All I can say is “wow.” After our October 24th speaker event featuring David Cummings, I’m struggling with how to fit his amazing story into a blog post. If you have a passion for veering off the beaten path, I highly recommend hearing David’s success story in person. I should warn you though, don’t be surprised if you walk away feeling really under accomplished (unintentional of course).
As with most entrepreneurs, David’s drive started at a young age. In middle school he decided to transform his back yard into a putt-putt course, making his first profits off of friends who wanted to come over and play. Then, a few years later while most of us were attending keg parties, David was busy building software and starting companies (note how I said companies- plural, not company- singular).
At an early stage in his career, he quickly realized that even if you build something spectacular, you still need to figure out how to sell it. This was the turning point in which David realized that if he wanted to become successful, he was going to have to learn a thing or two about sales and marketing – and that he did! Once he started segmenting his target audience, he was able to enhance his products to better meet their needs – ultimately building a stronger company.
It wasn’t until 2006 when he had his first idea for Pardot. (Trick question: do you know what pardot means in Latvian?) After paying $8 to register the domain, he was off to build another company from the ground up. Many people might not know this, but Pardot actually started as a PPC lead generation service. After its launch, David soon realized that the platform he built was actually more appealing to consumers than the business model of delivering leads. Recognizing this early on, he quickly adjusted Pardot’s path into a marketing automation platform instead.
As Pardot became extremely successful, he also pointed out another lesson – the startup with the most venture capital doesn’t always win. His company was going head-to-head with competitors who had deep pockets, and beating them each time. It was interesting to learn that from Pardot’s beginning, until its recent acquisition, the company remained lean and never accepted VC.
One of the neat things we’ve all heard about this company is how unique their culture is. The AJC even named Pardot as the #1 place to work in 2012. No wonder! They had their own masseuse on payroll, and they provided up to 4 hours of monthly housekeeping for all employees.
When David finally decided to sell Pardot later that year to ExactTarget (for $100 million in cash!), he didn’t kick his feet up for long. Instead, he got permission from his wife (smart idea) to buy the biggest building he could get his hands on, and start a community where he could support the growth of tech start-ups. Once he closed on the building, he sent out a tweet saying, “We’re open,” and within 24 hours the space at the Atlanta Tech Village was completely sold out! And who said you couldn’t show a ROI for social media?
To date, the ATV houses over 110 companies and is committed to growing the economy by fueling innovation. It’s simple – the more start-ups that graduate from the ATV, the more jobs that are created and the better our economy becomes.
A big thanks to David for taking time out of his busy schedule to share his story with us.
Stay tuned—the YP’s have more events to come!
PS – The Latvian word pardot translated means “to sell.”
Jennifer Groese is a strategic, can-do marketer with over 6 years of B2B and B2C experience, offering an extensive track record in corporate event management, marketing automation, social media and client relationship management. Her success in effectively managing multiple high profile projects to increase profitability and overall company growth recently led her to her current Marketing Manager position at The List, the leading online business intelligence for marketing services and media companies.
With a passion for standing out, Jennifer enjoys keeping a pulse on emerging trends and finding innovative ways for her company to stay ahead of the pack. Her addictions include checking Mashable.com multiple times a day and constantly downloading Hubspot’s thought leadership.
As an active member in the marketing community, Jennifer has been a part of the American Marketing Association Atlanta chapter for the past two years and currently blogs for the Young Professionals SIG.
Jennifer holds a BBA in Marketing from Kennesaw State University and is planning to start her MBA in the next year.
Last week, we learned that AMA Atlanta won first runner up in the national Chapter Excellence Awards from more than 75 chapters nationwide. As we aim to help you grow throughout your career as a marketer – through premier programming, an ever-growing network and helpful resources, we’re thrilled that our hard work is paying off and earning national recognition. Congratulations to Ashley Schoenith and our amazing team that put all of our achievements last year into this award submission.
And if joining an award-winning chapter isn’t enough of a reason to become a member of AMA Atlanta, here’s another: it’s our annual membership drive! Click here for more information.
I look forward to seeing you at our next event!
Here’s a treat for our entrepreneurial minded members – a glimpse into what makes David Cummings tick. As the founder of Pardot and the Atlanta Tech Village, the Young Professional SIG is thrilled to have David hosting our first speaker event of the year. Mark your calendars for Thursday, October 24, 2013 as we learn more about his initial vision behind Pardot and his later decision to sell it, eventually leading him into a different project—the Atlanta Tech Village.
Learn what it takes to build a successful start-up company, and how marketing is tied to it’s prevail. To make the event complete, we’re even hosting it at Atlanta Tech Village – the breeding ground for start-ups. So gather your friends and bring your questions as we all learn a thing or two about building a one-of-a-kind company.
To register, click here.
Meet our September Volunteer of the month – Allison Mulling
Allison Mulling is Director of Marketing at Mulling Corporation, a 26 year old Human Capital firm that was named the #1 Best Place to Work by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. As Director of Marketing, Allison is responsible for all areas of marketing to include public relations, internet, social media and corporate communications. Prior to joining Mulling Corporation, Allison worked with the Ritz Carlton in Barcelona, Spain where she was involved in public and community relations as well as corporate marketing initiatives. Allison is a native of Atlanta where she attended Pace Academy, graduated from Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg, Virginia and received a BBA with a concentration in Marketing from Oglethorpe University. In her free time, Allison enjoys gardening, travelling, spending time with her two basset hounds and she has been busy planning her September wedding.
“AMA Atlanta has been an important part of my professional career for several years now. With so many fun events to attend, I am always excited expand my network of respected industry leaders, and the topics for the numerous events have provided me with great ideas and information to take back to work with me. The volunteer opportunities are endless and it is a pleasure to volunteer with and learn from the dedicated professionals at AMA!”
In the 50+ years of our Chapter’s history, we’ve had the privilege of working with many Atlanta marketers from the beginning stages of their careers – in high school through the DECA program, our College Outreach program, or as Young Professionals engaged in the Chapter.
One such success story is at the heart of a new collaboration we are proud to share with the AMA Atlanta family. Alex Torrey, social entrepreneur and co-founder of umano, began his career as he transformed the AMA Chapter at the University of Georgia as chapter President. Today, he and his brother, Jonathan, are making a d
ifference in the world with their company, umano, whose motto is “Wear Responsibly.”
The brothers founded umano to provide school supplies to children in developing countries, for whom getting an education provides their best shot at prosperity. Their Giving Promise is simple: for every umano t shirt purchased, umano gives a backpack full of school supplies to a kid in need. And buyers of their t shirts get super-soft, eco-friendly, stylish clothes, each with signature “PocketArt” drawn by kids as well as a chance to feel good about their investment.
Alex and Jonathan are wrapping up a US road trip by branded RV (#umanoFieldTrip), during which they spent time raising awareness for umano and meeting with well-known social entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS shoes. They are currently headed back to their home base in Athens, GA, where all their clothing is designed and printed locally.
So, are you ready to “Rock a Pocket and Empower a Kid?”
Well, you’re in luck! We’ve teamed up with umano for an exclusive, limited-time AMA Atlanta shirt. The “whalephant” PocketArt was drawn by a special young man named Santiago and there are just 100 shirts available between now and 9/20.
Click here to learn more and to purchase your umano shirt before they’re gone.
Our goal with this collaboration is to support these fellow marketers, their business and the mission of supporting education. For us, this story started with AMA UGA and today is making an impact across the globe – and we’re proud to be a part of it!
Join in and Rock a Pocket!
What better way to start off the new AMA year than with our annual wine tasting event? Hopefully you were able to make it to Cantina last week as we joined in excitement for the new activities and goals of our upcoming year. Throughout the evening we sipped on a variety of Australian wines ranging from Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet and Shiraz. Hint, hint- that’s why the letters “C, R, C and S” were written on the back of your drink tickets. That being said, if you drank 4 glasses of the same wine you failed the test.
Aside from cracking the code on the drink tickets, we also had a handful of fresh faces in the crowd during the event—which is always great to see. Not only did they attend to learn more about AMA itself, but they were also very eager to learn how to get the most out of their pending memberships.
A big thanks to our event sponsor, AMLI, who was also generous enough to donate a few bottles of wine and glassware to some of our lucky guests throughout the evening. The Young Professionals have more exciting events in our back pocket, so make sure to mark your calendars as we continue to announce one-of-a-kind opportunities to network and mingle with Atlanta’s finest marketers!
Guest blog by Jennifer M. Groese (@JGroese) – AMA YP SIG member
Moira is the founder and CEO of Modo Modo Agency, an award-winning business-to-business marketing firm and author of the new book, AdVenture – An Outsider’s Inside View of Getting an Entrepreneur to Market. Moira was interviewed by Liz Ward, President-Elect of AMA Atlanta and Principal of Thought Partners Consulting.
Moira is a Past President of AMA Atlanta and serves on the AMA Atlanta Executive Advisory Board.
In a nutshell:
AdVenture, is a practical guide to getting an entrepreneur to market, living through the launch of the enterprise and loving it. It is a start-up manifesto, a psychology course and a go-to-market handbook that explores the seven core attributes of the entrepreneur and how to transform then into a strategic advantage.
Great quote from the book: “I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done” – Henry Ford
Q. Congratulations on publishing your first book! What inspired you to write this book?
Moira: This book was sort of trapped inside me, needing to get out. I have been working with entrepreneurs for 25 years, and I have found myself giving out identical advice over and over, because, however different their businesses may be, entrepreneurs all struggle and fumble in the same spots. As I said in the book, entrepreneurs do entirely new things in entirely the same ways. They get mired in all the things they are experiencing and they get stuck in circular conversations. I want to help entrepreneurs by giving them the playbook for some of these tough spots so they can direct their energies toward getting to market faster and more successfully.
Q. Let’s talk about what happens before you even crack open the book. You chose as a cover illustration an image of a person on a motorcycle hanging onto the handlebars soaring over a range of very spiky mountains. Is this a Rorschach test to see if have the true spirit of an entrepreneur?
Moira: Yes, if you look at this cover and your response is, “That guy could die, but I’d like to help him make it over to the other side,” then maybe you’re better suited to just work for an entrepreneur vs. be one. But if you think, “ Wow, I’ve never thought of doing that! Wonder how that could work…” then maybe you’re meant to be an entrepreneur.
But this book is written not only for entrepreneurs but also for people who work for them and people who invest in them. It’s for people with a big tolerance for risk or who work in risk-embracing environments as well as for people who work in more risk-averse corporate environments. There are numerous charts in the book that show what calculated risk-taking looks like in different environments.
Q. Many of our AMA audience members work in corporate environments. What should they be looking to get out of your book?
Moira: Corporate marketing people are very comfortable with the Rewards, Results and Growth sections of the book, but most need to revisit Vision, Passion and Speed to reinvigorate their organizations. Corporate marketers can benefit by being intrapreneurs – by both infusing the vision and passion for their areas and in not getting stuck in the “p” box (promotion) of marketing, but rather, thinking like a business strategist. Behaving like an entrepreneur means you seek out new revenue opportunities in accelerating time to market or scaling like an entrepreneur. It means that you seek out what a Harvard Business School study called “Big I” innovations vs. “little i” innovations. A “little i” is finding a way to cross sell existing products. A “Big I” is rebranding and repositioning existing products to sell to a new market. Marketers can’t forget their promotion responsibilities but they need to look for opportunities to grow in a big way—and beyond simply promotion.
Q. You say in your book that, “entrepreneurs have a duty, actually a disease that requires them to get their ideas out there and make real the things that only they can see.” When only you can see it, how can you be sure it is a feasible vision and not simply a disease?
Moira: You don’t know. You try over and over. If you fail, you may have stopped one time too early. But often entrepreneurs can’t stop – it’s in their blood to make their vision real.
Sometimes, when you’re failing, it makes sense to pause. You may need help and you have to assess: do you need hands below you or do you need to tap into people who’ve gone before you and might have some wisdom? There are many entrepreneurs who try and get deflated and lose their passion. They may need to recharge or get a job. It’s OK to stop or downshift if you need to. Talk to enough people who might be your buyers or are in your space, and they can help you come up with solutions.
How often you can afford to fail and try again also depends on your position. If you’re Leonardo Da Vinci and you have a lifetime retainer from the de Medici family, you have a different kind of runway than if you’re a start-up running out of funds or you’re in a corporate marketing department and have to show results this quarter.
Q. You are a very successful entrepreneur and have helped nearly 200 companies to launch or grow. What distinguishes the leaders of the companies that really take off from the leaders of the ones that don’t?
Q. What will your next book be about?
Moira: My next book will be about adventure, but for younger people – like 8 to 10 years old – the age when you haven’t had your creativity and sense of possibility stripped away.
My bigger goal is to help the world economy, and to do this, you have to start with the roots. Studies find that a lot of what a person will become has ‘set’ by the age of 8. I want to make sure that young kids get exposed to limitless thinking – to possibilities and ideas and not just where they should go to college and what job they should have. They should instead be thinking about a limitless career path or solving world problems. Start with the end in mind and the passion that comes naturally to you and the rest will answer itself.
Recently The Wall Street Journal posted a fear-mongering article about the increasing presence of big data in the field of marketing and advertising. However, as we at AMA- Atlanta know, big data isn’t something to fear! Actually, it is leading to big innovations for marketers.
AMA Atlanta produced a white paper on this very topic back in May. Read it here: Big Data leads to Big Innovations for Marketers.
We recently found a treasure box of archived AMA Atlanta materials dating back to 1950. It has been so much fun to read through the old meeting agendas, newspaper clips and presentations. Unfortunately, we’re no longer able to charge $1.25 for our luncheons as we did in 1950 or $4 for a full Christmas dinner like we hosted in 1963. On the bright side, though, we now boast almost 1,000 of Atlanta’s best and brightest marketers as members, compared to the 74 members (and 5 prospects!) that we had in 1963.
Despite these changes, most of what we found showed that the marketers of 50 years ago struggled with many of the same challenges we do today – developing future talent, adapting to the ever-changing marketing landscape and reaching increasingly mobile consumers. The documents also showed that AMA Atlanta’s commitment to furthering the field of marketing and providing our members with top-notch speakers and the latest marketing trends hasn’t changed a bit.
Tell me, when did you attend your first AMA meeting? What has changed since then?