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Elaine LawsonElaine Lawson, Vice President/Business Leader of U.S. Digital Marketing at MasterCard Worldwide, will sit on the upcoming SMSSummit NYC panel, “Into the Future of Social Media.” She answered a few questions about where social media marketing is headed next.

SMSS: What are some elements in social media marketing you see flourishing in the future?

EL: I think for us, it’s really around data that is being collected and how it can help us optimize things that we’re doing. That’s for me for sure. I think that before it was kind of a free for all. Now I think there are better targeting capabilities that are being discovered - though still not totally refined - that are going to be useful and helpful to us and maybe even could be used in other ways in terms of how we target. I think that’s big. Also really paying attention to how these social platforms are trying to monetize. These days if you really want to be seen, it really helps if you have paid and owned. I think that that is something to be watchful for. Also, what’s next? What the next big thing because it feels like there’s always something new and different popping up. Will things like SnapChat peter out? Will something else rise and get a lot of buzz? It’s what’s next and what else do we need to pay attention to and what new players are going to enter the market that we will need to consider in our social media toolkit.

SMSS: What are some elements of social media marketing that you think will diminish?

EL: I think it’s kind of hard to answer that question. It depends on who you’re trying to target and what’s your budget. You’re probably going to do more if it’s a huge campaign that appeals to a wide audience versus something that’s kind of niche. You might consider less tools in your toolkit if it’s something really niche, as opposed to spreading yourself too thin. I think you have to look at who you’re trying to reach and your budget to make those decisions.

There are so many vehicles out there it’s about deciding what are the best to put in place to achieve the goals, because let’s face it a lot of us have goals and we need to have some return on investment. It’s sort of about what are the best tools to use to meet those goals.

SMSS:  What sort of expectations from the consumer do you see becoming the norm on social media?

EL: I think that if I’m going to be your follower and engage with you I expect something of interest to me. I think that expectation is growing more and more. You [the brand] had a promotion for a certain period of time, I engaged on social media, I expect more of that. I don’t expect now for you to engage with me on stuff I’m really not interested in. I think there is that rising expectation that we have content on our channels that is relevant to our fans/followers/friends. I think that expectation is just getting bigger and bigger, we can’t just be talking to ourselves.

Some of our followers are more vocal than others so you kind of know when you are and when you are not meeting those expectations. I am now following you and I expect you will deliver on those expectations, as a consumer. It’s challenging and it’s a balance.

SMSS: What can SMSSummit NYC attendees expect from your panel?

EL: I think they can hear different perspectives from different brands in terms of what they are doing in the space, how they are tackling those challenges, good and bad, and hopefully they can identify with some of the things we are saying and won’t feel so alone. Hopefully we can feel some camaraderie. That’s something I hope the panel members get from being there and also the audience. I hope they can identify [with what we're saying], and maybe someone has a solution we don’t know about or some ideas they can share. I’m hoping there will be engagement from the audience, when you can hear from likeminded professionals in the space.

About Elaine

Elaine Lawson is currently the Vice President/Business Leader of U.S. Digital Marketing at MasterCard Worldwide. Prior to this role, Elaine was the Director/Marketing Leader of U.S. Consumer & Digital Marketing at MasterCard overseeing traditional and digital marketing campaigns.

Before joining MasterCard, Elaine was a Senior Marketing Manager at Verizon Communications managing traditional and digital marketing campaigns across various products including FiOS TV and Internet service. She has also worked in Account Management at the advertising agencies Ogilvy & Mather, Young & Rubicam and UniWorld Group where she managed advertising campaigns for Kimberly-Clark (i.e. Huggies Diapers, Kotex, Kleenex, etc.), Duracell Batteries, the US Census Bureau, Colgate-Palmolive and AT&T. She has also served as a Teaching Assistant for incoming graduate students in the Masters of Science (M.S.) in Strategic Communications program at Columbia University.

Elaine is an active member of the Digital, Mobile and Social Marketing Committees at the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). She has a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Marketing from Manhattan College and a Master of Science (M.S.) in Strategic Communications from Columbia University.


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