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Sierra Walker | TV

David McBee: Hello and welcome to TV. I'm David McBee. Our guest today is Sierra Walker, Media Director at The Karma Group. Sierra is a media mastermind with over 15 years of experience in digital advertising, video editing, design coding, and 3D animation. As a Karma team leader, she melds human expression with media strategy. The Karma Group aims to make good things happen for their clients, communities, and employees by providing excellent marketing relationships and experiences for mission driven entities, they specialize in industries where human encounters and interactions are critical, requiring a more complex strategic effort than consumer product models. Sierra, thank you for joining us today. Sierra Walker: Thank you, David. David McBee: Okay, let's start by talking about that last line in your intro. What does it mean to specialize in industries where human encounters and interactions are critical? Sierra Walker: Yeah, I mean, it's not your typical product based services where you walk into a retailer and you purchase a product. It's healthcare, it's financial services, things that really where relationships matter. How the doctor treats you, how the nurse treats you, how you feel investments are going. And it's beyond just a transactional process for consumers, it's a long-term relationship. David McBee: So how does that impact the professional's media? Why is that so different than selling a bicycle? Sierra Walker: Well, a lot of times the need isn't immediate, it's about top of mind awareness for long periods of time. When you talk about hospital services, something like a cardiologist for instance, it's not always an immediate need, but it's making sure that that hospital system is top of mind when someone does finally need the cardiologist. And on top of that then, it's long-term relationships typically already exist in those instances. A lot of times when somebody has a primary care provider or they've been working with a bank for 20 years, "I've been using the same bank since I was 18." How do you convince somebody? How do you persuade somebody to change? And especially when it comes to things like healthcare and financial services, it's not easy to change those things. It's not like you flip a switch and all of a sudden everything is moved. It's a process. And so how do we make that easier? How do we persuade people to understand that we can make it easy and it's in their best interest to go through some of those pain points of transitioning to something new? David McBee: So how do you do that? You'd have a really hard time getting me to leave my bank because, again, I've been there since I was 18. Sierra Walker: Yeah. Well, a lot of it from a media standpoint we talk about frequency and reach, staying in front of people as often as possible, a good mix of wherever they are we want to be. But I have to say that's where our creative is in play. I mean, it's telling the story, it's speaking to those pain points, understanding those as consumers, ourselves, trying to walk through what is that process like and what's typically the hangup and then how do we approach that. On top of that, we can do everything on our end to tell people about it, but we have a lot of conversations with our clients about they need to deliver. It's the car salesman, I can get people to your lot, but if you are really bad at car sales, we can't fix that. So you have to follow through on those promises. And so we really try that to make sure our messaging is honest. If they can't follow through on it, we aren't going to put it out there in front of people. David McBee: I kind of love that and I want to dive in a little deeper because for 20 years I've been having that conversation with advertisers. I can't do everything. I can't make the sale for you. So what did those conversations look like? Sierra Walker: It can be a lot of teaching and then follow through. We actually have a research team in-house here that goes out into the markets and does research projects for our clients to find out what are people saying, what are their issues, what are the problems? And we bring that back to our clients to have these discussions of this is real feedback. This is what people are actually saying. What are you going to do about it? Because again, we can't put a message out there if it's not true. So if you claim "We have really short wait times," you better really have short wait times or else that's not the message we're going to go to market with. And it can get really complicated. In some cases, we'll wait until they get their act together, so to speak, they have to implement new processes or new procedures before we'll launch a campaign and just put it on the back burner until they're ready. David McBee: Sounds very strategic and ethical, which you don't hear a lot of in media. All right. So because TV isn't broadcast live, I know that our viewers aren't aware that you and I are talking today on International Women's Day. So I feel compelled to ask you about being a woman in media. What's it like, and what advice do you have for other women in the industry? Sierra Walker: It's definitely unique. The Karma Group has been a very different experience for me because this is actually a woman owned agency and 90% of the employees here are women, so a complete flip. Because my background, I was in radio for many years and it was historically meant, and you kind of got to put your money where your mouth is. You got to stand up, you got to be a little bit more confident. And I know for a lot of women that can be difficult because you get looked at as difficult or harsh or there's a lot of other terms that are used to describe women when we tend to be more outspoken. But you earn a seat at the table. And I feel like that was how it was for me. I didn't just say things, I did it. If I said I was going to do something, I did it and I didn't just do it a little bit, I'd go 110% because that's what it took. And I think the more experience you have in doing that and the confidence you have, and it works right, when you know what you're doing and it's easier to be confident and then you have the proof, like, "Look, I said this is what was going to happen. This is what actually happened." And don't let it scare you. There are plenty of times where I was the only female in the room and I was never treated differently, but I also never behaved differently. I didn't act differently. I was never mousey about my opinions. I have very strong opinions about things and I'm not always right, but it's also then admitting when you aren't right. So it's just put in the work. Put in the work. Show it, don't just say it. David McBee: I love that so much. I'm going to take this clip and share it with my daughter. So thank you for that. Sierra Walker: Yeah. David McBee: All right. Real quick before we go, is there a book or piece of media that you feel has helped you become successful? Sierra Walker: I am a big Simon Sinek fan. Just from the very beginning, the Start with Why, I think it's so important to figure out why you want to do what you do, for yourself. Not necessarily even as an organization, but as an individual. Why do I enjoy being in media and marketing and what is it that I get out of this and what am I hoping to achieve? And then to his most recent one, The Infinite Game, I think the reminder that there's no end. There isn't like a good job you won, it's constant. It's a constant process and that's kind of the beauty of it. There's always a new goal. There's always something new to achieve, something new to learn. And the sooner you get your mindset into that, the better. I think it makes it easier to do what we do. So Simon Sinek, I think anything but those two in particular. David McBee: Perfect. I love that recommendation. Thank you. Sierra Walker: Yeah. David McBee: Sierra, thank you very much for joining us on TV. Sierra Walker: Thank you for having me. David McBee: And thank you all for joining us as well. I'm David. McBee. Be awesome and we'll see you next time.

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