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Customer Experts Detail the Path to Customer Centricity in New Book Geek Nerd Suit

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. / June 20, 2017 – Knowing and valuing your customers is not just about implementing a new IT capability or hiring an agency or consultant. It depends on complex, integrated technologies, deep analytics, and strategic insight. Yet, these functions have not historically worked together in an integrated fashion. Geek Nerd Suit: Breaking Down Walls, Unifying Teams, and Creating Cutting-Edge Customer Centricity explores the new collaborations required to survive in today’s customer-driven economy and offers solutions for how your team of Geeks, Nerds, and Suits can partner to create customer-centric success.

Geek Nerd Suit got its name from a revelation of sorts, when Chuck and I first started our company,” said co-author Mason Thelen. “When we personified an organization’s function as Geeks (information technologists), Nerds (data scientists and analysts), and Suits (strategists and marketers), and then showed how they needed to be collaborating in the name of the customer, we saw a lot of eyes light up.”

Densinger adds, “It was the silos that were driving us crazy. We were working with brilliant clients, but it was so hard for them to make progress against their vision to deliver a killer customer experience because nothing behind the scenes was connected.”

The authors of Geek Nerd Suit, a trio of customer data and strategy veterans, share their real-life experiences working with leaders who sincerely want to understand and connect with their customers, but are slowed down by fractured groups within their organizations. They also detail the rewards for those executives who have applied the lessons of the book: tips on how to build a collaborative team with a unique approach to solving problems and how to overcome the most common roadblocks to brand and product innovation. At www.geeknerdsuit.com, leaders can evaluate their organization’s level of customer centricity, identify their personal tendencies toward Geek, Nerd, or Suit, and download a free chapter.

“Writing Geek Nerd Suit started out as a passion project for the three of us,” said co-author Brooke Niemiec. “We have seen so many companies running into the same road blocks—disorganized customer data, fragmented customer experiences due to poorly integrated systems, lack of customer insight, and an inability to make real change based on what they know about the customer. It was time we consolidated our experiences and created a guide for business leaders to lean on.”

This book is a must-read for marketing strategists, analysts, technologists, and any business leader faced with the daunting task of better understanding their customers. Geek Nerd Suit is available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes.

 

About the Authors

The authors of Geek Nerd Suit form the foundation of Elicit, a leading customer science and strategy consultancy, whose rebellious thinking has powered the customer intelligence and business transformation of companies including Southwest Airlines, HomeAway (Expedia), Fossil, Sephora, HCA, McAfee, GameStop, Best Buy, and Pier One Imports.

Chuck Densinger

As Elicit’s COO, Chuck brings 25+ years of global retail, technology, and marketing experience. He is a seasoned executive who has spent his career helping Fortune 500 companies with technology- and analytics-based customer strategy, and has seen firsthand the success that comes from structuring business around the customer. Chuck is a University of Minnesota MBA.

Brooke Niemiec

Brooke is Elicit’s CMO and has represented the voice of the customer for Fortune 100 companies (including Boeing, Disney, and JCPenney) for most of her 18-year career. She earned her MBA at the University of Southern California, and is an avid people watcher and question asker. Brooke has been published in Fast Company, CMO.com, and CRM Magazine, and was recently named a member of the Direct Marketing News Hall of Femme.

Mason Thelen

Mason is Elicit’s CEO and has a history of challenging the status quo, cultivating talent, and driving teams to innovate. Recent accolades include being named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist and one of the 40 most influential marketers under 40 in America by Direct Marketing News. He’s co-led IBM’s advanced customer analytics practice, built loyalty programs for industry giants, and is the go-to-guy for many Fortune 500 executives. He’s also a member of the Forbes Agency Council.

Delivering on the Basics Isn’t Enough to Deepen Your Relationship with Customers–According to Elicit’s Study of What Matters in a Customer Experience

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. / May 30, 2017 – Customer Experience (CX) is one of the hottest topics and areas of focus for marketers today. However, much of the industry dialogue explains CX from a company’s perspective instead of from a customer’s perspective. Elicit, a customer science and strategy consultancy, recently conducted a study that reveals the elements of Customer Experience that are most important to the customer.

Among the key findings from the study:

  • Customers expect their favorite brands to deliver expertly on the basics (functional elements) such as cost, quality, product availability, and convenience
  • However, the emotional elements of the experience (such as the frequency and type of communications customers receive, the customer support provided, and company core values) are areas where you can deepen your relationship with customers
  • About 1 out of 3 customers (36%) agree/strongly agree they would be willing to provide more personal information to companies if they knew it would be used to make their experience better
  • The type of employees you hire and how you resolve your customers’ problems go a long way in reflecting company values – something that is also a driver of experience

“A company’s future success depends on identifying the collection of experiences that are most important to their customers and delivering on them in unique and relevant ways,” says Lisa Brink, Director of Customer Strategy and Insights at Elicit. “A single-metric approach to managing CX will become antiquated – a smarter way will be to deploy the right amount of behavioral analytics and research to measure it. CX is dynamic, so your approach to managing it needs to be dynamic too.”

More than 500 adults 25+ participated in the survey, representing a sample from across the United States. Participants were nearly evenly split between male and female and also represented a wide range of income levels. The results are summarized in an infographic that is available for complimentary download, here.

Elicit CMO Brooke Niemiec Named as 2017 DMN Hall of Femme Honoree

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. / February 9, 2017 – Brooke Niemiec, CMO of customer science and strategy consultancy Elicit, was named a 2017 Direct Marketing News Hall of Femme Honoree. To be recognized with this honor, female-marketing leaders must showcase a keen focus on their customers, mentorship and leadership with their teams, and embrace innovative thinking and thought-leadership.

In her nomination, Brooke is described as a modern-day alchemist, creative storyteller, and capable theorist; but also an acting practioner and skilled tactician. She is the total package—she’s smart, she’s funny, she’s experienced, and most importantly, she gets things done. She is perfectly suited to her current role, in which she both leads Elicit’s own marketing strategy and execution, while also guiding her clients to improved business performance via customer centric strategies and practices. She thrives on solving big problems and seeing big results.

“It was such an honor (and surprise) to find out that I was selected as a DMN 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme inductee,” says Niemiec. “I feel lucky to be recognized amongst the other female marketing leaders in the class of 2017. Thank you to my amazing team for nominating me and all of our clients for the opportunity to partner together and do groundbreaking work!”

Every year, DMN identifies the best and brightest female talent in the marketing industry through our Hall of Femme honors. The induction ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, April 26 in New York City, and will celebrate the 15 chief marketing honorees as well as showcase the next generation of Women to Watch.

Advertising Age Names Elicit #8 of the 50 Best Places to Work
In Advertising & Media

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. / November 14, 2016 – Elicit was named one of Ad Age’s 2016 Best Places to Work, announced today by Advertising Age. The first time appearing on the list, Elicit was among 50 companies selected for the distinction. This survey and awards program identifies, recognizes, and honors the best employers in the advertising, marketing, and media industries, benefiting the industry’s economy, workforce, and businesses. The list is based on criteria including workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems, demographics, and the employee experience.

Elicit prides itself on its innovative work culture. Although it’s 100% virtual, the company offers an unofficial “office” and “office hours,” which facilitates informal and spontaneous discussion. Among the notable perks offered by Elicit is career development training, including personality testing and coaching from renowned talent development expert, Dr. Robert W. Eichinger.

“When we formed Elicit nearly a decade ago, we set out to create a company that we would personally want to work for—‘the anti-consultancy consultants.’ While we knew we were onto something pretty special out of the gate, it’s an incredible honor to have external acknowledgement that our culture is a stand out in the marketplace,” said Elicit’s CEO, Mason Thelen.

“The companies on Ad Age’s Best Places to Work represent the cream of the crop in marketing, advertising, media, and ad technology,” said Deputy Editor Judann Pollack. “In these highly competitive fields, these 50 stand out for their best-in-class benefits, salaries, and hiring practices, but also for creating a compelling culture in which employees are engaged, encouraged, and valued. Talent has never been more important in marketing, and our Best Places to Work companies have proven that they can attract and retain the best in the business.”

Chuck Densinger, COO, explains: “We all spend so many hours working; the quality of our work life has a profound effect on our overall quality of life. Companies impact the lives of their team members more than any stakeholders outside the company, including customers. I’ve felt strongly through my entire career that the highest moral calling for any business leader is to create a work culture that enables people to be their best selves at work, and to thoroughly enjoy doing what they do.”

The 2016 Best Places to Work list is a joint effort of Advertising Age and Best Companies Group. Best Companies Group is dedicated to establishing programs to identify and recognize workplaces that nurture a superior level of employee satisfaction and engagement. Companies from across the United States participated in the two-part survey process to determine Ad Age’s Best Places to Work. Any agency, ad tech, media company, or marketing division of a brand that’s been in business for more than one year with more than 15 full-time employees was eligible. Public, private, for-profit, and non-for-profit businesses could all participate. The list was determined by feedback from two surveys. The first garnered information about employers’ offerings and the second was an employee survey to measure the workplace experience. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking. To see the 2016 list of Ad Age’s Best Places to Work, click here.

 

About Advertising Age

Advertising Age is the leading global source of news, intelligence and conversation for the marketing and media community. Ad Age connects today’s top marketers and brands online, in print and in person with analysis and insights, events including the Ad Age Brand Summit and Ad Age A-List & Creativity Awards, and industry data including the Agency Report and Leading National Advertisers.

Elicit CMO Brooke Niemiec Keynotes Direct Marketing News  Webcast; Niemiec to Present, “5 Steps to Proving Your Marketing Campaign’s ROI”

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. / September 30, 2016 – Brooke Niemiec, CMO of customer science and strategy consultancy Elicit, will lead the interactive webcast, “5 Steps to Proving Your Marketing Campaign’s ROI,” hosted by Direct Marketing News on Thursday, October 6 at 1 p.m. ET. Registration is open for the live, complimentary webcast and a replay will be accessible after the event.

Niemiec will discuss ways to overcome challenges that marketers face in proving marketing ROI, provide actionable insights, and field audience questions following the presentation. She will cover the need to:

  1. Set clear goals: Align marketing campaigns with overall business goals, while keeping customer top of mind.
  2. Make sure programs are measurable. It doesn’t matter if you have an amazing program if you can’t measure results. Learn why you have to look at both channel specific KPs vs. overall marketing metrics.
  3. Draw insights based on metrics. Are you measuring for the sake of measuring? Are you measuring the customer lifecycle beyond conversion?
  4. Ensure sales teams efforts are in line with marketing efforts. Keep the feedback loop circular, so marketing not only helps sales efforts but sales feeds info back to marketing.
  5. Present info to C-suite in language they understand. Ditch the marketing speak. Pump up the revenue speak.

Niemiec is an inspirational leader and storyteller who has proven that effective communication can help gain executive sponsorship, build internal support, and lead teams to deliver exceptional results. An expert in leveraging consumer insight to maximize virtually every aspect of business, Niemiec has helped CMOs across the travel and retail industries capture new customers, increase customer engagement, and drive measurable ROI.

Mason Thelen Accepted to Forbes Agency Council

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. / August 25, 2016 – Mason Thelen, co-founder and CEO of customer science and strategy consultancy Elicit, has been selected as a member of the invitation-only Forbes Agency Council. A recognized marketing visionary and a successful entrepreneur multiple times over, Thelen joins a hand-picked group of executives from public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies across the country.

Forbes partnered with the Young Entrepreneur Council in 2015 to create the Forbes Agency Council. Criteria for acceptance include annual revenue and other business growth metrics and a review process that ensures only the highest caliber professionals are accepted. Members receive personalized connections, peer-to-peer learning and opportunities to share thought leadership through Forbes.com.

Thelen was recently recognized as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist for the second time and one of the 40 most influential marketers in America under 40 by Direct Marketing News. He co-led IBM’s Advanced Customer Analytics practice and has built loyalty programs for some of America’s foremost brands. He is a frequent speaker on the topics of customer centricity, relationship marketing and entrepreneurship.

“A key to Elicit’s success has been our strong network and working relationship with agency partners,” says Thelen. “We can’t create a seamless customer experience with out them, and we look forward to making more connections with this esteemed group.”

Elicit Names Mark Gonzales Senior Customer Technology Consultant; Building Out Firm's Technical Services Offerings

Former Silicon Valley Executive Helps Clients Navigate Complex Marketing and IT Terrain

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Minneapolis, MN, July 28, 2016 (Newswire.com) – Elicit, a leading customer science and strategy consultancy, names Mark Gonzales as Senior Customer Technology Consultant. In this key role, Gonzales will tap his expertise in customer-centric technology, customer data architecture, and digital data analysis to help clients successfully manage the integration of customer-related technology solutions. With a background spanning across technology and marketing, Mark helps bridge the gap between clients’ internal product marketing and engineering teams.

Mark’s appointment reflects Elicit’s evolving business model and expanded technical services offerings. “Increasingly, we find our clients wrestling with the complexities of technology, data, and industry service providers in marketing, CRM, and customer experience. Integrating ecommerce, mobile, digital, social, in-store, call center, and other offline experiences is getting harder, not easier,” says Chuck Densinger, Elicit COO. “Consumer expectations are rising while software and service providers are expanding the scope of their offerings, making integration more complex. Mark’s rare mix of marketing and IT leadership experience enables him to marry business strategy with data and technology solution road-mapping, helping Elicit clients navigate a confusing landscape and focus on what will have the biggest impact.”

Mark has more than 25 years of experience guiding marketing and product strategy for clients in the retail and high-tech sectors. He is a successful entrepreneur and has served in multiple executive-level marketing positions, and organizations across Silicon Valley, including Powered, Inc. (founder); Be, Inc.; Micron Electronics, Global Village Communication and Apple. Gonzales holds a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Mathematics and a Bachelor of Arts in Management Science from the University of California, San Diego and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University.

EY Announces Elicit's CEO Mason Thelen Named as an EY Entrepreneur of the Year® 2016 Finalist in the Upper Midwest

Mason EY EOY 2016 PR

Minneapolis, MN, April 25, 2016 (Newswire.com) – EY announced on Thursday that CEO & Co-Founder, Mason Thelen, of Elicit is a finalist for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2016 Award in the Upper Midwest, which encompasses Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The awards program, which is celebrating its 30th year, recognizes entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

For the second year in a row, Mason was selected as a finalist by a panel of independent judges. Award winners will be announced at a black-tie celebration on June 9, 2016 at the JW Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America in Bloomington, MN.

“From my experience, having a single leader or visionary drive innovation and growth for a company isn’t the recipe for success,” says Thelen. “While I’m honored to be considered for this award, I’m really just the guy who gets to represent an incredible group of people. For me, this is definitely a recognition of the team. All of these visionaries and thought-leaders around me are what makes Elicit great.”

The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year program has expanded to recognize business leaders in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries throughout the world. Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year National program. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year National Overall Award winner, will be announced at the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards gala in Palm Springs, California, on November 19, 2016. The awards are the culminating event of the Strategic Growth Forum™, the nation’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies.

Founded and produced by EY, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are sponsored nationally by SAP America, Merrill Corporation, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. In the Upper Midwest, region sponsors include PadillaCRT, Faegre Baker Daniels, Twin Cities Business, Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, Salo, Lockton, and Pohlad Companies.

 

About EY Entrepreneur Of The Year®

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries.

Elicit Appoints Two New Chiefs,
Aligns Organization for Future Growth

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., April 19, 2016 – Elicit, a leading customer science and strategy consultancy, announced significant leadership changes today by adding a Chief Marketing Officer and a Chief Strategy Officer to the executive roster. These appointments reflect Elicit’s commitment to connect customer science to the more artistic side of the equation by developing a deep customer understanding that fuels insight-based customer experiences, brand strategies, and data-driven marketing plans.

“While the industry is catching up with the need and application of more sophisticated analytics, clients are still lagging in terms of how to connect insights back to a competitive advantage,” said Elicit CEO, Mason Thelen. “We’ve really just skimmed the surface in terms of what our analytics and research can unlock for clients and creative partners, transforming how they think about their customers, business, brand, and messaging strategies.”

CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER: BOOKE NIEMIEC

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In her new role, Brooke will lead a team of researchers and marketing strategists to evolve Elicit’s actionable intelligence platform that incorporates analytics, research, and insights. She is passionate about bringing the Voice of the Customer to the forefront of decision-making, and marries what customers are doing (analytics) with why they are doing it (research). Before joining Elicit, Brooke was the head of CRM and Loyalty for JCPenney and previously managed Customer Insight at Disney and Marketing Strategy at Boeing.

CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER: HEATHER JOHNSON

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Heather is tasked with evolving Elicit’s business model and service offerings to strategically align data-driven customer insights beyond the traditional focus in CRM channels and brand marketing, to the broader customer experience. Heather joins Elicit from the creative and branding world, most recently leading strategy and account service at Peterson Milla Hooks, working with brands like Target, GAP, and Fossil. Before that, Heather specialized in account management at TBWA Chiat Day, Los Angeles.

These two roles will complement each other, allowing for improved client benefits and new growth streams. The CMO and her team of industry experts will partner with clients to engage with customers and drive bottom line business results. The CSO will be a change agent for the business, identifying new opportunities to leverage insight across client organizations and their partners.

 

About Elicit LLC

Elicit is a world leader in customer science strategy and consulting. Our team of scientists and strategists conduct advanced analytics, custom segmentation, full-spectrum market research, technology design and implementation, and business strategy tailored specifically to each client. With a portfolio of Fortune 500 clients that includes Southwest Airlines, Intel, HomeAway (Expedia), Fossil, GameStop, Sephora, and Pier 1 Imports, Elicit delivers breakthrough customer intelligence and business strategies that result in stronger customer engagement and increased profits. Learn more about Elicit at elicitinsights.com. Follow Elicit on LinkedIn and Twitter.