Veronica Ruiz Villafuertes is a digital producer in advertising, marketing, and communications with a wealth of experience and hard-won expertise. She has managed a number of campaigns and events for major brands, gathering top talent and tailoring each aspect to the needs of her clients.
If you’re not already familiar with the work of digital producers, then read on to learn more about this challenging and fruitful profession.
In the most simplistic sense, digital producers oversee all aspects of multi-faceted campaigns for brands in many different industries. Think workplace multitasking and multiply it by ten.
Digital producers need to know the ins and outs of social media and online marketing. If a previous campaign was successful, they can’t simply replicate it again and again. Each brand demands its own attention and its own marketing approach.
In particular, marketing to users on social media is a delicate situation, to say the least. These platforms feel very personal to a lot of people, and they’re not always kind to brands that try to interrupt their usual flow of information from friends and family.
But above all else, digital producers need to be able to lead a team of people who all have their own talents, difficulties, and ideas about the direction of the project at hand.
When we interviewed Ruiz Villafuertes, we tried to cover as much as possible, and in the process, she made it clear that people matter most: the people behind the brand, the people you’re marketing to, and the people you work with.
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Can you tell us about one of the most difficult decisions you’ve had to make while working as a project manager producer?
Ruiz Villafuertes: Most of the time, a difficult decision as a producer has two ingredients: timing and resources. When it comes to making a project successful but you only have half of the time or the resources that you need, that’s when your creativity and your decision making are put to the test.
I remember some years ago when a very famous tile and sanitary brand came to our agency asking for help with the 100-year anniversary of their brand. Of course, we were willing to organize the event and to create and produce all the materials to promote it. The big issue was the budget. They had a closed, small budget to make everything happen, in New York. This was already challenging, but it was an opportunity for us to work for one of the best and most renowned companies in the sector, so we accepted it.
As the project leader, I made the decision to spend the majority of the budget on the venue. To avoid this, was to choose a venue that was really characteristic and on vogue in New York, and that fit perfectly with the brand’s values.
I took care of the guest list and invited influential people in the world of interior design, architecture, and fashion. Our communication strategy was focused on spreading the word through their social media.
The party was a success! We reached capacity and the attendees were exactly the people we were hoping for. They shared every single detail on their social media and the event was published in different specialized media.
The client was thankful and glad for having me make this challenging decision. Decisions like these are risky, but they also pay off big time if you make the right choices.
Do you feel that certain aspects of your personality have contributed to your success as a project manager producer? Have you always enjoyed the work?
Ruiz Villafuertes: Oh yes! Being a producer, and especially in the digital space, is to coordinate and stay in touch with all the people that are going to be part of a project, from the client to the designers to the developers and also the final user.
To be able to navigate in this context, a producer needs to be able to wear many hats, and my social skills and my determined personality have definitely helped. Also, being on top of every single detail is crucial in this profession. I’m very curious, detail-oriented, and also love interpersonal interactions. I think I’ve chosen the perfect career for my personality, and I enjoy it every day!
What are your feelings about the effectiveness of social media marketing?
Ruiz Villafuertes: Social media channels are now our town square. What I mean is that they are the new space in which people socialize with each other, and brands cannot ignore them as a channel to communicate and connect with people.
Social media marketing is effective if we communicate according to the channel in which we are in. For instance, if we want to communicate to millennials about a new sunglasses brand, we will most likely use Instagram because it fits our message and target.
But if we are going to promote a new pharmaceutical for MS, we will most likely use Facebook, because our main target and the message that we want to communicate will be best for that social media channel.
Last but not least is the suitability and tone of the message. We have to be very careful with this because we’re entering into the private space of the consumer, so we need to take care of our brand’s speech more than ever.
If we follow these rules, social media marketing can help us achieve a brand’s communication strategy.
Have your experiences as a project manager producer challenged your leadership skills?
Ruiz Villafuertes: Of course! Especially because this is a career that is closely related to coordination. Every project is different and, most of the time, the people you are managing are different. We don’t always agree on the best way to proceed or the most effective idea to achieve something.
This is the perfect cocktail for disagreement, so, as a leader, keeping everybody working towards a common goal is crucial.
What I usually do is try to get to know every person involved in the project. I schedule individual meetings to talk to them about their ambitions, their concerns, and their ideas. That way, we create a connection and it’s easier to move forward and to resolve future issues during projects.
How do you effectively communicate changes in strategy to your team?
Ruiz Villafuertes: The key to making the team feel like a team is communication. It’s very important that all the members of a project are aware of what is going in the project.
Regular meetings with the team help a lot. The best is to schedule weekly and daily meetings so everybody is aware of the evolution of the project. If there is a change of strategy, the meeting can be used to communicate it. All the members of the team will be there and we could explain the reasons why and address doubts.
Are you optimistic about the ways in which technology is enhancing communication and PR?
Ruiz Villafuertes: Overall, yes. It is true that this is a very controversial topic but look at what we are able to do with technology. People in the opposites sides of the world can see each other via videocall and feel close with the touch of a button.
Education has no frontiers, allowing for live-streaming classes through their screen. Elders that feel comforted because they can get in touch with their family or friends thanks to a computer.
These are amazing possibilities that technology gives us to enhance communication and relations. It is on us to use them in the best way we can. If we take precautions about not exposing our lives too much or limiting the time that we use social media daily, our communication and PR will be more powerful than ever.
What has been the most satisfying project of your career thus far?
Ruiz Villafuertes: The most satisfying project I have led as a producer was the launch of MAVENCLAD in 2019, a new prescription medicine used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS).
It was a tremendous team effort to put together all the materials and tools that the client needed to communicate the launch of this product to the market: a website, mini-site, social media channels, brochures, PI, medication guide, digital and print advertising, and so on.
This project was very challenging as a team leader because of the size and scale of materials, the content of what we were communicating, and the people involved to make it work. We spent days and nights fighting against the clock to create the best strategy and materials to be successful for us and for our client.
Finally, after six months of hard work, we managed to launch the brand on-time and respect the FDA’s regulations.
What I learned and what I think helped me to be successful as a leader, was how to address the needs of the team. Besides scheduling professional and proven protocols to work in advertising and communication, I also paid attention to every single person who was involved in working on this project.
Listening to them was the key to making the work a success. Listening to them helped me to organize them and the work, and to focus on the best ideas and creations to deliver an amazing campaign that both the client and the consumer would love.
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Veronica Ruiz Villafuertes is a professional digital producer currently based in New York. Current Artisan would like to thank Ruiz Villafuertes for taking the time to speak with us.