Corporate Marketers Need a Better Network

Dan Diveley
VP of Business Development

Corporate Marketers Need a Better Network

Dan Diveley, Vice President, Geile/Leon

Throughout my 25 years of work in the ad agency business, I’ve developed a strong network of fellow marketing professionals at other agencies and on the corporate-side. I’ve also come to realize that client-side marketing professionals don’t seem to have as strong of networks.

Here on the agency-side, we seem to keep in touch with many other agency people. When we need input on a challenge, we can pick up the phone and call someone who also works on the agency-side to ask for help. This happens frequently.

I’ve asked a few friends who are marketing execs, to name a few—say ten, and other local marketers who they feel they have a strong relationship with. Most of the time, they really don’t know many other than those they are currently working with or have recently.

But, having a strong network of people who work in your field is so important. When I was President of our local American Marketing Association a few years ago, we were brainstorming ways to better support the marketing community. One idea was to help corporate marketers build their network and learn from other marketers. We developed the AMA Marketers Roundtable—a small focus group-type discussion on a specific topic.

A few times a year, corporate marketers are invited to discuss a topic. The discussion is managed by an experienced focus group moderator, Lon Zimmerman. The conversation is recorded, and a white paper is published. We just hosted our 16th roundtable where ten marketers from a variety of industries participated. The topic this year was “Social Media: As A Marketing Tool, Is It Living Up To Its Hype?” Besides learning more about social media, we try to make each roundtable an opportunity to network with other marketing professionals.

To see white papers from previous sessions, visit the Resource Page on the AMA St. Louis website.

Participating in the Roundtables can help marketers build their network, and I invite any corporate marketer to join us at the next Roundtable. If interested in being included on the invitation list, please contact me at [email protected] or 314-727-5850.

In a small way, a strong network helps to rebuild our economy. Sharing knowledge with other marketers will help produce better results for their companies, thus adding more sales—which leads to more employment and ultimately adding to our nation’s success. Seems like a simple formula to me.

Jedi Copywriting: My path as a Padawan learner

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Jedi Copywriting: My path as a Padawan learner

Recently I was at the Ad Club Creative Symposium, the creative gathering for St. Louis advertising agencies. And my favorite presentation was the speaking duet, John January and Tug McTighe, who discussed the parallels of a little known Sci-fi series, Star Wars, and modern copywriting. Surprisingly, the 2 universes are more corollary than I ever imagined. And just so I don’t loose the too-cool-for-light-sabers crowd early on, you need to know just about nothing on Star Wars for their insight to be helpful. These two had a few too many beers, watched a few too many consecutive Star Wars movies, and came up with some genius connections between creative copywriting and Jedi Knighthood.

For me this really hit home because of the frank tone (example; “Some days you will feel like a fraud…”) and humorous connections (Ultimate Sci-fi pop culture references). It’s refreshing to hear what you need to hear in the context of a creative presentation. January and McTighe covered six principle similarities, or rather tenets:

My Creative Jedi Team


1. Be a Padawan Learner.

Translation: Be open to guidance throughout your entire career in copywriting. Yes, you may show talent early on, but be open to mentoring and advice. Only then will you ever truly keep improving.

2. Concept the Jedi Way.

Meaning: Jedi always collaborate to conquer, as should your creative team. The more head the better. For copywriters, our allies are most often our art directors. We need to work as a creative team, set differences aside, to work toward the greater good.

3. Concentrate on the Here and Now.

Aka: Concentrate on the task at hand. Do what is on your desk to the best of your ability. Stop looking ahead or on your cubicle-mate’s desk. If you consistently deliver stand-out work the good stuff will, in time, come your way.

4. Beware the Dark Side.

Say what?: In advertising our evils are pettiness, envy and insecurity. We can not let these counterproductive emotions creep into our agencies and destroy creative mojo. Work alongside your creative Jedi, be open to ideas, and new thinking.

5. Do or Do Not. There Is No Try.

In English: Don’t get hung up in your losses or failures. Just bring the best ideas you possibly can to the table. Yes, clients will shoot down great ideas. But don’t give up. The next big idea is just a sleepless night away.

6. Celebrate Seriously.

Sounds simple enough: This is imperative. Take your victories seriously. Whether it’s winning an account, nailing a tagline or finishing a project, put aside a moment to celebrate. Maybe that means cracking a cold one or doing the Cupid Shuffle, at the very least, pat oneself on the back because if I’ve learned anything in my short career, it’s that you will fail plenty, so don’t be afraid to linger a little too long on the victories.


All in all, this was an ingenious presentation and really got me thinking. I mean there have been plenty of brochures I just wanted to get out the door, but I should make time to make those HVAC brochures the best damn HVAC brochures anyone has ever seen. Sure some days are hard, but other days make those hard days worthwhile. And next time I’m frustrated, instead of bottling it in, I should just swivel my chair around and talk it out with my art directors. Celebrating? Well, I think I’m doing an okay job at that, but I can always be more encouraging of my fellow Jedis’ victories, we’re the force after all.

If you’re interested in hearing the full presentation, download their podcast, American Copywriter. You’ll get their full insight, Samuel L. Jackson quips and all.


Selecting an Agency Doesn’t Have to Give You a Headache

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Selecting an Agency Doesn’t Have to Give You a Headache

Recently, Harley Hammerman, CEO of Metro Imaging and Geile/Leon client, told the Business Journal that selecting an advertising agency to promote his business was a matter of relationships. A few days ago the ANA, the Association of National Advertisers, and 4A’s, The American Association of Advertising Agencies, published guidelines on how to conduct an agency search to help marketers find the right agency and make the process as painless as possible, for both parties. It’s a big commitment to hire an agency. There’s a lot riding on the decision, and you want to get it right.

The agency search is a blessing and a curse. The blessing: for the agency, the opportunity to win new business; for the client, to form a relationship that could change their business. The curse: the process, which is about to be broken.

Most companies think that the RFP, is the way to go. Almost any agency will tell you it’s flawed. Historically, RFPs are used for vendors and contractors. Your agency is a consultant—it’s a relationship and our services can’t necessarily be compared. The beauty of agencies is that we all think and tackle situations differently. If you were to receive five RFPs from five different agencies—the answers would all be different. Thank goodness!

The key to a great relationship with your agency is finding one that fits you, understands your business and can deliver great results. This is not a one-size fits all deal. Not every client is right for every agency and vice versa.

So throw out your RFP form. Instead, do some research. Ask around. We (agencies) like to think that our clients would be happy to give a recommendation, because we have exceeded their expectations. Jump online and do a search for agencies, and make your short list. Then get some opinions from colleagues. Meet one-on-one with the agencies on your short list. Visit their space. Talk with your account team.

Finding an agency is a lot like dating. Certain criteria have to be met, but the spark on the first meeting is usually the tell-tale sign of a long and successful relationship.

Heartland Bank Finds Fun Way to Bolster United Way Giving

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Heartland Bank Finds Fun Way to Bolster United Way Giving

Heartland Bank, a client of St. Louis Public Relations Agency Geile/Leon Marketing Communications, decided they wanted to do a little more than just contribute to the annual United Way Campaign on an individual basis.

So they decided that this year, each department would create an auction basket with donated items from clients, customers and themselves. Each basket would have its own theme. Once all the baskets were put together, employees would bid on each of the baskets (silent auction). The bidding began on October 5, and ended on October 7. There were eight baskets in all (one from each department) and the minimum bid was 50 bucks. Of course, some of the great baskets created stood out, like the Football one (pictured below) with Rams tickets, Mizzou gear and tailgating stuff.

Anyway, the highest bid went to the basket from the Heartland Bank Mortgage. These folks didn’t get a lot of donations, so they put together a basket with Cheez-Its, Dr. Pepper and Twizzlers! It drew $1350!

The entire auction added $4,000 to the bank’s contribution, and everyone had a great time doing it.

Following My Own Advice When Preparing for a Media Interview

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Following My Own Advice When Preparing for a Media Interview

There is nothing like being on the other side of an interview to make you think about what you do for a living. As Vice President of Geile/Leon Marketing Communications, a St. Louis public relations agency, I train people how to do effective interviews. But when it is personal, I wonder what to say and how it will look in print!

I recently had a great experience with Town & Style writer Elle Denigan and photographer Charlie Barnes. Elle chose me to participate in the “What’s Your Routine” column. I will be featured in the October 26 column talking about my workout routine.

While I work out regularly, and always have, it still was a little nerve racking to be talking about myself to a reporter who was in fact asking me questions. Now many of you who know me will be asking if I followed my own advice when preparing for the interview, such as writing notes and key messages to deliver. Well, I can honestly tell you that I tried to!

I think I stammered a little when Elle asked me about my eating habits—what else could I say but that I am picky, with a capital “P!” She was very easy to talk to, but it was still an interview! Now I have a better sense of how my clients must feel when I put them in front of the media!

Branson’s Hiltons Receive First-Ever “Blue Energy Award”

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Branson’s Hiltons Receive First-Ever “Blue Energy Award”

The Hiltons of Branson, which comprise the Branson Convention Center, Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel and nearby Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing Hotel, are the proud recipients of the first-ever “Blue Energy Award,” given by Hilton Hotels. The Hiltons of Branson are a client of Geile/Leon Public Relations, a St. Louis Public Relations agency.

The award ceremony was covered by Branson Tri-Lakes News, the local newspaper. Below is the article “Hilton presented the first Blue Energy Award to Hiltons of Branson for its positive impact on teams, business and the community.”

Hilton presented the first Blue Energy Award to Hiltons of Branson for its positive impact on teams, business and the community. “Blue Energy represents such an important part of our culture of hospitality,” said Bill Derbins, general manager of Hiltons of Branson. “Congratulations to all of the team members of our two hotels for going above and beyond to make our guests and the members of our community feel valued and respected.”

More than 500 submissions were received from Hilton hotels and resorts around the world. The Blue Energy Quarterly Award is based on two criteria, the Brand Scorecard and the Quarterly Update completed by each property.

The Blue Energy initiatives that set Hiltons of Branson apart this quarter included a number of events recognizing team members for their hard work, a clean-up effort of Branson Landing Boulevard, a food drive for survivors of the Joplin tornadoes and innovative ways to recycle, reduce and reuse.

The Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel, Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing and Branson Convention Center are in the heart of historic downtown Branson and adjacent to Branson Landing. The hotels’ ideal location is perfect for business and leisure guests.

One of the most recognized names in the industry, Hilton Hotels & Resorts stands as the stylish, forward-thinking global leader in hospitality. The flagship brand of Hilton Worldwide continues to build upon its legacy of innovation by developing products and services to meet the needs of tomorrow’s savvy global travelers while more than 144,000 team members shape experiences in which every guest feels cared for, valued and respected.

Today, the Hilton Hotels & Resorts portfolio includes more than 540 hotels in 78 countries, and the brand remains synonymous with “hotel.” Hilton Hotels & Resorts is one of Hilton Worldwide’s ten market-leading brands.

Promising News on the Ad Industry Front for 2012

Tim Leon
President/Brand Strategist

Promising News on the Ad Industry Front for 2012

This week is the 8th Annual Advertising Week in New York City, the world’s premier annual gathering of marketing and communication gurus and thought-leaders. This year’s conference is making the news, despite the crappy economy and economic outlook. On day one, there was a panel discussion that shed a very positive light on our industry and the outlook over the next couple of years.

Tim Jones, chief executive of ZenithOptimedia, part of Publicis Groupe, was quoted as saying, “While the aftershocks keep coming, worldwide advertising spending will grow this year compared with last year, next year compared with this year, and 2013 compared with 2012.”

Mr. Jones mentions the primary reason for growth next year comes from the “quadrennial effect” that our industry will experience —media reaping the benefit of selling commercial air time and ad space for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games and the 2012 elections in the United States. It’s the perfect storm for media spending to increase next year.

There were some caveats to Mr. Jones speech, like the somewhat anemic growth of the U.S. economy and the power of consumer sentiment. He warned, “If we’re not in a recession, we may talk ourselves back into one.”

I, for one, am not going to be part of the negative thinking. It’s time for optimism and confidence. Here’s to a resurgence of ad spending and consumer confidence in 2012!