Charlie Tombras Speaks Digital

Charlie Tombras Speaks Digital
June 26th, 2012 News


Photo by Saul Young/News Sentinel

The Tombras Group’s President & CEO, Charlie Tombras, is profiled in an extensive article in the Knoxville News Sentinel. The story describes the ad agency’s evolution during Tombras’ 46-years-and-counting career. He’s still exploring uncharted waters both personally and professionally. Here’s an excerpt with his perspective on digital.

Balancing traditional creative with new digital:

I like to say we’re connecting data and creativity for business results. What we’re doing is really reaching out to our clients’ customers across all kinds of platforms both traditional (radio, television, outdoor and newspaper), guerrilla (bus wraps, signs on side of buildings, nailed cars being placed around the state) and then Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, microsites, websites, mobiles sites and apps. We’re developing integrated digital and traditional brand campaigns for clients, and then we’re engaging our clients’ customers across all those platforms and getting them so engaged that we can capture data from those people.

On measuring results:

I went to a three-month course in 1967 at the Harvard graduate school of business for future advertising agency presidents. It was taught by Harvard graduate school professors who said at the time the Holy Grail of advertising was being able to measure results. Digital has allowed us to do that. We’re putting custom URLs and phone numbers on all of our ads now. We’re able to track everything that we do digitally so that we can measure the ROI on everything that we’re doing for our clients. We’ve got a whole analytics department that never existed before, with people who do nothing but measure results for our clients.

The changing ad cycle:

In the old days, you could run a campaign. You could create it, produce it, plan it and place it and then you could sort of sit back and maybe plan next year’s campaign. It was what I call “the plan it and forget it,” and those days are long gone in the successful advertising agency business. You no longer plan it and forget it. You constantly optimize. You’re measuring everything that you do every week. You’re constantly trying different messages. You’re constantly remeasuring the results, and you’re constantly fine-tuning and tweaking the program. So it never ends. The buy never ends.

How digital provides value:

I like it because it makes us not only responsible but also accountable for producing specific, tangible business results for our clients. And so I think we’re providing a real value now. There was an old saying in advertising when I first started in the business that half of what you spent was wasted. The problem was you didn’t know which half was wasted. Now, really none of the money is wasted. In fact, you’re constantly measuring what you’re getting for it and even improving it.

Read the full article here: Ad man Charlie Tombras meets the challenge