Innovation Trek – Digital Marketing: Time Warner Medialab and Marketing Disruptions Panel

Photo Feb 18, 8 34 38 PMThe Time Warner Medialab is one of the most exciting spaces for marketing majors (and anyone, really) to see. The testing and research capabilities are endless, and the technology is state-of-the-art. Those one-way mirrors where you can sit on one side and watch a testing room on the other side: check. A retail checkout area to monitor and record consumer point-of-purchase behavior: check. An “in-home simulation” where pre-screenings of Game of Thrones have been shown to track anything from what people do during commercials to how much they emotionally engage with content. Also, check. There’s also a theater, which is used to understand group dynamics in a number of different ways- reactions to advertising content during the Super Bowl is just one example. That’s where we spent the end of our trek as Villanova alumni from the Digital Meetup group came out to engage in a panel discussion on “Marketing Disruptions – Digital Technology”. Shoutout to Dan Aversano for making this awesome facility available to us!

Mark Mannino (VSB ‘92), General Manager for Amazon’s Advertising Platform, moderated a panel that covered anything you could think of when it comes to career advice. And he also made sure to cover each of the panelist’s favorite Nova basketball moment. The panelists and their roles are as follows:

  • Dan Aversano (VSB ‘04) Senior Vice President, Client & Consumer Insights, Turner Broadcasting
  • Denise Colella (VSB ‘95) Senior Vice President, NBCUniversal
  • Peter Figueredo(VSB ‘97) Founding Partner, Subscription Practice Lead, & Head of Client Service, House of Kaizen
  • Will Ferguson (VSB ‘97) CEO, Founder of Slice Marketing
  • Michelle Morelli (CLAS ‘98) Vice President, Business & Consumer Marketing, AOL

Most seniors fall in one of two categories: they have a job post-graduation, or they feel surrounded by peers that have been set since last summer. Students looking to go into an agency after graduation know the stress of the job conversation all too well. Agencies don’t hire until three to four weeks before they need someone, which means finding a job a year in advance just doesn’t happen. The panelists gave us some great advice on job searches, interviewing, starting off in a new career, and the differences between start-ups and large companies. Here are my top ten favorite pieces of wisdom from the night:

  • “Focus a lot of attention on fewer opportunities.” Don’t send your resume and a generic cover letter to 50 different job postings. Hone in on the ones that matter to you, and you’ll have more success in finding a role you really enjoy.
  • “Find a company that shares your why.” Companies are looking to see if you are a match for them, but you should also be looking for one that’s a match for you. It’s important to match your learning goals to an organization as well so that you’re always making progress.
  • Always come with a possible solution when asking your boss a question. Even if your solution doesn’t work, it shows that you’ve thought through the problem on your own.
  • “There’s value in every task.” Suppose you’re asked to photocopy documents at your next internship; read through them while you wait. Always find purpose in whatever it is you’re asked to do.
  • “Nothing is forever.” Try new things early on in your career until you find what you love. You won’t stay in one place forever, so get the most out of where you are before moving on.
  • “Grow your career or your bank.” If you’re not earning a raise, you should make sure you’re in a situation where you’re able to develop your career and vice versa. If neither of those things is happening, it may be time to re-evaluate.
  • “Embrace the window.” In a big company, there’s usually a window of about 4-6 months where it’s completely okay to ask questions about anything and everything, and you absolutely should. In a start-up, this window is much shorter… about 2-3 weeks. Take advantage of others’ willingness to help you learn as you start out in a new role.
  • “Manage up, down, and laterally.” It’s innate to manage up, or to do everything we can to impress our boss. It’s just as important, however, to maintain strong relationships with those you supervise and those you work alongside.
  • Pay attention to detail! When applying to jobs, read every part of the job description. You never know where there may be specific instructions for the application process hidden in the fine print.
  • Always come over prepared. You don’t want to be a social media stalker and bring up the name of your interviewer’s pet, but you should utilize all the resources available to you. Asking your interviewer what the company does is an easy way to get your name crossed off the list. Coming prepared with insightful questions is a better way to stand out and get the job.

This group of panelists was introspective, witty, and incredibly knowledgeable. Their banter characterized the differences between interviewers and their preferences – some of them love the handwritten thank you note, while others find it creepy. Some of the panelists at larger companies said cover letters never even come across their desk, while the panelists at smaller agencies consider the cover letter the most important part to getting your foot in the door.

The opportunity to hear from such successful alumni and to be able to ask them some of the questions on our minds was incredible. A huge thank you to all the panelists for sharing your stories!