CEO Live

Breaking business news and updates in and around Columbus

  • New Albany "an experiment that worked"

    Posted on Feb 26, 2015

    “This is an experiment that worked,” journalist Charlie Rose declared as he opened a panel discussion with the master planners of New Albany, including Les Wexner and Jack Kessler, last night at the McCoy Arts Center.

    “Where did you get this idea? What were you drinking?” Rose asked, turning to L Brands' chairman and CEO with a joke about expensive wines.

    “Probably Diet Coke,” Wexner responded, rehashing the New Albany origin story that began with his desire to build a house in the country. He took his plan to Kessler, an influential Columbus developer, who followed suit with his own country house. Soon, the long-time friends and mentees of Columbus banking magnate John G. McCoy cofounded the New Albany Company and developed the master plan for the village. Three decades on, New Albany has grown into the Columbus region’s most desirable executive community.

    “You’ve done well in life,” Rose again joshed Wexner, "why here?”

    Wexner cited his love for Midwestern values and central Ohio's pastoral setting. L Brands, he always felt, was “tremendously advantaged” to be located in Columbus rather than a dense urban fashion hub like New York or L.A.

    “Warren Buffett told me the same thing about Omaha,” said Rose.

    Joining Wexner and Kessler were the members of the original world-class team they convened in the early '90s to engineer their community vision: Gerald McCue, Laurie Olin, Jaquelin Robertson and architect Graham Wyatt.

    Rose inquired into the pair's early land deals, comparing the New Albany transactions to Disney’s covert acquisition of its Magic Kingdom parcels in Orlando. Kessler discussed the shell companies used to purchase parcels in the 1980s, saying that prices rose from ’86 to ’89 as it became clear who was buying.

    Olin, former chair of Harvard's department of landscape architecture, called the early planning process “a great debating society with lots of drawings.”

    Robertson, former dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia and master planner of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, said they planned New Albany to be “an exceptional place in an exceptional place in a language that has been tested."

    The city’s brick Georgian architecture and pastoral common areas were influenced by the Jeffersonian planning of early American towns. Gerald McCue, former dean of faculty at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, recalled bumping into Kessler at the New York Metropolitan Opera. He was soon on a Limited Brands jet to Ohio to “see what (they) were up to” in New Albany. The planners would take many private flights to hamlets across the U.S. and England for inspiration.

    Wexner had grown frustrated by the quality of housing available in Columbus in the 1980s. “There were too damn many stucco houses in Columbus.”

    He was strict in enforcing the aesthetic code as future residents bought into the vision. “That was not a popular decision.” Wexner marveled that people didn’t like the uniformity: “I said, ‘isn’t that a great thing?’”

    “It made sense to me, as a marketer, that you could really tell a wonderful story” with the landscape and design of the country town, Wexner added.

    Many in the city’s executive class agreed. Prices in the early 1990s for New Albany’s half-acre lots were very high for a region that had few million dollar homes, said Kessler. He and Wexner, New Albany’s first “new” residents, pitched the community to leaders across Columbus; one of their early neighbors was John G. McCoy.

    Thousands of trees purchased from around Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York and North Carolina were spaced perfectly along New Albany’s shaded boulevards and cul-de-sacs. Of the $40 million raised by the New Albany Community Foundation for the community’s schools and assets development, $25 has been distributed to date.  Of the 800 parcels purchased to date, there are 6,500 acres of New Albany Company land yet to be developed.

    As with his Easton development, Wexner credited many of the city’s successful innovations—including the layout and timing of the Country Club build--to not knowing what he didn’t know.

     “I had a sense that I had marketing sense and design sense. I did not know if it extended to architecture and planning,” said Wexner. “‘I think people will buy this,' turned into ‘Let’s get this to scale and see what happens.’”

    An architecture aficionado, Rose closed the discussion with a lighthearted request that the audience remember the evening and welcome him should he, too, move to New Albany someday.

     

     

  • Celebrating the best in Columbus healthcare

    Posted on Feb 25, 2015

    Physicians, execs & entreprenuers celebrate outstanding 2015 healthcare achievement at the Columbus Athletic Club

    read more...

  • Behind the scenes with the Healthcare Achievement Award winners

    Posted on Feb 24, 2015

    In advance of tonight's Healthcare Achievement Awards at the Athletic Club of Columbus, a look behind the scenes at the Columbus CEO March issue cover shoot at Feinknopf Studios downtown featuring the honorees. Join us on Twitter tonight from 5:30-8 at #CEOhealthcare:

  • Columbus 2020 announces four new commitments

    Posted on Feb 23, 2015

    Columbus 2020 has announced four expansions committed to the Columbus Region in 2015. From today's press release:

    BriskHeat Corporation: The global manufacturer of surface heaters, insulators and temperature controls, has announced it will invest nearly $1.5 million to consolidate its Columbus Region locations into one facility and add more than 100 jobs to its 266-employee workforce over the next three years. 

    Coyote Logistics, LLC: The company has announced it will invest $480,000 to expand into a larger Columbus Region facility. Coyote’s latest expansion in the Columbus Region will add 50 new jobs – all office positions – to its existing workforce of 34. Hiring is expected to begin in the spring of 2015. 

    CWI Gifts and Crafts: The wholesale home décor, gift and craft supplier, which started as a small retail business in Central Ohio 40 years ago, has announced it will invest more than $4.6 million to purchase and expand into an existing Columbus Region facility that will more than triple its current logistics and distribution space. The expansion will also add 10 new jobs to its 83-employee workforce over the next three years.

    Superior Die, Tool & Machine Company: The South Side of Columbus continues to be a hot spot for job creation with today’s announcement that Superior will be adding 35 new jobs as part of a $6.7 million expansion of its Fairwood Avenue facility. The company will begin filling the new production positions this spring, eventually bringing its total workforce to 189. Superior’s Stamping Division is in a separate facility on Marion Road, also on the city’s south side. 

  • Experience Columbus announces 2014 EXPY winners

    Posted on Feb 23, 2015

    From the Buckeyes' national championship win to the Wexner Family's private collection exhibition commemorating the Wexner Center for the Arts' 25th anniversary, 2014 was a boom year for Columbus culture and entertainment.

    Experience Columbus will celebrate the city's brightest arts, sports and cultural happenings with the annual EXPY awards. Seven winners will be recognized during the bureau's annual meeting on March 10.

    During his recent interview with Columbus CEO, Experience Columbus CEO and president Brian Ross praised the "tremendous competitive advantage" gained from the city's arts organizations, sports teams and cultural attractions. "Hav(ing) a thriving arts community gives us the ability to provide a very authentic cultural experience that is specific to Columbus. Our arts community gives us that opportunity," said Ross.

    "From a sports standpoint, the Greater Columbus Sports Commission has done a tremendous job of getting a lot of high profile events into the city…They give us the opportunity to be on a national stage and profile our community and (share) why our community is so great."

    This year's EXPY winners are:

    Columbus Recreation and Park Department - Jazz & Rib Fest

    In its 35th year, the Columbus Recreation and Park Department’s Jazz & Rib Fest featured some of the top names in jazz, as well as celebrated local and regional musicians and 23 veteran rib teams from across the U.S. More than 350,000 people attended the free, three-day festival in the Arena District.

    The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon

    In 2014, more than 5,500 participants crossed the finish line of the largest 26.2-mile race in Ohio during the 35th Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon. An estimated 40 percent of all finishers are from outside Central Ohio, booking hundreds of hotel rooms and dining in local restaurants, which generates more than $15 million in economic impact. 

    The Ohio State University Football Team - National Champions
    The Buckeyes concluded their 125th season of football as the first-ever College Football Playoffs National Champions,  a remarkable journey that cast the entire state in a bright, positive light and boosted Columbus' image nationwide and worldwide.

    Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens - Bruce Munro's "Light"
    Munro transformed indoor environments and outdoor courtyards to create an enchanting after-dark experience for residents and visitors alike. "Light" was a monumental undertaking that drew nearly 40,000 paid visitors over its 109 nights. 

    The Wexner Center for the Arts - "Transfigurations"
    "Transfigurations," the Wexner Center's 25th Anniversary Season exhibition, was the first and only public showing of works from the personal collection of Leslie and Abigail Wexner. An estimated 120,000 people visited from 36 states and five nations, breaking all previous attendance records.

    Scioto Downs Racino

    Celebrating more than 50 years of gaming in Columbus, Scioto Downs is a premiere entertainment destination and a preferred stop for group tour operators, drawing more than 800 buses carrying more than 9,500 passengers from outside Central Ohio.

     Columbus Zoo and Aquarium – “Heart of Africa”

    “Heart of Africa” is a crowning achievement for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The 43-acre African savanna provides visitors an up-close experience to 165 exotic animals in their naturalistic habitat. In 2014, the zoo broke all-time attendance records, welcoming 2.4 million visitors.

    Purchase tickets to the Experience Columbus 2015 Annual Meeting here.

  • EXPY Award Winners Elevate Columbus as A Visitor Destination

    Posted on Feb 19, 2015

    Seven organizations, businesses and agencies that helped make Columbus a visitor destination will receive EXPY Awards March 10 at the 2015 annual meeting of Experience Columbus.

    The winners help the visitor industry generate $8.7 billion in annual economic impact, according to Brian Ross, Experience Columbus president and CEO. Ross discusses the importance of the visitor experience as an economic development tool in the March issue of Columbus CEO.

    The latest EXPY winners, as named in a news release, are:

    Columbus Recreation and Park Department - Jazz & Rib Fest

    In its 35th year, the Columbus Recreation and Park Department’s Jazz & Rib Fest featured some of the top names in jazz, as well as celebrated local and regional musicians and 23 veteran rib teams from across the U.S. More than 350,000 people attended the free, three-day festival in the Arena District.

    The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon

    In 2014, more than 5,500 participants crossed the finish line of the largest 26.2-mile race in Ohio during the 35th Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon. An estimated 40 percent of all finishers are from outside Central Ohio, booking hundreds of hotel rooms and dining in local restaurants, which generates more than $15 million in economic impact. 

    The Ohio State University Football Team - National Champions
    The Buckeyes concluded their 125th season of football as the first-ever College Football Playoffs National Champions,  a remarkable journey that cast the entire state in a bright, positive light and boosted Columbus' image nationwide and worldwide.

    Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens - Bruce Munro's "Light"
    Munro transformed indoor environments and outdoor courtyards to create an enchanting after-dark experience for residents and visitors alike. "Light" was a monumental undertaking that drew nearly 40,000 paid visitors over its 109 nights. 

    The Wexner Center for the Arts - "Transfigurations"
    "Transfigurations," the Wexner Center's 25th Anniversary Season exhibition, was the first and only public showing of works from the personal collection of Leslie and Abigail Wexner. An estimated 120,000 people visited from 36 states and five nations, breaking all previous attendance records.

    Scioto Downs Racino

    Celebrating more than 50 years of gaming in Columbus, Scioto Downs is a premiere entertainment destination and a preferred stop for group tour operators, drawing more than 800 buses carrying more than 9,500 passengers from outside Central Ohio.

    Columbus Zoo and Aquarium – “Heart of Africa”

    “Heart of Africa” is a crowning achievement for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The 43-acre African savanna provides visitors an up-close experience to 165 exotic animals in their naturalistic habitat. In 2014, the zoo broke all-time attendance records, welcoming 2.4 million visitors.

     

  • GUEST BLOG: Revising wills and trusts a stressful task for many

    Posted on Feb 17, 2015

    (Editor’s Note: This is part of an ongoing series by family business leaders and advisors with information and ideas about topics unique to family businesses, developed in conjunction with the Conway Center for Family Business.)

    By Bea Wolper

    Most people care deeply about passing a financial legacy to the next generation, but many don’t take simple steps to help make this possible!

    A rule of thumb is that a will and trust should be reviewed every five years or whenever major life events occur. Unfortunately, no one wants to do this. Ever.

    It is difficult enough to contemplate your own death, but to add the possibility that a loved one could pass before you do is almost too much to bear.

    Well-written wills and trusts need to contemplate all scenarios, even ones you don’t want to think about. Those are the “what if’s” like, “What if I die first? What if you die first? What if something happens to our child? What if…?”

    They also contemplate how to care for a loved one who is unable to receive an inheritance because of an illness, trouble keeping track of finances, or another known problem. Without proper planning, the gift you have given could disappear quickly or be too much of a burden for the beneficiary to bear.

    A large inheritance can often be the downfall of a recipient for many reasons. A well-crafted will and expertly created trust can ensure next generations have a strong work ethic, such as by providing matching funds to recipients for income they earned, as opposed to a yearly stipend or lump sum gift.

    It is said that, “Fair is often not equal and equal is often not fair.” Adjustments likely need to be made in wills and trusts to acknowledge that ownership of business interests is not the same as cash. More headaches can come with running a business, so it’s a good business practice to make provisions in your trust which may help the business continue.

    Keep in mind, your will and trust should make it easier for the executor and trustee, not harder. Anything you can do in advance will help; simple things, like:

    • Filling out a personal security checklist, available on the Emens & Wolper Law Firm website at www.emenswolperlaw.com;
    • Regularly updating passwords to provide beneficiaries safe but simple access to your accounts and records. (Remember to also update your will and trust with current passwords or the host site may deny access to your executor and trustee.), and
    •  Preparing a memorandum of personal property you would like to give to specific people.

    Updating estate documents may be a little stress for you now, but it could save huge stress for your loved ones.

    Bea Wolper is a co-founder of the Conway Center for Family Business and a partner in the law firm of Emens & Wolper LLP, in Columbus, where she focuses on succession planning, estate planning, general corporate law, contracts and the buying and selling of businesses, with an emphasis on family-owned businesses. 

  • Columbus regional employment outlook strong for 2015

    Posted on Feb 16, 2015

    Columbus 2020 issued a regional employment outlook based on its Q4 2014 report, released today. The 2015 employment projections are positive based on strong numbers from Q4, says Kenny McDonald, 2020's chief economic officer. The report's key findings:

    Region unemployment rates fell to 4.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, well below state and national rates of 4.8 and 5.6 percent, respectively, and comfortably below pre-recession levels. The data from Columbus 2020’s Q4 Economic Update released today showed the addition of 12,300 jobs since September—a 1.3 percent increase for the quarter and capping an overall increase of 0.8 percent in 2014.

    The fourth-quarter performance marked an improvement over a somewhat sluggish third quarter and reflected strong rebounds for a number of key sectors. Government (up 2.6 percent), logistics (2.0 percent), leisure and hospitality (1.8 percent), healthcare and social assistance (1.6 percent) and professional and business services (0.9 percent) all recorded gains in Q4. The full report is available at ColumbusRegion.com/reports.

    Another encouraging indicator from the report was the Region’s continued increase in Per-Capita Personal Income (PCPI). Regional PCPI in 2013 was $43,662, an 8.7 percent increase since 2009 that far exceeded the 5.9 percent U.S. average. Columbus trails the U.S. average PCPI by 2.8 percent.

    Other key findings from the Q4 economic update include:

      • About two-thirds of the employment gain in the logistics sector was in wholesale trade, while much of the gain in professional and business services was in the professional, scientific and technical services sub sector.
      • Rickenbacker International Airport handled about 50 million pounds of cargo in Q4, a four-year high for any quarter and almost 20 percent more than the same period in 2013.
      • In 2014, there were 104 project announcements in the Columbus Region, yielding 7,696 new jobs. Headquarters and business services represented 42 percent of those projects, a share 10 percent higher than 2013. International projects comprised 27 percent of 2014 announcements, higher than the 20 percent average of previous years.
  • JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon visits Urban Meyer & Ohio State Football team

    Posted on Feb 12, 2015

    JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon spoke to the Ohio State football team this morning following his appearance at the Columbus Chamber's annual meeting (photos courtesy of JPMorgan Chase):

    Buckeyes football coach Urban Meyer invited Dimon to the Woody Hayes Athletic Facility to speak to the 2015 National Championship team:

  • Franklin County Court hires first CIO

    Posted on Feb 12, 2015

    From today's announcement:

    Jason Sankey recently accepted the position of Chief Information Officer, the first CIO for the Franklin County Clerk of Courts’ Information Technology division.  Prior to his February 2, 2015 appointment, Jason spent more than 14 years in executive positions both in the public and private sectors.  His most recent  position was with the county’s Data Center, where he was Director of Program Management.  During his years at Citigroup North America, Jason was a senior project leader within the operations and technology disciplines.

     “I am delighted that Jason joined our professional senior staff.  I am confident that he will bring a realistic approach to advancing our IT office and technology by integrating vision with infrastructure at the same time supporting our overall mission,” said Franklin County Clerk of Courts Maryellen O’Shaughnessy.

    Jason earned his Bachelor degree in Natural and Behavioral Sciences with a concentration in Chemistry from Ohio University in 1997.  He received a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) designation from the Project Management Institute and holds a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Series 7 license. 

  • JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon praises Coleman, Columbus workforce

    Posted on Feb 12, 2015

    JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is impressed by the development in Downtown Columbus since he was stationed here some 20 years ago.

    “The amazing thing when you come back here—this wasn’t here folks,” Dimon said of the Downtown Hilton and surrounding development.

    Dimon had a conversational interview with Cardinal Health CEO George Barrett during the Columbus Chamber’s 2015 Annual Meeting this morning at the convention center.  “How much of your growth and success has been because of the federal government?” Dimon asked, generating laughs from the crowd of nearly 1,700 business and civic leaders.

    Mayor Michael Coleman introduced Dimon and Barrett as “two of the nation’s greatest CEOs.” Coleman met with Dimon back in 2000 after Columbus-based Banc One Corp. merged with First Chicago. Dimon was the bank’s CEO; he became president and COO of JPM after it acquired Bank One in 2004.

    “He’s a man of his word. He’s a handshake guy,” said Coleman, who had pressed Dimon for assurance that the merged bank would maintain the large central Ohio workforce established by Banc One. Dimon promised that, not only would his bank keep its Columbus workforce, it would hire more central Ohioans.

    Today, JPM is the largest single employer in the Columbus Region with a local staff of 20,000, 8% of Chase’s global workforce of 250,000. “The rippling effect of JP Morgan Chase in central Ohio is enormous, and Jamie Dimon is responsible for it,” said the mayor.

    Dimon in turn praised Coleman as a “business-friendly Democrat” immune to federal-level political gridlock, of which he was highly critical.

    Dimon, an occasional subject of lampooning on the Daily Show and cable news networks in the wake of the financial crisis, asserted the need for American banks operating on a global scale. “The Chinese banks are coming. They’re twice our size and they have a natural market—their own companies,” Dimon said. “You need me on the Wall.”

    The recession changed nothing about his leadership, said Dimon, emphasizing the imperative to keep your workforce and your company prepared for anything in business. “You need the army before the war starts.”

    Similarly, Dimon said his cancer diagnosis and successful treatment last year had little effect on his priorities. “I’ve always thought the most important thing is family, and that hasn’t changed. Next is country and humanity. I love this country.”

  • Abigail Wexner speaks on family violence at CMC forum

    Posted on Feb 11, 2015

    At today's Columbus Metro Club Forum, Abigail Wexner joined moderator Karen Days, Larry Crowell and Lisa Schartinger for a panel discussion on "Where's the Line," a phone and text message resource for friends, family, coworkers and bystanders who believe they're observing an abusive relationship. The new resource is operated by the Center for Family Safety and Healing, an agency founded and chaired by Wexner.

    The program is designed as a course of action for observers of family and domestic abuse. Unlike most programs aimed at reaching victims or simply raising public awareness, Wexner says "Where's the Line" is about making "A cultural change. It's not going to happen overnight."

    "Can we get comfortable enough to pick up that phone?" Wexner asked the crowd. The campaign, she says, is about giving concerned people a course of action rather than ignoring possible abuse.

    Days, president of the Center for Family Safety and Healing at Nationwide Children's Hospital, says that her first day on the job, Wexner advised her, "If we've just raised awareness, we've failed."

    Since launching in early January, 70 calls have come in to the Where's the Line resource office. All calls are anonymous. Concerned bystanders of domestic abuse can call 844-234-LINE or text 87028 to receive guidance on  their concerns.

  • Divorce rates rise for Valentines

    Posted on Feb 10, 2015

    Busy season for divorce filings begins right around Valentine’s Day. That's one of several trends that local divorce attorney Gerald (Jay) Babbitt has observed during his 30 years in practice.

    Babbitt sees a 10- to 20-percent increase in divorce clients at his practice, Babbitt & Dahlberg, every February. An average 8,000 marriages take place in Franklin County annually. Statewide, 58 percent of Ohio marriages end in divorce.

    “I don’t know that Columbus is any different than most (cities). We have probably 4,000 divorces and dissolutions a year filed in Franklin County,” says Babbitt.

    “There’s a lag right around Christmas. They’re holding out hope for their relationship,” he says. Babbitt sees clients experiencing similar holiday patterns. After a hopeful yuletide, a miserable Valentine’s Day is often the final blow for many couples.

    There may also be another age-old factor at play: money. With retainer fees ranging from $2,500 to $3,500 or more depending on a case’s complexity, Babbitt says tax returns allow potential divorcees to move ahead.

    By profession, psychologists and doctors seem to have the highest rates of divorce, an observation Babbitt speculates may arise from their highly driven, work-oriented lives.

    Managing partner of a busy law firm is a demanding profession as well: Even so, Babbitt and his wife, Jamie, remain happily married after 30 years.

  • Delicious Works of Art

    Posted on Feb 9, 2015

    Columbus restaurateur Cameron Mitchell and the Columbus Museum of Art announced today that they are joining forces for special events as well as day-to-day management of a new restaurant set to open this fall as part of CMA’s expansion and remodeling.

    Cameron Mitchell Premier Events will be the museum’s exclusive caterer as well as running Lino, a 2,200-square-foot bistro. The first-floor restaurant will open onto a sculpture garden and feature the work of glass master Lino Tagliapietra, for whom the restaurant is named. 

    “The Museum has a commitment to creativity that impacts everything we do,” said CMA Executive Director Nannette V. Maciejunes in a news release. “That’s why we are thrilled to choose Cameron Mitchell Premier Events, known for their creative dining experiences, as our culinary partner.”

    CMPE Director Melissa Johnson said, “We are excited to expand upon our more than 10-year partnership with the museum, and we will make sure that we provide a culinary masterpiece served with our signature hospitality every time, whether guests are dining in the restaurant or enjoying a special event.”

    In addition to providing fine dining for special events, CMPE will develop and host cooking classes, wine events and other special gatherings throughout the year.

     

  • Appointments: Professional Services

    Posted on Feb 6, 2015

    Recent appointments and promotions in central Ohio professional services firms

    read more...

  • Appointments: Executives

    Posted on Feb 6, 2015

    Recent appointments of central Ohioans to executive positions

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  • Appointments: Boards

    Posted on Feb 6, 2015

    Recent appointments of central Ohioans to boards and commissions

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  • GUEST BLOG: DATABASE STRATEGY FOR B2B COMPANIES

    Posted on Feb 5, 2015

    By Craig Conard

    Every business has a finite target audience from which customers can be cultivated. Instead of an intensive focus to set strategy to penetrate this target audience, many organizations maintain a cyclical rhythm of same or similar marketing activities year over year.                                                                    

    Three basic truths underscore the need for a database marketing strategy: 

    1. Almost every prospective customer is currently surviving without your goods and services.

    2. Just a small fraction is likely to be shopping for your goods or services at any point in time.

    3. Sales success comes only when your product solves problems at the time customers realize they need to do something about it.

    The successful intersection of placing sales people in front of prospects at the right time with the right offer is significantly enhanced by a good database strategy.

    The degree to which you can identify your target audience and profile buyers within that audience greatly determines how exacting your lead acquisition tactics and database strategies can get. For instance, if you sell to companies that manufacture mining equipment, it’s a rather simple exercise to identify all companies you aren’t currently doing business with, and build a database accordingly. By contrast, if your target audience is businesses under 100 employees nationally, your challenges are significantly different.

    Chances are your company has data all over the place; customer data in your accounting systems, customer and prospect data in the hands of your sales reps, and Customer Relations Management system (CRM), and likely, more data in your marketing databases. What you already own is important for getting started. Pooling existing data and looking at your existing customer base to examine the common characteristics of your best customers, especially your most profitable customers, creates a roadmap for the journey.  

    Start by looking at data points, such as: How did you begin your relationship with them? What are the titles of the people who you work with? What are the demographics of those businesses? How many companies are there just like these?

    Once you define the profile of your target prospects, you can start sizing the market opportunity.

    Online tools such as Infousa.com offer counts of businesses that fit your prospect profile. It’s a simple exercise to determine which percentage of that addressable audience you already possess and what you need to acquire.

    The next decision is whether to buy or build your list. Buying lists is a relatively easy first step, but building a list can be also achieved with any number of conventional and digital marketing tactics. 

    It is important to make sure every group within your organization is accountable for adding new contacts into your marketing database. Don't overlook activities such as trade shows, seminars, and social media interactions that should result in database additions. Savvy marketers know that every prospect is a potential sale.

    What data should you collect when building a list? The most brilliant data collection strategies tend to be the simplest. Twenty years ago I would blue-sky every “great to know” data point imaginable, only to be disappointed later that not only could we not populate this information for most records, but very little useable information could be harnessed because of it.

    Once you’ve created a master database, determine how to use it and who to allow access to it. The most common mistake today is over-communicating via e-mail. The result? Prospects stop paying attention to your communication or, worse yet, opt out of your database.

    The best approach is to learn what prospects want to keep abreast of, and how they want information delivered. The more personalized the approach, the greater the trust and effectiveness of database marketing. Ultimately, we want prospects to come to us when they are in the evaluation or specifying stages of the buying cycle.

    Finally, database hygiene is never a completed task, but a well-maintained, accurate database is the best investment strategy you can make with your marketing dollars.

    Craig Conard is president of Sudden Impact Marketing, a Columbus-based marketing firm serving B2B clients since 1997. Reach him at (614)-942-0907 or Craig@simarketing.net.

     

  • Jeni's CEO first CMC MetroCAST guest

    Posted on Feb 4, 2015

    John Lowe, CEO of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, talked business with Columbus CEO editor Mary Yost at this afternoon's Columbus Metro Club forum.

    It was the pilot forum in the CMC's new MetroCAST remote broadcast to an audience at Easton. Lowe's parents were among the guests Downtown. They read every article published about their son, says John Lowe III.

    In his previous life as a GE executive, Lowe entertained the remote possibility of returning to Columbus to a company like Worthington Industries--but certainly not an artisan ice creamery. The transition in 2009 was a culture shock.

    "The skills and attributes that made me successful at GE probably made me a jerk at Jeni's," said Lowe. He analyzed and adjusted his communication methods in order to better motivate the company's top asset: Jeni's artistic workforce.

    Keeping founder Jeni Britton Bauer "front and center" with employees is the secret ingredient that keeps service up to company standards, says Lowe. "The difference between a scoop shop employee who's met Jeni and who hasn't is enormous."

    The company continues to add to its executive staff; Jeni's has just recruited a top-notch HR team from another (unnamed) local retailer, Lowe said.

    As for his own career path, Lowe expects to be with Jeni's for at least the next 15 years, but doubts he'll retire as Jeni's CEO."At some point, I suspect I'll transition into other roles in Columbus."

     

     

  • This week in Columbus business

    Posted on Feb 3, 2015

    Film Commission leadership shake-up

    Film Columbus (formerly the Greater Columbus Film Commission) is seeking a new executive director. Thomas McClure, in the position since 2012, has resigned. John Daugherty is serving as interim director.

    The job description: The executive director will raise awareness of Columbus and the Greater Columbus area as a destination for productions of all sizes and promote the Ohio Tax Credit, one of the most aggressive in the country, for productions. The ideal candidate for this position will have good leadership skills, experience working with a non-profit board and a broad knowledge of filmmaking.

    Candidates should send their cover letter and resume to Chris Hamel, Board President, Film Columbus, chamel@gatewayfilmcenter.com by February 28.

     

    OSU Business Builder's Club Career Fair

    The entreprenurial students in OSU's BBC are hosting a career fair today until 5 p.m. in the Union Cartoon Room on campus. Columbus startups, small business and venture firms will be recruiting.  Read more about the BBC Career Fair here.

  • Democrats Choose Philadelphia over Columbus for 2016 National Convention

    Posted on Feb 2, 2015

    Columbus has lost its bid to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention to Philadelphia, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

    read more...

  • Ohio Secretary of State pushes for lower business fees

    Posted on Jan 30, 2015

    Secretary of State Jon Husted is asking Ohio legislators for a 21 percent cut in Ohio's business filing fees. This week's announcement from Husted's office (Dispatch file photo, 2011:

    Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is urging lawmakers to pass legislation to cut fees associated with forming a business in Ohio by approximately 21% to make it easier and less expensive to do business in Ohio. The proposed bill has been identified as a legislative priority for the Ohio House of Represent atives by Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) and the majority leadership team.

    “This proposal is a success dividend. We are doing more with less in the Secretary of State’s Office, providing the best possible customer service, which has led to record business filings and increased revenues. Now we want to pass the savings on to our customers,” Secretary Husted said. “Passage of this legislation will make it even more affordable to do business, attracting more companies to Ohio. I applaud Speaker Rosenberger and his leadership team for making this a priority.”

    Under the proposed legislation, Ohio will see the first reduction in fees associated with business filings in modern history and make Ohio more competitive with other states. The cost to start a business in Ohio would drop from the current $125 to $99. In other states, filing fees can be as high as $500 and many states charge an annual fee on top of the initial filing fee, depending on the type of business. Over a five-year period, taking into account initial and annual fees, the proposed cut would make Ohio the most affordable place to start a limited liability company as compared to the surrounding states of Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

    Secretary Husted also noted that the benefits of cutting filings fees extend beyond making it easier to do business in Ohio.

    “This is not only good for Ohio’s businesses, but also for Ohio families,” Secretary Husted said. “Making it easier to do business encourages economic growth, which can lead to new and better employment opportunities for hardworking Ohioans.”

    The push to cut filing fees is the latest in a series of efforts by Secretary Husted to roll out the red carpet for businesses.

    In October 2013, Secretary Husted launched Ohio Business Central, allowing businesses to file some of the most commonly-used forms online. This saves businesses time and money and has significantly streamlined administration at the Secretary of State’s Office. To date, more than 35,000 filings have been submitted and half of all new companies are now started online in Ohio.

    Ohio is in a position to reduce filing fees as a result of Secretary Husted’s fiscal stewardship over the past four years. During that time Secretary Husted saved taxpayers more than $14 million in spending compared to the previous administration – representing a 16% cut. As part of that, payroll costs were down by $4.4 million and Fiscal Year 2014 marked the lowest spending on payroll in seven years.

    Ohio’s ever-improving business climate is evident in Secretary Husted’s recent announcement that the state experienced the fifth consecutive year of record new business filings. In 2014, 93,775 new businesses filed with the Secretary of State’s Office. These numbers were up from 2013, in which 89,735 filed. This is a positive trend Secretary Husted hopes will continue to build in the years ahead.

  • Canadian officials talk business, hockey at Columbus Metro Club

    Posted on Jan 28, 2015

    Canada's Consul General for Ohio entertained Columbus Metro Club guests with talk of trade relations and hockey during this afternoon's lunch forum.

    "What's good for Ohio is good for Canada and vice versa--hockey aside," said Douglas George, who represents Canada in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky. George is in town for Canada Week in Ohio, an eight-day trade junket through Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati.

    He and his delegation arrived early to attend the 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend in Columbus, beating the snowstorm that stopped travel in the northeastern US earlier this week.

    George's message for Columbus businesses was simple, if tongue-in-cheek: "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help."

    He was joined on the panel by Columbus 2020 Chief Economic Development Officer Kenny McDonald and Eric Marquis, Quebec's Government Representative in Chicago. The discussion was moderated by Daniel Ujczo, an international trade and customs lawyer with the Columbus office of Dickenson Wright.

    The discussion focused on the $37 billion trade and investment relationship between Ohio and Canada. That relationship "may be one that we look past too often," said McDonald. He extended an open invitation to George, welcoming Canadian investors and businesses to work with companies in the Columbus Region.

    Canada's pending trade agreement with the European Union promises to open even more international opportunites to Columbus exporters. "It gives Canada access into one of the largest, richest markets in the world," with potential benefits to the Ohio companies doing business with Canadian companies, George said.

    For more on the state's economic relationship with Canada, see this Briefing in the current issue of Columbus CEO's print edition.