November & December theme:
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Posted in :  Diversions

Fathom recently named Steve Machesney as our new Vice President of Strategy. As an adviser to leadership and marketing teams, Steve will be integral to increasing business results with our clients’ investments in digital, brand and marketing strategies.

Meet Steve Machesney, Fathom's newest addition

Before coming to Fathom, Steve was the Global Online Strategist for Covidien and, most recently, General Manager for online marketing educator WebMark. While we’ve known Steve for some time, there is always more to know. Recently, I sat down with Steve for a Q&A in the Fathom lounge. Here are the highlights:

Suzi: Along with a mountain of expertise in the marketing universe, what perspectives are you bringing to Fathom and our clients that will improve the work we do together?

Steve: I love figuring out what motivates people. Companies that understand what’s keeping their customers up at night, have a solution and can tell their stories persuasively will be successful. What I bring to Fathom is a natural curiosity. I’m always asking “What if …?” and figuring out ways to test outcomes so we can know whether or not we’re succeeding and what we can do to improve.

Suzi: In your experience, do many organizations adopt a “test and learn” model and if not, how do they do this?

Steve: If an organization becomes static, it’s often a result of past success. At some point in a company’s history, someone had a great idea and it worked. Soon, everyone is consumed in the day-to-day firefighting necessary to serve the original breakthrough which, in time, becomes less and less relevant. Before you know it, the organization forgets how to be curious.

To reverse this, organizations need to challenge what they “know” about themselves and their customers. Asking, ‘what do we want our customers to say about us?’ is a good starting place. How we think about ourselves and how our customers think about us can be quite different. Learning what customers care about and speak to that is an ongoing process … it’s never a “one and done.”

Suzi: What do you see as missed opportunities in marketing?

Steve: A lot of organizations confuse activity with results and don’t know how to measure success. For instance, 2 percent is considered a good conversion rate in the online world. Really? To me, it only means that 98 percent of the traffic being driven to the site is either unqualified or not enough has been done to persuade website visitors to take action. We haven’t earned their trust. Every marketing activity should have an agreed-upon measure of success, a way to test for that success and a mechanism with which to test options.

Suzi: What makes Steve Machesney tick?

Steve: I am never satisfied with the status quo. I am constantly thinking about how to make things better, or more efficient or more productive. Continuous improvement was instilled in me at the Wiremold Company that follows a version of the Toyota Production System (TPS) style of lean manufacturing. To help trouble shoot a production problem, I’d see accountants, admins, sales people … really it could be anyone in the company … gather on the factory floor collaborating on solutions. The kaizen philosophy that ideas can come from anywhere has really stuck with me.

Suzi: We all know that having a website and being visible and active online is important. If we’ve moved beyond asking ‘why’ it’s important to be on the interwebs, what questions do we need to ask now?

Steve: I like to think of websites as employees. Can they pass their annual review or will they be fired for not producing results? It’s no longer enough to think of websites as digital business cards. Websites need to generate business activity. Similarly, companies who do not embrace social media do so at their own peril. Those who understand that people want to do business with people, not logos, can capitalize on the trust-building opportunities inherent in social media. In the end, everything you do online should be about building trust. Nothing happens without trust.

Suzi: Why Fathom?

Steve: I have worked with many, many agencies over the years, as a client, and with Fathom for more than a decade. Fathom has always stood out to me because even though they may have been executing tactically they were always pursuing a larger vision. A quest for what could be. I consider myself to be a change agent and find myself in good company at Fathom.

Suzi: When you’re not saving the business world, what do you do on your downtime?

Steve: Spending time with my family, two children and my wife Trina, is very important to me. I am an aspiring boat builder and sailor. I got the sailing bug when I worked for Tail Ship Cruises in Mystic, Conn., and was a crew member on a 125 foot schooner. I live in New Haven, Connecticut, and am actively working on building a sailing community for adults.

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Posted by: Suzi Craig
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