Editor’s Note: Community is everything to us at Pixlee. We’re thrilled to welcome our community of #PixleePros in our latest series “Send Tweet: Insights From the #PixleePros.” This week I had the pleasure of speaking with Andrew Weiss!Andrew Weiss is a strategist within the entertainment and sports space.
Haley Fraser: Tell me about your background – What do you do and what are you passionate about? And of course, how did you get to where you are now?
Andrew Weiss: Absolutely. I’ve been in marketing and advertising for about 10 years. I spent about seven years in the advertising agency space focusing specifically on social and digital as that whole industry kept evolving every step of the way. Since then, I've been doing consulting and project based work with civic engagement, sports and entertainment clients. One of the things that I think always attracted me to people like Kyle and yourself is I've always been fascinated with user generated content. I use it predominantly for research now. Social listening, business development, and creative strategy is inherently in my work streams, and it’s rooted in user generated content, whether it's a tweet, an Instagram post, a TikTok, or whatnot. I like trying to turn that into as many rich insights and creative as possible, on top of creative, when applicable.
Haley Fraser: What drew you into this space?
Andrew Weiss: I graduated in 2009 and I knew I wanted to get a job in advertising. And that was when there were these two separate verticals being developed: traditional and digital + social. I was going the digital and social route, predominantly based on interest and timing. As that evolved, what we saw was a lot of unwritten rules, a lot of undeveloped rules , new platforms and new work streams coming and going every step of the way. I look back quite fondly on the fact that sometimes my job descriptions had words that may or may not have made sense. And sometimes, my job title would have to change to pivot with the way the industry was going. So even though I came into this blank slate in 2009, when people were mostly using Facebook, it kind of built this habit inside my brain and my professional work skill set that is never not evolving.
Haley Fraser: I love that you’re speaking on evolving. Obviously, we're in a very different place in the social media and digital world than we were in 2009. How would you describe that change? How have you seen that change?
Andrew Weiss: It's gone from a small little subset of your marketing campaign to being what is predominantly considered first in the marketing campaign. Even if you're doing a TV commercial, a giant brand overhaul, or an entire Q3 workshop focused on driving revenue with new customers, a lot of that either inherently impacts social or the research for it can come from social. At this point, since it’s been going on for so long, it has to be considered in a campaign. So I kind of just see social becoming more and more important and integrated, even though there are specific aspects of it that are different. Like, a TV commercial without a social activation is just not very thoughtful anymore.
Haley Fraser: Totally. That's a very good point. How does community impact your life as a marketer?
Andrew Weiss: Especially in the entertainment space, where you can look at fan bases and communities as forms of research, marketing or content creation, I think it's going to become more and more important. Campaigns, movies, and television shows rely on such communities to either exist or to be created in the first place. Communities can actually get math behind them now, and we are able to know specific information about communities like how large they are and how much reach, impressions, and content they generate. The fact that we can measure how communities impact business objectives is really exciting because now I actually see them as business objective drivers as well.
Haley Fraser: Definitely. If Twitter disappeared tomorrow, would that mean for you?
Andrew Weiss: I think it would affect a lot of the social listening platforms I use because a lot of them predominantly use Twitter. It would not be ideal from a linguistic social listening standpoint, but I think I would be able to find where everyone else goes after Twitter disappears and use that to continue my social listening efforts. That's a great question to ask because I don’t know if my life flashed before my eyes but a lot of professional workstreams flashed before my eyes. I would say that for all of its cons, there's so many pros to that platform. Twitter is basically real-time Google, you can see how people feel in real time when you type certain things into the search bar, and I find that very exciting. So I would hate to see that happen.
Haley Fraser: I totally agree. Twitter used to be my least favorite social media but with Facebook changing over the last 5 to 6 years, Twitter has become one of my favorites. What’s the trend or campaign that you’ve seen in the last little while that you think every brand or marketer should emulate?
Andrew Weiss: The one that just happened that I really enjoyed - and I may be biased because I'm in New York, but HBO Max dropped a bunch of physical pins all over the city. Specifically for “In the Heights”, the new Lin-Manuel Miranda movie, they dropped physical pins around New York City where they were filming. I just thought that was a really great integration between a geographical landmark such as New York City and all the places within it that have impacted culture. So I really want to go to those places, even though it's the most tourist thing a New Yorker like myself could do. I thought that was really well done and exciting. I've walked throughout the city before and have been told by my friends where certain things were filmed, but to actually turn it into a marketing campaign that is tangible, and outside and experiential is really cool and thoughtful.
Haley Fraser: I love that when something becomes experiential beyond just the digital space as well. Kind of zooming out a bit, what is the best marketing advice you’ve ever received or a piece of advice that you’d give to others?
Andrew Weiss: The first time I spent a few weeks working on a deck, it was something we all worked really hard on, and we were waiting to hear how the presentation went. When we asked how it went, one of my coworkers said that it didn’t happen. And I was like, ‘Well, why didn’t it happen?’ And he just said ‘Poof. The budget disappeared overnight and the resources were allocated differently.’ I know this isn’t necessarily advice, but the way he said ‘Poof’ was a very real moment for me that showed how many things need to fall into place for what we’re working on to happen and to always think a bit bigger than just what I’m working on. Sometimes, even when you may get negative feedback, positive feedback, or if things disappear overnight, there are so many things that are out of your control. So trying to do what you can with what you can control is really important. Additionally, for anyone who doesn’t like feedback, deck building, or iterations, I really don’t recommend that you go into marketing because it’s just a part of the process. That’s really helped me in some of my new projects where I’m working cross functionally with 10 to 15 people at once. And again, it comes back to some things are in your control and some things are not in your control and it’s important to recognize that and find a balance. I remember I used to get really upset about feedback on my deck, but that’s kind of like a teacher that hates kids. It’s a really important thing to recognize that we’re all in very collaborative jobs and roles, which means there’s more risk and there’s also more reward. And as a marketer giving feedback, it does not necessarily matter what you personally think, what matters is what the consumer would think. So I think that the further you can distance yourself from what you think and your target demographic thinks is very important for someone to be a marketer.
Haley Fraser: I think that's great. I think what tends to make a good marketer is having that creative instinct and being able to put yourself out there but then once that piece of content is out there letting it become its own thing that other people can modify and change and give feedback on. Looking ahead 5 to 10 years, what do you think is going to be the most important skill for marketers to have?
Andrew Weiss: I would say what I just mentioned about being able to distance yourself from what you think and what the consumer thinks. You have to use research, thoughtful social listening, and thoughtful UGC generation to understand what the consumer thinks, because that’s what matters. So I think it's going to become more and more important to be able to do that because more and more will be catering to individuals moving forward.
Haley Fraser: That’s a good point – being able to be impartial even when it's a challenge. What advice would you give to anyone trying to get into marketing, especially for new graduates?
Andrew Weiss: I would say two things. First, just start with your phone. Every day, email marketing, sponsored social media posts, and app push notifications are completely tailored to you. They're tailored to your interests, your background, your engagements. If you take a step back, and you're asking, “Why am I being served with this Instagram post? Or why did they choose that subject line in that email?” You can see marketing happening right before your eyes, and how it's tailored to you. And if you find that interesting, and you can peel that onion layer back a little bit, you'll be setting yourself up for success because you can start to see what's around you and how it's being marketed towards you. Secondly, I always wish I did more informational interviews sooner in non-high pressure environments. If you ask questions like, “What did you work on this week? What are some things you had pain points with? How did you overcome them?” And really try to fully understand what people do for their job and how they make a living because more and more roles within marketing are starting to exist so it’s really important for you to understand what you like and dislike.
Haley Fraser: That's aligned with the advice I typically give people to not look for a specific title, look for the things you like about your job and build a role around that. Good segue into the next bit, what is your favorite marketing interview question you like to ask or have been asked? If you can’t think of a good one, what’s the worst one you’ve ever been asked?
Andrew Weiss: You actually asked me this question, and it just shows that you have to be paying attention: “What are some campaigns that have happened in the last couple of weeks that you've admired? Or had opinions on that are negative?” It's our jobs as marketers to be fully aware of other industries, even if they're not related to ours at all: what they're doing, how they're optimizing, and how we can share that for context on how to further our own. If you're a marketer, whether you're a college grad or a CMO, you're a creature of research and always understanding what's around you. So I think the best standardized question can be like, “What are some campaigns that you've noticed recently that you admire or ones that you don't admire?” Because that's the basic level of research before joining an interview. And I think that's really interesting and those types of questions are always fun as well.
Haley Fraser: Definitely. What's next for you?
Andrew Weiss: I'm really looking to turn everything I used to do for content calendars and campaigns into business development. And I'm starting to scratch that surface. I find it very exciting. All of this research and information that I've provided for years have gone to tweets, Instagram posts, and Facebook posts and I want to continue to do that. But now it's also going to business systems, potential business opportunities for clients, or potential activations that affect business revenue at a very large scale for sports teams. I'm really looking to turn what everyone thinks about likes, comments and shares into dollars and presenting it that way.
Haley Fraser: That's very interesting. What kind of channels factor into that? Are there any others besides social that stand out to you?
Andrew Weiss: I'm interested in linking email, newsletters, and social more. The click through rates for newsletters, you just can’t ignore it. And if you can integrate what you learn there with anything else, it's just as powerful.
Haley Fraser: Definitely. What are the three most influential pieces of media in your recent-ish memory?
Andrew Weiss: The main one - and I’ve shared it with so many people that I’ve managed is Tim Feriss’ audiobook excerpt called ‘How to Succeed in High Stress Situations.’ I’ve revisited it multiple times a year, and I could not recommend it more. It’s an industry agnostic podcast to listen to. I don’t think it matters who you are, where you’re from, or what you work on. I find it to be very valuable for level setting what you think may be going on with you and what you can do with it. It’s an audiobook so it’s very blunt with the way it’s spoken to you and I just find it to be very refreshing. It just helps you understand what is in your control and what is out of your control.
Haley Fraser: I'm compelled by that. I think that's super interesting. What’s your dream destination for vacation?
Andrew Weiss: I went to Thailand once for my honeymoon and I guess I would like to go back to Thailand for non-honeymoon things. I had an amazing time there, it was luxurious and I could not recommend it more. But once you’re there, you can go anywhere for really cheap. So I think I would just like my first destination to be Thailand again.
Haley Fraser: Definitely. I've actually been to Thailand twice. And I can't recommend it enough, either. This question kind of brings us full circle, but what was the career you chose for yourself as a kid? And how does that align with what you do now?
Andrew Weiss: Well, Jurassic Park and movie theaters made me think I liked dinosaurs enough to be a paleontologist. Food Network in high school made me think I could have a cooking show, even though I have no cooking experience whatsoever. There were even some times when I thought I wanted to be a teacher. I know I’m answering all over the place, but I am very happy with where I am now. But at the same time, a cooking show would have been cool.