2018 40 Under 40: Brent Turner, Cramer

Brent Turner

Brent Turner, 39, works in Boston, as senior vice president, solutions—marketing strategy and technology, at Cramer. As a 2018 40 Under 40 honoree, Turner discusses his passion for the events industry. 

*Connect with Turner on Twitter What I do: Cramer is a Boston-area event and experiential marketing agency that works with a collection of the worlds’ biggest global brands, including IBM, Dassault Systèmes, Sanofi Genzyme, Siemens and UPS. For our clients, I lead a handful of our teams—including strategy, experience planning, creative technology, analytics, and marketing. I still love getting into the work creating briefs, developing presentations, producing copy, and writing code for our engagements with clients. How I got here: My career started inside technology startups, expanded through roles inside top marketing and advertising agencies, and, prior to Cramer, was further defined by time spent leading times as the chief digital officer inside MIT. Throughout this time, marketing and technology have continued to become more experiential. When a leadership opportunity to join a prestigious event and experiential agency arose—Cramer—I quickly jumped on it. Greatest career accomplishment: I love that my career started with me being a very early member of not just one, but two startups that each had their own successful IPO. The specific projects I am most proud of include launching a new brand through Super Bowl advertisements; a massive first-of-its-kind live event and webcast for Bank of America which starred Charlie Gibson, featured prominent people like Jeff Immelt, and streamed live on the homepages of Yahoo, Bloomberg, and other big-time late 2000s websites; and the amazing works my former MIT teams did in rebranding and relaunching MIT Technology Review, their publication and event business. Impressive stats: In my role as part of agencies, our job is to drive impressive numbers for clients. My teams and I have recently achieved numbers like a 200-plus percent increase in visitors to clients’ event microsites, we’ve reached millions of people with an event’s live broadcast, and on. But I am currently most proud of the “hockey-stick growth curve” seen in our own agency website’s analytics. Over the past year alone, we’ve had a 110 percent year-over-year increase in visitors to the Cramer website and our Alexa ranking continues to improve. This has been due to our own content marketing and the growing popularity of our newsletters. Specific improvement I’ve made:  As an agency, the biggest improvements we are making are the complete transformations of a client’s flagship event for better engagement. This is driven by prevailing strategic trends, like exceeding the expectations of majority-Millennial audiences, and design trends, like the “festivalization” of corporate event experiences. These types of transformations can be hard for clients to tackle in just one year, so we have begun engaging in longer-term “vision design” programs. For example, for one of our key clients with a prominent user conference, we conceptualized what their event should be in 2020. This long-term vision allowed our teams and the client’s global teams to step behind the realities of today and build a roadmap for what a modern, successful event will look like for them in the near future. What am I working on now: We saw 2016 was the year of virtual reality and augmented reality, while 2017 was the year of brain dates and facial recognition. In 2018, we see gaze-based interfaces and generative AI as what’s next. So, myself, our head of creative technology, and our teams are hands-on with how we can bring these technologies to the experiences we are creating for clients. What I do outside of work:  As someone who loves technology and media (for example, I am a member of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the organization that bestows Emmy awards), it surprises many people to know that my wife and I keep our household “media-light.” With our two young boys, we spend time outside, cooking, and reading. (I’m a huge proponent of the five-hour rule when it comes to reading and learning each week.) As a guy who has been part of startups, agencies and MIT, I love chaos, change and discovery. But I like that to stay at work, and outside of work, my family and I keep it very simple.