having them as well!

Talent Question –  What are the top skills that Mindshare are looking for at the moment?  Softskills versus Tech skills?

While tech skills are in high demand, the soft skills – building trust, developing relationships, bringing optimism to the challenge, being open to input and ideas – those are the skills that make our people and clients special!

Primarily we are looking for people that are energized by all the changes in the media landscape and want to work with an agency that is at the heart of setting new ground rules for the media marketplace!  We are looking for enthusiasm and individuals that welcome multi- tasking and want to quickly learn as much as possible!

OK everyone we are going to wrap it up for today.   That was a fast hour of discussion with tons of insight.  Thanks Amanda and Denise for joining today’s AMA! Sounds like Mindshare is doing a lot of great things – and they’re hiring! More info can be found on their website here:

Thanks for all of the questions!

Thanks Mike and everyone who joined us today – loved the questions and thinking you all shared. Stay curious!


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