Premiere Speakers Bureau is proud to announce our new Director of Marking, Robin Burton. To help clients, speakers and friends of Premiere get to know Robin, here's a quick Q&A with Robin. - Brian Lord
Robin, how did you get into marketing?
As cliche' as it may sound, I grew up in it. My dad owned his own firm for most of my life so many of my first memories were of him working on graphics at a drafting table, shooting photos or at the editing studio working on the next video project. I also tell people the biggest reason why I am such a stickler for good writing and grammar is because I (foolishly) let him edit my book reports and essays when I was in school. He was no stranger to using ALL the red ink in a pen! My mom and I still like to give him a hard time about it, much to his chagrin. Did I think I would follow in his marketing footsteps? No, not really. I was planning to attend school for pre-med Biology/Physical Therapy. A month before I left for my freshman year college, I withdrew from Virginia Tech and accepted my offer to the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) where I enrolled in their journalism school. Back story there, once again my dad knew where my interests were and had gently pushed me to consider J-school at Ole Miss. He and I took a road trip to Oxford where I instantly fell in love with the campus and program. The rest, as they say, was history. I earned my BA in Journalism and worked for the student media department in some capacity the whole time - I also landed the head photographer gig for The Ole Miss. I have lived between Atlanta, South Carolina, and Tennessee since 2004 and worked in magazines, advertising, marketing, and PR. For the past nine years, I served as the Director of Marketing for a county-wide economic development agency in Northern Middle Tennessee. I've had many wins (some that brought industry awards) and a few losses in my 15 years in marketing but couldn't imagine doing anything else. I guess dad was right after all.
You describe yourself as a story-teller- why?
I truly believe every person you meet has a story to tell. Ever since I wrote my first feature story, or expose' if you will, I realized that we all have some experience that makes us unique and interesting. From that point on, I tend to find myself digging into what people's stories are and learning from them - that's why I love a good biographical novel. I'm also a firm believer in being your own advocate. No one will ever tell your story as well as you do. This is especially true in a business setting where you have to be one who tells your audience why you are the best. If it's true, it's not bragging, it's simply storytelling.
What are your favorite aspects of marketing? What is your marketing super-power?
There is nothing better than seeing the official launch of a campaign you have poured your time, energy and heart into. I've had some that were months in the making and I've had others that were a year (or more) in the making - either way it is rewarding, especially when you see a client or audience engaged and happy. Believe it or not, listening is a superpower. It may seem so benevolent and simple, but it is amazing what you hear when you just shut your mouth and listen. I've learned more in career by just absorbing what is being said around me and realizing that professionals from all eras of their career - from newbie to senior VP - all have something valuable to say.
How is the world of marketing changing?
You have to embrace technology. It's here, it's growing and it is the main source of news and information for the Millennial and Gen Z generations. As much of bad rap the upcoming generation of leaders receive from the media, they are some of the most technologically savvy individuals on the planet and will be responsible for what comes next after social media. I personally love anything that makes marketing smarter, not harder.
Looking at Premiere as an outsider, what did you like about it?
Interestingly enough, over the last decade or so I have had quite a bit of experience in planning events of varying degrees. I think from this early stage, I am most intrigued by the business model of a speakers bureau. Having been in a position to line up speakers and keynotes, I know what an incredible value there is for an event planner to have that "go-to" sales consultant or company. It's about trust and creating customer value - both of which it seems Premiere has accomplished well. A company doesn't find successful longevity like this unless they have put key people and initiatives in place to leverage that success.
Where did you see that Premiere could improve or you could make your mark?
After a few days in, I can safely say that many of the important marketing pieces are here. My initial goal is to strategically use varied outlets - blogs, podcasts, social media, email marketing, generated content, media relations - to create a holistic, overarching marketing campaign. I want to create engaging and compelling messaging in a space that the customer will be reactive. I have discovered that there is major talent here and that is such a huge asset!
Pretty much everyone at Premiere has a dog. Do you have one? If not, when are you getting one?
We are the proud owners Beauregard the Golden. We more lovingly refer to him as Beau. We love having a pet and couldn't imagine our lives without having our Beau. Our kids love him and our daughter especially loves to dote on and take care of him. He also begrudgingly takes Christmas pictures with us. Like any good dog mom, I have pictures if you ever want to see them! He became a part of our family in July 2015 after we lost our 13-year old Pekingese/Dachshund mix, Lennox. If I had it my way, we would have at least one more big dog and probably a little dog, just to mix it up. My husband, however, thinks differently.