Navigating Changing Tides: Marketing Insights from an Expert
Smarter GTM 05.25.2023

Navigating Changing Tides: Marketing Insights from an Expert

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In this episode of Sunny Side Up, host Lisa Josephson interviews Marcus Lancaster, VP of Strategic Sales for Quad, who shares Quad’s journey from a family-owned printing business to a leading marketing solutions provider. They’ve expanded through organic growth and acquisitions, adding services like photography and content creation workflow solutions to stay relevant. Quad offers consulting and creation services throughout the marketing journey, and its 2023 brand campaign aims to raise awareness and highlight its unique approach. Marcus discusses Quad’s agile approach, focusing on analytics and audience curation to serve customers effectively. He stresses the importance of adapting to stay ahead, providing tailored solutions for success in the direct-to-consumer space. Marcus also advises career starters: to listen more, seek feedback, and embrace continuous learning.

About the Guest

Marcus Lancaster is Vice President of Strategic Sales for Quad, responsible for their Direct to Consumer and eCommerce business. In his role, he leverages the resources of Quad’s agency solutions to help clients achieve their marketing goals. 

Leading the Direct-To-Consumer and e-commerce verticals at Quad, Marcus engages with companies of all sizes. When not working, his passions include climbing, painting, playing guitar, and adventuring with his wife, Heidi.

Connect with Marcus Lancaster

Key Takeaways

  • Quad’s ongoing brand reinvention and targeting customers with different levels of awareness
  • Approaching each client conversation based on their awareness and unique needs
  • Quad’s client-centric approach and understanding of each client’s environment and audience
  • Quad’s unique ability to develop tailored campaigns using the right mix of channels and messaging for client success
  • Coaching a sales team involves understanding the client’s business better than theirs, such as their competitors, how they market and position themselves in the marketplace 
  • As a young salesperson, it’s essential to listen to clients to understand their needs.
  • Listening to feedback from smarter people can help accelerate professional growth.
  • The constant desire to learn and improve is crucial to succeed.
  • It’s okay not to be the smartest person in the room.


“The minute that you stop learning, You’re out of date.” – Marcus Lancaster

Highlights from the Episode

Could you share with our listeners a little about your background?

Marcus began his career as a classical guitar performance major but found his calling in sales. Marcus has been fortunate to work for Quad, a company that has reinvented itself as a marketing solutions provider through acquisitions and organic growth. He considers his 11 years with Quad a blessing, appreciating the opportunity to be part of its cutting-edge services and dynamic reinvention.

Could you provide insights into Quad’s journey from print to market to a marketing experience company, including its evolution and plans in the direct-to-consumer space?

Quad’s evolution from a print company to a marketing experience company can be traced back to the visionary leadership of CEO Joel Quadracci. Recognizing the rapidly changing landscape of the printing industry, Joel understood the importance of reinventing Quad to stay competitive. While Quad had built a reputation as a top-notch printing organization, Joel foresaw the need to expand their capabilities and services to meet the evolving needs of their customers. Through years of closely collaborating with key marketing providers, particularly in the retail sector, Quad gained valuable insights into the broader marketing landscape. This deep understanding of the industry allowed them to strategically add services that went beyond traditional printing. They ventured into areas such as photography, content creation, and workflow solutions—services that were closely aligned with their core business but also extended into new realms.

Today, as a marketing experience company, Quad offers an extensive range of solutions that cover the entire marketing journey. From initial brand and creative strategy to content creation, deployment across diverse channels (including digital performance media and packaging), and robust analytics capabilities, Quad is well-equipped to support its clients’ marketing needs at every step. Their expertise also extends to audience curation, ensuring that targeted messaging reaches the right customers.

Looking ahead, Quad remains committed to expanding its presence in the direct-to-consumer space. They envision leveraging their comprehensive service portfolio and expertise to create impactful marketing experiences that forge stronger connections between brands and consumers. By continuously adapting and embracing emerging trends, Quad aims to remain at the forefront of the marketing industry, delivering innovative solutions that drive success for its clients.

How have you professionally evolved throughout the years, considering Quad’s transition from a print to a marketing experience company?

Marcus’s professional evolution has been significant over the years, particularly considering Quad’s transition from print to a marketing experience company. His passion for learning and embracing challenges has kept him committed to the company for 29 years. He draws parallels between climbing and his work, highlighting the ever-changing nature of both. With Quad’s growth and acquisitions, Marcus has continually learned new things, making his current role feel like a completely different company. He enjoys the rapid pace of change and the opportunity to engage in new activities, which keeps his job fresh and exciting.

How can businesses effectively improve brand awareness during company evolution and ensure their efforts are actionable and effective?

Quad is currently in the process of reinventing its brand, aiming to effectively improve brand awareness during its company evolution. When engaging with customers, they categorize them into different groups. Some customers have been familiar with Quad for many years, while others have yet to discover the company. Based on an account-based marketing approach, Quad tailors their marketing efforts differently for each group, highlighting the services it can provide to long-term customers and focusing on brand introduction for the unfamiliar ones. Operating in a distinct market space, Quad stands apart as neither a holding company nor a mere printer. Nevertheless, they proudly hold the title of the largest producer of printed products in the United States. Positioned between these two ends of the spectrum, Quad’s position is unique. They emphasize their ability to consult and create throughout the entire marketing journey, setting themselves apart from many competitors who solely focus on one aspect. This dual capability of manufacturing and consulting is a distinctive quality of Quad.

How does your channel-agnostic approach to helping customers succeed in the direct-to-consumer space give you a unique advantage?

Marcus believes that Quad’s channel-agnostic approach gives them a unique advantage in helping customers succeed in the direct-to-consumer space. They recognize that each client is different, with unique goals, target audiences, and marketing needs. Quad takes a client-centric approach, understanding their problems, target audience, and media consumption habits. With a diverse toolbox of strategies, they can curate customized campaigns and provide tailored solutions. This flexibility sets them apart from specialized agencies and ensures their customers’ success.

How do you recommend coaching your sales team on understanding the client’s business more than they do, as you mentioned earlier?

Marcus recommends that coaching the sales team to understand the client’s business involves gaining a comprehensive understanding of their goals, competitors, and market positioning. While clients may have some knowledge, it’s crucial to delve deeper into their objectives and industry landscape. By surpassing the client’s understanding, the sales team can help create successful campaigns tailored to their target audience.

What advice would you give to your younger self, especially to those listeners who are just starting their career, considering your 30-year experience with Quad in sales?

Marcus, drawing from his 30-year experience in sales at Quad, offered valuable advice to his younger self and aspiring professionals. His first piece of advice emphasized the importance of listening and understanding clients’ needs. Marcus recognized that as a young salesperson, it is common to be eager to promote one’s company without actively listening. The second crucial lesson he learned was to surround oneself with smarter individuals and seek constant feedback. Marcus attributed his professional growth to this approach and encouraged others to embrace a mindset of continuous learning. Overall, he emphasized the significance of humility, active listening, and a desire to learn from those who possess greater expertise.

Is there a book, blog, newsletter, website, or video that you would recommend to our listeners?

A book

Atomic Habits by James Clear

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