Hot List - Marketing Mavericks

Meet Those That Really Drive The Industry's Creative Message

Marketing Mavericks

Marketers tend to get short shrift behind the much-lauded salespeople and company owners often lionized and profiled by the press. But like the fuel that keeps otherwise stagnant objects moving forward, it's the marketers who really drive the industry's creative message.

Jennifer Grigorian, now 34, has been in the industry since she was 21, crafting the marketing for not one, but three Counselor Top 40 supplier companies, including Hit Promotional Products – with its amazing double-digit sales growth – where she's currently its vice president of marketing. Amy Swaney was instrumental in helping one of her salespeople create an award-winning recognition campaign, "You Rock," for Time Warner Cable.

DaCasso's Donny West, not one to stand on ceremony, has dressed as a cow (yep) to garner publicity for his company at trade shows, and Proforma's Karen Phillips proves that old-school marketing techniques – sending personalized greeting cards – still have the juice to garner crazy amounts of new business. Lindsey Whitney runs her company, Solar Advertising, with an eye as focused on her community as it is on the bottom line, donating a percentage of her profits to clean water initiatives and animal welfare organizations.

Mary Bostwick, Delta Apparel's Swiss army knife of a multitasker, oversees its catalog, advertising and trade show efforts, as well as supporting the national sales team and determining fashion trends for Delta's line. Matt Waterman, marketing director at Hanesbrands Inc., spearheads the compelling marketing for such heavy hitting names as Hanes, Outerbanks and Champion. And then there's Virgo III's Wendi Platt, who's parlayed her love of running marathons into penetrating that niche with ad specialty sales and making it a thriving revenue stream for her company. The people on this page make the incredibly challenging job of marketing seem astonishingly goof-proof. To them, who've raised the bar in the industry, we raise a glass.

EXPANDED WRITEUPS

Mary Bostwick, Delta Apparel
Mary Bostwick has her hands full. At Delta Apparel (asi/49172), the director of advertising oversees catalog production, facilitates all advertising campaigns, supports the national sales force to manage their trade show efforts, determines the next fashion trends of their line, helps to develop an innovative new website and much more. Her favorite book is Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, and her favorite movie is Sweet Home Alabama.

Jennifer Grigorian, Hit Promotional Products
What's your favorite thing about the industry?
The people. I love that I have friends going back to 16 years ago. People who I met early on and have seen evolve and change in both their personal lives and in their careers. The person who hired me into this industry is still my mentor and very good friend. These relationships are priceless to me.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
Right here! Cannot imagine doing anything else, ever. But maybe with some bigger bags under my eyes, 3-4 screaming kids and some wrinkles?!
What's the best advice you've received since being in the industry?
I was in college majoring in psychology when I started. The best advice I received was to look at this as more than just a job. That if I truly gave it 100%, I could make this into a career. I thought, how cool would it be to play with new and unique products, meet awesome people, and get paid to do it?? Sign me up! I immediately took that advice to heart, and never looked back.
What would you change about the industry if you could?
I wish I could change the perception of our industry from the outside world. We know what we do is so much more than just selling promotional products. There are so many layers to each role within every company, and it Is all strategic. Many people in the outside world don't know the amount of details involved from the time a product is a mere sketch to when it is placed into someone's hands with their logo on it. I wish there was a simple 5 word explanation to describe the value our industry brings to marketing campaigns worldwide.
What song best describes you?
Superwoman by Alicia Keys "Even when I'm a mess, I still put on a vest with an S on my chest Oh yes, I'm a Superwoman!"
Favorite book/TV show?
I am totally addicted to HSN, QVC and the random 3AM infomercials. These people are marketing geniuses, I love watching them pitch product. It is brilliant.
Who would play you in a movie?
I often crack myself up (key word-myself), so it would have to be someone that was super funny but can be very serious as well. So I would definitely say, Sandra Bullock. She is on point with her serious roles and is hilarious too.

Karen Phillips, Proforma So. Tier INK
At Proforma So. Tier INK, president Karen Phillips uses SendOutCards to reach her clients and generate new business. These digital greeting cards allow the user to upload logos, graphics and photos, and will convert videos into insertable smartphone code icons for postcard and greeting card campaigns. She suggests that professionals in the industry, to ensure repeat business, always appreciatively follow up with clients after an order has been placed, and her favorite food is shrimp scampi.

Wendi Platt, Virgo III
Wendi Platt, marketing consultant at Virgo III (asi/352485), has found a unique niche market for herself in the industry: She uses her experience as a marathon runner, which includes past participation in the infamous Iron Man, to market to race directors and sports commissions. She looks for trends in running wear and tests the products, and she arranges donations of wearables to particular running events. Her favorite book is Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, and she first worked as a shoe salesperson at Florsheim Shoes.

Matt Waterman, Hanesbrands
Matt Waterman, marketing director at Hanesbrands, Inc. (asi/59528), is responsible for marketing the Hanes brand both inside and outside the ad specialty market. A graduate of both Purdue University and the Wake Forest MBA program, he has completed seven marathons, most recently the New York Marathon, and he also coaches his daughter's soccer team.

Donny West, Dacasso
A self- described Chihuahua enthusiast, West used his outgoing personality and dogged determination to earn Dacasso, a manufacturer of high end office accessories, the 2nd rank on Counselor's Fastest Growing Suppliers List a couple of years ago, an accomplishment he lists amongst his proudest to date. Known for his unorthodox marketing approaches – he dressed up as a cow for six different trade shows last year – West says that his key to success is "to always keep expanding your comfort zone. It's really easy to get complacent in our industry, but I truly believe the key to long-term success is to always keep pushing yourself." West's dedication transcends promotional products as he lost an incredible 106 pounds during a company weight loss challenge last year.

Lindsey Whitney, Solar Advertising
Lindsey Whitney, president of Solar Advertising Inc. (asi/88148), runs a community-oriented company. A percentage of profits have gone to Water.org, an organization that brings clean drinking water and sanitation to people in need, and Whitney and her team have recently shifted their focus to animal welfare organizations. She first worked at Outback Steakhouse's Curbside Take-Away service, and she loves to travel and be outside with her dogs.