How about some common sense marketing?


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


Reaction: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2014 report


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

wasted hours

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

Four thoughts as we wind down 2013


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

From the social chair: the Brand Summit brand summit

This past week I had the privilege of presenting a “How To” class at the inaugural Brand Summit. (Quick background: is a professional organization that consists of client side professionals from big brands that are in charge of social media at their respective companies.) Even though the organization hosts quarterly mini-conferences, this was their first attempt at an annual gathering, and they were kind enough to ask me to participate as a speaker.

Aside from my presentation, I got to sit through some terrific sessions along with an entertaining keynote session featuring the one-and-only Tyra Banks. I was especially proud of my home state after getting to watch Twin Cities smarties Greg Gerik from 3M and Kevin Hunt from General Mills do their thing. Greg shared his experiences with  measurement and analytics while Kevin discussed how his team handles content strategy for a company that is home to a broad base of brands.

My “How To” class was about how brands should think about integrating social media into their marketing and advertising efforts. Instead of focusing on my work at Best Buy, I instead decided to share five themes I have observed which are enabling brands to have success in the market place. I also decided to have some fun with the presentation by taking a tongue-in-cheek approach of comparing bad social media strategy to mad libs. If you were able to attend the conference and see me present in person, then I would like to thank you for taking the time to do so. If you weren’t able to be there, then feel free to check out the presentation below — I’d love to hear your feedback.

Quick hitting case study: Fluevog Shoes

Earlier this fall, Leslie and I were doing the “be a tourist in your hometown” thing and decided to check out some stores that we don’t normally frequent. One of the places we visited was Fluevog Shoes in the Uptown neighborhood. They only have one location here, and it has been open for just about a year. Before visiting the store, I really didn’t know much about the Fluevog brand, but Leslie was familiar with it and promised that I’d like it. As usual, she was right.


One foot in with a Fluevog

Fluevog shoes feature a classic style with a bit of a rock ‘n’ roll edge. They somewhat remind me of more sophisticated Doc Martens. When I was looking around the store, I spotted a pair of their Andrew Oxford shoes and fell in love with them. (I have to admit that I’ve developed a soft spot for cool shoes the last couple of years. It’s the hipster in me – I know.) Leslie saw how I was fawning over the oxfords, and she bought them for me as an early birthday present. Continue reading