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Five Minutes With: Chris Perkins, Managing Director, Bernstein-Rein

What are your biggest opportunities & challenges in marketing tech for next 12-24 months? 

Bringing the true humanity to communications, in every instance, including when marketing tech is part of the mix. Big (and small) data has given us tremendous insights that were previously accessible. Yet data is only as good as how it’s interpreted and acted upon. And, analytics models are so focused on finding the big clusters of insight, too often the highest potential emerging cultural trends are missed or ruled too small to act upon. 

As a connection agency, we’re laser focused on identifying the most compelling mindset clusters who are brimming with passion for the brand we’re helping grow, as it’s these people who also have an inherent drive to advocate for these favored brands. After all, who really wants to be disrupted, interrupted or face a brand trying using yesteryear’s outmoded reach/frequency metric? Nobody! Which is exactly why we focus on creating ideas and experiences that people will willingly choose to engage with, when using marketing tech or any modality. 

What keeps your clients up at night?

With the size of most client marketing organizations continuing to shrink, clients are forced to take on additional responsibilities and manage an ever-increasing number of outside specialty agencies toward an integrated result. Our remedy is a bespoke Core Connection Team who has the skill and experience to put forward an agile, contemporary and integrated connection program.

Add to this the unfathomable rate of change in marketing tech, particularly the gross misperception that everything is measurable and easily attributable, clients are finding sleep even harder to come by given the constant pressure to reach a 1.x+ ROI on everything! We find sleep comes far easier when we pare back what we’ll measure to the bits that are actionable and ownable, as this is where the difference is made.

What’s the hardest thing to educate clients about? 

It’s nearly impossible to get clients to let go of what they perceive as ‘must have, tried and true’ approaches (read: circulars, couponing, mass media, etc.), to thoughtfully evolve to more innovative and contemporary messages and channels.

Also, it’s troubling how many clients practically demand their agency have ‘experts in their category’. We’re business-minded experts in marketing, not medical doctors, pilots, astrophysicists or restaurateurs, so please let us do what we’re best and passionate at doing!

What are some unmet needs in marketing technology landscape?

We long for a truly groundbreaking solution in the co-working, co-conceptual and workflow collaboration space, and particularly one that gets the balance of art and science endemic to our industry. While great ideas can come from anyone, most collaboration tools fail to fit the many of our team’s work individual styles/personalities, or lean into the peculiar nuances of our industry and agency culture.

What social network do you anticipate accelerating growth in the next year? 

We believe video will be at the core of all the emerging social networks and tools. All the major players are retooling to enable video of all sorts – live streaming to short-form, but we’re keeping a close eye on Yik Yak, Kik, Shots 🙂 and Bebo, as much as stalwarts Instagram and Snapchat. Again, the pace of change is warp speed, so we’re keeping a close watch on how people are engaging with all social networks, and are ready to help our client’s make meaningful connections in the right places, with the right content at the right time.

–Chris Perkins is Managing Director of Bernstein-Rein

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