Taking the Next Step in My Career

by Kevin on March 27, 2014

After nearly 8 years with Digital Influence Group/Racepoint Group/Racepoint Global, I am moving on from the agency world.  Tomorrow will be my last day in Boston with a team I deeply respect and with an organization that has given me more opportunity and experience than I ever thought possible when I joined as one of the first few employees in this crazy Digital/Social Marketing world.  It’s been an amazing ride, with some amazing people, but when opportunity knocks, you have to take it.

On April 7, I will join another amazing team at Dell as Executive Director, Marketing responsible for leading the global digital team.  It’s an opportunity to work with passionate people, who believe that a now private Dell can return to its entrepreneurial roots and innovate in new ways to serve today’s rapidly evolving consumers, entrepreneurs and businesses.

A mentor of mine once stressed how important people and culture are.  Through his experiences, I learned just how important it was to step out of my comfort zone and surround myself with smart people (many of whom are far smarter than me) and be a part of something great.  Little did I know that a simple upgrade on a flight from Vegas would create such an opportunity.

I’m a big believer in things happening for a reason.  I believe that opportunity is often sitting right next to us and it just takes the courage to say “hello.”  You never know who you might meet.  In my case, it led to conversations with some amazing people at Dell, including Karen Quintos, SVP & CMO.

If you’re lucky, you’ll find a situation where the pieces just fit together perfectly.  I believe this is one of those times.

A few years ago, I was speaking with Scott Monty about having the courage to join Ford during the auto crisis.  At a time when most people would have avoided any American auto manufacturer, Scott saw it as an opportunity to be a part of a comeback story.  He saw the passion of the people at Ford and he knew that the leadership was committed to emerging from the chaos as a company stronger than it had ever been before.  His bet paid off and today, he gets to work with Alan Mulally (the second most popular CEO in the country) and he has helped lead some of the most compelling marketing communications programs in the industry.

In many ways, Dell offers me that same opportunity.  The chance to join an organization with exceptional leadership, to work for a boss who is wildly respected by her team, and to be a part of something incredible and innovative with people who have welcomed me into their world so graciously many days before I have even started.

I’ll take with me all of the amazing experiences and lessons I have learned from the agency world.  I am grateful for all of the opportunities and support I have been given.  I am grateful for the amazing client partners I’ve been able to work with… some for many years who I consider friends.

I’ll still be blogging here (hopefully more frequently) and I look forward to sharing my perspective from the other side of the business.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Michael Dell that has gone viral on LinkedIn:

“Try never to be the smartest person in the room.  And if you are, I suggest you invite smarter people or find a different room.”

Yeah… that’s the kind of thinking I am looking forward to.


With the second biggest Real Time Marketing event of the year behind us (Oscars), it’s seriously time to re-evaluate the merits of Real Time Marketing.  Joseph Jaffe said it best, “real time marketing is kinda bullshit… just move faster.”  Let’s face it… RTM has indeed “jumped the shark” (and so has the saying “jumped the shark” BTW).

For all of you agency and brand folks crammed into a “social command center” waiting for your opportunity to strike… you’re doing it wrong.  Plain and simple.  You are still obsessed with TV and I think the word “relevancy” is no longer in your vocabulary.

I could spend time writing paragraphs with screenshots of yogurt brands and pizza and Pepsi… but you can find that on 100+ blogs this morning (and quite frankly, I don’t want to go search for them again. You can find them here – Real Time Marketing Sucks)  The real point of this is that there is only “1 dunk in the dark”… and there hasn’t been one since.

If you were watching the #Oscars or #Oscars2014 hashtag last night, you know it was updated at 50 tweets every few seconds.  What do you think the odds are that this…

…was actually noticed? (notice they didn’t even use the #Oscars hashtag?)

21 retweets and 33 favorites.  

Probably not the success they were looking for.  I’m not trying to attack Tide… I think they’ve done some great things, but let’s be real about how the metrics will be shared with the client.

Almost 4 Million tweets were sent during the show (estimated – haven’t done the full analysis).  That means, our message reached 4 Million potential viewers.

Not even close.  I don’t have the actual metrics, but I am sure the “impressions” number is probably quite high.  Unfortunately, Twitter doesn’t offer a “value” metric.  However, from an engagement perspective, this is a massive #fail.

So here’s the thing.  I decided to run a test.  When I became bored with the Oscars (because it was painfully slow and uninteresting), I switched over to The Walking Dead.  In one scene, a character acquired some new clothes.  A bright yellow golf shirt with a nice white sweater.  Now, if you’ve been living on the run for months, the idea of wearing clean clothes and bright colors is like winning the lotto.  You could see the character react to the new outfit with hope and a fresh outlook on life.  It’s amazing what a clean shirt can do for you. Knowing that Tide clearly had to be monitoring mentions, I sent them a tweet:

Crickets.  No response.  Nothing.  Just a laser focus on the Oscars… where there were clearly going to be an influx of stains hitting the screen (*sarcasm*).  Also, almost every outfit at the Oscars was dry clean only… where was the witty copywriter with something like:

“We know that those expensive gowns and suits are dry clean only, but for the 25% of celebrities wearing underwear, we’ve got you covered.”

Not everything needs a cheesy photo… Hilary Clinton proved this brilliantly with her Super Bowl tweet:

Enter Ready for Anything Marketing (RFA).  The act of actually listening to the conversation and having the versatility and flexibility to focus on more than one thing at a time.  Where taking advantage of an opportunity to engage with an absolutely passionate audience is more important than fake impressions.  Like Joseph Jaffe said above… “just move faster.”

Don’t be myopic in your strategy. Migrate to where it makes sense.  Tide could have killed on The Walking Dead last night (pun intended).  Considering how many adults with kids watch that show, knowing that Tide can get out blood stains would have been a helpful, valuable, contextually relevant addition to the conversation.

(I know I am picking on Tide here a lot… and only because I think they have the chops and potential to be better.)

The reality is, we are viewing social channels the same way we do traditional channels.  The online conversation is fluid.  There is overlap and we must look at the full spectrum of opportunity vs. thinking that 3 hours dedicated to one program is a wise investment.  I’d much rather see a brand like Tide latch onto a show like The Walking Dead and be there every week.  Engaging with fans, understanding the story line, and being an actual fan.

Why can’t brands be fans of the shows they watch?

It’s been said that Oreo captured lightening in a bottle with “dunk in the dark.”  Actually, there are lightening strikes happening every second… hundreds of them actually.  Are you ready?  Is your team ready?

Plan all you want around the Oscars and the Super Bowl.  Share your big impression numbers with your client and internal teams.  Give yourself a pat on the back and then realize that it had zero impact on your business.  Your strategy is flawed and if you were #RFA, you might find that you get less impressions, but build a better relationship with your target customer who might actually buy your product.



The Human-to-Human Double Standard

by Kevin February 21, 2014

What happened to the sympathetic customer?  Did they ever really exist?  As more people take to the internet to voice their opinions, it appears as though the behavior lives in the extreme; intense support or intense criticism.  What happened to the middle ground? Over the past two decades, consumer expectations have reached new heights.  We’ve […]

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The Future of Ephemeral Communication is NOT SnapChat

by Kevin January 9, 2014

Click any link on marketing trends for 2014 and you are bound to see a reference to SnapChat and ephemeral communications.  I get it… a $3 Billion valuation from Facebook is bound to turn heads.  Rapid growth among the 13-25 consumer segment requires marketers to think about how to tap into this new craze. Increasing […]

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Simple Minded – The Ultimate Compliment

by Kevin January 8, 2014

There is something to be said for being simple.  Interestingly enough, simple itself is a rather complex word with wildly contrasting definitions.  For many, when you refer to something as simple, most people will assume that it’s easy or basic.  The presence of the word simple discounts the value.  By contrast, complex and difficult sounds […]

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Stop and Read the Tweets

by Kevin September 3, 2013

Hidden among the links, Vines and lead cards is the occasional message that will stop you in your tracks.  Right there in 140 characters.  It’s not today’s lunch menu or what the plan for the afternoon might be.  It’s the wisdom of one person.  Deposited into a vast cavern of clutter.  Have you ever wondered […]

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I’m Not Buying it Maker’s Mark

by Kevin February 19, 2013

While much of the social media world was diving into the Burger King Twitter hack, the fire storm around the decision to dilute the alcohol in Maker’s Mark bourbon seemed to evaporate due to some quick thinking by company executives.  The initial plan to reduce the percent of alcohol from 45% to 42% to preserve […]

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Facebook’s Graph Search Will Eliminate “Like Syndrome”

by Kevin January 17, 2013

Imagine a world where people think about the things they like and the implications of that behavior.  Until the recent announcement of Facebook’s new Graph Search, the “like” had little repercussion.  People were handing out “likes” with reckless abandon.  That page with photos of Monkey’s in Tuxedo’s?  Like!  What about Stupid Things White People Say?  […]

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The Mind:Share Project – An Open Conversation on Mental Illness

by Kevin January 16, 2013

I’ve lived with Depression my entire life. At times, it’s dominated my life and the lives of those closest to me.  The constant state of uncertainty and never knowing exactly who will appear and when. The power of depression and, more broadly, mental illness, is often associated to the ocean tides.  Uncontrollable, unpredictable and constantly […]

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Want to talk? That will cost you $100 please

by Kevin January 11, 2013

Ahhh Facebook.  How I love thee and detest thee at times.  Yesterday, Mashable covered the recent feature on Facebook that charges you $100 to message Mark Zuckerberg. It’s not the first time the world’s most popular social network has experimented with this pay-to-message service.  Back in December, it was announced that a charge of $1 […]

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