The calvary isn’t coming

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SXSW wrapped up a little over a week ago and this marked the second consecutive year that I wasn’t able to make it down to Austin. Changing jobs and having a kid will do things like that. Even though I wasn’t there, I have been trying to catch up on presentations and keynotes from the conference. One speaker from SXSW 2015 that I particularly enjoyed was filmmaker and actor Mark Duplass. Continue reading

Five marketing observations from the new dad on the block

Making Michael Keaton proud.

That’s me – making Michael Keaton proud.

2014 turned out to be the year of change on both professional and personal fronts. First, I dove into the world of non-profits where I joined the board of directors at the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA). Second, I changed jobs and left the world of big box retail for the land of financial services marketing. However, each of those adjustments paled in comparison to the biggest change of all: becoming a father.

My son Ezra showed up on the scene last September. It has been a wild ride with lots of laughs, plenty of sleep deprivation and a whole new outlook on many things. But besides these changes, I also realized that I’ve entered a new phase as a consumer in the cross-hairs of marketers out in the world: I’m now part of the dad demographic. Continue reading

Behind the Scenes: SXSW advisory board

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It’s six months and counting until SXSW 2015 commences, but the conference is top of mind for many people in the advertising and marketing industries. I’m sure you’ve seen people on Twitter begging asking for votes for their panel proposals. Or perhaps you know colleagues that were glued to their computers last month when SXSW registration opened just so they could get a chance to score one of the precious hotel rooms in downtown Austin.

As of late I have been on my own mini-SXSW bender. I’m a member of the SXSW Advisory Board and this is the time of the year when I’m on the clock. The last couple of weeks have found me binge reading and giving my two cents on two hundred different marketing related proposals that are trying to make the cut for the interactive portion of the conference. With this being my fourth year on the board, I thought that I could share my view on the selection process for the conference and what I think about when giving feedback. Continue reading

How about some common sense marketing?

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Lately I’ve been noticing a lot more marketing work out in the wild where brands are just talking to themselves. You know the kind of thing that I’m talking about. Instead of truly trying to connect with consumers, you’ll see brands just regurgitating corporate speak that doesn’t make much sense when you actually think about it. A former manager of mine used to call it smoking your own exhaust.

It happens all the time in the retail industry where stores tout their unbelievable “one-day only” sales. These “one-day sales” actually last two days because they just happen to have an extra day that is called a special “preview day.” I’m sure you’ve seen these and probably are just immune to them by now. They are the “can’t miss” or “once a year savings event” that somehow magically repeat themselves by the same retailers month-after-month-after-month. (I’m looking at you Macy’s.)

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Reaction: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2014 report

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Yesterday Mary Meeker from Kleiner Perkins fame presented her annual look at digital and online trends. I look forward to reading this report every year because I see it as a digital bible of sorts. Ok, I don’t mean an e-book version of the actual Bible. Rather, Meeker’s annual presentation provides a fantastic overview of what consumer behavior and business changes are taking place in the digital world. Continue reading

“Hyper” local marketing goes old school

The Old SchoolLast week my better half and I took a short vacation to Austin. It’s one of our favorite cities, but it’s just too difficult to explore during the chaos that is SXSW (which is when we are normally there). So this year, we decided to skip SX, and instead we took a trip down south later in the spring to enjoy the weather and the city itself. Continue reading

My “Real-Time Marketing” Reaction

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One week ago the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos were competing on sport’s most watched stage in Super Bowl XLVIII. There was also another battle taking place that night by advertisers across the country who wanted in on the action. No, I’m not talking about the dozens of brands that forked out nearly $4 million for a 30 second commercial during the game. Instead I’m talking about the countless number of brands that were doing “real time marketing” during the game. Continue reading