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An Interview with Katherine Lumb

Vice President, Director of Strategic Planning at Publicis Kaplan Thaler

As a brand planner, Katherine Lumb creates digital solutions for Fortune 500 clients and their customers. She also works on the business development team. She joined Publicis Kaplan Thaler in 2007 from Publicis Dialog, where she led the experience planning practice as creative experience director and developed interactive experiences based on consumer research, intuitive information architecture and usability testing. Over the course of her career, Lumb has worked with a diverse portfolio of marketers including L’Oréal, General Mills, Continental Airlines, Procter & Gamble and Sanofi-Aventis.

Can you describe your role and responsibilities?

Katherine Lumb: I’m a brand planner, but because I have so much digital expertise, I’m called upon to help with integrated campaigns that involve digital media. I work on Merck’s vaccine products, German technology company Dräger, and AXA Equitable.

How do you use eMarketer to facilitate your research process?

Lumb: I find myself turning to eMarketer to educate creative teams on the current technology landscape and how the specific audience we’re targeting uses digital media and technology. I do the same thing in my new business role. Usually for a new business pitch we create some sort of a persona, and that includes a technology profile on what the target looks like online and in social media.

The creative team members, who are more traditionally focused, need a little more education on how to craft digital campaigns. Because we’re becoming fully integrated, our creatives and planners need to think strategically across all media and in terms of media integration.

One of the things I find myself most concerned with—particularly in new business, but on my accounts too—is getting the creatives up to speed. I’m helping them if they don’t yet have a strong digital capability. I become a shepherd of the digital component of any pitch. I’m a constant voice for media integration because more and more, clients and prospective clients are getting really tired of agencies coming to them and just showing them TV and print in a pitch. Clients are looking for integrated communication strategies and want digital to do a lot of the heavy lifting for them.

How has eMarketer helped you research a strategy or plan?

Lumb: eMarketer has fantastic search and filtering capabilities. It’s a pleasure to drill down to what I need. It has a really great interface. The Digital World Atlas is also helpful. The dashboards are full of up-to-the-minute information that’s great for getting a snapshot of something. And, of course, the charts. Oh, the charts! There is a chart for everything I could possibly want. I can search for charts, articles or entire reports. I pull information straight from eMarketer and put it in front of a client.

How do you use the interviews?

Lumb: I’ve started reading them more and more. They make for great case study information, reveal things about the competition and help us understand how to apply technologies in different industries. They’re great for getting insight on what was going on in a particular campaign, and then we can look at the campaign with a better understanding.

For example, I might come across an interview in which someone is talking about a digital campaign and all the various pieces that were implemented in different media. That’s a great way for me to quickly put together a case study as a best practice and show it to the team.

In preparing for a new business pitch, how do you use eMarketer?

Lumb: eMarketer helps me lay the groundwork for new business pitches. In pitching prospective retail clients, I’ve needed to get up to speed on how shoppers use mobile in retail. I had to get smart on that fast—to understand the landscape, best practices and get my teams up to speed. If I want to know what the latest trend is in banking or healthcare, I would definitely go to eMarketer to get smart on that topic quickly. eMarketer is great for winning fights—it’s great for the client who’s pushing back.

How is eMarketer different than Forrester Research as a resource?

Lumb: I go to Forrester when I need a really deep dive into specific data. We have a technographic seat and I go deep into the data. The reports are less comprehensive and cover fewer topics specific to me. On eMarketer, I find reports that are more relevant to what I’m working on.

You’re more likely to offer information that I can get more quickly. I go to Forrester for some data but less and less for its reports. I go to eMarketer every day.

What continues to excite you about this work and the digital landscape?

Lumb: One of the best things about the digital landscape is that it changes every 2 seconds. You have to keep up. It’s always changing, so you never have time to get bored. Every day is a new day, and I have to re-examine all the behaviors of my target consumer all the time. There is no sitting still. Working on new business is always very energizing. It can also be very enervating. And right now, we’re trying to figure out this whole integration thing.

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Katherine Lumb

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“eMarketer helps me lay the groundwork for new business pitches.”

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