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Our “Why Marketing?” series gives industry leaders a chance to speak about the importance of marketing.

Elliot Talen is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Leisure Living Management in Grand Rapids. The company is a senior housing provider in a growing industry. Elliot says the increased competition means that they have to be able to share their story more broadly with people who need their services.

With this growth, Elliot has been able to transition the organization’s marketing efforts into the digital space. He says that there is, “a common misconception that seniors are not online, but the new wave of older adults are engaging with [Leisure Living Management] digitally.” His duties are to ensure that the content delivered to them is accessible and done so in a meaningful way.

Marketing is crucial to the success of businesses because if they can’t reach potential customers where they are, in their space, then those customers are never going to be able to access the services they need. As more and more people are living online, the transformation into digital is proving to be a necessary and beneficial one. 


Our “Why Marketing?” series gives industry leaders a chance to speak about the importance of marketing.

After holding almost every role in marketing, from graphic designer to information architect to writer, Mike Stock is currently the Marketing Specialist at Evoqua Water Technologies. In this position he creates and manages highly targeted campaigns.

Mike believes that marketers should be looking for tools that track their efforts, not something that simply automates a process. “The holy grail of marketing is to find your ROI based on your efforts.”

You need to discover which pages are being visited and which CTAs are working. Understanding how your campaigns are performing and which pieces of the puzzle are working is what every marketer should strive for.


Our “Why Marketing?” series gives industry leaders a chance to speak about the importance of marketing.

Katrina Danko has a background in public relations, social media, and content creation. Her experience spans industries and organizational sizes, from agencies to small businesses, startups and large corporations. She currently works for the Gilmore Collection as their Public Relations and Social Media Manager.

When asked, Why Marketing?, Katrina believes it’s the key to differentiating you from your competitors. She knows how crucial it is to reach the right people with the right message and to do it in a way that makes you stand out from your competition.

“Regardless of where your company is in the business life cycle, you can benefit from marketing by constantly finding new customers and creating conversations.” And just like us, she believes in the power of continuing education. There is always new technology to understand or a new way to communicate. Being able to learn more about what your customer wants and making it easy for them to connect with you is essential.


Our “Why Marketing?” series gives industry leaders a chance to speak about the importance of marketing.

Dave Nitkiewicz is the Specialty Market Sales Manager for Experience Grand Rapids, which is the Kent County Convention Visitors Bureau. It is known as the destination marketing organization for the area.

Experience Grand Rapids sees their job as one that isn’t simply about showcasing events or the occasional exhibit. They are cognizant of the idea that everything starts with a visit. This is why Dave says, “Marketing the value of the community that we live in is integral to the growth and success of our community.” 

From home buying to retirement opportunities, choosing the right school district to finding exciting things to do on the weekend, each plays a special part in choosing to call a community home. And the way the Grand Rapids community is presented is the responsibility of Experience Grand Rapids.

Our “Why Marketing?” series gives industry leaders a chance to speak about the importance of marketing.

Lina Lintemuth is the Digital Marketing Coordinator for The Right Place, an economic development organization in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Right Place has been serving the industry for over 30 years, but it is still a closed space that many others are unaware of.

There is an entire group of people outside of economic development who don’t know what it is or what it does for the community. Because of this, Lina uses digital marketing as an educational tool to reach that broader audience and educate them on what the organization is doing to improve the greater economy of West Michigan.

Lina believes that digital marketing is important for education but that someone working within the discipline has to continue their own education due to its fast-paced, dynamic nature. There are always new tools to use and ideas to implement. It’s important to understand the intricacies of the industry to better connect on an increasingly personal level.

Our “Why Marketing?” series gives industry leaders a chance to speak about the importance of marketing.

Hillary Hovinga has been a marketing professional in many different industries. She has worked in banking, travel, non-profit, and for herself as an entrepreneur. With her experience, Hillary understands the importance of marketing across industries.

Marketing helps organizations deliver the right message to the right audience to drive business growth. It’s an integral part of connecting with your customers. Whether it’s using digital marketing tools like Sprout for social media, Google Analytics to track and report, or the user-friendly email marketing platform Constant Contact, each offers the ability to provide more targeted messages.

Hillary enjoys utilizing digital marketing in her current non-profit role, as it gives her the ability to reach a broader audience to further their mission. Whether they’re in need of volunteers or advocates for a cause, marketing creates an impact in so many ways.

Our “Why Marketing?” series gives industry leaders a chance to speak about the importance of marketing.

Bennett Ryckman knew that a career in marketing would be his future from the moment he stepped into a marketing class in high school. In a discipline that continues to grow and evolve, he finds something new and exciting every single day.

After high school, Bennett attended Central Michigan University, promptly joined the advertising student development forum, and became an active member of the American Marketing Association. He jumped into the industry at an advertising and digital marketing agency and is currently working as the Marketing & Operations Specialist at Uccello’s Hospitality Group. 

He loves the way marketing allows organizations to convey a message to guests and consumers in such a convenient and easy way. Bennett believes digital marketing is an important tool that can be used to do so many things.

Our “Why Marketing?” series gives industry leaders a chance to speak about the importance of marketing.

Lucy Blair is the communications manager for Calhoun County Government. Located midway between Chicago and Detroit, Calhoun County Government in southern Michigan connects with its community and visitors through digital marketing tools including social media and email automation.

“Marketing, even in government, is the best way to reach people directly,” Lucy says. “Making sure that as a government agency, we are reaching the people who use our services is so important… We have to be creative in how we do that, and using digital tools is absolutely crucial.”

Digital marketing makes this necessary communication possible. For Lucy, digital tools are the most effective in reaching Calhoun County’s audience. She knows how important it is to meet people where they are.

Our “Why Marketing?” series gives industry leaders a chance to speak about the importance of marketing.

Vanessa Kroepsch is a digital marketing analyst with Fox Motors, an auto dealership with 50 locations.

Because the digital world is rapidly changing, Vanessa finds that “continuous education is very valuable.” Not only for digital marketers but also for the varied audiences.

“We as digital marketers are, in a sense, educators,” Vanessa says. Digital marketers must collect and condense data, translating it into a story that is clear and concise for their customer.