Adweek’s Jenny Rooney on Marketing Trends Today: Going Beyond the Textbook, Focusing on Culture, and Recognizing the Power and Influence of Words


With so many new and emerging digital platforms, the pressure is on to deliver content that is creative, compelling, inclusive and accessible. And if we’re being honest with ourselves, this can sometimes (or maybe always) be overwhelming. Fortunately, the talented team at NYWICI invited Jenny Rooney, Chief Experience Officer at Adweek, as their special guest at a fireside chat in Midtown Manhattan moderated by Brandi Boatner, Manager of Digital and Advocacy Communications at IBM. Together, Jenny and Brandi invigorated not just an entire room of attendees, but reached a huge audience that tuned into the conversation via Zoom. Below are some of the tips, best practices, and ways YOU can stay ahead of the curve as you continue to crush your marketing career and sharpen your leadership skills.




“I’m having phone calls and conversations all day long, when do I actually do my work? When do I send emails? When does the work get done?” Sounds familiar, right? Brandi quickly brought comfort to the room when she asked if everyone can relate. Jenny’s steady, calm, and firm answer: “Balance is needed.”

Jenny and Brandi then launched into a lively conversation that hit on many important topics, questions, and concepts that marketing leaders face today.

Go beyond the textbook.

Jenny believes in the importance of education and values the backdrop of a classroom setting to gain a practical look at marketing today. There’s the concept of “what you learn versus what you do” and in many cases, most people learn in the real-world, not from a textbook. However, Jenny believes there is opportunity to bridge the two. She explained that young marketers today should focus on culture and look at the brands that are already ‘getting it right’ and to their ‘why’ factor.

Words matter.

Brandi asked Jenny, “What does it mean to be a Chief Experience Officer and what does this role seek to deliver?” Without hesitation, Jenny explained succinctly, “We can’t undersell the power of words.” She explained that one needs to find the words that truly explain what we’re trying to convey, and a Chief Experience Officer captures the depth and breadth of what matters to customers, to the business, to the content creators and consumers, and to making sure people have good experiences with a brand. Naming roles helps companies and individuals understand their priorities and what they need to deliver to be successful.

Focus on culture.

Jenny and Brandi spoke candidly on what it means for someone to have a good experience with a brand. A person should feel they gained something valuable when interacting with a brand—whether it’s a buying a concert ticket and attending the show, purchasing a product (think Pumpkin Spiced Latte in the fall), or consuming content on one of Adweek’s many different platforms (social, web, podcast, etc.). At the end of the day, it’s critical to deliver something that’s substantive and high quality—and makes a person feel special. And finally, it’s important to know your brand and audience ahead of pursuing partnerships.

Seek out reverse mentoring.

Most of the time, we hear about the benefits of finding a mentor who has experience. But times are changing, and with the speed and pace of technology, the next generation isn’t just learning how to use it—it’s practically embedded into their DNA. Mentorship should now go two ways. The next generation entering the workforce see things differently—especially with social media built into their upbringing. When it comes to mentorship, there should be more balance and equity. There’s the benefit of learning from people who have been in the business for decades – to understand and learn – but also adapt as needed.

Written by Jillian Lubarsky, Director of Marketing and Communications at Food Bank for New York City


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