2011 Archive

My Eulogy for Wendy Vosper (Rzepkowski)

Mon, 17 October 2011

It’s been a few days now since I’ve returned from South Carolina to remember my Aunt Wendy who died of breast cancer on October 9, 2011 at the age of 46. When I went to her wake, my Dad asked if I would say a few words at her funeral because he simply could not speak about his sister through the grief. I considered it for a moment, then said “Of course”…knowing not at all what I would say at 1pm the next day. I woke up groggy from an emotional night. My wife and kids left me alone in the hotel long enough to scribble my thoughts. I broke down more than once trying to encapsulate my feelings in such a short period of time. Luckily I had a couple of blog posts to work from, and the obvious cajoling from Aunt Wendy’s spirit to guide me through. At the last minute before having to join the funeral procession, we printed the eulogy in the hotel business center. (more…)

Posted in: Deaths, Faith, Family and Friends, Life | 7 Comments »
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R.I.P. Aunt Wendy: I Miss You

Tue, 11 October 2011

On Sunday, October 9, 2011 at 3am, Wendy Sue Vosper lost her battle with Breast Cancer. Since the moment I found out about her situation almost 4 years ago I wished this would never come to pass. Her whole family did the little things to keep her spirits up, and we all awaited her every update on her condition on Carepages.com. In the end, the cancer spread to every place it didn’t belong, and put out the flame on a beautiful person. She was an inspiration long before cancer. (more…)

Posted in: Deaths, Faith, Family and Friends, Life | 5 Comments »
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Hurry Up iPhone5, My Patience Has Ended

Tue, 04 October 2011

Listen up Apple. I’m eagerly awaiting your announcement today of the next iPhone that I WILL buy. BUT…I’m putting you on notice. If you ever, EVER, make me resort to a tethered extra battery again to keep my next iPhone functioning for a year, I will quit you and go to Android. Plain and simple. It was bad enough when your iOS update caused my perfectly functioning iPhone 3G to suddenly become slower to render than running AOL via dial-up circa 1996. Then, you had the audacity to ask for $100 for me to replace my 3G with another one just to get a functioning battery while you release 2 better phones to the market. This boy isn’t going to put a drop into an old phone when you go obsoleting it every 6 months. So, I went the alternative route. I bought a Philips backup battery to limp the phone along until the iPhone5. You know, the phone that you always update in June. Except this year, you decided to wait until October. That’s a full 4 more months of aggravation as I tore through more charger cables than I care to admit with my phone and my “phone-pon” (my friends thought it always looked like I had a tampon coming out of my pocket) wearing holes in my pocket.

Kris's Apple iPhone 3G with tethered extra battery

So the glorious launch day has arrived, Apple. All I have to say to you is that this thing better have a decent battery in it (preferably replaceable), and you better think twice before forcing some shiny new iOS onto it before the end of my 2 year contract. Thanks for your time.

Posted in: Computers/Video, Life, Sucks | 4 Comments »
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Hudson North America Hiring an Online Marketing Manager

Fri, 10 June 2011

There’s some big things happening at Hudson. We are undergoing transformational change with a new CEO on board and new web platforms to take the company where we want it to go. Many of the initiatives will take place in the digital realm of which I am the leader in our North America operation. I’m very much looking forward to the process of bringing on a new team member in our Chicago office to help us to innovate with all of the tools that are at our disposal. Check out the job description for our Online Marketing Manager position in Chicago, IL.  

Here’s a little taste…

Help build a top professional services brand using your talents as an online marketing expert. Hudson North America is seeking a skilled and motivated digital marketer to work with our line-of-business marketing managers and our web development team to build programs that achieve business results.

Catch the market upswing as we re-position our websites onto DotNetNuke, reposition our brand as Trusted Advisors globally, and position your interactive abilities as a centerpiece of the digital marketing department of the future. If you know more about thought leadership than online shopping carts, please apply!

If you know that you can rock this job, or you can refer someone else who will, please have them Apply. I will see every resume that comes into the Job Posting.

Posted in: Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Marketing skills, Professional Networking, Workplace | 1 Comment »
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My B2B Takeaways From the Silverpop Client Summit 2011

Thu, 19 May 2011

spop-summitbanner

 

I had the pleasure of attending the 2011 Silverpop Client Summit. This was my first summit as we are a relatively new customer for Silverpop. First, let me just say that Silverpop put on a heck of an event.

Memorable Event Details

Here’s some things that made the event planning/production itself memorable

  • Any truly great event has great keynote speakers.  Stephen Dubner of Freakonomics fame, and Gary Vaynerchuk of passionate social media fame knocked their keynotes out of the park. It was a nice touch that their latest books were made available for free to all attendees.
  • It sounds stupid, but the endless promotion of the hastag #SPOP11 and displaying the tweets from it up on the big screen was really fun. It was fun to tweet and get your words up in front of a crowd in seconds.
  • A great venue. Hotel Intercontinental Buckhead had plenty of space, and outstanding food and accomodations. The staff was super professional.
  • Fun after hours events at World of Coke and listening to Girlz Girlz Girlz rock it.
  • Very well-planned learning tracks for B2B and B2C customers kept separate.
  • Plenty of networking time between presentations made making business connections very easy.

Now, My Marketing Takeaways

  • Silverpop has an outstanding staff of product strategists and support people that really are leading the field of Marketing Automation Software. I have a much higher confidence level that we made the right system selection after having attended the event and meeting the people behind the product. From the CEO, Bill Nussey to Lead Product Strategist Bryan Brown to product ninja John Field, these guys really have great vision to lead toward the future and understand the problems we as marketers all face in trying to get there.
  • Not only do they know their own product, but I feel way better about how well they understand Salesforce.com. Engage 8.3 is a far superior product to Engage B2B in how well it integrates with Salesforce.
  • I am reassured by presentations from analysts at Sirius Decisions (Meg Heuer) that all of this pain and suffering in trying to migrate to a new sales and marketing model aligned process-wise and powered by marketing automation and CRM tools is defintely the right direction.
  • I also learned that there are plenty of other organizations out there that share the challenges of getting to that vision.
  • I finally have face-to-face connections with support staff at Silverpop, from my account rep, to our product transition specialist and even to the internal marketing team. Every single person is willing and enthusiastic about helping customers adopt and take advantage of the Silverpop platform.
  • Birds of a feather. Holy cow there are plenty of marketing people out there with similar responsibilities and the varied skillsets needed to operate Marketing Automation and Lead Management. The emerging title is Marketing Operations. I didn’t know this discipline existed, especially living in such a small and lean marketing department as I currently do.

That’s it for now. I reserve the right to add to this post. It’s what I could come up with as I sit in the airport to return home after my first visit to Atlanta. My mind is mush and my motivation is high. Thanks for a great conference!

Posted in: B2B Inbound Marketing, B2B Lead Generation/Management, Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Marketing Strategy | No Comments »
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Measuring Client Satisfaction: One Net Promoter® Score at a Time

Tue, 15 March 2011

Marketing is many parts listening and one part using what you’ve heard to affect change in your organization. It is amazing what a simple client survey can do to validate what you do as an organization and give you the confidence to make changes that will positively affect the customer experience.

For the past year and a half, Hudson has participated in the Inavero, Best of Staffing™ awards sponsored by CareerBuilder. It is based on sending surveys to all of our clients that essentially asks a simple question – How likely are you to recommend us to a friend? The answer to that question, rated on a 1-10 scale speak volumes to how well we’re doing as an organization. If a client rates on a scale of 1-6, they are detractors, 7-8 are passives, and 9-10 are promoters meaning they would likely give us word of mouth recommendations. Inavero also collects the primary reason for the rating and anything we could do better with our service.

From a marketing perspective, the survey is golden because it gives us great client testimonials to put in our marketing materials. It helps us with our search engine optimization for people who might be looking for the best IT staffing agencies, or one of the best staffing firms for client satisfaction  (: shaaaaameless linkbuilding right there baby :). It also gives us something to validate our quality to prospective clients and candidates. Here you can see one of the ways we address the survey in a web video from our CEO (a quick little production I did with a Flip cam):

 

 

From an organizational perspective the survey has even more benefit. It opens a communication channel with clients and helps to rescue relationships that may have ebbed in recent times. For a group spread far and wide like ours, a positive satisfaction rating gives employees a sense of pride. The direct feedback can also inject innovation into the service offering based on great ideas from clients. Overall, I’m convinced that periodic client surveys are a great way to build the quality of a staffing firm. After all, success is built one promoter at a time.

Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, and Fred Reichheld.

Posted in: General, Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Marketing Strategy | No Comments »
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Scoop It, Dump It, Pick Out the Goodies

Fri, 18 February 2011

Our February Pack meeting was our first “Skit Night” during my tenure as Cubmaster of Pack 107. So many of our scouts LOVE to perform skits at campfires, and Scout camps. I also know that the scouts love to see the scout leaders get goofy and do a skit of their own. So, I rallied my leaders together to learn and perform the ‘If I Were not a Scout Leader’ song. Some of my leaders are shy and others outspoken, but when it all came together, we all had a blast embarrasing ourselves. Parents reported mass outbreaks of kids singing “Give Bessie Give, Daddy’s Gotta live!” after the meeting.

Have a look…

Posted in: Kids, Life, Rochester, Sports and Hobbies | No Comments »
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Valentines 2011 : Daddy-Daughter Date

Thu, 17 February 2011

Sunday, Anna and I went on our annual Daddy-Daughter date for Valentine’s Day. She looks forward to the event all year long. Looking back on it, so do I. There’s not many times during the year when she and I are able to hang out by ourselves. Usually it’s Mason and me.

To begin with, Anna prepared all week by drawing a map of our activities. The elaborate plot was ‘just like last year’ with an addition. We found that the new Kohl’s in Victor has all kind of girlie clothes so that HAD to be our first stop. Indicated on the map are $ signs where I’m supposed to spend money. We would drive to Kohl’s then go to Eastview mall where we would walk to Build-a-Bear, Claire’s, Justice, dine at Friendly’s, then end our time shopping at Anthropologie, where I usually read her love poetry from one of the cool books they have there.

Valentine's Day map of activities
Anna’s detailed activity map

The morning of our date, Anna needed to make sure that I was properly outfitted for the event. She loves to see her dad wear pink. She claims that it’s my favorite color. She found the only pink shirt and sweater I have in my closet (things that my wife had bought for me to ‘prove I could wear pink’ and still be a man). The finishing touch though, was my first ‘pedi’. Anna was tired of seeing my toenails that have been blackened from a couple of bad skiing landings. So, she got out the purple and pink nail polish and voila!

Anna gives daddy his first pedicure
Anna gives daddy his first pedicure

Our dates are all about shopping, because that is something I just won’t do most of the rest of the year. It’s also a great excuse for Anna to get some new fashion. There’s nothing she likes more than fashion. Our date started off great. We spent almost 2 hours in Kohl’s trying on everything in sight.

Trying on clothes
Trying on fashion at Kohl’s. This was NOT one of the 10 dresses that she also tried on

It’s fun to watch what she gravitates towards. Dresses…sparkly dressy dresses. Yet, after all of that effort, we didn’t buy a thing!

To the mall we went. My highlight of our dates is going to Claire’s. That is the place where dad’s should never go. If you do, it is a requirement that you attempt to embarrass your daughter. Anna is already onto my antics, and she plays right along…
Anna and Daddy at Claire's
Anna and Daddy at Claire’s being very…intellectual

Our time was winding down before we had to rush off to a TYKEs show. We had time for our annual Friendly’s lunch. I tried to warn Anna that Friendly’s had moved out of where it used to be, and was now Friendly’s Express. This made Anna very upset. When she calmed down I finally got to the bottom of her angst. She wanted to be able to sit down for our meal and have me draw a picture of her on a napkin – just like last year. Because Friendly’s is now in the food court, she thought we wouldn’t be able to do that. Luckily, the new Friendly’s is AWESOME! It is a different concept. You order your food at a counter, take a number and go sit at a table where the staff will bring your good old favorites right to your table. The best part is that they still give you crayons, and you can still draw pictures of your daughter while you wait.

Anna Rzepkowski Friendlys Sketch 2011
Anna through the eyes of her dad. Friendly’s Express Eastview Mall 2011

After our Friendly’s it was a mad dash back to Claire’s to buy some make-up that ‘mommy probably wouldn’t me to buy’. Hey, you’re with Dad, cha-ching… We left the mall for our show, but when we got to the show. I had a daughter in tears. She had somehow dropped the fuzzy scarf I bought her on Valentine’s Day last year in the mall parking lot. “It was so special to me”, she said in a ball of despair. After the show we just had to go back to the mall to find it. And back we went. I drove there knowing that I would likely have to buy a replacement scarf to make this day right again. I drove to where we had parked before, and lo and behold there it was! A good samaritan had draped Anna’s scarf over a car at the end of the row. Thank God for great people. Anna was thrilled.

Anna was also thrilled that the line at Build-a-Bear was not wrapping out the door of the place. She picked out a fuzzy pink bear. We rubbed the hearts, and brought ‘Nina’ to life. There’s nothing like Build-a-Bear to make a little girl happy.

Anna at Build-a-Bear
Anna and Daddy putting some love into “Nina”

Our Daddy-Daughter date was filled with shopping and drama. We went to Anthropology for poetry, and TJ Maxx for a pretty skirt and a dress (much cheaper there ya know…) We had a great time together. It might take me til next year to recover. I had better start drawing my map now :-)

Posted in: Holidays, Kids, Life | 3 Comments »
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B2B Client Attraction Websites

Tue, 15 February 2011

You do a little bit every day to move the needle. In 2010, Hudson did a lotta bit every day to try to move the needle. One of the things we examined were our Client facing websites for Hudson North America. In the staffing and professional services business what you try to sell most is trust. Trust that our people are the best at what they do, and trust that we have been there and solved your problem before. The problem is that most clients are skeptical when you talk about yourself all the time. “We’re the best this”, or “Look at all about us”. What they want to know is “How can you help me?”; “Do you understand my problems?”. So, we made a simple shift from talking about us, to trying to identify with client problems. We then featured some key case studies that prove that we can solve the kinds of problems that clients have.

These were baby steps of progress in 2010. Have a look at my Hudson Microsites 2010 Portfolio entry to read more details about the redesign project. I thought it was a good time to post it and get any comments from the market. We are learning, and embarking on further redesign work to continue to push our sites to help our clients address their business issues.

Hudson Financial Solutions Home Page 2004-2009
Click to view 2004-2009 home page

Hudson Financial Solutions Home Page 2010+
Click to view 2010 home page

Posted in: Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Marketing Strategy, Projects, Staffing SEO/SEM, User Experience Design | No Comments »
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Diving into the Sales Lead Flow

Thu, 03 February 2011

riverIn the beginning of 2011, I have made a transition in my Interactive Marketing responsibilities. It is a shift that I have advocated for as I have tried to help elevate the value of my expertise to my company, and elevate the stature of marketing within our organization. My long term survival theory for marketing in a predominately sales organization (as opposed to engineering, manufacturing, etc) is to “get closer to the money”. This means that we need to focus our marketing activities on things that directly assist the sales team. Not that branding, marketing communications, social media, PR and the like don’t indirectly help the sales team; they do. It’s just that the more time you spend in the direct path of a sale through B2B Lead Generation and management, the more familiar you get with your sales team, the buying funnel for your customers, and better ways of adding value to the sales process. Without this as my primary goal and responsibility for my first few years, it was easy to be “disconnected from the money”

So far, my instincts have been correct. I have spent the last 3 months really diving into our CRM system – Salesforce.com. I have actually been trying to get all of the mechanics set up for how leads come in from marketing activities, get classified by sales, and ultimately get pursued for business. Much of this has to do with attempting to get the sales team and the marketing team to only use Salesforce. We are working on using it to setup and track campaign activities. When we build email lists, no more spreadsheets. It’s Salesforce queries. When we pass leads to sales, we try hard to only interact within Salesforce.  So far, this has brought up more questions than answers.

  • Do we have the right fields setup in Salesforce for data capture?
  • Are we right to spend lots of time implementing the Leads module separate from the Contacts module?
  • How exactly does a salesperson classify the many contacts at a client, when only one of them is the purchaser, but many others are the influencers?
  • In an industry like staffing, where needs arise over night, is there any true sales funnel at all?
  • When should a lead be assigned to our sales team for follow up?

After the campaigns go out the door, and the responses come back, I’m  finding that getting in the middle of lead management is a lot of work. I actually care now whether sales is pursuing and documenting a lead that we pass them. I want to see the activities get documented so that I can track where the best leads are coming from. I want to understand the nuances of the sales relationship so that I can help formulate additional nurturing tactics to turn the lead into a sale.

This is just the beginning of my learning. It’s almost like marketing is becoming a part of the sales team. If I have learned anything so far, it’s that sales is hard work – really hard.

photo by: milowinningham

Posted in: B2B Lead Generation/Management | 1 Comment »
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aboutkris

This is my Life as a 37 year old husband and father of two and my Work as Executive Director of Marketing at Bennett International Group in Mconough, GA relocating from home in Rochester, NY.
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