Being asked to relocate mid career for a lateral move now seems like a distant past decision that I was happy to ignore. A year ago I contemplated my next career opportunity and came to the conclusion that I liked my life and my next position should support the philosophies of my daily routine and the passion for shopper or customer marketing.

So as timing would have it, a boutique shopper marketing agency in town, Social Forces--whom I had intimately come to know in previous roles--provided me with just such a landing spot. We’re a nimble, social media-driven agency that focuses on creative content, hyper-targeted digital media with the goal to influence customer behavior while helping to improve the shoppers’ day. It’s been a truly amazing experience that has been rewarding professionally (being named Who’s Who in Shopper Marketing by the Path 2 Purchase Institute) and personally, as I am still able to head home if there’s an issue with my bungalow, as there always is, or a problem with my Jeep, two Portuguese Water Dogs or mother in law. 

Now, during this past year I have both led by example with wisdom and experience but certainly have learned more than a few things from this high performing team.   

First, social media is not just a young person’s opportunity.  The combination of new trends and older ideas, possibly from previous advertising campaigns before some of the “millenials” were born, has injected a wrinkle into the brainstorm process for client creative.  There is value in not reinventing the wheel and yes, pun intended…

Next, not every client is a good fit.  As a true partner to your account, there are just inherently things your agency does well and lots of times you want to help but it’s just better sometimes to recommend a better service provider in the area of expertise.  It is worth it to NOT play in someone else’s sandbox.

Finally, social media strategy is more complex than it looks. When an agency is doing their job the client (my former role) has no idea how elaborate and nuanced every aspect of social shopper marketing truly is. Everything from targeting to hyper-niche customer profiles to what to say to contest winners on the phone must be considered to create a positive consumer experience. The truth is the client education process for an agency providing specialized niche services is longer than expected, but the payoff is you truly understand your client’s business--making you a trusted partner, and your client truly understands the value of what the agency is providing.


Ari Rothman is the VP/Accounts & Marketing Services at Social Forces, and a 20+ year CPG/retail and restaurant marketing veteran with account experience in integrated social media platforms and now leads new business development.  To contact Ari or hear more about Social Forces email or call 813-775-2282 Ext. 700