Marketing Minds: Chris Pinkerton – VP, Enterprise Development, Media & Research @ Mediative

One of the best ways to evolve as a marketing professional is to generate, collaborate, and nurture ideas among like-minded peers. This post is part of a blog series called “Marketing Minds,” where I solicit thoughts and ideas from cutting-edge marketing leaders and post them on PuzzleMarketer.com. Below is an interview with a true marketing thought leader.


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Chris Pinkerton

VP, Enterprise Development, Media & Research[email protected]Mediative

Chris works with teams of marketing, branding and technology professionals to improve a companies interactive marketing, online sales, and clicks to bricks approach. He has had the pleasure of working with the digital teams at enterprise companies including Allstate Insurance, 3M, Toys R Us, Tyco, Zurich Financial, Avis Budget Group, Zipcar, CitiGroup, The New York Times and The American Red Cross.

Chris leads a team of talented veteran digital marketers who do everything from crafting original research, to developing omni-channel digital marketing strategies, to deploying data-fueled programmatic media. His team builds solutions and deep consumer insight to help companies better engage the mobile, local & social consumer of the future.

With this team, they are responsible for growing and maintaining our Enterprise Media and Research business across North America. Chris is a contributor to the book The BuyerSphere Project – How Business Buys From Business in a Digital Marketplace and also a speaker with the Google Engage Project, The Conversion Conference, Bing Ads Connect, DX3, SMX East, Store Canada, The Digital Strategy Conference and a guest lecturer at the University of British Columbia and Okanagan School of Business.

What brought you into the field of marketing (tell your story) and what makes you feel so passionately about it?:

My shift into the field of marketing came from a sales & operations angle. I was an aspiring golf professional, who was working at a club in the summer and playing golf in the winter at university. After university, and the realization I was not Tiger Woods, I started working with a large sporting goods distribution company and we were in the process of transitioning our business to be more digital in order to improve the sales, ordering and fulfillment chain. As part of this process, I became more interested in how sales and marketing were becoming more closely integrated.

I also realized a digital consumer was becoming more in control of the educational process when looking for products – being less influenced by traditional sales & product knowledge. This curiosity made me interested in digital media and the role it was playing in changing a sales persons role and influencing customer experience. This interest led me to cross paths with a digital marketing and research company called Enquiro. In 2006, I volunteered for a study they were conducting on how people interacted with a Google search results page. I was an eye-tracking lab participant in a 60 minute research session. I loved it, and I came out of that session with more questions about digital marketing, so I asked ‘who runs this company’.

After several meetings, I started working for Enquiro, a leading search marketing company. Ten years later I have found many of the answers I was seeking that spurred my original passion. Today, I have a whole new batch of questions to find answers to.

As marketers, we’re constantly seeking for the right tactics or channels to propel our organizations forward. Which tactics or channels have recently surprised you as a viable source of qualified leads?:

As the digital media landscape evolves, I look at it less as channels and more as audiences. It’s not about trying to find the right channel or site your customer will be on, it’s about trying to pull your ideal customer out of the crowd and intersect them at the right moment. I find the most valuable source for leads is in leveraging the right type of consumer data to find the right consumer, with the right intent, at the right moment. This sounds easier than it is, but its extremely effective. The chase today is how to best engage the social, mobile and local customer and cut through the clutter by matching intent with valuable content and influence an action.

We’ve all seen the influx of marketing technology that has been created over the last decade. Which technology has been most impactful to you as you plan, launch, or measure your marketing campaigns?:

Today a DMP (Data Management Platform) is one of the most critical elements to being an effective marketer. Segmenting and understanding your audience in real-time is a necessity today. This information paired with your performance analytics and lead management platform enable much smarter actions to be taken. This insight builds stronger strategic roadmaps, and drives better sequencing of campaigns and messaging to drive better outcomes.

Looking forward… What forces (social,economic, political, or cultural) do you see having the biggest effect on your marketing in 2017 and what are your plans to address them?:

I always see economic trends having the largest impact on marketing efforts. Economic pressures create challenges and also great opportunities for marketers. The measurability of digital media creates confidence for investment and it also creates pressure on less measurable forms, which helps digital media gain more share.

But as this shift increases, it requires digital media to expand its reach and also prove value much higher up the funnel. We see this happening more in 2017. With advances in data management and attribution, we will be better positioned to prove value at the awareness and research phases of the funnel, across various channels, that will stimulate more efficient conversions in the end.

If you could give one piece of advice to a college graduate who just took their first job in marketing, what would you say to them?:

This is easy. Be curious and challenge the status quo. What you have learned, or are learning today, could be obsolete in 18 months. Many people like to hold on to what they understand because its comfortable. As a ‘rookie’ in the space, don’t become complacent with knowledge. Become comfortable with change and uncertainty. Ask questions, challenge thinking, and read a lot.

Also, seek out mentors that help you keep this perspective. The kind of people who always have a different view of things, people who have a passion in figuring things out and always seek to find a better way – that will keep your tank full.


Chris is a digital marketing and customer experience thought leader. He is a fantastic speaker and worth connecting with on LinkedIn. Over the past decade, his company has been producing public research on the evolving digital consumer. Including their latest research on how mobile habits are changing consumer behavior.

Marketing Minds: Brad Shorr – Director of Content Strategy @ Straight North

One of the best ways to evolve as a marketing professional is to generate, collaborate, and nurture ideas among like-minded peers. This post is part of a blog series called “Marketing Minds,” where I solicit thoughts and ideas from cutting-edge marketing leaders and post them on PuzzleMarketer.com. Below is an interview with a true marketing thought leader.


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Brad Shorr

Director of Content Strategy[email protected]Straight North

Since 2010, Director of Content Strategy at Straight North, an internet marketing agency serving middle market and large B2B and B2Cs. From 2005 to 2010, I owned my own marketing consultancy helping businesses get started with blogging and social media. Prior to that, I spent many years in industrial packaging distribution, with experience in sales, marketing, operations and executive management. So I’ve been knee-deep in marketing freelancing, in-house and with an agency.

What brought you into the field of marketing (tell your story) and what makes you feel so passionately about it?:

Almost from the time I could hold a pencil, I’ve been interested in writing. Marketing appeals to me as a profession because it is a practical and useful outlet for my writing itch, and also because it enables me to exercise both sides of my brain: the creative side and the organizational side. Perhaps most important, marketing enables me to help people clarify their thinking about their company’s goals, customers, value proposition and KPIs. When companies gain a solid understanding of marketing, they usually perform better, adding value in both financial and human terms. That makes me happy.

As marketers, we’re constantly seeking for the right tactics or channels to propel our organizations forward. Which tactics or channels have recently surprised you as a viable source of qualified leads?:

When we were ramping up a new e-commerce site, I had a chance to dive into Instagram (the target audience was high school – young adults). It was a whole new world, and surprisingly effective in attracting leads and customers. Beyond that, visual marketing communication in general is gaining power, no question about it. We’re putting much more emphasis on infographics, video and custom imagery for our clients and for our agency’s content; the lead generation results over the past several months have been strong.

We’ve all seen the influx of marketing technology that has been created over the last decade. Which technology has been most impactful to you as you plan, launch, or measure your marketing campaigns?:

Over the last few years we’ve brought on very talented developers who have been hard at work creating proprietary platforms that are helping us become vastly more efficient and much better able to collect and analyze meaningful data. A couple of examples: our web development platform allows us to launch a new (simple but fully custom) website within 30 days; our lead validation system enables us to separate sales leads from non-lead conversions in real time, something that provides a number of significant benefits for campaign testing and evaluation.

Looking forward… What forces (social,economic, political, or cultural) do you see having the biggest effect on your marketing in 2017 and what are your plans to address them?:

I think something has to give in terms of content production and social media participation. We’re becoming virtual zombies, unable to differentiate useful content from useless or even harmful content. How this will play out in the year ahead is anybody’s guess. As a writer, I will be looking for ways to create and communicate valuable content as concisely as possible. Quality has to take precedence over quantity. The economy is a huge unknown. To me it feels like we are sitting on an enormous bubble. If it goes POP in 2017, clients will be cutting back on marketing budgets big time, so we have to continue not only producing results, but communicating ROI to justify our value.

If you could give one piece of advice to a college graduate who just took their first job in marketing, what would you say to them?:

Speaking as one who has worked in-house, freelance and in an agency, I would strongly advice graduates to begin at an agency. You’ll learn more, you’ll learn faster, and you’ll develop not only technical skills, but also communication and collaborative skills that will serve you well as you move up and out in the world. I’d also advise you to be very selective and discerning in what you read, what you watch and who you listen to.


Brad is a seasoned marketing veteran and his work can be followed at these two blogs: For B2B and B2Cs, The Straight North Blog. For marketing pros, Lead Generation Insights. Both are designed to help people improve online lead generation and overall website performance.

Marketing Minds: Vanessa Baker – Owner @ Fast Forward Marketing

One of the best ways to evolve as a marketing professional is to generate, collaborate, and nurture ideas among like-minded peers. This post is part of a blog series called “Marketing Minds,” where I solicit thoughts and ideas from cutting-edge marketing leaders and post them on PuzzleMarketer.com. Below is an interview with a true marketing thought leader.


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Vanessa Baker

Owner[email protected]Fast Forward Marketing

Vanessa Baker is the owner of Fast Forward Marketing in Crystal Lake, IL. We are a friendly and focused local resource for digital marketing and advertising. On a typical day, you will find us speaking with small businesses about how to drive sales using digital marketing including: * Search Engine Optimization Best Practices * Social Media * Online Video * Online Display Ad Management including Behavioral Targeting * Website Development and Maintenance * Email Marketing * Blogging * Press Releases * Reputation Management * Search Engine Marketing (Google Adwords) Winner of Shaw Media “Best Under 40”, received Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce “Presidential Award of Excellence” and New Business of the Year award from the Algonquin/Lake in the Hills Chamber of Commerce.

What brought you into the field of marketing (tell your story) and what makes you feel so passionately about it?:

For us- it is all about relationships. There is something so special about walking into a local business, and being greeted with a warm handshake or hug from a client. It feels good to know that you are helping someone in a real and concrete way with their small business.

As marketers, we’re constantly seeking for the right tactics or channels to propel our organizations forward. Which tactics or channels have recently surprised you as a viable source of qualified leads?:

We have been very lucky recently to develop strategic partnerships with other strategic marketing consulting firms and technology firms.

We’ve all seen the influx of marketing technology that has been created over the last decade. Which technology has been most impactful to you as you plan, launch, or measure your marketing campaigns?:

We have to keep track of 24 different clients’s campaigns, which can get overwhelming! Love Evernote to capture ideas, meeting notes, business cards- it is easy to find again when we need to work on a project. Also, we are in the process of becoming certified in Google Analytics, as it is the cornerstone to any campaign.

Looking forward… What forces (social,economic, political, or cultural) do you see having the biggest effect on your marketing in 2017 and what are your plans to address them?:

My small business clients depend on a local healthy economy. My plans to help us have a local health economy include helping my small businesses sell more products and services while saving money on marketing, and volunteering at local community events and with my local Chamber of Commerce to increase the quality of life for our community.

If you could give one piece of advice to a college graduate who just took their first job in marketing, what would you say to them?:

I would say “Work hard. Stay humble.”


If you are a business owner looking for a local trusted resource to help you with digital marketing in the McHenry County in IL, check out Fast Forward Marketing! We also publish a local political conversation site at MchenryCountyVoter.com.

Marketing Minds: Christine Feeley – CMO @ Amptopia

One of the best ways to evolve as a marketing professional is to generate, collaborate, and nurture ideas among like-minded peers. This post is part of a blog series called “Marketing Minds,” where I solicit thoughts and ideas from cutting-edge marketing leaders and post them on PuzzleMarketer.com. Below is an interview with a true marketing thought leader.


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Christine Feeley

CMO[email protected]Amptopia

A passionate marketer with a laser focus on accelerating qualified lead generation for both B2B and B2C organizations. I bring over 20 years of chief marketing leadership for both privately held, and publicly traded enterprises. Early in my career I developed an acumen to convert marketing from an operational cost center to a quantifiable revenue center. The acumen eventually turned into a methodology and a technology platform (mSuites). It’s a unique approach to marketing that’s served me in developing an equally innovative approach to accelerating qualified lead generation marketing plans leveraging the most advanced technologies to support many amazing success stories on behalf of my clients. Clients have included, but not limited to: Procura Home Healthcare, Arbor Mills – Custom Cabinetry, CultureFit Staffing, AT&T, ABS- IT Helpdesk, Access Media 3, Ascend-Marketing (Telecom & Tech Divisions), Chicago Chamber of Commerce, Northridge Technology Consulting Group, 3D Technology (Device Management, Healthcare), Verizon.

What brought you into the field of marketing (tell your story) and what makes you feel so passionately about it?:

I started in marketing at the very early age of 15, working for a Boutique department store as their lead for a teen board. It was their first time effort to reach out to a younger market, and I developed and marketed from purely gut instinct. It was a success, and I consciously recognized marketing was going to play a big role in my future. Following my education at the University of Iowa, I can break my career into 3 distinct stages: Consumer Package Goods/Advertising Agency – I was on the Tostitos and Salsa Launch team; Telecom & technology – working my way up to CMO of a publicly traded enterprise, and; Entrepreneur – launching amptopia.com in 2008. My passion is all based in seeing the quantifiable success of the companies I’ve worked for or led. So often marketing teams become the target for when sales fall short – to play a role in changing that dynamic is a great feeling, but it’s an even greater feeling to see how marketing teams convert to “rock stars” when the enterprise sees the value of the team.

As marketers, we’re constantly seeking for the right tactics or channels to propel our organizations forward. Which tactics or channels have recently surprised you as a viable source of qualified leads?:

Our company’s primary focus is Accelerating Lead Generation. However, we don’t focus on volume, we focus on accelerating qualified leads that actually give sales a better chance at converting to a transaction. Although the process we use is the same for each client, the outcome is always unique to the company. The real secret sauce is baked into a strategy of engaging a company before the competition(74% – the purchase is made from the sales rep who first made contact (Source: IDG))& using automation technology to ensure the communication/content shared follows the buying journey of the companies being targeted (early, mid, and late stages). The best qualified leads generally come from news/research resources that already have a healthy subscriber base comprised of the customers my clients are actively seeking out.

We’ve all seen the influx of marketing technology that has been created over the last decade. Which technology has been most impactful to you as you plan, launch, or measure your marketing campaigns?:

Pre-Plan: We use the proprietary model I built several years ago to quantify and predict the unit sales, and revenue impact of our plan(s). The model isn’t a crystal ball, but does provide us with all the information we need to either shut an initiative down, or inject an initiative because it’s over performing. Post Plan: The technologies we use most consistently are all based in business process automation – they have the ability to handle either a simple or complex series of communication streams built on a series of “if this, then this” respective to people who respond or don’t respond. Based on those outcomes, we score the lead and automatically send the qualified leads into a sales automation system, and then track the progress through the final transaction.

Looking forward… What forces (social,economic, political, or cultural) do you see having the biggest effect on your marketing in 2017 and what are your plans to address them?:

Hands down, it’s all economic for our company from both a macro and micro perspective. Macro – Companies are increasingly feeling more downward pressure from key stakeholders to cost justify everything, and marketing is at the top of the list. Micro – Smart sales teams are looking for innovative methods that avert the need to “dial for dollars” to find a viable prospect and accelerate their commission.

If you could give one piece of advice to a college graduate who just took their first job in marketing, what would you say to them?:

Think of yourself as a sponge – read everything, subscribe to every marketing newsletter/trends/update/research site you can, go to every conference where you’re able to learn – Strategies, techniques, best practices, new emerging technologies, etc. Your goal should be to become a subject matter expert in “how to’s” and an eager state of wanting to implement what you’ve learned. With that foundation, anyone should be able to navigate their career to just about any niche…or generalist.


Amptopia was opened in 2008, and trademarked in 2016. Follow Christine on Twitter at @jcfeeley, she’s always sharing updates, trends, news, research, etc.

Marketing Minds: Monu Kalsi – VP, Head of Digital @ Zurich North America

One of the best ways to evolve as a marketing professional is to generate, collaborate, and nurture ideas among like-minded peers. This post is part of a blog series called “Marketing Minds,” where I solicit thoughts and ideas from cutting-edge marketing leaders and post them on PuzzleMarketer.com. Below is an interview with a true marketing thought leader.


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Monu Kalsi

VP, Head of Digital[email protected]Zurich North America

Head of Digital for Zurich North America ($13B company) leading a high-energy organization passionate about leveraging digital, strategy, marketing, and technology to create business value and drive our customer focused digital transformation journey. Growth and results driven leader with operating experience, strategic mindset, management skills, and innovative vision to lead the business in an increasingly digital future. Holistic competency in strategy, marketing, digital, and IT management. Innovative and product driven executive with more than 17 years of progressively responsible general management and hands-on global experience across startups, global consulting organizations, agencies, and large multinational corporations in Financial Services, Insurance, Automotive, Healthcare, Consumer Packaged Goods, Pharmaceuticals, and Energy verticals.

What brought you into the field of marketing (tell your story) and what makes you feel so passionately about it?:

Marketing’s potential to impact business results and customer experience has been the primary driver for me to enter the field and spend more than half my career in it. Although, my entry into Marketing was not planned! I went to school to study Engineering/Computer Science and was working in an eBusiness consulting firm until I got a call from former manager who offered me the opportunity to join her current agency in the Marketing Tech group. The opportunity to bring technology and marketing together to better reach and serve customers sounded very compelling at that time (back in 2001) as much as it does even today. That is how I got started at J Walter Thompson in their ‘T3’ aka Thompson Total Targeting group.

I am very passionate about leveraging technology, strategy, and marketing to solve real business problems and create engaging tangible customer experiences. I think digital is at the tip of the spear when it comes to transforming the end-end customer experience and a pure differentiator that companies need to enact if they want to retain market share and attract new customers.

As marketers, we’re constantly seeking for the right tactics or channels to propel our organizations forward. Which tactics or channels have recently surprised you as a viable source of qualified leads?:

I must say that I continue to be impressed with the rapid maturity of social platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter in targeting and qualifying leads. With the activation of ‘look alike’ models and deep criteria based targeting, these platforms continue to help organizations reach their target audiences and drive them deeper in the purchase funnel.

Another avenue that is maturing fast and fetching us good results is paid media targeting. Programmatic buying and Google display network to name a couple are getting increasingly more sophisticated in the B2B space on lead targeting and conversion. These platforms combined with the correct customer journey map and measurement plan is a powerful tool to attract and convert leads.

We’ve all seen the influx of marketing technology that has been created over the last decade. Which technology has been most impactful to you as you plan, launch, or measure your marketing campaigns?:

I don’t think there is one specific marketing technology that I can zero in on. The teams that I have led have benefitted from emerging enterprise content management platforms (Example: Adobe Suite or SiteCore, content planning and collaboration tools (Example: Kapost), and social listening tools (Example: Radian6). Each of these support a different yet connected purpose of targeting and nurturing the right customers.

Looking forward… What forces (social,economic, political, or cultural) do you see having the biggest effect on your marketing in 2017 and what are your plans to address them?:

Proliferation of digital platforms and exponential growth in interaction/transactional data available to Marketers is keeping everyone on their toes today and will continue to do so in a more rigorous manner next year and beyond. To add this, many brands are still planning in traditional one to three year cycles whereas the world around them is changing almost every few months. This chase to understand data and leverage new platforms will only get worse as new smaller, more nimble entrants such as FinTech startups continue to mine and make more data, insights, and tools available to brands and their competitors.

Adding to this proliferation is the fast growth in the connected devices and IoT space which is disrupting business models and will dump even more actionable data on Marketers to digest and take action on. We are addressing some of the listing challenges by moving to a more frequent and incremental approach to planning for digital. We have also made investments in creating a dedicated marketing analytics team to collect, mine, and measure insights from our marketing data and take action from those insights. Another big force which is already in effect is the non-reversible shift with the users these days for more pull marketing than push.

Customers are increasing expecting brands to be less intrusive and reduce their traditional paid advertising, and concentrate more on creating pleasing customer experiences and omni-channel customer support pre and post purchase. High performing brands which have seen this writing on the wall are already pivoting to this new business model, while others are creating band aid solutions or not shifting at all! My team has contextualized our marketing communications and customer experiences along the customer’s end-end journey to create relevant, value add communications and capabilities. That said, pivoting from legacy systems and existing business operating models is something that will take some time and we are on the journey.

If you could give one piece of advice to a college graduate who just took their first job in marketing, what would you say to them?:

Whether they have a Marketing degree or not, take time to learn all aspects of Marketing from brand, advertising, digital, content, and analytics as none of these are siloed functions anymore. They need to all come together to deliver the delightful and relevant experience that customers are expecting these days and the business impact that senior leadership is holding Marketing to deliver.

Another piece of advice would be to be extremely curious and have openness to learn new technologies, and accept data with open arms. Marketing is more science than art these days and overloaded with data that needs to be managed, mined, and understood if they want to serve the new over demanding and digital savvy customers of today.

Finally, as the digital space is transforming itself every few months and it is easy to feel overwhelmed, don’t feel pressurized to be aware of every little change in the field, as it’s impossible to keep up with everything happening in Marketing/digital. It is, however, important to pick an area that excites you and learn the fundamentals of that category. From there, you can build targeted expertise in that space and a personal brand along the way.


Connect with Monu on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter at @monukalsi, he is a true visionary for digital marketing trends!

Marketing Minds: Kasey Kaat – Digital Marketing Manager @ Zapproved

One of the best ways to evolve as a marketing professional is to generate, collaborate, and nurture ideas among like-minded peers. This post is part of a blog series called “Marketing Minds,” where I solicit thoughts and ideas from cutting-edge marketing leaders and post them on PuzzleMarketer.com. Below is an interview with a true marketing thought leader.


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Kasey Kaat

Digital Marketing Manager[email protected]

I am one of those lucky individuals who gets to use both the analytical and creative sides of my brain each and every day. My professional career began very heavily on the creative side, however that wasn’t enough for me. I needed to know why I was creating and how it made an impact.

At Zapproved I’ve brought my passion for visual beautification together with cold hard numbers to back up every decision our team makes. I know the ins and out of marketing automation and have combined that with my curiosity about what makes a marketing campaign truly successful to become a rockstar in B2B Lead Gen Creation and Development. Every day I aspire to learn more and be better.

What brought you into the field of marketing (tell your story) and what makes you feel so passionately about it?:

My marketing career started with my love for design. Even in high school I knew I wanted to be a creative, what I didn’t know was that my time as a designer wouldn’t last very long. After 5 years in the field I couldn’t hide behind a computer anymore constantly being pushed projects and ask to “jazz things up a bit”. I needed to know what impact my designs were making. Since then I live the data driven creative life.

As marketers, we’re constantly seeking for the right tactics or channels to propel our organizations forward. Which tactics or channels have recently surprised you as a viable source of qualified leads?:

Another often untapped outlet I’m excited to roll out at Zapproved is through our email signatures. Think about how many emails your sales and customer success teams send a year directly to your target prospect. That’s a lot of contact left untracked and underutilized. Check out Sigster, it’s a great way for marketing to not only control the branding of all company signatures, but to also run and track campaigns all without bothering your sales and cs teams to update anything.

We’ve all seen the influx of marketing technology that has been created over the last decade. Which technology has been most impactful to you as you plan, launch, or measure your marketing campaigns?:

Companies like Marketo are leaders in marketing automation and help me do my job better than I ever thought I could. I’m always excited to attend the Marketing Nation Summit every spring to find out what’s next, they are definitely a leader in spearheading new ways of thinking and doing marketing. This year it was all about ABM and the tactics and tools to make this new and exciting process impact how we think about and track interaction with our prospects at key accounts. At Zapproved, we’ve recently implemented Engagio, a lead to account matching tool to help us track our marketing impact for our ABM initiatives. Super exciting stuff!

Looking forward… What forces (social,economic, political, or cultural) do you see having the biggest effect on your marketing in 2017 and what are your plans to address them?:

AR(augmented reality) – it feels like it’s been a long time coming, but I feel like it’s becoming something us as marketers have to start taking seriously. As of right now I’m not sure what my plans are, but it’s something on my mind.

If you could give one piece of advice to a college graduate who just took their first job in marketing, what would you say to them?:

Learn everything. Don’t stop and focus on one thing. Marketing as a whole has so much to offer, do it all.


Connect with Kasey on LinkedIn, she’s a digital marketing rockstar and does design work in her free time!

Marketing Minds: Maddy Osman – SEO Content Specialist @ The Blogsmith

One of the best ways to evolve as a marketing professional is to generate, collaborate, and nurture ideas among like-minded peers. This post is part of a blog series called “Marketing Minds,” where I solicit thoughts and ideas from cutting-edge marketing leaders and post them on PuzzleMarketer.com. Below is an interview with a true marketing thought leader.


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Maddy Osman

SEO Content Strategist[email protected]The Blogsmith

Maddy Osman creates engaging content with SEO best practices for marketing thought leaders and other brands that have their hands full with clients and projects.

What brought you into the field of marketing (tell your story) and what makes you feel so passionately about it?:

I stumbled into marketing accidentally. I always knew I wanted to pursue a career in business, after watching my father’s successful entrepreneurial journey. In college, I did web design in the student life marketing and design department and got to see how many different moving parts came together in a campaign.

Since then, I’ve been obsessed with the creativity and science behind marketing. I love learning about the psychology of influence, and finding ways to tell a compelling story for the brands I represent (as well as my own!).

As marketers, we’re constantly seeking for the right tactics or channels to propel our organizations forward. Which tactics or channels have recently surprised you as a viable source of qualified leads?:

Social media is an often overlooked and badly executed means of lead generation. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and even Snapchat can each be utilized to collect leads if used strategically. On top of that, paid ads make it possible to hyper-target your ideal customer, and they tend to be much more cost-effective than traditional ad spend. Best of all, you can track your ROI – not as easy to do on a billboard, TV, or radio!

My own social media channels have become an endless source of leads after constantly posting/curating quality content and engaging with my followers (and prospects).

We’ve all seen the influx of marketing technology that has been created over the last decade. Which technology has been most impactful to you as you plan, launch, or measure your marketing campaigns?:

I love any tools that help me do more with less time, or that allow me to batch out certain activities once a week. Social media scheduling tools like Buffer and Hootsuite make it possible to schedule out content for myself and my clients. Grum does the same for Instagram, though it’s a grey area tool in terms of Instagram’s strict terms of service. IFTTT helps me automate tasks that don’t need my direct input. And insights on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest help me be more effective with social media marketing for myself and my clients. Cloud technology like Google Docs and Dropbox make it easy to communicate with team members and clients without endless and unorganized email chains.

There are many enterprise tools I’d love the chance to mess around with, but it’s not in the books for right now. Luckily, the vast majority of tools I need or use are very affordable – or even free!

Looking forward… What forces (social,economic, political, or cultural) do you see having the biggest effect on your marketing in 2017 and what are your plans to address them?:

I’m most concerned with social factors with regards to my marketing in 2017.

Regarding social, you may notice how Google is constantly updating their search algorithm. Oftentimes, their updates benefit the user and hurt the content provider. A recent example is their smackdown on email signup popups, and how having them will hurt your SEO rankings in 2017.

As a marketer, we could waste time complaining about how much time it’s going to take to make changes and still be effective in getting people to sign up for emails (pop ups are great converters), or we can be flexible and use the time between now and the algorithm change to determine a solution that works. So that’s what I will be doing – keeping up to date with the factors that affect my efforts, and staying flexible enough to change with them.

If you could give one piece of advice to a college graduate who just took their first job in marketing, what would you say to them?:

The experience you’ll get in a corporate role is invaluable. You’ll learn the subtle nuances of how to communicate with coworkers and (hopefully) clients. You’ll have access to training that would cost thousands of dollars if you pursued it on your own instead.

Soak up as much knowledge as you can. Sign up for after hours trainings and other events if they’re offered. But know when enough is enough and don’t be afraid to move on to something that makes you happier. After all, your first job in marketing will not be your last!


Connect with Maddy on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter at @MaddyOsman, she’s an expert you consider hiring for digital marketing!

Marketing Minds: Lizzie Schreier – Director Digital / Social Engagement @ Allstate

One of the best ways to evolve as a marketing professional is to generate, collaborate, and nurture ideas among like-minded peers. This post is part of a blog series called “Marketing Minds,” where I solicit thoughts and ideas from cutting-edge marketing leaders and post them on PuzzleMarketer.com. Below is an interview with a true marketing thought leader.


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Lizzie Schreier

Director Digital / Social Engagement @ Allstate

What brought you into the field of marketing (tell your story) and what makes you feel so passionately about it?

I was born into a family of 6 lawyers – I just couldn’t take the legal speak at the dinner table every night so I needed to do something more creative, something that gave me freedom and also something that would evolve and change all the time to keep my brain learning.  No matter what career I was in (it wasn’t always marketing) – I found myself having the innate ability to understand the consumer mindset and seeing how so many lacked that understanding and it showed in how products / services were marketed.  Since the start of the digital evolution and seeing how fast consumer mindsets are changing – it’s a marketers dream!!! My passion for what I do remains ridiculously high as I LOVE CHANGE, I LOVE CHALLENGES and I’m thrown those each and every day, now more so than ever!

We’ve all seen the influx of marketing technology that has been created over the last decade. Which technology has been most impactful to you as you plan, launch, or measure your marketing campaigns?

I cannot say one technology platform – it really is how you use the technology and how do you integrate into your other tools so you can really see the holistic picture of how a marketing program has worked or not worked.  If there was one technology platform that can do everything – I want to see that!  I struggle constantly with viewing a platform that shows you a few metrics – it doesn’t tell you the complete story.  There is so much around any marketing campaign today – online, offline, social, calls, visits etc. – it’s tying all those pieces and platforms together that is the key to understand your campaigns true success.

Looking forward… What forces (social,economic, political, or cultural) do you see having the biggest effect on your marketing in 2017 and what are your plans to address them?

For me in the digital marketing space – the biggest effect for 2017 will be consumer adoption of newer technologies.  Connected smart technologies has the ability to change how marketers will permanently engage with consumers – but it all depends on how fast the average consumer will adopt to those sophisticated tools.  We as marketers all use them – but we are not the norm!! We try to stay with one foot in the future and one foot grounded in today – constantly doing test and learns on how best to engage with users.  We will continue to enhance and expand those test and learns to make sure we are always at the forefront so as to not be left behind!

If you could give one piece of advice to a college graduate who just took their first job in marketing, what would you say to them?

It is just as important to know what you want to do as it is to know what you don’t want to do! A career doesn’t have to be a linear – try things you want to try – if it doesn’t fit – that’s ok – you have gained great experience and you are learning what you like and don’t like doing! Don’t be afraid to turn a corner and not know what’s on the other side! Be adventurous with your career!


Connect with Lizzie on LinkedIn, she’s a great marketing leader and someone to follow!

Marketing Minds Series – Kickoff – Share Your Mind

One of the best ways to evolve as a marketing professional is to generate, collaborate, and nurture ideas among like-minded peers. With that in mind, I’m launching a new blog series I’m calling “Marketing Minds,” where I’m soliciting thoughts and ideas from cutting-edge marketing leaders and posting them here on PuzzleMarketer.com. I’m going to interview thought leaders with challenging questions about the present and future of marketing, with the goal of extracting nuggets of insight that can guide us all.

Who I’m targeting…

Marketing leaders with at least 5 years of experience living on the edge of new trends and technologies. I’d like to get both feedback from the top of marketing organizations and from the on-the-ground make-it-happen functional experts. I’m going to look for views from both consultants with many clients and in-house marketing teams who support one organization.

What I’m asking them…

Marketing leaders are being asked to submit free-form answers to the following 5 questions…

  1. What brought you into the field of marketing (tell your story) and what makes you feel so passionately about it?
  2. As marketers, we’re constantly seeking for the right tactics or channels to propel our organizations forward. Which tactics or channels have recently surprised you as a viable source of qualified leads?
  3. We’ve all seen the influx of marketing technology that has been created over the last decade. Which technology has been most impactful to you as you plan, launch, or measure your marketing campaigns?
  4. Looking forward… What forces (social,economic, political, or cultural) do you see having the biggest effect on your marketing in 2017 and what are your plans to address them?
  5. If you could give one piece of advice to a college graduate who just took their first job in marketing, what would you say to them?

What I’m hoping for…

Different perspectives. Each individual holds a unique experience, made up by knowledge, skills, tools, and behaviors. I’m hoping to capture some of these unique stories and experiences to better inform us all. There is no shortage of online resources about marketing “tips” and “how to” do something. This isn’t a guide, but rather practical human stories and learnings from the real-world.

This isn’t going to be perfect. If you have a suggestion on questions being asked or who to invite to participate, I’m all ears.

Why marketing leaders should participate…

Beyond empowering your marketing peers and paying it forward by sharing your insights, marketing leaders will be featured on this blog, which receives thousands of visitors per month and the content gets automatically syndicated across the web to AllTop.com, GrowthHackers.com, Inbound.org, Business2Community.com, BizSugar.com, EvanCarmichael.com, SocialMediaToday.org, SocialMediaInformer.com, and B2BMarketingZone.com.

Leaders can expect to promote their personal brands and get higher visibility online after their blog post goes live and additional sites pick it up.

If you know someone who would like to participate…

Please send them here to complete a submission.

Let’s get started…

Below is a running list of marketing leaders already interviewed!

Why Twitter #Hashtags Are Worthless [Infographic]

Twitter is a fantastic tool for disseminating information to an audience in real-time. It’s absolutely no surprise that companies, celebrities, and authority figures more and more respond to the public using this medium. Because of that, media organizations are constantly citing posts on Twitter as an almost immediate news source. Twitter isn’t limited to news purposes however as users engage in conversations, link sharing, and posting interesting content since inception.

Spammers have also discovered Twitter as a tool to blast out their messages, often interrupting real information with plugs for their unrelated causes. It’s been estimated that about 5% of Twitter users are fake and although Twitter attempts to crack down on these users, they continue to pop up. Automated tweets also adds another level of complexity to the Twitter ecosystem. The technology has it’s purpose, for example automatically tweeting one of your recent blog posts to your followers, but it also provides ample opportunity to turn a real person into a robot. Another example of a frustrating practice is thanking your recent followers with a generic automated DM, as it adds no real value.

As a side, because of all of these fake accounts I regularly attempt to scrub my fake followers with free tools like CrowdFire, where I remove followers who haven’t been active for more than 6 months.

Now let’s talk about how #hashtags fit into this story.

Hashtags are a great tool to group tweets together among a large number of users. They can effectively combine posts for an event or topic, providing an easy way to follow the conversation. But the problem occurs when spammers target hashtags in an attempt insert themselves.

I recently discovered an infographic by VENNGAGE, which is a company that provides everything you need to create and publish infographics for free. They created an infographic titled “Why Twitter #Hashtags Are Worthless,” and in this infographic they state that “while hashtags used to be one of the most exciting parts of Twitter, bots and spammers now target popular hashtags in their tweets, likes and shares.” Feel free to review the full infographic below:


Infographics: Hashtag Spam

Hashtag Spam | Infographics