Q. Describe your background (where you grew up, college, etc.):
I’m originally from South Dakota, born and raised with a northern accent to prove it (or so I’m told). I grew up in a very small town – my graduating class was a whopping 32 students. For higher education, I went on to South Dakota State University where I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism. While in school, I worked part time at Daktronics, a company that was also born in South Dakota and is known for scoreboards, video displays, and digital signage – including the video boards you see in the Chesapeake Energy Arena. After college, I moved to Sioux Falls, SD, and started working with a local promoter doing small club and theater level shows. Eventually I got a gig with SMG, the management company for an arena and convention center in town. In 2014 we opened a new 12,000-seat events center which was an incredible experience and huge success for the region. I moved to Oklahoma City in February 2019 for my current position.
Q. What about marketing piqued your interest?
I have always had a love for music and entertainment. Growing up, my dream was to be a music writer, working for places like Rolling Stone and Spin (think Almost Famous, but in the early 2000s with BlackBerry phones and MTV’s Total Request Live). I worked with my college newspaper starting out as a reporter and eventually growing in to the editorial team. While there, I learned about paper layout and advertising which sparked an interest in the bigger picture. With my position at Daktronics at the same time, I was working with sporting venue proposals and campaigns which gave me experience with InDesign and Photoshop. All combined, I grew a passion for the creative side and continued to work with all aspects of Marketing, from copy to layout to print. I love the amount of creativity I get to bring to my position in every way.
Q. What is your current job and what do you enjoy most about it?
I usually describe my department as an in-house marketing agency. We handle all social media, event advertising plans (everything outside of Thunder games), promotional and grassroots campaigns, public relations, client relationships, vendor partnerships, and even billing. My team oversees the creative content that ultimately sells tickets and gets more shows. Anything from wrapping vehicles with a Chainsmokers graphic to promoting a pop-up tattoo booth (temporary tattoos, but it still got a lot of buzz) at the Scissortail Park Grand Opening. We are also in charge of ‘rolling out the red carpet’ on show days to prove to artists and their teams why our venue is the best in the region. Anything from providing pony cycles (they’re a thing) for Post Malone to transforming the catering room into the Hogwarts dining room for Ariana Grande. And that’s exactly what I love about it. Each show is a new chance to outdo what we did before. If you think it’s too weird to get done, we’re probably going to try to do it.
Q. How long have you been a member of AMA and why did you join?
I have been a member for about a year. As someone new to the area, I mainly joined to meet more like-minded creatives and make connections. But the content and speakers have also been incredible (you mean I get to spend a whole lunch where we watch and discuss Super Bowl ads? Sign me up!).
Q. Why do you feel it’s important to stay up to date with new practices and tactics in the marketing world and how does it relate to your job?
With technology constantly changing, consumers expect the latest and the greatest at their fingertips. It’s exciting but can be overwhelming. Staying ahead of the trends and ready to make the next move is important to keep in front of our customers. On top of that, insights and analytics are constantly changing – often for the better, thankfully. Learning new ways to optimize your plan is key to working smarter, not harder.
Q. What is the best piece of business advice that you’ve ever been given?
A former boss used to have the phrase ‘You are not the victim.’ on a sign by his desk. I’ve kept that with me and pull it out every time I get frustrated or overwhelmed. It’s easy to play the martyr – life is too busy, my deadlines are too tight, the expectations are too high – we all just have SO much going on. But nobody wants to sit down at the table next to the person who always complains about just how awful everything is for them. It’s a reminder to step back, take a deep breath, and tackle life one problem / task at a time (and crush it while you do).
Q. Do you have a favorite marketing publication, podcast, conference, etc. that you would recommend?
When I’m not binging true crime podcasts, I enjoy Everyone Hates Marketers, HBR IdeaCast, Social Media Lab, and The DGDC – Deeply Graphic Designcast. I also enjoy Harvard Business Review’s OnPOINT magazines which are mostly a collection of the top stories each quarter. And a book that I always keep around is Brand Like A Rockstar by Steve Jones. In my industry, I attend Event and Arena Marketing Conference every spring and numerous IAVM (International Association of Venue Managers) seminars.
Q. What’s something most people don’t know about you?
Before falling in to the marketing world, I freelanced for several national music publications and interviewed some amazing musicians. Before doing large arena shows, I promoted small events where I got the opportunity to work with some great bands – even a few before they ‘hit it big’. I loved designing show posters, settling shows in gross basement storage closets, and got to cut my teeth on Myspace marketing and real grassroots street teaming.