Awards & Press

Ovative In: Twin Cities Business May 2021

Despite a hybrid work model and new hires in 11 states, the company is expanding its Minneapolis headquarters.

The pandemic has been good for business at Ovative Group, the Minneapolis-based digital marketing agency founded by former president Dale Nitschke. But as more and more clients sign on, now convinced that e-commerce,  online analytics, and digital branding are essential to success, Nitschke is doubling down on a seemingly pre-pandemic modality: more office space.

Ovative is adding an additional floor to its office, which currently occupies floors 9-11 of the Nordic building in the North Loop. Construction will begin in June on the 19,150 square foot expansion, which will provide a dedicated workstation for each of Ovative’s 245 team members—and growing. The new space, designed by local architecture and design firm Studio KKChong, will accommodate up to 314 employees.

“It’s human behavior—people want to be together. I don’t think that’s ever going to change,” Nitschke said. “The energy, the joy of being together, I’m a believer that people want a space to go to.”

Attendance will not be required, however. “It’s up to the team to choose. We’re not dictating. I feel like if you create the right environment, people will want to come in, and be surrounded by smart, excited people.”

Feather bowling alley at Ovative Group. Rendering by Alexander Zoltai

In addition to adding workstations (with ergonomic, standing desks) and conference rooms designed for video meetings as well as in-person collaboration, the expanded Ovative office will feature a game area with feather bowling courts and shuffleboard, a rooftop bar and lounge area and outdoor rooftop deck with skyline views. There will be beer and kombucha on tap.

“Our team includes a lot of young people who share apartments, or their WiFi goes out,” said Nitschke, who works in a glass enclosed space in the center of the office for full transparency. “We want to create an opportunity for them to choose.”

And yet, as Ovative augments its Minneapolis headquarters, the agency continues to grow nationwide. Pre-pandemic, just three Ovative employees lived outside of the Twin Cities. Now, 30 employees are based in 11 different states. That includes staff members who felt liberated this past year to move away and retain their jobs as well as new hires in cities including Atlanta, and Chicago. Now with a dozen Ovative employees in New York, that group is asking for a satellite office—so they can be together, Nitschke said. “We’re letting them pick the space.”

Ovative has added 123 employees in the last two years. Currently the firm wants to fill an additional 35 spots, Nitschke said. Lifting geographic boundaries makes it easier, especially in a tight labor market. But it hasn’t made the CEO second guess investing in headquarters. “The space helps people to understand our culture. We continue to believe that providing an amazing environment for our team and clients to brainstorm, solve hard problems, collaborate and socialize is core to our brand, our culture, our values.”

Rooftop deck at Ovative Group. Photo by Ryan Siemers

Since early 2020, Ovative has signed 25 new clients across its integrated media, measurement and consulting services. Nitschke said the pandemic pushed many reluctant senior leaders to step up their digital efforts. “Our behavior has changed, which made more companies realize they need to consider digital in a way they haven’t before.”

That focus on digital won’t end with vaccines. “It’s just accelerated our advancement and integration of digital services,” Nitschke said. But much like his confidence in the future of the office, Nitschke believes that brick and mortar stores will regain their footing along with restaurants and other in-person experiences.

“I think people will embrace joy.”

Allison Kaplan. “Digital Agency Ovative Group Doubles Down On Office Space.” Twin Cities Business, May 11 2021.

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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