Meet Greg Keating
Greg Keating is the Director of Sales & Operations for Hangar12. Greg received his undergraduate degree in Marketing & Supply Chain Management from the University of Illinois and received his MBA with a focus in data analytics from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. He brings Fortune 500 experience from Coca-Cola & Ecolab including project management, data analytics, & selling expertise that helps his marketing agency build brand equity, trial, and loyalty for companies of all sizes.
I know you're more in the consumer-packaged goods market. Can you tell me a little bit how the consumer-packaged goods market has changed in the last few years, especially as it relates to shopper marketing?
In the past, I think shopper marketing was defined as any kind of marketing activation that took place in a retail store. So this might be product sampling or a nice fancy aisle end cap, in store signage, those types of things. Nowadays, well, those things I just mentioned still exist and are very important. The shopper marketing environment has definitely moved online. So the amount of digital activity from retail consumer shoppers has dramatically affected that shopper marketing landscape. So we're talking about six figure media buys for walmart.com homepage takeover, utilizing the I bought a rebate app and leveraging programmatic banner ads that link out to things like store locators. You're really working to create a kind of seamless, online and offline shopping experience.
What are some newer, interesting, b2b social media insights that your agency has come across recently?
The unexpected channel our agency has really leaned into recently is Pinterest. Pinterest maybe has a stigma around it of being only for the super niche audience of artsy people. And that really just isn't the case. Well, we've seen from some of our recent campaigns is that people of all genders, ages, all these different demographics, are using this platform as a more effective visual Google search. So the click through rates have been shockingly good. The cost per click is low, because I think advertisers maybe aren't fully bought into its validity yet. So it's a really good blend of cost and benefit at the moment.
Can you share with our listeners one of your favorite or most successful networking experiences that you've had?
My first boss at my previous employer, Ecolab, would bring me at the time into these really high level supply chain strategy meetings with her because I had this sort of very specific knowledge on one of our company's key customer delivery metrics. I got asked a direct question by our chief supply chain officer who's again, this big, intimidating genius. And he asks about why the metric is a certain way. And I was able to give my two cents on why I thought it wasn't necessarily representative of reality. But ultimately, because of that one moment, I got put on a project where I traveled across the USA, to our top 10 production facilities and essentially worked on mapping out our supply chain network and manufacturing capabilities over the course of the next six months to deliver that to our chief supply chain officer. So the reality for me is that none of that would have happened if my boss did not recognize that I had this particular knowledge and then put me in a setting I was honestly unqualified to be in solely to give me that shot at that one opportunity to contribute.
How do you stay in front of or nurture these relationships that you've created?
So one thing is that our agency that I currently work at is fully remote. I would say I've got Zoom down to a science. With our current coronavirus situation, I would say I'm always initiating video calls wherever possible to meet people face to face and just have an honest conversation with them. I think that has probably helped me faster in business opportunities far more than any phone call I've ever made.
What advice would you offer the business professional who's looking to grow their network?
I'm actually newer to the sales side of things. I've really been doing a lot of training and networking myself, but some of that advice I would offer is to say yes to almost everything. I think there may be certain instances where there are non-value add opportunities being offered to you, but 95% of the time, there's something to learn or some connection to be made. If that's seminars, webinars, podcasts like you offered up to me here, guest blog opportunities, happy hour events. Anything like that networking groups or associations, all those things are going to introduce you to new people who can help you and you're just limiting yourself and you're not going to grow by skipping out on them.
Digital networking or traditional networking, which one do you find more value in?
I think digital networking is something people need to get more comfortable with. I mean, I believe it's easier to engage with someone in person, no question. But that's not always possible. Again, obviously, that's true now more than ever, and we still need to be able to cope with that. So I'm a huge advocate for digital networking. I think if you can get that down and fine tune that approach, you just opened so many more doors than might otherwise be possible in a traditional physical setting.
If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more of less of or differently with regards to your professional career?
I would tell myself to join more groups and clubs. So, again, I would call myself an introvert. Even throughout college, I really feel like I didn't take advantage of the resources available to me. I would 100% recommend getting involved in employee clubs, peer networking groups, anything that can provide a real sense of community is ultimately going to help you grow and learn over time. And that's just something I didn't buy into at a young age.
We've all heard of the six degrees of separation, who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with? And do you think you could do it within the 6th degree?
I get into Academy Award season and try to watch all the best picture nominations and stuff like that. And one of the supporting actors who's cropped up in recent years and a lot of great movies is Sam Rockwell. And I would just love to connect with him. I think he's a phenomenal actor and storyteller and a really funny, dude. So I think picking his brain would be a lot of fun. I don't know If I could get to the sixth degree. We work with an entertainment marketing consultant who has a lot of connections out in LA. So I think I could at the very least get on the right track. But to get to that level and get into those Hollywood inner circles that might take me a long time.
Any final word of advice to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?
I'll say the only way to grow your network is to flex that muscle of doing new things, trying new activities, getting out of your comfort zone. For me, getting comfortable with the uncomfortable is how I've started to frame that in my mind, and that's helped give me a lot of confidence to dive in.
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