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“Digital Champions” with Stephen Rustad of Rustad Marketing

On “Digital Champions,” our host, Greg Kirkham, speaks with experts and professionals from across the country operating in the digital marketing and media space. In this segment, Greg spoke with Stephen Rustad of Rustad Marketing.

Short company description:

Creating a successful marketing effort begins with some detective work. Discovering the authentic essence of an enterprise is the basis for developing a powerful message that resonate with clients, customers and partners. Though this process, I often uncover valuable, or even unique, aspects of a business or product that the client has overlooked or undervalued.

Fifty years of experience in brand development and marketing communications has taught me a lot, however none of this information is more valuable than these principles: Truth sells. Humor works. People want to buy.

What was your first job in Media?:

Art Director for Botsford Ketchum in San Francisco working on packaged goods: Duraflame firelogs, Littergreen Kitty Litter, Hunt’s Tomato Sauce.

What is the biggest change in marketing that you see coming in the next 2 years?:

Differentiation. Most products / services are really just commodities with different logos. Each new generation chooses its own preferences, so brands constantly need to reestablish the relevancy. Social media is great at awareness, but few businesses are effectively using it to establish relevance and provoke action.

List any trade organizations or groups that you belong to, if any:

None at this time.

Why is it important for a business to hire an outside ad agency as opposed to having just an internal marketing director?:

Objectivity! It’s far to easy for a business to become “a legend within your own walls.” An outside agency doesn’t have the implicit pressure of reporting to a management that may be shortsighted, or too focused on the quarterly results to have a larger vision of the brand. Such companies often treat any undesirable news by killing the messenger.

What is one tip that you would give when it comes to digital marketing?:

Develop a distinct personality that isn’t too safe, predictable, or functionally generic among your competition. I’m not just talking about a mascot, or a zany president. A true brand persona needs an attitude that is unique and yet resonates with your target audience. My current favorite social media accounts are Wendy’s and the National Part Service. Both are funny and relevant.

What percent of your advertising service offerings does traditional media buying make up?*:

I don’t buy media as a rule, so I don’t have useful data. That said, any successful business needs to pair their media choices with comparable market research. It’s too imprecise (and it can be too late) to judge the effect of a marketing effort solely on sales flow.

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