Tide Ad Commercial

This year’s Superbowl brought what I think is one of the best marketing campaigns/ ads I have seen in a long time. If you haven’t seen it, here’s a link to the main one.


Then there are these secondary tie-in ads.





What is so brilliant about these campaigns is that it fundamentally made me change the way I watched the rest of the Superbowl ads, and subsequently, all commercials in general. The premise of these commercials is that every ad is, in essence a Tide Ad, since the majority of commercials are shot with clean, fresh looking clothing. It’s simple, it’s fun, it’s memorable, and it fundamentally disrupted the way I view content lately. I’d say it would have been enough to make me try Tide, but the reality is I’m already a Tide consumer. I really found the whole thing brilliant.

I wrote this post in a freshly cleaned and pressed button-down shirt…. does that then make this a Tide Post?


High Paying Job vs. Responsibility and Exposure - My Career

The title pretty much explains where I’m going with today’s post. The reality is it’s a subjective question that has no right or wrong answer since it depends on where you are in your life, and what is most valuable to you at that given time. For example, I’m not married (yet) and I don’t have a family to support.

As such, I’ve had the flexibility to take jobs based on a variety of variables, salary not necessarily being the most important. To clarify, I’m not saying salary isn’t important, it is, but that if a situation ever presented itself in which I had to pick between two roles, one of which was a better fit, one of which paid more but offered less future or growth opportunity, I have been fortunate enough to be able to not have to evaluate based on salary all things being equal.

I bring this up because I’ve seen people throughout my career follow the money when they didn’t necessarily have to. Again, everyone’s situation is different so it’s hard to judge anyone, but if you do find yourself in a fortunate position where you can choose, I personally put the high responsibility/ exposure/ challenging roles at the top of the list because I believe in the long-run. The more you can grow and push yourself early in your career will help set you apart from the rest of the pack down the road. This, in turn, will lead to commanding higher paying roles with greater responsibility.


Don't Mistake Action for Accomplishment

One of the things I am coming to learn about working at a large corporation is the amount of red tape, amount of cooks in the proverbial kitchen, and seemingly endless amount of meetings and processes. These things aren’t any one individual's fault, it sort of just happens over time as corporations become larger and more complex. What individuals can control however, is how they use and focus their time. A bad habit that I have seen develop though, is mistaking action for accomplishment.

Simply put, people feel like they are accomplishing things because they are busy, when in fact they are accomplishing far less than they are capable of because they aren’t spending their time on the right things or asking the right questions.

So how does one go about changing this? As they say, change comes from within. I’m in the fortunate position where I can work on this consistently with my team and get us in a good place. I can work with others cross departmentally too, but getting full buy-in is much easier said than done, as I don’t control the full scope of work and prioritization of others outside my purview. Buy-in is a cultural change that to really catch hold needs to come from the top down – but even then it’s hard to break people out of old habits and processes.

I’ll end with advice I bombard my staff with constantly. Question everything you do. Is it moving the business forward? When I worked in sports I used to phrase it as, “build revenue, build the database, build the brand – if what you’re working on doesn’t do one of these things, then it’s probably not worth your time”.


Thought of the Day: Personal AND Professional Development!?

I'm big on fit. I'm even bigger on finding a fit that allows for both personal and professional development. I've always said that when you interview, you should be interviewing your perspective employer as much as they are interviewing you. However, make sure you're still going the extra mile to understand how the role you're entering will allow you to grow in a variety of ways.

That's it. Just a quick thought.


The Dumbest Thing I Did in Vegas was Walk Away Even

I don’t consider myself much of a gambler in the traditional sense. I’ll play poker with friends occasionally, but I’m not the type of guy to run off to Vegas for a weekend and drop a few grand. As such, it may be no surprise to hear that I had actually never been to Las Vegas until last week. I had been invited out to the area to speak at the XLIVE conference (fun conference series, recommend it if in a town near you). Although not all that interested in doing a lot of gambling, I love exploring new places, so I planned the trip to give me a full day to roam around the city to explore the famous casinos and digs. I was staying towards the end of the strip at the Mandalay. After getting the obligatory picture in front of the Welcome to Las Vegas sign, I made my way up the strip and through the Luxor, MGM, ARIA, Bellagio, Paris, Caesars Palace, Venetian, and the Wynn. It was a long day of walking, but had a fun time exploring the over-the-top extravagance of each. If I were to ever come back, I’d definitely bring a friend as I could see how this could be a fun weekend if shared with others.

As the day turned to night, I decided it was time to try my hand at gambling. When in Vegas right? As I mentioned before, I play a little poker, so I sat down at a Hold ‘em table. BIG MISTAKE. I’m down $500 within 15 minutes to a shark that came and sat down next to me immediately. Ha wow, I’m starting to hate that 15 minutes into this I’m already in a hole. Instead of doubling down I cut my losses and move on to a variety of other games including the slots, blackjack, and craps. I have varying success at these and start to climb out of the hole I had quickly dug for myself. But then I discovered roulette. Oh boy.

It was amazing how the time disappeared without realizing it. Before I knew it, it was after midnight and I was still at the roulette table – slowly but surely climbing out of the hole. Around 1am I’mup $20. I feel invincible, I’ve climbed the mountain and I’m ahead (yes, I realize $500 might be peanuts, but for a non-traditional gambler, it’s a fair amount). I start to inject rational thought into my brain which is now on a high. WALK AWAY. I get up but stand watching the tablefor a moment and let a round or two play out without participating. At which point I gathered my chips, stood up, cashed out, and headed to bed.

…. And the story should have ended that way. But as I found out quickly, Vegas does strange irrational things to people. The beginning of the end started the same, but ended very differently haha.

I sit outside the table for a moment and let a round or two play out without participating. At which point I gathered my chips, stood up, and started to walk towards the cash out booth… as I’m walking over I start thinking to myself.

“You did it, you climbed out of the hole!”

“So you made $20 over the course of 5 hours… that’s $4 an hour… not all that impressive.”

“You know, that was actually pretty easy to climb out of the $500 hole you put yourself in. In fact, you’re at over $100 an hour if it wasn’t for that damn hold ‘em game…”

“To hell with this, I didn’t come to Vegas to break-even!”

I stop halfway to the cash out booth, turn around and march promptly back towards the table.

“$520 on red.”

The ball rolls.

“Black. I’m sorry sir.”

Wow, I hate this place haha. I turn around, and head back to my room and finally get in bed. As I doze off I smile to myself, for whatever reason, I sort of love the fact I went out that way, even if it ended up being the most expensive blog post I’ve written.


Finding Calm in Chaos

Most jobs become chaotic at some point or another. Mine is no exception.

Actually, mine might be crazier than most, not because of disorganization, but because of how large and complex the ecosystem of products and partners is at our organization. To take this a step further, the complexity and chaos is not simply due to a lot of moving parts, but due to how interconnected everything is. Making a strategic change in one part of the business has impact on how the rest of our businesses perform. Changing one element has impact across over a dozen others, so understanding cause and effect across so many elements presents its own challenges.

So what can one do when presented with situations that may seem a little chaotic? What works for me is trying to take a step back and assessing the end state of where you are trying to go. What is your end goal? Where are you trying to arrive? Make sure you understand the reasons as to why the goal is what it is. From there, start trying to deconstruct the elements involved in getting there – this may be straightforward or it may be ambiguous.

For example, if you were tasked with creating a communications strategy, you might want to deconstruct all of the different elements you need to consider in your strategy design. What channels are you going to be communicating across? Email, mobile, SMS, any paid or investment channels such as SEM or Google Ads? Is there a marketing funnel or framework that the strategy needs to adhere to? What data are you going to have available? Is the system automated or manual? The questions are nearly endless, but getting it all out on a whiteboard (my go-to) or on a piece of paper helps you define all of the elements you need to account for.

From here, continue to deconstruct the elements and start making connections between them and understand how they are related. This may not be an exact solve for every situation you come across, but typically if you can define the environment and the elements that exist within it, you start to bring organization to what otherwise may be chaotic, and that’s typically something you can continue to build on.

Ultimately this is all easier said than done, I realize. What I outline above may be obvious to some. In my experience the biggest reason why this approach doesn’t happen, is we don’t feel like we have the proper amount of time to sit back to analyze and understand the full breadth of a given situation. If that is the case, I urge you to take an uninterrupted and focused 15 minutes, and see how far you can get with the above approach. If there’s something you don’t know or need more information on, write the question down and the name of the person who can help you find that answer.


End the Day with a Productive Meeting

Something I’ve learned over the last few years is if you can, end the day with a productive meeting. How many times have you been to a meeting that made little to no difference on your work or to the organization? Likely more than any of us care to admit. The problem with these sorts of meetings is not only are they a waste of your time, but they often leave you feeling drained and whether you realize it, have a negative impact on your productivity and mental acuity. In fact, I’m actually a fan of trying to reach a point where you have as few meetings as humanly possible.

Ending the day with a productive meeting, I’ve found, has the opposite effect. You’re left feeling that you’ve accomplished something, that things are headed in the right direction, and you feel energized – all at the tail end of what was likely a long day if yours are anything like mine.


Leaving Stability - Initial Thoughts on the Move

I’m 2 months into the new gig. For those of you just catching-up, this move has taken me into an uncertain future with one hell of a challenge. Uncertain because the situation I’m coming into is a tall order minced with plenty of uncertainty – build a marketing strategy department from scratch, and get the business running in the right direction, and get it ready for a variety of scenarios, including a potential split from its parent company.

So how is it going so far?

So far I couldn’t ask for more. At my core I love a challenge, and so far I’m getting it. The biggest challenge in front of us at the moment is getting the group working operationally and efficiently. I’ve inherited a number of directors and managers from around the organization, all with their own diverse skillsets and backgrounds. As such, the need to match skillsets with operational needs and balancing that with pushing members of the team into new domains can be challenging. Beyond getting the team running efficiently, decoding a massive large organization and how to cut through bureaucratic red tape offers its own set of challenges.

All speed ahead.


2 Minute Rule

Have you ever been in a situation where you have a million items on your to-do list and you don’t know where to start?

A little trick that I’ve picked-up over the years is separating everything on your list into two buckets. Items you can knock off in about 2 minutes or less, and items that’ll take longer. Take 10 or 20 focused minutes to systematically target and check the 2 minutes or less items off your list. It’ll help get you jump started on the rest of your items and should leave you with a quick and real sense of accomplishment.

Helps me at least when I need to get going.


I Just Climbed Into the Front of a Raft

I started a new job a couple weeks ago. I’ve noticed that our leadership team LOVES to use sports analogies – cool, I just came from the sports industry, I can get on-board with this. That being said, let me use a slightly different type of analogy to sum up the first few weeks.

Imagine for a minute that you’re the captain of a white-water rapids raft. You’re in your boat, sitting at the back, steering and guiding your crew through a river when you enter a rapid you’ve never been through. Not only that, but your crew is a bunch of individuals you’ve never been with on the water. At some point you’re thrown overboard, but you’re able to get back to the raft and pull yourself back in. By the time you get back in a few things hit you. First, you’ve just climbed into the front of the raft, and you immediately need to get to the back to take command. However, it’s not that simple as you also make the startling realization you’re still in the middle of a huge rapid. Take a sec, think about what you might be feeling at that point. You with me? Good, we’re on the same page, let’s talk.

Fun and joking analogy aside, there are some parallel feelings and decisions, I think…

Assess the situation quickly. I like to measure twice and cut once whenever possible, but there are times that call for making the best decision with the limited information you have available to you in that moment. The reality of the situation here is I can apply both, but I have to know what I have time to assess over time versus what decisions we need to make quickly.

Be decisive. Pick a route and go. Double-back if necessary, but don’t freeze in the moment and waste valuable time. The challenge ahead of me is that we need to be smart and calculated, but we need to be nimble and quick as there’s lots of work to be done.

Lots of unknowns. Learn as you go and pick up what you can when you can. A lot is being thrown at you and there’s a lot you may not know yet. Similar to the above, good leaders can be decisive and make decisions by assessing the situation around them and making the best decision possible with what information they have available. Put another way, be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Who to rely on. Let’s face it, in nearly every work place you rely on different people for different things in different situations. Being new has its advantages, but it also has its disadvantages.

How to inspire them to work as a team. Whether people have worked with one another in the past or not doesn’t mean they function well or efficiently together. Getting human beings to work well with each other is no small task. Getting them to work efficiently together can be even more difficult.

How to get them to follow you as a leader. Being higher in title and role doesn’t mean people are going to listen or follow you. Proving these things through actions as a leader can be difficult for a variety of reasons. Are you coming into a situation in which someone else feels as though they should have gotten the job? What if individuals feel more tenured?

Questions galore. I’m the type of person who loves to ask questions. I’m generally a very curious person and it’s one of the ways in which I learn – asking questions and listening. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably going to have a ton of questions, some of which you are going to get answered, others which you may not.

Confusion. Along with not always getting answers to everything you have questions on, there may also be a lot of confusion around roles, responsibilities, expectations, etc. I’m not saying this is easy to navigate, it’s not. Try getting clarification through questions and constant communication.

Be confident. Although I understand it, I’m not the biggest fan of the quote “fake it until you make it”. You’re in the role you’re in for a reason. You might not know 100% of the answer, but hopefully at this point in your career if you’re being asked to make impactful decisions, you’ve got a strong foundation of how to traverse challenging situations.

Over-whelming. Depending on what you’re coming into, it’s going to feel overwhelming. That’s okay, a good raft captain should know how to handle it.

Excited. A new opportunity with new challenges generally means a new growth opportunity to push yourself and learn new things. That’s awesome. Embrace it and be excited!

So back to me for a second. This place is nuts. An incredible amount of talent surrounds me, but there’s a lot of work to be done to clean up some areas and get people ready for the future. I’m incredibly excited for what I’m now in the middle of, and looking forward to navigating the obstacles in front of us.


Becoming an Adjunct Professor

So this is crazy – I’m now an adjunct professor! I am super pumped and very much looking forward to the opportunity. Over the last few years, I’ve had the good fortune of being invited to guest lecture by colleagues of mine throughout the sports industry. With a personality and sense for entertainment, I’ve loved getting in front of a group and engaging them in content. A few months ago, I decided to reach out and inquire about opportunities to teach either a sports marketing or business analytics class in Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies.

Talk about right place right time. Over the few weeks after expressing my interest, some opportunities that generally don’t open up, opened up, and I had the opportunity to interview. I’ll skip the boring parts of the story, but it ended up in a really neat opportunity that I’m incredibly excited about – joining the Georgetown faculty as an adjunct and teaching my first class, sports marketing.

So why on earth did I want to do this? I’ve spent some time really thinking about this lately. More-or-less, it’s because I love to challenge myself and I love to be challenged. Let me explain.

I’m terrified of public speaking and presenting. My friends and colleagues tell me I’m great and I’m a natural. I’ve seen tape of me, it usually seems to go pretty darn well, but the 5 minutes before I’m on, I’m terrified. However terrified I might be on the inside, the desire to push myself into uncomfortable situations is much greater and is an effort to push myself to grow and be better. As such, no-brainer to push myself out of my comfort zone and do something that I find personally challenging.

I love to be challenged. I don’t mean this aggressively or negatively, but I’m of the opinion that I don’t ever want to be the smartest guy in the room, and I don’t want to be surrounded by like minded people when making important decisions. Rather, I value and love others’ opinions and thoughts. A classroom environment, if structured correctly, is a hotbed for contesting ideas and for creating new and better ones. An opportunity to breath life into a group of people and push them challenge thoughts and ideas is both fascinating and inspiring to me.

I’m sure I’ll end up writing more about this as I progress and I’m excited to share with you!


Onto the Next Adventure

I am on to a new adventure!

I recently made the incredibly hard decision to move on from Monumental Sports & Entertainment where I have spent the last four plus years. I hadn’t been looking to make a move, but life is at times unpredictable. So unpredictable in fact, that I had three extremely interesting and very different opportunities land in my lap within a week of one-another.

Here’s the quick and dirty:

At the beginning of July 2017, several opportunities materialized out of virtually nowhere. The first opportunity was a Vice President of Business Intelligence at another professional sports organization. The second was a Vice President of Marketing role at a startup software company. The third was to assume the role of Head of Marketing Strategy within a Fortune 150.

I feel incredibly fortunate and humbled to have been presented with each of these opportunities, each in their own right incredibly interesting and exciting. One allowed me to remain in the sports industry in which I had been working for the last four years. Another allowed me an opportunity to help shape the beginnings of a new organization. And finally, the last allowed me to blaze a new path forward and build a marketing strategy team from the ground up with a number of resources and autonomy at my disposal.

Ultimately my decision to depart for a new opportunity and a new career direction was based on a number of things. I ended up choosing the Head of Marketing Strategy role for a several reasons.

1) Autonomy

The ability to build and run a department using strategy I believed would work.

2) Looking for a challenge

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I’m at my best and happiest when I’m being challenged.

3) Opportunity to build a team from scratch

Not just a team of 1 or 2, but an extensive team with multiple divisions, each with sub-departments. I think one of the things I’m best at is building a team and comradery – I want to put this to the test on a large scale.

4) Fortune 150 experience

I’ve worked for a world class sports organization, now I want to take my agile abilities to something bigger and more established to see how they fit and mesh.

5) Push myself out of my comfort zone

I think it’s easy to get lazy if you’re comfortable. I find that I grow most when I’m in changing and maybe uncomfortable situations.

6) Return to Chicagoland

I never thought I’d return full-time to Chicago, but being around family and friends whom I haven’t seen regularly in almost a decade was a cherry on top.

There were certainly other factors, but these were some of the biggest. It also certainly helped to have a significant other who supported the move. That said, onward and upward.


Opportunities Are Earned, Not Given

Entitlement is an ugly attitude that brings down everyone around you. It’s good to be hungry and want to progress in one’s career, but entitlement rubs me the wrong way. From having had employees only a few months into their roles say that they’re better than the job they have, to people blatantly not doing work because they think it’s “below” them, I’ve seen all sorts of cases. It’s upsetting to witness and I’ve seen this more lately with younger hires fresh into new roles.

However, it’s not just a younger hire issue, as I’ve witnessed the same problem with more experienced individuals too. In one instance, we were looking to hire a candidate that I believed was going to make a major impact on our team. Everything seemed to align. It was a step-up in responsibility for this individual, substantially better pay, and our team would be adding someone who I believed could make a major impact for us. Sadly, once the candidate learned that there were others on the team slightly younger with similar and slightly higher titles, they complained to our recruiter that they wanted a promotion, specifically citing that they were older and “didn’t want to be on the same level with a bunch of kids”. The level of experience and expectations were set and in-line throughout the entire hiring process. The package we put together was extremely generous. But feeling entitled to more because those with similar amounts of experience and expertise happened to be younger…. Ugh.

I want individuals who are motivated and passionate about the work and the colleagues around them. I’ve learned over time that team chemistry plays an important factor in productivity, employee retention, and passion. Team chemistry is also a tricky balance at times, one that withers quickly if even one person has a bad attitude or isn’t aligned by the same motivating factors. Entitlement is an ugly characteristic I suggest avoiding wherever possible.


Building a Business Intelligence Team

What goes into building a successful business intelligence team/ unit/ department? I wrote a post earlier about what business intelligence is as it relates to the sports industry. But how does such a department find success? Certainly, there are many variables – let me run through a few that I see as imperative to finding success.

Good People

They say you’re only as strong as your weakest link. I think the same goes for personnel. I like to think that if I happen to be the smartest person in the room, I’m in the wrong room. As a manager, I have always strived to hire individuals that cannot only be coached and developed, but that have complimentary skillsets to those around them. Having good people who make the room smarter raises the bar for everyone.


It’s obvious, but not always the case – having resources at your disposal is vital. If you’re the worlds best racecar driver but you don’t have a car, you aren’t going to be successful. This isn’t to say you have to have a license to spend a lot of money, but you have to be able to operate within a solid foundation of tools and resources to make you and the organizational teams around you better.

Buy-In From the Top Down

I cannot express the importance of this. How often in your life or in your career have you had what you thought was a great idea, only to have someone above you or empowered to help you realize your idea, not be completely sold or convinced it was as great as you thought it to be? It sucks right? It sucks because that is a huge roadblock in being successful or in bringing an idea or program to life. When those above you give you the go-ahead and all buy-in on the same unified goal, the sky is the limit on what you can accomplish.

Unified Goals

Speaking of having buy-in from the top, having unified goals is another major component in building a strong foundation from the start. I’ve written about it in the past, but I’ll mention it here again for good measure. When I’m working, I ask myself if what I’m working on does at least one of the following – is what I’m working on 1) build the brand, 2) build the database, or 3) build revenue? If what I’m doing doesn’t do at least one of those things, I closely examine why it is I’m working on it. I also tell my staff something similar, and I do it because it helps us continually ensure that we are unified in our approach. Certainly, we get more granular on tasks and objectives on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis, but the overarching goals are the same. It should be this way across your organization, top to bottom, left to right.

Communication & Transparency

I’m a huge proponent of efficiency. Ask anyone that has ever worked for me. I preach efficiency and am always open and willing to change processes if they make my team more efficient. Change is not a bad thing, quite the opposite. That is why I have never understood why communication & transparency should ever be a major factor in improving efficiency. These are fundamental core components to any well-run organization, yet I often see individual, teams, and department struggle as a result of bad communication and not being transparent enough. Not being able to be successful as a result of not having the right people or right tools in place is one thing, but not being able to be successful as a result of not communicating or being clear seems crazy to me!

Measure Twice, Cut Once

It may seem like a no-brainer, but taking the time to survey the surrounding landscape, considering the various variables that may be in play, and developing a strategy based on the information you have available, goes a long-way in creating effective change and effective impact. There’s nothing wrong in moving fast and quickly, but taking an extra moment to consider the moving pieces around you (whether it be hiring new personnel, signing a vendor contract, or implementing organization wide strategies), is a sound practice.

A good manager and an effectively structured business intelligence unit should have control or influence over each of these variables.


4 Years In

Wow, I am quickly approaching the 4 year mark at Monumental Sports in a couple of weeks. Similar to years’ past, 4 years in, 4 more lessons learned.

Good Work for the Sake of Good Work

Wanting credit for everything you work on is a natural feeling, but it’s not always going to happen. Here’s a quote I’ve always loved:

“Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.” – Henry Ford

I went through a major departmental change this past year as our organization realigned many internal silos. It was a good decision from a data perspective that I was on-board with, but there were moments in which I wasn’t sure whether the work I had tirelessly worked on was known or fully understood during the shifts. I had a few choices in the moment – focus on the high-profile work that would be quickly realized, or focus on the work that may not be as recognized, but was arguably the most imperative for future business operations. In the end I chose the latter and I’m glad I did it. It may not have been the most glamorous or “in-the-spotlight” work, but it meant focusing on the right things that lead my department to having a tangibly successful year.

Do good work even if it isn’t always going to be recognized.

Find the Right People

I’ve had good fortune in my career to work with a lot of hard-working individuals. Each bringing their unique strengths and perspectives to the business challenges in front of us. This past year I transitioned into a larger opportunity in a centrally focused revenue building position, and was able to hire a new team while building out a new department. Needless to say, I was in need of superstars, and superstars is what I hired. I’ve always thrived on the idea that if I’m the smartest person in the room, I’m in the wrong room. Rather, when I’m being pushed and learning from those around me, that’s when I’m at my best. The team I’ve been able to build here compliments one another well, and we’ve been able to accomplish more than anyone expected. The secret? It started with finding the right people.

Don’t Be a Pushover

What type of person do you want to be at work? Is it the hard-ass who will fight for every inch of ground throughout the day? Is it the strategic thinker that recognizes some battles must be lost in order to win the war? Is it being the type of boss who rules in love or fear? Likely, it’s somewhere in-between all of these things.

Regardless of whomever you are or choose to be, don’t be a pushover, stand-up for yourself, those around you, and don’t be afraid to stand your ground. Now what exactly does this mean? It could mean just about anything depending on the context.

Time Teller or Clock Builder?

 I heard a great analogy just last week that I immediately adopted and want to write about here.

If you had the choice, would you rather hire a time-teller or clock builder?

A time-teller always knows the exact time down to the second at a moment’s notice. A time-teller is the knower of everything. They are the smartest person in the room at every meeting and behind-the-scenes. They can make the right decision in any moment and lead the team and organization in the best of ways. Eventually however, a time-tell dies, or as it relates to business in this analogy, they move on to another job or career, retire, or simply move on to other ventures.

A clock builder on the other hand creates a mechanism in which tells accurate time, down to the second, to everyone, even long after the clock builder moves on.

From a business perspective, a clock builder is an individual who lays the groundwork and creates a path for success that anyone can follow, even long after they are no longer at the firm. A time-teller may be equally successful while employed, but they aren’t the individuals who help create long term success for firms through installing best practices that can be repeated after they are gone.

I recommend striving to be a clock builder.

With a major year of internal organization change behind me, I’m left with greater insight into the components of what it takes to be successful. Speaking of which, how does one define success…


The Game Within A Game Within A Game

Recently I was pulled into a meeting to discuss a new project that I would be leading that I never in a million years thought I could be working on. The meeting was to discuss me working on developing a rate card for a mix of on court NBA LED assets. Nothing out of the ordinary except for the fact that it was to develop the rate card for LED assets that would be present in an upcoming release of a video game.

Let’s take a moment to consider that. Developing a rate card for LED assets within a video game that will be viewed and played by hundreds of thousands if not millions of people around the world. It feels a bit like the movie Inception – an asset, within an asset, within an asset. Pretty cool.

Not only is this incredible to think about how our industry and partnership assets have progressed over time, it is an incredibly exciting and challenging assignment. There are many different ways in which this opportunity of defining a rate card can be approached, and I’m excited to be leading the charge for our organization. It’s also astounding to think that at some point in the near future, gamers across the world will be playing a game in which advertising will be seamlessly inserted the same way it is during live NBA games. It’s even more incredible that this has become a sellable asset. It is truly an opportunity for partners and sports organizations alike.


Partnerships & Dynamically Pricing

Dynamic pricing. It’s a term used throughout many different industries, airlines, example2, example3, and sports to name a few. Typically however, dynamic pricing when it comes to sports is applied to ticket sales. Depending on what a variety of variables look like (opponent, day of the week, inventory levels, etc.), pricing on tickets can change hourly. Oddly enough, you don’t see much of this happening within corporate partnerships – at least not yet. Why? I’m not totally sure. As such, I’ve decided that it’s my next big project at work. There are certainly many different ways in which we could go about this, but let’s walkthrough a few different ways I can tackle this relatively quickly.

1)      Price based on peak times

2)      Price based on demand (inventory level)

3)      Price based on inventory level and time (decay model)

Price based on peak times

First, let’s define what a peak time is. For our purposes, let’s define this as a time in which we can confidently predict substantially increased impression traffic. This could be during rush hour, or more specifically to that of sports, the hours leading up to and after an event occurs. As an example, let’s consider Out of Home boards – for those of you that don’t know, these are the huge LED screens that you may see outside of some arenas or stadiums. The look something like this:

These type of boards typically run throughout the day, and play host to many different clients that pay to have their creatives shown. As you can imagine, clients are paying for these creatives to play on these boards in the hopes that a large number of impressions may lead to goal conversions (this may be increasing brand recognition, increasing awareness of a new product, or an actual purchase of a product). Regardless of the goal, dynamically pricing these boards higher during peak hours makes a lot of sense.

The problem as it relates to our business model is that at this point in time it would be a logistical nightmare to sort through. Many of our contracts are structured in such a way that would not allow us to pull clients from certain hours in order to run a different set of clients during these peak times. That, but logistically stopping a current playlist of creatives and running a new set may be too taxing to take on with current technology and personnel bandwidth. For now this may be out of the question, but certainly something to look towards the future with.

Price based on demand (inventory level)

Create a straightforward supply and demand based model that sets price levels based on the amount of inventory available. The concept is generally the less inventory available, the higher the price. The reverse is also in play. Potential problems with this method is that the model doesn’t factor in the many variables that exist and come into play.

Price based on inventory level and time (decay model)

How about a hybrid to the former? Instead of pricing dynamically on the asset and its past historical data, the goal should be to minimize the amount of time inventory is available. Simply put, the strategy is to determine the optimal price point based on a mix of variables that includes both the amount of inventory available and amount of time the inventory has been available. The other key is to set a price floor. What are potential variables to consider?

·       Amount of inventory available

·       Amount of time it has been available

·       Seasonality/ time of year

·       Number of projected events (i.e. peak times and events)

·       Pending contracts

·       Upcoming Area events

Creating this model is more complex than it sounds, but not by much. The biggest challenge in building out this type of strategy is having both the granular data to allow for inclusion of variables such as time assets have historically been available before being sold, and having enough of it. Ideally you would want several years of consistent data to comb through. In our case we have nearly 3 full years, so although not perfect, at least there is a basis to base recommendations off of.

So which is the best route to go? Let’s not kid ourselves, there are a lot of different ways in which one could approach this problem of dynamically pricing assets. Above a few of them are outlined. The best route to go should be determined, in part, by the amount of data you have available. The flexibility you have in controlling the assets themselves is also very important, as factors such as existing contracts could add difficulties to implementations.

For our business practices, I’m building and implementing the latter. I’ll keep this group updated as to how that ends up going.


Valuation Spotlight: Social Media

It’s hard to believe that social media has been around for over ten years now. Over this time many platforms of home come and gone and others have undergone many versions and updates. If there is one thing that has remained relatively consistent, it has been the question as how to effectively value social. Beyond simply determining how to tie value to posts, another major question that needs to be answered is how do you then turn these valuations into actual dollars and revenue.

Certainly there are many different ways to do this – let me share how I’ve approached the problem.

At Monumental we use a couple of different tools to help us with our social data.

Blinkfire Analytics (https://www.blinkfire.com/landing): Blinkfire tracks logo/graphic placement and provides an approximated value in respect to social media posts. The tool tracks all brand mentions, tags, and logo/graphic placements in social media posts, photos, and videos to estimate the value of that post for a brand. To get that value, they compare the visual or tag with the impressions from the post (retweets, likes, etc.) to give an estimated value that brand received from social media posts over a certain span of time. It can break the reports down by social media outlet, type of social media, and brand.

 TrackMaven (https://trackmaven.com/): TrackMaven is a marketing analytics and attribution software. Simply put, it’s a powerful social listening tool that allows individuals to track, benchmark, and improve their digital footprint through actionable insights. These actionable insights help the digital marketing identify engaging topics and tactics and benchmark content performance.

Between these two tools, we have a lot of data on each individual post we put out as an organization. The major different when it comes to data between the two is that Blinkfire is able to provide accurate valuation data, while TrackMaven is able to get more granular with detailed post metrics.

Step 1 – Marry the Datasets

It’s great to have valuation data and it’s great to have granular post data, but unless you can marry the two together, each are limited in the amount of value and impact they can provide. This was our first step, and once we had the two data sets united, we had a deeper understanding of what type of value we were generating as an organization in a variety of different ways. No longer were we limited by valuations per each post, but were now all of a sudden able to calculate valuations based on the day of week or time of day across each social channel (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) and media type (text, image, video).

Now the blinders were off. We could pivot on any metric and have a valuation associated with it. The partnership team was ecstatic, then it happened, they asked a question about how to use the data to make more money.

Step 2 – Determine How and What you Sell

How do you sell social assets? Do you sell posts individually or by series or by both? Knowing how and what you sell is going to be key in how you set up your data in the next step…

Step 3 – Identify the Low-Hanging Fruit

You know what you’re selling and you have the valuations to go with it. It’s now time to expose and identify the opportunities for your partnership team. One way I approached this was by creating a list of all available sellable content and sorted this in descending order to create a list, in order, of highest to lowest valuable sellable content. From here I applied an additional filter to separate already sold content. Viola, a list of the lowest hanging, most valuable content was ready.

Step 4 – Continuously Re-evaluate and Test your Assumptions

The fun doesn’t stop at producing data and delivering it to your sales teams. It is vitally important you continue to update the variables in your valuation and monitor how engagement with your different types of posts changes over time.

This method as it relates to our business operations has started to have major impacts throughout our organization with a number of different departs. Our marketing team has deeper insights into their content, and our partnership division has become empowered to have more engaging and knowledgeable conversations with their clients at every stage in the sales cycle. This information is being leveraged from pitches to end of the year recaps and every step in between.