All posts by Emily Binder

Emily Binder is a marketer who likes good copy, technology, and progress. Hobbies include chess, cooking, and rollerblading. University of Michigan alumna.

My First Boss

I just found out that my first marketing boss, Kris Hart, died four years ago at the young age of 48. Somehow I hadn’t heard, and I’m processing. I want to tell you about what she meant to me. While I’m late in the sense of her passing, I’m right on time from a career vantage point.

I met Kris in August 2009. I had graduated from Michigan a year before and moved to Atlanta on a whim without a job. We connected online and she invited me to Murphy’s on a Thursday morning to interview me to be her nanny. After a year working for the Institute for Social Research, I wanted to work a couple part time jobs before committing to another 9-5.

Being on a budget and unfamiliar with the city, I declined her ride offer and volunteered to meet there. I walked what turned out to be two humid miles in 90-degree weather from Midtown, arriving sweaty and hopeful. Thanks, MapQuest. The literally messy nature of our first impression due to a lack of smartphone maps and Lyft makes this memory sweeter and more real. I remember falling in love with Atlanta a little bit on that walk as I hurried, checking my watch, and admiring the lush tree-lined streets and varied architecture of the homes.

house in Atlanta
Argonne Avenue NE

It was 11am and quiet in Virginia Highland. Kris ordered us mimosas and we began an honest conversation about my background and her needs. I liked her immediately. Afterward, she told me I was bright, educated – not a fit: she wanted someone to take care of her toddler and new twins for years to come. I agreed and moved on. I also stored the memory of Kris in my nascent vision of whom I wanted to become: a very together woman – successful, magnetic, beautiful, kind yet firm, and seeming to have it all.

Kris Hart photo
Kris Hart

Eight months later Kris emailed to ask if I still lived in Atlanta and wanted a job. She was the new CMO at an entertainment company and offered me a marketing role reporting to her. For me, the rest is history. We lost touch but I’ve thought of Kris many times since.

Kris had poise and smarts and cool. She had an impressive resume, too. In 2007 as VP-brand management for Harrah’s Entertainment, she oversaw the historic $5 billion merger of Harrah’s and Caesers, creating the world’s largest casino company. Despite all her accomplishments, Kris was approachable and humble. You never saw her stress personality and she handled office politics, swinging dicks/male egos in the boardroom, and entitled consultants all with class and efficacy. Kris never micromanaged. She gave me autonomy even though I hadn’t earned it yet. She gave me public praise. She listened to my ideas. She asked great questions instead of instructing. And she was fun. I loved many things about working with Kris at Premier Exhibitions. And I learned a ton, which set me up for the next decade of navigating companies.

Among other sexy brands like BODIES: The Exhibition, Kris handed me the reins on social media for RMS Titanic Inc., the Salvor in Possession of Titanic. This was a few months before Expedition Titanic, a major dive that our company sponsored with an oceanographic dream team. I helped publish dive footage and launched social around it in partnership with History Channel, National Geographic, Woods Hole, and others. I was 23 years old with almost no experience. What an opportunity.

Titanic The Artifact Exhibition logo
One of the properties we marketed

Kris saw something in me over a drink discussing babysitting, and I’m so grateful. I think she saw my potential because she had the gut for it. Working with her launched my marketing career, a field different from my psychology and academia plans. Her encouragement was instrumental in building my confidence in an area I had never studied, a craft I learned purely from books, blogs, podcasts, and paying attention at work.

I’m lucky to have had such a strong, competent, and kind woman as my first marketing boss. She empowered me. Thank you Kris. Sorry I’m so late. You were great.

Kris Hart obituary

map of Atlanta Midtown
Walking to meet Kris

Nextdoor – Monetizing at the Expense of Users

Nextdoor is a neighborhood social networking app used by more than 150,000 neighborhoods in the U.S,  It’s a great app in so many ways. The initial product was unique and filled a need that most people didn’t realize they had (like innovative, successful products do, #PC #ipod). Nextdoor offered utility and community that Facebook couldn’t. But Nextdoor is so focused on monetizing through local business promotion (sponsored content) that they seem to have forgotten the importance of user experience namely in the buying/selling area.
Nextdoor sponsored post
Austin: 30% lost dogs, 30% lost cats, 15% for sale or rent, 10% cacti, 10% sponsored content (ads), 5% misc.
 –

Until 2016, Nextdoor had been entirely funded by venture capital firms including Benchmark, Greylock Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Tiger Global Management and others.

Recently, we have begun testing sponsored content from a select group of businesses who we believe have valuable products and services to share with Nextdoor’s members. We are also testing allowing local real estate agents and brokerages to promote listings in their zip codes. –Nextdoor
Nextdoor logo
Great name.

Feature Fails

The biggest problem is the search functionality, which is abysmal. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to search results. They are infuriatingly unhelpful. It’s like the app wants to show you that once upon a time there was a perfectly relevant post but now you’re SOL. Recency is paramount for this type of app, focused on quick sales or neighborhood updates. The content is mostly fleeting and time-sensitive.
 –
For example, search “table” and you’ll see six-month old posts but nothing new, even if a table was posted to the classifieds section yesterday.
You can’t access your own activity easily. Also, I don’t know if it’s my issue but there is no way to get your iPhone to add a visual notification badge (red number) to the Nextdoor icon. So you have to check your email or keep opening the app, which you forget to do, and then miss PMs, and the agave plant you were eyeing gets sold to someone down the block.
Boston brownstones
I once worked for a home services review provider in the same space. I predicted Nextdoor would eat that company’s lunch. They are, as is Amazon Home Services (fantastic, smart model there – go Bezos GO.)

Why Nextdoor is Special

Here’s what I saw two years ago: Nextdoor offers a convenient, focused platform for a select group (a tribe, more importantly) based on location. It’s the closest thing to an inherently trustworthy digital community you can find and its geo restrictions keep it relevant. Neighbors on Nextdoor just trust each other more when transacting or discussing. There’s more respect. Because it’s literally your neighbors. That is unique online.

But Nextdoor is going to need to invest heavily in a better UX if they want to survive the war of Classifieds with Facebook Marketplace utterly dominating the P2P selling space.

Facebook: Talk about great UX. That GD app which is the entire internet for most people may well beat out Craigslist for (G-rated) selling because it offers social proof and greater trust among sellers and buyers, plus total convenience because its messages are right inside Facebook versus your throwaway email. Easy mobile photo upload and price adjustment notifications to users watching your listing make the experience better for all. It’s a better experience than listing on Nextdoor, and clearly Zuck has already figured out monetization. Nextdoor needs to clean up the selling/buying features or there won’t be many users left to see the ads.
By the way, here’s the funniest Craigslist moment I’ve had in years. I was shopping for a table, and used my Google Voice number as usual to maintain some privacy:
screenshot of rude Craigslist email
How did he even know it was G Voice? Who’s the creepy one now? Rude/ignorant. Keep your table, dude.

BeanCast 469: Meditation for All

Listen here

This was the most serious BeanCast I’ve been on, understandably so in the wake of Weinstein / the #MeToo movement and news confirming Russia’s interference in our presidential election. Our brand loyalty chat was really interesting too, especially with Farrah’s insights from market research suggesting that there really is no loyalty. The discussion was so intense that we ran about 15 minutes over the hour mark. P.S. I second Rachel’s recommendation for the 10% Happier App – meditation for fidgety skeptics. It’s great.


TOPICS

Is Efficiency Killing Brands

Sources: Ad Age opinion

Getting Loyalty Wrong

Sources: Mediapost opinionAd Age reports

Regulating Online Political Ads

Sources: NYT reportsVerge reportsRecode reports

Calling Out Sexual Harassment

Sources: Ad Age reportsAdweek on WPP’s moves


How to Choose Where You Live

The city where you live can hugely impact your happiness. Some people say it doesn’t matter where you live, that you make your own happiness wherever you go. I beg to differ. The energy of a city is so important to your ability to thrive there. The weather is important too, more for some people than others. I really dislike being cold. I grew up in Chicago, went to college in New York and Michigan, and moved to the south primarily because I knew warmer weather would make me happier. It really did. So did other things about Atlanta.

Why I Moved from Atlanta to Austin

After eight years in ATL, I got the itch to try out another place. I wanted to get rid of my stuff and get rid of my 9-5 and make Beetle Moment Marketing my main job. I wanted to move somewhere with a greater focus on outdoor activities and a stronger sense of community, a place with less tension — without giving up my fantastic network and clients in Atlanta. So I’m splitting time between Austin and Atlanta. Semi-dual residency is my experiment for the next year or so. Airfare can be cheaper than bus fare if you know a few travel hacks.
people kayaking on Ladybird Lake
Ladybird Lake in Austin

My research

Who’s Your City,  though getting older and not the absolute answer to the question, is still a solid skim on the topic of choosing a place to live. Richard Florida has devoted his research to cities and what makes them and their residents prosper. Penelope Trunk did the same thing and after a year of thorough city happiness research moved from NYC to Madison, Wisconsin.  I examined the attributes of several U.S. cities and picked the one with the most pros for me: Austin, Texas.
page from Who's Your City
How do you like the place you’re living now?
It’s easier to move when you don’t have a mortgage or a job that requires you to be in one place. But if these apply to you, it’s still possible to rearrange your life to make a change or even become nomadic. Sell it, rent it, request remote work, quit, freelance…

And remember: jobs come and go.

We place too much emphasis on work in this country. No one on their death bed wishes they’d worked more. That said, I like working — more accurately, I love working for myself.
Emily at FBO looking at jets
Wheels up

What to do with all your stuff

Own a home? Rent it out. Have too much stuff? Sell it ALL. Inherit an old boat recently? Hire Captain Ron to help you sail it from the Caribbean to Miami, then decide to just keep sailing. The internet has made all of this easier than ever.

Downsize to joy items

Start to downsize early, then moving becomes much easier mentally. I sold or donated all my furniture and came to Austin with only boxes containing things like my InstantPot and Himalayan salt lamps and Casper pillow and rollerblades. Stuff that brings me joy: ditch the rest. Buy newer models of what you sold.

A chance to upgrade

When I move again I will pare it down even further. I’m excited to be lighter than ever. All those blazers and Brooks Brothers shirts and high heels from my corporate days are just taking up room in my closet. I’ve been thinking more about this since seeing the YouTube trend of young people living in their cars. Eileah Ohning from Columbus lived in her car for several months, motivated in part by wanting to save money to pay off student loans. That is a travesty, but student loan debt is a separate topic. The point is that it’s possible to be happy living really lean. Here are more moneysaving tips for your twenties.
I couldn’t downsize into a sedan like Eileah did (impressive) but I did embrace the discomfort of starting over from scratch. It’s a chance to upgrade things.

BeanCast 465: Sulking and Condescension

Listen here

PANEL

Emily Binder, Principal, Beetle Moment Marketing

Saul Colt, Principal, The Idea Integration Co.

Jonathan Sackett, President, Mashburn Enterprises

David Spark, CEO, Spark Media Solutions

Bob Knorpp, Host, The BeanCast

 

TOPICS

Choosing a Marketing Cloud

Sources: MediaPostAdexchanger

Problems with Going to Video

Sources: Digiday

Agency Models

Sources: Digiday

Evolving the TV Spot

Sources: Recode

 

Aired September 25, 2017

Adapted from original post by Bob Knorpp on thebeancast.com