I'm B.L. Ochman, and I've been helping blue chip companies, agencies and associations incorporate new media into their marketing mix since 1996.

I'm a multi-media content creator, live-stream event and podcast producer, journalist, ghost writer, social strategist and producer of socially shareable videos.

Let's talk about how I can help you.

I co-host and produce the award-winning weekly Beyond Social Media Show

I contribute to Ad Age Digital Next, Social Media Today and others. On Twitter, I'm @whatsnext.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Soul Asylum 25 Offers a New Way to Find Missing Children




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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

Soul Asylum's Runaway Train 25 updates the original and adds new technology to help locate missing and exploited children.

New technology in Soul Asylum’s “Runaway Train 25” music video hopes to locate a new generation of missing children, while updating music’s role in social movements. It’s the “milk carton of the 21st century,” says the website.

The magic happens on the website

For the 25th anniversary, the group is collaborating with Jamie N Commons, Skylar Grey and Gallant to remix Soul Asylum’s hit song Runaway Train. “But it’s more than just a cover song,” the website explains, “it’s a dynamic music video, designed not just for watching, but for bringing home real missing and trafficked kids near you.”

The original video featured real-life images of missing children, with hopes that they would be recognized and brought home. Amazingly, 21 of the 36 children featured – some of whom had been missing for years – were located and recovered.

Runaway Train 25

In “Runaway Train 25”, Soul Asylum is working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). A standard version of the video is available on YouTube.

The magic happens when you view the video on the “Runaway Train 25” website. That video automatically updates itself with the profiles of missing children from the NCMEC database based on your location. It also provides links to share the images across Twitter and other social media platforms. The video also shows ways that pedophiles lure children away, and situations where runaways find themselves trapped.

“Runaway Train” 1993 original

The milk carton of the 21st century

Back in the pre-social media days of 1993, the original Runaway Train video became a top 10 hit on MTV, to which youth of the day (including me) were glued. Social media’s exponentially broader reach offers better chances of the missing children being recognized. Social media exponentially increases the potential reach of the video.

 “This video is a game changer,” says NCMEC President and CEO John Clark in press release. “It highlights critical issues runaways face and will show real pictures of missing children. By creating and sharing this video, everyone has the ability to make a difference in their communities.”

B.L. Ochman is a seasoned Writer, content creator, strategist, and producer of podcasts and socially shareable video interviews. Let’s talk about how I can help your company.



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Instagram’s Medical Influencers Can Be Harmful to Your Health




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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

Influencer marketing is often called one of marketer’s most valued tools. However, the emergence of “medical influencers” can he harmful to our health.

Influencers on Instagram are marketing medications and medical devices for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Most noteworthy: they’re not always making it clear that they’re paid for their endorsements

These endorsements from medical influencers give their millions of followers the suggestion they could be as healthy and beautiful as the influencers, if they use these products.

Depending on the size of their following, influencers are paid an estimated $1,000 per 100,000 followers. Instead of print or broadcast ads, companies believe they can benefit from the candor and storytelling on influencers’ feeds.   

Clearly, it’s time for a much closer look at what and how influencers are hawking.

Who’s regulating medical influencers? You are!

Most importantly, regulation is not exactly happening, explains Suzanne Zuppello, in a recent Vox article.  The FTA and the FTC rely on consumers to report non-compliant ads, according to the FTC Advertising Practices Division.

“Using influencers to sell products to the sick can be a particularly insidious form of marketing in large part because of the vague parameters set by the FTC and FDA,” Zuppello says. After all, most consumers certainly aren’t experts in federal advertising guidelines. Nor should we need to be!

One influencer, who is compensated by a variety of brands outside of healthcare and preferred not to be named due to existing partnerships, told Zuppello that some influencers “bury the #sponsored tag deep in the copy or shorten it to #spon, despite the FTC guideline for disclosures to be “clear and conspicuous.” Here’s an example where the sponsorship is not mentioned by a medical influencer:

In this example, the terms “Sponsored” #Sponsored #Spon are not mentioned

Here’s an example where Sponsorship is clearly mentioned.

Consequences? Not Really.

Although the FDA and FTC are regulatory agencies, they don’t fully police their own guidelines, because they don’t have the resources to comb millions of posts to determine which are paid advertisements and whether they’re compliant.

Also scary: there are no real or immediate consequences for influencers omitting information required by the regulatory agencies, especially since every post isn’t reviewed. And even when non-compliant posts are cited, the company, not the influencers, is held responsible.

Important to remember: influencing is a job influencers that are paid to perform. Think about that before you click.

Related: The Global State of Influencer Marketing 2019



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Marketing Strategists Must Have: Twitter’s 2019 Major Events Calendar




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Marketing strategists rejoice! A new must have Twitter 2019 major events calendar highlights all the key dates marketers can tap into  — from the obvious to the niche. And it includes the number of Tweet impressions they’re expected to reach.

In a blog post, Twitter wrote, “If you’ve missed National Puppy Day, wondered how many people are Tweeting about Earth Day, or were curious about the number of Tweet impressions that happen during the Grammy Awards, we’re here to help.”

Here are some of Twitter’s favorite events (that you might’ve never heard of):

Twitter Events for Marketers

  • February 9th, National Pizza Day: 34M Tweet Impressions
  • March 8th, International Women’s Day: 838M Tweet Impressions
  • April 10th, National Sibling Day: 10M Tweet Impressions

You can download the Twitter Marketing Calendar here (with email sigh-up)


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10 Useful Marketing Tips, News and Articles You May Have Missed




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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

I scour the Internet every day for useful marketing news, tips and articles. Here are some you may have missed.

  • LinkedIn Video How-To is giving an extra boost to people who use its built-in video player to add video to their posts. Video makes LinkedIn posts more powerful and offers a great opportunity for brands. Jayson Duncan reports in Maximize Social Business that LinkedIn says video posts are shared 20 times more than regular posts. However, this only works for videos directly uploaded to LinkedIn. So you can’t just share YouTube videos, you have to upload directly to LinkedIn. How to: just start creating an update and selection the video option. Be sure to add a search-optimized description.
  • Don’t Fear AI It’s time for marketers to stop fearing artificial intelligence and start using it in content marketing. Savaram Ravindran maintains that Artificial intelligence isn’t here to replace human intelligence but to work side by side with human coworkers. As a marketer, he says, it is time to accept artificial intelligence with open arms if you want to make your audience engaged in a meaningful and profitable way, remain relevant, and stay at the top of the curve. AI is already in use for personalization, content creations, content planning and engagement (with chatbots.)

Don't fear Artificial Intelligence. It will help us.

  • Content Marketing Stats You Need to Know Writing in Search Engine Watch, Tereza Litsa discusses CMI’s recent report, that only 39% of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy. This means that a large number of marketers can’t prove the value of content marketing to the rest of the company. She recommends focusing on your best performing channel and using it more strategically. Don’t be afraid to focus on a niche audience if you can increase your engagement and conversion rates. And update your best performing older content. That’ll help you benefit from its good SEO.
  • Lockheed-Martin proved the value of earned media and a sense of humor when they Changed Their Logo to Celebrate the Mars Landing. The company changed its name and logo to Lockheed-Martian for 24 hours to celebrate the landing of NASA’s MarsInSight spacecraft, which Lockheed built.

    It’s rare to see a big brand with a sense of humor, but this transformation definitely attracted press and social media attention. Besides the masthead of LockheedMartin.com, the temporarily revised logo showed up on multiple screens in Times Square from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. that day and on Lockheed Martin’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels.

  • Lockheed-Martin changed their logo to Lockheed-Martian to celebrate NASA’s landing on Mars.

25 Women Who Influenced Digital Marketing in 2018

  • The insights of an expert panel at Marketing Prof’s B2B Influencer Marketing Forum in San Francisco is summarized by Dennis Shiao in a report on Leadtail Blog. Definition: “Influencer Marketing activates internal and industry experts with engaged networks to co-create content of mutual value and achieve measurable business goals.” The panel referenced the mutual value between brands and influencers and tied the activity to measurable business goals. Influencer marketing’s human voice can cut through the noise of thousands of tweets, posts, snaps, articles and podcasts.
    "This is Marketing," new book by Seth Godin

  • Michael Stelzner got modern marketing wisdom from Seth Godin on the Social Media Marketing Podcast. The two discussed what is and isn’t working for marketers today, and why. One of the great thinkers of our era, Godin has just released is 19th book, This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See.

    Godin maintains that marketing messages should focus on improving people’s lives. “We’re getting 30K marketing messages a day, and you can’t just yell to be heard.”

    As Godin famously said in Permission Marketing, “You can’t just tell people what you want to tell them. You have to tell them what they want to hear.” Godin’s podcast is called Akimbo.

  • 25 Awesome Free Google Tools for Marketers by Neil Patel is a motherlode of tools for getting the most out of Google search and social media marketing. Among the ones you may not already be using is Predictive search. Just open an incognito window and start typing your brand’s name into the search field. Autocomplete results will show you how consumers are searching for your brand, product or category.

    Google Books lets you find books in every genre that you can read for free. Google Insights allows you to search for keywords to see their trends over time. This way, you can see whether a keyword is gaining in popularity, see worldwide search trends over the course of a year to find popular months or seasons for a search, see search volume by region, and find a list of top ten related searches and rising searches.

I hope you find these marketing tips useful. I will post a new batch soon.

B.L. Ochman is a seasoned writer, content creator, strategist, and producer of podcasts and socially shareable video interviews. Let’s talk about how I can help your company tell its story.


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Banned Christmas Ad Goes Viral




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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

In a PR coup, and a stellar example of brands taking a stand, supermarket chain Iceland Foods’ banned Christmas ad is resulting in massive earned media for the company and its cause. It won’t be seen on TV, but it’s gone viral on social media.

The ad, “Ran-Tan,” tells the story tells the story of a young girl who tries to help a baby orangutan whose home has been destroyed to create palm oil. The humans in the forest have killed the little orangutan’s mother and he is afraid it will kill him too. The little girl promises to fight to save the forest, and says “Ran-Tan” can stay safe with her.

But because the video was originally made by Greenpeace, Clearcast – which is responsible for clearing ads on behalf of the UK’s major broadcasters – ruled that it breaches rules against political advertising.

Richard Walker, the son of the chains’ founder, described the ad as “an emotive animation telling the story of rainforest destruction caused by palm oil production, and its devastating impact on the critically endangered orangutan….We always knew there was a risk it would not be cleared for TV but we gave it our best shot.”

The Banned Video Goes Viral

Iceland Foods Banned Christmas Ad


The store’s homepage says “Watch our banned video.”The company took to Twitter on Friday, urging people to make the video go viral. And that has has happened, big-time. By Monday, banned Christmas ad had more than 3.3 million YouTube views, and scores of stories in newspapers, magazines and broadcast outlets including The Guardian, Fast Company, Good Housekeeping and The New York Times. The hashtag #NoPalmOilChristmas also is trending. It’s been shared by celebrities including TV hosts James Corden and Jake Humphrey. And, in just three days, (Friday to Monday) more than 550,000 people signed a change.org petition to “release Iceland’s banned Christmas ad on TV”.

Cynics Call the Ban Orchestrated

The controversy and the outpouring of social media support, has caused some people to suggest that the store knew the ad would be banned. Rachel Cunliffe, editor of City Am Tweeted “I mean, would we all be obsessively talking about their Christmas ad otherwise? The vast majority of Tweets replied “Hey, cynical move maybe, but at least it is amplifying an important message.” and “Who cares? Every word is true.”

This is not Greenpeace’s First Food Fight

It’s also not the first time that Greenpeace has been involved in a food fight over palm oil. I wrote about their Facebook fight with Nestle in 2010. At the time, Nestle bungled the issue badly. A company representative responded to negative comments in a way that was snide, nasty, demeaning, snarky – pick your adjective. I’d like to think companies would respond differently in today’s social media climate.

B.L. Ochman is a seasoned Writer, content creator, strategist, and producer of podcasts and socially shareable video interviews. Let’s talk about how I can help your company.


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Is Contract for the Web The Cluetrain Manifesto 2.0?




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Is Contract for the Web the new Cluetrain Manifesto? (look it up kids)

Tim Berners-Lee – who created the first website more than 29 years ago – has enlisted Facebook, Google, and more than 50 other companies to sign The Contract for the Web. It’s goal is to get everyone in the world online, strip misinformation from the internet and help us keep control of our data. #ForTheWeb #HappyBirthdayWWW

The Internet is definitely broken, and if anyone can fix it, my money’s on Tim Berners-Lee.

Contract for the Web Seeks Sea Change

The Contract for the Web begins “The web was designed to bring people together and make knowledge freely available. Everyone has a role to play to ensure the web serves humanity. By committing to the following principles, governments, companies and citizens around the world can help protect the open web as a public good and a basic right for everyone.”

“That vision,” he writes, “is only possible if we get everyone online, and make sure the web works for people. I founded the Web Foundation to fight for the web’s future.

Roles for Government, Business and Citizens

Governments, the contract states, will ensure that everyone can connect to the internet “so that anyone, no matter who they are or where they live, can participate actively online.” It also treats the Web as the utility it has become, saying that governments must ensure that it is on all the time, without interruption.

Businesses must “develop technologies that support the best in humanity and challenge the worst so the web really is a public good that puts people first.”

Citizens must “Be creators and collaborators on the web so the web has rich and relevant content for everyone” and “Build strong communities that respect civil discourse and human dignity so that everyone feels safe and welcome online.”

Decrying the impact of a few dominant platform, Berners-Lee says “The web that many connected to years ago is not what new users will find today. What was once a rich selection of blogs and websites has been compressed under the powerful weight of a few dominant platforms. This concentration of power creates a new set of gatekeepers, allowing a handful of platforms to control which ideas and opinions are seen and shared.”

RELATED
Contract for the Web
World Wide Web Foundation
Cluetrain Mainfesto (first published online in 1999, as a book in 2000)
Read The Cluetrain Manifesto for free


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Interview: Knightscope CEO William Santana Li Talks Crime Fighting Robots




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William Santana Li is CEO of Knightscope, whose autonomous security robots are patrolling 24/7 at malls, corporate campuses, manufacturing facilities, financial services units, stadiums, airports, hospitals, casinos, commercial property, residential and many more.

Santana Li says Knightscope’s long-term vision is “to literally be able to make the United States the safest country in the world, changing everything for everyone.”

“This is a crazy combination of artificial intelligence, self-driving autonomous technology, robotics and analytics in something that’s actually useful for society.”

Crime fighting robots

The company holds contracts in 16 states across four time zones, where the robots are rented to clients for between $6 and $12 per hour.Santana Li says Knightscope K5 can read 1,200 license plates a minute to, for example, pick out the license plate of a disgruntled former employee who has returned to the premises.

Knightscope robots successes include assisting law enforcement in issuing an arrest warrant for a sexual predator, tracking down a vandal, deterring vehicle break-ins and apprehending a thief in a retail environment. And we’re just getting started, Santana Li says.

How the robots work

The robot sees its world by coating it with lasers and taking 360-degree videos while autonomously patrolling its domain. Simultaneously, a human security guard in an on-site control room monitors this feed for anything untoward.

Among the robots’ capabilities are the ability to record license plates, detect people, capture thermal imaging, provide 360 degree video, make broadcasts, provide intercom activity and find mobile devices within a set perimeter.If you get in the robot’s way, it says excuse me. In the event of an emergency, the security guard can speak through the robot to alert nearby humans.

Clients have assigned names to their robots, including Daddy, Rosie, Deputy Metro, El-iot, Harr-iot, RoboDoc, B3PO and Officer Alex Murphy. People love taking selfies with the robots, and some have even turned up with lipstick.

Are Knightscope robots going to eliminate jobs? Absolutely not, Santana Li insists. The robots are not for enforcement,” says Santana Li. “It’s for monitoring and giving an understanding of the situation for those humans to do their jobs much more effectively.” The Knightscope Security Operations Center (KSOC), provides clients across the U.S. with a 24/7 force multiplier effect.

What robots won’t do

Knightscope robots are implemented in concert with both private and municipal security firms and professionals using a MaaS (Machine as a Service) business model that relies on a simple but powerful formula: Software + Hardware + Human Capability.

Among the things the Knightscope robots won’t do: take a nap at work or microwave fish in the break room.

______________

Let’s talk about how a socially shareable video interview will fit into your marketing.

B.L. Ochman is an accomplished business strategist, content creator, growth hacker, podcast producer and journalist. She is co-producer and co-host of the award-winning podcast, Beyond Social Media Show.

Twitter: @whatsnext
Podcast: Beyond Social Media Show
Website: B.L. Ochman
Funwalkers License Plates for Mobility Devices


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2018 Social Media Guru Update: Gurus Down, New Titles Emerge




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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

Since 2009, I have provided updates on the number of self-appointed Social Media Gurus, and other Twitter bio social media titles.

There are more Social Media Strategists, Consultants, Experts and Agencies now than in 2014 or 2015. There are fewer Social Media Ninjas, Evangelists, Pros, Whores and Wonks – but not by many!

Twitter bios are limited to 140 characters, so bio must only contain essential descriptions.

Gurus Still Abound!

Back in 2014 there were 9,303 self-appointed Social Media Gurus.

Today there are still – incredibly – 5,686 Social Media Gurus on Twitter, according to FollowerWonk. While the self-appointed guru titles have dropped substantially, one thing has not changed one bit: guru is still something someone else calls you.

2018 Social Media Guru Twitter Bio Update by What's Next Blog

Changes and New Titles

More than 1,400 social media bios now contain the descriptions Social Media Content Creators, and 12,721 now describe themselves as Social Media Professionals. New to Twitter bios: self-appointed Social Media Kings and Social Media Queens.

Where’s the Guru Count Headed? Watch This Video


Related
Social Media Guru Count 2015
Self-proclaimed social media guru count growth slows: new titles emerge


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9/11 – The Slip




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I published this on Sept 11, 2006. It’s still my strongest memory, and biggest regret.

By B.L. Ochman

The time from when the first plane hit, until the first building fell is clear to me as if it happened this morning.

But, besides my sensory memory, I don’t remember anything about the hours between the collapse of the first building and the time I was brought to a hospital in New Jersey.

At the end of the day, I had a woman’s slip in my backpack – and no idea how I got it.

I was sick with pneumonia and mercury poisoning, and still dazed when, a couple of weeks later, I threw the slip away, still not sure how it ended up in my backpack.

Memory Floats By

Then one day, came the memory of reaching up to catch a slip – silk, I think – that floated right into my upstretched hands after it was blown off a woman as she jumped from the flaming tower three blocks north.

But it occurred to me yesterday, when I saw a memorial plaque on a bench on Central Park, that, maybe, if I’d saved that slip, one of the families would have had something that belonged to their dead sister, wife, or daughter.

I apologize to that woman’s family.


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Renowned Data Scientist Dr JT Kostman: AI Will Have a Bigger Impact Than Electricity




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This is the latest in my series of interviews with experts and authors.

Dr JT Kostman is one of the world’s leading Data Strategists and experts in Applied Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Computing. In this interview, we discuss the importance of data science in marketing, social media and education. Dr Kostman is informative, fun and opinionated (in a very nice way.)

As a geek who loves technology but lacks the actual tech gene, I find Dr Kostman to be remarkably clear and open about what marketers need to know about AI and data science. There’s a lot for marketers to learn in this conversation.

What impact will AI Have on the future?

  • Artificial Intelligence, he says, is the most important technology anyone is working on in the world right now and it will affect every area of our lives.
  • As a result, AI will have an even bigger effect on our society than electricity.

Artificial Intelligence in Marketing

  • The role Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data science played in the Obama 2008 campaign.
  • The need to get past superficial stereotypes and cartoon characricatures in marketing and advertising.
  • Those shoes that follow you around the Internet are because of retargeting. You don’t need AI for that.
  • Importantly, for marketers, AI provides the ability to change advertising from intrusive to opportunity.
  • John Wanamaker’s dilemma is answered by AI. We now can tell exactly which half of our advertising isn’t working.

Dr Kostman refers to New Yorker cartoon by Peter Steiner that says “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”

New Yorker "Nobody knows you're a dog" cartoon.


He says, “All my work is predicated on saying “Why don’t we know it’s a dog, what breed it is and if its tail is wagging.”

  • “It’s disrespectful and lazy for marketers to steal time instead of looking at the right data.”
  • Dr Kostman says “On behalf of all your ostensible customers, that undifferentiated crap is a waste of time that turns people off”
  • The reason the lifespan of CMOs is so ephemeral is that they are not using the tools and abilities that exist to help them make the right decisions.
  • Why it would behoove agencies to work with data scientists.
  • Why “It’s nearly marketing malpractice not to take a data driven approach to marketing.”

What AI Skills Do We Need to Have?

  • “In this day and age you must have basic code literacy. You need to be a passionately curious, numerate technofile who is wicked smart and works well with others. Those things are all you need.” And, he says, if you think you’re not numerate, you’re wrong. We are all innately numerate.

Artificial Intelligence Could End Election Interference

  • Google, Twitter, Facebook etc let you use their service in exchange for seeing ads. There is no free lunch
  • Could major social platforms identify and stop Russian and other foreign interference in our elections with the data and AI they have? Absolutely, he maintains. The major social networks are abrogating their responsibility to stop foreign interference on their platforms. It’s time, he says, for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google to stop pretending they don’t have the responsibility to stop interference in U.S. elections.
  • Facebook, Twitter, Google and other major social platforms could stop foreign election interference with the data they have right now – if they wanted to. “It’s a financial decision,” Kostman says. Stopping Russian and other election interference on their platforms “is in direct conflict with their profit motive.”

Talk to Dr Kostman

Dr Kostman makes time to talk to students every Friday. Follow him on LinkedIn, where he posts his availability for 50 minute conversations. He also says he’ll speak to marketers “for free” rather than have them “go blindly into the dark, wasting clients’ money.”

  • Dr Kostman says “I’ll talk to you for free. Call me. Let’s at least talk about what you’re doing rather than going blindly into the dark and wasting your clients’ money. Most agencies are probably wasting 95% of their clients’ money.
  • A lot of data scientists and people in AI seem to make what they say deliberately hard to follow. Dr Kostman quotes Einstein, who said “If you truly understand something, you should be able to explain it to your grandmother.” Simple, he says, is elegant.

ABOUT JT KOSTMAN

JT Kostman is a data scientist, mathematician, and psychologist. He has hunted terrorists for U.S. Intelligence Agencies, tracked criminal networks for the FBI, advised on analytic strategies for the Department of Defense, and led social media analysis for the 2012 Obama Campaign.

In the corporate sector, he developed Digital Media Marketing solutions for Digitas, served as Chief Data Officer for Time Inc, Chief Data Scientist for Samsung, and serves on the Board of Advisors for Reimagine Holdings.

Prior to attending graduate school, JT served as a Paramedic, Police Officer, Deep-Sea Rescue Diver, and as Team Leader of an elite Scout/Sniper Reconnaissance Team with the U.S. Army Special Forces. He is a decorated disabled veteran who holds an active Top Secret/SCI U.S. Government clearance.

LinkedIn: JT Kostman
Twitter: @JT Kostman
Email: JTKostman at gmail dot com

ABOUT B.L. OCHMAN

Let’s talk about how a socially shareable video interview will fit into your marketing.

B.L. Ochman is an accomplished business strategist, content creator, growth hacker, podcast producer and journalist. She is producer and co-host of the award-winning podcast, Beyond Social Media Show.

LinkedIn
Blog – What’s Next Blog
Twitter: @whatsnext
Podcast: Beyond Social Media Show
Website: B.L. Ochman
Funwalkers License Plates for Mobility Devices


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