NativeAdVantage 10-Q2BA:

(10 Questions 2B Answered)

What do you do best?
What makes you the best?
Biggest success?
What are your aspirations?
Most challenging moment?
Favorite Motto?
Favorite People?
Favorite Places?
Favorite Products?
Current Passions?

Featured NativeAdVantage:

Andy Weir: Author of "The Martian"

John Philipson: VP, Six Senses Resorts

Tom Sito: Chair of Animation, USC Film School

Elizabeth Wynn: Broker, Sotheby's RE

Leonard Greenhalgh: Professor, Tuck-Darmouth)

Ryan Blair: NY Times Best Selling Author/Entrepreneur


Featured NativeAdVice:

Shai Reshef: Founder of University of the People

Paul D'Arcy: SVP of Indeed

Susan Hatje: GM of Mandarin Oriental, NY

Dan Laufer: Co-Founder of RentLingo

Hilary Laney: President of Tri-Digital

Greg Marsh: Co-Founder of onefinestay

Omar Qari: Co-Founder of Abacus

Gabriell Weinberg: Founder of DuckDuckGo

Stacy Rauen: E-I-C of Hospitality Design Mag

Jon Gray: CRO of HomeAway

Joe Speiser: Co-Founder of

Ben McKean: Co-Founder of HungryRoot

John Boiler: Founder/CEO of 72andSunny

Wayne Pacelle: CEO of The Humane Society of the US

Tom Guay: GM at The Sagamore Resort

Dr. Alejandro Junger: Founder of The Clean Program

Rob Flaherty: CEO of Ketchum

Neil Thanedar: Founder/CEO of LabDoor

Andy Grinsfelder: VP of Sales/Marketing, Delaware North Resorts

Laura Frerer-Schmidt: VP/Publisher of Women's Health

Avi Steinlauf: CEO of

Kathy Bloomgarden: CEO of Ruder Finn

Gabriel Flateman: Co-Founder/CTO of Casper

Mark Bartels: CEO of StumbleUpon

Bill Hagelstein: President/CEO of RPA

Adam Singolda: Founder/CEO of Taboola

Jonathan Plutzik: Proprietor of The Betsy-South Beach

Jessica Scorpio: Founder/VP of Marketing at GetAround

Ralph McRae: CEO of Leading Brands

Warren Berger: Bestselling Author

Liz Kaplow: Founder/CEO of Kaplow Communications

Dave Girouard: Founder/CEO of UpStart

Dave Asprey: Founder of BullectProof Executive

Douglas C. Smith: President of EDSA

Val Difebo: CEO of Deutsch NY

Guido Polito: CEO of Baglioni Hotels

Doyle Graham, Jr.: CEO of Valencia Group

Oscar Farinetti: Founder of Eataly

Angelo Sotira: CEO of DeviantART

Ali Khwaja: CFO of Safecharge

Zach Erdem: Proprietor of 75 Main

Jim Beley: GM of The Umstead Hotel

Alexis Gelburd-Kimler: Proprietor of West Bridge

Elie Georges: Proprietor of Hotel San Regis

Kalen Caughey: Founder o VOKE Tab

Michael Friedenberg: CEO of IDG

Donna Karan: Founder of DKNY

Edward Nardoza: Editor-in-Chief of WWD

Scott Dadich: Editor-in-Chief of Wired

Rhona Murphy: Former CEO of The Daily Beast

David J. Pecker: CEO of American Media

Lilian Roten: VP of Swissotel Hotels

Kenny Dichter: Founder/CEO of Wheels Up

Joshua Tetrick: Founder/CEO of Hampton Creek

Paul James: Global Brand Leader of The Luxury Collection

Dr. James Wagner: President of Emory University

Amy Thompson: President of ATM Artists & Management

Neil Gillis: President of Round Hill Music

Brett Matteson: President of Columbia Hospitality

Jonathan Reckford: CEO of Habitat For Humanity

Phil Harrison: President/CEO of Perkins+Will

Chef Bill Telepan

Tony Horton: Founder of P90X

Beth Weissenberger: Co-Founder of The Handel Group

Michael Fertik: Founder/CEO of

Dana Cowin: Editor-in-Chief of Food & Wine

Bob Proctor: Chairman of Proctor/Gallagher Institute

Dennis Turcinovic: Owner of Delmonicos

Vittorio Assaf: Co-Founder of Serafina Restaurant Group

Shafqat Islam: Co-Founder of Newscred

Matt Williams: CEO of The Martin Agency

Bruce Rogers: Executive Chef at Hale & Hearty

Caleb Merkl: Co-Founder of Maple

Candy Argondizza: VP of Culinary at ICC

Neil Sazant: President of The Sagamore

Matt Straz: Founder/CEO of Namely

Terry Couglin: Managing Partner of Marta/Maialino

Andrei Cherny: Co-Founder/CEO of Aspiration

Ronen Nissenbaum: Managing Director of Waldorf Astoria NY

Patrick Godfrey: President of Godfrey Q

Sarah Berman: Founder/President of The Berman Group

Michael Schwartz: Owner of Genuine Hospitality Group

Stephan Aarstol: Founder/CEO of Tower Paddle Boards

Peter Shaindlin: COO of Halekulani Corp.

August Cardona: Founder/CEO of Epicurean Group

Nick Kenner: Co-Founder of Just Salad


Jim Tobin: CEO & Founder, Ignite Social Media & Carusele

My NativeAdVice:


Jim Tobin is the CEO and founder of Ignite Social Media, the original social media agency, and the president and founder of Carusele, the influencer content targeting system. Jim launched Ignite in 2007 and Carusele in 2015. In those roles, Jim has worked with many of the largest brands in the world, including Microsoft, Samsung, Walgreens, Chrysler, Nike and dozens more. He is also the author of the 2008 book, “Social Media is a Cocktail Party” and the 2013 book, “Earn It. Don’t Buy It.” You can follow Jim on Twitter at @jtobin

How did you get into the industry?

In 2006, I was a partner in an advertising agency and after having had some success, I was having an awful year. I couldn’t seem to win new business that year and it was extremely frustrating. Almost as a coping mechanism, I started a blog about marketing both to learn about blogging and to help fine tune my “voice” online. It was good timing as social media was starting to really find its place as a “thing” just as I was realizing that it had a tremendous amount of potential for business. I first realized blogging had power to impact search engine rankings, but over time realized that there were so many other benefits.

Any emerging industry trends?

After a decade doing social media marketing, I can safely say that change is absolutely constant., We started Ignite Social Media before Facebook even had business pages and for our first several years there were no paid boosting options. If you ever feel like you’ve got social media marketing “down,” you’re wrong, because it’s changing again. Today, most of the focus is on content (both brand created and influencer created) and targeting of messages. Since organic reach has decreased so dramatically, the opportunity to really get noticed by the right people comes down to strong messaging and strong targeting.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

One of the biggest things we noticed in the last few years is that influencer marketing hasn’t really kept up with the advancements of digital media. We hire influencers, ask them to create content and then just hope that good things happen. At Ignite Social Media, we worked on that problem for about 6 months and ultimately came up with a new product called Carusele. We launched Carusele as a separate company in 2015 and it’s now growing rapidly. What we do is test each piece of content in real time and then syndicate the very best content using a variety of sophisticated methods. When you have proven content, put in front of an audience predisposed to be interested, lots of good things happen, including some pretty incredible sales increases.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

Once I learned that blogging had power for business and that Facebook had several million users (at the time), it took me a while to figure out what to do with that information. I finally realized that businesses would start to look for help with social media marketing and there was almost nobody at the time prepared to help. So we launched Ignite and grew really quickly (100% per year for 4 straight years, landing on the Inc. 5000 list three years in a row). Our goal then is the same as it is now: to be the very best agency for social media marketing helping great brands drive business results. We’re doing that very differently than we used to (remember Facebook tabs?), but we’re still very much doing it.

What's next for the Business in the near future?

The entire agency model is under pressure and has been for a few years. That’s unlikely to slow soon, so we’ve adapted both of our businesses to the new model. Carusele doesn’t have agency relationships with any clients. We provide specific packaged services. Many of our clients buy them all year, but we’re still not their agency in the traditional sense. For Ignite Social Media, we’re increasingly wrapping our team around internal social teams. For one client, we’re making content. For another, doing strategy. For a third, buying media. Working as an extension of an internal team requires different contract types as well as different ways to communicate with our clients. We’ve been making those changes the last few years and they’ll likely continue.

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?

In the early days, our most important strategy was blogging, for two reasons. First, it showed people we were serious about this industry. Our blog helped us get clients including Microsoft and Intel because their employees were reading what we were putting out there. At the time, we only had 8 people, but we were getting attention from the biggest companies in the world. The second reason it helped was that it helped us rank on Google for the phrase “social media agency.” We started working to rank for that word before anyone else in the United States, which certainly helped. As a result, we still rank at the top for that phrase, which is incredibly value.

The second big decision we made was launching Carusele as a separate company. That was also for two reasons. First, we have a very different buyer in a very different need state. A Carusele customer is generally looking for a good marketing program, not an agency relationship. Selling Carusele is a little more like selling ad space in a magazine than it is selling an Ignite agency relationship. Second, having separate leadership in the companies lets both teams focus on doing what’s right for their company. It helps us move faster at a time when that’s so important.

Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)

Without a doubt, that was when we lost the Chrysler Group account. That was a big chunk of our business and we had to let go over 50 employees. That was difficult on every level, but we tried to do the right thing as best we could. We let people know immediately that layoffs were coming. We informed those affected within days and then we were very public about what happened, including inviting other agencies in to hire folks who were impacted. We then offered a $5,000 reward to any company that hired one of our displaced employees and had to terminate them within one year for performance or character issues. It showed how much we valued those employees and they got jobs quickly. In fact, roughly 75% of them had new jobs before the layoffs even took place.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

I’ll focus on Carusele for this one. When you get very talented content creators showing interesting ways to use a brand’s product, the brand ends up with interesting insights. Not only does the brand see how the influencer took things, but because we can (and do) measure the reaction to each and every piece of branded content, the brand also gets a chance to see how the larger target audience reacts to all of these concepts. It’s a marketing campaign, but it includes a feedback loop that can be very valuable for brands in a position to learn from it.

How do you motivate others?

I’ve never been the youngest person in the office, so I quickly learned that a social media agency benefits from a wide array of perspectives. Everyone we hire is expected to contribute, which is a gratifying feeling (at least for the types of people I want on my team). We try to bring people along as fast as they are able. That, plus having a great workplace. In a normal week, we spend more time with our colleagues than with our own families. If it’s not fun and challenging, what’s the point?

Career advice to those in your industry?

One of our core values is Always Learning. In our industry (and many others today) the pace of change is just so fast. The winners are the ones with intellectual curiosity. Someone who keeps up with their industry, but also looks outside it to see what’s happening and how it might be adapted is someone I want on my team.

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