Written by: Mackensie Smith
Arrive at any SFAMA event and you can spot Maria Gianotti across the room. With her wide smile, bouncy curls and bright, classy style, she’s just the woman you should strike up a conversation with. Before you meet her at the next SFAMA event, take a minute to get to know her here.
1. What is your involvement as a volunteer in SFAMA?
As a volunteer and board member of the SFAMA, I get to work with my team in planning special events, such as our most prestigious event of the year, the Excellence in Marketing Awards, and special interest group events. My team also works closely with the Programs Committee where we all participate in the planning and execution of monthly content events and mixers. It’s a really great to be a part of these two groups as we get to plan all these amazing marketing events that are truly the heart of the SFAMA.
2. How did you first learn about SFAMA?
While getting my Master’s degree at Golden Gate University I had a Direct Marketing professor who told the class about GGU’s involvement with the San Francisco chapter of the AMA and introduced us to the opportunity of participating in the chapter’s Excellence in Marketing Awards competition for a chance to win a scholarship in 2009. The competition intrigued me as I would get the opportunity to interview the CMO of one of the top 10 technology companies in the Bay Area! I thought it was a great opportunity to apply my qualitative and quantitative skills developed through my master’s studies, along with the great networking possibilities this competition would bring me.
I’m so thankful for the opportunity that the competition brought me. Not only did I end up winning that year’s competition, but I also established connections within the SFAMA that brought me back as a volunteer.
3. What’s the biggest change in marketing you’ve seen since you entered your career?
My top 3 list for biggest changes in marketing is social media, visualization, and personalization.
The most important change, hands down, is the vital role social media plays in marketing efforts. I graduated with a master’s from GGU in 2009 and social media was not even a part of my curriculum. In 2013, I would think social media classes are a crucial part of any marketing communications degree.
Social media has given companies communication advantages that were pretty much unheard of a few years ago. I find it amazing that consumers nowadays are able to have real-time communication with companies through so many different social media channels. Companies that have Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr and LinkedIn accounts have such a huge advantage in communicating directly with consumers, thus building their trust so they can more easily identify with their favorite brands.
I’m also astonished over how powerful visualization has become through the integration of social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. I guess it’s no shocker as there is so much marketing noise and looking at images takes considerably less time than reading words, right?
Lastly, some companies have definitely increased the level of personalization. I’m not sure if we should feel a little worried or just really impressed by having companies know everything about their consumers. Amazon’s site experience is a great example of a company that has closed to mastered the level of personalization by delivering personalized messages to their users by email and also when logged in with their accounts.
4. What’s your favorite part of being a member of the SFAMA?
My favorite part of being a member of the SFAMA is most definitely the people. Not only do I get to meet and interact with a diverse range of interesting and talented attendees at our events, but by volunteering I’m also fortunate to get to work with incredibly smart, fun and outgoing people who share my passion in marketing communications.
One of the things that I love about volunteering with the SFAMA is that even though we belong to different teams within the chapter we all closely collaborate by sharing our knowledge and ideas so we can better adapt to changes in marketing and introduce these changes to our members through innovative content and networking events.
5. What are your predictions for the future of marketing?
I believe organizations will better understand the importance of integrating social media within different departments of the company to create and maintain a unified brand image. 2013 is only the beginning for organizations to really get to know their customers. I have a feeling that marketing strategies to increase the integration between visual and personalization will also become more important as we move forward. Companies will most likely invest more time and money in analyzing their consumers’ behavior through social media channels.
It’s incredibly exciting that marketers finally have tools that can show the real value of their marketing efforts. I know of several marketers in management roles that have struggled to get a decent marketing budget for their marketing activities since the value of the expenditure has been so challenging to measure. Now, however, with a focus on marketing analytics through so many different social media channels I’m hoping that it will give marketers a more prominent role in their organizations.