A Marketing VP's Insight to Non-Traditional Marketing

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Get An Insider's View of a Non-Traditional Marketing Agency

We interviewed Ms. Lea Ghandour, Vice President of Business Development, at Gloss Media to get an insider's view on the ins and outs of a non-traditional marketing agency. Gloss Media is based out of New York City. 

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in marketing.

Currently, I am working at a non-traditional advertising agency by the name of Gloss Media as the VP of Business Development. Gloss Media, is a digital out of home and experiential marketing company that exclusively targets and caters to the always growing importance of the female shopper, mother, career woman, trendsetter and recommender. We provide our clients with customized marketing opportunities through our partnerships with a nationwide network of Nail Salons to offer both digital and experiential touch points.

I graduated from Portland State University with a bachelor in French, Marketing & Management and moved to New York City in search of an interesting job in the Marketing/Advertising sector.I worked at a non-traditional ad agency called Ambient Planet for approximately 6 years. I began my career at Ambient Planet as as an operations assistant and worked my way up to the VP of Operations. In 2008 myself along with a few of my colleagues and I decided to start a female focused nontraditional and digital out of home company under the umbrella of another company called Ubiquitous Media and launched a new company that is now known as Gloss Media.


What is a typical day for a VP of Business Development at a marketing agency?

A typical day at Gloss Media can really vary-its safe to say that no day is ever the same-we all have the opportunity to ‘wear a lot of hats’. Although my goal is to expand the digital out of home network and continue to run campaigns- A typical day is usually focused on managing/creating strategic partnerships, working on client proposals and managing/executing client campaigns around the country.


Your agency is described as a non-traditional, experiential marketing firm. Can you expand further on what makes your marketing non-traditional versus what is considered traditional?

Traditional marketing/advertising simply put is-newspaper, radio/television –at Gloss Media we offer our clients a different approach to reaching their target market.  We focus on nontraditional advertising strategies such as-digital out of home, placed based advertising and promotional/event marketing.


What advantages does non-traditional marketing give to the client?

The biggest advantage is cost- nontraditional efforts often are a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising (television, radio and print budgets are quite different). Nontraditional marketing approaches allow the advertisers to interact directly with their potential customers and can often create an element of surprise-which creates a more memorable impression. Also-we can reach customers where traditional platforms cannot and the effect is one that is often more lasting and impactful.

For example –someone can easily change a radio station, flip a channel or turn a page where as an ad on a mani pedi mat (see picture below) is something that a customer will be exposed to from anywhere from 10-30 minutes. Many of our platforms have this type of effect. We also create an opportunity for the customer can take something home voluntarily (branded emery board, polish etc). 



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Our digital out of home network also is also advantageous because of the way it interacts with the customer- the nail salon customer is immobilized when getting a manicure or pedicure and has the opportunity to watch Gloss TV-which airs female focused content, and our advertisers can reach a specific audience and air ads to their exact target customers. In addition-most of our platforms can be targeted by household income, zip code, radial distance or ethnicity for maximum flexibility.

What have been some of the challenges you have faced executing non-traditional marketing methods?

The main challenges for our advertisers with nontraditional tactics is that it can be difficult to measure – ROI is not easily measured-nontraditional is also very organic at times and can take longer to plan/execute as it is not always turnkey. Overall the main attached for many clients is that it is affordable and it creates more of a buzz/excitement which has more of an impact on today’s customer.


Your agency has several divisions and among them you have one focused on women marketing called Gloss Media. How has marketing for women changed over the years and how do you see it evolving in the future?

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Overtime it has become quite evident that women have a massive buying power-and the importance to market to women has become a focus to many advertisers. It is documented that women make up 85% of the consumer purchases and play a significant role as the key decision makers

Given the unique combination of a significant dwell time, 92% + female skew and captive environment-we are convinced that there is not a more effective network as ours in the out of home/digital out of home market. Gloss Media offers advertisers an opportunity to market to women in a truly unique way.

What has been one of your favorite campaigns so far?

One of my favorite campaigns was for Fashion Week-our client, CND wanted to reach fashionable/trendy women and introduce their new produce-Shellac. We transformed a glass truck into a CND-Shellac Mobile Salon and used social media (Twitter, Facebook etc) to let everyone know we would be giving out complimentary Shellac manicures. This event last for three days and generated so much buzz and excitement-we had lines of women waiting to get their Shellac manicures at the start of each day-we couldn’t keep up with the demand but had plenty of promotional samples to give away so no one left empty handed!

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What advice would you give to businesses that would like to market their product the non-traditional way?

Know your exact target demo, get creative! There are so many unique ways to reach your target demo-the sky is the limit.

If doing a promotional event always do your research to maximize your efforts and always look into feasibility etc –overlooking details can cause an abrupt end to a promotion (for example not having a permit).

Explain why it is important for a business to hire a non-traditional marketing agency when venturing outside their traditional marketing scope.

Great exposure, more impactful (can be extremely specific/targeted-speak to a very defined audience/reach very specific demos), create buzz and is much less costly than traditional marketing. Overall it’s a much more unique approach and will hopefully be more memorable to everyone involved. 


Until Next Time...


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Cristina Keleshian

Cristina is an Inbound Marketing expert with international experience in a variety of industries

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