Celebrating Innovative Women Of Marketing Throughout History

By Sam Branson

To commemorate Women’s History Month, we honor the incredible and groundbreaking women in marketing that have shaped our industry. From driving innovative strategies to leading trailblazing companies, these women serve as shining examples of success and pave the way for future generations. Also, we’d like to salute the stellar women-led Gladiator team who are blazing a path similar to those before them.

Madam C.J. Walker invented her own highly successful line of hair care products specifically catered toward black women – a lucrative yet severely underserved market. Madam C.J. Walker launched and marketed her line of hair care products and ultimately became one of America’s first female self-made millionaires.

At Gladiator, we take inspiration from Madam C.J. Walker by establishing our marketing strategies after reaching a thorough level of understanding of the market, the audience, and the service provided. The better we understand our client’s companies, the more effective we can be. We do this through extensive workshops where we meet with every department in the company and create communication channels between each. Marketing is most effective when everyone is involved from sales to operations.

Lucie Austin is to thank for one of the first successful and impactful campaigns in social media history. The “Share a Coke” campaign, launched by her team at Coca-Cola, was the first multi-platform marketing effort that truly captured people’s attention around the globe. It continues to be an inspiration today.

Gladiator continues to capture the attention of audiences with innovative strategies and techniques, such as utilizing cross-channel marketing to reach a wide audience. We understand the importance of creative yet effective campaigns that capture people’s attention quickly across platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Tik Tok. By working with internal social media teams, Gladiator can create highly-designed and effective social media moments.

Erma started her career as a copywriter at Gardner Advertising Company in St. Louis. After being assigned a position on the PET Milk Company account, she wrote articles that had frugal living tips, cooking segments, and creative ways to use PET Milk Company’s products in her recipes. Erma Proetz would also go on to offer free recipe books sent by mail and exclusively available to listeners of the company radioshow. After basically inventing content marketing, she stayed at Gardner and moved up the ranks from copywriter to Executive Vice President. She was the first woman elected to the Advertising Hall of Fame in 1952.

Gladiator uses a page or two (or five) from Erma’s book and continues to focus on the use of content marketing for our B2B clients to reach our client’s audiences. From interviewing and writing insightful case studies to crafting blogs, newsletters, and more, we offer a variety of options to make sure your company reaches your business goals.

Herta Herzog was one of the first marketers to take a research-based approach to the industry. Her work done in 1944 laid the foundation for identifying the “why” behind marketing. Using qualitative methods to understand the customer’s way of thinking, she found that advertising wasn’t great at changing people’s opinions and was most effective when catering to existing audience needs and wants. In 1964, Herzog set up the industry’s first think tank, Jack Tinker & Partners, where she continued to pioneer qualitative marketing research techniques that are still used today. Most notable was the concept of focus groups.

Gladiator uses Herta’s approach by establishing customer personas through workshops with our clients. In order to sell a service, we have to understand the audience and what problems they face. Once this research is documented we can then create effective marketing campaigns targeting the people that need the service provided most.

Nedda McGrath (Not Pictured)

When Nedda McGrath joined the team at Blackman Agency in 1926, she was the first woman to become an Art Director at a major U.S. advertising agency. At the time, she didn’t know any other women in the industry. In fact, Nedda admitted in an interview that others had attempted to dissuade her from making a career in the industry. She eventually realized she had to work harder than a man to achieve the same level of success.

Fast-forward 97 years to today and there are now more women than men in marketing. According to Statistia, in 2021 the marketing and advertising industry consisted of 67.1% women and 32.9% men. Gladiator is proud to be a women-owned and operated team. We respect the sacrifices and hard-ships that women in this industry went through and are grateful for how far we’ve come.

It’s remarkable to reflect on the contributions of Madam CJ Walker, Lucie Austin, Erma Proetz, Herta Herzog, and Nedda McGrath. These women made tremendous strides in paving the way for more women to enter into marketing and have left an indelible mark on the industry. As a female-owned and operated CMO consulting company, Gladiator stands on the shoulders of these incredible women. As a team, we look forward to many more years of effective marketing for our wonderful clients!

As a women-owned Fractional CMO, we have experience across all of these services and can roll them up for you into a marketing plan. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our CEO, Kristine Bryant.

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