Last night I had the opportunity to attend an event at JWT Atlanta, the best experiential marketing company in Atlanta and one of the most experienced and creative agencies in all of the US.
They put together events every other month, bringing together people from the marketing and advertising industry.
I really enjoy going to their events as they have quality speakers and as a company, JWT Atlanta is as inspiring as any of the people that they have present. Their office space is uber creative and their people, so much fun, that even I want to go and work there.
Yesterday's speaker was Kevin Carroll, the founder of Katalyst. To say that he is inspirational, passionate and above all, a game-changer is an understatement.
Interestingly, after speaking with a number of marketing automation vendors in the past few weeks, it has become apparent that there is one clear contender for the top marketing automation spot - and that is Marketo.
Melbourne is a city that has grown on me. I have lived here for most of the past 10 years and it really has been the perfect home away from home. As a Queenslander, it took some time to get use to the weather, and talking about it all day long, but other than that, I have learnt to appreciate the finer things that make Melbourne and Sydney for that matter, so special.
As the plane landed, the first thing that came to mind is that I needed to get a coffee from my favourite barista. Secondly, how easy it is to walk through customs with the new technology that alleviates all the queuing that takes place in every other airport in the world.
Having spent so much of this year in Atlanta and the US as a whole, it strikes me that I have been "bitching" too much.
"No good coffee."
"Too many diner style restaurants."
"Business people are too aggressive."
"Everyone's homes look the same - boring."
At first, my design department sourced quotes. They ranged from $18,000 up to $33,000 for exactly the same product. I was fine with paying $18,000 but not so fine to find my normal printers quotation significantly higher at $33,000. It literally had me stopping in my tracks and evaluating what I was doing and whether it was worth it.
Then, as if someone was looking down on me, a company was referred to Marketing Eye to do some of their marketing. It was an online print automation company that specialises in reducing the cost of printing so that marketing departments can reinvest the savings back into their marketing campaigns. I personally worked on this account because I was interested in seeing what they did differently. In the end, I became as passionate about their business, as they became of ours. On top of that, they saved us 45% of our printing costs.
Today, I thought I would give the founder of this business, Mark Alioto a call to talk about what they do differently at ECM.
Like most entrepreneurs, I have failed more times than I have succeeded and every single time I have failed I have thought back to how I could have done things differently. 9 times out of 10, it was because I didn't trust my gut instinct.
Trusting in yourself and your intuition is important, but if you are anything like me, you second guess what you think you should do and find reasons as to why you should do something a different way. It's not too indifferent from taking a risk. We are all reluctant to take risks but sometimes there is this thing inside us that tells us that we must do it - even though there a thousand reasons why we shouldn't.
It was a big step for both of them to take to hire a marketing company as it isn't something that they had done before.
"Same bed, but it feels a bit bigger now" is the lyrics in the famous Bruno Mars song "When I was your man". An apt description of Marketing Eye's business expansion into the US market. It's the same company, but its a bit bigger now.
What started out as a step to expand the international footprint of our brand, has taken on a whole new dimension. Australian and America have long been tied and now more so than ever. The ebbs of the economy has led to an opportunity for Australian companies that are geared for expansion to leverage the strength of the Australian dollar, and affordable set up costs in the US market without breaking the bank. The downside, is US dollars are not worth as much, as the dollar loses its grip on parity.
Over the years, I have been dumb-founded by what former employees have written on their LinkedIn profiles about what they did while working at Marketing Eye.
The first one that had me gob-smacked was a French assistant, who wrote that she had developed and managed the Marketing Eye brand, building the company’s marketing strategy and executing it.
In reality, she was a personal assistant, who had poor English and was struggling to do any task at all from an administrative perspective. She didn’t write anything, had no contact at all with design or branding but was excellent at organizing my dinner appointments, assisting me with my wardrobe and in general being a great personal assistant, albeit one that could not write on an email on my behalf because of the poor English factor. She worked for me for a few months only which I did it as a favour for her boyfriend who was a good friend at the time. In the end, I had to tell him, that her English was so bad, I couldn’t afford the luxury of her impeccable taste in clothing, makeup and picking restaurants at that stage of my life.
Another gross generalization, but the reality is that too many of the Gen-Xers who have started businesses 5+ years ago, are working their butts off and are not spending the time needed to lessen their load by giving the young, up-and-coming executives the chance to really make a difference.
Here's my experience. I was sharing a glass of wine with Maikayla Desjardins, a Marketing Executive at Marketing Eye Atlanta yesterday and I asked the question, "why did you leave your job in New York and come and work for me in Atlanta?"
Her first response was: "You sold me on Atlanta as this awesome place to live - but let's face it, it's not quite New York!"
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