I’d like to say the Marketing to WinTM journey started almost thirty years ago, when I captured my first real job after college managing the Nitty Gritty in Madison, WI, an iconic place in Madison that, coincidentally, was purchased and opened under that name right about the time I was born. Marsh Shapiro took me under his wing (I will forever be grateful for his friendship and mentorship) and tasked me with ensuring a standard of customer service was met, developing bar specials and promoting the Gritty, and a love for marketing was born.
Or maybe that love commenced years earlier when I started working as a mate on boats; cleaning them following a weekend out on the water, fishing the ocean, bays and inlets of the east coast. I hustled then to acquire customers, ensuring I had enough to take care of to make the trip down to the Shore worthwhile, covering gas, food and what little entertainment I allowed myself to enjoy. I had to understand the market, including which prospects needed what services and which ones were willing to pay my rates, ensuring I was able to make a profit. I had to create a brand for myself and could not have asked for anything better than my customers nicknamed me, following on the popularity of the Karate Kid back then, “Wax On, Wax Off.”
I had a terrific beginning. I went on to get my MBA to become more grounded in the theory and process of marketing. My early career allowed me to work with some terrific, iconic and customer-centric brands like Lands’ End, Nordstrom, CUNA Mutual, Liberty Mutual, Progressive, Sub-Zero, Wolf, American Family Insurance, and Great Wolf Resorts.
The journey took a turn down a different path seven years ago (as of this writing), when I decided to hang-up my own shingle, and go back to the joy of being independent, a small business owner working for myself. I still got to work with great brands like Allstate, CUNA Mutual, Verizon Wireless, only this time on my terms.
And on a cold snowy day in December 2019, I hopped on a slightly different path when I met Shawn Helwig for a cup of coffee. We worked together on a few projects over the years, starting at Sub-Zero in May of 2006. He was one of the most knowledgeable data and analytics strategy folks I ever worked with, and he shared his Analytics To WIN® methodology with me. And it became apparent that this methodology was suited to helping market teams to develop strategy, quickly. With his help I built the Marketing To WinTM program.