All About Tricia Eaton
Craig Group, Vice President
The ability to pivot has long been a hallmark of Tricia Eaton’s career. The Craig Group Vice President first became interested in media at UT Austin after she transitioned away from professional dance to advertising.
In putting together her portfolio, Eaton had her a-ha moment. “My work was all about where the ads were running and marrying relevance to consumers’ lives,” she said. “I also found that I was much more about math and the numbers and facts than the creative content itself.”
Her involvement with the university’s advertising group led to an interview with the international media network Starcom. Eaton got the job and moved to Chicago where she cut her teeth on the newly won $3 billion dollar General Motors account.
“It was an incredible training ground,” Eaton said. “They were literally the largest advertiser at the time. They had every single thing that you would want a client to have to be as sophisticated as they possibly could when it came to advertising.”
Eaton was on the local digital team when digital was in its infancy.
“It was just really becoming relevant at the time, and I felt like I was part of something new and cutting-edge,” she said. “We had the budget to test things and try things that others weren’t doing. I remember meeting with The Weather Channel and being amazed that they could put up ads for automotive parts like windshield wipers when it was raining. I loved the strategy involved.”
Later as a supervisor for the Multicultural Video Investment group, Eaton managed all TV and radio buys for the African American and Hispanic communities for General Motors.
“We were able to partner with the Latin Grammys and the World Cup which has a huge international audience,” Eaton said.
A subsequent move to Houston brought Eaton to Lopez Negrete Communications where she oversaw media strategy for Verizon Telecom.
“Verizon was beginning to offer fiber optic internet and at first just wanted to do more traditional media but decided soon after I started that they wanted to do digital as well,” she said. “It was a big undertaking in the sense that we had a team that we needed to train.”
Eaton met Summer Craig at Zenith Optimedia when Eaton managed Gulf States Toyota’s digital media strategy and was leaving for a stint in Australia. When Eaton returned to Houston a few years later, Craig was one of the first people to reach out to her. She joined Craig Group in March of 2020.
Although she’s worked with many different companies over the years, Eaton said that there is one common thread among all of them. “It is all about strategic problem solving,” she shares. “At the end of the day a lot of work is facing challenges and coming forward with solutions. Bringing strategy into problem-solving is 90 percent of any job.”
While some people think media marketing is a Big Brother-type endeavor, Tricia says the truth is much different. “We do use data to match messaging with the target,” she said. “That’s why you see an ad for a razor when you tell Alexa to put razors on your shopping list. But advertisers don’t have a list of all your stats.”
In her time at Craig Group, Eaton says that she is astonished at how far the company has come.
“If you go back to where we were two years ago and what we were doing and where we are now, with the number of clients, the sophistication of what’s going on, the expansion of the team, and the way we’re able to scale for our clients, it is a huge accomplishment,” she said. “It’s been a lot of hard work and effort.”
Eaton also appreciated the fact that although she does have a rich digital background, she came from an area where she got to see traditional media in every aspect.
“If someone asks me a question about something else, I can speak to it,” she said. “Every time I pivoted in my career, I learned something valuable.”
Outside of the office, Tricia channels Eddie Vedder and Garth Brooks for her daughters’ nighttime lullabies. She is also a skilled photographer who volunteers her time photographing the dancers at the Victoria Ballet Theatre.
In her work life and in her home life, Eaton says that it is all about making things work.
“We’re doing smart, strategic work here, and doing our utmost for our clients and ourselves,” she said. “I’ve been afforded many wonderful people to work with, and when you have people who are aligned with your values and your passions, it is a gift.”