Jim Hoefflin, chief operating officer/partner of Hanson Dodge Creative

Jim Hoefflin

Chief operating officer/partner

Hanson Dodge Creative

220 E. Buffalo St., Milwaukee


Industry: Marketing

Number of employees: 75

Family: Anne (wife of 21 years), Connor (son of 17) high school senior

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?

“We invested in our business in three major areas: Comet Branding merger, Google Apps infrastructure, and Active Commerce e-commerce product. Early in the year, we merged with Comet Branding and strengthened Hanson Dodge Creative by adding some of the best social media strategists and capabilities available. By integrating the Comet team into the processes and infrastructure of Hanson Dodge Creative, we have brought expanded service offerings to both the original Comet and Hanson Dodge clients. At the end of the first quarter, we migrated our office productivity applications to Google Apps. Because our agency has to equally support Windows and Mac computers, moving to an agnostic infrastructure better serves both platforms while providing advanced collaboration capabilities in documents that has helped us streamline our processes. Finally, early in the summer we commissioned the build of our own active commerce product, a fully capable e-commerce platform that leverages all of the base capabilities of Sitecore, an industry leading content management and customer engagement product, but is specifically designed for companies selling to the active lifestyle consumer. Active commerce allows us to deliver very advanced functionality to our clients for a fraction of the price of competitor offerings.”

What’s new at your company?

“We are just completing a branding, social media and product introduction for one of our long-time clients. We are extremely excited about the new product line, our web work, social media program and the first deployment of our active commerce platform.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

“We are currently looking for a couple of key strategic roles, as well as, looking at our staffing requirements for 2012. We are currently anticipating approximately 20 percent growth, year-over-year.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?

“In a fully integrated, interactive agency such as ours, we provide a broad range of services. It is always a challenge to find the appropriate talent across that entire range, and to secure the right mix of work to keep everyone busy all the time.”

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?

“Marketing agencies are all talking about moving towards being more consultative. Fortunately for Hanson Dodge Creative, we recognized that trend early and have relatively mature service offerings, processes, systems, and compensation structures tailored to a consultancy.”

Do you have a business mantra?

“Making the world more active. At Hanson Dodge Creative, we are all focused on working with clients that directly, or indirectly, are creating products or services for the active lifestyle consumer. It may sound audacious, but we are trying to make the world more active, a healthier place to live.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?

“Steve Jobs, who we lost far too early, because he did what he loved to do, he pushed for the impossible and achieved the incredible, and he never tired of the challenge to go farther. I also look up to my original business partner, and all the key leaders I have worked with since, for every one of them command abilities and talents that I did not, and in many cases, still do not. Yet, most of them were open and generous with their knowledge, playing off each other, teaching me how to create something better than individual performance.”

What was the best advice you ever received?

“Never fall in love with a company, or a house. It sounds odd, but the point is that you need to be able to separate your logic and your passion when you are evaluating your most important business, and life, decisions.”

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?

“Many years ago, on the eve of flying to a customer site for a project implementation, I was momentarily distracted by my toddler son while attempting to give myself a quick clipper haircut. Unfortunately, I neglected to put the guard on the clipper resulting in what I could only describe as a reverse mohawk. With no other choice, I had to shave the rest of my head and endure explaining the story repeatedly once I arrived at the project site.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“Motorcycle riding, exercising, and a bit of creative writing.”

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