Steve Goldhaber

Like a lot of social media executives, Steve Goldhaber’s been on the agency and client side of social media.

Over the years, he’s worked in corporate marketing for DirecTV, U.S. Bank, Bally Total Fitness, and now, he’s the Global Head of Digital Marketing at Aon and a member of SocialMedia.org.

He says, “As a corporate marketer, I liked that I could be closer to how my campaigns had an impact on growing the business and driving brand metrics.”

Through his work in corporate marketing, he also learned what it takes to follow a customer not just through acquisition, but through their entire customer journey.

But for ten years, Steve worked his way up to Vice President / Director at Digitas.

He says that experience gave him a chance to learn more, faster about digital marketing and social media.

“As a part of an agency, you’re not always tied to the legacy systems your client may have. You’re thinking with a fresh palette,” Steve says. “You are also encouraged to start with your understanding of the brand or the customer. Your ideas are usually grounded in insights, a customer’s journey, or a brand belief.”

With that in mind, Steve says he’s always striving for balance. He describes it as a Venn diagram where pleasing the customer, brand, and business needs meet in the middle.

At Aon, he also strives for balance in telling their local stories alongside their global stories.

If you know the customers you’re looking to acquire and you can follow them from initial engagement through acquisition, that to me is when you really have done a great job at marketing.

With 75 digital marketers operating in 120 countries, Steve says each has a relationship with their local markets, but also works to tell the overall global brand story.

For the global corporate marketing team, Steve operates with a small immediate team for global marketing: one person handles social media management, platforms, and analytics, and one focuses on content development and long-term content strategy. Steve also works with the three main Aon divisions: Aon Hewitt, Aon Benfield, and Aon Risk Solutions and their respective social leads.

Together, they all share best practices, help cross-pollinate content, and share assets. At a minimum, that includes bi-monthly calls with large global teams, weekly calls for social teams, and even an email newsletter to the digital teams. They also collaborate on an internal Yammer group.

In just the past year, Steve’s team has won several awards from the Business Marketing Association.

They’ve been commended for strategy, branding programs, branding campaigns, guidelines, and communications programs. Steve says the award he’s most proud of is the one they earned for their brand standards document.

The document is a 400-page book that encompasses everything from early research on the brand, the creative strategy, and all the way down to templates for each platform down to the pixel count. It took about five months with eight people working to create it and socialize it with about 250 key Aon leaders around the world.

“To physically see all that work printed and have a company rally behind that is really exciting.”

Something else Steve is proud of: His team’s ability to “MacGyver it.”

“Growing up watching the show, I loved that MacGyver could always figure it out, and he could do everything. In social media, the ones who are really good have that skill,” says Steve.

“It’s really easy to say, ‘That’s not my sweet spot,’ or ‘that’s really not my role’ or ‘I can’t do creative writing.’ But for the folks who embrace it and go about it like MacGyver would, they’re the ones who will get things done and be successful.”

He says that successful social teams also have to be prepared to play multiple roles.

“On any given day, you could be a writer or a producer. Sometimes you have to think like an attorney, or you might be a scientist and look at the analytics. Other times you’re a creative director because you have to come up with the idea and make sure it’s interesting, and other times you’re a brand ambassador making sure we’re communicating in the right way.”

Going forward, Steve’s putting some of his past experience to use to help better track brand and business outcomes.

He says that in the future, they’ll look to engagement metrics not just to validate immediate performance, but to also follow what that engagement means down the road. That means going back to his roots focusing on the customer journey and how that affects long-term customer relationships.

“If you know long term the customers you’re looking to acquire and you can follow them from initial engagement through acquisition, that to me is when you really have done a great job at marketing.”

Find Steve on Twitter and ask about his latest marathon. Steve’s been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2013.


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