MikMak’s Rachel Tipograph Is This Year’s “Startup Founder”

As we gear up to honor 2017’s Advertising People of the Year, we did a quick check-in with each of our honorees to get a snapshot of who they are, as well as their thinking on the evolution of our industry.

Our next installment installment is from this year’s “Startup Founder” Rachel Tipograph. Rachel launched MikMak — the first platform for native commerce experiences for the social video generation — in 2015. They have worked with over 200 brands including GE, GoPro, L’Oreal, Kate Spade, Mondelez, T-Mobile and Zappos. Rachel is the former Global Director of Digital and Social Media at Gap, where she oversaw strategy, implementation and measurement.

Read on to hear from Rachel on the importance of marketing internally as you would externally, constantly reevaluating you strategy to stay ahead of the game, and practicing radical transparency.

Q: What was the best career advice you ever got, how has it made you better at your job?

A: Market internally the way you market externally. Working at large companies, building your own business, requires you every day to sell your ideas to stakeholders. Knowing how to build buy-in and adapt the narrative to specific audiences is as important in our work as customer-facing marketing. I’ve harnessed and sharpened that skill year after year and it has propelled my career and company forward.

Q: What are the most important innovations impacting our industry today?

A: The growth of voice, proliferation of mobile video, and advent of self-driving cars will drive new types of creative canvases for marketers and continue to fundamentally change the marketing funnel.

Q: What inspires you to get up every day, and work in advertising?

A: The speed of our industry. If you’re not reevaluating your strategy at least on a monthly basis, you’re already behind.  Being in a start-up allows me to be nimble. It blows my mind that corporations lock in their budgets and plans often a year in advance. You can’t respond to the market that way, you can’t optimize. That has to change.

Q: What is the biggest challenge our industry faces over the next 5 years?

A: The consolidation of internet traffic. Five to ten companies are about to control the internet. These platforms will be deeply rooted in video. It will be the roadblock for companies to own the relationships with their customers.

Q: How do you promote diversity within your organization? 

A: As the leader of MikMak, it’s my job to create opportunities for diversity. Often that means working harder to hire someone who falls outside of my immediate network, breaking down walls internally for inclusion, celebrating the differences in individuals’ approaches and experiences.

Q: How do you foster creative and innovative thinking in your organization?

A: I practice radical transparency. My team is given full visibility into the business, we require several cross functional meetings per week, we track all department’s progress in Trello and have a weekly note go out that communicates company goals, department and cross functional work paths to accomplish those goals. I believe that creativity and innovative occurs when you bring disparate ideas, people, disciplines together.