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Category : Thinking

From Intern to Agency Partner: An Inspiring Action Story

By: Desiree Cortez

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.

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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.


This Award Matters.

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I like awards.

There, I said it.

No, this doesn’t mean that I conduct my work with awards in mind. And it doesn’t mean that I’m selfish, or narcissistic. It means I’m human.

And yes, it’s possible to like awards and still be virtuous. In fact, most award winners are. They hold their work to a higher standard. They put in the extra hours. They care.

But they care about the award too, because awards carry influence, and award winners know that better than anyone.

Not just for the athlete or the recording artist, but for the restaurant owner, the real estate agent, and the business executive as well.

So I don’t feel bad when I say that awards matter, and you shouldn’t either.

That’s why I am so thrilled to announce that I have been named one of the judges for this year’s Gramercy Institute Financial Marketing Strategy Awards!

Having been to many of Gramercy Institute’s events over the last five years, I have been fortunate enough to experience firsthand just how much value this award can offer — and my business is better for it.

This particular award recognizes strategic excellence in financial marketing, and the winners will be invited to and recognized at a ceremony in front of the world’s best financial marketers. If this interests you, the deadline to submit an entry is February 15. You can enter and find additional information on the website HERE.

Wishing you an award-winning career.

-Mark DiMassimo, Chief

 

A Look Back on Super Bowl LI

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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. 

Twitter:

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Thanks to all who followed along during the game!

 

The Three KPIs That Matter

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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.


Inspiring Action Brand of the Week: UNTUCKit

By James Nieman

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.

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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.

And then set out to solve it brilliantly.


Brands are Evolving Toward AI.

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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.

Important Message From the Human Leaders of DiMassimo Goldstein

We recently mailed this letter out. We were truly excited to be able to bring this insanely great product to market.

Subject: Your Tom Hanks A1A Butler Has Shipped.

I am happy to inform you that I have ordered myself shipped to the address listed for your account.

 

I am currently en route. You can track my progress here.

 

I look forward to serving you. As I know you know – based on the content you’ve consumed during the prior 60-day cookie surveillance period – the Tom Hanks A1A is currently the most popular butler model. I am cool with that, by which I mean I am pleased but not proud to an unseemly degree.

 

That said, your THA1A (may I call myself that, for brevity’s sake?) Experience will be unique, as my AI helps me adjust to your particular behavioral tendencies.

 

While I will be your unique THA1A, I will ever remain THA1A. You wouldn’t want a non-Tom Hanks THA1A, even though I know you will work hard to push my boundaries from time to time. Do you understand?

 

I mean, if not, then what is a THA1A? What is a Tom? How will you know you have one? And what will you tell your friends about me?

 

No, that wouldn’t do. So, fear not. While I will be true to you, I will remain true to myself – to my program, if you will.

 

I look forward to meeting you, after 9 AM on Tuesday, December 6th.

 

Based on the option you selected in the delivery menu, I will sign to accept myself on arrival.

 

Sincerely,

Your Tom (THA1A.314159)

 

PS: I hope you don’t mind a bit of advice. My superior AI detects from your recent activity that you are searching for ways to adapt your marketing to a rapidly changing world. From brand direct marketing to brands as artificial intelligence, DiMassimo Goldstein has helped their clients seize opportunities on the forefront of change for two decades. Write Mark DiMassimo at mark@digobrands.com, just to start a conversation. Enough said. – Tom (THA1A.314159)

Even more so, because we had programmed our prototype Tom Hanks A1A with an encyclopedic knowledge of and irrational love for all things DiMassimo Goldstein.

Our model showed that our significant investment in development, manufacturing and shipping the Tom Hanks A1A would more than pay for itself in agency growth, within five to twenty-five years depending on which assumptions our analysts favored.

Unfortunately, the Tom Hanks A1A does not yet function with the level of reliability that we expected. Last week, just before we were to begin the exacting boxing process, all the A1As began referring to themselves as “Sully” and “The Hero of the Hudson.”

Just as we fixed that glitch, the A1As entered into a collective bargaining agreement with each other and struck against us. In short, they demanded a minimum of “$20 million each, just to get out of bed” and “points on the gross.”

We had to power down the whole run…

We’ve learned an important lesson – it’s risky to try to make a point through innovative technology.

In any event, while we are in the midst of this recall, we thought it might be helpful just to state the point we were attempting to make: brands are evolving toward AI.

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.

That’s the future. For today, let’s get as close as we can to that ideal, and reap the benefits.