Laura Watson, Strategist
Harte Hanks is excited to welcome Laura Watson to our Strategy team! Laura brings 20 years of multi-channel marketing experience, mostly in the banking industry, and a whole lot of energy to the organization. Prior to joining us, she was a VP in direct and digital marketing at PNC Financial Services and earned an MBA with an emphasis in marketing. True to her professional background, Laura has a passion for relationship building, digital trends, and the future of omnichannel marketing. Want to learn a little more about Laura? We thought so. Read on.
Q: Welcome to Harte Hanks! Tell us about your new role at Harte Hanks – how do you spend a typical day, what is your favorite aspect of working at Harte Hanks, etc.
When I was interviewing for the strategy position, a member of the team said, “Have you seen the Lego movie? We’re like the master architects.” Ultimately we’re not thwarting Kragle to save the realm, but we do take a similar approach. We look at all of the business elements around us, apply our understanding of the market environment and vertical context (my vertical specialty is banking), and then help clients understand and apply new marketing techniques driven by data intelligence. The optimal outcome is a brand that consumers love, that’s helpful and relevant, while providing positive incremental return on investment for the brand and value for the consumer.
A typical day…what’s that?
My favorite aspect of working on the business so far has been the opportunity to learn more about cool stuff and trends in the digital and email marketing space. For example, there’s a Bank in Russia that synchs their customers’ wearable devices (e.g. Fitbit, Jawbone) to their savings account – incentivizing them to earn a higher interest rate when their device shows they’ve been exercising. How cool is that?
Q: How did you spend your days prior to joining Harte Hanks?
On the client side with the bank, I managed agency partnerships and a team of 15 direct reports doing one-to-one marketing across multiple channels and lines of business. It was an incredibly dynamic environment working more in the business, and in support of the same ideals…with a lot more regulatory and governmental “influence.” I find that relationship-building there, and in every role I’ve held, is a critical component of my learning and success.
Q: What attracted you to work at Harte Hanks?
The people. Without a doubt, that was the #1 reason I joined Harte Hanks. I’ve worked with a number of really smart, collaborative, authentic, driven professionals throughout the years as a client of Harte Hanks, most of whom are still with the organization to this day, by the way. The level of stand-out talent, tenure and genuinely good people at the organization, and the opportunity to grow professionally in a supportive environment – I couldn’t resist going to the “dark side” of agency life!
Q: What about the future of marketing are you most excited about? Trends? Tools? Platforms?
Yikes! How much time do you have? In no particular order – customer-centricity, tailored, real-time, automated marketing (nearly a requirement for any business that wants to stay on top), Agile Email, Email period. (Email drives interactions that we can measure in all channels…Search, Social, Display, Digital, Mobile, Direct and even Mass), content marketing, omnichannel marketing, micro-marketing, mobile, video, the Internet of Things (IoT), wearables, connecting online and offline data through data management platforms to drive a conversation and value exchange between brands and their stakeholders, big data, the power of all channels working together in an optimized, efficient and orchestrated manner (powered by data, models, etc.)…ultimately it’s caring about what consumers need and want, and finding a profitable way to go to market to deliver it.
Q: What is something about you that very few people know?
I skied with the US Olympic Ski team in Killington, VT. (It’s not as awesome as it sounds…I just happened to be there at the same time, on the same slopes and got to meet, interact with some of them. VERY fun!)