#49: What Does RoboCop, The Cardinals, and Jon Friesch, All Share in Common? A Marketing Theory Worth Stealing From (Part 1)

Jon Friesch (@jonfriesch) is a successful marketer, blogger, author, storyteller, and diehard Wisconsinite who is a master brand builder and creative.

Prior to growing several reputable Northwest brands, he worked in the newspaper industry (Capital Newspapers, Madison.com) as Head of Marketing, growing media revenue from $0 to $10 million as the Internet started to take shape from 1997-2008.

After working in newspapers, he shifted into internet marketing and established the GameHouse, Corbis, and Responsys (acquired by Oracle) brands through engaging customer retention marketing, creative solutions, and killer copy.

Recent roles placed his as the VP of marketing for Atavus, the professional rugby brand, and Assurance, an insurance tech company acquired by Prudential for $2.5B, and Client Director at The Marketing Practice (an elite B2B marketing agency. Check them out here).

Jon Friesch studied Political Science and advertising at the University of Wisconsin.

This conversation was a blast! Jon has become a recent mentor and life-long friend to me. We tapped into his “marketing thesis”, bringing a dying and slow moving medium, newspapers, to the cutting edge of the Internet, the importance of brand building before direct marketing, and so much more in this colorful conversation.

This episode is particularly valuable for founders who wants to get an understanding of the importance of brand marketing and storytelling.

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Show Notes

  • What’s the story about David Byrne an driving from Madison to Minneapolis to see him [4:15]
  • How far is Madison to Minneapolis? [5:52]
  • How long was the soundcheck? [9:38]
  • How Jon got to work for the St. Louis Cardinals [11:11]
  • How did you know Jeff Wailing was the head of PR (for St. Louis Cardinals)? [12:38]
  • Did you go buy a suit? [13:25]
  • You mean our current job isn’t as cool as that (job with Cardinals)? [14:32]
  • What’s going on in this photo: you would rub elbows with RoboCop. What did you do with RoboCop? [14:47]
  • That’s what you mean by “horse trading”? [16:17]
  • When you say “we”, you mean you and the other employees? [17:40]
  • You’re wearing a Marvel Shirt. What is your relationship to Marvel? [20:17]
  • Why Spider Man was important to Jon, particularly the value of justice [24:45]
  • Doesn’t every comic book hero have a deep sense of justice though? [25:10]
  • Tell us about the Madison.com campaign [29:34]
  • Can you describe the campaign? [30:12]
  • Marketing departments are either driven or are driving [33:19]
  • Marketing was not driving at this point? [34:10]
  • How the newspaper people were trying to push the website over to the side [38:42]

Links from Episode

What did you learn about marketing from the episode? Comment below.

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