Q&A with Eric Fulwiler
by Holly Ripley, on 11 August, 2020
Eric Fulwiler is an influential leader in the marketing game. Having spent over 10 years in the biz building some of the biggest global brands and clients including PepsiCo and Mastercard, Eric devised his expertise in content and scalability, as he continues to pioneer in the digital marketing world.
He’s a busy man, but we managed to steal a few moments of his time to talk us through a day in the life of Eric Fulwiler as he shared some nuggets of wisdom for the marketing world along the way...
Could you talk us through a typical day in the office/WFH for you?
It’s all WFH these days! Which comes with its own challenges, but also allows more consistency in the structure of a typical day (and no travel to bump me out of my routine). I start the day with a check-in with my business manager, Jess. We run through the diary and any new requests that have come up, as well as reviewing the week’s priorities to make sure we’re on track. I then try to have two hours of “down time” (i.e. no meetings, no Slack/email) each day to get into flow and work on priority projects, issues, or opportunities. Then, from 11-6pm it’s full-on meetings :).
I ended up in marketing by accident rather than intent. I started my career in non-profit but got frustrated feeling I wasn’t having an impact. I decided I wanted to get into business and started asking some more experienced, connected people I knew. One person knew the CEO at Forbes.com who was looking for someone to “figure out this social media thing” (this was 2008/9), and I figured I’d give it a shot.
Did it choose you or did you choose it?
A bit of both, I’d say. I didn’t intentionally plan a career in marketing, but once I got into it I realised it fit with a lot of what I was interested in and good at. I love the idea and challenge of figuring out what makes people tick. What makes people change their perception and behaviour - both in mass markets (marketing) and in teams (leadership/management, which I’d say is more my job now than marketing). So, let’s say we chose each other :).
It’s changed so much and not at all. So much in the sense that the experience and expectations of modern-day marketing looks so different compared to even 10 years ago, mostly driven by technology. Where people spend their time has changed dramatically, as has the technology we have as marketers to reach them, engage with them, and understand the impact we’re having. But marketing also hasn’t changed in the sense that the underlying principles that guide it are the same and always will be. Because they’re based on human truths. The things that guide how we make decisions (the psychological, economic, and sociological realities of our world) don’t really change, at least not that quickly. Good marketers focus more on those truths, the things that don’t change, than the tech trends that do.
What do you predict for the future of social media marketing?
I don’t really like predictions. I think they’re entertaining to read but distracting from the real opportunities of making the most from what’s already happening. You don’t have to know the future to be successful, you just have to react quicker than your competition to things when they do change. But I do believe there are human truths that have always guided change in marketing and will continue to do so. I believe modern day marketing is about adding value. The future of social media marketing will be won by the brands and marketers that find ways to add more value through the content and experiences they provide to their audience.
What’s on your watchlist of emerging marketing trends to keep an eye out for?
Personalisation at scale. I think this idea of top-down campaigns where the message and brand need to be the same everywhere is going away. That concept was developed 70+ years ago when the technology we had to reach consumers only allowed for a “one size fits all approach”. The fact that approach is still being used when the technology has changed so radically is crazy when you think about it. In 2020 vs 1950 you can understand SO much more about your audience and reach small segments with much more personalised messaging. Marketers aren’t taking enough advantage of that. I’m also fascinated by how technology will change creative production. Creative is the ultimate variable of marketing success, and content creation is a massive industry - almost entirely done manually by humans. But there are some really interesting developments in AI tech that could produce big breakthroughs in creative production at phenomenal scale that will support the personalisation trend.
Finally, if you had to live without LinkedIn or Twitter, which would it be?
I’d ditch Twitter. To be honest, I’ve thought about doing it anyway, ha. I just don’t get much value from it these days. LinkedIn is where my audience and community are.