Starcom EVP tells Medill IMC students that experiences matter in marketing

Kathy Kline (MSA90), EVP, Managing Director at Starcom MediaVest Group discussed the state of media today with Medill undergraduate Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) students in Professor Judy Franks’ IMC306 class on Tuesday, May 6. Kline leads agency efforts to design meaningful, impactful experiences between people and brands at Starcom, and oversees the Human Intelligence practice, which includes Research/Insights and Strategy teams. We spoke with Kathy about what students should consider in today’s changing media landscape.

Q: What is the role of media today?

A: I believe the role of media is to design interactive experiences between people and brands. There has been an evolution of media in the past decade, and in this new world order, media can be used to engage people in a way today that traditional advertising/messaging cannot.

Q: What do you mean by new world order?

A: The media shift changed the way we help our clients connect with people.  Advertising used to be about passively exposing people to static ads.  Today, we look to use media and technology to create more interactive, participatory experiences between people and brands, that can solve our clients’ business problems in new ways.

Q: What should people understand about the change in marketing and communications?

A: Now, experiences matter more than ever. In my conversation with students, I wanted to share a real-world look at media today through examples that were easy to understand. I believe textbooks can’t teach what you can learn from immersing yourself in real-world examples. The students in the class asked good questions and easily grasped my discussion on the current state of media. Judy familiarizes her students with current marketing and communications concepts – so they’re very smart!

Q: What qualities should students have who are looking to pursue a job in IMC upon graduation?

A: Students graduating with a degree in IMC should have business acumen and strategic thinking; they should be whole-brain thinkers who aren’t afraid to use their creativity but at the same time can be highly analytical. They should be plugged in and engaged to culture. At Starcom, we look for good storytellers who can find the story in the data and present it in an interesting and compelling way. The job market favors people who don’t just understand branding, but who can brand themselves.