Lindsay Smith, CEO at Massive Media, joined our Q&A session.
Along with Massive’s journey, Lindsay shared her own experiences and her career story in the digital marketing industry. You can find out her insightful answers below:
1. Can you tell us about your personal journey and your current position at the agency?
My first company actually began as a project in university. Over five years, the business grew from a rag-tag group of students into a company that operated with a core team of 8 people for over two years while we were still in school.
After that, I knew I was hooked. I started my second business, Techvibes, in 2001. Essentially, it was a social media platform to connect people within the tech industry. This was before Facebook and Myspace, back when a platform like that was still a novel idea, so it gained a lot of traction. Within two years, we had hundreds of thousands of members in dozens of cities across North America and then leveraged the technology to spin-off sister platforms worldwide. In 2006, I sold my shares and went onto my next venture.
By this time, I could see the trends and themes that separated thriving businesses from stagnant ones. I wanted to create an agency where we could put that experience and expertise to work, helping transformative ideas thrive globally.
That’s how Massive began. Eight years later, we’re doing just that, with a team of 25 people across two offices (and growing).
2. How diverse is your team? Do you believe agencies should take further actions to diversify their teams?
Homogeneity is boring. It’s uninspiring, prevents change, and stifles creativity. If you want your work to be transformative and resonate with a diverse audience, it needs to be created by a diverse team of creatives that share underpinning values. It’s really as simple as that.
3. Do you think there is a gender gap in the digital marketing industry? If yes, what are the main reasons for that?
I don’t see a gender gap in digital marketing, though that may be because of Vancouver’s progressive culture. That said, my approach has always been to recognize that problems exist while understanding that society is still in the process of evolving past hundred of years of historical behaviours. Personally, I choose to look for ways to make small, iterative changes in the right direction, which in the long run contribute to larger shifts in behaviour and decision-making.
4. How can we support the next generation of female marketers entering the digital marketing industry?
We support the next generation by giving chances to those who deserve them and actively looking for opportunities to share our knowledge. We’re leaders, not gatekeepers: we coach them, mentor them, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, religion, or sexual identity. We overcome inequality by creating a level playing field for everyone.
When people can be humble enough to recognize their own internal biases, they’re better able to create equal opportunities for those around them. It means remaining dedicated to continuing this work as an ongoing personal journey.
5. Considering the industry dynamics, do you think it’s more challenging for women to become leaders in the digital marketing ecosystem? Why/why not?
I should start with the fact that I’m incredibly fortunate to be living in a progressive city that’s lightyears ahead of the norm in terms of gender equality, so my personal experience here in Vancouver, Canada, is likely very different from others.
To that point, I try not to give my gender too much thought. I also try my best to avoid working with people who set the rules of engagement in such a way that I’m at a disadvantage because of my gender. Generally speaking, I’ve learned that starting something new is made significantly more difficult when success depends on working with others who don’t share your values.
6. Who has been an inspiration to you in your life and why?
I’m a shameless Ray Kurzweil fan. Ray is brilliant, kind, and optimistic, and he’s spent his entire life working to leverage technology in ways that change the world.
There’s a saying about never meeting your heroes. That may be true for some, but not for Ray Kurzweil. If you get the chance to meet Ray Kurzweil, take it. He puts creativity, work ethic, and compassion for humanity above all else.
7. Why do you think your agency stands out from other digital agencies?
We’re driven and dynamic, and we hold ourselves—and others—to an incredibly high standard. We’re on a mission and are unapologetically deliberate about only working with others—both internally and externally—who share our drive. That focus and purpose make us exceptionally effective in what we do. Episode 1 of Massive Media’s podcast explains this in more detail.
8. How does being a DAN member contribute to your agency’s success?
Digital Agency Network is Massive’s Bat-Signal to the world. It sends similarly motivated businesses and people our way, so we can focus on doing what we do best —the work.
Bonus: What has been your favorite lockdown activity to do at home?
We rescued a puppy pre-COVID, which has been an absolutely life-saver. When not working on the business, I’m usually chasing that little monkey around, playing tug-of-war and smothering her with cuddles.