Marketing Advice for StartUps from Brie Pinnow

1. Tell us about your role in Blinc Digital Group?
At Blinc Digital Group, I consider myself not only one of the consulting firm’s co-founders (along with my wonderful co-founder, Lindsey Harju), but more importantly, an Advanced Advertising Evangelist. It’s a rewarding role to play – I get to channel my passion for marketing into work that helps business grow while delivering everyday consumers cool, seamless experiences.

2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
Often times in life, I refer back to the saying,

Truth is stranger than fiction.

Over ten years ago, I joined a small, innovative team at the famed digital company Yahoo! at that time, I would never have guessed that I would not only meet some of my greatest friends, but also my future business partner. Fast forward to today, and the Blinc team has been able to parlay our experience building ad products, selling data and leading marketing teams into a consulting service that helps companies – including both tech firms and brands – achieve their data-driven goals.

3. How do you think the application of technology is upgrading the advertisement and marketing Sector?
Technology has been able to improve every step of the marketing process. Today, brands can now build millions of digital ad iterations using dynamic creative technology. Ads can be transacted in milliseconds, infused with data and driving pricing efficiencies for both buyers and sellers. And measurement that is connected to online and offline transactions is now possible. Best of all, technology has positively impacted the consumer experience. As consumers, engaging with brands is now smoother, more intuitive, interactive and connected across channels.

4. Can you explain how the data-centric approach helps in providing more effective marketing as well as advertisement solutions?
Any CMO will tell you, by leveraging first, second and third party data, marketers can ensure their marketing dollars are being invested wisely. Without data, it’s like you’re shouting into the ether and hoping someone will hear about your brand. With data, it’s more like delivering a warm smile and friendly handshake to someone who is likely to be interested in and has the means to purchase your products or services. Simply put, data is a critical ingredient to personalized, share-worthy and measurable brand experiences.

5. Do you think that marketing myths are the reason marketing guidance is the need of the technology-based World?
Nearly every marketing professional is familiar with the infamous Lumascape or even the Martech 5000 (yes, I said 5000!). When you have that many adtech and martech companies clamoring for a marketer’s attention and budget, you’re bound to have a noisy environment. With so many companies making unsubstantiated or undifferentiated claims, it’s not uncommon for advertisers to end up feeling jaded, a bit unsure of what is truth and what is fiction. That’s where companies like us come in. We’re master translators – helping guide clients to an accurate, unbiased understanding of our technology-based advertising world.

6. “Market like the year we live in.” Can you explain this more for us?
“Market like the year we live in” is a quote from famed marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk. He believes that in order to connect with people in an authentic way that delivers value, marketers should tap into the platforms and technology available right now – not once the channel or platform is saturated. By educating our clients about that very concept – the marketing and advertising technology available to them today – we are able to help companies live out their people-based marketing mission.

7. What advice would you like to give to the Martech StartUps?
I love the adage, “Show, Don’t Tell. ” I just wrapped up “The Dropout” podcast, all about the infamous rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes’ Theranos. Although her startup wasn’t a martech firm, her company fell into a trap that other startups are susceptible to – one where leaders become a bit more focused on chasing investments and “telling” dazzling stories. Ultimately, they fail to ensure they have a product worth “showing” that actually matches the claims they are putting out there. I advise martech startups to build useful products and deliver inspiring, yet accurate marketing messages. To build a sustainable, credible brand, companies must steer clear of over or misused buzzwords like ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and ‘Blockchain’ unless they can 100% back up the claims.

8. What is the Digital innovation in Marketing according to you that will mark 2019?
Advanced TV advertising is truly hitting a tipping point for advertisers in 2019. Addressable TV advertising continues to grow in terms of investment, OTT and Connected TV advertising is now at scale and measurable, and even linear TV campaigns can be planned using first and third party data instead of traditional age and gender demos. We are finally at the point where TV is no longer a marketing channel reserved for Fortune 500 brands. Advertisers of all sizes now have the opportunity to run targeted, outcome-focused campaigns that leverage the power of premium video and meet consumers wherever they may be. If you’re an advertiser and you have not considered leveraging an Advanced TV tactic in 2019, you’re missing out.

9. How do you prepare for an AI Centric world?
As a consulting firm, we are on the hook to stay on top of the latest ad technology and data usage trends. Marketers need to do the same by carving out time to read industry research, leverage insights from consultants and partners, and simply network with people doing interesting things in the AI space. By educating themselves early on, marketers will be better buyers and users of the AI-powered marketing technology that is sure to evolve over the coming decade. 

10. What are the major developments you are planning, in recent time?
Blinc’s consulting services and expertise are expanding. This year, we are launching a series of on-demand and in-depth virtual training programs on various topics from ad tech to marketing data to advanced TV advertising. To put it simply, think of Blinc’s training program as the Netflix of ad tech education content. We like to call ourselves myth-busters, and the professionals who have joined our education sessions before agree! With our signature jargon-free approach, we explain complex ad tech topics and technology through visuals, white boarding sessions, real-life use cases and interactive activities. Rolling virtual training out to both enterprise organizations and individual professionals is the perfect addition to our suite of training programs and we couldn’t be more excited.

11. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
My partner, Lindsey, is critical to how Blinc delivers the consulting experience our clients continue to come back for. Beyond us two, our team consists of other bright individuals who are masters at what they do. One of our company’s unique traits is that everyone on our team has ‘grit’ – what we consider a ‘get-it-done’ attitude. Whether you can attribute it to our Midwest roots or not, we are always able to come through for our clients, even when what they need is not always easy or fast. And that’s something that sets us apart in a consulting world often filled with lots of talk and limited action.

12. Which is the Movie that inspires you the most?
I am inspired by movies that shift our focus and help us re-think what we consider ‘normal.’ Although you can usually catch me checking out a comedy or romcom, the Mr. Rogers documentary ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ reminded me that staying true to very simple principles based on integrity, service and compassion is actually one of the richest ways you can live your life.

13. We have heard that you have a very joyful work culture, so can you share with us some of the fun pictures of your workplace?
I’m glad you’ve heard that! As a company with 100% remote employees, our ‘workplace’ often ends up being wherever we are connecting in-person, whether that is San Francisco, Las Vegas, Atlanta, NYC or even Kansas City. Blinc believes it’s important to build personal and fun memories along the way. Recently we did a little team bonding and hit up an indoor sky-diving experience. Since then, our business has continued to “fly high”! Coincidence? I think not.

14. Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?
My favorite apps include things that improve my day-to-day life. I use Aaptiv at the gym because it’s like a personal trainer in your pocket. I use my LinkedIn app during the day to connect with other experts, monitor news, and share content. I use Instacart to have my groceries delivered. And for fun, I pop onto Instagram for a little boss-lady fashion inspiration. I’m sure the marketers for these brands have a lot of fun. Why? Because they get to promote products and services that truly improve people’s lives.