2017 MIMA Summit: my picks to click

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Next week on October 12 the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA) will host the 2017 version of its annual Summit. This is the 16th anniversary of the event if my memory serves me correct. With it being just around the corner I thought I’d share my picks on the sessions you shouldn’t miss. Continue reading

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15 minutes and a whiteboard

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The whiteboard I used for my Digital Download presentation last month.

What do you do when the people you work with don’t understand your job or what you do? I’m guessing a lot of us can relate to that in some form or fashion. This has been a question that my team has been trying to figure out it while working with other parts of the marketing department at my office. We’ve found that there is inconsistent knowledge with our colleagues on various things digital. Search Engine Optimization. How web pages are created. Knowing what user experience is as a discipline. Having a basic understanding of the social media landscape in 2017. These are just a few examples, but the short version is that some peers didn’t understand what we work on or how things get done in our area. (I have this same issue but on the opposite side when it comes to certain other departments at Allianz;  I am no expert when it comes to the inner working of the hedging or actuarial groups.)

Unsurprisingly, this has made it tough at times for us to have conversations or collaborate when peers don’t understand core parts of marketing technology, our processes, the different media channels, how we evaluate and use metrics, etc. Like any kind of relationship, ideally you should strive to know or understand where other side is coming from or how they operate. 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

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.)

Continue reading

Four thoughts as we wind down 2013

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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

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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