Key Takeaways from Sunrise Executive Series event 8/14

Written by Samantha Morales

The emergence of new platforms and difficulty in measurement can make digital marketing feel like a constantly shifting target to today’s CMOs.

Recognizing that fact, the Chicago AMA tackled the issues head on at the August 14 Sunrise Executive Series event featuring Stephen Surman, head of global digital and social strategy, Mead Johnson Nutrition.

Surman has been leading the charge in digital for 15 years, spearheading efforts for consumer brands including Pampers, Charmin, and Budweiser.  He serves as a start-ups mentor at the Brandery, is a graduate of Cornell University (engineering), and earned his MBA at the University of Chicago in finance, marketing, and strategy.

His presentation, to a packed house, focused on the 10 Biggest Myths of Digital Marketing, challenging commonly-held beliefs including technology changes too fast, and social is a tool that can’t be measured.

From the moment he pointed out that the technology moving data today is the same technology as was doing so 20 or 30 years ago, the audience was captivated.

Questions from the tables of thought-leaders peppered his talk with spirited debate — but roundtable discussions demonstrated how inspired all were to really challenge digital conventional thinking.

Key Takeaways:

  • While information comes at us more quickly – and on smaller devices – we shouldn’t be intimidated by the technology. It’s the same it’s always been.
  • Most brands don’t need a digital strategy. They need to execute their brand strategy through their digital channels.
  • Instead of investing in identifying and activating consumer influencers, share your message with the entire network, since ultimately the goal is to reach as many people as possible.
  • Unless you are providing a data service or sharing information in your mobile app that can’t be easily located in other channels, you don’t need a mobile app.
  • Digital is a tactic just like other channels (print, radio, television, etc.). It enables you to communicate ideas more broadly.
  • Big Data means MORE DATA. It sounds catchier, but it’s just more data. Rather than just heaping on more data, decide what problems you are trying to solve, assess what data points you need to answer those questions, and go find THAT data.

Read more about the morning insights on Twitter at #camasunrise, and mark your calendars after visiting our UPCOMING EVENTS page.


Blog Post Written By: 
Portraits of the Alumni Board of Governors new members at the University of Chicago October 20, 2011. (Photo by Jason Smith)Samantha Morales
Senior Associate Director, Strategy, Digital Communications
Alumni Relations and Development
University of Chicago

Samantha Morales has more than 10 years of experience in marketing, communications, and public relations, and joined the University of Chicago in 2011. Serves as the lead for activities related to digital and online tools for Alumni Relations and Development, overseeing all digital communications strategy. Collaborates on successful execution of projects and communication of UChicago messaging and brand.
Connect w/Samantha: 
@smorale74 on Twitter and/or LinkedIn
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