Show cover of In the Key of D: Using Digital to Transform Your Business

In the Key of D: Using Digital to Transform Your Business

What can Digital do for you? A show that explores why digital matters and how it helps entrepreneurs, business leaders and digital/marketing professionals make their businesses better. Featuring conversations with top Twin Cities business leaders and digital experts. Sponsored by Creatis.


Making the Change From the Middle with Jim Cuene
In this episode: [00:50] Jim Cuene Introduction[2:40] Jim talks about what inspired him to start his own consultancy[4:00] Jim talks about the vision of his consulting company, Fahren[5:45] How does Jim define digital transformation?[7:40] Technology is the key enabler[8:20] What’s the biggest upside to undergoing digital transformation for (big and small) companies?[9:35] “Large organizations need an outside stimulus to drive digital transformation.” Jim comments on where the real change can take place and the importance of leveraging outside partners in large organizations[11:50] Jim talks about how Fahren evolved over time to serve its clients[13:10] The last 18 months have been challenging to business leaders. Jim talks about shifts he’s seen within his clients due to the pandemic. How are companies creating breakthroughs or transforming their digital processes?[14:40] Fahren is a kind of “B2B2C” company. Jim discusses creating a more streamlined consumer experience with digital.[15:51] Jim speaks to how Fahren helps organizations set up digital marketing team structures, leveraging human resources, and goes deep on driving organizational change.[19:25] What is Jim doing as Fahren’s leader to drive change? How does Jim coach clients to drive change?[22:00] Jim looks at mass career changes in today’s hiring market, why top talent are choosing meaningful work and embracing innovation. [23:00] What advice does Jim have for marketers wanting to become digital leaders?[25:30] Rapid Fire! Quick questions and fast answers with Jim Cuene[27:35] How does Jim stay current on all things digital? He spends an hour per day reading or listening to tech, marketing, and business content.[29:00] Jim talks about the future of digital and what he sees as the next big thing.[31:30] Kathy and Gino’s Key TakeawaysLinks & Resources:Stratechery – Tech Blog & PodcastNot Boring by Packy McCormick – Business strategy & investingWaxy by Andy Baio – Internet BlogTechMeme – Technology NewsFollow Jim on Twitter: @jcueneLinkedInVisit FahrenKathy & Gino’s Key Takeaways:-Digital transformation (DT) is about streamlining the customer’s experience with your product or services. It’s about making products easier to find, understand and buy. It takes a team effort (From HR to IT to Marketing) to pull off DT successfully. -DT happens at an organization’s cultural center and not at the technology level (though tech is the key enabler). It’s about changing how you do what you do. The middle management of a large company can often jumpstart the digital transformation process because they have a pulse on what’s really going on across departments and teams.-Large organizations need outside partners/a third party who can bring new ideas, perspectives, and practices. Outside partners (like Jim’s company Fahren) can deliver hard truths about what an organization can do better, help identify blind spots and empower middle management to make those changes. Hard truths are easier to hear from experts outside the “family.” -Jim’s Leadership Stack: Look around at trends and write it down to process your thoughts, help your employees find out what they want to do and empower them to do it, put your team together to maximize talent, coach employees using honest but encouraging feedback.-DT requires balancing slow leadership with fast action. Steady leadership is necessary to create organizational buy-in; consider the angles before working with middle management and doers to get digital transformation over the finish line quickly. Today’s business leaders must sustain the energy for change in their organizations and lead with empathy. -There’s never been a better time to be a marketer than right now! Though we are emotionally tired (due to the pandemic), we’re intellectually stimulated. People are ready to do new things and have a strong appetite for doing meaningful work. Stay curious.  
44:15 12/21/21
Stand It Up, See What Happens with Jake Miller
In this episode: [0:52] Jake Miller Bio and Introduction[2:45] Jake talks about his inspirations and passions as an entrepreneur, and how they lead him to found his company, Fellow.[5:45] What were the biggest challenges in founding Fellow? Jake talks about engineering and developing physical products with a pure marketing background and what he learned about manufacturing products at scale.[7:25] Jake discusses his product portfolio expansion and how digital helps his coffee products. [8:30] As a startup, how did Jake and Fellow approach “customer research” or market studies? Jake talks about using Human-Centered Design and its four key components: “Empathize, Ideate, Prototype, Iterate.”  [9:30] Jake speaks to his strategic approach to selling: distribution, wholesale partners and e-commerce. [11:25] Jake offers advice for entrepreneurs who are starting out on how to use digital platforms. “Stand it up, see what happens. Be strategic from there.”[12:55] Fellow has only one brick-and-mortar store, their “San Francisco Playground.” Jake talks about experiential retail, the evolution of customer service, and what’s special about this store.[15:35] How did COVID-19 affect Fellow’s business? Jake talks about the challenges and (some silver linings) of the pandemic including its impact on product design, quality assurance, price increases, and more. [19:00] Costs of labor and raw materials have gone up globally in 2021, how do Jake and Fellow handle those increases? [20:00] Jake talks about supply chain disruption and Fellow products, and how the company pivoted to better reach customers during COVID.[22:00] Jakes discusses how much he leverages digital marketing to grow sales and connect deeply to their customers.[24:00] What types of “traditional” marketing is Fellow doing? How many countries is Fellow marketing in? Jake talks about all things marketing for Fellow: social, direct mail, influencers, sponsorships, and more. [27:30] Rapid Fire! Fun questions and fast answers with Jake Miller. [29:10] Wrap-up: How does Jake stay current on all things digital? What is the next big thing in digital? [30:45] Gino & Kathy’s Key TakeawaysLinks & ResourcesContact Jake by email: jake@fellowproducts.comVisit Fellow.Explore “Fellow Drops,” the company’s text-to-order coffee program.Visit Shopify, the platform Jake used to first sell Fellow products.Kathy & Gino's "Key" TakeawaysFor entrepreneurs with a marketing background who are getting a start in product design – It might take a little pure arrogance to think you can figure out the engineering side of the business. Sometimes that’s OK! Jake took several big risks when he started Fellow, which ended up teaching him a lot of important lessons about product design and development, even if he sometimes wishes he’d have chosen to partner with an engineer who knew coffee products from the outset. When starting Fellow, Jake didn’t invest in big market research. Because coffee product design is a niche market, Jake opted to find out how real coffee lovers wanted to brew coffee. Jake is committed to Human-Centered Design for Fellow Products. The four principles of Human-Centered Design: Empathize, Ideate, Prototype, Iterate.Supply Chain issues — Fellow paused to do formal research to make decisions on price increases, hoping the market will turn around. Research takes time. Digital marketing is more than just driving transactions; it’s about driving relationships. Digital has enabled companies to get closer than ever before with their customers and add value to their lives. Entrepreneurs and marketers sometimes forget that real people are clicking and going through the shopping process. Keep this in mind when building e-commerce websites. ROI can be more of a future motivation. What is keeping your customers moving through the funnel right now? Consider elevating the conversation with your customer first.When you hit a rough patch, come back to and stay true to the mission. Fellow’s mission (Help People Brew Ridiculously Good Coffee) helped them make difficult decisions during COVID-19 and the company’s early growing pains. The mission should be alive and embodied by the human beings who are running the business. Passion is important to success.Jake’s advice for starting a business, “Stand it up. See What Happens. Then Be Strategic.” For a business with high-quality products, that meant to try it and look to wholesale or distribution channels that can support your products. Balance the desire to sell directly while understanding some business will come through partnerships.  Fellow leverages influencers in an innovative way that adds value to their brand without adding costs. Enable people who are experts to promote and talk about your brand/product. Fellow using organic relationships with expert baristas to tell their story in an authentic way. When a brand’s story is authentic (not paid for), customers recognize this and gravitate toward your product. Sometimes we need people to take chances on us as entrepreneurs or professionals. So many careers come full circle, as they did with Kathy and Jake. Kathy has taken a chance on hiring new talent like Jake and Gino! Pay it forward when you can to mentor and offer advice to others. If you’re in a leadership or management role, keep in mind that raw talent can be molded. Take care of your people. There’s a war for talent out there, so make human connections a priority. 
42:38 11/30/21
How Understanding POEMs Drives Digital Integration with Adam Dince
In this episode: [0:50] Introduction to Adam Dince[2:20] How Adam defines Digital Transformation and how it’s impacted companies he’s worked with[3:20] Adam gives us a peek into his own career journey, and how the aspects of digital have evolved along with his various roles.[7:15] Adam talks about his current role as Director of Digital Experiences at Collegis, and the functionalities of his team[8:01] Adam defines what “owned media” means, and the acronym P.O.E.M (paid, owned and earned media) and how it functions.[9:45] Deeper dive on Marketing Channels: How does Adam define the various digital channels?[10:50] Which is Adam’s favorite digital channel and why?[13:15] Adam gets into omnichannel (also known as integrated) digital marketing, how it works and why it’s so important.[15:15] Adam explains the significance of Google’s groundbreaking “Zero Moment of Truth” study on online marketing, centered on the question: How do shoppers make purchase decisions?[16:40] Does omnichannel marketing strategy differ between B2B vs. B2C companies? Marketers must seek to understand where “your customers are hanging out online.”[20:15] Adam gives best practices for B2C or B2B companies trying to deploy omnichannel marketing strategies. He recommends sketching out your customer’s journey.[21:00] Direct-to-consumer companies have a love/hate relationship with Amazon…So what are Adam’s thoughts on using Amazon to promote and sell products?[24:35] Deeper dive on data...When we’re doing omnichannel marketing, how do we measure the effectiveness of our data—and credit the RIGHT data—at each customer touchpoint?[28:00] What tips does Adam have for business leaders getting started in organic social media? Adam’s 80/20 rule: 80% of your time listening, 20% posting.[30:40] Rapid Fire: Quick Questions and Fast Answers with Adam[33:45] How does Adam stay current in digital?[35:50] “Key” Takeaways with Kathy and GinoLinks & Resources:Read Google’s ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth) Handbook & StudyFollow Adam's favorite digital marketing experts on Twitter: Danny Sullivan @dannysullivan, Jason Falls @jasonfallsConnect with Adam on LinkedInBuy Adam’s Book, "Hopeful to Hired."Kathy & Gino's "Key" Takeaways:When getting into digital jump in and trust your gut but expect to learn on the fly. Adam did this in the early days of digital. Understand that you’ll probably make mistakes because digital moves so fast. Don’t get discouraged, keep persevering.  Kathy & Gino reflect on how much digital has evolved in the past 20 years: Websites used to be more like online business cards, now they are one-stop ecommerce stores where you can search for, compare, and buy products. The customer’s sales journey has completely changed, and our strategies must change along with them.  Adam’s favorite digital channel is Search. In most digital channels you’re trying to be as relevant as possible but making sure that you’re not getting in the way of the customer, including paid and targeted advertising. Search is really the only channel where we can get your message in front of customers at the moment they’ve asked for it. Building strong SEO presence can help marketers and businesses reach and understand their customers better. The importance of studying search data almost like an anthropologist is a best practice for Adam. Your content must be timely, relevant, and meaningful. Right message, right time for the right person. The right time is when a customer is asking for a message. Ads can get really targeted with today’s digital technology, and that’s a good way to have a better chance of reaching audience—but search is like a sledgehammer hitting right on that target.  Adam’s P.O.E.M. acronym stands for “paid, owned and earned media.” Paid media is the paid online advertising, owned media is any digital property or channel a company owns/runs, and earned media used to be on PR side (printed newspaper), but social has turned this on its head, and earned media is now like online "word of mouth", including organic search.  We must have an appreciation for the entire customer funnel, far before it turns into a sale or conversion. Each touchpoint is important and can contribute to the end goal. “Assisted Conversion” is the idea that your digital “foot traffic” came from another source or an accumulation of sources – which all relates back to having a unified omnichannel marketing strategy. The last click that led to a sale shouldn’t always get all of the attention!  The 80/20 Rule: Spend 80% of your time listening and 20% posting. You have to know where your customers hang out, how they behave and what they care about before you can craft effective content that reaches them. Adam believes listening to and studying Search data—using free tools like Google Analytics—is the biggest catalyst for conversion growth.
46:20 2/1/21
Giving Freedom Within the Guardrails—Featuring Kymm Bartlett Martinez
In this episode we cover:[1:15] Kymm Bartlett Martinez Introduction[3:05] Kymm talks about her career journey as a marketing leader[5:40] At what point in Kymm’s career did “digital” start kicking in? How did she first start using digital as a marketing leader?[7:45] Kymm tells stories about earlier marketing campaigns that included digital, going back to the emergence of digital couponing and websites in the year 2000.[10:00] Kymm talks about her role and responsibilities as CMO at the University of St. Thomas plus: What are the differences between higher-ed and CPG?[11:25] How did digital play a role in the CPG industry? Kymm talks about the difference between consumer strategies and customer strategies.[12:35] Kymm’s team used TV broadcasts at General Mills - did she replace that spend with digital later? Kymm explores her 70/20/10 model for allocating creative/marketing resources and the importance of using experimental channels.[14:50] How does Kymm keep her marketing teams hypertargeted and nimble on a campaign level, yet holistic and unified at a brand level? Kymm talks about brand guardrails, creative limits and determining appropriate messaging for your brand.[18:58] Kymm gives examples of guiding principles of brands. She explores how it’s worked and her strategies at St. Thomas.[22:30] Kymm talks about what kinds of lessons she learned in her early CPG days using digital: what learnings has she taken from then to use now?[25:15] Kymm talks about why trust within a team is so important and offers best practices for keeping a team engaged and moving forward.[28:04] There was an overhaul of University of St. Thomas Marketing Department when Kymm first started as CMO: How did Kymm work through that overhaul to find and keep talented people on her team?[29:55] COVID has driven online learning – but has it also impacted the marketing of higher-ed programs or courses? Has anything shifted in the realm of teaching online vs. marketing the teaching online? Kymm offers her perspective.[33:20] Rapid Fire: Quick Questions and Fast Answers with Kymm![35:30] Wrap up: How does Kymm stay current on digital?[36:30] Wrap up: What’s the next big thing in digital from Kymm’s POV?[38:20] Key Takeaways with Gino and KathyLinks & Resources:Connect with Kymm on LinkedInKey Takeaways:We often think that social drives what goes viral. Kymm turns it around and says that instead the need for going viral drives social. The channel is the enabler of the consumer behavior you want to drive. Digital played a bigger role than Kathy or Gino expected within CPG giant General Mills during the emergence of digital in the early 2000s. Catalina couponing was one of the very first digital re-targeting tools used.  Kymm allocates her marketing resources to achieve the best results using a 70/20/10. 70% of goes to tried and true channels, 20% goes to emerging channels or “up and coming” channels and 10% goes to experimental or unproven channels. Those experimental channels can lead to innovation. If you don’t devote some resources to experimenting, you’ll be passed up by other companies. Don’t Assume digital is a “One-Size-Fits-All” model. Though many digital tools evolve to become more universal, it’s important to distinguish between different digital channels that can work for different brands, products, and parts of your business. Know that your brand is not just a set of rules or products but is also: the people who use your brand. Therefore, you have to use the digital channels that the people who use your brand are interested in and using. There’s still a need for a traditional marketing methods, like “viewbooks” mailed to prospective student's homes. Digital is great to target messages by audience, but rarely do you get the opportunity to share messaging across all audiences. Keep your mind open to traditional and new methods of marketing as it is still very efficient in building awareness.  Guardrails lead to creative/marketing freedom. As marketers and leaders, you must define what your brand stands for (those are the guardrails) and document it. For your team: be crystal clear on what the guardrails are, explain the why, and then enable your people to make their own decisions. Teach, give guidelines, turn them loose!  If you can catch a consumer in transition, you can create new behaviors. All of us are in a huge transition period right now; it’s an opportunity for business leaders and marketers to introduce new behaviors to consumers, which can unlock new digital products and drive innovative ideas.
46:38 12/14/20
Making Easy Things Even Easier with Cole Ranzau
In this episode we cover:[1:00] Cole Ranzau Introduction[2:20] How does Cole define Digital Transformation as it relates to developing compelling customer experiences?[3:15] Cole talks about managing his experience strategy team’s roles and responsibilities at Strategic Education, Inc. (SEI)[4:00] Cole breaks down the brands of SEI, including his team’s focus on prospective students who use the Strayer University & Capella University digital properties.[5:00] How can you transform a non-digital brand or company into the digital space? Cole offers his experience and mindset when it comes to using formal and informal UX research to bridge the physical and digital space.[6:20] The COVID-19 crisis has revealed a lot about companies and digital, including which digital experiences fell flat and why, i.e. restaurants that didn’t leverage digital to do takeout meals successfully. It’s key to learn from these shortcomings to build a better digital future.[7:50] We dive into a conversation about analytics: How do Cole and his team zero-in on and measure out the right data, rather than chasing distracting data? Cole talks about his “3-Headed Attack” for using data, analytics and testing to solve user problems.[9:50] First getting into digital strategy and experience can be daunting; data and analytics feels like a BIG undertaking. How do small to midsize business leaders get started in this space? Cole offers practical insights on leveraging data, analytics and technology to better serve your customer and by starting with ONE pain point[11:15] Cole defines what “Experience Strategy” means and how it factors into his role at SEI.[13:15] Cole talks about the power of influence and storytelling for the purpose of gaining organizational buy-in and moving customers along on a journey.[14:10] Cole discusses his customers, who are prospective students of Strayer & Capella Universities, and breaks down how his team creates an experience strategy.[15:30] How has COVID affected the customer journeys that you’re trying to create for your audiences? Cole discusses customer journey maps and strategies for adapting to the times, including making how they re-engineered some online coursework to be like the “Netflix of Higher-Ed.”[17:00] What processes ensure that customer handoffs are successful from team to team within the organization? Cole explains his team’s focus on prospective students through the application process,  and how others in the organization engage in other part of the student journey.[19:00] How does Cole keep his team engaged while working remotely?[20:00] Coles talks about his hiring strategies, digital marketers vs. tactical SMEs, what he looks for in candidates, and how to create a balanced and successful team through passion.[22:50] Cole explains the process behind “testing” digital experiences and all the steps involved for his team at SEI.[26:45] Cole has a side hustle: a travel blog with his wife Lindsey Ranzau, which he helps develop and maintain digitally. How have they had to pivot during COVID? What’s changed in their approach to creating relevant content?[29:35] Rapid Fire - Fun Questions & Fast Answers with Cole[32:00] Wrap up Questions: How does Cole stay current in digital?[33:30] What’s the next big thing we should look for in the future of digital?[36:10] Key Takeaways with Kathy & GinoLinks & Resources:Email Cole: cole.ranzau@gmail.comConnect with Cole on LinkedInVisit Cole & his wife Lindsey’s Travel Blog: the travel blog & Lindsey Ranzau on Instagram: @lindseyranzauView some of the digital properties Cole and his team work on:, Takeaways:Cole embodies and deploys a practical and personal approach to user experience. It’s best to put yourself in the shoes of the customer and have a passion for giving them a great and easy experience using your digital products. Direct your energy into getting it right. Try to look at your own needs as the customers’ needs.  Don’t try to “boil the ocean” or do the most complicated aspect first when solving problems. Go after the biggest pain point first. Consider what solutions might also be “high impact, low burden.” This way of prioritizing can help ground your strategy and engage your team. Solve A problem first, not many. Make Easy Things Easier. Find a pain point and just make that one better. “3 Headed Attack” of Using Data To Solve User Problems: Web Data, ‘what’ a customer is doing and ‘where’ they’re doing it; UX data & research, customer motivations & needs – the ‘why’; Testing, discover what experiences works best for customer UX research can be formal or informal, just don’t let it become a joyless numbers game. There’s an element of humanity to user experience that can’t be overlooked. UX Research can even be as simple as going to talk to people within your organization, getting their input and trying to understand their challenges first. Look beyond your competitive set. Instead of getting fixated on what  you and your direct competitor is doing, be sure to stop and look around at what other big digital players are doing (like Amazon). Chances are your customer will base their response to your digital product off of their experience with the big brands.  For instance, Cole’s team looks beyond online universities and analyzes “best in class” digital experiences offered by Amazon, Apple, Google, Netflix etc. to anticipate what their customers are accustomed to and might expect. Communication and adaption during crises are important. Keep an open line of communication with people in your organization who touch that same customer touchpoint along the journey. SEI started offering a “Netflix for Higher-Ed” model for their Sophia Learning business, in which they changed both pricing model and accessibility in response to the pandemic.  The power of influence and storytelling is more important now with so many digital channels available. Using stories helps to make numbers more human. Telling compelling stories trumps showing only quantitative data or graphs. Stories are emotionally engaging and help “level-set” within your organization, across teams and functionalities. These stories help get buy-in from the whole team.
49:07 11/30/20
Going Over-the-Top with Pete Harrison
In this episode we cover:[0:50] Pete Harrison Introduction & Background[2:25] What role does digital play in helping companies go to market quickly? [3:20] What’s the biggest upside for startups in embracing digital transformation? [4:06] What holds digital transformation back for startups and small companies? [5:12] How strict is the measurement framework for startups? Pete talks about the significance of analytics and early testing.[6:36] Pete speaks to the evolution in TV advertising and the key role of search and social advertising. [8:25] Pete defines OTT (over-the-top/Streaming) TV and Linear (broadcast/network) TV advertising, plus the differences and similarities between them. [9:35] How has COVID impacted streaming TV and linear TV? [11:23] Pete offers expert advice for companies looking to buy either linear or OTT advertising, breaking down the options, typical levels of spend and measurement.[14:00] Pete discusses the production costs for advertising on various digital channels, plus time and cost saving options for companies on a tight budget. [17:06] Pete explains why the ROI on OTT (streaming TV) advertising is much stronger and why testing is much tighter, and how to effectively use your new or existing creative content for different digital channels.[18:10] Pete talks about what an “Explainer Video” is and why it’s a great place to start.[19:45] Deeper dive on the specifics of running ad campaigns for OTT (streaming TV); including the benefits of device targeting which OTT allows.[22:01] Pete discusses where to get started, managing your budgets to get the most of our content, and when the time is right to invest in OTT advertising.[23:43] We talk about the “Spending Plateau,” based on an article Pete wrote.  [26:20] Rapid Fire - Quick Questions and Fast Answers with Pete[28:30] Wrap Up questions - How does Pete stay current in all things digital? [29:30] What’s the next big thing in digital that we should look out for?[31:40] Kathy & Gino’s key takeaways Links & Resources:Connect with Pete on LinkedInRead Pete's article, "Startups Maxing Out Search and Social? Turn to TV...yes...TV"Key Takeaways:TV is a viable digital channel and shouldn’t be overlooked! OTT advertising is more performance based in that it allows companies to test, measure and tweak quickly with audiences. It allows companies on tight budgets to include advertising in their marketing mix. OTT TV Advertising is different from Linear TV Advertising which is the traditional TV Advertising.  In traditional advertising campaigns, there’s more of a waiting game to determine how successful a campaign is. With OTT, you can pull activity through to an actual purchase by a customer which allows a marketer to be more flexible and shift budget into the channel/creative that is working.  But be warned, both OTT and Linear campaigns can be expensive, as you still need to spend on both the media and the production of the creative content to be broadcast. It may not be the very first thing new businesses should undertake to promote their product(s), and perhaps a social campaign or website development should come first.  A “Spending Plateau” is the notion that you “run out of people that you can reach profitably through a single advertising channel.” You can’t create demand, and you can’t spend twice as much money and get twice as much result. There’s a plateau of response that your company will experience. The key is to diversify spending to different digital channels. Success depends on a mix of search, social advertising, and OTT (streaming TV). There are really now 7 Digital Channels. The 6 digital marketing channels commonly referred to include: website, display, search, social, email and mobile. OTT (Streaming TV) Advertising has now become a 7th viable digital channel. How does digital help startups and midsized companies? Long story short: It helps them get their product or company to market faster. It requires more discipline around the measurement aspect but allows for faster testing with audiences via multiple channels to find out what works. Digital helps these companies access results immediately with more accurate ROI tracking. Utilize the content you already have. If you’re using videos for social media, there’s a good chance that content could be effective on streaming TV ads as well. One example of this is an “Explainer Video” which is a brand’s main story, often in the form of a short, animated video. Using existing content like explainer videos helps companies manage production costs effectively and get into market more quickly.  In the startup world, people don’t resist change as much as they might in older, larger companies. For new businesses, digital transformation is the way forward. Often, startups are a team of new people who are ready for change and already understand the evolving power of digital. The big challenge becomes budget and effective investment of available capital. 
42:03 11/16/20
How a 153-year-old Startup Goes Digital — Featuring Steve Yaeger
In this episode we cover:[00:50] Steve Yaeger Introduction[1:50] What Steve’s role at the Star Tribune entails[2:50] When did the Star Tribune start to undergo Digital Transformation? Why did the leadership go in this direction?[5:35] Have digital subscriptions accelerated over the past 8 months due to the pandemic? What big changes has Steve seen from subscribers recently?[8:05] Undertaking Digital Transformation for the Star Tribune was a massive effort—what’s been the biggest upside? Steve talks distribution of new information[9:32] What is holding DT back for media brands like the Star Tribune or marketers in general?[11:05] How does the Star Tribune filter and prioritize ideas? Steve talks about the discipline of the company, its focus on profit and sustainability strategies.[14:10] How has this past year impacted the staff of the Star Tribune?[16:40] In terms of marketing, does the Star Tribune go after customers with an omni-channel approach? Is it two customer segments (digital & print) or is it just one in terms of strategy? Steve talks about acquisition of customers and adapting with consumer behavior.[19:50] The 2030 Project, developed by Steve and the Star Tribune’s editor in chief Rene Sanchez. Acquisition of customers in the next generation who haven’t grown up with “print.” Going to get customers instead of them coming to the Star Tribune.[24:00] What advice does Steve have for listeners on getting started in digital transformation?[25:00] “Be good to your teeth or they will leave you.” Steve talks about adapting to make it easier for the consumer to buy the product & customer retention.[26:39] What are the big changes in digital right now that are notable to Steve?[28:15] Was there a “last one standing” strategy for the Star Tribune? Why don’t we just be THE place for people who want print? Steve talks about profitability and not giving up on what is still working.[30:40] How to keep customers attached to the brand in the digital and print age? What will the typical subscriber look like in the future?[32:50] Rapid Fire - Quick Questions and Fast Answers with Steve[35:00] Wrap up questions: Steve speaks to how things are changing and the biggest challenge facing business leaders.[36:40] How does Steve stay current in digital? Steve talks about the importance of having effective ways of listening and the talent who knows what to do with what’s being heard[38:10] Kathy and Gino’s “Key” takeawaysResources & Links:Contact Steve by email: steve.yaeger@startribune.comConnect with Steve on LinkedInSubscribe to the Star Tribune“Key” Takeaways:The increase in use of digital news is accelerating quickly, but at the same time, print is not going away any time soon. The Star Tribune is deploying the “Riding two horses rather than switching horses” strategy. Print is still a major source of the company’s revenue. They are not planning to abandon print but rather add adapting to changing customer needs by add digital options.The Star Tribune’s 2030 project: The Star Tribune will have to go get the next generation of customers, accepting that these young people won’t just come to the brand based on “consumption modeling” at home. This group isn’t just a focus group, it’s an ongoing conversation with a people who look like the Star Tribune’s customers—in terms of professional industry, demographics, and insights.Let people buy how they want to buy. Don’t put a lot of effort and resources into changing how they buy. This is a simplification strategy for the digital age.The lack of constraints in our digital world is a big challenge that’s often overlooked by businesses undergoing digital transformation. With so many channels emerging, it’s easy to have a “let’s do it all” mentality and spread your resources too thin. But success often comes from maintaining focus and “let’s pick one channel and do it well first” mindset. Do one channel extremely well versus doing four poorly.Don’t give up. It’s about long-term survival and protecting legacy revenue. It’s not only about leapfrogging the competition right now; but also about staying in the game and adapting to meet emerging demand.Given the only certainties in life are love, gravity and legacy revenue. Figure out a way to protect how you’ve also made your money, but actively innovate around it as well.
46:30 11/2/20
If You Host It, Will Anyone Actually Come? — Featuring Wendy Blackshaw
In this episode we cover:[1:10] Wendy Blackshaw Intro[2:13] A high level look at Wendy’s career journey[3:30] When did Digital "kick-in" during your career?[5:00] Wendy’s introduction to Digital[6:36] How did Wendy leverage Digital for her work as Senior VP of Marketing on the Super Bowl LII Host Committee?[8:11] What is Wendy doing with Digital at present?[10:40] Wendy’s work on NCAA Women’s Final Four 2022 and the impact of Title IX[13:14] Creating Digital assets: how to add value to event sponsors & partners without a roadmap[17:40] Gino & Wendy talk Super Bowl event craziness & why their partnership was so successful[21:05] How does Wendy find great people who understand digital?[22:45] Does Wendy prefer to work with generalists or specialists?[26:30] How do you keep your team engaged and willing to learn and the grace to figure it out?[28:35] Rapid Fire: Quick Questions & Fast Answers with Wendy[30:26] Wrap Up- How does Wendy stay current in Digital?[31:45] What’s the next big thing in digital?[34:35] Key Takeaways with Kathy & GinoLinks & Resources:Find Wendy on LinkedInContact Wendy by email: wblackshaw@gmail.comRead this article about Wendy's work as CEO for the NCAA Women's Final Four 2022 & MNSE OrganizationKey Takeaways:When you haven’t done something before, lean on your experience, trust your gut and source experts to help you strategically “make it up” as you go along.Digital can be used to make events bigger than just ONE event on a specific day. Think of an event as an ongoing brand to expand it’s impact. The reach of digital allows you to always be marketing.Content is key. Get others to help you tell the story. Leverage content from other sources, regardless of who sourced it. Over-deliver value to clients or partners. Make it easy for others to market for you.Successful roll-out of marketing campaigns comes down to trust for leaders. Give guidelines to people, give them digital a toolkit and let them go. You can always edit and change the content as you go. Find people with a CAN DO passion over a HAVE DONE skillset.  
44:51 10/19/20
Bridging the Divide—Featuring Aaron Keller
In this episode we cover:[00:50] Aaron Keller Introduction[1:52] Aaron discusses co-founding Capsule (his design agency)[3:00] What is the most significant change in design practice these past 20 years?  Aaron talks about Capsule’s evolution as an agency[7:15] What are your clients biggest design and branding challenges right now, during COVID-19? [9:45] What are some of the biggest changes for retailers during this time? How are they using digital to solve problems? [12:45] Aaron defines “responsive design” and how it’s changed how designers approach their work[15:05]  “One size doesn’t fit all." Aaron further breaks down responsive design and why prioritizing different audiences matters[17:25] Mobile First vs. Mobile Only, Aaron’s take on these buzzworthy design theories[21:45] What are the top things to keep in mind when a project involves packaging design? [24:00] How long has packaging sustainability been top-of-mind for designers or agencies like Capsule? [27:00] Aaron offers advice for upcoming graphic designers in today’s world[28:50] Rapid Fire! Quick Questions and Fast Answers with Aaron Keller[30:45] How does Aaron stay current in all things digital? What’s the next big thing in digital design? [32:40] Kathy and Gino’s Key Takeaways [36:19] Bridging the divide between physical and digital, a key summary of the episodeLinks and Resources:Visit CapsuleSubscribe to Capsule’s Think & Link virtual series. Buy Aaron’s book, The Physics of Brand  Read The Experience Economy by Joe Pine & James GilmoreFollow Aaron on LinkedInConnect with Aaron via email: aaronkeller@capsule.comFollow Aaron on Twitter: @KellerofCapsuleKathy & Gino’s Key Takeaways:Design can’t be only digital or only physical anymore. Responsive design means considering everywhere your design will be seen (mobile, print, packaging, desktop, etc.)Designers have the responsibility to bridge the divide between the physical and digital world. That’s the great challenge of the digital age.Think of your audience as human beings. You must first understand who they are, where they live, what they buy and why…then work your way forward. Research is so important in the digital age. Great design is about more than simply how it looks; functionality that speaks to the brand must be incorporated as well. Innovations in sustainable packaging & unboxing experiences are poised to make an even bigger impact for the consumer in the coming years.Aaron's Favorite Band to See Live: Depeche Mode!
42:32 10/5/20
Why Sears Could Have Been Amazon—Featuring Craig Herkert
In this episode we cover:How Craig defines digital transformation [1:35]What are the biggest upsides of using digital for companies? [3:11]What is holding the transformation back? [6:12]Craig’s advice for executives and business leaders: How to get started using digital? [9:14]COVID-19’s impact on the retail industry [11:10]What online shopping can and can’t do [15:06]The future of remote work after COVID-19 [17:13]Rapid Fire! Fun facts and fast answers with Craig [25:06]How does Craig stay current with digital? [24:54]What’s the next big thing in digital?  [27:30]Kathy & Gino's "Key" Takeaways  [31:00]Links and Resources:Follow NYU  Marketing Professor and Digital Thinker Scott Galloway on TwitterFind Craig Herkert on LinkedInKey Takeaways:Companies that don’t go digital simply will not surviveWhat’s holding digital back? The people with an opposition to change. Individual “primal” survival always  trumps survival of the “herd.”As a leader, you have to empower your people to change, and give them the tools to make it happen.Digitized curated “in-store” experiences are the future of retail.Craig’s Favorite Band or Musician: Miles Davis!
39:19 7/16/20
Let's Get Digital—Featuring Kathy Hollenhorst and Gino Giovannelli
In this episode we cover:Gino Giovannelli Introduction (1:00)How Gino defines digital transformation (1:45)How do you keep all the moving parts of digital straight? (3:30)What are the upsides in favor of digital transformation? (6:06)What is holding companies back from doing digital well?  (8:58)The importance of vision and strategy; leadership's role in digital transformation (12:34)Who benefits when a company goes digital? (15:40)Rapid Fire! Fun facts and fast answers with Gino (18:50)Closing Thoughts - How do we stay current with digital?  (21:35)Links and Resources:Download our "Wheel of Digital Transformation" VisualMalcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History podcastEssentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeownSimon Sinek's A Bit of Optimism podcastThe Digital Marketing Podcast from Target Internet Why We Buy by Paco UnderhillConnect with Gino on LinkedInConnect with Kathy on LinkedInKey Takeaways:[On digital strategy  and action] Think big, start small, move fast.[On learning how to use digital] "Immerse yourself in situations where you're forced to figure it out...Don't ask yourself if you HAVE done it; ask yourself if you CAN do it." - Gino GiovannelliThere are 2 main buckets of digital transformation: 1. People (enablers, process) and 2. Touchpoints (customer experience, responsive design, technology, analytics)The biggest winner of digital transformation is the customer.Gino's Favorite Band: Rush!Kathy's Favorite Band: U2
28:50 7/16/20
Evolution Not Revolution—Featuring Stuart Harris
In this episode we cover:Stuart Harris Introduction [1:06]How does Stuart define digital transformation? [2:11]What’s the biggest upside to taking on digital transformation for companies? [3:20]What is holding companies back from undertaking digital transformation journeys? [4:56]Stuart talks about leading the new business division devoted to digital transformation. [6:10]Who are Stuart’s team’s clients and who do they engage with on the client’s team? [8:15]How has Emerson moved from being “hardware” oriented to helping companies develop a digital strategy? [11:45]What are the critical success factors for a company's digital transformation? [16:00]Rapid Fire! Fun facts and fast answers with Stuart [20:15]Wrap Up Questions: How does Stuart stay current on all things digital? What’s the next big thing in digital? [23:00]Kathy and Gino’s “Key” Takeaways [27:06]Links & Resources:Email Stuart: stuart.harris@emerson.comConnect with Stuart on LinkedInEmerson Digital Transformation Business UnitRead MIT Sloan's Groundbreaking Research Report: Strategy, Not Technology, Drives Digital TransformationKey Takeaways:Strategy, not technology, drives digital transformation. Failure to develop a strategy is the single greatest pitfall a company can make when going digital.You need support and active engagement from a company's leadership to drive alignment. Involve all aspects of the business: IT, HR/Organization Dev groups. Employee buy-in is critical.Digital transformation is the use of smart, connected technologies to solve problems. Start small, focus on a goal and drive from there.Stuart's Favorite Musical Performer: Ed Sheeran
35:04 7/16/20
Keep the Talent, Lose the Fear—Featuring Darin Lynch
In This Episode We Cover:Darin Lynch Introduction [00:52]How did Darin get started in digital? [1:40]What was Darin’s motivation to start Irish Titan? [3:25]How does Darin define “digital transformation”? [5:48]What is the upside for companies willing to take on digital? [7:10]What’s holding companies back from going digital? [11:19]People, Process & Technology - What drives and slows change?  [13:39]Darin’s Business Philosophy: “Business First, Online Second.”™ [15:15]How does Darin tie digital and business strategy together with technology?  [18:30]How to hire advice and what are Darin’s people management practices? [22:52]How did Darin build Irish Titan’s culture? [26:25]Words of wisdom for companies moving into e-commerce/online space? [31:24]How do companies and leaders  get started in digital transformation? [33:36]Rapid Fire! Fun facts and fast answers with Darin  [35:50]Wrap up Questions: How does Darin stay current on digital trends? What does he think is the next big thing in digital?  [41:00]Kathy and Gino’s “Key” Takeaways [45:00]Links and Resources:Irish Titan WebsiteEmail Darin: darin.lynch@irishtitan.comConnect with Darin on LinkedInDarin's team uses "Officevibe" to measure work culture & performanceArt of the Start (book) by Guy KawasakiRSA Animate Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us (Video)Axios Newsletters on Tech & Digital TrendsSimon Sinek PodcastKey TakeawaysDigital transformation is the weaving and embracing of technology into all of your approaches toward business performance. Digital solutions should be woven through the different disciplines of your business.Define project or product requirements before coming up with technical solutions and deciding on platforms.People today want to work at a company where things move quickly. Adoption of tech and digital into all of your practices offers a ton of flexibility to a company and all its employees, which promotes productivity to help retain and extend your company culture.Darin's Favorite Band: Kiss
53:20 7/16/20
Welcome to the Sh*t Show—Featuring Andrew Eklund
In this episode we cover:Andrew Eklund Introduction [00:50]How does Andrew define digital transformation?  [2:00]What is the most significant upside for companies undergoing digital transformation? [4:44]What’s holding companies back from undergoing digital transformation? [6:08]Andrew tells the story and inspiration for starting his company, Ciceron [7:26]Andrew’s unique idea of “economic reinvention” for businesses. Breaking down how economic crashes birthed market-changing solutions through digital. [10:38]How can companies take advantage of digital channels and advertising during COVID-19? How do companies manage resources, focus and priorities in this new world?  [16:22]Advice for companies doing business the same way and the new way of digital [20:41]How does a company without a digital foundation get started? [24:38]Rapid Fire! Fun facts and fast answers with Andrew [29:38]Wrap Up Questions: How does Andrew stay current on digital? What’s the next big thing in digital? [33:55]Kathy and Gino’s “Key” Takeaways  [36:20]Links & Resources: Connect with Andrew on LinkedInLearn more about Andrew's company, CiceronUse "Digiday" as an ongoing digital resource"Key" Takeaways:Digital transformation is an existential reality. How companies respond will determine if they will sink or swim — these crises are just part of the fabric of our reality. It's a leader's job to respond.Failure is built into innovation. Leaders must see things as they are, no sugar coating. Be real and give your  team slack on the financial leash to make it happen.Digital provides a hope to get through major economic downturns.Andrew's Favorite Band: Phish, but Radiohead might be the best band
42:32 7/16/20
Small Bets Placed Often—Featuring Jen Swanson
In this episode we discuss: Jen Swanson Introduction [1:10]How does Jen define digital transformation? [1:48]What is the biggest upside for businesses? [3:30]What is holding companies back from integrating digital?  [6:50]An Evolution from Project to PRODUCT management & focus [9:40]How does product over project mindset work in day-to-day practice? How Jen goes in and helps companies. [15:45]What are the core characteristics of a good product manager? [20:08]Jen is technology “agnostic," meaning she doesn’t know how to build technology; so how does she bring technology out of IT and integrate it into the business? [24:00]“Business People” vs. “Technology People” [27:15]What does it mean to apply “Agile” principles to make an entire business better? [29:15]Rapid Fire! Fun facts and fast answers with Jen [33:50]Wrap up Questions: How does Jen stay current on all things digital? What is the next big thing in digital transformation? [37:35]Kathy & Gino’s “Key” Takeaways [41:30]Links & Resources:Connect with Jen on LinkedInFollow Jen on TwitterJen Swanson's Company WebsiteProduct Management Resources and Newsletter - 280 Group"Key" Takeaways: Projects end but products endure. Meaning digital platforms stop evolving the moment you stop working on them. Digital products must be cared for and nurtured over time.Agile vs. agile. Big "A" Agile is the  formalized software development process, little "a" agile just means adopting "Agile" principals and applying them throughout departments like HR, Operations, Marketing—agility is not just for IT. Happy employees make happy customers. Digital  makes it easier for employees to do what they do.Change mindset from digital supporting strategy to digital being THE strategy.Jen's Favorite Musician: Paul Simon
47:36 7/16/20
Measure Twice, Cut Once—Featuring Andrew Benson and John Dusek
In this episode we cover:Andrew Benson & John Dusek Introduction [1:00]Why did Andrew and John start “Straight Line Theory” in 2002? [1:35]What is User Experience (UX) design? [4:05]How is UX different than UI (User Interface)? [7:35]How do “usability tests” actually  work? [8:30]Where does UX fit with a company thinking about doing a bigger digital transformation? [9:47]Digital empowers customers. How do you ensure that giving customers new  freedoms also makes it easier for them to use digital products? [10:57]How does a company get started improving digital experience for customers? [15:05]UX fits in everywhere from a digital transformation perspective. How does collaboration with users work? How does the prototyping process work?  [16:20]How does Straight Line Theory continue to operate and collaborate with users during the COVID-19 crisis?  [18:20]How do you focus your UX research given all the different digital devices available for users? [22:28]Rapid Fire! Fun facts and fast answers with John and Andrew [24:35]Wrap Up Questions: How do John and Andrew stay current with changing customer expectations and digital possibilities? [30:10]Kathy and Gino’s “Key” Takeaways [34:07]Links & Resources: Connect with John Dusek on LinkedInConnect with Andrew Benson on LinkedInLearn more about Straight Line TheoryGet to know the "Nostos" Business Community"Key" Takeaways:UX design is focused on 4 phases: Research, Refine, Test, DefineIt's so important for companies to watch users actually use their digital products to identify pain points, inconsistencies and what is working.The key to successful UX design is a "measure twice, cut once"  mentality. Usability testing is critical.The customer should influence the way the technology is built, not the other way around.John's Favorite Band to See Live: Durand Jones and the IndicationsAndrew's Favorite Musician: Prince  
42:30 7/16/20