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

How about some common sense marketing?

208277806_ba1d793866_b

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.)

Continue reading

Four thoughts as we wind down 2013

shinola

It’s that time of year. You know what I’m talking about: best of lists, top ten countdowns and recaps from the year are making their way across our in-boxes, news feeds, Twitter timelines and RSS readers. I usually would jump into the fray with my favorite albums from the year, but I have to admit that I haven’t been keeping tabs on new music this year as much I would have liked. (If you are looking for some solid musical finds, then I suggest checking out the year-end rankings from Twin Cities mavens Kyle Matteson and Brian Danaher.) Continue reading

it’s time to redesign the RFP

fast

Over the course of the last several months I have been working on two RFP’s for my company. One was to hire our first social marketing agency-of-record while the other RFP was for a new social media management system (SMMS). Following a thorough and deliberate process we recently concluded our searches. While leading this work I learned the ins-and-outs of what it means to go through the RFP process at a Fortune 100 firm like Best Buy. I went through the paces with a wide range of talented people that came from areas such as procurement, contract management, information technology, corporate technology & security, legal, and privacy. I came away with the understanding that a well crafted request-for-proposal is an absolute necessity to help potential vendors provide the best reply possible. And lastly, I came away with the belief that from a client perspective the current RFP process for big companies is flawed and needs to be redesigned. Continue reading

looking back on SXSW 2013

Sunday I returned to Minneapolis after my annual trip to Austin for SXSW. Last week marked the second straight year I made it down to Texas for SXSW Interactive and my fifth consecutive year for SXSW Music. It’s becoming a bit of a tradition: part business trip where I can get inspired and meet with various agencies or vendors and part warm weather vacation where I can get away from the long Minnesota winters while getting to see TONS of live music.

Just like last year when I wrote about some highlights from the conference, I thought I’d share some highlights from this year’s trip. Continue reading

I found some inspiration in San Francisco

Cablecars

Man, my blog has been a ghost town the last few weeks. I haven’t posted in nearly five weeks? I do have some good reasons though. Between work being a bear due to the Holiday shopping season – I do work in retail after all – and some matters outside of work that have taken up a lot of my free time the last few weeks, it’s been hard to turn my attention back to this. But after a recent business trip I came back with a topic that will help me get back in swing of things.

San Francisco is one of my favorite cities in the U.S. and a couple weeks back my manager and I flew out there for a meeting with the folks at Twitter’s HQ. The only downside to the trip was that we were in town for nearly 24 hours. Less than a day in San Francisco? That is just plain cruel.

While on the trip I had a couple things happen that made me want to write about them. One of which is very old school and one is very new school but both had me thinking. Continue reading

some inspiration for creating the digital-to-physical experience

Dan_deacon

It seems that nearly anywhere you go – the shopping mall, the movie theater, the grocery store, the library, the coffee shop -at one point or another you’ll see people interacting with their cell phones. They could be checking email, texting, posting to Facebook or doing something else but it seems like invariably the distraction of the smart phone is never too far away. Continue reading