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Our Digital Marketing Takeaways from A Year of Podcasting

Merkle’s Gaia Read and Andreah McCartney embarked on a journey in 2021 to create a podcast that would educate and excite listeners about the ins and outs of digital marketing. One year, 27 episodes, and 34 guests later, they’re excited to share what they’ve learned, how the show has helped them grow as marketers, and what listeners can look forward to in 2022.

What inspired you to start Digital Marketing Musings (DMM)?

GAIA: One of the main drivers for the show was seeing a gap in the marketplace. We saw a lot of blog posts, white papers, and video assets that were more formal in tone and geared towards experienced marketers. As consumers ourselves, we knew that video- and audio-first formats were exploding, and, as members of the digital advertising industry, we wanted more content published in a readily accessible manner, regardless of your existing familiarity with a topic. From there, Digital Marketing Musings was born!

We also wanted to embark on an exciting project that would develop us in ways that complement our regular client work. We’ve been appreciative that Merkle continues to provide us with the time, space, staffing, and funding to launch and run the show!

ANDREAH: As an SEO, I have conversations with a lot of different teams regularly – content teams, development teams, and other SEOs. This collaboration is so valuable, and I saw an opportunity to expand it further to other teams across media. To do that, though, it was important to understand the metrics and strategies that other teams leverage.

Last year, Gaia and I were talking about how we both wanted to explore channel-specific strategies and how they can layer together to create a more holistic marketing conversation. Both of us were craving a space where we could have these conversations – and from there, Digital Marketing Musings started to come to life. Fast forward to present day, as we're about to launch season 2, and I can confidently say that we, along with support from our channel teams, career advocates, and the marketing team, have started building exactly what we were looking for.

What are some of the most interesting things you’ve learned while making the show?

GAIA: Having so many guests on the show has underscored just how interconnected everything is in digital. To our listeners, our episodes might appear to jump randomly from topic to topic, but the content in one episode often inspires us to reach out to another team and explore another area of digital marketing. We’re embracing that in season 2 by having more episode mini-series, with multiple episodes following interconnected topics in one subject area.

ANDREAH: I've learned so much this season! The areas that stand out for me are the conversations we've had with our guests that related to a customer-first experience and perspective. Any time we can offer users a better, more cohesive experience with consistent messaging, the better the result is for our clients.

How has working on DMM helped elevate your day-to-day client work?

ANDREAH: My personal goal before we started DMM was to be better equipped for conversations about cross-channel strategies when I talk to team members from other service lines. Now, a year later, I can say that I've accomplished my goal. Beyond gaining a better understanding of the levers and strategies other channels use, I have a better understanding of the news and changes impacting each channel this year. Being able to share this information with clients and make recommendations that take the whole marketing picture into account has been so beneficial.

GAIA: The two definitely feed into each other for a mutually beneficial relationship. Sometimes a client question or conversation spurs an idea for a show episode or vice versa –commentary or examples discussed on the show often make their way into client deliverables. Hosting this show has allowed me to explore areas of digital marketing that I previously didn't get exposure to in my day-to-day work, just by the nature of my clients and experiences, which has advanced my understanding of things from a more holistic point of view.

What topics are you most excited to cover in season 2?

ANDREAH: Gaia and I have a lot of great topics on our schedule, but the topics I'm most excited about covering are e-retail and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). During the pandemic, e-retail has gotten a lot of buzz, so we want to make sure we're keeping up on the latest trends, including retail media networks. Then, our DEI episodes are going to be really exciting as we explore how Merkle and other companies are incorporating these principles into their businesses.

GAIA: We are having a ton of mini-series throughout season 2. A couple that I'm most looking forward to are around gaming / gamified experiences, which seems to be a topic on everyone's minds, and spotlights across verticals that aren't always highlighted as frequently in digital media, such as non-profit, CPG, telecom, and healthcare / pharma. There’s a lot of great content planned that I think marketers will get a lot of value from in 2022!

Click here to learn more about the Digital Marketing Musings podcast and catch up on the latest episodes.