On January 31st, the American Marketing Association New York Capital Region hosted the first ‘CMO Forum: What’s HOT in Marketing in 2019?’, which was held at the innovative and attractive Urban Co-Works space in Schenectady.  The CMOs who discussed marketing trends are Lisa Barone of Overit Media (left); Kelsey Knutsen of Tully Rinckey PLLC (center); and Michele Desrosiers of Saratoga Performing Arts Center (right). The panel was moderated by Will Trevor of the AMA and Excelsior College.

Here are some of the insights that were shared by these marketing professionals.

What is going to change in 2019?

Both Knutsen and Barone spoke about AI and personalization as keys for 2019, while Michele Desrosiers talked about geofencing and how it has brought in new visitors to SPAC for classical and jazz events in an efficient, affordable way.

All three also highlighted the concept of using technology to nurture relationships, from email marketing, to chatbots, to using scheme to setup dynamic calls-to-action in advertising.

Content marketing

Barone’s agency is focusing on optimizing for search, while at Tully Rinckey, “We are always looking for the value add and thought leadership, “ said Kelsey Knutsen. She also emphasized that distribution, having the content be found via automation, as well as social media, is key for the law firm.

For Michele Desrosiers the challenge is to take pieces from all their partners and make it look like one holistic offering. But she also said for SPAC, traditional public relations is important, since it’s “all about telling a story people want to hear.”

Customer Experience

“Make the experience as seamless and positive as possible,” says Knutsen, of how to make the customer experience a good one.

Desrosiers and her team are looking to make live experiences better for their customers, and Barone says her agency is obsessed with customer service in every aspect of their work. Ultimately, “make content a story, not an intrusion, “Barone stated.


“Take a more organic approach, find people who can evangelize a product or service,” said Lisa Barone, mentioning micro-influencers who may have smaller followings, butmore devoted ones.

Kelsey Knutsen also reminded the audience to incentivize their employees to influence the community, as the attorneys at her law firm do when they are out performing community service or making connections.


“The onus is on marketers to do what is actionable. What are the three to five triggers that are drivers to your business? It’s important to be directionally correct and know the things you can do something with,” Rossiers said, citing testing email subject lines as an example. Knutsen agreed that data is all about dissectable pieces of information, and ultimately, making customers happy.


“We’re putting video everywhere we can,” Barone emphasized, and talked about how accessibility, like closed captioning, is part of those efforts.  For Desrosiers, video after the fact is a challenge since video is to influence purchase behavior, but they also work with partners and have interns take real time video about the SPAC experience. Knutsen uses video as Tully Rinckey uses content: as a value add with FAQs, consultations, and to address client’s interests.

Voiced Based Marketing

While Knutsen and Barone’s companies are currently coding and making sure content is accessible for voice search, Desrosiers is holding off for a bit on this, again, keeping in mind her audience’s needs and their demographics.

Final Comments

“It all comes back to the customer experience,” is Lisa Barone’s main focus.

Michele Desrosiers wants us all to remember that, though we live in divisive times, “The arts are something people can put aside differences for.”

“Go back to basics, face-to-face connections,” advises Kelsey Knutsen.

Audience questions

The very engaged audience asked questions about print and traditional marketing, accessibility and writing content for regulated industries. Here are some takeaways:

  • “We do direct mail, and what matters is the follow-up. Traditional radio works great for brand recognition,” said Knutsen about Tully Rinckey’s traditional marketing efforts.
  • “Be ‘woke’ to all sorts of accessibility issues, mobility impairments. It starts with an advocate and you have to commit and have executive buy-in. It’s not a one time thing,” was solid advice from Michele Desrosiers about accessibility.
  • “To be directionally correct, you have to know what the direction is. Start off with a brand workshop: who we are, what we’re doing, who are our customers, what are our key messages? And then everything gets measured against this, “ Lisa Barone added about marketing in 2019.