MiMA 2016: The Future of Marketing in the North

I was fortunate to be there when a small group of early digital leaders got together to share their ideas for how to help each other.  Meeting at a Perkins in Edina, the group formalized what would become MiMA, the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association. MiMA has been an incredibly positive force in Minnesota and beyond, and has helped shape thousands of careers. It’s annual summit is the one “must attend” event of the year, and joining the group is a critical step in the career development of any good, young marketer

Now, in a cool bit of coincidence GoKart Labs (where i’ve worked since 2013) is helping the leadership and membership of MiMA envision the next phase of the organizations growth. It’s an exciting project and our team at GoKart is immensely proud to be able to help a great organization.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the vision for MiMA takes shape. It will come from the minds and hearts of the membership over the next few months. But, if i could design the future of the organization, here’s what i would ask for:

  • Don’t Stop at Digital; Embrace the Your Role In Shaping the Future of Marketing – The origins of MiMA were in creating a safe place for people to figure out how “interactive” was going to drive marketing. Looking ahead, it’s time to be bold and acknowledge that all marketing going forward is digital. So, the role of MiMA is to shape all marketing, not just digital. MiMA should be at the forefront for the practice of brand building.
  • Building Brands, Not Just Marketing – From my perspective, MiMA could and should be a resource to help marketing leaders understand how digital is both driving and enabling a powerful evolution in what their brands can be. MiMA’s programs and efforts should be focused on a lively conversation about how great brands are being built as much as they are talking about how snapchat is helping marketers get the reach they need. It’s a nuance, but a critical one.
  • Serve the CMO, CEO and CIO – In the early days and probably even today, MiMA was a group that worked hard for the coordinators, managers and the directors of digital marketing. With so much focus on how the new tools, channels and tech worked, the group has been a great resource for the doers. But now, it’s very clear that all marketing is getting transformed (or already has been), and MiMA should be a resource for the C-Suite as much as it’s been a resource for everyone else. I’d love to see MiMA running programs and workshops to help the senior-most leaders adjust their business models, their brand building and their cultures to thrive in the digital/post-digital era. The first members of MiMA are now marketing VPs, CMO’s and agency leaders. MiMA has the credibility to do this
  • Advocate for the North – Minnesota, Western WI, Northern IA, and the Dakotas have a great culture of creativity, brand building and amazing talent. Digital is at core of all of this, and the brands that have come out of the north are driving cultural change and impact. MiMA can and should be at the heart of an effort to champion and celebrate the Digital North, to drive recognition of the great work happening here, and to attract others to the region. Whether we’re attracting the creative and technical talent that make our marketing services  and digital startups hum, or the brand leadership that drives our businesses, MiMA should be front and center helping to tell the story of how great our region is for digital work
  • Harness the Ideas and opinions of the membership – With it’s sizable audience  and the quality of it’s membership, there’s an enormous amount of value in the what’s on the minds of it’s members. I’d love to see an annual, omnibus survey covering tools and technology usage, predictions for the next year, what challenges businesses are facing, and what skills members are trying to build. Call GoKart if you’re looking for your first sponsor for that, btw.
  • Showcase and Celebrate the Work – After all these years, there’s still no one place where a buyer could go to find the best of the regional creative services firms or freelancers. Besides Google, there’s no unbiased and trustworthy guide to digital firms here, no way to see the portfolios of the digital experts that make this a great region for brand building.

I love MiMA. What the leaders of MiMA have accomplished with the Summit over the last 15 years has been incredible and the community here is so much the better because of it.

Personally,  I can pretty much trace most of the good things that happened in my career (so far) back to the day when i was at an event and Tom Borgerding introduced himself to me and asked if i wanted to meet with him and a few others to talk about the internet. That meeting at Perkins changed my life. I met so many other great people that have helped me along my career and helped me explore opportunities i couldn’t have imagined, otherwise.

Over the next few months, we’ll all get a chance to see where the membership wants MiMA to go next. I can’t wait to be a part of the next era that would take us to MiMA 2026!

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