From a hockey team's marketing strategies to a time-tested NPR podcast, find out what inspires us to help take our client campaigns to the next level.
As digital marketers, we’re constantly monitoring customer data, competitive research and digital trends. These tools help us carve insights that inform strategy and drive results for our clients.
But data alone isn’t enough to win a competitive edge in today’s ever-changing digital world. Marketing success depends on critical thinking, bold ideas and content that resonates. The right strategy combines all of these elements to help brands connect with audiences.
At Adept, we look for inspiration outside of marketing to help take our clients’ campaigns to the next level. Find out what we’re reading and listening to that helps us translate everyday inspiration into marketing solutions that push brands forward.
Lindsay Peck, Conversion Optimization Specialist
As a former journalist, I’ve always been excited about the way excellent reporting and storytelling can be used to paint pictures about real-world people, places and events. To that end, I never ever miss an episode of the “This American Life” podcast. Host Ira Glass is a storytelling genius who was podcasting long before it was cool. The show uses ordinary people, varied stories and true old-school reporting to showcase the times we live in. Sometimes it’s beautiful, often it’s funny and occasionally it’s sad, but it’s always excellent. I listen every week and it reminds me to stay true to my reporter roots in everything I do—ask good questions, consider all perspectives and, most importantly, listen. Not to give advice or pass judgment, but to understand.
Kristyn Wilson, Vice President of Public Relations and Communications
I’m a huge fan of Audible (audiobooks are my jam) and I just finished the book, “Come Fly the World,” by Julia Cooke. As a former communications executive at NetJets, I maintain my fascination with the golden age of flying. Cooke’s book weaves together the real-life stories of women who worked for Pan Am World Airways and the little-known, yet remarkable ways they helped reshape attitudes about women in the workforce and honorably served our country through times of war. The book opened my eyes to the many ways marketing unfairly labeled this noble profession, and how the women paved the way for working moms like me to aim higher than ever before.
Megan Medeiros, Director of Acquisition
I’ve been on a kick of reading books published by The Today Show hosts. I recently finished Jenna Bush Hager’s “Everything’s Beautiful in Its Time” and “Sister First,” as well as Al Roker’s “You Look So Much Better In Person.” What I love about each of these is that they talk about working hard, always finding new opportunities and seeing the beauty in life’s setbacks. Each of these books has allowed me to take on a new perspective for challenges. Al Roker’s book shows how hard he worked to get where he is today. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that people in high places didn’t get there overnight and it’s refreshing to hear about the hard work and setbacks even the best and brightest experience. Additionally, I start each morning with Hoda Kotb’s “I Needed This Today,” which is a daily inspirational book. Some days her messages make me laugh, others make me ponder life and some days they just give me the gusto I need to get through the day. (I wasn’t kidding when I said I was on a Today Show book kick!)
Luckily for me, I have many more books to read from the Today Show hosts, so another from Al Roker or Hoda Kotb might be up next. They balance humor, inspiration and professional growth all in one which makes them very easy to read.
Meredith Nelson, Director of Client Experience
I used to listen to a lot of podcasts, but lately the one I listen to weekly is “SmartLess” with Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes. It's hilarious, but also educational, depending on the guest. Recently, they had on Jessica Meir, who is an astronaut, marine biologist and more. It's great to hear their stories, but also get a laugh in. I am learning about how each of their guests got to where they are and finding inspiration in their stories, as all of their guests have unique paths to success, and not all of it was easy!
Zach Gerber, Manager of Thought Leadership and Outreach
During my early days in marketing, the clients I partnered with were primarily pharmaceutical and healthcare brands. There's a stigma that these highly regulated sectors stifle creativity. But in my mind, that's only if you let it.
Since then, I’ve looked for inspiration from industry outsiders. What is Nike doing to drive customer loyalty? And how can it translate to work I’m doing for a healthcare brand around providing a better patient experience? Looking outside has always provided me with the nuggets of inspiration that can fuel vastly different brands.
Recently, I’ve been turning to inspiration from podcasts such as “How I Built This” on NPR and “Off Camera” with Sam Jones. While there are a plethora of books on my list to read, I always find myself revisiting the work of Austin Kleon, author of “Steal Like an Artist,” “Keep Going” and more.
Jake Ganger, Growth Strategist
Recently I’ve been reading “Chill Factor” about the Columbus Chill, a minor league hockey team whose marketing success took on a life of its own separate from the team’s on-ice success. The organization knew that they had an uphill battle to climb, competing with Ohio State athletics, but carved their own niche in the market. They brought fresh ideas to the city, not accepting that Columbus was only capable of supporting college football and basketball teams. The Chill took a sport that had failed three times prior and gained a cult following through their approach to marketing the team and creating joy for the paying customer. Their promotions, which some purely referred to as publicity stunts, lead to them gaining national coverage and eventually being labeled as “hockey for the hip.” Despite past Columbus teams all folding due to low ticket sales, the Chill set a minor league record with 83 consecutive sellouts and sold out 191 out of 252 games in its eight-season history. The success of the franchise directly led to the construction of Nationwide Arena and the development of the Arena District.
John Samuelson, Paid Media Strategist
I recently finished “Range” by David Epstein and found myself inspired by the success stories of “t-shaped people.” The general idea is that while it is important to have specialized skills and knowledge, you shouldn’t just rush to acquire all your knowledge in one vertical. Instead, you should build a wide foundation of experiences in different areas.
I think the reason this t-shaped skill tree resonates with me so much is that since reading about it, I’ve made an increased effort to approach problems with more of an open mind and have seen tremendous success in this new approach. Instead of just trying to solve growth challenges for our clients using my paid media expertise, I draw upon my experiences as an SEO and account manager, and even more importantly, I leverage the range (pun intended) of experiences from all of the amazing teammates here at Adept.
Tyler Wilhelm, SEO Analyst
In my previous role in digital marketing, I took a 9-month leadership development course where I was first introduced to Michael Hyatt’s podcast titled “This Is Your Life,” which I continue to listen to on a regular basis. Hyatt's discussions revolve around leadership, productivity and goal-setting—all areas I strive to excel at in my personal and professional life. One of the reasons I appreciate this series is because he does an excellent job creating methods to motivate yourself during a workweek that steadily flow into after-hours, truly making you feel well-rounded and productive. Everyone has different lives that are intertwined with family, friends, jobs and other responsibilities, and Hyatt breaks down those things in a digestible way to bring out a healthier version of yourself with less stress, which is important for any life or career (especially working in the ever-changing world of Google).
Olivia Collignon, Paid Media Analyst
Over the last year or so, I’ve found myself indulging in podcasts. During the earlier stages of the pandemic, and to a certain extent still today, we were all quite isolated. I have a blog, and before the pandemic, a lot of the inspiration for what I’d write about came from interactions with my friends. The little details I picked up on throughout my day helped me connect them to a larger picture. I would say that I was easily inspired by the world around me. You’d think pandemic life would give me more time and space to write, but the opposite was true. There wasn’t much around me, besides 7 o’clock Wheel of Fortune and Scrabble with my mom and sister. Everything felt tremendously monotonous.
So, I tried listening to a few podcasts. I particularly took a liking to those that felt like I was listening in on a conversation, and not something super “official” like a lecture. One that has stuck with me is called “Brain Science: Neuroscience & Behavior.” It focuses on topics such as the practice of being present, empathy, conflict, the power of story, and stepping away to get unstuck. It offers a multitude of different perspectives that shed a little light on why we are the way we are as humans. And it’s fascinating! Each episode unlocks a new door to perspectives I usually wouldn’t have thought of, which help me to be a better person, friend, listener, coworker, as well as helping me not be so hard on myself in the day-to-day.
Lincoln Rinehart, SEO Director
I’ve always been fascinated by the concept that rebels can make great leaders. Over the last few years, I’ve been reading a lot of beat generation novels and poetry, including the likes of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs. While the morality of these individuals may be in question, there are still some interesting insights to glean from their works. The writing style of that generation is very impromptu and stream of consciousness, which is enlightening in its own right. But it’s also the exact type of out-of-the-box thinking that drives new and creative ideas. Creativity and having a unique way of thinking are principles that can be beneficial to most business initiatives, but especially to marketing efforts.
Nate Burdette, Content Manager
When George Saunders set out to write “Lincoln in the Bardo,” his simple goal was to document the storied night president Abraham Lincoln visited his son’s grave and allegedly had contact with his body. But as Saunders put pen to page, he couldn’t figure out a way into the story. Writing from Lincoln’s first-person point of view didn’t feel right, nor did using a third-person narrator. Before he scrapped the book, Saunders tried one last thing and put himself in the graveyard, asking himself what he saw and felt there. In a moment of clarity, his intuition provided a ghost. From there, the idea took shape to create fictional ghosts that appear in the night and talk with Lincoln as he moves toward his son’s crypt, adding needed texture to the story. What seemed like a display of genius was actually just Saunders finding a creative solution to a problem. When we let them, problems breed creativity (I’m looking at you, Facebook character counts).
To see our ideas in action, read how we helped Adept client Compassion International transform an in-person experience for the virtual world.