In 1995, Josh Golden was producing videos for the prosecution team in the OJ Simpson murder case. In 2019, he’s the president and publisher of Ad Age and a storied marketing and advertising leader. Over the course of those twenty-four years, Josh enjoyed quite the varied career — spanning film production to publishing, agency life to in-house marketing, and many things in between.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO CHALLENGE THE STATUS QUO
After bonding over their New York connections, Josh, Ian, and Lauren dove into a discussion on marketing disruption and what drives change in today’s business environments.
Challenging the status quo can be nerve-wracking, especially when you’re in a new role at a new company. When he was being considered for his current position at Ad Age, Josh even told the former president that he wasn’t the right man for the job because he wanted to change so much about the publication.
As it turns out, that’s exactly why Josh was the right man for the job.
“With the environment of disruption that we’re living in, if you are not constantly looking at the things that are changing and how to stay on top of them and, you will lose.”
Josh has been at the helm of Ad Age since 2016. Now, he faces the challenge of steering the almost 90-year-old publication into its next century. One of Josh’s favorite things about the job is how it allows him to bring together all of his diverse career experiences in content creation, storytelling, marketing, advertising, and media.
MARKETING TODAY IS TOUGHER THAN EVER BEFORE
Josh believes that marketing is more difficult than it’s ever been. Between the noise factor, influx of micro-influencers, and concerns over privacy and data, so many of today’s biggest marketing obstacles simply didn’t exist when Josh was working in the industry in the 80s and 90s.
Today’s marketers are dealing with complex, sensitive issues on a day-to-day basis. With so much at stake, it can be tough to justify any risk. One of their biggest struggles is defining success among multiple leaders and internal stakeholders.
WHAT DOES MARKETING SUCCESS REALLY LOOK LIKE?
Marketing goals have changed over the years as well. Previously, brands simply focused on creating great content and telling stories to connect with audiences. With the advent of advanced digital tracking and data, marketers now face more pressure to tie sales and business growth to their campaigns.
CMOs and marketing leaders are often tasked with measuring performance while working to build deep emotional connections with audiences — but deep emotional connections don’t always immediately show themselves in the form of sales. The divide between storytelling and campaign performance remains the cause of many a headache for many a marketer.
DO INDUSTRY AWARDS MATTER?
Marketers love to be recognized. After all, it is our job to build recognition for the brands we’re marketing. While marketers often crave industry awards as recognition for a job well done, business leaders may not place much value on an award-winning ad or popular campaign.
‘We’re not paying you to get awards, we’re paying you to get business results,’ is a quip many advertising pros have heard a time or two. Ian, however, has found that the more awards his teams win, the more new clients reach out for work. Awards give agencies priceless visibility, and can even help attract marketing talent to the organization.
Marketing should always be a long-term endeavor. Though marketers may be expected to achieve short-term results, a long-term mindset will beget far more success in the long run.