Megan Kacvinsky, CEO Point To Point
Each week, we interview proven leaders from our network, to learn from their experiences, and share their Talent Attraction and Candidate Experience stories with you.
- Our mission is to promote the accomplishments of our guests
- Highlight the companies where they work and the services, and products that they offer
- Share success stories from their experiences and, most importantly
- Provide strategies for job seekers and advice to talent seeking to accelerate their careers.
Today’s guest is Megan Kacvinksy, CEO Point To Point.
In this episode,
- Megan share’s the story of her career progression evolving from:
- Food photographer at Ponderosa Steakhouse, through her MBNA call center experience
- To her Digital Marketing exposure at one of the earliest Job Sites – the regional player: CareerBoard
- And ultimately through a few agencies before landing as the CEO and Co-Owner of Point to Point
- She provides specific examples how to properly implement the holistic strategy of Marketing Automation and how to create accountability via marketing programs.
- Lastly, Megan offers some excellent advice for both recent college grads and experienced pros, on how to differentiate yourself in a job search
Full transcript of our interview below:
RON: Hi, everybody. And welcome to episode 6 of the Bell Fall Search Focus on Talent Video Series. This is the Digital Marketing Edition.
Each week we interview proven leaders to learn from their career progression and professional experiences, to share case studies of business value driven by products and services from their existing companies, and most importantly, translate those experiences into tips and advice for job seekers ranging from College students and entry level talent to experienced professionals.
Today’s guest is a longtime friend and former co worker. She and her firm are now a client of Bell Falls Search. I have the utmost respect and admiration for her leadership, her business acumen, and success as an entrepreneur.
She is the co owner and CEO of a marketing agency located in Cleveland, Ohio, with the presence nationally. I’m very excited to welcome Megan Kavinsky, CEO of Point to Point.
MEGAN: Hey, Ron, thanks. Welcome. Excited to be here.
RON: I can’t wait to have this conversation and share some of your thoughts with our viewers.
You know, my intro is obviously pretty brief. Would you mind building on that, providing our viewers with more detailed background of yourself, your company, and in your career progression?
MEGAN: Absolutely. Well, I started in college (Miami University of Ohio), I was a Marketing major, and then I started on the advertising side and have pretty much stayed there with just a little bit of a detour early on throughout my career.
So my first job out of College, I worked at a firm (Doner Advertising) and I worked on the Ponderosa Steakhouse account, a lot of food photo shoots and learned more about the different cuts from a cow than I ever thought I would know about. But wasn’t really finding that the career in advertising in a traditional sense, was what I had imagined that advertising would be about.
And so I was there for and it might have been the Ponderosa Steakhouse account with my lead client, but I really was like, Oh, my gosh, what’s going on here? And had an opportunity to get my MBA (John Carroll University) completely paid for if I were to change jobs.
And actually, some may say take a step back or go in a completely different direction by going to work in a Call Center and a collection or collecting on credit cards at a company that was then in Cleveland called MBNA, and they had tuition reimbursement with John Carroll.
So I wanted to kind of put the advertising path on hold. And I went there and got my MBA paid for, which was amazing. And then coming out of the program, I went to go work at a digital property called Career Board. This is dating myself. This is back in the day when online job postings were new and cool and the latest and greatest technology there.
I fell into digital marketing and so many people have and I think still do and really just got a lot of hands on experience with paid search, SEO, email marketing, display, advertising, partnerships, all these things.
So I had an opportunity.I was working with an agency Adcom and Adcom recruited me from Career board to go start their first Digital Media shop.
And so that was a really cool experience and a great way to get back onto the agency side. So I built out a team there and then was recruited actually by Paul Elliott, who you interviewed recently to go work at Brulant or had just become Rosetta, which was a really burgeoning shop, really very digitally savvy back in class in the country, located right here in Cleveland.
So as an incredible opportunity to go really elevate my understanding and work with people who are way smarter than me and basically get a master’s class or a PHD in digital marketing. And it was an incredible experience.
But I missed that entrepreneurial side. Adcom was a lot smaller. I was actually a division of Com that was called Opt In. That was only about 20, 30 people. And I really liked that smaller team and the ability to grow it or make it into something, you know, to see your impact on a day to day basis.
So I found an opportunity at Point to Point where I could do that, where I could actually go back and kind of learn some of the more traditional sides of the business that I had bypassed during my Ponderosa Steakhouse days and learn more about how to develop great creative, which wasn’t really my role in Rosetta.
Learn about really being the lead for the client agency relationship, because I was more in support of that before and learned a lot about business development and just relationships and strategy from our founder, Mark Goren.
And then I had an incredible opportunity to be able to purchase the agency from him about two years ago. Myself, and I have two co owners, and I don’t know that I ever really thought of myself as potentially being a business owner.
I was always thinking more executive level at an agency or client side. But this has been an amazing experience, an opportunity to be where I am right now.
RON: Now it’s been fun to watch your progression and your growth for sure. And I’m honored to work with you guys. Can you talk about point to point in a little more detail and what your focus is as an agency?
MEGAN: Sure. So Point to Point…we are a niche agency. So we focus in the manufacturing segments, and we really focus on building products, our largest segment, and then closely followed by industrial manufacturing.
So we help brands like Sherwin Williams, Henkel, Schindler Elevator connect with people like architects, designers, contractors, not the homeowner.
So I joke that we connect to the audiences that make the economy go like everything. It’s about how things are made. That’s what we do. And we take a very digital forward approach to what we do. And it’s been interesting. All the memes are out there like, what drove digital transformation in your organization, your CTO or CMO?
That’s been really true in the industries that we start, because they’re not the most digitally savvy, digitally forward industries they were getting there, but it was slow. They’re slow moving.
A lot of these companies have been around 100 years or more, they’re global entities. Nothing happens fast there. So the digital transformation would happen happening at a slower rate.
But COVID has really accelerated that for our clients. So more and more people are relying on digital properties instead of in person meetings, for information gathering and for product knowledge and things like that, we’ve really been able to help our clients improve their presence and respond.
RON: Well, that’s a pretty good transition to my next question. Related to Covid and related to not being able to meet in person, to the culture you’re building at Point to Point, can you talk a little bit about the change in office environment that you have coming? I find it pretty exciting, especially for Cleveland and for an agency like yours. So can we hear more about that?
MEGAN: Absolutely. I mean, as much as I love my attic, I am very excited to be returning to be in person. And I feel that kind of joking because I do kind of love my attic. Like I do like the work life balance that Covid has afforded me. I think like so many working parents now, the ability to spend less time in a plane and more time at home, and all of that has spent a blessing and all of the madness that has gone on.
But I do think that having people together in an office for some portion of the week will really help with culture building and help with our next burst of growth. We have been considering potentially moving to downtown Cleveland for a couple of years and then had the opportunity during Covid to go see a really cool workspace that’s being built in Tremont, right on the Tow Path.
That is a mixed use facility (Electric Gardens). So it has part condos or apartments, and then it has part office space. And the office space is not a traditional office space. The office space is sort of like a WeWork. It is more hotelling, but there are two anchor tenants in the facility.
So we have 500 square feet before we had 5,000 square feet. We do have 500 square feet that is dedicated to us. So I saw in my own office we still have our own conference room. We have some desks that are dedicated to our team. But the expectation will not be that you go in everyday and that everyone has to be in the office all the time.
And we’ve actually used Covid as an opportunity to expand our team in markets outside of Cleveland as well. So we have some great team members in Minneapolis in Chicago and Columbus in Buffalo.
So we’re we’re looking at other markets and thinking, can we do something similar? There is our team scales and grows. Can we start to use this model and approach in other markets as well?
RON: Well, that’s exciting. And I can’t wait to see the new office space and kudos to you for building that hybrid model and embracing that. I know that helped your your exposure and options for talent.
MEGAN: For sure.
RON: Before we get into the deeper talent discussion, can you talk a little bit about a case study or two that you’re especially proud of or maybe even describe in a little more detail kind of what Point to Point delivers?
MEGAN: Yeah, sure. So right now, like I mentioned, so many of our clients are scrambling. Our industries really did rely quite a bit on face to face selling is still the main mechanism, and most of our clients don’t sell to consumers direct. They sell through the channel.
They sell through dealers or distribution or wholesalers. So it’s difficult for them to see the actual ROI on their marketing investment historically. But what had happened is a lot of these organizations had invested in really great tech and infrastructure, and then they had not really understood the level of effort or team that was needed to take action.
And they were reluctant to invest there during COVID or pre COVID. During COVID use quite a few clients to a lot of reorganization and reassignment of role to be able to better take advantage of the technology that they had already licensed.
And then we come in as an outside partner to really help them get their communications and messaging in order. So right now, most of the work that we’re doing that our team is most excited about are helping these manufacturers that have never really had a quantitative approach to what they’re doing from a manufacturing perspective, really begin to be able to tie together their marketing automation platforms, their paid media campaigns, paid search SEO, and bring it into a CRM and work with their dealers or distributors on how they get data and information pass back so that their marketing is much more accountable.
And it’s incredible as the light bulbs as everything falls into place and the light bulbs start to go on at organizations, just the power of this and how excited our clients are right now and so many different projects that we’re working on about, they’re like, this is what we knew we needed to do, and we never really knew how to do it.
And we’re just so excited that we’re finally here. But it is a lot of change management, it’s a lot of education, but it’s a lot of fun, too.
RON: Got you. Side question? How has that changed the way you recruit and the way you evaluate talent? Because in all of my conversations with leaders like yourself, data is the common theme and analytics and measurement and ROI. So how is that impacted and we can begin the transition into the talent discussion.
How has that impacted your recruiting? And I guess what you’re looking for in people?
MEGAN: Yeah. Well, we’ve been recruiting for positions that we haven’t ever historically had on our team before. We’re looking for people with stronger digital backgrounds. And I’ll be honest, I think it’s going to continue with each new role that we bring on board.
That is like a role that we’ve never had a point to point before. It impacts everybody else. So then it’s like, okay, now that we did this, now we’re at a point where we can open up this opportunity or this capability, and then you do that, and then it impacts everybody else again.
Our work is so interconnected. And that’s part of why I’m excited about our new office location and the ability for people to begin to collaborate again. Because when you get the data back about what is or isn’t working, it’s part of partly the media strategy. It’s partly the creative strategy.
And what are we learning from it? How does that influence what we do next? It’s not it’s not single threaded in any way. And actually, we turn down opportunities that are single threaded. Like, I don’t want only a paid search client, or I honestly don’t want a client that’s only creative. You know, we want people that are taking advantage of our full capabilities and the collaboration across our teams where we do our best work.
RON: I love that answer. That’s a good transition into a couple of segments of the talent market I want to talk about. For College students or entry level talent, what would be your your suggestions on how to best prepare for that leap into the working world? The career progression.
MEGAN: I would say talking to as many people and learning as much as you can about different opportunities that are out there and just being curious is going to be one of the number one things that you can do.
I remember when I was in College and recruiters were coming on campus. I don’t doubt that’s a thing right now. I don’t even know if that was still a thing before, but almost all the people who were coming to recruit were in sales positions. And I was like, but I’m a marketing major. And then also conversely, like, I never even really knew that much about management consulting as a career.
But in hindsight, that might have been something that could have been good at. I could learn more about. So I just think really trying to understand and don’t assume that, you know, what’s available or out there, what the career path looks like.
I just be curious and ask questions. And also, please, please, please check your resume for spelling errors and grammar errors. We had a candidate recently who had misspelled his major on his resume, and it’s just you can’t overcome that. It’s too hard to overcome that because when you first start your career, the details are important. And so if you’re not showing that you have attention to details right out of the gate, it’s going to be really hard to get one of those entry level positions that’s really going to to propel your career forward.
RON: It’s funny. I wrote a blog post about this recently (Interview Etiquette 101: The Lost Art of Candidate Preparation), and after probably a few 10,000 interviews, I’ve done, It still boggles my mind the lack of preparation that’s done for interviewing and putting your best foot forward, which is another good transition. It’s almost like you knew what was coming.
You interviewed lots of people over your career and obviously are doing it every day with point to point. What would you suggest individuals to differentiate themselves not only to get an interview, but then in the interview process itself? I think what you were saying was spot on, and it doesn’t matter what level you’re at entry level all the way to executive.
MEGAN: I mean, everyone knows that the Internet is a thing and that you can find information about whatever you want there. I’m not going to be creeped out if you tell me you looked at my LinkedIn profile. I’m going to be disappointed if you don’t know who I am. Right?
So I think that taking that step to really understand the company and the people who you’re meeting with, and then you’re going to have by doing the homework, you’re going to have deeper level questions than you would if you were just hearing the information for the first time. And I think that’s one of the ways to differentiate in the interviewing process also is to think more about what’s unique about this opportunity and this company and where they’re going and not just have your wrote questions that you’re asking as you evaluate the different organizations that you’re interviewing with.
That are all the same standard questions about what’s your culture like.
Like our culture is on our website. We talk about our core values right there. So why don’t you ask me more questions about what our core value? What does this really mean, or how do you see this in your people? A great way to differentiate?
RON: Great advice, great advice. Well, Megan, I appreciate your time today. This has been very helpful. I can’t wait to share this with our viewers.
As always, I’ll share links to Meghan’s profile so that you can learn more about her and Point to Point and their team there.
Again, I’m pretty excited to watch your progression and growth over the next couple of years.
Thanks again for your time.
MEGAN: Thanks, Ron. It was great.
April 28, 2021