James Campbell is Principal and Experience Design Practice Lead at Slalom. “I help brands create things that humans love,” says James about himself. He is an award-winning Creative Director and Marketing Strategist, who approaches design through a broad lens, and brings together graphic design, copywriting, product design and brand strategy.
Throughout his career, James has helped companies connect with audiences, employees and investors by creating products and interactions that range from mobile apps to physical and experiential programs. He grew up on the North side of Chicago in 1980, and then moved to St. Louis, where he has worked as an art director, guest lecturer, and creative director.
James Campbell will be a speaker at the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference 2018 where he will share his insights about Brand Science. In his session titled “Your Brand is a Hypothesis: Data Science and Creativity”, James will introduce a framework that melds Human Centered Design, Agile and Data Science practices to give brands unprecedented access to real-time insights about brand communication, product development, employee communication, and media management.
MDMC team sat down with James to talk about contemporary digital marketing realia. Here are some of his answers.
Q1. What are some big mistakes a business could make when it comes to digital marketing?
JC: I think the most significant mistake a business can make in the digital space is to think of anything as permanent, or even temporary. Because the medium allows marketers and communicators to access real-time behavioral information, there’s no reason to hold onto the illusion that people aren’t dynamic, and human. Annual cycles, brand guides that aren’t updated regularly, atomic libraries that fail to adapt to changing viewports and use cases – these things should be zeroed in on.
Q2. What do you think is the next game changer in digital marketing, such as a new, modern tactic, tool, or aspect of marketing? How will it evolve in the coming years?
JC: While many people will point to automation, personalization or AR/VR/Blahblah – I think the next real shift will come in content, likely through dynamic content and scientific content development. We can now use targeted deployments to test ideas, multivariate measure, and validate hypotheses about product design and consumer behavior.
Q3: What is your favorite marketing book you have read lately? Or, what are a few of your favorite marketing blogs?
JC: I always recommend finding communities before you find reference material, so once you’ve found others like you that you can bounce ideas off of, these two books should keep you busy for a while: “UX Research: Practical Techniques for Designing Better Products” by Brand Nunnally – a local boy done good, and a great reference to have on hand when planning a project or getting out of a rut; “Breakfast of Champions” by Kurt Vonnegut – it explains everyday things in terms that give light and wonder to what it means to be human.
Q4: According to you, what are the top three mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging digital marketing?
- Buying a tool and expecting change to happen through computer magic.
- Annualized media buys pushing lazy, old-school content.
- Building a new capability or launching a new brand without also changing the internal culture around it.
Q5: Which are your three favorite digital marketing tools?
- Crimson Hexagon
- GoPro Hero5
Q6: If you were looking to hire a digital marketer, what are the top 3-5 skills you would be looking for in a candidate?
JC: One obsessive area of expertise and the curiosity and desire to learn about everything else.
Q7: What’s the industry buzzword that annoys you the most these days and why?
JC: Solutioning – because it’s not a word at all, and it’s dreadfully ironic that the user hasn’t found a better solve.