The Next Evolution of Marketing – Book Interview

Heidi Cohen Interviews Bob Gilbreath

The Next Evolution of MarketingWhat’s your best piece of advice for readers looking to improve their marketing?

Think about your marketing as itself a part of your company’s product or service.

Instead of working on new ways to interrupt your audience with a commercial message, think about your customer’s ultimate needs—and consider how your marketing can be a value-added part of what you deliver.

What was the inspiration for your book?

As a partner at a digital agency, I realized that the work we were doing was often adding value to the customers of the brands that we hired.

We created information portals for people who were suffering from Diabetes for Abbott, and we created lunchtime entertainment for office workers that were eating lunch at their desks for Healthy Choice. This was a change happening because digital innovation and habits were opening up ways of doing marketing that we never had before.

What is the key concept behind The Next Evolution of Marketing?

I first came up with the concept behind my book when my client at Johnson & Johnson asked me to deliver a speech on “marketing” for a handful of their partners. We had just completed a major project in which we created an information resource for people who were considering bariatric surgery.

In staring at the blank sheet of paper, thinking about what this project was about, I realized that it really was an example of a shift in marketing that was starting to happen—a shift that is accelerated by digital innovation.

Achievement, Connection, Solution

It’s getting harder and harder for advertisers to win customers through interruption. Customers simply have too many choices, including access to ad-free entertainment and ad blockers that make this historic model nearly impossible.

In this new world, the only way we can win is to create advertising that adds value to customers’ lives. I called this model “Marketing with Meaning.”

What do you want readers to take away from your book?

While several people have written about the general topic of “value-added marketing” or “brand utility” over the years, I took the concept further by dedicating over half of the book to real-life experiences from my career creating and executing this type of program as a brand manager at Procter & Gamble and an agency lead at WPP.

You’ll find tips on how to sell in, measure success, and overcome barriers to launching your own meaningful marketing programs.

How do you describe yourself professionally?

I’ve spend my 10,000 hours helping crack the code on the transition of marketing to the digital age.  I’ve led this change as a brand manager, agency lead, investor, author and startup founder.

What are the 3 books that inspired your work/career?

Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing first got me thinking down the path that marketing could be different in the digital age.

The Innovator’s Dilemma and The Diffusion of Innovation helped me see patterns in how organizations and people, respectively, handle change.

What is the biggest challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your life or career?

My current role as co-founder and President of a Pinterest marketing technology startup, Ahalogy, has been the biggest challenge. I created this company to help marketers practice what my book preaches. It is incredibly rewarding, but a startup is the ultimate challenge.

What’s something unusual or fun that most people don’t know about you?

Last year I started a streak of running at least one mile every day. There’s an unofficial, honors-system club of daily running streakers and I thought it would be fun to start. I’ve now run over 400 days in a row and don’t plan on stopping.

Is there a piece of content, a social media campaign or a marketing campaign that you’re particularly proud of?

I’m particularly proud of the work we’ve done helping some of the largest brands in the world realize the potential of Pinterest as a media for connecting with their customers in a meaningful way.

Look at some of our clients’ Pinterest accounts, such as TOMS, Kraft and Quaker. They show how brands can offer value-added content, at scale, to their customers in an exciting new platform.

Bob GilbreathContact information


Thanks, Bob.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

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