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Marketing Strategies From The Top: “Don’t send your whole team to the same trade show or conference. Mix it up”

With Chris Hooper



Don’t send your whole team to the same trade show or conference. Mix it up as much as you can and try to send people to different events throughout the year. The more variety the better.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Chris Hooper, a creative marketing leader with a proven record of driving brand awareness through intelligent use of social media, advertising and design. He has 25 years of experience in strategic marketing and communications. In his current role, he has been tasked with establishing and developing M&O Marketing’s Seminar Services Department. He acts as a mentor and coaches clients on best practices in event marketing, including public speaking, branding and techniques to attract new clients and opportunities.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I have been in marketing for my entire career, but every job has been different. I’ve worked for a variety of companies, in industries including manufacturing, public transportation, human resources, outsourcing and insurance/financial services. I’ve always been fascinated by what it takes to convince someone to take an action like buying a product, making a lifestyle change or try something new. I’ve often found that the simplest details can make the difference of success and failure. Sometimes, what causes someone to act or not act is difficult to figure out. It’s always rewarding when small changes produce dramatic results.

Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I started my first internship position my sophomore year in college. I joined the small marketing team at a Detroit-based tier-three automotive supplier. It was my first day on the job and my boss handed me a thick stack of folders full of advertisements the company had placed in several different trade publications. She asked me to spend the morning sorting out all of the leads so we could track where they came from and then deliver them to the sales team. “Okay, I’m on it,” I told her.

I spent the next hour looking everything over and trying to make sense of it. But I couldn’t figure it out. I had no idea exactly what I was supposed to do with what she had given me. I finally decided to give in, and I meekly asked her, “Um, what’s a lead?” At first, she looked at me in disbelief, but soon cracked a smile and laughed. She then patiently described to me what I was looking at and how to get the assignment completed.

I quickly learned that if I didn’t understand something, it was better to ask right away then to stress and worry about it.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I’m working on a new training platform that will help our clients learn how to better connect with the prospects and close more business. Through the use of videos, case studies, live training courses and other forms of content, this platform will teach clients best practices for having the best success possible at their prospecting events.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lessons that others can learn from that?

I spent many years running marketing projects without having a good way to measure success. I would work on ad campaigns, manage trade show activities, write press releases — but for years, I never got any good data about what was actually working. Often, the only feedback I would get would be the praise or criticism of my bosses and coworkers. It sometimes felt like I was working in the dark, without having any way of knowing exactly what was working and why.

About twelve years ago, that all started to change. Social media sites were emerging and many companies were interested in expanding into digital marketing. Now, all of the sudden, measuring results and success from each campaign became possible. Like just about everyone else, I first focused on generating likes, clicks and any form of engagement I could measure. But it was very exciting with marketers started to figure out how to actually monetize digital campaigns.

Now, the majority of the campaigns I work on are digital, and it’s easy to measure direct results when I compare the cost per campaign to actual sales. Over the past three years, I’ve been fortunate to work on a series of campaigns that have generated over a half of a billion dollars in sales — and I’m easily able to identify exactly which campaign generated every sale.

What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?

Move around. Do a little of everything. And don’t stay in the same place too long. This doesn’t necessarily mean that marketers need to jump from job to job throughout their careers. But rather, they should always look for new ways to do what they’re good at. Learning new skills, taking on new responsibilities and continually finding ways to improve will certainly help avoid burnout.

How do you define “Marketing”? Can you explain what you mean?

Traditionally, it has been defined as the process of delivering qualified, timely leads to sales. But I think it’s a lot more than that. Really, marketing should be the art of continually finding creative and better ways to connect with people and try to persuade them to do something new.

The world is now hyper-connected, and marketers need to understand that giving new leads to the sales team isn’t good enough anymore. They have a responsibility to use their marketing campaigns as a tool to add value to people’s lives.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

The owner of the first company I worked for was passionate about encouraging his employees to continue their education to help them get the most out of their careers. He set up a generous program that reimbursed 100% of each employee’s college tuition, as long as they worked full time and turned in transcripts proving they did well in each course. He often told me, “They can take your job. They can take your money. They can even take your wife! But they can never take your education away from you.”

I already had my bachelor’s degree when I started at this company, but I took advantage of this program to earn my master’s degree, all at the company’s expense. It was a blessing to be able to further my education early on in my career. And it’s a benefit that other small businesses should consider offering to their employees.

Can you share a few examples of marketing tools or marketing technology that you think can dramatically empower small business owners?

I come from a graphic design background, so I’m probably biased, but I think that every marketer out there should have a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud. And everyone should be trained on Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign at a bare minimum. From there, there are unlimited options of tools and apps that can accomplish any marketing need. Many of them are free or very low cost.

For example, if you are looking to create simple videos to share online, options like Animoto, Promo and Adobe Spark are all good places to start. Or for a team that needs to manage workflow and approvals, both Trello and Basecamp are great options.

What are your “5 Non Intuitive Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses”?

1. Be obsessive about measuring results and analyzing data. If you’re not an analytical person, make sure someone on your marketing team is responsible for this. Just about everything can be measured, which leads to better business decisions.

2. Get out of your team’s way. You need to be able to trust your team and coworkers to do the right things and make the best decisions possible. If you can’t trust them to do exceptional work, you need to do a better job hiring them.

3. Encourage your team to do tasks they don’t particularly like or excel at. It’s easy to find success when you’re doing the things you’re good at. But what about everything else? Sometimes, the unpleasant and unrewarding work leads to the most growth.

4. Don’t send your whole team to the same trade show or conference. Mix it up as much as you can and try to send people to different events throughout the year. The more variety the better.

5. Hire an outsider to do it, then try to take it in house. A lot of marketing tasks aren’t all that difficult once you learn how to do them properly. I’ve found that it’s great to rely on an agency or other outside vendor to do the work at first. But look for ways to learn from what they’re doing to see if it makes sense to just do it with your internal resources.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

That’s a tough one. I guess I’d like to encourage everyone I know to embrace social media, but try to focus on relevant content. We’ve all seen enough posts on politics, Keto recipes and cats to last a lifetime. Try to share something useful.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Be excellent to each other” — William “Bill” S. Preston, Esq.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Twitter: @chrislhooper

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