The Beat - Summer 2019


Drummond's Summer 2019 edition of The Beat








Ann Handley

on Finding

Your Brand


How to Build

a Better

Landing Page

Brands We

Love: OluKai



Think you

can’t write


marketing copy?

Ann Handley wrote a book


(From our cover story on page 6)

OluKai’s best-selling

‘Ohana men’s or women’s

beach sandals!

Discover the comfort and

craftsmanship YOURSELF!

(Check out OluKai in Brands We Love, page 10)


or scan our QR code.

WELCOME Summer 2019 01

Welcome to the Summer issue of THE BEAT!


n connection to our feature story,

Surviving the Talent Crunch (page

12), our outside back cover offers

up data on salaries for marketing positions

ranging from entry-level to senior-level

managers. One of the most surprising

(and promising) pieces of information

we uncovered in our research came from

the National Association of Colleges

and Employers (NACE), revealing that

employers expect to hire 16.9% more

new graduates from the Class of 2019

than they did from the Class of 2018 for

positions in the US. That’s the biggest

increase among recent graduates since

2007! This helped us to understand the

enormity of the talent crunch, and the

competitive landscape employers are

facing when seeking top candidates to

fill entry-level positions. We also learned

that employers are often

met with disappointment

when the new hire doesn’t

appear to be as “workready”

as they had hoped

for. Terri Bartlett, President

of Marketing EDGE, sheds

some light on the “workready”

part of the new-hire

equation as she explains

John Falconetti

CEO, Drummond

how her organization helps to train and

prepare marketing graduates for real-world

marketing positions.

You’ll be able to sink your teeth into our

Insights story (page 4) as it speaks to SEO

reports that are C-suite worthy and shares

how to gather the information to create

them. Our digital download resource

(e-book) dishes out 22 free (yes, we

said free!) SEO tools that are tested and

top-rated by and other highly

reputable sources. Score! Share the e-book

with your marketing department and

encourage them to explore these tools.

Finally, to our cover story. Ann Handley

found time in her busy calendar (in

between speaking engagements, writing

her newsletter, serving as the Chief Content

Officer at Marketing Profs, and traveling) to

spend time with Tim Sweeney, our writer

extraordinaire. She delivered

nuggets of great information on

developing your brand voice and

creating great newsletters. Her

book, Everybody Writes, is one of

our favorites and also one of our

summer giveaways. Register to

win Ann’s book or a pair of OluKai

sandals (Brands We Love, page

10) at


Read insights from the following

contributors in this issue:

Ann Handley

Chief Content Officer, Marketing Profs, and

best-selling author talks about your brand voice

and marketing. (Page 6)

Terri L. Bartlett

President, Marketing EDGE, explains how ME helps

connect and train marketing graduates, academics,

and corporate leaders. (Page 16)

Trish Witkowski

The owner and 60-second

Super-cool Fold of the Week author offers two

unusual direct mail formats

to consider. (Page 5)

Follow us online

THE BEAT is printed on 100# Gloss Cover/100# Gloss Text paper

01 Welcome

Letter from the CEO, plus a selection of

the key contributors writing in this issue.

02 Insights

Ideas, opinions, news, and trends.

06 Cover Story

Interview with Ann Handley on the topics of

brand voice and mediocre marketing.

10 Brands We Love

OluKai: Direct mail, social marketing, and

philanthropic partnerships make this a brand we love.

12 Surviving the Talent Crunch

How Marketing Edge is helping graduates,

academics, and corporations.

16 Spotlight

Marketing EDGE program details.

Executive Editor

Cindy Woods,

Contributing Writers

Tim Sweeney

Stephanie Walden

Carro Ford

Design: Diann Durham

©2019 All Rights Reserved

Printed and distributed by Drummond

Summer 2019





DIY website-building services such as

Squarespace, Wix, and Unbounce make it very

simple to set up customized landing pages, even

for business owners without any programming

expertise. These platforms also allow practically

anyone to get a handle on basic metrics

monitoring and data analysis—a key element of

fine-tuning your digital marketing funnel.

But perhaps you’ve noticed a trend in your

landing page data: you’re getting clicks but not

conversions. If this is the case, poor design,

clunky user experience, or overkill on the copy

might be the culprit. Luckily, a few tried-and-true

tactics can make your landing pages an invaluable

element of any inbound marketing campaign.

Landing pages are an inbound marketer’s

not-so-secret weapon. Here’s how to use

them to turn clicks into conversions.

By Stephanie Walden

work as a complement to direct mail marketing if

you add a CTA to print materials directing people

to a link or QR code.) It’s literally where visitors

“land” when they express interest in your product,

service, e-book, etc. after following up on a

marketing message that’s piqued their interest.

There are two primary types of landing

pages: lead generation and click through. For

lead-capture landing pages, the CTA prompts

visitors to enter information such as their email.

Click-through pages, on the other hand, are more

directly sales and conversion focused; they might

feature a prominent Buy Now button that adds

an item directly to visitors’ shopping carts.




In 2019, landing pages have serious clout:

research has found that companies with 40+

landing pages generate about 12 times more

leads than businesses with fewer than five.

And yet many companies overlook landing

pages’ potential. A recent survey found that

44 percent of B2B campaigns still direct to home

pages—a practice that HubSpot calls tantamount

to throwing away leads.


The overarching theme for crafting a successful

landing page is simplicity. All the links, explanatory

text, and fancy modules on your home page—your

manifesto; detailed product descriptions; the

explanation of your mission, vision, and values;

even your navigation bar—have no business on

your landing page.


You already know the importance of landing

pages, but here’s a quick refresher: landing pages

differ from other pages on your website, as they’re

typically standalone sites that prominently feature

an offer, promotion, free trial, or lead-gen form. If

your home page is the star battalion of your digital

marketing front, your landing page is a highly

specialized sniper.

While your home page typically handles

organic search traffic, a landing page works in

tandem with a Google AdWords, banner ad, or

social or email marketing campaign. (It can even

Click-through landing page

Lead generation landing page

INSIGHTS Summer 2019 03


Ways to Stick the Landing

Marketing expert Neil Patel compares bad landing pages to going fishing

without a net: “You might land a big one on your hook, but you won’t be

able to drag it into the boat.” Beyond the basics (a mobile-friendly page and quick

loading times are givens), here are a few tips for building landing pages that convert.

If your landing page is failing to convert,

perform an audit of design and copywriting

decisions: Do images steer the eye to the CTA

with effective use of lines, graphics, and color?

Is your copy concise and informative yet direct

and authoritative? Do your lead-capture forms

contain an intimidating number of fields? (Pro

tip: Lowering the number of form fields from the

average of 11 to just 4 can boost conversions by

a whopping 120 percent.) You can steer visitors

further down the funnel by providing clear

navigation cues via these visuals and copy.

A final step for constructing a successful landing

page is to follow up with a thank-you page or email

that confirms receipt of the form and/or details the

next steps for claiming an offer. This crucial form of

follow-through is more than just a nicety—it ensures

prospective leads aren’t left hanging and gives you

an opportuity for another CTA. ■


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This should be the first thing visitors’ attention is drawn to when they come to

the page. While you should choose just one CTA (instead of repeating various

ones throughout the landing page, which risks distracting, fatiguing, or confusing

visitors), don’t be afraid to A/B test a

variety of copy and design options.

Alternate between coaxing asks

and emphatic commands—adding

an exclamation point or using allcaps—and

bold color choices to see

what drives the most conversions.

Patel emphasizes the importance

of making the place to click clear,

suggesting that you design the CTA

as an obviously “buttony button.”



It’s quite literally an unwritten rule of good website design

that too much copy is distracting. A well-executed video

or GIF explainer can help drive conversions by as much

as 80 percent. A visual that clearly explains a promotion,

showcases the benefits of the product, or provides a teaser

of a service is a simple way to pack a lot of information into

a small space without resorting

to daunting paragraphs of text.


As with any inbound marketing

tactic, data is a foundational part of

the process. Keep an eye on metrics,

including demographics, conversion

and reconversion rates, and other

key data points by using tools such

as Crazy Egg, Optimizely, Google Tag

Manager, and Google Analytics. Paid

sites such as UserTesting can also

provide valuable insights into what’s

working and what’s falling flat for your

landing page strategy.

Summer 2019







SEO reporting offers an opportunity to pulse

check the performance of your website,

landing pages, and digital campaigns.

Here’s how to learn the ropes.


EO reporting is one of those terms that can cause eyes

to glaze over and minds to wander to greener, buzzier

marketing pastures. But these reports are more than

convoluted technical terms and ambiguous line graphs—they’re

invaluable tools for measuring the effectiveness of your website

and related campaigns.

SEO reports provide actionable insights into what’s working

and where there’s room for improvement with your website or

landing page’s front- and back-end build-out, including elements

such as copy and backlinks. They also allow marketers to capitalize

on momentum and fine-tune online campaigns. We’ve outlined a

brief primer on developing clear, effective SEO reports.


Get a glimpse of your SEO efficacy by tapping simple resources

without shelling out top dollar. If you’re fuzzy on SEO strategy,

you’ll want to educate yourself on the latest trends and

terminology beforehand. We are particularly fond of Moz as a

helpful educational resource; the site offers useful SEO guides,

ranging from beginner to expert level, as well as live workshops

and instructor-led training sessions.

When it comes to sourcing SEO data, turn to resources such

as Google Search Console or HubSpot’s Website Grader, free

services that allow you to monitor how Google perceives your

website. To get more granular, check out Moz Pro, a freemium

service where you can find on-page optimization suggestions

and error alerts. Linkody is another popular platform that lets you

analyze keywords, generate backlink reports, and monitor social

shares; plans start at about $15 per month.



Once you’ve gotten a snapshot of your current SEO status, it’s

time to format it in an easy-to-understand document that can be

distributed to company executives or stakeholders. A solid SEO

report contains a few basics, with staples including year-to-date and

month-over-month growth, unique visitors, traffic sources, page

views, and keyword rank tracking. These items should be displayed

in comparison charts or another visual manner that makes shortand

long-term trends immediately clear upon a quick scan.

3 STEPS to Effective SEO Reporting

Optimizing your website so it appears front and center in search results is a linchpin of successful digital marketing,

and reporting is a key way to examine your efforts. Below are three steps for crafting reports designed to impress.


Don’t just data dump. One key to

effective SEO reporting is to strike

the right balance between detail

and simplicity. The amount of data to

parse through can be daunting. When

composing your report, start with top KPIs

and the most relevant data points. Then,

pair this information with familiar visuals

such as bar graphs, line graphs, and pie

charts. Use layman’s terms to explain the

significance of these findings. Lastly, aim

for quality over quantity; when preparing a

report for presentation, two to three pages

is a good goal.


Expect and embrace

fluctuations. Because

of the dynamic nature

of SEO, regular reporting is

key. You’ll want to establish

a cadence, whether weekly,

monthly, or quarterly—and

stick to it. When downswings

inevitably occur, frame them as

opportunities for improvement.

Include year-over-year and

year-to-date data.


Let a third party handle

the formatting. Moz Pro,

Raven, Varvy, HubSpot,

and dozens of other platforms

offer clean and simple SEO

report templates—and many

of them are free or reasonably

priced. Advanced reports can

be white labeled, branded,

or custom-tailored to your


INSIGHTS Summer 2019 05


Clarity is crucial when crafting a report. Your company

higher-ups may not know precisely what backlinking or

canonical tags consist of, but they certainly care about

conversions, lead generation, and ROI. An effective report

should distill complex data about traffic, bounce rates, and

keywords into insights that directly showcase how specific

strategies are affecting KPIs.

A basic report template might be broken into four

categories: (1) status update, (2) goals and KPIs, (3)

completed tasks, and (4) results and recommendations.

If you are tracking specific campaigns, those should have

stand-alone reports of their own. Start with the nitty-gritty

domain metrics—organic traffic, rankings, backlink health,

etc.—displayed in a clean visual such as a double-line graph.

Be sure to link these metrics to overarching marketing goals

or strategies, explaining the connection between the data

point and the end goal in plain English.

Next, outline the steps you’ve taken to improve

these metrics, being sure to highlight impact in the form of

successes and setbacks. Finally, turn the data into actionable

recommendations: Can website copy be tweaked to

encourage clicks or conversions? Can keywords be altered

to improve visibility? Answer these questions as simply and

succinctly as you can—in a single sentence or two, if possible.


SEO strategies aren’t instant fixes; it can often take months

for results to materialize. This is why constant and in-depth

analysis is paramount. Vigilance and attention to detail will not

only help you navigate the constantly evolving world of SEO

but also have real impact on ROI. ■


22 Best Free SEO Tools

SCAN the QR code or VISIT:


Trish Witkowski specializes in creative

solutions and engagement strategies for direct

mail and marketing. She is also the curator of

the world’s most exciting collection of folded

print and direct mail samples, sharing the best

of her collection on her popular e-video series,

60-second Super-cool Fold of the Week. Check

out our two super-cool folds below, and request

the dielines directly from us!

The Double Swinger offers two great

opportunities for visuals on the cover—one

under the other—and swings into motion in

opposing directions when opened. For display,

this format creates a self-standing, almost

sculptural appearance.

The Double Swinger is 15" by 7" unfolded, and

finishes to a 5" by 7" rectangular format. This

format is not self-mailing, so if you intend to

mail this format, it is designed to fit into an

A7 envelope.

Scan this code with your mobile

device to watch it unfold!


The Iron Cross features a classic, plus-shaped

format. Much can be done to customize the

Iron Cross to make it your own. This format can

carry additional light materials, such as square

or shaped insert cards.

The Iron Cross fold is 17.19" by 17.19" unfolded

and finishes to a 5.75" by 5.75" square format

and fits into a 6" x 6" square envelope.

Reminder: square mail will incur additional fees

for hand sorting.

Scan this code with your mobile

device to watch it unfold!

06 Summer 2019 COVER STORY

Ann Handley is a writer, digital marketing

pioneer, and Wall Street Journal best-selling

author. She is the Chief Content Officer at

MarketingProfs, a marketing training and

educating company with more than 600,000

subscribers. As a keynote speaker and writer,

she inspires and empowers audiences to create

marketing their customers will love. Tim Sweeney

tracked her down and fired some questions her

way about some of her favorite topics (and ours),

including how to find your brand voice and

how to make sure your marketing

isn’t just mediocre.



Finding Your Brand Voice and Avoiding Mediocre Marketing

By Tim Sweeney

MUST-DO: Visit and subscribe

to Total ANNARCHY, Ann’s newsletter. It’s free,

totally spam-free, and is one of our all-time

favorite newsletters!

Q: You help businesses escape marketing

mediocrity. What do you think are the top

causes for mediocre marketing, or marketing

that doesn’t have the impact it could?

Ann Handley: I think it’s a few things.

Mediocrity comes out of fear, because producing

great marketing very often means taking risks.

You won’t know 100 percent if something works,

but if you get to know the audience better, you

will have a better idea what will work. One way

to understand the audience better is to have

pathological empathy for what they need from

you, and that means actually talking to them. I

talk to marketers all the time who rarely talk to

Summer 2019 07

those they market to. Sales and customer service

people do, but marketers often don’t. That doesn’t

mean talking just from a demographics standpoint

or thinking about them as personas. It means

getting a sense of who the people are by really

understanding what motivates them and what are

their greatest issues. That’s where insights can

help you craft marketing that is not mediocre, is

really targeted to your audience, and reflects how

you fit into their lives.

Q: Any advice on how marketers can speak

to their audience in ways that truly connect

with them?

AH: Understand that it’s not about you. It’s

about your audience and why you matter to

them. That’s true whether you are B2B or B2C

and whether they are customers, consumers, or

prospects. That sounds obvious, but I see a lot

of corporate-centric messaging. I see companies

approach their marketing by saying, “We want to

say THIS” versus “Our audience needs what from

us?” In order for the audience to feel a sense of

belonging and feel some emotional resonance

about your brand and your products, you need

to convey that you understand them better than

your competitors.

I talk to marketers all

the time who rarely

talk to who they market

to. Sales and customer

service people do, but

marketers often don’t.



Ann writes a biweekly newsletter about what she’s doing or things she

believes in, and she feels strongly that a compelling newsletter is a

marketing tool that brands should take full advantage of. “Your audience

is opting in to hear from you,” she says, “and it comes down to offering

something of real value.”


Make it


Use a conversational

tone in your writing.

It’s a letter.

2Make it


Your newsletter

should be from

a person, not a

brand. And not



your voice,

visuals, vibe.

Everything about it is

all you. And only you.

Those who read your

post on LinkedIn are

on there interacting

with LinkedIn. But

when they read

your words in your

newsletter, they are

interacting with you.

Q: Your company, MarketingProfs, trains

people worldwide. What topics do you get

asked about the most when it comes to

executing marketing?

AH: It’s two things at opposite ends of

marketing. We get asked most about strategy,

which is looking at things through a big lens—so

things like what are we trying to accomplish, what

is our “why,” our purpose, and our story. At the

live MarketingProfs B2B Forum we hold every

year (the next one is in October in Washington,

DC), the strategy workshop is always the first to

fill up. With so many new platforms and means

of communication, people want to know how to

fit those into a strategic framework and be sure

it is part of a coherent and cohesive plan. On the

other end, we get questions like, “What should I

be doing on Instagram?” That’s a super tactical

and super specific topic. I think the questions

4Make it


Can your subscribers

or customers hit reply

and write back to you?

5Make it


The cornerstone of

an email relationship

is trust. Subscribers

opt in because they

trust that you’ll

deliver something

of value. If you break

that promise, they’ll

unsubscribe. You

cannot darken their

doorstep ever again.

(Brutal. But fair.)

are indicative of the state of marketing more

broadly—there’s a definite need for big-picture

strategy but also a need to understand and do the

tactical things really well.

Q: Speaking of that, a lot of businesses

seem to want to know a strategy for every

platform today. It seems like there is a

disease of brands feeling like they need to be

everywhere. Is this true?

AH: For sure. And that should be part of your

strategy. You don’t need to be everywhere, trying

to talk to everyone. Pick one platform and do it

ridiculously well. What’s the one you like doing?

It comes back to our instinctive value on writing

abilities and the art of marketing. If you are able to

use one platform super well, then that gives you

not only the ability to reach more people but also

the confidence to figure out what else you want

08 Summer 2019 COVER STORY

to do and determine what would perform well with this

particular tactic.

Q: What is a marketing tool that you feel brands are

missing out on?

A lot of marketers miss out on email and newsletters. I am a

firm believer in email and email newsletters because online,

email is the only place where people and not algorithms

are in control. Your audience is handing over their email

address and saying, “Yes, tell me what you are all about.”

That’s an amazing opportunity for brands and companies,

but I think many are using it as a distribution strategy.

They don’t respect it as an email newsletter to the degree

that they should. I tell people to focus on doing their email

newsletter well. Don’t worry about a lot of other things until

you do that first. And when it comes to the content in your

newsletter, offering something of real value is crucial.

Q: You seem to place a high value on writing ability,

but in many marketing departments, it seems as

though the emphasis on words gets shoved aside.

In an era of shorter attention spans, what is the

importance of good writing skills?

AH: First, I think we need to reframe what we mean

when we talk about writing. Writing doesn’t necessarily

equal long form. Writing short form is just as legitimate

as any other kind of writing. I don’t think writing is

old-school, and I don’t think good writing is going away.

Writing is the backbone of how we communicate—it is

emails, newsletters, blogs, video scripts, and storytelling

in general. And it’s not about bloated writing and wasting

your audience’s time. When you know how to write well,

you know how to communicate well.

Second, writing well is not a binary choice. I don’t

believe that if you choose to focus on written content

it means you don’t choose another area, like Instagram

or another visual medium. Without a doubt, too many

companies are not thinking about their tone of voice, which

includes things such as the words on their website and

social channels. Ask yourself if you have identified your tone

and used it to differentiate from competitors.

Q: Your latest book is called Everybody Writes: Your

Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content.

What do you mean by “everybody writes”?

AH: In this day and age, everyone is a writer. If you have a

website or a newsletter or you have an Instagram account

or a Facebook page, you are a writer. I wrote the book


By Ann Handley

I get plenty of questions about how to find your

brand’s voice. My recommendation is to think about

three (or four) adjectives that best describe who you

are as a brand and how you communicate. Write them

down and then have a brainstorming session with your team. For

example, at MarketingProfs, we got everyone in our marketing team

together and determined who we are, what we are about, and how

we want to communicate as a brand. Then we chose these words for

the reasons I’ve explained here.

1. Accessible – We want to use clear language and short sentences.

We want to explain buzzwords if we use them, speak in simple terms,

and use jargon sparingly. We only use jargon to show other marketers

that we get them and what they are doing.

2. Personal and Affiliative – In other words, we are marketers

marketing to marketers, so we want to make it clear that we understand

you and get you better than other companies who are not marketers.

3. Smart – Because we are selling training and education, we want

to make that clear.

4. Enjoyable – We want to be sure we communicate in a fun way.

For example, the communications around our B2B Forum are livelier

than other areas of our communications because we care about the

personal experience. We try to infuse this with a sense of fun.

We don’t check everything against these attributes, but they are

embedded in the organization, so our marketers know them and

adhere to them. It’s also a great tool for our freelance writers to get

a sense of who we are. We don’t use our brand guidelines as a strict

prescription. We use them as bumpers at a bowling alley. The idea

is certainly not to strip anyone’s voice away. That’s important. We

say, “Here’s how we want you to use your own voice within these

guidelines.” It doesn’t mean that everyone sounds the same, but it

sounds like everyone comes from the same place. You are hearing

from an individual, but it’s an individual who is part of this group.

Once you determine what your voice will be, it’s important to be

bold in your choice of content in order to communicate that voice

well. In addition to MarketingProfs, here are three other brands that

I believe communicate their authentic voice well. ❱❱❱

Summer 2019 09


1In the B2B world, Uberflip is a content delivery and management

platform. At, the brand outlines exactly

who they are as a brand and how they apply their voice. It’s online

and accessible for everyone who writes for the brand, but it’s also

available to their audience, so it keeps the brand accountable. They

also use their platform to present their brand guidelines, so it serves

as a marketing tool as well.


Accessible, but not fluffy.

We want our customers and visitors

to feel as though they can approach

us about anything and everything

content marketing.


Cheeky, but not offensive.

We have a personality and we’re

not afraid to show it.


Progressive, but not aloof.

We want to stay ahead of the curve

and implement new strategies

and techniques to do so.

2In the B2C landscape,

Freaker USA (freakerusa.

com) is a very quirky

company. I love that

their quirkiness is

embedded throughout

everything they do

and every way they


3Another B2C company, BarkBox sells to dog people who are

obsessed with their dogs (like me). They use humor to great effect.

In one of their emails,

they used “customer

profiles” (of dogs)

and matched them

with human qualities,

then matched those

qualities with a dietary

supplement they sell,

which I thought was

hilarious and really

caught my attention.

because I saw a gap between people like you and me who

self-identify as writers and studied writing and, on the other

hand, people who think they can’t write. I think anyone

is capable of producing good content—maybe not great

writing, but if you know guidelines and embrace the rules,

you are capable of creating ridiculously good content. With

the book, I wanted people to read a manual that felt fun

and didn’t feel like a chore to read. I also wanted it to be a

companion to help people understand that everything they

do in communication is writing—including sending personal

mail and email—and understand what they can do to

improve. I wanted to be an inspiration as well as a teacher

and cheerleader.

Q: How have organizations changed their setup or

structure regarding external agencies in an effort to

be more content focused?

AH: I see companies using agencies as a creative

resource. However, increasingly I see brands bringing the

creation side of it in-house, and I counsel brands to do that

because nobody will love the brand the way you do and no

one can tell the story the way you do. Long term, I think

you want your own people owning the story and telling it

to the people you want to connect with. I believe this has

a lot to do with the rise of influencers. I participate as a

B2B influencer for a lot of companies, and when I’m talking

to the people who are at the company themselves, it’s a

much better relationship than when the agency is in the

middle. For the most part, the smartest agencies will help

the brand bring some of this in-house and function more

as a creative strategy resource and then let the brand itself

execute, although I’m sure an agency would argue the

other side of that. ■




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10 Summer 2019 BRANDS WE LOVE

Brands We Love:

’s invitation to “bring Aloha to

your feet” sure is an inviting one. Even if you’ve

never set foot on one of Hawaii’s beautiful

islands, the notion sounds appealing.

Founded in 2006 by Hawaii native Bill

Worthington and his friend Matt Till, the now

120+ person company is headquartered in Irvine,

California, and makes footwear that “combines

durability for the waterman and ocean lifestyle.”

Their marquee products—leather sandals that

retail for up to $85—were designed to meet the

needs of people in places with laidback lifestyles,

where it’s just as acceptable to trade in dress

shoes for up-market sandals when heading to a

nice dinner as it is to wear them on the beach.

The company believes in operating with

high moral character, and its website says as

much. OluKai touts its own “strong values and

roots”—which can be a tricky thing to do—

while also stressing the “style, comfort, and

craftsmanship” of its products.

When a company declares itself to be

responsible in its business approach, it can

sometimes be difficult to see the products

through the self-congratulation. That’s not the

case with OluKai. The footwear is still the main

attraction. An entire section of the website is

dedicated to explaining how the company’s

approach to making sandals is based on

modernity, sophistication, and soulfulness.

From the materials used to the aesthetic and

anatomical design benefits, there is a reason

for every choice they make. That, of course,

inspires confidence in a consumer looking to

buy, and it probably becomes more important

for a consumer buying $85 sandals.

The dedication to product presentation

starts with the homepage, which

puts the products front and center in an elegant

manner, with imagery displaying the footwear

in its natural habitat as well as up close and in

use. The simplicity of the navigation is brilliant.

Three choices: Men, Women, and Explore.

Who can resist an invitation to explore! On

the homepage, we counted five major calls-toaction

with several additional links to individual

products, including “Our Favorites.” An inspiring

video tells a heartwarming story, and it’s only

upon watching it the second time (and you will

watch it more than once) that you realize there

are glimpses of OluKai sandals in a few scenes.

Deeper into the website, every product

page offers a robust description of why the

product was made and what it is intended

for, as well as a clear and succinct layout of

product features and benefits. A live chat

button lets you connect with a customer

service person straight away.


Summer 2019


“Giveback to Hawaii.” All product pages

feature a link explaining that every pair of

footwear ordered means a donation to the Ama

OluKai Foundation, which works to “preserve land

and ocean, serve Hawaiian communities, and

maintain the Hawaiian culture and traditions.”

OluKai was giving back years before the business

was even profitable; it’s simply part of the

brand’s core values. The OluKai website is

visually calming, inspirational, and informative,

and offers a great user experience.

OluKai is also a Certified B corporation,

meaning the company meets higher standards

of social and environmental performance

and accountability, and is a member of the

Conservation Alliance, partnering with other

brands to protect wild places for their natural

habitat and recreation values.

Still, in order to give back, OluKai needs to

make money, and the company knows how to

market their products to do just that. Online,

they excel at telling product stories in short

bursts, using copy in just the right places to

describe how a partnership with a Hawaiian

artist or the choice of a particular flower

influenced a range of footwear. Articles on their

blog are about people who use OluKai products,

and not so much about the products themselves.

At the bottom of each product page, product

reviews from customers help convince


skeptical shoppers to make the leap while

their “Shop the Story” feature makes it easy to

hook up with the specific products. After you

visit their website, you will be targeted with

ads elsewhere online, but they are minimally

invasive and not overly frequent.

A winning direct mail catalog. The

elegant brand presentation on

carries over into their direct mail catalog, where

product details are effectively highlighted, as

is the lifestyle the brand exudes. The imagery

in the catalog is a healthy mix of product shots

and people using those products to live life by

the ocean. Of course, their direct mail pieces

are printed using FSC paper from responsible

sources, and FSC-certified printers. Their

packaging, it should be noted, is also printed on

partially recycled paper. The entire back cover

(and mailing panel) is dedicated to explaining

how every pair of OluKai shoes sold gives back

to Hawaii, with a secondary one-line message

about how the brand “is proud to support the

Hawaiian Lifeguard Association,” of which

OluKai is the official footwear. In fact, all 450

lifeguards play a role in testing new ideas and

developing OluKai products.

Live events. In order to get the brand in

front of more young consumers, the company

a pair of

‘Ohana sandals!


scan the QR code or visit:

5 Reasons We Love

the OluKai Brand

♥ A strong culture of “giving back”

♥ Engaging social media presence with

highly active followers

♥ Sustainability efforts echoed in their

choices of paper and print (direct mail

and packaging)

♥ 5-Star user experience on the website

♥ Exceptional storytelling using humaninterest

stories about their followers

and consumers

has recently upped its number of event

sponsorships. The focus seems to be on events

that attract young people who aren’t afraid

to chase a variety of life experiences. Events

have included a PGA golf tournament, concert

events like BottleRock and South by Southwest,

the famed Bay to Breakers road race in San

Francisco, and the GoPro Mountain Games in

Vail, Colorado. At many events, OluKai offers

fans an opportunity to share their experience

with the brand on social media, while a few

lucky fans are invited “behind the scenes.”

Social media. The OluKai YouTube channel

boasts high-quality content pieces that focus

on people living healthy lifestyles. One series

called “Anywhere Aloha” profiles people living

the “aloha way of life” in a variety of geographic

locations. There are, of course, gratuitous shots

of OluKai footwear throughout the short videos,

but the products and brand are never mentioned;

the content is advertising a way of life more than

products. One story about the members of the

Hawaiian Lifeguard Association chronicles their

dedication to a healthy lifestyle and why that is

vital to the job they do.

On Instagram, the brand’s nearly 100,000

followers see close-ups of OluKai footwear

in only every third or fourth post. Instead, the

imagery is mostly about inspiring followers with

pictures of people doing things they love near,

in, or on the water—driving, sailing, swimming,

hiking, or stand-up paddle boarding.

The Aloha lifestyle looks like a life most of us

wouldn’t mind living! ■


12 Summer 2019 FEATURE

Surviving the

Marketing Talent


By Carro Ford


Summer 2019



f your business hasn’t experienced the

marketing talent shortage yet, don’t

worry. You will. According to the “2019

Marketing Talent Crunch Survey Report” (Spear

Marketing Group), 90 percent of companies

have trouble finding marketing talent. Half

describe their marketing departments as

somewhat understaffed; more than a third

identify as significantly understaffed. How

did that happen?

Digital Marketing

Is Now Mandatory

Like never before, marketing is a technical

game with an ever-increasing budget allocated

to technology. Hiring trends reflect this in

the growing number of roles that require at

least a basic understanding of martech. The

talent crunch survey cited marketing analytics

positions as most difficult to fill (61 percent),

followed by marketing ops (47 percent),

demand gen (45 percent), and content

marketing (33 percent).

Maybe all this is news to you. Or maybe

you already feel the pinch. More than 80

percent of open marketing roles take over

five weeks to fill, and almost a third sit vacant

for more than two months, confirming that

the talent pipeline has struggled to keep up

with demand, especially the demand for

data-focused marketers. Lesson one: connect

to talent resources before you find yourself

needing them. For this reason, we decided

to introduce you to an organization that is

addressing the marketing talent crunch,

Marketing EDGE.

Marketing EDGE is the only nonprofit with

a track record of preparing college students

for careers in data-focused marketing. The

Marketing EDGE mission is to educate,

develop, grow, and employ college students—

to launch the next generation of inclusive

marketers. This mission perfectly suits the

challenges marketers face today, but what’s

mind-blowing is that Marketing EDGE has

been around in one form or another for

decades, always in step with market needs,

if not a step ahead.

Mad Men on a Mission

The organization was founded by

contemporaries of performance marketing

pioneers, such as Lester Wunderman and

David Ogilvy, to satisfy the emerging appetite

for direct marketing. The mad men icons

creating direct marketing discovered few

students coming up were actually aware

of this tactic, much less able to practice

it. These pioneers banded together with

academics to share information that

professors needed to understand and teach

direct marketing, performance marketing,

and marketing in general.

Marketing EDGE has stayed true to

its mission to this day, and that’s a good

thing, because the need for a contemporary

marketing workforce hasn’t waned. “All those

skills needed to operate in a world where we

deliver ads one exposure at a time grow out

Marketing EDGE is

the only nonprofit

with a track record

of preparing college

students for careers in

data-focused marketing.

The Marketing EDGE

mission is to educate,

develop, grow, and

employ college students

—to launch the next

generation of inclusive


Giving Students



Carlos Sirotnikov didn’t

plan to major in marketing.

Two years into a computer

science degree, he realized

he didn’t see himself coding

for the rest of his life. When a friend

recommended marketing, he made

the change. In search of an internship

to learn the field, he came across

Marketing EDGE.

After participating in a Marketing

EDGE Collegiate Summit, Sirotnikov

nabbed an internship at the New York

SaaS company that created the first

iPad app. “The [summit] provided

networking sessions and a group

competition where we were assigned a

business problem to solve and present.

Combined with other EDGE events,

this gave us a cumulative experience

we otherwise might not have had,” he

says. “School doesn’t give you that level

of exposure.”

The Marketing EDGE experience

played a huge role in where he is today.

The Baruch College graduate eventually

went from New York all the way to

Seattle, where he’s now an Associate

Brand Manager at Amazon. “Marketing

EDGE did a great job at pulling together

a smart, passionate group of students

and helping us with skills needed in

the marketplace,” Sirotnikov says.

Handshakes and Networking

These students need help, especially

first-generation college students,” says

Terri Bartlett, President, Marketing EDGE.

“EDGE caters to their circumstances,

not just skill development, and provides

opportunities to engage and feel

more comfortable with executives. It’s

amazing how this impacts the lives

of students through connections,

networking, and even handshaking

practice. The fact that someone believes

in them builds confidence and poise

that are palpable.”

14 Summer 2019 FEATURE


Goes to


Companies need talent

that understands modern

marketing, but they can’t

hire talent if it’s not trained.

Professor Ed Malthouse notes

it’s unrealistic to

expect marketingready

talent right

out of colleges

that teach old-world

marketing. Marketing

EDGE recognized this years

ago and built academics

into the model.

A statistician by training,

Malthouse got into direct

marketing in the early ‘90s.

As a result of postdoctoral

work studying direct

marketing problems, he

joined Northwestern’s Medill

School, which offered one

of the world’s first direct

marketing master’s degrees.

He also became part of the

Direct Marketing Educational

Foundation (DMEF), a

forerunner of Marketing

EDGE. “Professors are good

at organizing but need input

from what’s happening in the

world, and DMEF gave a lot

of access,” Malthouse says.

DMEF released data sets that

companies made available

for teaching and research. “It’s

valuable having real data for

the classroom and creating

assignments off that. It adds

credibility,” he explains.

To close the gap between

classroom theory and market

reality, corporate leaders also

talk about their marketing

journeys, so students see

theory and learning applied

to the marketplace. “You can

see the transformation as

they start to be more acutely

aware of what

marketing really

involves,” says

Terri Bartlett.

Esteemed Thought


Another EDGE benefit is

the esteemed academic

publication Journal of

Interactive Marketing,

for which Malthouse

served as editor for five

years. He notes, “We do

original research and break

important stories. One

was on customer lifetime

value—now a core principle

across many companies.”

Companies buy articles à la

carte or subscribe. “It’s highly

regarded by organizations

wanting to be on the cutting

edge of thought leadership.”

of direct marketing. What’s happened is that

all of the digital jargon that was minor 20

years ago has become mainstream, and so

must student training,” explains Edward C.

Malthouse, professor at Northwestern’s Medill

School, longtime Marketing EDGE supporter,

and past editor of the organization’s publication,

Journal of Interactive Marketing.

Traditional Marketing

Doesn’t Fit Anymore

Most marketers would agree that not having

the right marketing talent will negatively

affect the implementation of their

marketing plans and strategies.

Carlos Dominguez, President of

Sprinklr, a longtime Marketing

EDGE corporate sponsor, spends

a lot of time with CEOs and CMOs; according

to him, “not one says life is easy and good.

People are forced to change at a pace we never

imagined, and they’re wrestling with a radically

different world.”

When you look at what’s required in

marketing today, it’s a different skill set than

in the past, with new channels, generational

speech, and changing expectations for

response times. “This represents an incredible

shift, yet most companies still operate in

their own traditional ways,” Dominguez says.

In this world of new expectations, he sees

opportunities for “organizations that adapt,

because not everyone will. If you can, and

you do, the marketing benefits and results

are much greater.”

Graduates Hit the

Ground Running

What makes Marketing EDGE graduates a

better hire? What gives them, well,

an edge over other marketing

rookies? Clearly something is

different. Drew May, Marketing

EDGE Board Chairman and Acxiom

SVP and Chief Customer Officer, cites successes

such as one alumna who went on to roles

at Unilever and Hershey. “She’s a fantastic

example of how a person with Marketing EDGE

experience can really kick-start their career,” he

says. “The students hit the ground running into

top-tier brands and have impact right away. The

hiring company gains an entry-level person who

comes up to speed much faster.”

Acxiom has also hired interns from

summer programs, and according to Drew

May, two things make these students a better

hire. “Look at the quality of content and

programs that Marketing EDGE produces.

No other organization offers the same level of

content for students in the field of marketing.

Secondly, the bar for admission is high,

requiring well-rounded students.”

The students hit

the ground running

into top-tier brands

and have impact

right away.”

The agency ForwardPMX has filled most of its

entry-level staff with hires from Marketing EDGE

talent programs. Chief Growth Officer, Chris

Paradysz explains why: “The most important

thing is meeting the students. Imagine buying a

car without seeing it. Same with hiring. You’ll find

Marketing EDGE has done absolutely the most

successful screening, filtering, and interviewing of

students, bar none! They have a knack for finding

motivated students.” Paradysz serves as a board

member and longtime supporter of Marketing

EDGE, while ForwardPMX contributes as a

corporate sponsor. ■

Summer 2019



“Recruiting costs will

go down due to the

prescreening process of the

candidates. These students are

motivated to succeed,” says Chris

Paradysz. “You won’t be replacing

bodies at the same rate as you

would with less motivated and

less qualified candidates.”



These students bring a

point of view you may not have,”

says Paradysz. “If you truly listen to

them, they ask difficult questions

that require accountability.”





These young hires have friends

at other companies on both

client and agency sides, and they

rise very quickly to positions of

authority and influence. Marketing

EDGE alumni as well as the

Marketing EDGE team are very

good connectors, making it a point

to generate introductions and bring

connections to board members

and other business participants.




Study after study finds diversity

increases audience awareness

and, yes, profitability. Yet for

all the correlations, diversity

remains underused. Competitive

advantage, anyone? “Bottom

Reasons to Get Involved with

Marketing EDGE

Conversations with board members, staff, program

graduates, professors, and others resulted in this list

of reasons your business might consider learning

more about Marketing EDGE.





line—diversity works for business.

From a business perspective, there

needs to be no more reason than

that,” declares Marketing EDGE

President Terri L. Bartlett. In spite

of its increasingly technical nature,

the new marketing is about people,

and the more diverse you are, the

better you can relate.




Marketing EDGE is

intended to be a steady pipeline

of exceptional talent and a talent

pool that spans the country.




There’s something

extraordinary that happens when

business organizations partner

with academic institutions:

students emerge knowing what real

companies need from incoming

marketers. “We have a mission of

educating people around direct

marketing, database marketing,

and other topics,” Malthouse

explains. “In the past, it was hard

to find people who were trained in

this.” Marketing EDGE collaborates

with universities and professors

to create the right content for

modern marketing. “Without that

level of support, we’d be teaching

traditional models and theories,”

says Dominguez. “Instead, the

market becomes the recipient

of students who understand

marketing theory and real-world

applications. They are much better

prepared to step into a job and

contribute from day one.”





Marketing EDGE’s Collegiate

ECHO Marketing Challenge

offers a real-world problem from

a participating company for

students to solve. “It’s incredibly

exciting as we watch students

present to actual executives. That

accessibility and the experience of

dealing with real-world business

problems isn’t found often in

school settings,” notes Carlos

Sirotnikov, a graduate of Marketing

EDGE. “If you’re a business looking

to expand your talent pool or your

exposure to students studying

marketing, think about partnering

in a case study. Students

appreciate the opportunity to be

more tactical and tangible and use

the concepts they learn. They’re

also looking for experiences they

can add to their resume.”




As Bartlett points out,

“Companies want to give back,

and Gen Z and millennials pay

attention to what companies

do from a corporate social

responsibility standpoint. There’s

a wonderful halo by showing

you support the industry and

demonstrating the desire to give

something back.” May agrees:

“It’s important for all of us as we

go through our careers to invest

in up-and-coming talent, and

anything to better prepare them

for careers in marketing benefits

us all. That’s big.”




Many organizations

work with Marketing EDGE to

elevate their profiles as forwardfacing

brands and build positive

connections across student,

academic, and corporate partners.

“Like the UN, where we have all

these groups represented that

come together and galvanize

around particular issues, we

do that around marketing and

marketing talent,” explains Bartlett.


Both businesses and

individuals can get

involved, and once they do, they

tend to stick around. Just ask May,

who’s been active since 2006, or

any number of others. Paradysz

says, “The awards are fun, and the

events are a blast. It’s an incredible

amount of industry energy!”

Good times. Good talent. Good

information. It all adds up to a great

opportunity for today’s marketing

community to get involved with

Marketing EDGE. ■


Turn the page to learn

how how to to get get involved involved with with

Marketing Marketing EDGE. EDGE.

16 Summer 2019 SPOTLIGHT

Marketing EDGE:

Securing the Next Generation of Marketers

Terri L. Bartlett

President, Marketing EDGE | | 212.790.1510

Marketing EDGE is the only nonprofit with a proven track record of connecting students,

academics and professionals to the resources and relationships they need to see, move, and stay

ahead. Founded in 1966, we were known by different names over the years, including Direct

Marketing Educational Foundation, and in June 2013, we took the leap and changed our name

to Marketing EDGE. Our mission was clear—to Educate, Develop, Grow, and Employ college

students in the field of marketing. We are supported solely by corporations and individuals who

want to give back to the marketing community. Thousands of students have taken advantage

of our programs, becoming prepared to enter the field workplace-ready. We encourage the

Marketing EDGE Programs

Marketing readers of THE EDGE BEAT, who Programs are interested in next generation talent and development, to contact

Our range of programs deliver on our mission to Educate, Develop,

Our us to range learn of programs more about deliver the on our benefits mission of to Marketing Educate, Develop, EDGE and how they can become involved.”

Grow and Employ colleges students in the field of marketing.

Grow Terri Bartlett, and Employ President, colleges Marketing students EDGE in the field of marketing.

Marketing EDGE Programs

Marketing EDGE Programs

Collegiate Collegiate Summit Summit

Student Career Student ForumsCareer Forums

Our range of programs deliver on our mission to Educate, Develop,

Our range of programs Grow and deliver Employ on colleges our mission students to Educate, in the Develop, field of marketing.






Grow and Employ colleges students in the field of marketing.

Student Career Forums


Our immersive summer “boot camp” connects

For almost 30 years, our career forums

high-achieving Collegiate undergrads Summit from across the country

Student have introduced Career Forums


students to the world of digital and

Collegiate immersive summer “boot camp” connects high-achieving

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almost 30 years, our career forums have introduced

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EDGE Awards

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Marketing EDGE’s signature fundraising event, the EDGE

Awards pays tribute to the vibrancy and evolution that

EDGE Awards

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A premier sponsorship program was launched four years

ago to offer corporations the opportunity to engage in all

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programs, events, and scholarships – increasingly first-generation they prepare to students – through our

tribute among all categories

launch their marketing careers. programs, launch their events, marketing and scholarships careers. as they prepare to

launch their marketing careers.

to honor those who combine professional excellence

with an undeniable commitment to giving back to

support generations of marketing talent.

Corporate Leadership Program (CLP)

Corporate Leadership Program (CLP)

A premier sponsorship program was launched

four years ago to offer corporations the opportunity to

engage in all that Marketing EDGE has to offer, including:

• Support Your Business Goals We connect you with

resources and relationships through premier events

where you can exchange ideas with other industry

• Deliver the Edge that Will Enhance Your Corporate

Profile EDGE offers you opportunities to impart your

thought-leadership, service, and support to impact

today’s students—increasingly first-generation students

—through our programs, events, and scholarships as

they prepare to launch their marketing careers.

Interested in Getting


1. Be a speaker as part of the EDGE

Speakers Bureau (in classrooms

nationwide), Student Career

Forums, and Collegiate Summits.

2. Network among industry elite

through national EDGE Awards

and regional events.

3. Engage with the EDGE

Community through initiatives

to further next-generation talent,

thought leadership, and industry


4. Volunteer through mentorship,

committee, and board service

to strengthen and further the

mission and our programs.

5. Contribute through individual

and corporate initiatives and

events, including our major

Corporate Leadership Program

to expand our impact.

OUR IMPACT by the numbers:

103,000+ Students impacted over

the past 50+ years

$576,000 in Scholarships awarded

275+ Colleges and universities


33% First-generation college

students in the program

100% Giving back to the next

generation of marketing leaders!

Find and follow us on Social Media:

For Academics:

Journal of Interactive Marketing ®

Professors’ Academy and

Professors Institute, with SMU’s

Brierley Institute

Interactive Marketing Research


Collegiate ECHO Marketing


For Corporations:

Access to top Intern and

Entry-level Candidates

Corporate partner programs

Volunteer, speaking, and

mentoring opportunities


The Best of Print & Digital Award is a third-party, objective measure of

CUSTOMER LOYALTY. Drummond is honored to be one of three print

providers in the U.S. to earn this recognition FOUR YEARS IN A ROW.

We are humbled by this recognition from our customers.

"- John Falconetti



Position Salaries

(by city)

The Talent

Crunch &



Atlanta, GA ➼ $40,543

Dallas, TX ➼ $47,065

Deer Park, NY ➼ $43,725

Denver, CO ➼ $38,735

San Diego, CA ➼ $46,346



5664 New Peachtree Rd

Atlanta, GA 30341

Employers expect to hire 16.6% more new

graduates from the Class of 2019 than they did

from the Class of 2018 for positions in the United

States. That’s the biggest increase among recent

graduates since 2007!

Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers


Marketing Manager Earnings by Seniority:

FSC, G7 Master, PEFC, and SFI Certified!





earnings begin at:





earnings begin at:






earnings begin at:





earnings begin at:










Average Mid-level Marketing

Manager salary by STATE:












The average Senior-

Level Marketing

Manager salary in

the United States is


as of May 31, 2019, with a range

between $88,581 and $119,690.


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