Awards & Press

Unlocking the Potential of Your Digital Marketing Investments

The world of marketing is changing – but this isn’t breaking news to anyone. However, one thing Ovative’s CEO & Founder Dale Nitschke talked about during this month’s session for the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association on Unlocking the Potential of Your Digital Marketing Investments, which I don’t think many marketers are really owning and empowering themselves with, is the fact that marketing now owns a legitimate seat at the table. We are responsible for the levers that drive business outcomes in today’s growing digital world.

One of the key points of Dale’s presentation was that marketing teams shouldn’t be siloed anymore. They need to be close collaborators with CMO’s, CFOs, CTOs, merchants and others throughout their organizations. Businesses are no longer successful when they focus purely on the product or the brand. They are successful when they focus on the customer.

In addition to this, Dale gave the audience four ways marketing leaders can start unlocking the potential of their digital marketing investments.

  • Challenge your current metrics

    Always align the metrics that impact decisions around what you are actually trying to accomplish–using revenue and customer file growth. Channel results don’t tell the whole story. Often times, there is a bifurcated view of marketing, which leads to a fragmented view of the story that the data is telling. Metrics like Last Touch (an attribution model where last recorded interaction gets 100% credit for the eventual conversion event) or ROAS (Return On Ad Spend; calculated by dividing revenue or or sales by cost or spend) don’t take into account how other marketing initiatives might be working together to influence final sales. With one client, Ovative found online ads of vacuum cleaners might not be profitable for actually selling vacuums online, but for people researching vacuums before buying in store, it had a 30x impact on sales. It’s important to challenge the story your metrics are currently telling.
  • Identify the measurement gaps

    Know what you ideally want to be measuring and what your goals are. From there, you can break down where your gaps in measurement are that hold you back from being able to measure and track them.
  • Build awareness and trust

    Many organizations leaders’ success DNA is not digital or data, but they do know how to read reports – speak in their language. Get them in a comfortable starting space, where you can then lean in and help teach them. Come with an attitude that brings it as a discussion, not a demand. Conversation creates the opportunity to drive change.
  • Do: test, learn, share repeatThere is no formula for the right marketing tactics every time – it’s all about constant testing and learning. You have to build trust among your team and company so you are able to do. You need to learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Encourage your team to test and do something different.

The other main topic Dale touched on throughout the entire presentation was the importance of culture. If your organization doesn’t have two key pieces as an integral part of their culture, Trusting and Doing, then all the points above won’t work. Great culture delivers great results. If your company doesn’t trust you to do what is best for the customer and for the organization, and if you don’t trust the company to have your back when testing and doing, then your organization cannot unlock its fullest potential.

The final piece is actually just doing. How many great ideas have you or people at your organization had that just wither away and die out because it never gets approval or the trust to move forward on it? If you don’t have a culture of testing and learning and doing, and your team doesn’t feel safe doing, then staying innovative and on top of trends can’t happen.


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 Target.com 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.

Steve Benson

Steve Benson

Chief Financial Officer

About the Author

Steve is the Chief Financial Officer of Ovative. Steve is responsible for the company’s IT, corporate accounting, treasury, tax, financial planning and analysis, and Business Operations

Prior to joining Ovative, Steve provided finance and accounting advisory services to clients. Before that, he spent 23 years at Target Corporation, leading Finance and Accounting teams.

Steve enjoys distance running, woodworking, and traveling. Steve and his wife have two sons, and they enjoy escaping to the Minnesota north shore.

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.

Steve Baxter

Steve Baxter

Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives

About the Author

Steve is the Executive Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Ovative. Steve has been with the company since 2010 and launched Ovative’s media practice in 2012.

Prior to joining Ovative, Steve worked at Target for 8 years where he led development of Target’s CRM initiatives, Digital media analytics and Target’s Media Network. In 2005, Steve developed Target’s proprietary in-house capabilities to both measure in-store sales impact from digital brand investments and personalize marketing messages across both digital and non-digital channels.

Steve is an industry leader on topics including marketing, advanced measurement, ecommerce, and monetization. Steve enjoys fishing, camping, golfing and trying to stay competitive in any sport with his three boys. Steve enjoys escaping to the MN north shore with his wife, boys and dog whenever possible.

Lindsy Steinberger

Sr. Manager, Paid Search

About the Author

Lindsy is a Sr. Manager on the Paid Search team at Ovative.

Tyler Spiwak

Analyst, Measurement Solutions

About the Author

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

Lillian Smith

Senior Analyst, Paid Social

About the Author

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

Beth McKigney

Senior Vice President, Measurement

About the Author

Beth is the Senior Vice President of Measurement at Ovative. She is responsible for developing, implementing, and supporting proprietary technology products that enable clients to unlock insights across marketing channels and devices. Since joining Ovative in 2013, Beth built Ovative’s Site Analytics & Optimization practice and Ovative’s unified marketing measurement tool, MAP. She is spearheading development of new technology products focused on advanced analytics, testing and reporting.

Prior to joining Ovative, Beth spent 9 years at Target in multiple digital and marketing analytics roles. She defined and delivered Target’s email and mobile marketing strategies, identified and defined Target.com guest-facing technology enhancements, and managed site-wide promotional marketing plans.

Beth is a thought leader in advanced analytics and optimization strategies. She regularly advises clients on strategies to improve their marketing effectiveness and is a published thought leader. She lives in Brooklyn Park with her husband, two boys and dog, Sota.  Beth’s an avid University of Minnesota sports fan (especially football – Row the Boat!) and enjoys downhill skiing, biking, hunting and fishing.

Dianne Anderson

Senior Vice President, Media

About the Author

Dianne is the Senior Vice President of Media at Ovative. She is responsible for delivery and growth across paid digital media, traditional media, marketplaces, and creative services. Since joining the company in 2013, Dianne has been a key leader in establishing new channel practices, a strategic voice in media and marketing strategy and a driver scaling best in class teams. She regularly advises clients on ecommerce, retail, digital media and measurement strategies.

Prior to joining Ovative, Dianne spent 8 years at Target leading strategy and activation of digital e-comm and brand marketing initiatives.

Dianne is passionate about music, leading ukulele lessons for the team and participating in office musical collaborations.  Her happy places are Northern Wisconsin, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where she enjoys making memories with her family.

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