BizTimes Bubbler Executive of the Week: Jill Brzeski

Jill Brzeski, president & CEO of Boelter + Lincoln Marketing
Address: 222 E. Erie Street, Suite 400, Milwaukee
Website: www.boelterlincoln.com
Industry: Advertising & PR
Employees: 25
Family: Husband of 24 years, Dave; Two children: Austin, 21, and Jenna, 18

What was the smartest thing Boelter + Lincoln did in the past year?
“We brought back our Digital Marketing Summit. The DMS is a professional development opportunity for our clients, staff and business associates. We invite experts from the digital marketing field (Centro, TubeMogul, Pandora, Facebook, etc.) to share their knowledge, tools and inspiration to give all of our businesses a boost of digital marketing momentum. The summit was well attended and we have already been asked when the next DMS will happen.”

What’s new at your agency?
“After creating digital content for years, we have finally packaged our content marketing services and now offer these capabilities to our clients in a comprehensive, cost-efficient ‘tool box.’ We have added in-house photography capabilities and enhanced our in-house videography and video editing services. In conjunction with the copywriting, editorial writing and social media experience we have, this allows us to offer clients a wide variety of relevant and robust online content—something almost all of them are looking for.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your agency in the next year?  
“As we add more capabilities and services to offer our clients, we need to add staff with specific skill sets. We are always seeking excellence and welcome new team members who expand and enhance our services as well as fit within our culture. As for capital investments, we are always investing in technology – Creative Cloud, other software, hardware, edit suite upgrades, etc.”

What will Boelter + Lincoln’s main challenges be in the next year?  
“Technology is transforming marketing strategy. The result is a movement from creating messages to creating experiences, from focusing on rational benefits to a focus on the ‘passion economy,’ and shifting from strategic planning to adaptive strategy. Because of technology, we have to think differently and sometimes change what we do and how we do it. The challenge is to stay ahead!”

What sets Boelter + Lincoln apart from other advertising agencies in the market?
“One of the unique features of Boelter + Lincoln is our longstanding relationships. We truly believe that it is important to build relationships in all directions. Externally, we have some clients that have been working with us for more than 30 years. Our average client tenure is seven years – much longer than the national average. Internally, our turnover rate is very low. Nearly half of our employees have been with us more than five years. Just as we believe it is important for our clients to build relationships with their customers, we feel it is important for us to build relationships with our clients and our employees.”

What drove you to lead an advertising agency?  
“I started at Boelter + Lincoln nearly 30 years ago, leaving a full-time job to work here as a temp because I wanted to follow my passion. It was a good decision. Since then, I’ve left the agency three times – and come back three times. Most of our clients are in the business-to-consumer category so, as a consumer, I get to experience most of the work we do every day. It is rewarding to see our work, to see it have an impact on the consumer and to see it produce results for our clients.”  

Do you have a business mantra?
“We keep our feet on the ground, our sleeves rolled up, and our eyes on what’s next.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
“As a member of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, I belong to a network of successful advertising agency owners from across the country. We share best practices and discuss our challenges. I appreciate their frankness, their willingness to share knowledge and their friendship. They have provided guidance and valuable insight for all aspects of our business.”

What was the best advice you ever received?  
“The keys to leadership are ‘head, heart and hands’…meaning that good business judgment must be paired with passion, and that a leader must not be afraid to get her hands dirty with her team.”

What do you like to do in your free time?  
“I love to travel. Since many of our clients are in the tourism industry, I get to spend a lot of time in their destinations and at their resorts. For many years I was an avid sports parent, watching my kids participate in a variety of sports. This year, I’ll be able to continue watching my daughter play soccer in college. I’ll also continue to play the occasional round of golf with my son and husband – even though I’m not quite as good as they are!”

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