CommonSense Blog

Meet Our New Twist Mktg President, Mary Corcoran

By Gary Grates | Aug 02, 2017

Our fearless leader, Jim Weiss, has always believed that great people doing great work are key reasons for the firm’s success. We’ve experienced exponential growth in the last year, and we’ll continue to strengthen our talent and capabilities to stay ahead of the curve. Today we announced the hiring of Mary Corcoran who will join the firm as President of Twist Mktg, the second largest firm in W2O’s network. I’m excited to welcome her and sat down with her to get a little more insight into her background and why she chose to join the firm.

Gary: Welcome to the W2O and Twist Mktg teams, Mary. We’re thrilled to have you here. What attracted you to W2O?

Mary: I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart. I like building things, and thrive in innovative, fast-moving environments. When I met Jim and the other leaders at W2O, I knew straightaway we were kindred spirits in this sense. In addition to the cultural fit, W2O has made some very smart bets in the marketplace to drive innovation and business results through communications and marketing programs, thinking ahead of the curve on analytics in particular. Our clients, more so than ever before, need partner agencies to maximize their investment to the measurable benefit of their businesses. W2O is in a position of strength to deliver on this critical client need.

Gary: From your perspective, what are the critical factors to building a successful agency today?  

Mary: Hmm, well we don’t want to give away all of the secrets – we have a business to build at Twist! Just kidding.. kind of.  In all seriousness, in building agency business, I focus on the following:

  • Start with the clients (always!) Listen carefully, and discover their unmet needs. This sets the roadmap for the capabilities and talent required to meet an evolving communications and marketing landscape
  • Retain and hire the VERY BEST people to create an optimal alchemy of creativity and intelligent delivery
  • Work your tail off
  • Have fun, lots of fun.

Gary: Mary, can you share your background in health and tech and how that is in sync with your role here?

Mary: Technology and health are the two sectors where I have spent the most time in my professional life. On the health side of things, I focused exclusively on digital health for the first part of my agency career, particularly in the public affairs and advocacy realm. In that context, I worked in a wide variety of sub-sectors, including various pharma trade associations and companies, health insurance, medical technology and bioscience. The work ranged from DTC and HCP marketing to public affairs advocacy to crises.  The next chapter of my career was almost exclusively tech focused, including consumer, B2B and corporate work across a wide swath of the Valley.

My depth of experience across health and tech are important for this role not only to support and expand the current health leaning client portfolio, but to support our aspiration to continue to scale our work in the technology sector.

Gary: The digital landscape is constantly changing. What do you think is most important for marketers/communicators to keep in mind to ensure success?

Mary: Regardless of medium, I would always counsel that the most important thing – has been and always will be – audience.  Where do they seek information and what sources do they trust (platforms, publications and people)? What about your message or product is relevant to them? What will move them to awareness or even better, action? Uncovering the powerful insight (s) that marry the authentic attributes of your product/campaign to the unmet needs of your target audience is rocket fuel for breakthrough creative. Channel planning and paid media informed by rigorous analytics and optimization ensures the message is delivered effectively.

Gary: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Mary: Work hard and be nice!

Gary:  When you look at building teams and integrating skills and services, what do you focus on most to be effective?

When it comes to building and integrating diverse teams to deliver killer communications and marketing programs, I think you need to keep it dead simple. This is what I focus on:

  • The client – First always. Identify the client’s problem or opportunity.Get crystal clear on this point. Codify with a brief and ensure consensus with your customer!
  • Determine the mix of talent and capabilities ideally suited to knock the project or campaign out of the park
  • Identify the people, assemble the team and assign a leader
  • Ensure clarity of roles, responsibilities, expectations and work rhythms, but not to the exclusion of agility.
  • Do the work!

Gary:  Can you share the one thing people would never believe about you?

Mary: I blew off business school for a boyfriend. Who has now been my husband for almost a decade and we have two beautiful children. I don’t regret my decision!

Gary: This was fun. Thank you, Mary! Looking forward to working alongside you and #MakingitHappen.