“Ask a Philadelphia Marketing Pro” is the first in a series of bite-size interviews with local marketing experts throughout the Philly, Greater Delaware Valley, and South Jersey regions. Follow this AMA Philadelphia series to learn who the movers and shakers are in our area (and perhaps pick up a few marketing tips)!
Philadelphia and South Jersey native Cass M. Bailey is the CEO of Slice Communications, a leading marketing and communications company. She’s also the founder and current Chairwoman of Social Media Day, Inc, a regional nonprofit membership organization for professionals specializing in digital communications. Bailey has more than 20 years experience in marketing communications and was recently a panelist for AMA Philadelphia’s Super Bowl Smackdown. She spent some time with AMA Philly to talk about her community work in Philadelphia, her long-term goals for Social Media Day, Inc., and to offer some marketing advice.
1. You serve on many boards across Philadelphia, such as the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO Philadelphia) and the Small Business Board at The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. What does it mean to you to work so closely in and around the area?
I grew up in South Jersey, right across the Delaware River from Northeast Philly. Most of my Dad’s family is from the city, as were my Mom’s parents. While I’ve lived in Washington, DC and London, Philly was always home. I believe in its greatness and its potential. Sitting on boards has enabled me to guide organizations that are making a difference, ensure that people have a chance to achieve their goals, and improve the welfare of the communities we serve. It’s the example I want to set for the children in my life and I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve.
2. What do you think Philadelphia businesses and nonprofits should do to extend their marketing reach?
They need to focus on how to get, keep, and use attention. It seems like a really simple thing, but it’s not. Attention is the whole purpose of marketing. People can’t buy, donate, invest in, or work for a business or nonprofit if they don’t know it exists. Of course, there are different types of attention and it only matters if it’s from the right people. This is the fundamental mistake we see so many people make when it comes to their marketing.
3. As the founder and current Chairwoman of Social Media Day, Inc., what are your long-term goals for the conference?
When we created Social Media Day, Inc. as its own 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, our goal was to make it more than a conference. We know that our community of social media and digital communications professionals needed more than one day of content, networking, and learning. We’ve worked hard to recruit a Board and develop year-round programming. We have developed a membership program that includes a co-mentoring program, monthly workshops hosted by industry professionals, and several new initiatives in the works. We also partnered with the Philadelphia Business Journal to bring back the Social Media Stars awards to recognize all the incredibly talented people in the region. We expect the conference to continue to grow and be the event all social media professionals look forward to each year, but we really hope to serve them more comprehensively.
4. Looking back on your marketing career, what has helped you the most?
I didn’t plan on having a marketing career, but I’m so happy I do. I studied international politics, economics, and philosophy at Catholic University of America. The most important thing I learned, and what I continue to use to this day, are critical thinking and writing skills. All marketers need to know how to compel action through language, images, videos, and experiences. We need to be convincing in everything we do. I learned that in a totally different way in college, but it still serves me every day.
5. As marketing changes and evolves, where do you see it in the next five years?
We’re definitely moving more and more toward digital communication.That’s not going to change. But I’m hopeful that we will get back to a people-centered approach to marketing and away from too much focus on tools and technology for their own sake. Every company and nonprofit should know and be able to easily define their target audiences —actual, real-life humans with wishes, dreams, aspirations, and fears. I’d love to talk with any new marketer in five years and see them with the ability to have a robust conversation about their audiences.
6. How has the AMA been valuable to you in your career?
AMA has helped me connect with some super smart and interesting people. The most fun thing I’ve done with the AMA is serve as a panelist for the Super Bowl Smackdown. I love listening to the other panelists’ perspectives on ads, understanding their insider experience on some of those ads, and learning about what they think makes an ad effective. It’s a really great conversation every year, and I take away so much from it.
If you have a marketing question you’d like to ask a Philadelphia marketing pro, we’d love to hear from you! Email your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org and we may ask it in our next “Ask a Philadelphia Marketing Pro” series interview!