Terrible! Just found out marketing “wires tapped!”

Necessity is the mother of all invention, so it shouldn’t surprise me much that the “Eavesdropping On Marketing” podcast took form so quickly once we committed ourselves to recording our conversations. In fact, it should have come along much sooner.

The idea is simple: listen in as two colleagues talk frankly about our day-to-day marketing challenges, many of which we believe are shared by marketers everywhere.

For years, my friend and longtime colleague, Joergen Aaboe and I have helped each other along. From the time he worked with me at ValueClick and in the years that followed, we’ve had countless long chats about our respective marketing endeavors, often speaking from our cars on the long commute from the Conejo Valley to Santa Monica.

There was no podcast to speak of then, just two guys doing the best they could to promote our respective technology startups and helping each other along. A typical conversation would start with, “Hey I need to warm something up.” What followed would vary widely, from tactical, to strategic to the downright silly, but we could always count on each other to serve as a constructive (and sometimes harsh) critic while serving as a sounding board for whatever was going on for us professionally.

Now, some 15 years into our relationship, we’re still calling each other to “warm something up” or to “break down” an industry topic, only this time we’re recording and posting it online for all to hear. Nothing overly produced — in fact it is decidedly *not* produced, which we think may give it some charm. It likely won’t be interesting to most, but for those who may benefit from listening in on two senior marketers chatting about the very real day-to-day practice of B2B marketing, boy have we got a show for you!

I’m proud that Joergen and I are still helping each other along after all this time, and I hope our conversations will benefit some entrepreneur, student, CEO or fellow marketing colleague who can learn from our experience, including the mistakes we’ve made and the accomplishments of which we’re most proud.

So, if you think you might find value in being a fly on the wall of our conversations, I invite you to please subscribe to “Eavesdropping on Marketing” and to let us know what you think about our perspective from the trenches of B2B marketing in 2017 and beyond.

Head to iTunes or Libsyn to hear our podcast.


What a trip to my alma mater can teach us about marketing and life

When I decided to travel back to my alma mater, the University of Central Missouri, for the 50th reunion of my Lambda Chi Alpha chapter, I offered to speak to the public relations undergrads and Dr. Tricia Hansen-Horn graciously accepted. Throughout the day, last Thursday, I had the opportunity to speak with more than 120 students.

Searching for an interesting topic beyond just droning on about myself, I was inspired enough by some of the interactions I had on my trip that I decided to use them as anecdotes for sharing a few lessons about marketing and life with the undergrads. Perhaps you too can find some value in my situation.

Parking Spot Shuttle Driver

The last time I parked at the parking spot I found myself frustrated by the lack of communication about the recent change to pick up returning passengers on the upper level at LAX. I swore I would never be back, but a free day of parking in my email a few days earlier prompted me to try again. This time, however, the driver taking us to the airport went out of his way to let passengers know about the change, making me feel like my speaking up might have had some small impact.

The lesson: Organizations need to telegraph change, and we as individuals can effect change by speaking up. Also, email marketing work and be sure to tip well when someone goes out of their way to help you.

Activision Programmer

In the security line, I met a young programmer from Activision. His t-shirt caused me to strike up a conversation since I worked in the games industry many years ago. This led to a conversation about how their company uses intranet software, which helped me a little with a current challenge for a client, but could easily have led to a larger business development opportunity or friendship.

The lesson: Get your head out of your phone and strike up a conversation. You’ll be amazed at what happens. Also, T-shirts are a great tchotchke item every company should consider.

TSA Manager

I tend to find airport security stressful, but I was running on time that morning, so at least I wasn’t crawling out of my skin thinking I needed to jump the line. I knew the can of shaving cream might get taken away, but I was willing to try getting it through rather than check my bag. My bag did get flagged, and the can of Edge gel was taken, but in the process I shared a good laugh with the TSA agent and the woman in front of me when it was discovered that a certain battery-operated toy, which she was allowed to keep, turned out to be the subject of the search. Afterward, I approached the TSA manager in charge and let him know what a great job I thought the entire team was doing.

The lesson: Take calculated risks and let people know when they’re doing a great job even if there’s nothing in it for you.

Passenger on Crutches

Getting to my plane turned out to take longer than expected because we needed to be bussed to our remote gate. I had seen the young man with one leg on crutches in the security line, but now he was right behind me boarding the plane. I chose not to strike up a conversation this time, but quietly was grateful for my mobility, humbled by the difficulty his handicap must cause him on a daily basis and cognizant of our human resilience in the face of adversity.

The lesson: Sometimes it’s better not to speak and always important to put things in perspective and be grateful for what you have.

Man in the Seat Behind Me

Once I finally sat down on the plane for our early morning flight, I was ready to get some sleep on my way to Kansas City. My window shade was in that awkward spot between two rows, but I closed it anyway not expecting to have it immediately reopened by the man behind me who pointed out that I was welcome to put something over my face should I care to block the light. What was odd, however, was that he closed the shade again less than a minute later and went to sleep himself.

The lesson: Focus on those things you can control and let go of what you can’t. It’s impossible to know what motivates others or what they are truly thinking.

Antwone Fisher

The highlight of my trip was learning that the inspirational figure whose life was chronicled in the Antwone Fisher story was sitting right next to me. Our common ground was that we were both giving speeches the next day. When I shared with him some of the advice I was planning on giving the UCM students, he was happy to provide a couple of his own insights which I promised to share with the students the next day, including:

  1. Dress well. It was probably his Navy experience that created such an emphasis on looking great. He explained that our entire persona is on display when first impressions are made, and that everyone recognizes high fashion, even if they don’t have good fashion sense. He suggested everyone in business needs to own a great suit. Guys, polish your shoes. Gals, have a pair of shoes for business that’s different from the Stilettos you wear to the club.
  2. Be a good listener. Let people speak and consciously take good mental notes of everything they have to say. Then, when it’s your turn to talk, you’re guaranteed to be a much better conversationalist.
  3. Remember why you’re here in the first place. A student’s number one job is to graduate from college and get out into the real world. Don’t get bogged down by love, pregnancy, drugs or alcohol, and remember that while you may make a few lifetime friends, most of them will change over time.
Uber Driver

By now, I was on a roll, collecting unsolicited advice for the students from anyone willing to have the conversation. So I let Alvin the Uber driver in on my plan. Recently retired from the Marines at 39, he didn’t have a care in the world. Drawing from his experience abroad, Alvin’s advice for the young American students was to avoid falling into the trap of materialism. “You’re not truly free until you are debt-free,” he said. All too often we take on credit card debt for things we don’t need and end up in a vicious cycle of doing jobs we hate to make money to pay for things we don’t need when all we’re really doing is feeding consumerism and making big banks wealthier.

Independent PR Colleagues

Finally, during my walk through LAX I had posted a question to colleagues on a discussion list of independent PR professionals, asking them to share any advice they would offer the PR undergrads. Here’s a summary of what they had to say:

  • Build your network now, the importance of networking
  • Take internships seriously and do as many as you can
  • Take a service job to show your work ethic
  • Keep well-informed, PR is not the world unto itself
  • Become a voracious news reader and put yourself in journalists shoes
  • PR is hard, so don’t forget to keep a good work/life balance
  • Take the opportunity to work across many categories
  • Promise effort, not results, you can lead a horse to water…
  • Think like a salesperson, many sales adages apply to a career in PR
  • Be loyal, but not to the point it becomes detrimental to yourself


I was honored and humbled by the opportunity to speak to the young students. The whole process gave me a greater appreciation for how much work it is to prepare content and to be “on” for so many hours in front of the class. I was extremely proud of the work of the entire University of Central Missouri PR department is doing, and especially grateful to Dr. Hansen-Horn for the invitation to speak and also to join the department’s Professional Advisory Board.

Got a similar lesson to share? I’d love to hear about it.

SIIA Conference Tony 1 (Jan 2017)

SIIA Digital Marketing Bootcamp Highlights and Insights

Last month I had the pleasure of reconnecting with the SIIA community during its Digital Marketing Bootcamp and picked up a few pieces of information worth passing along.

During my panel, “Using Social Media to Raise Awareness and Drive Change,” I had the opportunity to hear firsthand tips and tactics from one of my favorite performance marketers, Jonathan Dane of KlientBoost.

Jonathan reminded us about the importance of usability in getting to a conversion event – you must minimize the number of clicks and remove friction wherever possible. Testing multiple landing pages is critical for improving performance and knowing with precision the audience you want to reach allows you to spend your available budget with laser focus.

We also discussed the increasing role of video in social media. With 8B videos day posted on Facebook, and 10B on Snapchat, “snackable” video content (10 seconds or less) still works.  And speaking of Facebook, with 1.89B accounts globally, it was mentioned repeatedly how it continues to be an under-utilized platform for B2B marketers.

Using Facebook is also a great way to create “ancillary audiences,” or to find people you didn’t think were your audience. Dane suggested “taking the temperature of your audience” based on how much time they spend with a boosted post. From there you can include/exclude people from audiences for future paid targeting efforts based on an increasing likelihood of their interest.

On Twitter, the most interesting (albeit inauthentic) tactic mentioned was to create multiple twitter accounts to follow, share and stimulate excitement for a campaign.

Throughout the day, I picked up a few other tidbits worth sharing:


On marketing automation
  • Sales and marketing are collapsing
  • A qualified sales lead is when a salesperson is willing to open an opportunity
  • Prospects won’t engage until they’re ready. Marketing’s responsibility is to make sure you are in the consideration set
  • Marketing automation success is based more on design than what tool is selected
  • If you don’t know what you’re spending, you’re not optimizing


On content marketing
  • Talk about what your audience wants to talk about, not what you want to talk about
  • Define success metric up front – there is only one bottom line
  • Make your head of sales sign off on the definition of a qualified lead
  • An editor can make a piece of content more marketable
  • Be a curator of content – share the work of others and they will share back


Above all, quality, crafted content is what truly commands attention and gets results. As one panelist put it, “without content, there is no marketing.”

If you are interested in the SIIA’s plans to revive the Technology Council of Southern California, more information about membership can be found at http://www.siia.net/tcosc.

Tony Handshake Pic 2 (new_01-18-17)

Hi, I’m Tony

For those who know me well, this update won’t come as a surprise — but this post isn’t for them. It’s for the rest of my network — the countless clients, colleagues and contacts I’ve encountered over the years and lost touch with or never got to know in the first place. Maybe that’s you? Or maybe we haven’t met yet. Either way, I hope you’ll allow me to introduce (or reintroduce) myself. Here goes…

Hi, my name is Tony Winders. I’m a marketing expert. I’m also a master networker, content producer, aspiring entrepreneur, amateur musician, family man, good friend and an infinitely curious student of the world. I am currently CMO and Principal Consultant at Winders Consulting Group, a B2B content marketing firm. I’m also the co-founder of Pepper Bandits, LLC, which makes the foods you love spicier.

Over the past 15 years, I’ve met thousands of media, marketing and advertising technology professionals through my work on the management teams of Search123, ValueClick Media and GumGum. Go back a few more years to the dot-com era, and there are thousands more from when I was co-founder iAgency. Yet, for all of the amazing people I’ve met, I can do a better job of keeping in touch and explaining what I do and the value I’ve added to the hundreds of organizations I’ve served. All that changes today.

I recently updated my site to reflect my focus in 2017 and beyond. Browse around you’ll see I’ve weaved together the things I’m most passionate about alongside my marketing consulting practice. Why combine work and personal interests? Besides being an authentic expression of what I’m up, they’re actually quite interdependent and support each other in unique ways.

I’ve organized my focus around three categories: “Marketer,” “Entrepreneur” and “Connector.”

Marketer – Winders Consulting Group provides B2B marketing leadership and services for all sizes and types of companies. I’m proud to include Adadyn, Brand Innovators, Dstillery, FinditParts, GumGum, inPowered, Jetpack, K2 Teams and Noble Profit among the clients we’ve served over the past two years. Whether standing in as CMO-for-hire, providing consulting services or building teams to execute full-scale marketing campaigns, we’re leveraging my experience and the expertise of a deep bench of talented marketing professionals to deliver a wide range of integrated programs and solutions. 

Can we work together? Let me know.

Entrepreneur – There have been a few times in my career when an idea was so good I couldn’t look back and say I didn’t try. That’s how I felt about iAgency, and that has been the case with my wife’s recipe and an untapped market opportunity that led us to create a new spicy food company, Pepper Bandits, LLC. Our first product is Fuegorita, a dry hot pepper blend — think crushed red pepper but a lot hotter! I’m enjoying putting my marketing skills to work for a business I own and this year we’ll introduce new products and open retail and restaurant channels.

Are you connected to the food industry? Let’s talk!

Love spicy food? Please buy a bottle!

Connector – If you’ve ever received an email from me that ends with “good networking,” then you’ve experienced my passion for connecting people who can help each other along. I take a lot of pride in my networking skills, and in many ways it’s my stock in trade which clients appreciate because they know I’m usually only a click away from someone who can help achieve whatever the task at hand. In 2017 I’ll be producing marketing meetups, speaking at conferences and hosting private networking dinners in different cities and at key industry events. Along with my partners, we’re currently programming a lineup of LA AdTech events and working toward the 10th Annual Digital Family Reunion in Los Angeles this December.

Want to connect? Shoot me an email!

A former client once said we spend the first 20 years of our careers building our networks and the next 20 leveraging them. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with my network this year and seeing what amazing opportunities we can spin up together. For my part, I plan to publish more content, teach more classes, mentor young professionals and intentionally grow a marketing organization that will help my clients and partners get more of the business they want.

As I seek to do things a bit differently this year, I challenge you to do the same and to “put yourself out there” in unique ways that will lead you to accomplishing everything you want, both personally and professionally. I would enjoy the opportunity to identify mutually beneficial ways for us to work together. Please let me know what you’re up to so we can keep each other in mind as opportunities present themselves in the months and years ahead.


Trade Marketing Gets Its Upfront

Each year during upfront season, the networks roll out their new programming line-ups to great fanfare and the sort of pomp only media titans could concoct. By day, executives parade their stars across the stage and debut highlights from upcoming shows for the press; by night they wine-and-dine agencies and brands, courting them for billions in ad placements. They go to such great lengths for publicity, because inventory is limited and for sales efficiency, considering modern-day business still runs on face-to-face meetings and relationships.

On a smaller, yet equally important and growing scale, B2B marketing within the advertising and media industries operates on similar principles. There are only so many event sponsorships, newsletter avails and sponsored content impressions to go around — they really do sell out. In addition, the complexities of trade marketing itself, not to mention the myriad of marketing technologies that have become an integral part of our ecosystem, make the idea for a trade marketing upfront not only a novel idea, but a timely one that is vital to the ongoing growth of our industry.

By way of this post, I’m proud to announce the industry’s first-ever Trade Marketing Upfront will be held on February 23rd from 1:30 to 7 pm at the W Times Square — New York.

The event will bring together senior B2B marketing professionals and solution providers working at the crossroads of media, marketing and technology. Attendance is by invitation only and the event is being entirely underwritten by Marketing 2 Marketers, the new tech-enabled B2B marketing consultancy co-founded by Adam Gelles and me. There is no cost to attend.

At our Upfront, the stars of the show will be the publications, event marketing companies and technology solution providers who act as an important conduit between ad industry marketing executives (our guests) and the brands and agencies they are charged with influencing through their work.

Pulling from the expertise of these sell-side leaders, the focus will be entirely on sharing key insights, trends and best-practices for how trade marketing professionals can more effectively support revenue generation for their organizations. The agenda will include: Content Marketing; Reaching Niche Audiences at Scale; Selecting the Right Marketing Technology and Curating Leads that Drive Business.

For the heads of marketing in attendance, the 2016 Trade Marketing Upfront represents an opportunity to hear firsthand from the solution providers who know intimately the pain points they deal with because they’re already working to resolve those issues for other companies in the space. It will also be a unique forum for B2B marketers to learn from and network with their peers who face similar demands and challenges on a daily basis.

In years to come, we envision publications like MediaPost and Advertising Age, conferences like Digiday and Brand Innovators and platforms like Oracle, Salesforce, Hootsuite and Curata will use the Trade Marketing Upfront as a platform to introduce new products and their slates of events for the year. Further, we foresee a time when the industry dialogue we begin this month will become a vibrant marketplace where news is made, ideas are shared and deals get done, saving everyone countless hours of scheduling, traveling and negotiating deals ad hoc throughout the year.

For our inaugural event, however, our goal is simply to foster a thoughtful dialogue between leading solution providers and the trade marketers they serve through an afternoon of thought leadership and education. If you are a B2B marketing executive in the media and advertising industry, or a service provider who helps them reach agencies and brands, we’d love to see you there.

For information about presenting or to request an invitation to attend, please email 2016Upfronts@marketing2marketers.com.