Better Marketing by Design Featured at Marketing Slam 2017

This year’s Marketing SLAM took place on February 22nd at Loyola’s Quinlan School of Business and witnessed an attendance of over 75 professionals. Under this year’s event theme: “better marketing by design”, Marketing Slam covered a variety of topics that were presented by six of Chicago’s top marketers.

Here’s a list of the presentations that were delivered during the event:

  • Learn to think Backward to Leap Forward by Lindsay McKay

  • Learn by Osmosis, How Non-profits Succeed by Emory Brown

  • Childhood Secrets that Inspire: Five Marketing Design Insights by Carol Neiger

  • Revive Your Brand through Design Thinking by David Kellbaugh

  • Stand Out in a Noisy Marketing World by Michelle Robin

  • A Picture is not Worth a Thousand Words by Andrew Keilbik

Plenty of insights, ideas and a-ha moments were uncovered during those six fascinating presentations. Based on audience votes, David Kellbaugh’s presentation on “The Power of Brand Stories over Products” won first place!

photo_Brand Smart 2016

4 Reasons Your CEO Should Demand You Go to Brand Smart

by Chuck Kent

More than ever, you, as a marketer, are under pressure to perform… right now, this quarter, this week, today (sooner, if possible). And a marketplace environment of constant, ever-accelerating change only exacerbates this hair-on-fire situation.

The temptation is to upend every status quo and create all-new marketing machines, bristling with the shiniest new objects and sure to impress with whiz-bang innovations. But as is often the case with temptation, marketers are wise to resist, regroup, and attend to strategic essentials.

An article in the Harvard Business Review put it this way: “Marketers understand that their organizations need an overhaul, and many chief marketing officers are tearing up their org charts… struggling with how to draw the new chart. What does the ideal structure look like? Our answer is that this is the wrong question. Marketing leaders instead must ask, ‘What values and goals guide our brand strategy, what capabilities drive marketing excellence, and what structures and ways of working will support them?’ Structure must follow strategy—not the other way around.”

Learn to be a business strategist first, to be a marketer second to none

Yes, marketing “structure must follow strategy,” to which we would add, “And in a world where your brand is your business, marketers must understand, and be able to convey, brand as business strategy.”

And so, the Chicago AMA is providing an in-depth day of strategic education for marketers at Brand Smart 2017. The theme is “The New Brand Journey: A Day of Master Classes,” and it features a wide range of experts addressing four essential topics that must be mastered to create a truly strategic approach to brand marketing:

  1. Brand Strategy
  2. Brand Expression
  3. Brand Activation
  4. Brand Equities

Brand Strategy: Discovery, Differentiation, Evolution

Our opening keynote, David Armano, Global Strategy Director for Edelman, will provide an overview of the current environment. Then the day will break into a choice of Master Classes, each one part presentation, one part interaction, all adding up to extremely useful, put-it-to-work-tomorrow information.

Because effective strategies start with insight, Gary Kash, a long-time research and consumer insights expert, will help attendees delve into how we can improve our customer IQ by boosting our customer EQ. A client-agency team, with Matt Gordon from Landor Associates and Megan Biggam from Byline Bank, will address how to translate insight into meaningful differentiation, even in a brand-saturated marketplace. And the CEO of Tide Spin, David VanHimbergen, will walk you through the path from established brand to category disruptor.

Brand Expression: Giving a Face and Voice to the Strategy

As I always like to tell my clients, the brand strategy is the big idea. But it takes creativity to express it, starting with the foundational elements of brand identity, personality, voice and core brand message. Our Master Class teachers will help you learn how to more powerfully express your brand’s uniqueness.

The CMO of RXBAR, Lyndsay Levin, will share the path from creating a breakthrough product to becoming a standout, “No B.S.” brand. Providing more food for thought, Nick Scarpino, VP of Marketing for Portillos, will address how to keep awareness (and revenue) growing. And Lewis Williams, along with Stephen French, from Burrell Communications, a trailblazer in the creativity of diversity, will show how to create a compelling brand personality that can speak to our multicultural, multidimensional world.

Brand Activation: Making Strategic Brilliance Shine in the Real World

OK, so you’ve established your strategy…revealed your unique brand personality…and focused your essential message so tightly it can be delivered in even the shortest elevator ride. But now you need to take it to market – it’s time for brand activation.

Luckily, two of our teachers, Larry Minsky and Bill Rosen, have just written the book on the subject – literally – and in one of our classes they’ll be showing you how to fulfill what they call “The Activation Imperative.” And Sherry Duda, CEO of Alex Reidy, will team up with consultant Colin McBean to explore the critical role of culture in bringing a brand to life.

Brand Equities: Proving We Deliver Value

Of course, while we as marketers may take the value of branding as a given, CEOs and such are not always pre-sold on that notion. It is up to us as brand and marketing leaders to educate our upper management and cross-functional peers on the organizational, operational and – especially – the financial value of investing in brand.

In this section of Master Classes, you can choose between a renowned professor, a successful CMO or a global leader in the art of brand valuation. Tim Calkins, Clinical Professor of Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management, will lead a session how to make a hard-nosed business case for branding. (Be sure to check out his video above.) Beth Brady, CMO of The Principal Financial Group, will share how her company not only made the case for brand, but proved it out in the real world. And Mario Simon of The Boston Consulting Group, an expert in helping global corporations attach a dollar figure to their brands as assets, will lead his “students” though how brands can create and evaluate financial value.

Finally, our closing keynote speaker, Nick Ragone, CMO of Ascension, will give us an inside look at how “The New Brand Journey” is playing out in the rebrand of the world’s largest non-profit hospital system.

So set the date. Choose your classes. And get ready to build a better, more strategic foundation for your brands at Brand Smart 2017.

Brand Smart 2017
“The New Brand Journey: A Day of Master Classes”
April 27, 2017, 7:30am – 5:00pm
Gleacher Center at University of Chicago, 450 N Cityfront Plaza Dr, Chicago, IL 60611


Chuck Kent is a volunteer with the Chicago AMA Program Committee. When not helping come up with events like Brand Smart, or enlist the best speakers, he works as an independent brand strategist, content creator and executive thought leadership consultant. He is also a Contributing Editor for Branding Magazine, and the creator and moderator of its monthly feature, The Branding Roundtable.

Local SEO in 2017

Local SEO is an often-overlooked but critical factor for businesses with physical locations. In the era of mobile search, local SEO promises brand visibility to both the on-the-go and local consumer. In this post, we review some basics about local search and examine some of the recent changes Google has made, which are impacting local search engine optimization success in 2017.

A quick primer on local SEO.

Local SEO refers to the factors Google (or most search engines for that matter) bear in mind when it chooses whether to display your business in its local search engine results. (This article, by way of full disclosure, is only concerned with Google.) Unlike organic results, local results pair the appearance of a business’ information to a local map and, typically, results appear below AdWords paid advertisements but before organic results. By default, local results appear when the searcher’s location is detected by Google or the searcher defines the search with a geographical keyword. For example, a searcher in Chicago looking for an Asian restaurant for an upcoming trip to San Francisco will see local results from their Chicago device, if they type in something like ‘Asian Restaurants in San Francisco.’

Any business which has a physical location and sells either services or products can benefit from increased local search engine visibility and, for some, it can be a huge driver of everything marketers hope to achieve from their work: increased walk-in customers, increased brand awareness and increased digital traffic.

What are the factors influencing local search engine visibility in 2016?


To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. — Winston Churchill

Seemingly, Google couldn’t agree more with the Winston Churchill quote above. In their neverending quest for search excellence, Google has changed both the selection criteria it uses to display local search results, as well as the actual appearance of the results themselves.

In an effort to bring readers up to speed, I’ve ranked the factors most SEOs agree are influencing local SEO results in 2016. (These results are pulled from multiple sources; see my references at the end of this post.)

  • It all starts with Google My Business. If your business doesn’t yet have a verified Google My Business page, the rest of this article might not be for you. Local SEO begins with the assumption that your business has one; if yours doesn’t, I suggest you head on over to My Business and claim/write your listing. Come back to this post at a later time.
  • Location, location, location. Another ‘given’ about success in local is the recognition that the search results are location based. If your business is not near the searcher’s location (or the searcher has not localized their search with a geographical keyword) you can forget about showing up in local results. Beyond this fundamental, though, one new trend for 2016 is the hyper-localization of search. Rather than thinking about an entire city, many experts suggest using neighborhoods within cities. Google now identifies a searcher’s location with a much smaller radius. Adding keyword content on websites and landing pages which specify neighborhood, rather than just the larger city, is a sound strategy in 2016.
  • Links and other organic criteria are much more important. One thing every SEO seems to agree on in 2016 is that local SEO rankings are increasingly influenced by the same factors as organic SEO. For instance, historically, local SEO relied heavily on the number of citations (references to the name and address of the business) and their accuracy. Citations these days are seemingly less important than they were a few years ago. Instead, Google is relying on factors such as inbound links to your website and other on-page elements on the business’ website. Organic ranking factors are so important, in fact, that one guide notes that, “Basically, if you rank 1-10 in organic search results you are much more likely to rank 1-10 in Google My Business results as well. These typical organic indicators seem to play a larger role than they formerly did.
  • Speaking of ‘organic criteria,’ can anyone say “Keywords & Copywriting?” The creation of location-specific landing pages on your business’ site has been a bow in the SEO’s quiver for years now. The idea, simply, is that creating individual pages for each of your business’ location sends strong ranking signals for local SEO success. These pages become even stronger if unique, keyword-rich content is written for each of these pages. It’s an old trick but, according to many, it has found renewed value in 2016.
  • Reviews and more reviews. Frequently, local listings feature a review summary, pulled from a variety of social review sites, including Google’s own reviews from Google My Business. For 2016, the number and quality of those reviews play a role and strongly correlate with better exposure in local search. As Casey Meraz notes, “Reviews, in my opinion, can have a positive impact on rankings due to the resulting increase in click-through rates. Reviews will also help you build trust in your business and earn more business.” Consider the two-fold impact reviews can have on search: not only is their presence and quality a likely ranking factor but, additionally, more reviews lead to a higher number of clicks and more visits to your website.
  • Citations are still important but… I mentioned earlier that a reliance on building a huge reserve of citations in local directories is not the strong ranking signal it once was. Citations, however, are still of value for many reasons. Obviously, they’re still credible affirmation that your business exists at a given location. And they still represent inbound links to your website, which is a traditional ranking factor. For 2016, the same principle for building links applies to building citations: focus on relevant, high authority digital properties and forget about the lower value ones. To that end, whitespark publishes a list of authoritative citations, listed by industry. You can find it here.

Wrapping things up

Clients of SEO agencies are often mystified by the forever changing landscape of search. Many a client has shaken their heads at the speed with which things like algorithm changes seemingly revolutionize the field. A review of the factors affecting local in 2016, however, suggests a slightly more nuanced conclusion. Factors affecting local SEO haven’t really changed radically but, rather, a few factors – which have historically had influence – have become more influential, while others have become less so. Often these changes really are based on just an improvement to Google’s core technology. For instance, the decreased importance of citations quite possibly means that Google has found better methods to confirm a business’ location. In this way, the changes seen in local SEO are the sorts of incremental shifts which are bound to happen in a field leveraged off of constantly evolving technology.


The 2015 Local Search Ranking Factors,
2016 Local SEO Ranking Factors
The Big Picture Guide to Local SEO: Ranking in 2016 & Beyond
The State of Local SEO & Where to Focus Now

Dave Hitt is the founder of Splat, Inc., a digital marketing agency in Philadelphia. Splat provides a range of digital services including website development, PPC and SEO. If you have any questions about any of the points raised here, feel free to email Dave.

Mobile Interstitials: How Do You Comply with Google’s Latest Guidance?

Google has sought for years to impact the quality of the mobile user search and browse experience.

Google’s open-source Android mobile operating system now commands a greater than 80% share of the global market.

Two years ago, the company began favoring responsive websites, those that scale appropriately for mobile and tablet screens, in its search results. Today, Google reports that more than 85% of websites meet its mobile-friendly criteria. Google even offers a free tool you can use to test the mobile friendliness of your site.

This year, Google is promoting Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), another open source project that uses techniques like simplified coding and caching to produce pages that load faster on mobile devices. The screenshot at right shows two examples of AMP listings Google featured prominently among the results from a recent search for “Chicago Blackhawks Winter Classic” on a smartphone.

So what mobile-friendly trick does Google have up its sleeve next?

Well, the company has those annoying content-interrupting screens known as “interstitials” squarely in its sights.

In an August blog post, Google said,

Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible. This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller. To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.

So, while interstitials are also disruptive to the user experience on desktop devices, Google is limiting its focus to interstitials on mobile sites for now.

Google has identified three types of interstitials that will begin incurring mobile ranking penalties in January. In short, in interstitial is a page or screen that prevents or delays the user from accessing the expected content. It is a replacement for the popups that most browsers now block. At right is an example.

Digital marketers who need to promote offers, convert app downloads and generate leads through signup forms will miss these tools.

Nonetheless, Google is right. Getting rid of these intrusions will improve the user experience. And Google has indicated that certain interstitials will not be affected by its new ranking signal:

  1. Those presented to fulfill a legal obligation, like disclosing cookie usage or verifying the user’s age.
  2. Login dialogs for content that isn’t publicly indexed.
  3. Smaller banners that are easily dismissed.

So how are companies responding to the need for an improved mobile user experience? The good news is, if you survey a large sampling of mobile sites, you’ll find that a small number actually continue to use offending interstitials. As you might expect, it isn’t easy to determine whether this is due to a simple interest in providing a pleasant user experience or a desire to get ahead of Google’s algorithm change.

Meanwhile, many companies are finding creative ways to take advantage of guideline No. 3 above. Let’s look at the approaches some Chicago-area companies have taken to communicating important messages without risking an SEO downgrade.

The app install prompt pushes the rest of the page down minimally and offers an easy way to dismiss it. Well done.

Dialog Tech

The bottom-edge ROI calculator offer is attention-grabbing while being reasonably sized and easily closed. Perfect.


An eBook offer has historically been a common interstitial. In this case, it works fine as a small, closeable popup at the top of the screen.

Community Tax

The chat offer at the bottom of the screen is an interesting tactic. The headshot and combination of shapes makes it stand out without being oversized. Google would probably like to see a dismiss button added.


Another small bottom-of-screen offer, this time for a free trial. This one doesn’t appear until you reach the fold. Again, Google has expressed a preference for sites that provide a way to dismiss the offer.

You can see that some Chicago-area companies are no longer using intrusive interstitials while still managing to highlight important offers.

Once Google has perfected this algorithm change, what happens next?

Acknowledging that mobile now represents the majority of user searches, Google has announced it is working on mobile-first indexing. This algorithm change requires extensive testing, so the company hasn’t indicated when it might take effect. Suffice it to say, it will be another important step in Google’s quest to perfect the mobile user experience.

Bill Winn manages web content for San Diego AMA and works as a digital marketer with Inseev Interactive, a San Diego performance agency.


Pivot Points from Scott Brinker, Looking Past the Hype and Theory of Marketing Technology

Back in 1988 Howard Haas joined the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business as an adjunct professor. He struggled in his new role to find a curriculum that supported what he learned and experienced during his tenure as CEO at Sealy. Shortly after joining the university he developed a new curriculum that essentially changed leadership courses at Booth School of Business as well as impacting university curriculum around the country.

Haas’s revolution began when he introduced a new leadership course in 1989. The course shifted students training and understanding regarding leadership from theory to practice.  The course was aptly named “Leadership in Practice” filled a big gap know known as the “Knowing to Doing Gap.”

Similar to what Howard Haas did for MBA Leadership courses during the early 90s, Scott Brinker is striving to take hype and theory out of Marketing Technology. Scott leads ION Interactive, MarTech Events and a think tank that looks at the MarTech sector. His book “Hacking Marketing”, MarTech seminars and events are designed to help you and I grasp the importance of martech. His straightforward practical approach looks past the hype and theory to uncover the most effective use of technology offerings in our industry, organizations, and systems.

At this year’s MarketingTech Smart Conference, Scott presented on “Hacking Marketing: The Amazing Convergence of Marketing & Software.” During Scott’s presentation, he challenged us to look at our martech stack of tools and platforms. We were asked to consider what’s in and how we use our martech stack. Then, he shared some astounding statistics that indicate that we are not leveraging our martech stacks effectively and in most cases improperly.  A few reasons range from rapid change with a focus on “the latest and greatest” to being overwhelmed and slow to change. Whatever the reason, we need to rethink how to leverage technology for marketing our businesses more effectively.

Scott recommended that we rework our marketing strategy. He challenged us to consider a new way of designing our strategy. Large enterprise IT organizations have found that bimodal strategies are more conducive to the management of technology.  Gartner Explains Bimodal

Scott also shared that our current strategies are likely responsive, agile and tactical so we can fail fast, learn quickly and course correct.  On the other hand, our strategy can be focused on scalability, standardization, and fail-not approach to marketing. Either way, money is left on the table. Marketing costs are high and companies lose out on opportunities and revenue.

Pivot Point #1 – Bimodal Marketing Strategy
Scott recommends that we restructure our marketing strategies into a bimodal fashion.

Fail-Fast: 30 % of our efforts, budgets and plan should be structured on experimental and up and coming marketing opportunities and technologies.

Fail-Not: 70 % of our efforts, budgets and plan should be focused on areas where we can optimize, standardize and automate to reduce costs and errors while increasing effectiveness and scalability.


Scott emphasized that software magnifies marketing effectiveness but only if talent adopts the martech stack and leverages it to seize the opportunity for the company. Scott recommends that marketers (like you and I) learn about the pace-layered approach to cataloging, selecting and leveraging technology within an organization.

Pivot Point #2 – Incorporate Pace-Layered Approach
Scott recommends that we incorporate pace-layered approach to managing our MarTech stack.

By incorporating a pace-layered approach into our marketing strategies, we can increase adoption of our martech stack. Increased adoption will essentially decrease our costs and increase our marketing effectiveness.

As a result of attending the MarketingTech Smart 2016 event, I learned from Scott, that for in order to succeed in future marketing efforts, I need to take a page out of IT’s playbook regarding my implementation of marketing technology.  This is exactly why Scott Brinker wrote “Hacking Marketing” and hosts events like MarTech 2017 to prepare marketers.  This also why he feels AMA events like MarketingTech Smart  2016 and MarTech 2017 are important to marketers. Scott Brinker said,

“It is important for marketers to come together and learn from each other on how technology is impacting their world.”

Can you imagine how effective tools like automation, digital wallets, and user behavior mapping can increase customer satisfaction, organizational goals, and ultimately your career? At events like MarketingTech Smart 2016 and MarTech 2017, the convergence of knowledge, best practices, experience and strategy prepares marketers to do just that; happier customers and healthier ROIs naturally push your career in an upward trajectory.



About the Author: Nick Rich is an Enterprise Architect and Thought Leader on web, social, and mobile based technologies. Nick currently consults and advises clients on content, collaboration, communication technology, and how to foster corporate adoption.


Pivot Points: Matt Bailey, Leveraging a Sales Mindset

Did you hear the joke about the toothbrush salesman? I recently came across this joke and it speaks volumes about the importance of a sales mindset.  The joke goes something like this:


A boss asked it’s company’s top toothbrush salesman how he managed to sell so many brushes. The toothbrush salesman replied, “It’s easy” and pulled out a card table, setting his display of brushes on top.

He told his boss “I lay the brushes out like this, and then I put out some potato chips and dip to draw in the customers.”

After the chips and dip were laid out the boss said, “That’s a very innovative approach” and took one of the chips, dipped it, and stuck it in his mouth.

“Yuck, this tastes terrible!” his boss yelled.

The toothbrush salesman replied, “It is? Want to buy a toothbrush?”


If we all took a moment and considered the primary responsibility of marketing, we should all arrive at the same conclusion – sales. This joke illustrates the four points of sales: plan, setup, execution, and results.


At the recent 2016 Chicago AMA MarketingTech Smart event, Matt Bailey presented as one of the expert speakers with his session: “Six Steps to Marketing Automation.” In his session, Bailey alluded that marketers tend to structure their strategies and plans around the tactical use of technology for the purpose of generating likes, follows, friends and building lists. This might not be the right approach. Consider Matt’s critical points on marketing automation: human factor, redefine success metrics, get sales training, define and refine process, and develop customers for life.


#1 – The Human Factor

Matt recommended that we consider “The Human Factor” when we build strategies. The convergence of a mature martech, we now have access to 10,000+ sites, platforms and tools to possibly leverage. To compound the situation, Matt suspects that the current success metrics may be focused on the wrong data points.


#2 – Redefine Success Metrics

Redefining your metrics requires research and the first action item is to listen to your customers. Matt suggests that you start with your internal sales team as they deal with customers on daily basis and have a healthy perspective on the sales funnel and the customer’s journey from lead to advocate.

With your newly gained customer-focused insight, you will likely have an opportunity to redefine your success metrics. With marketing automation tools, you can take the newly defined metrics and start crafting workflows, triggers and responders which can gauge and assist in customer engagement.

#3 – Get Sales Training

To marketers like you and I, sales training may seem unnecessary. However, to truly understand what customers are looking for and how to encourage them to purchase your products, services or information, you will need sales training. Sales training from your sales team will provide you with crucial insights that have the potential to redefine your marketing strategy, plans and tactics. By learning from your sales team, you will have new data points to test out.

#4 – Define and Refine Process (Marketing Automation)
Four steps to identify, define and refine your marketing process:

  • Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up
    Engage customers and subscribers via Automated Drip Campaigns (ADC). ADCs can be designed to trigger automated emails, texts and direct mail pieces customized to the recipient.

Example: If a customer has not visited the site in 30 days, the system can send a reminder of what they previously browsed and ask if they are still interested in completing a purchase.

Key Fact: 80% of sales happen after the 5th contact with the customer. *

  • Ask the Right Questions
    Each time your reach out to customers and subscribers, ask questions to learn more about them. Segment your audience and measure their responses.

Key Fact: Marketing to a segmented audience increases open rates by up to 57% and click-through rates by 25%.*

  • Build the Relationship
    Identify key relational objectives for your customers to meet. Help guide the potential customers from initial engagement to becoming advocates.

Key Fact: The process of building a relationship with your audience can drastically increase the health of your marketing effectiveness. However, the objective must clearly be communicated to your audience.*

Examples of call to action messages: Follow us on Twitter, Sign-up for the Webinar, Share the Blog Post, etc.

  • Ask for the Sale
    Marketing automation and drip campaigns make a difference.

Example: A known user abandons a shopping cart and an automated email to that user is sent asking for the sale. Or, a customer bought coffee 30 days ago; an email reminder is sent to them asking for the sale: “Your supply of coffee may be running low, click here to replenish.”

Key Fact: Asking for the sale is the #1 way to get individuals to buy online and in-store.*

#5 – Develop Customers for Life
Develop customers for life by leveraging lead scoring. As we become more efficient at closing sales, building healthy trusting relationships and having frequent and relevant conversations with our customers, we can develop lifelong customers. Start by collecting customers’ implicit and explicit data.

  • Implicit Data (dynamic action): An individual’s interests, status, interaction and responses
  • Explicit Data (static information): Name, Location, conversation details and basic facts
  • Define how individuals interact with your company and why.
  • Compare your collected data and defined interactions with engagement and sales figures. How do they match up? Are you able to segment and identify your company’s most profitable relationships?
  • In the process of developing your lead scoring, learn what makes relationships successful for your organization. Next, outline this information in a scoring matrix to compare to your prospects and customers.
  • Finally, design marketing messages and campaigns that enhance relationships to the level of lifetime advocates (your most profitable relationship).

The key to marketing success is not the number of likes, follows, friends and lists but rather, the key to marketing success is, and should always be linked to sales figures. Sales are the lifeblood of any organization. Without sales, organizations would cease to operate. We need to make marketing relevant, engaging and sales-focused.



*Key Facts: Presented at 2016 MarketingTech Smart Conference


Matt Bailey has taught Google employees how to use Google Analytics. He has shown Experian how to present data. And he has led workshops in digital marketing at Disney/ABC/ESPN, HP, P&G and IBM, to name a few.


A recognized digital marketing expert, Matt is an instructor for the Direct Marketing Assn., Market Motive, and the Online Marketing Certified Professional program. He is also founder and president of SiteCore, a marketing consultancy, and he has published three books.


The Direct Marketing Association said of him, “No one else has approached the plain-English demystification of building an effective online presence as cost-effectively and time-effectively as has Matt.”


Twitter: @sitelogic


About the Author: Nick Rich is an Enterprise Architect and Thought Leader on web, social, and mobile based technologies. Nick currently consults and advises clients on content, collaboration, communication technology, and how to foster corporate adoption.

No – I Won’t Come Back For A Fifth Interview

Interview Insights

How many rounds of job interviews are you willing to accept?  No longer do you have to feel at the mercy of hiring managers.  Job seekers take some control and actively reshape the hiring process.

Forbes contributor Liz Ryan offers a compelling spin on interviewing to your advantage.  After understanding the company’s pain, stop!  Do not present your solution in the interview.

Follow the next steps here:


Insights on the New MarketingTech Stack: Tools That Drive Momentum and Deliver

The 5th annual MarketingTech SMART brought together leading innovative technologists Scott Brinker, Jack Philbin, Matt Bailey, and Steve Susina for trends to watch to stay ahead of the competition, here we go!

Scott Brinker
“Hacking Marketing: The Amazing Convergence of Marketing & Software”

In a world with more than 3,500 marketing technology solutions, Scott Brinker started the day off by sharing that we need to be less tactical and more process focused to succeed with marketing technology. The cloud, MarTech stack, and trending marketing tactics significantly magnify marketing effectiveness and dare we say, drastically impact our objectives. With the convergence of marketing and software, marketing tactical approaches are starting to show signs of ineffectiveness.

More often than not, we have become tactical and reactive. Scott challenged us to stop thinking about ourselves as tactical responders but to take on some of the successful approaches of those in the software industry that have inherently embraced technology and consider ourselves more like product managers. As marketers, we need to innovate in a scalable manner just like those in tech. The issue with the current marketing approach is that we aren’t able to fail fast to innovate AND be dependable to meet core objectives. By leveraging a bi-modal approach to our marketing strategy, we will be able to build strategies that are both innovative and quantifiable.

Jack Philbin
CEO, Vibes
“Mobile Wallet Marketing: How Retailers Like Chipotle Are Succeeding In This Emerging Channel”

Jack Philbin took to the podium and demonstrated how crucial mobile marketing is in today’s marketplace. Jack’s demonstration incorporated retailer Chipotle as well as focused on leveraging iPhone Wallet and Android Pay (Google Wallet) technology and other methods that include digital payment marketing, digital coupon advertising, and mobile phone wallets.

Utilizing mobile technology increases sales and retains and re-engages customers – an example is Chipotle’s Gauc Hunter App. In the aftermath of a PR crisis Chipotle launched this app and successfully drew an audience of 3.5 million players. 67% of those players redeemed their coupon for free guacamole at a local Chipotle restaurant. This interactive strategy encouraged millions to return to Chipotle despite the company’s predicament. Jack emphasized that our strategies should not be solely focused on clicks and likes, but engagement to drive revenue. Vibes achieved that for Chipotle and mobile technology must be the next chapter in your marketing strategy.

Matt Bailey
Founder/President, SiteLogic Marketing
“Six Steps to Marketing Automation”

Matt Bailey grabbed the attention of the audience by contending that good marketing automation has a foundation in sales, communication and understanding. His focus was on how to best leverage technology to automate various marketing processes using sales tactics.

Essentially understanding the sales process and client’s needs help marketers to identify the appropriate data points, tactics, and mediums for effective marketing automation. Matt trained us on how to look internally for answers to automation success while leveraging external influences to augment marketing objectives. Overall, effective marketing automation enables brands to build and maintain relationships with customers and grow sales.


  • Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up
  • Value customers, sales teams and the sales process
  • Marketing automation is only as effective as your key data points


Steve Susina
Marketing Director, Lyons Consulting
“Marketing Automation in Today’s Digital Landscape”

Steve Susina walked us through what automation can look like and some anticipated pitfalls and benefits to expect. Today customers have more control of the buying process and marketers need to identify current processes and overlay them with automation to assist prospects and turn them into the paying customers.

To define automation you need to understand or define an automation lifecycle with measurable metrics. Preservation of both lifecycle and the rules of automation are relatively easy to maintain with available metrics. Metrics are central to gauging your focus on success or issues that may arise. Please keep in mind, as markets shift metrics will also fluctuate. Fluctuation will always pinpoint where to focus your attention.


With the fast-paced rise of marketing technology, the DNA of marketing has changed.
Today marketers are sharing some of the same responsibility as IT, Finance and Digital Security. The speakers helped us to understand how to harness the convergence of marketing and software to meet our marketing goals. It was evident the audience left feeling energized by the speakers understanding of automation, mobile as a medium, bi-modal marketing processes, and developing strategies to properly implement technology for today and in the future.

Thank you Scott, Jack, Matt, and Steve for your insight, wisdom and time. You made the 2016 MarketingTech SMART conference an inspiring experience.



About the Author
Nick Rich is an Enterprise Architect and Thought Leader on web, social, and mobile based technologies. Nick currently consults and advises clients on content, collaboration, communication technology, and how to foster corporate adoption.


logo_MarketingTech Smart

Lessons from 4 marketing technology experts

We hand-picked a series of four articles on marketing technology and mobile marketing, by four leaders in their field. These are the same marketing experts—Scott Brinker, Jack Philbin, Matt Bailey and Steve Susina—who will be speaking in Chicago on Friday, Oct. 21 at the half-day MarketingTech Smart 2016 conference.

If you like what they have to say, then save your spot right now to hear them live and in-person, only in Chicago!

Odds are your marketing stack is way bigger than you think it is

By Scott Brinker


As a rule of thumb, people wildly underestimate the number of marketing technologies they have deployed in their organization — sometimes by a factor of 2X, sometimes by a factor of 10X or more. “We use 2-3 marketing technologies,” they might answer in a survey, when in truth, they use more like 20-30 products from the marketing technology landscape. It’s completely understandable, of course, as marketing technologies are not weighted equally.

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Scott’s topic at MarketingTech Smart: Hacking Marketing: The Amazing Convergence of Marketing & Software 

The massive opportunity for mobile wallets

An interview with Jack Philbin

Jack provides some compelling reasons why we’re seeing a resurgence of consumer interest in using mobile wallets, and he shares some examples of large enterprises that are seeing strong ROI via mobile wallet offers.

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Jack’s topic at MarketingTech Smart: Mobile Wallet Marketing: How Retailers Like Chipotle Are Succeeding In This Emerging Channel

Shiny things: What distracts you?

Matt Bailey’s Endless coffee cup podcast


Headlines dominate the early part of this podcast, which begins with a study revealing that the majority of Fortune 500 marketers are looking for the next “silver bullet” market-shifting technology. What is is that attracts us to the silver bullet mentality? Do we truly believe there is only a single “magic” thing that will radically grow our business?

Listen to the podcast

Matt’s topic at MarketingTech Smart: Six steps to marketing automation

Retail innovations that drive omnichannel commerce

By Steve Susina

Retail has been through a rough stretch. As we entered 2016, each day seemingly brought new announcements of physical store closings, poor retail performance, and even bankruptcies. … To help drive your 2016 planning, and satisfy consumers’ appetite for technology, there are four types of retail technology innovations you should pay attention to.

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Steve’s topic at MarketingTech Smart: Marketing automation in today’s digital landscape

Learn from the masters, Oct. 21 at MarketingTech Smart 2016 in Chicago.

Reserve your seat today!