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In this week’s episode of “Marketing Today,” Alan talks with Ryan Bonnici, chief marketing officer for G2 Crowd. A self-admitted unconventional thinker, Bonnici started his career in an unconventional way — as an international flight attendant. But Bonnici used his time in the air to talk with the executives in first class and gain an understanding of the way they think. More importantly, a connection he made provided him with a conventional opportunity: a job at Microsoft.

In addition to Microsoft, Bonnici has worked for companies like ExactTarget, Salesforce, HubSpot, and now with G2 Crowd. In this freewheeling and frank conversation, Bonnici reveals some of the decisions he’s made — that have paid off big — and the thinking behind them. And like a lot of successful marketers, Bonnici believes in taking chances, even if you don’t always succeed: “The best way to learn,” say Bonnici, “is just to do and to fail — and to learn from that.” 

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today” podcast include:
  • Bonnici discusses his background and career path. ([1:15])
  • Bonnici says G2 Crowd thinks of itself as the world’s largest business commerce marketplace. ([6:16])
  • “A philosophy of attraction” — Bonnici’s thoughts on inbound marketing. ([7:31])
  • How Bonnici turned $6K into $64 million for HubSpot. ([10:08])
  • “A little bit naughty, a little bit defiant.” Bonnici reveals his thinking on selling ideas in. ([16:22])
  • What Bonnici is up to now at G2 Crowd. ([21:19])
  • Bonnici on the divide between brand-building and performance marketing. ([24:04])
  • Pay attention when hiring and provide specific and detailed feedback: Bonnici on his approach to team-building. ([26:29])
  • “An extroverted introvert” — Being bullied as a child gave Bonnici “serious motivation” to succeed. ([36:22])
  • From fitness and project management to travel and meditation — Bonnici reveals some of the brands he admires. ([39:32])
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Marketing Today with Alan Hart” once again comes to you from Brooklyn, where it was recorded during the Incite Group’s Brand Marketing Summit, which took place in October of 2018. This week’s episode features a conversation with Kristi Argyilan, who is a senior VP with Target, where she is in charge of media, guest relations, and measurement. She also leads strategic partnerships with media companies like Google, Facebook, Pinterest, and NBCUniversal as well as with Target’s agency partners Mother, Deutsch LA, GroupM’s Essence, among others.

During the course of the podcast, Argyilan kept returning to the importance of the relationship Target is fostering with Gen Z, which includes partnerships with influencers, the creation and use of video in social media, and members of Gen Z pitching business ideas to Target through its incubator program. 

“We’re really leaning in on this idea of marketing becoming commerce,” says Argyilan. And we’re pushing that technology in whatever way we can.” She goes on to add: “This blurring of marketing and commerce, I think, is super interesting.”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today” podcast include:
  • Argyilan on Target’s massive presence in American shopping and the ways the company relates to different generations of shoppers. ([1:29])
  • The new rules of marketing engagement: Target pulls in Gen Z influencers using its creation of Crush Con. ([3:01])
  • Argyilan identifies how Gen Z is different across the board: culturally, geographically, economically, and technologically. ([5:20])
  • Heyday, Original Use, and Wild Fable: Target is launching brands with and for Gen Z. ([6:16])
  • Target and @targettag: Using influencer-created video content to connect with Gen Z. ([8:18])
  • Balancing Target’s traditional advertising with video content for a younger generation: The “Tar-zhay” moniker lives on. ([10:32])
  • The idea of marketing becoming commerce. — Target’s incubator program invites Gen Z to pitch business ideas. ([13:28])
  • “We do us.” — Argyilan on how Target competes with the online onslaught of Amazon. ([14:49])
  • Target’s ethos of inclusivity has helped them appeal to different generations without alienating any of them. ([20:33])
  • Target’s Math & Magic: “We’re constantly having to make sure that our machines don’t take over where the humans need to be.” 
**Let Your Voice Be Heard**

“Marketing Today” has a new Q&A feature! Ever wish you could ask a question on the show? Well, now you can. Just click this link and ask your question — it’s that easy. And if we can, we’ll answer it on the next podcast. We’re looking forward to your questions!

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This week finds “Marketing Today” on the road again. This time the destination was Brooklyn and the Incite Group’s Brand Marketing Summit, where Alan Hart moderated a track — Customer Understanding and Personalized Experiences — and took the opportunity to talk with some of the marketers there about their brands: what was top of mind for them, key insights they had about the Brand Marketing Summit, and their thoughts on the customer journey and experience. They also talked about sources they turned to for information, the best pieces of advice they’ve received, and even things they love and hate. 

The four marketers Alan spoke with are:

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today” podcast include:

Michael Blash describes Ink Bench as a company that is “built on active creative collaboration that delivers powerful brain control.” In the process, it helps companies deal with the very real struggle of creating value in the digital supply chain by being better at getting content created, managed, and produced. He also notes, “If you can make a customer a fanatic, you have a customer for life.” Lastly, Blash revealed he has a love/hate relationship with pizza. ([1:20])

Alegra O’Hare seemed to think in couplets, of sorts. In discussing what is top of mind for her at adidas, she pointed out two challenges: (1) continuing to challenge the status quo, and (2) balancing brand and KPI. Her take on the customer journey/experience found her thinking about (1) ways to be more surgical with the deliverables they create for campaigns and (2) coordinating between lead agencies and highly skilled specialty shops they partner with. She also revealed two pieces of advice she lives by: (1) do something every day that scares you, and (2) take your time in hiring people. ([6:41])

Casey Hall talked about how Thompson Reuters was a big believer in creating employee advocacy for its brand — they seek to use Thompson Reuters employees to humanize the brand and get their brand story out there in a way that is difficult to do through branded channels. As for advice that Hall lives by, he says “find a way to do something you want to do and don’t wait for permission.”  ([10:30])

Abinav Varma discussed UNIBEES’ main offering — a mobile app that helps college students find free food(!), special events, and giveaways on campus. In talking about the UNIBEES app, Varma revealed that increasing student engagement is constantly top of mind for his company, something they seem to be succeeding at judging by the stickiness they’re seeing as a result of added features they’ve introduced. He also noted, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, that “My entire company is built on pizza.” (We’re sensing that pizza is a common thread among marketers.) ([17:03]) 

**Let Your Voice Be Heard**

“Marketing Today” has a new Q&A feature! Ever wish you could ask a question on the show? Well, now you can. Just click this link and ask your question — it’s that easy. And if we can, we’ll answer it on the next podcast. We’re looking forward to your questions!

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In this week’s episode of “Marketing Today,” it’s déjà vu all over again. Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian, returns for his third visit on the podcast. Bob and Alan can’t decide if it’s a case of the third time being a charm or if it’s three strikes and you’re out. In any case, it’s a treat for the listener because Hoffman is, as always, blunt, profane, and hilarious —and he takes no prisoners.

During the course of his conversation with Alan, Hoffman talks about the state of advertising as he sees it, his recent contribution to “Eat Your Greens,” published by the APG as part of their 50 Years of Planning celebration, his take on Facebook, and his new book, “Laughing@Advertising.” The book is a compilation of articles from Hoffman’s blog, The Ad Contrarian, and Hoffman describes it as “the silliest, most injudicious and, perhaps, irresponsible marketing book you’ve ever read.”

But we all know that really means the book is filled in equal measure with incisive analysis and barbed wit coupled with Hoffman’s trademark shoot from the lip approach. Or as he likes to say, “I look at my job as being subversive. I think the industry needs some subversive voices who are willing to challenge the aristocrats.”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today” podcast include:
  • Hoffman on why this book, “Laughing@Advertising,” and why now. ([4:56])
  • Advertising’s Final Solution. ([8:38])
  • Just in time for the holidays: Hoffman’s philosophy of gift-giving. ([15:05])
  • Hoffman on Facebook’s new CMO: “I think that’s the worst job in the world.” ([17:28])
  • Hoffman’s perspective on the ANA. ([19:52])
  • The most absurd thing Hoffman’s thinking about right now: What if Martin Sorrel bought back WPP? ([25:58])
  • Hoffman still reads newspapers — in print. ([26:52])
  • Missed opportunity: The advertising industry is missing out by not marketing to people over 50. ([28:36])
**Let Your Voice Be Heard**

“Marketing Today” has a new Q&A feature! Ever wish you could ask a question on the show? Well, now you can. Just click this link and ask your question — it’s that easy. And if we can, we’ll answer it on the next podcast. We’re looking forward to your questions!

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In this week’s episode of “Marketing Today,” Alan talks with Dave Knox, marketer, consultant, and author. His book, “Predicting the Turn: The High Stakes Game of Business Between Startups and Blue Chips,” was an Atticus Awards Grand Prix winner in 2017.

Knox has worked for Proctor & Gamble and was chief marketing officer at Rockfish. Now, he is co-founder of The Brandery, a startup accelerator, and co-founder and managing partner at Vine St. Ventures, a seed venture capital fund.

During his conversation with Alan, Knox pointed out one reason why a lot of big companies struggle with innovation: “A CEO used to be rewarded for the five-year vision of how they were going to grow the company,” says Knox. “And today they’re being measured whether they hit a quarterly number or not. And that’s a really dangerous kind of short-term thinking that I think is stifling innovation in a lot of different ways.”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today” podcast include:
  • Knox talks about his background and why he wrote “Predicting the Turn.” ([1:16])
  • Innovation: A big business problem or widespread disruption opportunity? Short answer: It’s both. ([4:47])
  • A focus on quarterly earnings hampers the ability of big companies to innovate. ([7:17])
  • “Just because you’re big doesn’t mean you can’t move fast.” ([9:32])
  • Two watch-outs in prospective partnerships between big companies and startups. ([11:53])
  • In the world of venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and startups, relationships are key. ([19:38])
  • Advice from a record company executive led to the way Knox’s career unfolded. ([23:08])
  • Fatherhood grounded Knox with a sense of balance. ([25:26])
  • Knox: “The future of marketing is going to be much more about total customer experience.” ([29:03])
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This week’s “Marketing Today” features a very special guest. Alan talks with Seth Godin, author of 18 best-selling books, including “Free Prize Inside,” “Purple Cow,” and “The Dip.” And now he’s written a new one: “This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See.

In his conversation with Alan, Godin discusses his new book and what it’s about: creating change and a modern way of thinking about marketing. Godin also touches on Nike and Colin Kaepernik, Brexit, and why, when trying to reach people, it’s important not to try to transform them or get them to admit they’re wrong, but simply to dance with them.

And while he is a best-selling author and thought leader, Godin considers himself, first and foremost, a teacher. “I decided a bunch of years ago that I was a teacher,” says Godin. “And I decided that the best, most comfortable way for me to teach would be to notice things and try to explain them. And, if I do it well, people will say, ‘Well, of course.’ And that’s the goal — to uncover the obvious in a way that once people see it, they can’t unsee it.”

You can find excerpts from Godin’s latest book and a video explaining why he wrote it here.

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today” podcast include:
  • Godin on his new book: “Writing a book is painful. Publishing a book is even more painful.” ([1:32])
  • The tendency of marketers to race to the bottom. ([3:22])
  • Godin discusses the ways polarization manifests itself in society and how to think about it. ([7:06])
  • Focusing on what’s easy to measure instead of focusing on what’s important — Godin’s take on capitalism and culture. ([14:29])
  • “Stories are more powerful than proof.” ([19:36])
  • From aerospace servotronic controls to ski bindings: Godin discusses how a chain of events when he was 14 years old led to the way he still builds his projects today. ([27:13])
  • Godin is fueled by seeing what happens when his work falls into the right hands. ([32:04])
  • Godin’s response to people seeking the next big thing. ([38:10])
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