My largest obstacle was finding a career that inspired me.
From the very first time I can remember thinking about what my career would be, I always knew I would be an attorney. As a child and teen, I prided myself on being able to argue with the best of them – and win. I entered college knowing that I was four years away from entering law school and finally being close to fulfilling my destiny. The first dent in this dream was being waitlisted by my law school of choice. I was devastated to learn that the rest of the world didn’t see my destiny as clearly as I did. The second dent occurred when I “settled” on a different law school and spent the first semester painfully bored in every single one of my classes and finding nothing in common with any of my fellow students. I wasn’t nearly as in love with being a year 1 law student as they were. I was stunned to realize that my own heart and mind weren’t in line with this dream I’d had since childhood. The third, and final, dent occurred when I took the second semester of law school off and spent a few months temping at a law firm. I thought that maybe living and breathing inside my ultimate goal would reignite my passion, help me find my way. It didn’t. It only solidified what I had slowly come to realize. I didn’t want to be a lawyer. But what does a twenty-something do when the one and only dream she’s ever had is no longer the reality she wants? I love to read and was an English major in college, so I explored going to graduate school for literature. But I was tired of listening and talking. I wanted to do. I’ve always loved tutoring and studying with other people. So I eventually ended up in the Golden Apple program, a competitive program that offered an accelerated path to my master’s in education and my teaching certification. I started my teaching career in Chicago and spent three years in education, contributing what I could to the community and my school. But I started to realize that while I absolutely loved my students, I still wasn’t in love with what I was doing. I was happy and comfortable. But that comfort didn’t feel right to me. I started to wonder if maybe my path needed to lead me outside of the comfort zone of Chicago, where I grew up and where my entire family lived.
So my husband and I packed up our car and moved to New York. From that first scary night in a new city, I knew that we had made the right move. The day I was offered an internship at DiMassimo Goldstein, I just knew that, again, I was on the right path. My entire family and all of my friends thought that I was crazy taking such a big risk. That, at my age, an internship, followed by a full-time position as the agency’s first-impression manager, was a huge step back from my years as an award-winning teacher. But I told them to have faith, because it felt right to me. Even with how strongly I believed that I had finally found my path, I never could have imagined the amazing 11 years that I’ve had with this agency. Eleven years of inspiration, challenges and amazing growth. From intern to CFO and partner. What an amazing dream.
What are the lessons that I’ve learned from this incredibly long story? Don’t settle. Use whatever opportunities you’re presented with to seek out what inspires you. What makes you feel challenged. What helps you grow. What allows you to feel alive and engaged. Look for chances to make yourself uncomfortable. Allow yourself to feel the butterflies and the nervous energy.
When a brand inspires action in a way that demonstrates love, courage, and understanding like Airbnb did this past week – we celebrate them.
As part of their new campaign titled “We Accept”, the company recently announced that the Airbnb community will provide free housing to refugees and those recently barred from entering the US.
Airbnb believes in the inspiring idea that no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love, or who you worship, you deserve to belong. They then sprung that idea into action in a meaningful and iconic way. It’s a powerful stance from a brand committed to helping people live better lives.
So on behalf of all of us at DiMassimo Goldstein, we’d like to thank Airbnb for putting humanity first and reminding people everywhere that empathy wins.
If you want to inspire action as well, you can donate here to assist those in need.
Our Chief Mark DiMassimo has been a very busy man these past couple of weeks, speaking with different journalists and providing commentary on this year’s big game. If you’ve missed any of articles, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a look back on the biggest week in advertising!
Mark talked stunts and events with Mae Anderson of the Associated Press. Her article can be read here.
Mark chatted with Bertin Pellegrin of B on Brand to discuss the role of politics in this year’s commercials.
Read what Mark had to say about that buzz worthy Budweiser spot in this article for Quartz.
Not long ago, these words were synonymous with snowboarding.
But then snowboarding exploded into a multi-billion-dollar industry. With a few big-name brands dominating a large percentage of the market, the grass roots got buried under an avalanche of money.
Now, one hardy shoot has broken through.
Signal Snowboards is blazing its own trail. The small, independent brand recently introduced the world’s first-ever snowboard subscription. Through technology, Signal plans to bring the benefits of the direct economy to the snowboard community, carving through retail giants along the way.
Founded in 2004 by pro snowboarder Dave Lee, the California-based company was struggling to compete in a retail market dominated by brands like Burton and Volcom.
So Lee took his business off the shelves and put it onto the Internet. With a monthly subscription ranging from $35 to $55, you can have any of Signal’s snowboards delivered right to your doorstep. Since announcing the platform just a few short months ago, the company has already sold out its inventory, a first in the brand’s 12-year history.
But for Lee, going digital was just as much about brand building as it was about boosting sales.
The subscription model provides Signal the advantage of having monthly contact with its consumers, with new and exciting opportunities each time to connect and build the brand. Through these interactions, Signal can begin to create a community among its consumer base and develop lifetime value.
In a recent Fast Company article, Lee sheds light on the business advantages going direct has had on the brand:
“Think about a seasonal business, where you’re betting your business on three to four months of sales, but now with more predictable monthly revenues, we’re super flexible. We’re not even playing in the seasonal world anymore. We have no retailers or distributors – we do it all direct.”
Since the very beginning, Signal’s brand mission was to “build something more than just a product.” And thanks to Lee’s entrepreneurial vision, it’s done just that. Signal delivers more than a snowboard. It delivers an experience. By going direct, Signal makes snowboarding and snowboarding culture more accessible than ever before. Building the brand through direct relationships with subscribers means Signal can inspire its boarders to shred more and better, and live their shredding dreams.
That’s why Signal Snowboards is our Inspiring Action Brand of the Week!
The brutal 2016 election year left many relationships damaged, if not destroyed. The polarizing personalities of both candidates divided even the most close-knit groups of friends, turning our news feeds and dinner tables into debate-littered battlegrounds.
But the election is over, and in the holiday spirit of togetherness, we wanted to shift the narrative to what’s most important. To give everyone out there a shovel to bury the hatchet. A chance to reach out across the aisle and mend the relationships we’ve fought so hard to build. To prove that having opposing views does not make you the opposition, and that relationships are built on empathy, not policy.
The result was Bipartisan Holiday Cards, an inspiring action project produced by our team here at DiMassimo Goldstein that utilizes the connecting power of Social Media to unite, rather than divide.
By visiting our website, you can either download and share the cards with your friends – or purchase a hard copy and deliver it right to their doorstep. And, in the spirit of giving, all proceeds go to the Morgridge Academy, a school on the National Jewish Health campus that serves children with severe asthma, diabetes, HIV/AIDs and other chronic illnesses.
The need to provide children with a safe and healthy learning environment is one thing we can all agree on.
These Holiday Cards are the first installment of a series of Bipartisan-themed cards to be released throughout the year, so please like our Facebook page to stay updated and be the first to know when the next batch is unveiled.
This past week, my partner Lee Goldstein and I have been on a listening tour, immersing ourselves in the wisdom of some of the most accomplished marketers in the world.
Meeting with marketers is like ascending a mountain through clouds. In the middle, things can be foggy and confusing, but the view from the top is crystal clear.
The clear message of top marketers?
“There are three KPIs that matter:
The first is Cost-to-Acquire a Customer.
The second is Revenue-per-Customer.
And the third is Lifetime Value of the Customer.”
So said Jim Safka, former CMO of E*TRADE and CEO of Match.com.
Jim told us how he restructured his organization at Match from traditional “marketing and product” silos to a “one-leader-one-metric” system, with each of his key managers owning one of the three KPIs.
Ty Shay, CMO of LifeLock and former CMO of Squaretrade has had a very good month. A week ago, on November 28th, it was announced that SquareTrade will be acquired by Allstate for $1.4 billion dollars. Just a week earlier, Symantec announced it would acquire LifeLock in a deal worth $2.3 billion dollars.
We’d understand if Ty were focused on his stock and options at this time, but instead he too listed the three key measures – the very same KPIs that Safka cited.
“Cost-to-Acquire, Revenue-per-Customer and Lifetime Value – that’s the business,” said Shay.
Cost-to-Acquire is a pretty straightforward measure. How much do you have to spend on marketing to acquire a new customer? When we say that “we use inspiring action to drive brand value up and cost-per-acquisition down” – that’s what we’re talking about.
Revenue-per-Customer and Lifetime Value of a Customer are both measures of customer value, of course. The later (LTV) can be thought of as simply the gross profit-per-customer over the average customer tenure. Here’s an infographic on how to calculate LTV.
In an ideal world, LTV would be the only measure driving the “allowable” – the maximum cost to acquire a customer profitably.
But, it’s not an ideal world, from a finance perspective. Most companies are working to shorter time horizons when calculating permissible marketing spends for acquisition, because most companies count on cash-flow to some extent to finance the ongoing operations of the company.
That’s where Revenue-Per-Customer comes in. Many companies pick monthly, quarterly or annual time periods. Within those periods, the total revenue divided by the total number of customers yields the Revenue-Per-Customer.
This is brand direct marketing.
But where does “brand” fit in? Brand lowers the cost to acquire a customer, while increasing lifetime value. Brand drives greater passion around every interaction, moving customers and influencers through sales funnel and lifecycle. Brand reduces friction in the funnel, speeding growth.
The Inspiring Action marketer, using modern brand direct marketing techniques, never sacrifices brand for revenue, or sales for brand. Instead, the standard is a synergy wherein the brand idea improves response and sales today, while building the brand for tomorrow.
Focusing on the three key KPIs helps an inspiring action marketers write their own tickets. Take it from Jim Safka and Ty Shay.
This men’s apparel company was founded to fill the need for button-downed shirts designed to be worn untucked.
It’s an idea so simple and brilliant that they could express it in one word: UNTUCKit!
Why a brilliant idea? Because the world’s gone casual.
Beards are back. Man-buns are popping up from coast to coast. And businesses in nearly every industry are shifting toward more “laid-back” work environments.
But when co-founder Chris Riccombono tried to join the trend and let his button-downs hang loose, he noticed that they were all too long. They would hang like a tail, creating a sloppy, unkempt look that appeared more “clumsy” than “casual.” He hated that he looked as if he were wearing his shirt incorrectly.
(Are you sensing the beginning of a great founding legend?)
Riccombono couldn’t find a solution his problem, so he did what entrepreneurs do best. He recruited a Columbia University classmate, Aaron Sanandres, and together they founded UNTUCKit in 2011.
After consulting with several focus groups, the two began their design, eventually landing on a shirt that was short enough to leave a small portion of the pant pocket exposed but long enough to cover the belt. It was casual but also sharp and sophisticated.
With just a small marketing budget, Riccombono and Sanandres knew they had to advertise wisely. They started with radio advertising, reaching their target audience by appearing on popular podcasts and shows like The Howard Stern Show. They advertised in airline inflight magazines, which helped the company drive online sales.
Turns out Riccombono wasn’t the only one with his shirt problem. The company began to grow and grow fast. People had fallen in love with the concept. It was both totally odd yet completely practical at the same time. It took off.
Since then, the company has transformed from an online-only operation run from a Hoboken apartment to a fancy SoHo office and six brick-and-mortar stores nationwide. (From direct model to direct-led, as we say.) It offers everything from sport coats to socks and recently began selling women’s clothing as well.
But Riccombono’s business is only where it is today because he discovered a customer pain point.
Yes, we think you are likely to know Amazon by a different name within a few years’ time – we think you will be calling her Alexa by 2025.
Think about it. We’ve always responded to brands as if they were personalities. However, the ability of brands to behave as personalities has been limited by technology and ingenuity.
But artificial intelligence technology is changing this.
Nearly every tech giant is deploying millions of dollars each year into building and developing their AI departments.
Apple has Siri. Amazon has Alexa. Google has WaveNet.
Microsoft has Cortana. IBM has Watson. And the list goes on…
When the choice of brands becomes a choice of personalities to deal with, will I choose Ben or Jerry, Tom Hanks or Scarlet Johansson or Alexa or Siri?
Brands as personalities and personalities as brands. Delivered directly, interactively, programmatically, and in a startlingly human-like way.
So, brands will continue trending toward artificial intelligence. We say the leading brands of 2020 will be direct model, life-changing, simple and habit forming, well the potential of AI is one really important trend to watch and technology to use.
That’s the future. For today, let’s get as close as we can to that ideal, and reap the benefits.