The faces of MB

Meet: Jake Hamilton, Interactive Designer

We have many team members at MB whose jobs are more behind the scenes, and we don’t often get the opportunity to introduce them to our clients and the rest of the world. As part of an ongoing weekly series, we’re sharing a fast, interesting Q&A with one of our people that will let you (and us!) get to know them a little better.

1. What job at MB would you like to try for a day?

Hmm… there are many interesting jobs around the office, but really, who wouldn’t want to try being in Pat’s shoes for a day? (Executive Creative Director) I can’t say I completely know what he does throughout every hour of his long days, but I know the occasional mixed drinks are involved. But, alas, I’d probably be better off sticking to the job I’m best at. Otherwise, lots of chaos would ensue.

2. When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Actor, scientist, cartoonist, video game developer, author, teacher… You’d get all of these answers and more, depending what age you’d have asked me. Growing up, my interests were all over the place, and I can’t say that’s changed at all. Although I’ve found the job I’m passionate about and love doing it, I still will occasionally dream about what I want to be when I grow up.

3. What do you think your parents worried about when they were your age? 

Well, my dad was my age in 1977.  I’d love to pretend to know what the 70’s were like, but only the obvious stereotypes come to mind. So I’ll assume he was worrying about the same things we always worried about with his family of ten(!) siblings in the house – getting to the bathroom first and getting my grandpa to finally buy him a car. I think he’s happy to see I’m not in that same situation.

4. What are your favorite sports teams, college and/or professional?

I’m a Cardinals fan in a Cubbie-filled world here in Indy, but I’m proud of it. The Cardinals have been the team I’ve followed with my family back in Mount Vernon (Indiana) for as long as I can remember. But that’s typically the only sport you’ll find me watching. I root for the hometown Colts and Pacers, but my mind is always wrapped around baseball.

5. What is your average night’s sleep on a weeknight?

I always aim for seven hours. But I usually miss that mark and find myself wandering around the office as a zombie until I get a good mug of coffee. Four sugars, please.

6. What was the worst travel experience you’ve had?

I always seem to be that one guy without a good travel story. I don’t know if my luck is simply amazing or I don’t get out enough, but all of my travel experiences have gone as expected. I’d love to make one up involving crazed gophers attacking my family as we ski down the steep mountainside… or something. I’ll just stick with “pass.”

Next week, we’ll return with some new questions for one of our earlier profilees in PR! Until then…

Has the concept of “marketing mix” been lost in the rush to social media?

Why utilizing multiple channels for communication is still relevant

Pity the poor Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).

Management keeps demanding metrics, and the most important one is, “What is my return on the marketing investment in sales growth?” Hey, if manufacturing can show throughput metrics, cost-saving metrics and efficiency-improvement percentages, why can’t marketing do the same?

In simpler times, it wasn’t easy to show financial cause and effect, and today it’s all the more difficult because of several disruptive developments:

First, B2B channels of distribution have been put through the blender. Second, the volatility in the overall economy has disrupted supply chains. It seems like no one is interested in carrying inventory these days (and who can blame them?). And third—key for this discussion—the communication options to reach customers/prospects has both grown exponentially but has also seemingly fragmented into smaller, more micro-focused constituencies.

CMOs express their biggest challenges

B2B magazine interviewed CMOs in their CMO Close-Up newsletter, and the interviewees sounded remarkably similar. Listen to three of them:

 “Everything is becoming much more complicated, and my biggest challenge is trying to work out how I can use all these channels available to me as an integrated, outbound program to generate business. I’m increasingly using social networking. I use direct marketing. I read all the textbooks, hear all the theory and understand how in theory you’re supposed to combine all this together. But my biggest challenge remains gaining the maximum ROI from all this to feed the pipeline.”
-Chris Boorman, senior VP-education and enablement and CMO, Informatica

“Complexity is our biggest issue. One thing we’re trying to do at Siemens is start an extensive education process, getting people up to speed on what they can do and how to go about it, especially in social media marketing. We’re in different industries, and we’re working with our companies to create blogs addressing industry challenges. But the biggest thing for us right now is managing all that complexity, getting people trained and giving them the tools.”
- Tom Haas, CMO, Siemens

“Digital marketing is great, with so many channels available to us as marketers. But nothing takes the place of high-touch marketing. The challenge is using digital to augment this, to maximize your efficiencies and customer relationships. For example, people more and more rely on mobile devices and are accustomed to highly visual information. Also, they’re getting more into two-way interactions. So I think it’s important to think about how to optimize our content for the ways our customers want to receive it.”
- Janet Roberts, CMO, Syniverse Technologies

It would be easy—and understandable—for CMOs to toss in the towel, and put all their funds in digital and social initiatives. But that may not be the right mix. The more segmented the market becomes, the more nuanced the approach.

A case for not making assumptions about a young-professional audience

Here’s an example: At a symposium of building-products marketers we held last year, we conducted a panel discussion featuring young architects and interior designers who were just a few years into their careers.

The marketers at the event had traditionally ignored this segment, assuming they were too young to be interacting with clients and specifying products. As they learned to the contrary, these young professionals were deeply engaged in the client relationship and in specifying products.

They told the audience to stay away from Facebook – that’s their personal space. They said LinkedIn is fine because it’s focused on their professional lives.

The young designers unanimously said that they wanted to communicate electronically. They want digital access to drawings, specifications, case studies and the like. But—and this was a surprise to many—they wanted to see cool design ideas ideas in print!

Why? Because they clip cool images, save them, pin them up on their cubicle walls and refer to these images for inspiration. They even mount them on presentation boards to give clients a feeling for how their project will look and feel.

And they devour physical samples. They are a necessity of the profession. High-tech meets high-touch.

Marketers should be cautious about making too broad of an assumption when it comes to media mix, until they understand their client cohort in great depth.

And now, back to the issue of marketing metrics: what if that cool photo in a print ad or a brochure was the one that was clipped, specified and presented to client, netting a huge contract? How would the CMO ever know?

The more in-depth you know and understand your customer, the more you can rely on cause and effect.

The faces of MB

Meet: Melanie Stallings, Controller

We have many team members at MB whose jobs are more behind the scenes, and we don’t often get the opportunity to introduce them to our clients and the rest of the world. As part of an ongoing weekly series, we’re sharing a fast, interesting Q&A with one of our people that will let you (and us!) get to know them a little better.

1. What is the most rewarding part of your job? 

As the controller, I touch many of the business-operation aspects at MB. I very much enjoy helping our employees through the HR functions, but I get a great deal of satisfaction managing the bottom line and watching it steadily increase.  It takes a great team to do that consistently!

2. What did you collect as a kid? 

I had a button collection that I still have stashed in a drawer somewhere. I have some very cool old presidential campaign buttons from Coolidge and Roosevelt, as well as a Little Orphan Annie Pin and, of course, Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bears pins.

3. Tell us about a funny or crazy experience from a family gathering or vacation.

When I was about 10 and my brother was 6 (we shared a birthday), we had our family over for a party.  My Uncle Tom was a lot of fun and always played with us kids.  He had started a game of tag and was chasing us around the house.  The kids all ran out the sliding glass door and, as he chased us out a few seconds later, he didn’t realize that the door was closed (I guess my mom was a really good housekeeper).  He ran right through the door and sliced his leg from his ankle to his thigh.  After 150 interior stitches and 240 exterior stitches he was fine.  Not so much for us kids, who were slightly traumatized by the whole event, not to mention bummed that the party was over.

4. If you could have any television program back, not in reruns but in new episodes, what program would it be? 

I absolutely loved  “The West Wing.”  It was well-acted, entertaining and captivating. I don’t watch much TV, but if they brought that back, I’d tune in each week.

5. What letters or cards have you saved and from whom? 

I’m not much of a saver and don’t attach much emotional value to things, but I do still have the cards I received when my children were born as well as every Mother’s Day card they ever made for me.  There are some beauties in there including the drawing of my blonde hair with dark roots!

6. What is something you have not yet done that you would like to accomplish in your lifetime? 

I would love to bike through Europe, enjoying the small towns and villages and really experiencing each country’s unique culture.

You can learn more about Melanie in last year’s profile. Check back next week when we profile a member of our interactive team.

Is your customer service socially acceptable?

In the past, whenever I had an issue as a customer, I’d pick up the phone, lodge an in-store complaint, or write a well-crafted letter. And the results were mixed—depending on the company, the day of the week, or the person on the other end of the phone (wherever that “other end” might be).

These days, it’s interesting to see (and experience) the divergence of “traditional” customer service versus social customer service (via Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, etc.). According to a recent survey, “58% of customers who have tweeted about a bad experience have never received a response from the offending company.”

But things are changing. Dramatically.

While only 25% of companies used social media outlets for customer service in 2010, that number is expected to top 90% by 2020. According to Bluewolf, a CRM consulting and training firm, “Leading organizations are not only measuring the time and cost it takes to service a customer, but their customer’s overall engagement with the brand.”

Testing 1-4-0.

I’ve had pretty good success resolving customer service issues via Twitter, so I thought I’d try a little social/marketing test. I mentioned two companies in a tweet to see which one would respond first. And here’s what happened:

> I received a tweet back from @Macys in less than two hours.

> After I emailed the appropriate party, I received a response from Macy’s Social Media Manager in New York City. He said that he’d passed along the info and someone on his team would follow up.

> Later that day, I received a personal phone call from the store manager in Indianapolis. She said she would call ahead to the store and let the department manager know that I’d be coming in and to let me return the shirt without a receipt.

> I got to the store and didn’t have to retell my story or present a receipt for the shirt I bought six months back.

Mission accomplished. Satisfied customer (retelling the story).

Whether your company is BTB or BTC, whether you sell a product or a service, what are you doing to monitor and address customer service issues via social networks?

If you aren’t doing anything now, chances are you will be in the future.


The faces of MB

Meet: Michael Clark, Public Relations Account Executive

We have many team members at MB whose jobs keep them occupied with a select few accounts, and we don’t often get the opportunity to introduce them to the rest of our clients and the world. As part of an ongoing weekly series, we’re sharing a fast, interesting Q&A with one of our people that will let you (and us!) get to know them a little better.

1. What do you have in and on your office desk?

I’m quite the minimalist when it comes to clutter on my office desk, so there isn’t much that typically resides there. Currently, I have a picture of my beautiful wife, plenty of my favorite ballpoint pens, my Apple earbuds and of course the usual—a lamp, a phone and many business cards.

Inside my desk is a totally different story. I typically have everything from hard candy (currently Sprees) to extra contact lenses, editorial calendars and media kits, to more manila folders than anyone should be allowed to have. Oh, and how could I forget my Mead Composition notebooks–can’t go to a meeting without one!

2. Where did you grow up?

I am a Hoosier, born and raised. I grew up on the Northwest side of Indianapolis, graduated from Ball State University, and currently work for the best ad agency in town.

3. If money were not an issue, what gift would you like to buy someone in your family?

I would buy my parents a huge beach house, in which they would have to have at least one summer bar-b-que a year.

4. What magazines do you subscribe to?

Unfortunately, I do not currently subscribe to any magazines, however I am a big fan of Sports Illustrated–great writers, good insight and the fantastic photography.

5. What was one of the most unusual meals you’ve ever eaten?

Escargot. And I was not a fan. But, I’ll try anything once.

6. With what tool, implement or utensil do you feel most at ease?

I would say a 9 iron, but I have a couple of buddies who would certainly disagree with that. However, I do feel like a grammar ninja when editing a paper with my Pilot G2 Gel Rolling Ball, Extra Fine Point Ink Pen. Black ink, of course.

You can learn more about Michael in last year’s profile. Check back next week when we profile a member of our operations team.

Age and experience vs. youth and energy

The timeless question debated on court at Wimbledon

“Experience is what you got by not having it when you needed it.” ~Author Unknown

It is time for the Anglophile in me to come out again. And, no, this time it is not about Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. (Although I will find a way to weave her into this blog post.)

I like tennis. I have played and watched it since I was a young girl.  Wimbledon is, by far, my favorite Grand Slam.  I watch it every year, some years with more interest than others, depending on my passion for a particular player.  I was able to check it off my bucket list in 1998 when I got to go to the tournament in person. I was (and still am) a huge Pete Sampras fan.  We were able to watch him beat Tim Henman (Great Britain’s great hope before today’s Andy Murray) 6-3, 4-6, 5-3, 6-3 in the semi-finals and then Goran Ivanisevic (who beat Krajcek in the semis in the 5th set at 15-13) in the finals 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2. It was incredible tennis and something that I will never forget.

So, this month, it was time to tune into Breakfast at Wimbledon once again.  In the women’s final, Serena Williams (USA) faced Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland). In the men’s, Roger Federer (Switzerland) versus the previous mentioned Andy Murray (GBR).  The media created a lot of hype for a few reasons: Andy Murray made it to the finals—something a Brit has not done in over seven decades—hence, the Duchess of Cambridge was in the Royal Box to support her country.  Serena Williams, after nearly dying a year ago due to health complications, was back in the women’s championship. And Agnieszka Radwanska was the first Pole, male or female, to make it to the championship.

But to me, there was an additional, interesting element to watch: would age and the experience of playing in numerous Grand Slam finals override youth and energy?

Both Federer and Williams are in their 30s. Young to most, but not in professional sports.  Radwanska and Murray are both in their early 20s.

Williams took the stage at the All England Club for the seventh time in her career, having won on four of her six prior appearances.  Saturday was her 18th career Grand Slam final appearance, and she has won on 13 of those occasions.  Radwanska, on the other hand, was playing in her first Grand Slam final. And it showed: Williams won the first set 6-1.

Going into the men’s championship, Murray had actually been in three Grand Slam finals.  That said, he had not won a set in any of those three finals.  Federer has played in 24 Grand Slam finals, winning 17 of them.

The men’s final started differently than the women’s. Murray actually won the first set 7-5.  While many players would panic after losing the first set of a Wimbledon final, Federer became more focused and stuck to his high-percentage shots.

In both finals, each player had won a set going into the third.  And in both finals, there were a couple of key moments in the third that determined the champion.  And at these All England Club Championships, those moments went to the player with more experience.

Federer may have summed it up best: “With age, with victories, things get a bit easier,” he said after joining Pete Sampras and William Renshaw with a record seven titles at the All England Club in London. “All your achievements—no one can take those away, so you can play with less pressure. “

Experience (on this occasion): game, set, match.

The faces of MB

Meet: Joanne Johnson, Designer

We have many team members at MB whose jobs are more behind the scenes, and we don’t often get the opportunity to introduce them to our clients and the rest of the world. As part of an ongoing weekly series, we’re sharing a fast, interesting Q&A with one of our people that will let you (and us!) get to know them a little better.

1. What is your favorite part of your job?

Probably “part” isn’t quite the right word to use. I would say that the more different things I can do, the better I like it. And anything that’s more of a challenge—whether it’s a more complex job or requires more thought and/or with a short turnaround. And working with a variety of different clients can also play into it.

2. What were your extracurricular activities in middle or high school?

When I was junior high, The Beatles entered my life. From the moment I saw them on the “Ed Sullivan Show,” I was hooked. With that, I also became quite enamored of anything and everything British. Of course, I collected everything I could related to The Beatles. I also subscribed to two British magazines, one on fashion, one on music. I also started corresponding with an English pen pal, who was having a whole lot more fun than I was (or so it seemed to me at the time). Also, that was the beginning of my interest in fashion (note the British fashion magazine) so I began doing my own fashion drawings, styled after the “in” model of the time, Twiggy, who, naturally, is British.

3. What was one of your most memorable experiences shared with your grandparents?

When I was growing up, the one thing I remember, as a painfully shy kid, is that I was really scared of my grandmother on my mother’s side. She was 100% German and always had kind of a stern look on her face (see picture at right). She lived in Minneapolis at the time so I only saw her a few times a year. But really, that has nothing to with the story (geez, look at the picture). The memory I have takes place when I was 26 when she had moved close to my parents in Terre Haute.

I had just got out of the hospital in Indianapolis and was given a two week recovery period. My parents convinced me to stay with them for that time frame. One day, Mom decided that she, Grandma and I would go to a movie in town. We met at Grandma’s house, which was within walking distance from Mom and Dad’s. Grandma drove. After the movie, we go back to Grandma’s. Since her garage was very small, Mom and I had to get out of the car before she drove into the garage. Not sure where my head was at, but I got out of the car and promptly shut the door on my thumb, and I mean it didn’t bounce off, it shut. Grandma didn’t notice and proceeded to drive into the garage. I’m too stunned to say a word but fortunately my mother was able to and was able to get her to stop the car before I could be smacked into the garage. Oh, did that smart!

4. What new hobbies have you taken up?

Hmmm… I guess that would be a world traveler! First to Paris for a week in 2007, which was wonderful and amazing. Then the next year, to the Umbrian region of Italy with two days in Rome… which qualifies as a dream vacation. This year, I’m looking forward to a two week vacation to Ireland. And there’s a possibility of going back to Italy next year. I have my fingers crossed!

5. What is your favorite gadget?

My iPhone… NO… my iPad… NO… my iPhone… clearly I can’t make up my mind. But you get the idea!

6. You would jump up and down and shout with joy right now if someone told you _____.

That the Republicans and Democrats in Congress decided to work together to fix our economy. But that’s only a dream, only a dream…

You can learn more about Joanne in last year’s profile. Check back next week when we profile a member of our public relations team.

Honoring Nora Ephron

Known for iconic romantic comedies including “When Harry Met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle,” Nora Ephron made us laugh and think with her unbridled observations on life.

She had a way with words, and not just the rare skill of knowing how to put words into a proper order and write in a compelling way. What made her writing special is that she wove in a special zest for life and the perfect blend of wit and wisdom. She saw things with a certain clarity and wasn’t afraid to share her outlook.

She made a mark with the blockbuster works she created. However, some of her behind-the-scenes comments and quotes more clearly showcase her trademark blend of humor, smarts and candor. Her perspective on journalism, business jargon, relationships and even her hate for email is raw and poignant. The PR Daily staff compiled 10 of her most inspiring quotes, and I felt the need to share them with you.

10 Nora Ephron quotes that will inspire anyone

And please, check out the PBS video honoring her works, as it is also sure to inspire.

Related reading:
Nora Ephron: Mindy Kaling, Steve Martin & More Remember the Director
Arianna Huffington: Heartbroken in Manhattan
New York Times: Nora Ephron Dies at 71

Image via PR Daily


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