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In an ever-changing landscape mixed with rising customer expectations, a flurry of new channels to play in, and endless amounts of marketing tools, developing a marketing strategy to meet a company’s ambitious growth goals can be trying.

“The fast acceleration of change puts a lot of demand on brands and clients to make sure that they’re up to date on the best path forward.”

Melissa Dorko is the Chief Growth Officer at Wunderman Thompson, a marketing agency that prides itself on helping some of the world’s biggest brands think outside the box. On this episode of Marketing Trends, Dorko helps tell the story of agency marketing, and how they partner with clients to inspire growth utilizing unique marketing strategies that put an emphasis on data and technology. Enjoy!

Main Takeaways:

  • Start Slow Before Moving Fast: When you are building relationships with your clients it’s important to make sure that you are not diving into the deep end from the beginning. Instead, bring them along slowly. Start with a discovery call and move along to small projects before tackling some of the larger big picture things.
  • Data with a Dash of Creativity: Marketers need to be data-driven, but not all your marketing efforts need to strictly be data-driven. Use your data to lead your creative efforts to create materials that not only inspire your audience but resonate with them.
  • On a Rocketship: It’s important for marketers to understand that growth is not just determined by whether people think of brands or the value that they provide, but also by what they think of them. While brand awareness is always an important goal to any growth strategy, inspiration and brand values are an equally important part of a brand’s growth strategy.

Key Quotes:

“The fast acceleration of change puts a lot of demand on brands and clients to make sure that they’re up to date on the best path forward.”

“A lot of demand gen is around thought leadership…Clients love to see what other clients are doing. They want to see that you’ve done something great for a retailer or another CPG company, or they want to know that you have that industry expertise. Anywhere that we can share those stories, without giving away any sort of trade secrets, to show that we understand their challenges and their problems, [that creates value].”

“People want a date before they get married, and I encourage people [to work with different companies] because I think that again, the best partners and the best relationships are mutually beneficial. If you’re in a relationship where someone is always talking and you don’t feel like that true partnership, it’s not going to last very long. I’m trying to encourage in those early days of a relationship with a new client to start off small, start off with the discovery, start off with the small projects, start off with internal campaigns, that it’ll give you a good sense of who we are and how our two cultures work together.”

“B2B is how you think about IBM, it’s about creativity. It’s about using data to visualize and do things in an interesting and different way. The way that their marketing and advertising can convey that message is what inspires people to have an affinity towards that brand.”

“It is about using data to optimize your efforts. But I do think there is this resurgence of beautiful brand creativity that is less about forcing you to click and more, getting back to what advertising was.”


Melissa Dorko is the Chief Growth Officer, North America, of Wunderman Thompson, where she is responsible for overseeing all revenue performance, strategy, and alignment of the organization’s revenue operations within the region for the agency.

With more than 17 years of experience driving growth for companies, Melissa is a proven leader in building strong relationships with colleagues, prospects and clients. Using her breadth of expertise in digital transformation, Melissa has led business development teams and worked to uncover opportunities for a wide array of businesses ranging from Fortune 500 companies, to innovative start-ups.

Before joining Wunderman Thompson, Melissa was the Chief Growth Officer at Isobar and prior, she was the Vice President of North American Business Development at Sapient Razorfish. She has also held Business Development positions at Resource Interactive (now IBM iX) and Fitch. As a consumer experience and digital business development leader, Melissa’s expertise encompasses branding, strategy, creative, store design, eCommerce and digital marketing initiatives for B2B and B2C brands.

Melissa is a loyal Cleveland sports fan. When she is not working, you can probably find her cheering on the Buckeyes/Cavs/Indians/Browns or enjoying time with her three kids and husband. She is also secretly holding out for the US Women’s National Soccer Team to extend her a spot on the team. She lives in Chicago.

Marketing Trends podcast is brought to you by Salesforce. Discover marketing built on the world’s number one CRM: Salesforce. Put your customer at the center of every interaction. Automate engagement with each customer. And build your marketing strategy around the entire customer journey. Salesforce. We bring marketing and engagement together. Learn more at

To read an unedited, automatically-generated transcript of this interview, click here.

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