When crafting your story on the digital palette, understanding the elements of marketing and the art of storytelling isn’t enough. You need the secret sauce. From coding my first website in 1992 to leading the digital transformation for Fifth Group Restaurants in 2020, I’ve grown my career by creating audience-focused digital campaigns and products. The secret sauce is understanding how to measure and quantify the success of these programs as part of an integrated communications strategy.
I am always looking for new trends in creating culture and storytelling, like the impact of responsive design or the power of real-time native content creation, to better understand the changing landscape of when, where and how we interact with brands and individuals (as we watch the line between the two blur).
The digital consumer is our most finicky and they have no patience for marketing. That’s the bad news. You will fail often. The good news is that the ink never dries on the web. So fail early and often. Just make sure you’re learning something.
During my time in brand management with IHG, I supervised the production of all digital campaigns from our annual stay and earn promos to all executions associated with our BMW Motorsports or PGA TOUR partnerships (including IHG’s first 1:1 personalized video message campaign with PGA TOUR star Rickie Fowler for IHG’s Big Win multi-brand campaign).
One of my biggest big rocks with Fifth Group was to lead their multi-year digital transformation. We started by organizing our channels by sales target audience and streamlining content funnels for key business drivers like high margin private events, gift cards and the war for talend. Then, we also took the time to strengthen our technology foundation redesigning all corporate sites on a responsive WordPress platform and with a hosting environment powered by WP Engine. After that, we rebuilt our restaurant web properties on a SAAS platform that allows for ADA compliance, a more reliable codebase and a more defined branded experience.
And we didn’t stop there. We completed our five year digital product roadmap with the implementation of third party delivery systems, integration enabling Chowly middleware and enhanced online ordering capabilities. The result? In a year where in-store revenues fell 70% due to the pandemic, our takeout sales quadrupled!
One of the most rewarding projects of my early career was acting as project manager for the state of Georgia’s first B2C tourism site Explore Georgia and leading the redesign of Georgia.org during the state’s rebranding efforts and the 20/20 growth strategy. It was a challenging and rewarding experience, and it’s when I fell in love with digital. The $2 million project won the AMY Award from the Atlanta Chapter of the American Marketing Association.
Once the new Georgia products were live, we launched campaigns targeting domestic and international businesses and tourists via SEO/SEM strategies and implementation, consumer relationship management programs and the state’s first mobile and social strategy.
Our efforts increased web traffic by more that 500% in my three years with GDEcD. Projects completed won seven awards, including the AMY Award from the Atlanta Chapter of the American Marketing Association. The tourism CRM program we created won the IAC Award presented by the Web Marketing Association for “Best Government Email Campaign.” And our team came up with that cool logo on all your state issued IDs.
I am proud that I have left a digital product as a lasting legacy at every job I’ve ever had. This is because my focus hasn’t been creating products but solving problems.