Alan has been an important addition to the Green Vine family. With an extensive background in the arts, media production and, in addition, holding advanced degrees including  an MA and MFA in Intermedia Art and an MBA with an emphasis in Management and Strategy, he brings a wealth of knowledge to client services and campaign execution.

GVM:

Tell us a bit about your art background and how you started working in marketing.

AM:

I came to marketing by a circuitous route. In college, I studied literature, dance, and the arts because together, they offered a way to create connections among people through aesthetics, beauty, and expression. I was particularly drawn to cross disciplinary arts. In graduate school I was working with theater directors, choreographers and other artists to bring digital media – video, photos, into stage spaces through new-to-the-market digital projectors.

GVM:

Were there any particular artists that influenced your interdisciplinary work?

AM:

I was influenced by many of the experimental artists: Vito Acconci; Yoko Ono, Dick Higgins and Ken Friedman of the Fluxus movement; and international experimental movements like Gutai, No!Art and Dada. What each of these artists and movements explored were the spaces between disciplines, and that hasn’t been lost on me as digital interdisciplinary media has become more and more necessary for every organization – the arts included.

GVM:

How did that impact the way you worked after your MFA?

AM:

As I moved into my career, first teaching the kinds of arts I practiced, then into producing media for clients and then teaching commercial media production, my focus shifted immediately from the question “what can I create?” to “what does my client want to express, and what do audiences want to see and hear?”

This was in the mid 2000’s, and, at the time, branding was in the air. How can brands create an ‘essence,’ how can they engage through Web 2.0 to start a dialogue beyond just advertising? The artists I loved had moved on as well. Vito Acconci, who had started with conceptual poetry and who had shifted his career through performance art, video and installations had launched an architecture firm. When he reflected on his career, he kept coming back to the fact he was trying all along to create interactions among people. Installation and architecture gave him the opportunity to get out of the way and create spaces where those interactions can occur. Ken Friedman was in the Netherlands working on research in business processes and design.

GVM:

That’s an interesting shift, and it makes sense for a transitional time like we experienced then. Do you think it still relates?

AM:

We are under constant change, and while many of the tools have matured, it may even mean we are in a more competitive place in terms of working to create space for interaction. Today, more than at any time in the past, the ideals and experiments expressed in the art world have become a part of everyday reality. What once was visionary is now mundane. These types of spaces and interactions are happening on Reddit, Facebook, Amazon, Etsy, Twitter, Instagram and on the blogs and eCommerce sites of hundreds of thousands of small and medium sized businesses across the US.

GVM:

Do you think businesses are doing this effectively?

AM:

Some of the big corporations have a good handle on it – Proctor & Gamble uses design research and design thinking to continually refine it’s products and mix. Coca Cola, GE, Nike was struggling for a split second, but really shook things up with Colin Kaepernick’s campaign and a signal they are moving toward a social justice message. What a lot of small to medium sized businesses don’t have, that they really need to develop in order to grow, is a fully integrated strategy. They don’t have the time to commit to writing blogs, building awareness through promoted content, building a brand story, shooting and editing photo or video to highlight product benefits or to tell their story.

GVM:

Is that what drives you in your marketing work?

AM:

The things that draw me back to content driven marketing – copywriting, photo, video, web design, digital books and more – are the ways we can empower others through high value services. Marketing doesn’t help any of us if it convinces an audience to engage or buy things they don’t want or need. The original markets were like a festival – places you could navigate and explore to find the things you need and to delight in the things you want, or even stumble upon things that might surprise you.

GVM:

Do these kind of farmer’s markets and open shopping pavilions still offer a model for marketing today?

AM:

Back then, people knew where to go to engage, and that really hasn’t changed. We still have physical meeting spaces, but the social sphere is online, on mobile and also oriented by place or location. The messages, the signage and the product stories need to be where people are, and that’s something I love about this work. It’s finding the right community and getting the word out on the street, as it were.

GVM:

If you were going to give a business some general marketing advice, what would it be?

AM:

Businesses need to build brand awareness at the same time that they run promotions and offers, so some of the things I see as effective for small and medium size businesses are to coordinate story elements with offers, in other words, balancing brand building and motivating sales, and to present the messaging through a combination of organic and paid channels. That way your focus isn’t just on product and price – “Buy now!” The offers are mixed in with a larger story in which customers are already participating.

If you’d like to connect with Alan

to talk about design, launch a new project or to review your marketing strategy, give him a call at (720) 295 – 8463 or email alan.murdock@greenvinemarketing.com.