Queirra Fenderson (pronounced KEY-AIR-AHHH) is a marketing guru.
She’s done it all – lead social media campaigns, directed annual budgets, developed app UX, boosted CTR and dominated thousands of other tasks with jaw-dropping success, intensity and passion.
Within a few seconds of talking to her, you can tell she truly lives and breathes marketing.
Since graduating from George Mason University, she’s worked with Fortune 500 brands in a dynamic career coordinating marketing execution and strategy for trade associations such as the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) and the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA).
These days, she spends her time running around D.C. wearing multiple hats as the Director of Digital Marketing at Contactually, a hot CRM start-up that helps business follow up with the right people, at the right time, to maximize their relationship ROI.
She’s passionate about digital advertising, and we just had to share her opinions on programmatic:
Programmatic Advertising.org: Hey Queirra, great speaking with you today! So, what do you do for a living? Can you briefly describe your day to day tasks/responsibilities?
Queirra Fenderson: So, my job significantly shifted two months ago when I joined a tech startup called Contactually in Washington, DC. In my day to day, I try to structure it so that the first thing I go to do when I go to work is check my email and check my data. Things change day to day and hour by hour. I also want to check to see how my campaign is working. I’m also trying to make sure we are using cross channel marketing, building campaigns and workflows. We’re trying to execute, building landing pages, launching emails and building partnerships…
Programmatic Advertising.org: You do so much. My goodness this is a lot!
Queirra Fenderson: As a startup you’re constantly moving.
Programmatic Advertising.org: I totally get it. You are an expert at what you do, and a busy one too. So, what have you been absolutely obsessed about lately in digital advertising? What’s been catching your eye?
Queirra Fenderson: I’ve really been into consumer behavior and the customer experience the whole time since I’ve even started marketing.
Do you remember when they were showing the ads for the upcoming Bud Light Whatever USA town takeover during the Super Bowl? A few weeks ago they finished the takeover, brought together the customers and partied it out!
I really thought it was cool that they could cover the full experience! They started from building the hype. Then they brought them to this experience that was really brand enriched and it just engulfed all of their evangelism. Now, they get to do it one more time by sharing the experience with their fan base through social media. I’m obsessed with how you bring customer experience to life with the brand.
Programmatic Advertising.org: With all of these new campaigns, how is programmatic changing the digital advertising landscape?
Queirra Fenderson: Coming from my vantage point, having a background in associations and non-profits, I’m excited about programmatic because it makes you scalable. It offers more for small businesses – It’s not just I’m a mom and pop shop and I’m going to send out a post card. Now, you can have serious campaigns targeted to different customers. I’m not going to say it puts me out of a job, but it gives smaller businesses and startups or anyone who wants it, the marketing power to do anything and communicate with anyone they want.
Programmatic Advertising.org: Let’s capture what you just said – it gives power to anyone in their marketing reach. How is this disrupting your industry?
Queirra Fenderson: The challenge with anything in marketing, with traditional to the modern, is the clutter. It is definitely making the battle for eye balls a lot more challenging. But, I feel like disruptive doesn’t have to be negative. It can be disruptive in giving consumers power. This kind of digital advertising, programmatic advertising, being so easily accessible, gives our consumers power. They can get instant reviews and instant access on what ads they are going to see. It forces marketers to work smarter.
Programmatic Advertising.org: I totally see what you’re saying. I oftentimes watch my ABC shows like Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, etc. online, and I’ve noted that they give you the option to let the ad know if you like it or not and leave reviews on it. If you don’t, the server will then send you something else that you might actually like!
Queirra Fenderson: Yes, this is exactly what I’m talking about – giving power to the consumers.
Programmatic Advertising.org: Did you know that in some countries, for example England, I’ve heard that people actually sit to WATCH the commercials? I hear the advertisers really go out of their way to make them more entertaining. Could you imagine every online ad being as entertaining and witty as a super bowl commercial?
Queirra Fenderson: That would be something! We advertisers need to be thoughtful on how we are going to see our customers and show them content. We can’t focus too much on sales-y messaging, or we’ll lose their interest. We need to be intelligently relevant to them.
I feel that you can do better quality commercials on line. Which is interesting because usually the spots are only 15 seconds. However, I find myself watching commercials online rather than on TV.
Programmatic Advertising.org: As we’re bouncing around from glowing rectangle to glowing rectangle, day after day, programmatic processes are using our data to serve more ads. Some people we’ve interviewed have said that’s a bit creepy to them. Big brother-like, to be exact. How is digital marketing changing our culture, and is this for better, or worse?
Queirra Fenderson: Here is the thing, my perspective is change is good. We shouldn’t be afraid of change, but programmatic is definitely going to affect our culture. It’s giving the consumers the power – it all goes back to that. If they have power, they can make a more informed decision. We have to accept that our culture is going to change and to a great extent, has already changed, to instant gratification. Our buyers are going to be really informed. I think that it could – positively – be changing the types of content pieces and campaigns that we are putting out. I think it is making advertisers more thoughtful.
Programmatic Advertising.org: Let’s talk more though about how this is changing our consumers. As a consumer, might I be hit with more ads (which I typically ignore anyways)? We already talked about clutter and it couldn’t it be doing that to a greater extent?
Queirra Fenderson: Well, programmatic clutters because it gives access to more people – but as far as ads are regarded, it is not necessarily increasing the amount of places that you can place an ad, it is just giving advertisers more opportunities to put them in a certain place. Instead of getting any ad, it’s specifically retargeted to ME. It’s something focused on me and what I actually like. I don’t think it will numb people once it starts to get relevant. You’re paying attention, they are not ads that you want to ignore any more, like those spots you mentioned during the SuperBowl.
Programmatic Advertising.org: We’ve often heard it said that ‘man is only limited by his imagination’ – and there is always what might be the biggest growth areas for advertising?
Queirra Fenderson: There’s been a recent rise in customer relationship management (CRMs) lately and I think that we should really start to focus on the power of CRM tools. We could be better at not just necessarily database marketing, but also in tracking the relationships we’re building with prospects and customers as we execute content marketing strategies.
Programmatic Advertising.org: That’s a fantastic idea. I’ve seen already Facebook being used as a CRM platform for handling customer complaints. It would be powerful to build out that capability with more responsive content.
Queirra Fenderson: The [social media/digital advertising] space could definitely give us more of an idea into how to use the programmatic functionality to hone in on the behavioral aspects of our customers. We should incorporate more customer relationship management into our marketing initiatives.
Programmatic Advertising.org: There’s been a lot of tech innovation in the wearable space these past few years, and it’s finally gaining traction in 2014. We’re seeing everything from iWatch hype to mood-changing clothing, activity monitors and beyond. Do you have any favorites?
Queirra Fenderson: I am really linked to my Fitbit. It’s so funny because I live in the suburbs of D.C. and I’m always trying to find the people that are using the Fitbit out there too. But what I didn’t consider is that the city dwellers would be killing me on steps! They have like, 100,000 every day! I love the Fitbit from a gamification aspect and I also love that it is keeping you healthy.
Some people even have Google Glass on our job.
Programmatic Advertising.org: Really? How are they using it?
Queirra Fenderson: Well, some engineers are part of different Google beta groups. Yeah, it is pretty cool. But when we talk to him about how exactly he is using it we don’t quite get it yet… It’s a bit too cyborg-like for my use and I don’t necessarily need that!
Programmatic Advertising.org: Whoa, so speaking of cyborgs and the future, let’s say we’re looking at the cover of Advertising Age 50 years from now – what would the headline be?
Queirra Fenderson: I don’t want to sound negative, but I’m really concerned about our handle over privacy. I could see the demise of some big company doing something inappropriate with our teenagers’ data. Some social media privacy issues for sure. I think it would be something that exploits teenage social media followers. All you keep hearing about right now are all of these data breaches and the data in the cloud that’s being hacked. I don’t think all of our teenagers realize how important it is to protect your online presence. It’s about understanding that what you put up there (on the web) is permanent. We didn’t have these issues 10 years ago. As teenagers are growing up, they are doing things that teenagers do but now displaying those mistakes publicly. I hope but don’t think that all advertisers and marketers will be as ethical as they should be with such vulnerable social media engagement. That’s what we need to watch out for.
Reach out to Queirra Fenderson on LinkedIn and follow her @Queirra_aka_Key for more of her insights! See her personal website for more information about her incredible career.