Awards & Press

Ovative Group Named a Social Impact Finalist for the 2022 Microsoft Advertising Partner Awards 

Minneapolis, MN March 23 – National firm Ovative Group has been named a Social Impact Community Response finalist for the 2022 Microsoft Advertising Partner Awards.  

The awards celebrate excellence among Microsoft’s partners who help make Microsoft Advertising successful. The Social Impact Awards focus on highlighting inspiring solutions and celebrating change-makers who drive purpose and action in the community. 

Ovative empowers its team to be change-makers through the Champions of Change program, which seeks to drive social impact within and beyond Ovative’s walls. Through the Skills-Based Partnerships pillar, Ovative team members provide marketing services to community organizations to increase access to digital media and improve the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.  

In 2022, Ovative’s Champions of Change team directed pro-bono marketing and business strategy work for 16 organizations across the country. From increasing awareness around issues, improving access to resources and services, to understanding the business impact scaling marketing can have, the results were remarkable. 

Ovative is in its second year of partnership with Special Olympics Minnesota (SOMN), which supports children and adults with intellectual disabilities. In 2022, they exceeded their registration goals by 27% for the Polar Plunge through the use of digital ads and new landing page experiences. Launching Microsoft Ads for Social Impact to reach audiences interested in corporate or group activities drove a 20% increase in site traffic, increasing the funding SOMN could apply toward its mission of creating an inclusion revolution. 

Ovative also partnered with Emma’s Torch, a New York-based organization that provides culinary training and work to refugees, asylees, and survivors of human trafficking. Together, they increased site traffic by more than 70% by launching influencer marketing, understanding their customer lifecycle, enabling performance tracking, and utilizing advertising grants to own the top position for traffic interested in restaurant and catering services. Microsoft Audience Ads have been effective for Emma’s Torch, increasing site traffic by 70% and driving over 20% of conversions.  

In total, Ovative provided an estimated $300k of in-kind services to community organizations nationally, with 18% of our team participating in this work in 2022. Other partners include the Planned Parenthood of North Central States, Patagonia Action Works, MAIA, Beta.MN, Northside Economic Opportunity Network, Minnesota Department of Public Services SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), The BrandLab, and more. 


Ovative’s Champions of Change program seeks to foster a culture inclusive of all dimensions of difference, within and beyond our walls. We enable our team members to engage in driving social impact through four pillars: Cultural Agility Education, Equitable Operating Practices, Charitable Giving, and Skills-Based Partnerships. These pillars provide personal and relational learning opportunities, assess and increase equity of our internal operations, foster employee time and financial commitments, and provide pro-bono marketing services to community organizations.  


Ovative Group is an independent media and measurement firm that helps clients drive and deliver measurable marketing performance. Founded in 2009 by Dale Nitschke, Ovative brings media, measurement, and consulting together under one roof to measure the holistic impact of marketing on clients’ total business using its proprietary metric, Enterprise Marketing Return (EMR). Ovative’s team of marketing experts serves as a trusted partner for its national world-class client base of marketing leaders across many industries. Ovative is recognized as an industry leader and has received awards including Star Tribune’s Top Workplaces, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s Fast 50, and Inc. 5000. For more information about Ovative, visit or follow Ovative on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. 

Lillian Smith

Senior Analyst, Paid Social

About the Author

Lillian is a Senior Analyst on the Paid Social team at Ovative.

Dale Nitschke

Dale Nitschke

CEO & Founder

About the Author

Dale is the Founder and CEO of Ovative. After years of operating a large omni-channel business and leading a customer data initiative, Dale knew there was an opportunity to create a marketing firm that helped clients become more customer centric and drove better performance outcomes. A gap existed between business consultancies and advertising agencies that modern marketing approaches demand. He also believed that a strong, healthy culture could attract and develop smart, talented team members. In 2009, he formed Ovative to bring media, measurement, and consulting together under one roof to enable an enterprise approach that drives more revenue and grows clients’ customer base.

Prior to founding Ovative in 2009, Dale spent 23 years at Target Corporation where he served as President of and grew the ecommerce business from start-up stage to a $1 billion+ business and established the foundation of Target’s Guest database capabilities. Previously he served as SVP Merchandising at the Department Store Division of Dayton Hudson. Dale has advised retailers and brands globally on business, growth, marketing, and measurement transformation strategies.

Outside of Ovative, Dale is a leader on topics including business strategy, change management, and team leadership. He serves on the board of Allergy Amulet and on the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Wisconsin School of Business at UW-Madison.  He enjoys spending time with his family, up north in northern Wisconsin, playing golf, and cheering on Wisconsin sport teams.

Seth Brand

Senior Manager, Consulting

About the Author

Seth is a Senior Manager on the Consulting team at Ovative.

Amanda McCann

Senior Manager, Consulting

About the Author

Amanda is a Senior Manager on the Consulting team at Ovative, specializing in Retail Media Networks.

Jenny Reinke

Senior Analyst, Measurement Solutions

About the Author

Jenny is a Senior Analyst on the Measurement Solutions team at Ovative.

Annie Zipfel

Executive Vice President, Media

About the Author

Annie is the Executive Vice President of Media at Ovative. She oversees delivery and growth across paid and owned media (digital, traditional, and retail media) and creative services.

Annie has more than 30 years of experience in media, brand management, insights/analytics, marketing, and product. She has also developed large, high-performing teams and built new measurement capabilities. Annie led the marketing team at Andersen Windows & Doors, leading the digital, social, content, customer insights, and creative functions. Prior to that, Annie served in multiple marketing leadership roles at Starbucks, REI, Target, and General Mills, with a keen focus on brand, media, insights, analytics, and measurement.

Annie is an industry leader in brand management, customer insights, e-commerce, social media, and analytics. She enjoys hiking, traveling, cooking, fishing, and spending time with her sweet dog and two sons.

Bonnie Gross

Executive Vice President, Talent Services

About the Author

Bonnie is the Executive Vice President of Talent Services at Ovative. She is responsible for attracting and retaining top talent and creating a culture in which our team thrives personally and professionally. Under Bonnie’s leadership, Ovative has defined an industry leading leadership and development program and transformed our approach to talent recruitment with a focus on diversity, equality and inclusion. Prior to her current role, Bonnie led Ovative’s Client and Business Development team overseeing client satisfaction and new growth opportunities.

Before joining Ovative in 2014, Bonnie spent 13 years at Target Corporate as the VP of digital and Digital Marketing where she led the launch of Cartwheel, an industry-leading social shopping application. Bonnie was the VP of Marketing for Fingerhut for 15 years prior to joining Target.

Leander Cohen

Analyst, Consulting

About the Author

Leander Cohen is an Analyst on the Consulting team at Ovative.

Will Silva

Analyst, Measurement Solutions

About the Author

Will is an Analyst on the Measurement Solutions team at Ovative.

Sarah Chang

Sarah Chang

Analyst, Consulting

About the Author

Sarah Chang is an Analyst on the Consulting team at Ovative.

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