Helping Aspiring Atlanta Marketers Find Jobs

April 11, 2017
For many years I have enjoyed connecting job seekers with their dream jobs. We even added recruiting as a nice little side business for AgencySparks. In fact, I wrote a series of content designed to equip job seekers with knowledge that will help them find their dream gig:

http://AgencySparks.com/blog/2015/8/10/jobseeker-series

Also, this post is by far the most popular on all of AgencySparks.com:

https://AgencySparks.com/blog/the-marketing-career-path

In fact, if you Google "marketing career path" or "evolution of a marketing career" we come up #1 or #2 organically!

In the spirit of making connections that benefit both job seekers and employers, we have created a simple form for each group so that we can try to make appropriate matches:


Please fill out the form and we will do our best to make connections that will result in matching qualified candidates with opportunistic employers.

Cheers,
Joe


 

On The Radio on The Dana Barrett Show on biz1190

March 2, 2017
I love hanging out with my buddy Dana Barrett, but particularly together with her on the air on the Dana Barrett Show on biz1190!



Here is the segment I did with her on her radio show earlier this week where I talk about AgencySparks and some of the changes we are making in 2017 to further grow the business:



Best,
Joe
 

A Plethora of Podcasts

November 16, 2016
I have had the distinct pleasure of serving as a guest on several podcasts and radio shows in the last year. Recently, I was able to participate in podcasts hosted in four different countries (US, Canada, UK, and Australia). During each interview, I try to talk about different topics related to AgencySparks and my entrepreneurial/business journey. I have attempted to capture all of them here, so you can give them a listen:

 

Celebrating the Second Anniversary of AgencySparks!

February 4, 2016
It is hard to believe that today is the second anniversary of AgencySparks! It seems like just yesterday that we were celebrating the first anniversary.

Two years ago I acted on my dream to build a company that connects brands to specialist marketing agencies, and it is hard to comprehend how much it has grown in the past few years.

We have had the good fortune to work with some amazing agencies:

Thank you to Keith Vest, Simms Jenkins, Richard Warner, Lindsay Podrid, Ben Spangler, Will duPont, Mark Rockett, Vicky Jones, Kevin Planovsky, Mark Pettit, Jeff Hilimire, JT Hroncich, Steve Upton, Joe Carter, and Tom Ellis. Without each of your belief in AgencySparks, it would not exist.

Also, thank you to Georgia-Pacific, Volvo Construction, Interface, Floor & Decor, Hancock Fabric, Turner, Cartoon Network, Coca-Cola, Verifone, ADAC, FORTIVA, The Home Depot, Haute House, Accel-KKR, Ashworth College, and others for trusting AgencySparks to help connect you to the perfect specialist marketing agency.

Special thanks to my team over the last two years - Stephanie Peterman, Katia Herrera, Anastasia Kusmartseva, William Denning, and Kate Jacoutot. You have been the engine that drives AgencySparks.

Lastly, but certainly not least, thank you to my wife Michelle and our kids for all of your support. Being an entrepreneur is not easy... it is like riding a grand rollercoaster. You have shared the front car with me for two years.

Here is the original AgencySparks logo:



To me, it represents our origins.


This is our current logo:


To me it represents our present.

Who knows what the future will hold, but I am excited for the journey! Thank you to all of you who have shared and supported this experience.


Best,
Joe

 

Dare Mighty Things - mantra for all entrepreneurs and creators

December 18, 2015
One of my favorite quotes is quite apropos for all entrepreneurs and creatives:

It is not the critic who counts; nor the one who points out how the strong person stumbled, or where the doer of a deed could have done better.

The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who does actually strive to do deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends oneself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he or she fails, at least fails while daring greatly.

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

- Theodore Roosevelt


Theodore Roosevelt photo courtesy of: Biography.com


 

Cialdini - The Science of Persuasion

October 13, 2015
I love being involved with the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business serving on the Marketing Executive Board. As part of my involvement there, I agreed to be the first participant in professor Jennifer Osbon's book club with marketing students. Tomorrow night I will be discussing Cialdini's fantastic book:

Influence: Science and Practice by Robert B. Cialdini (affiliate link)

Here is a cool illustrated video that explains the concepts in the book:




Hope you enjoy,
Joe

 

48in48 - Making History For Non-Profits In Atlanta

October 11, 2015
When my friend, former boss, mentor, and now client, Jeff Hilimire told me about his idea many months ago to build 48 websites for 48 non-profits in 48 hours, my immediate response was "I am in". Most non-profits are more focused on doing good, than looking good, so the strong digital marketing community here in Atlanta could pitch in our talents to help them attract, convert, and retain donors and volunteers.

So much planning and preparation went into the 48in48 weekend. Over the course of the weekend, something like 250 total volunteers and sponsors played small and large parts in the Herculean effort. At the General Assembly space within Ponce City Market, there was palpable excitement and exceptional teamwork that fueled the sleep deprived, but well fed volunteers.

I volunteered AgencySparks to write a blog post for each of the non-profits - to make sure they had some content to get them started towards their own content creation efforts. I recruited friends who were strong writers to assist, and boy did they come through:

16 volunteers offered to each write three posts. Some of them (Julie Marateck, Steve Denker, Keith Hanks, and Nancy Prager) stopped by to write their posts in person. Some of them brought treats for other volunteers, and
Keith even helped me hand out 100+ Chick-fil-A sandwiches on one of our four runs to homeless shelters to distribute leftovers donations from Arby's, Flying Biscuit (thanks to Twitter), and Moe's. I was also blown away that two of my friends (Amanda Smith and Elysse Miller), who moved away from Atlanta years ago, still pitched in remotely.

We did it! We built all 48 websites! Of course all of the non-profits were "winners", but on Sunday evening, we were able to celebrate together with some esteemed judges, who chose some of the top websites and the teams who built them.

Not only did each of us that were heavily involved feel a strong sense of camaraderie and accomplishment throughout the weekend, but also a sense of relief at the end, when we reached our goal.

I tried to document the entire experience. Here is Jeff's excellent postBelow are some of my photos taken over the course of the weekend:


Some of the general volunteers


Sponsors (including AgencySparks)


Amy G. Martin and me LATE Friday night


Hygiene supplies


Quiet room to provide volunteers a little rest


Volunteers waiting for one of the prize drawings held every four hours


Many people brought treats for the volunteers including this cake


Finished home pages taped over original non-profit homepages


48in48 founders - Jeff Hilimire and Adam Walker with philanthropist and former NFL star - Warrick Dunn

 
48in48 judges

Thank you to everyone involved with this amazing effort. We look forward to helping 48in48 go national in 2016!

Best,
Joe



 

Active Atlanta #JobSeekers - August 2015

August 10, 2015
Note: This post is the seventh in a (#JobSeeker) series that I am publishing to help those who are seeking their dream job. There are several tips that I feel incrementally increase your chance of being hired. These tips require hard work to implement, but the "sweat equity" will pay dividends when you land the job you have been coveting.

I thought it would be good for me to highlight candidates here in Atlanta that have approached me because they are interested in finding their next challenge. If you are interested in talking to any of the candidates listed below, please reach out to me at: Joe [at] AgencySparks.com and I can tell you more about them and potentially connect you.


I have attempted to segment the candidates seeking jobs by the level of the role they are seeking:

VP/C-suite:
CFO - 23 years experience - experience helping startups and more established companies grow
CMO - 25 years experience as CMO at 4 publicly traded B2B companies
CMO - 17 years experience - Established startup CMO and PR pro
CMO - 25 years experience - Seasoned leader focused on wellness and CPG
CMO - 28 years experience - Consumer marketing and brand strategy expert
VP of eCommerce - 22 years experience - Global digital marketing and eCommerce expert - ROI focused

Director:
Account Director - 7 years experience - Brand planner and likable account person
Associate Creative Director (copy) - 19 years experience - Senior copywriter - BtoB and BtoC
Brand Engagement Director - 22 years experience - Agency and client background
Director of Brand Strategy and Business Development - 30 years experience - extensive agency and some client experience 
Director of Digital Creative Strategy - 6 years experience - focused on leveraging storytelling (writing) to create content for brands
Director of Digital Marketing - 20 years experience - Seasoned digital consumer marketing expert with strong mobile and game experience
Director of Privacy and Strategic Marketing - 17 years experience - Focused on creating value where digital marketing, technology, strategy, consumer privacy and big data intersect.
PR Director - 10 years experience - versatile PR pro with experience in broadcast, digital content creation and social media
TV marketing and promotions Director - 20 years experience - TV marketing and promotional leader/manager

Manager:
Account Manager - 8 years experience - Strong account management and email marketing skills
Agency Senior Marketing & PR Manager - 9 years experience - Special expertise in event management and agency PR
Agency Operations Manager - 8 years experience - Big agency operations experience
Digital Marketing Manager - 5 years experience - Extensive social media strategy and execution experience with BIG brands
Global Digital Marketing Manager - 17 years experience - Worked with big companies throughout his career
Senior Digital Agency Copywriter - 8 years experience - Client and agency experience
Senior Digital Marketing Manager - 9 years experience - Agency and client side (big brand) experience
Senior Manager of Digital Strategy - 17 years experience - Worked with big companies throughout her career
AM/PM/Social/Email - 8 years experience - Great team player with strong people and email marketing skills

Associate:
Digital Marketing Associate - 0 years experience - New graduate with passion and emerging skills for digital marketing

Again, please reach out to me at: Joe [at] AgencySparks.com if you would like to learn more about any of the folks above.

Best,
Joe

 

Community Engagement - Get Involved!

July 29, 2015
When our twins were born in 2010, my wife, Michelle asked me to reduce the number of activities in which I was involved. It was a very reasonable ask since family was important to us both, so I resigned from a few boards and focused on family and work. Now that the kids are headed to kindergarten and AgencySparks is going well, I have slowly gotten back involved in a number of initiatives which are important to me.

My goal for this post is to spark some interest from YOU in getting more involved in your own community. Please feel free to reach out to me, if you want my help guiding you to any of these wonderful organizations.




Here is a laundry list of how I spend my time:

AgencySparks - Running a company is hard work. Not only do we have the privilege of working with some of the top specialist marketing agencies in the country, but we also focus on mending what we see as a relatively broken relationship between agencies and clients. There are some real rewards to entrepreneurship, but there are also a lot of challenges. AgencySparks is my number one priority, and all other engagements are secondary.

Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia - I am proud to serve on the board of advisors for the Marketing Program at Terry. It is rewarding to make an impact on our future leaders. I am particularly focused on supporting the Digital Marketing area of emphasis run by professor, Jen Osbon.

UGA Annual Digital Marketing Competition - This has been one of the most rewarding endeavors I have involved myself with in the last few years. I serve as a coach for several teams of students, who compete for the opportunity to pitch the selected real world client. This year, my team was fortunate to win the entire competition, and travel to San Francisco to tour the headquarters of Lyft, Twitter, and Airbnb. In addition to helping the students, I get to spend time with my fellow coaches: Brian Rudolph, Teresa Caro, Todd Coplevitz, Adam Naide, and Patricia Camden.

Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association (AIMA) - Teresa Caro recruited me to join the AIMA board of directors in 2004, and I served until I was elected president in 2009. I retired shortly after my service and have renewed my involvement on the board in the last few years.

48in48 - When Jeff Hilimire told me about his idea to build 48 websites for 48 non-profits in 48 hours, I immediately asked how I could get involved. I love this idea, and seized the opportunity for AgencySparks to get involved as a sponsor. We are committed to writing a unique blog post for each non-profit, so I am looking for volunteers to help us.

SuperNova South - In 2014, I programmed a full-day event for 150+ students to help advance their marketing careers. I moderated five panels of friends and colleagues from companies like Floor & Decor, NAPA Auto Parts, SapientNitro, SweetWater Brewing Company, Cartoon Network, Assurant Solutions, Kids II, and The Home Depot. We expect to build on this success and further expand the SuperNova South 2015 program.

ChooseATL - Brian Easter of Nebo Agency approached me a few years ago about the idea of writing a love letter to our city designed to spread the message that Atlanta should be a destination for anyone thinking about building a digital marketing career. Little did we know back then that it would grow into a grassroots effort supported by the mayor of Atlanta and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.

The Gumbo Show with Joe - I have been hosting a music-focused radio show on commercial (and now internet) radio since 1998. It is a great hobby that has lead me to meet some of my musical heroes including Dr. John, Emmylou Harris, Chis Thile, Kermit Ruffins, Lenny Kravitz, Jerry Douglass, Chris Isaak, Adam Duritz, Sam Bush, Jamie Foxx, and The Wood Brothers. My show can currently be heard live on Tuesday evenings at http://GumboShow.com

Everybody Wins! Atlanta - This is one of the easiest and most impactful non-profits in the city. I just completed my sixth year reading to a child every other week during my lunch break. These kids are behind in their reading skills, and most of them come from homes that do not provide them with the proper backgrounds to succeed in school. It is SO EASY to make a big impact.

Mentorship - Since my days in college, coaching a junior high school lacrosse team, I have always loved giving guidance - particularly to young people. Not only do I feel obligated to pay it forward and help guide the next generation --as my generous mentors did for me - but it's downright fun to help. Jeff Hilimire also got me involved in Advice for Good, which is an awesome way to get advice seekers to do good in exchange for advice.

Other community efforts - Over the years I have served on some additional boards of advisors for some organizations committed to bettering our communities, such as Isipho (dedicated to building sustainable food gardens in South Africa), VAYANDO (connecting curious travelers with micro-entrepreneurs in emerging economies around the world) and the Brookwood Civic Association (neighborhood association).

Please let me know if you would like to learn more about any of these fine organizations!

Best,
Joe

 

Asking for Referrals

July 8, 2015
Note: This post is the sixth in a (#JobSeekerseries that I am publishing to help those who are seeking their dream job. There are several tips that I feel incrementally increase your chance of being hired. These tips require hard work to implement, but the "sweat equity" will pay dividends when you land the job you have been coveting.

Asking for Referrals

We’ve all heard that in a job hunt, who you know is more important than what you know. Without a personal referral to pass your (hopefully visual) resume along to the key person, your chances of landing a job could be slim. So where does that leave the job seekers who want to be endorsed by valued associates or colleagues?   

If you know the potential referrer:
You can ask someone to refer you by sending an email or by sending a message on a networking site like LinkedIn or Facebook. It’s better to ask in writing, to allow the potential referrer time to think over if and how she/he can refer you for a job. In your letter, refresh their memory of how you know each other, tell them how interested you are in working at XYZ company (and why!). Write the email you want the referrer to pass on, so it is easy to help you. Also, always ask how well the potential referrer knows the person you are seeking.

When reaching out, rather than asking: “Can you refer me?”, instead ask: “Do you think I’d be a good fit for this position? If so, do you think you could refer me?” Asking your contact for information they might have about the company, culture, or positions available can be a great segue into asking for a referral. It will be easier to gauge if your referrer is comfortable providing the referral, and you can be more assured that she/he will be enthusiastic about your skills and feel confident you will make a favorable impression on the company. 

If you do not know the potential referrer or she/he is not familiar with your work:
LinkedIn can be a gold mine of opportunities to find professionals who can point you in the right direction. Take a look at your 2nd or 3rd degree connections to find your strongest relationships to see how you might be connected to a potential referrer. Make it easy for your direct connection to make link for you by offering the email you want them to forward. It should include the reasons why you are a great fit to at least be introduced to the target contact.

Another soft way to ask for the referral is to request an
informational interview. It is a non-threatening ay to ask for a meeting, by setting no expectations that they should provide you with a job lead as a result of your conversation. The purpose of an informational interview is to learn about the company or profession, and build a new networking connection.

Asking in person:
Getting involved in industry or professional organizations can provide a strong way to meet potential referrers. Through networking, you might discover job openings that have not yet been posted. If a new connection is impressed with you, then ask if they would mind providing you with an introduction to a key contact.



For all of these tactics, be sure to offer value to the prospective referrer in exchange for the introduction. For example, do you have a skill that you can offer to the referrer? Also many companies offer referral bonuses.

Other tips:
Job seekers who know an employee, should ask what pain points the company is currently feeling. The employee may be able to help you reorient your pitch, cover letter, and resume to better suit the company’s needs.

Be sure to mention it in the first paragraph of a cover letter or subject line of an email, if you were referred for a position. 

Always, always write a hand written thank you note to the referrer, in addition to the hiring managers.

Best,
Joe

 

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