Leily L Sanchez
Q & A Series: Louie Sandoval
Louie Sandoval is all about metrics. He works for Nielsen, a global marketing research firm, that is all about metrics. However, Louie Sandoval explains to me in this Q & A Series interview that metrics are not about numbers, they're about people.
For this series interview, I had such a fun and insightful time discussing with Louie his role and activities, client relationships, knowledge gaps, building trust, winding careers and the 2008 recession, building a skillset and his operating mindset.
And, of course, I asked about his reading list.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are those of the author or interviewee and do not explicitly represent the position or policy of any company mentioned.
About Louie Sandoval
Louie Sandoval is Director of Marketing Solutions and Sponsorship Analytics in Sports, eSports, and Entertainment at Nielsen with over 10 years of marketing executive experience working for companies like Disney, DreamWorks, NBCUniversal, Nickelodeon, Sony Pictures, and Warner Music Group. Having started in music in 2008, Louie is a professional who has learned how to quickly evolve and adapt to jump-start his career during a recession.
Louie Sandoval on his Team's Activities
Louie Sandoval explains the activities of the Marketing Solutions and Sponsorship Analytics in Sports, eSports, and Entertainment:
"What our group does is to help brands, depending on what stage they are in...to really help them quantify, measure and understand the impact that their activities are driving."
He clarifies further that it all depends on the clients' objectives.
"It's really talking to clients to find out what they care about...if you don't care about that KPI, why would we want to provide you with a metric you don't use?"
Essentially, he says, his clients want to know how their marketing activities in sports are changing consumer behavior and shaping their brand.
He goes on to explain that in order to succeed with their clients, he and his team need to have a deep understanding of the client's business, market place dynamics in the sports industry and category, and understanding marketing tactics that drive proven results.
Louie on the Client Knowledge Gap
Louie responded that the knowledge gap varies among clients because some have experiences in sponsorship activities while others do not and that there are certain transferrable marketing skills involved. But, he also adds that:
"It really depends on who you are talking to. Where we sit in the space is that we are the experts in measuring all this activity. ...No matter where you are, there is a constant education to fill that gap. If you are talking to someone that is super sophisticated, you start at a different base of knowledge and the converstation might be different."
When speaking to these more knowledgable clients, he says, that the objectives and metrics desired are different and can vary greatly between all other clients. However, he asserts that there are some critical metrics that they evaluate:
"Reach. Reach is the audience, how many people. You look at resonance. 'How is it working?' Relevance. How relevant is it to that target audience. Then you look at the reaction. And then, the overall return in terms of return on investment."
In general, Louie affirms that having at the core of the conversation that Nielsen is "the currency by which media is traded", helps with client subjectivity.
Louie on Trust
Louie clarifies that when we refer to clients, we treat them as an entity, an organization or corporation. However, he clarifies:
"You're really dealing with people. And you build trust with people the same way you build trust with your family, your relationships, your teachers, your colleagues and your friends: by being honest, by supporting their decisions, and by telling them when they are wrong."
In building your expertise, you are building credibility and from a Nielsen perspective, he says, that the global marketing research firm has an unmatched media tracking infrastructure that serves as a credible platform to rely on when building trust.
Louie on Winding Careers and the 2008 Recession
Early in his career, Louie took a series of internships, landed a coordinator position at Warner Music Group, then took two more internship positions before returning to a coordinator position at Disney in their Direct to Consumer and International division. As a USC music industry undergraduate, he explains that:
"The way the music game works and still works is through internships. ...I was a full-time coordinator but, I was still in school and I had to quit the job because I couldn't do both."
So, before graduating, he took another internship with Sony for the summer. He graduated in the Spring of 2008.
"It was the 2008 Great Recession. Nobody was hiring, no jobs, nothing. I thought 'what am I to do?' So I took an internship at a Hispanic ad agency. Then the economy started getting better. And after 4 months they wanted to hire me but I took a job at Disney, another internship. ...It was a six-month internship. I got hired in a month."
Louie explains that he was coming in early and leaving late and working as diligently as possible to earn that position at Disney.
"Sometimes you need to do a lot of these different jobs to, one, find out what you really like and then, two, build a skillset and earn trust and get someone to support you and bring you on board to give you a chance and an opportunity. That's all you really need. And once that happens, the rest is history."
He says that the goal, early in your career is to aim to be well-rounded and to, at least, "learn just enough to be dangerous."
Louie on Building Your Skillset
Citing IDEO CEO, Tim Brown's concept of T-shaped stars, Louie explains that it is important to have both breadth of skills and depth in a pillar skill.
"If you just hover up on this top T, you know just enough and you're pretty good but there is no anchor. So I have always used that as a guiding light because I have always wanted and needed to have that expertise built.
His advice in building your skillset is to begin by exploring the many different areas in your chosen field and desired industry and select those that interest you the most. Sometimes, you are lucky, like he was, to find a position that has those skills and anchor built-in that you like. However, he clarifies:
"I did ten internships before I fell into a career that I can be an expert in. It wasn't a deliberate process. No, one is going to come to you and say 'yeah, you know that licensing thing? Yeah, I'm going to be an expert in that!' ...So, I would say that an exploration period needs to happen unless there is a like a burning desire in your heart that you've had all along, then it's that."
He adds that there needs to be an openness to learn about the different areas in your field to start to build a clear picture of what you want your candidate profile to look like in your industry. But he adds:
"You need to be the one to decide what is important. ...Decide 'what is truly important to me" and [ask] 'this type of role fulfills me how?' and then you can start getting a really good sense of self and knowing how you will fit into an ecosystem that helps you fulfill that sense of self, that's really what you are looking for."
The answers to these questions come with time and can be explored continuously throughout one's career to guide how you build your strengths, he says. This way, you can be sure that you are becoming the person that you want to be in your career.
Louie's Mindset and His Career
"This is binary, but there's an abundance mentality and there's a mentality of scarcity. I operate with the abundance mentality"
Louie explains that he has known this to be true about himself for a long time but that it has grown. His interpretation of the meaning of abundance and how it affects his life and career has evolved over the years since he first recognized it as his operating mindset.
"Early in my career I was very impatient. ...Now I am taking a step back and understand there is time and it will come and I will get there."
He says that he has settled more comfortably and closely with the mindset of abundance that he has always believed in but that it is normal for it to take time to adopt a philosophy fully; we are in a constant evolution of perspective and life outlook.
Louie's Reading List
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Dr. Carol Dweck
The Infinite Leader by Simon Sinek
The Long Tail by Chris Anderson
During our interview, I noticed the explosively energetic and positive manner in which he expressed himself and described his career in marketing. It really solidified my belief that marketing is driven by passionate people looking to connect, inspire and learn from others. And, I think, that's a beautiful thing.