An Evening with Three Experts

Essential Skills for Today’s Marketers

Have you ever wondered if you have the right skills to succeed in today’s Marketing World? 

Today, we have a beautiful world that is constantly changing. Each day marketers, like you and I, are facing new challenges that were unheard of twenty years ago or even six months ago.  Each day we wonder how do I make a difference in my job,  team,  organization, industry or career. On January 17th the Chicago AMA asked three marketing experts to consider this subject. 

Our Expert Panelists:

Sona Jones – Head of Marketing & Media (Chicago Ideas)

Allison Cirullo

When Allison started in the industry she struggled to discover her place in marketing. Over the years, her journey helped her find excitement in challenge and change. Her list of essential skills are as follows:

  1. Continue to grow your skills by Reading (Books & Publications about business, finance, and other industries). Attending lectures and seminars focused on a variety of subjects. Never stop learning.  Allison’s Favorites: Harvard Business Review and Technology Landscape publications
  2. Be a Change Agent by being a great listener. Find opportunity in every conversation. Learn to be flexible and accommodating. Motivate others to implement healthy change.
  3. Hustle do what it takes to get the job done. Enough said!

Linh Peter

Lihn’s story and journey is centered on people and relationships. As she moved up the ranks at Target she found great value in investing in others and, others investing in her. So it is only fitting that her list of essential skills are around people and relationships.

  1. Focus on relationships and encourage team members to learn about each other. Take time to invest in others and value people over process.
  2. Your Board of Directors take mentoring to a higher level. Find four or more people you know who excel in certain areas of life and business and ask them to mentor you.
  3. Be Self Aware to do your best to know yourself, your attitude, and behavior.
    1. How you deal with others
    2. How you engage others
    3. Learn how others perceive you and how you perceive others
    4. Ask for feedback from your peers, subordinates, and superiors
    5. Learn from your failures

Sona Jones

Sona’s career path at first seemed full of promise. Right out of college she joined Sony Pictures. She was set, right? However, as years passed she found that her career was not progressing as she had hoped. She had to pivot to re-invent herself. Sona’s essential skills focus on introspection and strategy.

  1. Accountability own up and simply say you’re wrong, when you are.
  2. Your Role entails learning and mastering your role. Become the expert at what you do. Then strategize on how to optimize and leverage process automation and technology to increase your capabilities and effectiveness.
  3. Venture Out and take on small marketing contracts or volunteer opportunities that you can support. By doing so you will expand your experience.

The panelists’ essential skills for marketers will help today and in the future. As the event came to an end, all three panelists encouraged us to do one single very important thing, starting today -Take More Risks!

Are you ready? Are you willing to take a risk right now?

Great! Here is the challenge:  Select a couple of the practical and essential skills that were highlighted by Sona, Allison or Linh, apply them to your daily activities for the next 30 days then share with us how those skills have impacted your marketing life.

We look forward to hearing all of your great stories and experiences.

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.



Tim Calkins Makes the Business Case for Branding

As the Clinical Professor of Marketing at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, Tim Calkins knows how important it is for brands to stay on top of what’s working – and what’s not – in today’s environment.

In the above video, Tim gives us a preview of his Brand Smart 2017 master class, “Making The Business Case for Branding.” With his years of experience in building strong and profitable brands, Tim shares his approaches and techniques to build a strong business case – including the financials – within your organization. As one of only four two-time winners of Kellogg’s prestigious teaching award, Tim promises an engaging, powerful presentation.

In addition to attending as a presenter, Tim values attending Chicago AMA’s Brand Smart 2017 as a participant. While the core principles of marketing have remained the same, the tools are changing constantly, and Brand Smart’s master classes will equip attendees with the latest tools, best practices and more to develop and grow strong brands.

As he says, Tim is looking forward to Chicago AMA’s Brand Smart 2017 – and we hope to see you there! Register today to secure your spot at The New Brand Journey: A Day of Master Classes on Thursday, April 27.

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


Group, student and young professional discounts are available. As always, Chicago AMA members enjoy reduced tickets for all events.

Brand Smart 2017 will be Thursday, April 27 at the Gleacher Center, Chicago. Now in its 15th year, Brand Smart is the leading branding conference in the Midwest. Hosted by the Chicago AMA, it draws hundreds of branding executives, agency leaders and other marketing professionals from the U.S.

Nick Ragone on His Brand Smart 2017 Keynote

Nick Ragone is the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Ascension, the largest Catholic healthcare system in the world. Through his dynamic closing keynote address, he’ll lead us through his work rebranding the system and each of the milestones and lessons learned along the way.

In this short video, Nick gives us an overview of his address, and he shares why he is thrilled to attend Chicago AMA’s Brand Smart 2017 as a participant, too. Under the theme The New Brand Journey: A Day of Master Classes, the conference will guide us through four key stages of branding: strategy, expression, activation and equities. At the close of the day, Nick will put these stages into practice through his successful rebranding efforts.

There’s only one way to hear Nick’s keynote and our other marketing experts: register for Brand Smart now! Group, student and young professional discounts are available.

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


Brand Smart 2017 will be Thursday, April 27 at the Gleacher Center, Chicago. Now in its 15th year, Brand Smart is the leading branding conference in the Midwest. Hosted by the Chicago AMA, it draws hundreds of branding executives, agency leaders and other marketing professionals from the U.S.

Hear the Brand One Year Later

by Colleen Fahey 

In my never-ending quest to spread the word about Audio Branding, I took the stage last year at Brand Smart – where I found a lively and inquisitive audience.   What hadn’t quite dawned on me was that speaking at the event would allow me to listen to everyone else’s presentations.

Having found myself in terrifically-inspiring company, I cancelled my afternoon meetings so I could soak it in. Today, I still go back to the things I learned to guide my thinking.

After hearing Alison Miller’s strategies, I’ve rooted for the Cubs as a business more than I ever rooted for them as a team and after Steve Handmaker described the employee engagement culture at Assurance, I’ve become a fan for life! I also found that Chuck Gitkin’s “Ekrich and Operation Homefront” case was as inspiring as it was perfectly synergistic, whereas the love story told on Wrigley gum wrappers was, in my opinion, an excellent model for perfect brand storytelling.

A year has passed since my 2016 Brand Smart experience and the friendships are still unfolding. Besides running into people I had forgotten I knew, I met new people with whom I’m still friends and, as time went by, I found myself discussing business opportunities with many others   

Another unforeseen consequence of speaking at Brand Smart was that Bonnie Massa, President-Elect of the Chicago AMA in 2016-2017, used her considerable persuasive powers to get me to participate in planning Brand Smart 2017, which was to discuss” The New Brand Journey: A Day of Master Classes.” 

Now that the conference is right around the corner, it’s going to be chockfull of memorable material along with potential new friends and business prospects. My advice: Don’t miss it!

P.S.  I’m not speaking this year, my audio branding missionary work took a new direction and turned into a book that Laurence Minsky and I wrote. You may check out here On April 27th, one month after it releases, I’ll be on hand at Brand Smart to autograph it.


Fahey is the US Managing Director at Sixième Son. She has held multiple roles within Publicis Groupe including Executive Creative Director and EVP – Strategy. Throughout her career, she had five publications related to audio branding including her recent audio book “using sound to build your brand”.

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.