I was sitting in my office when I noticed my Operations Manager, Jorge, was speaking to a well dressed young man. He was a salesman who was being told "No thanks, we're not interested." I stepped out to ask what he was selling as I was curious why he was wearing a suit and tie on a sweltering hot day. I asked him to come in and Jorge offered him a glass of water. He told us he was selling a new Muzak "music on hold" service. I subscribed to the service on a two or three year contract. We were allowed up to six different messages and a few choices of music genres. I chose jazz and created the messages. Within a few weeks we were up and running with our new vendor. One of our messages was: "Do others in your company know about us? Please make sure they do so they can enjoy our services, too". Within a week, I received a call from the Head of Operations at one of my clients, Tauck Tours, and more than doubled my billings with them. Prior to this I, along with many people, associated Muzak with "elevator music". Not me, not anymore. ~Dennis Kamoen
Global Business Local Concerns
I had already been doing a large portion of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange's logistics through one of my companies. It was a challenging account with many peculiarities - things like delivering machines around the world to all arrive at the same time and developing back channels so items could be sent to President Ronald Reagan and President Mikel Gorbachev - not an easy task (but that's another story). I was a highly trusted vendor. I was in pursuit of more marketing business. I called on my contact in the marketing department to see if I could get a meeting to introduce my marketing services. She invited me to a confidential meeting later that week - confidential because they were rebranding the Chicago Mercantile Exchange - new name, new logo, the works. I have a process when I'm rebranding and the first thing I ask is, Who is your audience? Where are they? What are they buying? When I arrived at the meeting, there were a half dozen people and a few sheets with different logos spread out on the table. They asked me which one I liked the best. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange is actually a global company and believe it or not, a large portion of their business was overseas. To me, their initials, CME were more global as opposed to Chicago Mercantile Exchange - which is in English. And long. I chose the new above logo for three reasons: 1. CME was language neutral. 2. The globe in front of it suggested global. and 3. The sides were squared off which implied digital. They were off and running and I was proud to be a part of it. ~Dennis Kamoen
Show Me The Money
I was attending the International Day Trading Expo at the Ontario Convention Center in Ontario, California, where my client, Terra Nova Trading, had a large booth and was looking for a creative and inexpensive way to bring attention to their company. We had a top booth. We sponsored the show so our name was on the bags. It was blistering hot so I wanted to give out branded water bottles. The show management said we couldn't do it unless we paid another large sum of money and I felt like we were being taken advantage of since we were already spending a significant amount. I decided to think outside the box, literally. I rented a class A RV - the biggest you can get - and parked it outside the convention center entrance. I put one of our vinyl banners across the side of the RV. I went to Ralph's and bought big tubs, filled them with ice and put the branded water bottles on ice. I agreed to pay the show union an "uncorking fee" for the water. I took a couple of our employees from our booth to go outside and hand out the water. Everyone walked into the show holding and drinking cool Terra Nova Trading branded water. We ended up conducting several important meetings in the RV (drinking cool water and beer). The RV for entire weekend cost $1,300.00. ~Dennis Kamoen
Integrating Two Arch Rivals
A Managing Director from Goldman Sachs who oversaw various projects, had asked the CEO of Archipelago, then a client of mine, to set up a meeting with me. She had seen me in action and wanted me for a project. In a highly confidential transaction, two Goldman Sachs subsidiaries, Hull Trading Company and SLK Trading were being integrated to combine electronic trading and floor trading capabilities. And they hated each other because electronic trading was a new industry and threatened floor trading which was old school, but they were both still important. I came to Hull Trading offices in Sears Tower, formed a small team with another project manager and me in Chicago, and explained what she wanted. She wanted me for a branding project between the two trading companies - including all marketing collateral for their launch. We established the budget and the timeline. The biggest challenge wasn’t developing logos and market collateral, it was making people feel “good” about it. I renamed the combined entity and created a logo reminiscent of Goldman Sachs. In a role of part psychologist and part marketing savant, My project manager and I gave them fleece jackets, hats, polo shirts, etc. along with new brochures and other marketing materials (in compliance) everything with the new logo. It empowered them because they realized they were better together, and just that simple act made them feel a part of something new and bigger. It was all completed in a matter of a few months. Under budget. ~Dennis Kamoen
The Most Reasonable Man Wins
I was approached by an entrepreneur. He had sold his prior company to Microsoft and had a new idea about what he wanted to do. He wanted to create a revolutionary media buying marketplace across all relevant platforms. His marketplace would let buyers place specific ads in front of precisely targeted audiences. I owned the URL, TheTradeDesk.com. He called and asked if I would consider selling it. My answer was no but maybe. We met for coffee. I also owned TradersDesk.com. We kick around some ideas. I loved his vision. I agreed to sell him the name. He agreed that it was probably the best name for his nascent enterprise. According to Forbes Magazine, he is now a billionaire and TheTradeDesk.com is described as the Goldman Sachs for advertising and one of the Top 10 Most Promising Companies. After the company went public, Founder Jeff Green texted me and said, “I’m so glad I met you that morning for a cup of coffee.“ In business I have a theory, "The most reasonable man wins." I was reasonable with Jeff. I sold him my URL and assisted him in naming his company. Now, not only do I consider him a friend. I feel like in my own small way, I helped him create something that has benefitted many. And he's a great guy. ~Dennis Kamoen
Using Creativity for Business Development
I was approached by one of the top sales executives of my client, Archipelago, at their annual holiday party. Well, I think it may have been their first holiday party. Significant, considering that the company went from startup to quickly growing into the company that bought (okay, "merged") with the New York Stock Exchange. Without naming names, the "Old School" veteran Wall Street salesman was feeling comfortable enough to challenge me, or accuse me of participating in wasting the company's marketing dollars. I asked him who his number one desired client was and asked him if I could assist him in landing the customer, an institutional broker in Dallas, Texas. He agreed and we met the following morning. I asked him if he had called on them before and if he had visited their offices. Of course, we covered a lot more than this information. Well he agreed that we would send the Head Broker an Archipelago remote control car. We were one of the main sponsors what was then Andretti-Green Racing and created some pretty cool promotional marketing items. We sent one, only one, car to the broker along with a note that asked him to try us out, take us "for a spin". Well, we received a seven figure order the very next day, along with a request for a few more cars. ~Dennis Kamoen
A DIVERSE SAMPLING OF CLIENTS AND INDUSTRIES OVER THREE DECADES. ... NOW ON TO THE NEXT.
Entertainment: Nile Rodgers Productions, Bloomers Island, NetworkBe, Chicago International Film Festival, Children's Television Workshop and The Oprah Winfrey Show/ King World Productions. Financial Services: Archipelago, Terra Nova Trading, RealTick, Townsend Analytics, Goldman Sachs, CME Group, Globex, Cargill Investor Services and Wave Securities. Education: Yale University, Harvard University, Kellogg School of Management, University of New Haven and Ketterman College Funding. Art & Collectibles: Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Collection, Sotheby's, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, Robert Heindel, L'Art et L'Automobile Gallery, The Book Block. Travel: FlyTahiti.com, JohnnyJet.com, Tauck Tours and WorldwideRentACar.com. Industrial: Perkin-Elmer Corporation, United Technologies Pratt & Whitney, Textron-Lycoming, Sikorsky Aircraft, USG, Fermi Labs. Food & Beverage: Sara Lee, Newman's Own, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Effen Vodka. Marketing & Advertising: Chief Marketer, Pro Awards, Event Marketer, ExAwards, The Trade Desk. Real Estate: Grubb & Ellis, DiScala Fairfield, EPC Properties, Clark Hill Plaza. Confidential: Private projects for CEO's, celebrities and anonymous individuals.