Wesley Picotte has joined SwellPath Interactive as Director of Client Services. He brings extensive experience in all realms of Web development and marketing and we’re excited for what he brings to the team. Wesley will drive SwellPath’s growth strategy, oversee our service offering and staff, and provide strategic leadership for accounts.
John: First off, welcome. We’re excited to have you join the team. Tell us a little about yourself and background.
Wesley: It’s great to be here. My background, lets see. My first marketing job began in 1996, where I was part of a team at Wild Oats focused on preparing the company for its IPO. After that, I held marcom positions for a software company developing mobile applications, and later for an angel investment fund investing in the telecom space. These roles provided my initial exposure to Web development and marketing, and I’ve been involved in this space ever since. I transitioned to the agency side when I joined White Horse. As Director of Media Services, I formalized the agency’s media offering by creating a sophisticated media planning, management, and measurement platform capable of delivering solutions for very large and complex organizations. That was a great experience. I set strategy for integrated brand and direct response programs for companies that include Anthem BlueCross, Columbia Sportswear, and Well Fargo. Working for clients like that, I was able to forge a lot of industry relationships and really immerse in technology and trends influencing Web development and marketing. I additionally held the role of Director for Client Services while at White Horse. I oversaw the agency’s business development team, directed new business acquisition strategy and efforts, and in the process tackled engagements across the entire spectrum of services provided by a full-service digital agency.
John: You’ve been in the digital game for a while now, where do you see the industry headed?
Wesley: That’s a big question. You could write volumes on this, but in terms of the services we provide, innovation continues to splinter audiences and marketing channels, making the marketing manager or director’s job ever more complex. Meanwhile, areas like Web analytics and media attribution continue to mature, and parity is beginning to spread across solutions. This equates to a diminishing emphasis on one technology over another and greater value on methodologies and data interpretation. I don’t mean to say that platform selection isn’t important, but the fact is that you no longer need to align with sophisticated, expensive solutions in order to achieve sophisticated measurement. You really need to know what you’re doing, though. This poses a huge opportunity for agencies like SwellPath that have been built around such methodologies, that posses experience across a wide gamut of platforms, and that understand how to plug this into digital strategies in a very concise, data-driven manner. It’s certainly a contributing factor to our rapid growth here.
John: You’ve worked on large and complex digital campaigns over the years. How has measurement played a part in your strategy and approach?
Wesley: For better or worse, granular measurement has been paramount in my approach to developing integrated marketing programs from the outset. Paid media channels are so measurable that this may not sound like much. When you’re in a room reviewing the results of a large investment with a CMO, or with a client team responsible for bottomline metrics, well, this is a huge deal. But the size of the investment is irrelevant. I cannot count how many times I’ve seen presentations from agencies containing only rudimentary performance metrics, with absolutely no insight into the true return of online marketing investments – paid media, social media, whatever. For all of those marketers out there with budgetary line items for these activities, your agency needs to be able to speak to how marketing program structure supports predefined objectives and metrics. And it’s not only about measuring well-conceived campaigns. Your website, its architecture, what’s being measured there and how, is critical. Today’s management and measurement tools can do so much, but you’d better understand why you’re measuring something. For agencies, this places a premium on the ability to educate clients about what to measure, what to react to, why, and when. You simply cannot provide strategic guidance otherwise.
John: What excites you about joining SwellPath?
Wesley: A few things, for sure. The people here are smart and excited and engaged by their work. SwellPath has a sophisticated approach to its solutions, which also says a lot about its people and fits well with how I approach things, too. This environment is data-rich. I think this combined with services designed for aggressive Website and marketing optimization positions us extremely well to provide value across the entire customer lifecycle. I’ve seen the innards of a few agencies, and for me it’s really encouraging to step into one where the client, and providing great service and value, is at the core of everything. This sounds canned, I know, but has in this case the virtue of being true. There’s an Annie Dillard quote that I think about a lot that goes, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing.” It’s a huge motivator for me professionally and personally, and from that perspective, I really like what I see here.