June 15, 2021
In an exciting evolution for Performance Marketing and the Anthologic marketing and technology collective, Sarah Miller has been named the new president of PM. The vibrant leader sat down to discuss a memorable business trip to Sweden, the way she thinks about client service, her vision for helping businesses connect with customers, today’s marketing trends, how she unplugs and more.
Q. Tell us a story from your pre-presidential years at PM that illustrates who you are and what PM is all about.
SM: Back in 2017, when I had only been with the company for a year, we were selected to be a partner to a new client who needed help defining and launching a global brand. We were so delighted and excited to get started. The only complication was that they wanted us to join them for a brand summit in Orebro, Sweden … in four days!
At the time we were actually out of town visiting another client, so we needed help from our team to make travel plans, prep for the new client visit, get back to Des Moines and hop a flight to Stockholm — all in about 48 hours.
This is what I love about being a part of PM:
There’s never a dull moment at PM! Celebrating my first PM anniversary in Sweden was hard to top, but somehow each year manages to get better and better.
Q. What does becoming Performance Marketing’s president mean to you?
SM: Being named President of Performance Marketing is both an incredible honor and an exciting challenge. I understand well the faith and trust that my fellow Anthologic partners (Kevin Lentz, CEO; Matt Glynn, COO; Jeff Regenold, Executive Creative Director; and Jim Swanson, Chief Culture Officer) have placed in me and I’m thrilled to be part of carrying on the legacy they have created.
This is an extra exciting time to be taking the helm of Performance Marketing. With all the expertise we’re now able to bring to our clients through the Anthologic collective of companies, we have a more powerful toolset than ever before, and new ways to help our clients forge and strengthen connections with their customers and really move the needle for their business in measurable ways.
As inspired as I am about our growth and leading the company to our next evolution, I’m also dedicated to maintaining what was so amazing about this company when I arrived in 2016. The values that were present at the founding of the company are still near and dear to us today, and will help guide me in making decisions that keep us true to what’s most important to us. I’m a huge believer in servant leadership, and my mission will always be to serve this organization as it has served me.
Ultimately it’s the talent and passion of our wonderful people that drives this organization and makes it such a fun and inspiring place to work. I’m just honored to be along for the ride with them.
Q. You’ve spent nearly three decades in agency account management. What is your client service philosophy?
SM: I believe listening is the most important skill a client service person or organization like ours can possess. Whether it’s digging deep to discover what’s really driving the assignments we’re given, understanding what a “win” looks like for our client contacts, uncovering insights about their customers that have yet to be understood — when we put our listening skills to good use, the right answers come a lot easier.
I also strongly believe that our clients want and need us to be one step ahead of them, bringing them new thinking they haven’t had time to ask for, pushing them to the edge of their comfort zone in pursuit of breakthrough ideas, and anticipating their needs before they’ve even expressed them.
Q. Performance Marketing has grown to include locations in Des Moines and St. Paul, Minnesota, and it’s part of the Anthologic marketing and technology collective that was formed in late 2019. What’s your vision for how PM will continue to help businesses connect with customers as an Anthologic company?
SM: The growth of the Anthologic collective has allowed us to expand the ways we can support our clients significantly and has given us so many new tools in our toolbox. Our PM clients now have access to the specialized expertise of our partner companies in Anthologic — Shift (digital products, web and mobile applications, custom software solutions), Blue Traffic (SEO and SEM) and Vector Haus (animation and motion graphics) — which they can tap into as needed through their existing teams. We feel this gives them the benefits of both working with specialists in their respective fields, as well as the seamless experience of managing a single relationship and primary point of contact.
We now have the ability to help our clients deliver a very consistent and cohesive brand experience and interaction across virtually every channel and touchpoint the customer will encounter.
Q. What’s made PM a good fit for you?
SM: PM was absolutely the perfect spot for me to land for the final chapter of my career. I’ve spent time at small agencies learning how to help clients maximize their marketing investments. I spent over a decade at a large media company gaining experience in the operations of a public company, working with Fortune 50 brands to unlock the power of custom content in connecting with their audiences. For this last chapter, I was searching for a place where I felt like I could make a more significant individual impact.
I wanted to lean into my leadership skills and see how I could help empower others to achieve their goals and grow in their careers. PM has given me that and so much more — I’ve loved every minute of leading our account service team, and I’m so excited to see what kind of positive impact I can make across our entire organization.
Q. You established a diversity and inclusion culture initiative at Anthologic. What are your objectives for the program?
SM: Our goals in focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion (DE+I) are to actively pursue more diversity in our workforce to strengthen our organization, to ensure that we’re providing a workplace that is safe and treats all employees equitably and with respect, and to make certain that the work we produce represents our values and reflects the diversity we see in our world. We have a lot of employees who are passionate about this mission, and we’re really looking forward to getting our broader employee family involved in our DE+I initiatives in 2021.
Q. As you look ahead at your first year as president, what do you see as the biggest marketing trends that businesses should be mindful of?
SM: The pandemic that started in 2020 accelerated the many ways marketing and technology are merging — factors that have long been the driving force for our Anthologic collective. As the pandemic subsides, businesses and buyers will settle into “new normal” routines, returning to some activities they've missed while holding on to some of the new interactions they’ve discovered don’t have to be done face-to-face. Whether digital or offline, creating a more relevant, personal experience is non-negotiable for modern companies and marketers. A few key things we're advising our clients to think about to accomplish this:
Q. What’s your life like outside of work?
SM: I live in Ankeny with my husband, Curt, and have two college-aged sons. We love to travel and eat great food, and I am a newish devotee to a yoga practice that's helping me keep my mind and body in good health.
Q. Leave us with one thing your friends and longtime business partners might be surprised to know about you.
SM: Well, I’m a pretty open and unfiltered person, so there’s not a whole lot of mystery left for anyone who spends much time with me! But some people are surprised to know that I’m a natural introvert and am pretty shy in new social settings. Working in account service and agency leadership really stretches me outside of my natural comfort zone in good ways and keeps me feeling like I’m growing as a person.
To get in touch with Sarah, connect with her on LinkedIn.