Awards & Press

Viva Las Vegas: O/g Heads to the Tableau Conference

Does what happen in Vegas truly stay in Vegas? Not when you’re at the Tableau Conference! Five O/g’ers, including two who presented during a breakout session, recently made the trek to Las Vegas for this year’s Tableau Conference. This years’ conference hosted over 14k attendees and had more than 400 breakout sessions and hands-on training opportunities. Needless to say, we were in data heaven.

Did you miss the Tableau Conference, but still want to hear about what we talked about during our breakout session? If you’re in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, you’re in luck! Join us at the Twin Cities Tableau Users Group meeting on November 9th where we’ll be giving our Tableau Conference presentation.

When we were at the conference, we only came away with enough winnings from gambling to repay our ATM fees, but we won in the learnings and “must-know” highlights department. Check out some of our favorite things from the conference below!


In each session at the conference, we are exposed to tons of examples of visualizations and dashboards. In some instances, we are seeing a new type of data visualization or a creative dashboard that gives us new ideas on how to present our clients’ data; others, we are seeing a timeseries line we have made hundreds of times over. In both instances, we glean some new ideas or sparks of creativity. There is such a wide variety of resources, tools, and ideas that can be utilized with Tableau, and at O/g, we continually challenge ourselves to look at our data in new and interesting ways.


Starting with the acquisition of a German high-performance database system in the first half of 2016, users of Tableau have been long awaiting the implementation of Hyper. Hyper promises faster extract creation and improved query performance, especially for computationally- intensive queries. At O/g, we may have summarized data outside of Tableau to improve performance for internal and external clients. We’re hoping that Hyper allows us to bring in larger data sets and allow additional drill down levels in our reporting.

Hyper is available in the 10.5 Beta version of Tableau.

Tableau Server on Linux

The O/g Data Engineering team is no stranger to benefits of Linux environments, in particular, the lower hosting costs for a Linux environment compared to an equivalent Windows machine. In addition, there are more automation opportunities that come with Linux and a third party’s tests have shown the Beta version of Tableau Server for Linux environment to be 40-60% faster when compared to a similar Windows environment.

Tableau Server for Linux is available in Beta 5.

Dashboard Design

Dashboards. The paradox of data reporting. Some executive leaders live and breathe by the dashboards provided to them while others may blow their top if you suggest presenting data in a dashboard. At the Tableau conference, we learned how finessing dashboards and acute attention to detail can drive tremendous value. We reviewed concepts and recommendations such as using grids for organizing visualizations on your dashboards, selecting the right colors and fonts, and enabling the right amount of interactivity to develop reporting with one common goal: for the largest number of people, provide the greatest degree of understanding, with the least amount of effort.

Data Visualization

Data Visualization is as much an art as it is a science. The key to good visualizations is understanding how the human brain processes information. Knowing that your brain can pull out certain “pre-attentive” attributes (position, color, size, etc.) in a matter of nano-seconds points to the power of visuals over a simple spreadsheet to tell a data story. We came back challenged to both increase the simplicity of our workbooks, while getting the end user to the data conclusion as quickly as possible.

Suffice it to say, we were geeking out the entire time.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

Lillian Smith

Senior Analyst, Paid Social

About the Author

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

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