CONNECT, CAPTIVATE & CONVERT. We're about engaging with your audience and turning them into customers. Then we turn customers into fans.
Once upon a time, digital marketing was our sole specialty. We grew up the ugly stepchild, when offline reigned supreme. We’re e-business specialists, having collectively sold almost $1B in goods and services. Dirigo is well-known for strategic planning, designing and developing engaging websites, direct response e-commerce, and e-mail marketing. We also manage paid advertising, social media, web best practices (eg SEO), and online reputations. As luck would have it, traditional media is losing the battle to digital (though there is a role for both media types) and digital rules the roost.
In 2009 we pivoted into traditional marketing and media: branding and positioning; more strategy and planning; television, print, and radio pre- through post-production; and media buying. Traditional marketing (lead) agencies don’t have the skills yet to integrate creative, media, and technology to meet the demands of the 24/7/365 consumer. They’ll likely never acquire the skills because they’re not prepared to make the investment required to be truly digitial. Digital marketing is considerably more difficult because of always changing technological needs, staffing shortages, and rapid change. Our pivot into traditional was possible because we already employed veterans of the offline marketing world. Coordination between agencies is no longer enough. All of your marketing efforts should be integrated into one single, agile, engaging strategy. We’re the advertising agency of today and tomorrow and we’d like to be given an opportunity to earn your business. If you don't care for advertising agencies, hire Dirigo. We're a different sort of agency.
Dirigo is a professionally, culturally, and academically diverse group which enables us to see the big picture, challenge one another, and serve our clients well. Our modus operandi is an important part of our success. At the end of the day, what you'll remember about Dirigo is the special blend of aptitude, rigor, and instinct that we bring to the success of your project.
Educated, Experienced, Knowledgeable and Creative
We are fresh thinkers. Conceptual thinkers. Out of the box thinkers. We are leaders in our industry because we never forget to be students of it. We are a consulting-centered boutique agency engineered to transform marketing in the connected world. Give us a call, and let's talk about how we can put Dirigo to work for you, 207.358.2990.
The Dirigo team is comprised of marketing veterans with proven successes in building award-winning designs, print, and digital creative solutions and branding, e-commerce, m-commerce, advanced and intuitive search, consumer engagement, social and rich media, user interface/information architecture, consumer psychology/personas, marketing strategy, and digital best practices. We present Dirigo’s foremost players—the finest team in New England with more than century of collective marketing and technology experience.
Looking to work at a better agency? Show us your stuff.
David’s entrepreneurial endeavors began at an early age in grade school. He teamed up with a classmate, now a successful writer and comic book creator, and produced calendar sketches mimicking the political actions of soon-to-be President Jimmy Carter. It was 1976 when business hours started at the first bell of the lunch period. The two partners set up shop in the courtyard and students quickly offered their milk money for the hot new product. Word spread through the school and soon grabbed the attention of the school principal, who thought the two entrepreneurs were stealing their classmates’ lunch money.
David scores a high 3 on the Enneagram Test: he has issues with workaholism and competitiveness. Threes typically become so alienated from themselves that they no longer know what they truly want, or what their real feelings or interests are. Threes have come to believe that emotions get in the way of their performance, so they substitute thinking and practical action for feelings. David says "I'm a bit messed up — but okay with it because I love what I do". If you love what you do it's not work.
That adrenal rush from his first taste of entrepreneurship and success had a profound impact on David. It was that drive and success—then and now—that David seeks to achieve in every project with his team at Dirigo. He has a polyphasic personality and oftentimes would rather mobilize for a deadline or to win the day than be concerned with rest or sustenance. He is outlandishly modern in the context of esoteric teachings.
His fondness of Jane Austen novels (Emma and Mansfield Park) seems to conflict with his all-time favorite read, Frank Hurbert’s Dune trilogy. If he were a food, he’d be roti canai—a type of flatbread he grew to love when spending time in Malaysia. As a Star Wars character, he’d choose to be Kyle Katran. Who? Kyle joined the Jedi Order under Luke Skywalker, eventually becoming one of its strongest Jedi and a member of the Jedi Council. His favorite color is #008080, one of the initial group of 16 HTML/CSS web colors formulated in 1987. FYI, the redesigned version of the United States $100 note features teal as its primary background color.
In the early 1990s David had completed his studies and went to work in Belfast, Northern Ireland as part of an economic redevelopment team in Suffolk, a small Protestant community within the predominantly Catholic West Belfast. Upon return stateside, the California job market was stalled due to the 1990-1991 recession. As fate would have it, instinct kicked in and David founded a computer export firm with his college professor and help from a former Taiwanese MBA alumni. His travels to the Soviet Bloc flourished into a computer hardware business, which grew into a chain of value-added retail stores in central California.
In 1993 David acquired a small print company and voilà, an in-house marketing agency for media buying, advertising, and collateral production began. His firm was well-known for broadcasting live on the radio in five different markets from Taipei Taiwan and other parts of the Far East while on buying trips and trade shows. The business was more about merchandising and advertising than technology. In the mid-90s his firm was outselling IBM and Dell in central California. DKA had a strong following in the auto industry. With a revenue per square foot metric of approximately $4,100, David was closely watched by Silicon Valley firms like SuperMicro and Asus plus funders FINOVA Capital Corporation and GE Capital. For perspective (2011), Best Buy runs at $900 per square foot, Tiffany & Co takes $3,000, and Apple is untouched at $6,000.
In the pre-Internet days David built a bulletin board system with 300 baud modems to distribute software drivers. His first website went online in late January 1996. Yes, you could call this the social networking dinosaur age, but remember that without CompuServe, Prodigy and that upstart AOL, there would be no Facebook, no Twitter, not even Google. By 1997 he had more than 200,000 products on-line powered by a feed from Ingram Micro. Though he was fully involved in selling his wares online, he was preoccupied with brick and mortar. As the clone-PC revolution started to wind down at the end of the 90s, David’s eight year run in the hardware business transitioned. He turned his firm over to his partners and said goodbye to the 60+ employees and began his pivot into the interactive world.
In the summer of 2003 David transitioned his clients to Dirigo Design & Development, Inc. His focus was and still is direct response marketing, diving deep with just a few clients. Automotive and health were his largest verticals. All the experiences of going deep give Dirigo a unique perspective in the marketplace. “We’re so much more than a web development, web design, and custom programming shop,” says David. “We really do grow web businesses and the infrastructure that is needed—from shipping and regulatory issues to incorporation and introducing financial partners/angels and creating business agreements.” A number of the Dirigo Class of 2003 clients has blossomed into mega successful pure-play Internet businesses. In late 2010 Dirigo began the pivot from being a purely interactive shop to boutique ad agency. That pivot is still happily underway. "The web developer title never really fit," says David. "It was too small a box." In 2012 Dirigo partnered with CBC Advertising and dove deep into the automotive vertical.
David built Dirigo as a Microsoft .NET shop. Why? Because .NET is a mid-market programming platform that supports Web development as well as C/C++, Visual C++, VB.NET, C#, F#, M, Python, and Ruby. The language allows the sort of deep integration and interoperability required to run a mid-sized business. PHP, the other predominate Web language that Dirigo supports, is a general-purpose scripting language. We even support UniVerse (a Pick RocketU2 database).
David’s earliest e-commerce work included Talk America/Vital Basics/Factor Nutrition, Puristat, Comina, Always Young, and Planet Dog. Corporate work included Sun Microsystems, Allaire (now Dreamweaver, owned by Adobe), L.L.Bean, MEMIC, ExxonMobil, The First, Bangor Savings, GMAC, Duncan Donuts, Business Objects (now SAP), and scores more. One of his greatest success continues to be Women to Women, a startup that he helped build into national brand. David is a partner/owner in Concordia Partners LLC — the sales and marketing outfit behind www.womentowomen.com. The site is constantly ranked among the Top 50 “Health & Medical > Information” sites in the world by Experian Hitwise. More striking, womentowomen.com is the only site in the Top 50 supported solely by product sales.
In the world of creative and web design and development there is a hefty gap between the cheapest and the most expensive provider, with many in between. David pushes Dirigo to be in the middle. The difference is thought, research, strategy, time, expertise and success, and quality. He insists that the Dirigo staff take time to explain the mysteries of creative and web design and development, the intricacies of running an Internet business—what it takes to succeed on-line—SEO, PPC, SEM… so that our clients understand how they’re spending their hard earned dollars. His mission, always, is to provide our clients measurable S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) ROI (return on investment).
David holds an MBA from the Craig School of Business at California State University, Fresno, and a BS in finance. He served 8 years on the senior management team of Concordia Partners LLC, owns DermaHarmony.com, invests in tech start-ups, and is a co-founder of 207 Brand LLC, MerchantApplause and Donorfull LLC. David lives with Victoria Kuhn and their twins in Falmouth, Maine. There's lots more too. Ask the Dirigo staff about silverware, bitcoin mining and bar soap. They'll give you an ear full — Dirigo is an interesting place. He can be found online at Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, Mashable, Marketing Sherpa, Ad Week, TechCrunch, Search Engine Land, and Webmaster World.
Connect With Dirigo Design & Development and Connect With Your Goals
Achieving success in your business isn't just about your organization's products and services. And it's much more than your organization's brand and its leadership team. Dirigo is an experienced integrative marketing organization that achieves goals. If your organization wants to generate more, call David Addison at 207-358-2980. We're here to help you connect with your customers and grow your organization.
Jonathan Paul Berry (JP) is an accomplished software developer with eight years of commercial experience. This guy lives and breathes tech. Like many Millennials, what he does for work is not a profession: it's pure lifestyle. He follows his passion. At age 10 he invented an underwater adventure device called Scuba Tech. Since then he’s created a laser controlled Multi Touch Computer Table, an advanced Electric Skateboard with bluetooth controls, and a very cool, Head’s Up Display similar to the Google’s Project Glass.
JP engineered his first website in 2000 during the dot-com era. Since then he’s rapidly ascended to become a superb interactive developer. We asked him recently what special attribute makes him good at what he does. Jokingly, he replied “one ear lobe is connected and the other is not,” some sort of genetic anomaly. Whatever gives him coding mo-jo, we like it.
He was born in Covington, Louisiana and relocated during his college years to Long Beach, California where he attended Devry University, a Computer Information Systems and Computer Engineering major. In 2005 he moved to Denver, Colorado where he landed a seat on the web development team at Markit on Demand. You’ve likely never heard of Markit, but, you’ve likely used one of their websites in the last week.
Technical skills include:
He’s never been a Dreamweaver type. His favorite editors include Visual Studio, Emacs, and Sublime Text Editor. His preferred platforms are CodeFirst, Zurb Foundation, and jQuery.
So he’s a great coder and creative: what else? JP is consistently engaged and brings intelligence, insight, dedication, and a whitty sense of humor to the task at hand. He offers key insight and a clear road map of how to get there. He’s great at sharing his knowledge and at explaining the obscure world of web engineering to almost anyone. From the moment you meet JP you’ll feel this great energy about him. An innovator who can take a smoking heap of trash and turn it into a shiny new widget. He’s a motivated self-starter, a digital-age MacGyver! We’re happy to have JP on Team Dirigo.
Anything Worth Doing is Worth Doing Well
If you need a developer who will work to meet your needs rather than just fit you in to what they usually do, perhaps it's time to find out what's been missing in your online efforts. Contact us to start the conversation about your online needs or project.
Justin is a lead developer on our ski resort platform (Schweitzer Mountain Resort is a nice example) and is co-pilot for DirigoEdge — our lightweight open-source responsive ASP.NET CMS platform. He's exclusive to our highest-end most difficult work.
Why does the world need another CMS? Because we found other platforms unable to push the limits of responsive design the way Dirigo does. We needed new technology/UX for a new era of development. We believe that the future of web development is tied to more sophisticated content management systems — systems that will inevitably make low-end web developers obsolete. We want to help shape the technology that is going to interrupt our industry. Sophisticated vertical SaaS web solutions are the future. With thousands of downloads of DirigoEdge already, we're on our way.
Justin is a Massachuttes native who straddles Generation X and Y. He is well educated, mature, active, balanced, happy and family-oriented. He owns a home in South Portland and became a father with the arrival of Ava Colangelo in August 2013.
He began his career with part-time work for his newly renovated high school where he deployed network cable. After graduating he took-up with Lucent Technologies assembling and deploying UNIX-based workstations (Sun Sparc and Ultra’s). After graduating with an Associate’s Degree in Art, Justin went on to pursue a BS in Computer Science with Portland State University. During college Justin maintained an online storefront and worked for Bose as on an elete technical team. For a brief period Justin worked for ContentNext in NYC, a division of UK publisher Guardian newspapers, as a developer on a set of very large news websites.
Justin built his career in the open source L.A.M.P. and then moved to ASP.NET. The move was easy because he was well versed in object oriented code and had been in the deep end of the pond for a long while. He’s a wiz with WordPress, ModX and Expression Engine. Justin programs fluently in ASP.NET C#, Visual Basic, Phyton, PHP, C/C++, Microsoft SQL, MySQL, Oracle Siebel CRM, etc. He’s as comfortable programming on a Mac as a PC. He can administer Windows, Sun and Linux servers.
To the right side of Justin’s workstation is a chess board and a decanter of fine southern whiskey. The techs are constantly tangled in chess games. Sitting on top of his monitors is a remote control helicopter launch pad for office reconnaissance. A PlayStation Kinect camera follows your every move in his work area — it plays various human interaction games. Sprinkled at the back of his work surface is a box of Arduino boards, parts and pieces for tinkering. You get the picture. Pure tech! Justin is also a musician and sound recording guru.
Justin is the Swiss Army Knife of programmers. That’s how we like them. Few web developers (say, five out of a hundred) have the zeal that this guy has.
Delivering Advanced Web Applications is what I Do!
I’ve helped a lot of organizations develop solutions that excel in high-complexity environments to achieve challenging business objectives. Take a look around the Dirigo site and ring me if you think I can help.
Ryan Smith joined Dirigo in the summer of 2013. He was previously the webmaster for Search Engine Land and the SMX conference folks (Danny Sullivan's outfit) and a developer & SEO analyst for Vanessa Fox at Nine by Blue prior to their acquisition by the Rimm Kauffman Group. If you know anything about SEO you'll recognize that this is the big leagues.
Prior to teaming-up with Bruce Clay, David worked with Ryan extensively back in the 2003-2004 period on the Dunkin Donuts national account. As an SEO resource, you cannot do better anywhere on planet earth. As a webmaster, he’s terrific.
Ryan Smith has been a technical SEO consultant and custom SEO tool developer for over a decade, and an expert web developer and web server administrator for almost twenty years.
For clients ranging from mom & pops to the Fortune 100, as well as for many well-known boutique SEO firms, Ryan advises on, produces and executes comprehensive search marketing strategies, performs highly-detailed technical and forensic SEO audits, architects search-optimized and responsive web applications, and consults on issues such as web analytics, usability and conversion optimization, IA migration, IP delivery, web server configuration, hosting migration, bot throttling and filtering, content-scraper detection and all sorts of other highly technical stuff.
He lives with his two small children (two and four) and wife in Scarborough Maine.
Ryan will be presenting next at the PubCon conference in Las Vegas in October 2013. A full review will be posted when we get some time to write it.
We're so lucky to have an SEO resource of this caliber. Not to burst Ryan's bubble, but, Jamie, David and Victoria are all well skilled in the art of SEO. Ryan brings to the table ~20,000 hours of SEO output. He's our undisputed heavyweight.
Great things happen when two agencies join together. Meet CBC-Dirigo.
Frank Drigotas has been with CBC Advertising (previously Creative Broadcast Concepts) for nearly three decades. CBC is an automotive advertising agency that works with some of the most successful retail auto dealers in North America and the Caribbean. In 2012 CBC and Dirigo joined forces on the development of a fully responsive web platform for automotive dealers, plus we offer other integrated digital services: reputation management, social media marketing, paid search marketing (PPC), and search engine optimization (SEO or what we call search marketing integration).
CBC's goal then, and now, was to work with a handful of the world’s most successful automobile retailers. And CBC has succeeded in a big way! They were the first ad agency to join the J.D. Power Automotive Roundtable and they've set many more firsts.
Dirigo began a transition into offline advertising in 2010. The partnership with Frank and Barry Morgan at CBC quickens our pace and provides a deep well into all things offline.
After graduating from Notre Dame, with a BA in American Studies, and returning to Maine, Frank spent a brief period working in other ad agencies. In 1987 he joined Jim Boldebook's team at CBC, as an account executive. Eleven years later he purchased the business from Jim in partnership with Barry.
The agency was founded with a single client: John M. Pulsifer. Pulsifer is known in the auto world as Jolly John. They started CBC together and worked to fine-tune Pulsifer's image. Jolly John was an "ad guy's dream come true" because he was willing to dress up, act like a comedian, and make people laugh. He embraced innovative ideas to sell cars and raised money for charity. Even though John passed away in 2011, he's still a legend in Maine and New Hampshire. Like all good legends, Jolly was backed-up by some mighty fine ad mad men. When it came to selling cars, Jolly John and CBC were a great pair. In the 1980s the team deployed Jolly's flair, with sound branding and aggressive marketing techniques combined with Jolly's keen focus on excellent customer service at the dealership. This changed the face of auto advertising forever and built one of the most successful auto advertising agencies in the USA.
At Dirigo, our early niche —still alive and well today—was direct response interactive Internet marketing. There are some striking similarities between the retail automotive sector and direct response. Both rely on strong branding, varied marketing channels, and consistent marketing messages to reach prospects and convert them to hot leads. The closer between the two is different (in automotive sales, the staff close leads; on a direct response site, the website closes the leads, with support of the call center team) but what's the same is quality Calls to Action (whether text, graphics, intake forms, social, video, etc.) that support the sales conversion process.
Frank resides in Kennebunk where he raised three boys with his wife, Vickie. He spends many Saturdays watching his boys play high school and collegiate soccer and football. And his personal exercise commitment is impressive, between boot camp on the beach and a running schedule. He even ran a couple of marathons, including the Boston Marathon!
If trapped on a deserted island Frank would prefer to have running shoes, his wife, and a transistor radio to listen to Red Sox games. He loves major league baseball (MLB) and its history — back to 1927! His childhood hero — you got it — Carl Yastrzemski. And it's fitting that if he wasn't at CBC, we would want to be the GM of a major league baseball team!
His future goals are simple: to provide opportunities for others at CBC-Dirigo to enjoy as satisfying a career as he had. And that can only happen by making dealer clients successful. We believe that the CBC-Dirigo partnership is well-positioned in the ever-changing and complex world of automotive advertising.
A little more about CBC Advertising: CBC is one of the leading automotive advertising agencies in the United States, servicing over 100 dealer groups in the US, Canada, and the Virgin Islands with 25 full-time employees. Prior to 2012, CBC was primarily involved with radio, television, and print. With the partnership, Dirigo and CBC complement each other. CBC brings to Dirigo in-house television and radio production and 30 years of traditional media experience. Likewise, Dirigo brings to CBC more than 17 years of digital media experience. Moreover, Dirigo brings digital best practices and experiences from outside the auto industry. This brings fresh perspective to a highly insular vertical.
From podcasts to product placements, auto dealers today face more choices than ever before. The Internet plays a big role in selling cars.
Bri Garrett is young, at 23 years of age she has more than a decade of programming experience. She typifies the new Millennial Generation knowledge worker. She was born of the computer era and gravitated toward technology and video games at an early age. She engineered her first website in 1999 during the dot-com boom. She attended a technology High School and went on to earn a BS in Computer Science from the University of West Florida (UFW). In 2008, during college, she joined the university staff as a Sr. Web Applications Engineer and employee of the University I.T. Department. This was not a student position, but, a full-time professional staff position. She was that good! She became the core developer of the Faculty Academic Credential System and the University website.
At UWF Bri was Vice President of the Upsilon Pi Epsilon, the international honor society for computing and information disciplines. She was President of the ArgoForce programming team where she earned an honorable mention from the AITP National Java Programming Competition. The university programming team earned the Division 1 championship under her stewardship.
Her professional interests surround distributed systems and the future of the web environment. She is extremely interested in new web technologies that exist in enterprise web applications such as those seen in companies like Amazon and Google. Her aim is to make the web more efficient, secure and open to all. Prior to joining Dirigo she was courted by Amazon in Seattle Washington. As luck would have it, she wanted to move to, of all places, Maine.
Why Portland Maine vs Seattle Washington? Simple, quality of life! What are the most unexpected cities that are leading the high-tech revolution? Techie.com’s 2013 report puts Portland, home to iconic lighthouses, historic New England architecture, and an active working waterfront port, in the top 10. High-tech development has been democratized by cloud-based resources, sophisticated telcom tools, SaaS, and collaboration tools – these have aided to the net outmigration from traditional tech centers. For application development and graphics art, Portland has steadily grown since 1999. We have a vibrant tech community that rivals cities 10x our size. We are leading innovative change and market disruption.
She has a love affair with technology and possesses a proven ability to develop and execute marketing solutions that provide superior ROI. For Bri, design and programming are tools used to create competitive advantage and change. She is more than a programmer - she knows that there is no viable digital strategy that isn’t integrated into the larger brand and business strategy. When a gifted programmer understands that differentiation is one of the most powerful attributes a brand can possess in the fight for consumer attention and loyalty, powerful things can be achieved. She’s rarely 100% satisfied. The resulting behavior is a never-ending cycle of learning how to develop solutions that are better, faster, open, and easier to scale.
I Love My Clients and They Love Me Back
I’ve helped a lot of small businesses, large corporations, and non-profits and would love to help you too. Where you live doesn’t matter — 2/3 of our clients are from away. We can help regardless of where you live. Take a look around our site and ring me if you think I can help.
Jamie Ippolito has been in the marketing, public relations, and technology/systems space for more than 14 years. He’s part manager, programmer, and marketer. In this field, anyone who can build a single functioning website tends to crown himself a "web developer." It’s not so difficult to learn how to build a website. True art is running the gauntlet of technology and loving it. What does it take to generate $32MM in online revenue from 170,000 customers? Can you oversee, design, and implement a five-year technology roadmap enabling rapid deployment of new customer acquisition functionality? Have you built a world class catalog, brand and e-commerce site on a skinny $5MM budget? Can you manage digital marketing strategies and programs, PPC, SEO, reputation, e-mail, social media, security, distribution centers, data warehousing, reporting, analytics (and the list keeps going) ... with mastery of about 75 other disciplines? This is Jamie.
His strengths include:
Prior to joining Dirigo in the fall 2012, Jamie spent five years as Director of Technology at FetchDog.com. Prior to that, he spent five years as the Manager of Interactive Services at American Skiing Company where he oversaw $20MM in e-commerce sales. From 2000 to 2003 he was the Online Marketing Manager for Sunday River where he oversaw $2MM in e-commerce revenue.
Jamie is a graduate of Carabassett Valley Academy — a private middle/high school at Sugarloaf Mountain — offering a unique balance of college preparatory academics and competitive ski and snowboard training. It should be no surprise that his favorite vertical is the ski and resort sector. If you love what you do it’s not work. That’s why Dirigo builds website solutions for ski resorts.
Jamie is a Mainer—he grew up in Rumford and moved back to the Carrabassett Valley (Maine ski heaven) after earning a BA in English from Bates College. He was always interested in technology and naturally gravitated to the Internet during the dot-com bubble. Back in the day he was an overclocker: one of those guys jacking-up his Pentium 120 to run at 150 (water cooling his processor). It was all in a quest to Duke Nukem faster. He still likes the games but like many with a wife and two young children, has joined the ranks of the responsible and accountable.
At Dirigo, Jamie combines his past experiences with strategy and technology while interfacing with clients on branding, e-commerce, m-commerce, e-mail communications, and digital advertising projects. His first task at Dirigo was to rebuild our e-mail service provider (ESP) platform. Two-thirds of ESPs deploy the very same platform we use. Jamie put Dirigo into the same class as Responsys, Lyris, ExactTarget, EmailVision, Silverpop, CheetahMail, MailChimp, and many more during his first 100 days. Jamie set his sights on building turn-key responsive (RWD) interactive solutions for the hospitality and auto verticals. He has taken a place alongside David Addison and Victoria Kuhn as a rainmaker for his client-set.
Jamie is a natural collaborator, a high-impact leader, and an expert at facilitating common ground and consensus agreement among diverse stakeholders. He has a strong talent for helping business groups frame critical business issues, identify and evaluate practical solutions, and establish clear goals that achieve extraordinary results. Jamie is especially adept at working with senior business leaders who need to quickly reach consensus on a clear digital strategy, and then transition to action to meet the demands of fast-changing markets.
There is Just no Substitute for Experience
Knowing how to effectively sell online requires a level of expertise that only comes from years of working in this field. You've found a team who will work intelligently month in and month out to meet your needs.E-mail me or ring 207.358.2981 to start the conversation about your online needs or digital project.
Victoria brings almost 20 years of strategy, marketing, brand positioning, facilitating groups, and research experience to her role with Strategy, Media & Content at Dirigo Design & Development, Inc. She leads our social marketing (including Facebook and Twitter), SEO, SEM/PPC, blog, content generation, and competitive intelligence teams. What makes Victoria’s work special to her clients is her ability to integrate diverse strategy, branding, product, and marketing campaigns with a focus on return on investment (ROI). Early on, she built her career around offline channels like radio, broadcast and network TV, local print, and—wait for it—regional and national newspapers and magazines. She’s as comfortable with old media as new. Most clients need both.
Her battle stance mental state is like “being a quarterback, running with the ball, rarely turning back to question her own defense and looking for holes in the other team’s line.” Full-on takeover! The other team loses! On the Enneagram test, Victoria scores high as an eight (the Driver) and a three (the Performer). She’s a high achiever who identifies strongly with the American popular image of youth, energy, and competitiveness.
On the personal side, her twin eight-year-old children keep her and her husband on the go. She can be found making cookies, running through the sprinklers in the backyard (summer, of course), or at Crescent Beach building sand castles or damming up the little stream. Her love of baseball dictates her favorite color, orange—the San Francisco Giants shade. She spent a few years as the official scorekeeper in the Giants minor league baseball farm system. Her heroes include Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Jackie Robinson, and a local favorite from where she was raised, Dick Selma (and her Dad, who like her was a scorekeeper and taught her the scorekeeping ropes).
Networking throughout the Maine business and non-profit communities, Victoria is a key player in helping her clients to develop new opportunities. She creates boutique-to-comprehensive marketing and product strategies, including Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter, which target clients’ strengths and competitors’ weaknesses. Her tools include primary and secondary market research, one-on-one interviews, SEO, SEM/PPC, content drafting (including blog), group facilitation, SWOT analysis, the PEST framework, competitive intelligence, and Hitwise, to name a few.
But is she a geek? She definitely programmed a calculator in math class. To this day she indexes and catalogues everything, often takes notes in more than one color, and adores jigsaw puzzles. But, she never played Dungeons and Dragons, is not into video games, and loathes science fiction films. She reads Google patents, voices her opinions on the Webmasterword, TechCrunch, and Mashable forums, and can run circles around most marketers and interactive folks. She’s a conundrum—in her own class.
Prior to joining Dirigo, Victoria spent 13 years at Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield (including the ol’ Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maine) in roles such as Marketing Director, Chief of State to the General Manager, Plan Strategist, Senior Project Manager, and Senior Competitive Intelligence Analyst. Prior work experiences include Director of Market Research for a Maine research firm and several years spent at Farm Bureau Financial Services in marketing.
She is committed to her adopted state of Maine, serving on the volunteer boards for the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine and Piper Shores. Victoria is also a member of Maine Medical Center’s Board Performance Improvement Committee representing patients and families and their experiences at the hospital, and she also serves as a member of the Advisory and Health Care Sub-Committees for the Maine Development Foundation/Leadership Maine. She was named an honorary board member at Community Dental in 2007 after actively serving on the CD board for a number of years. Previously, she was a Loaned Executive at the United Way of Greater Portland and a member of the Community Advisory Committee at the Maine Health Access Foundation (and member of Board-level Grants Committee). She is a proud member of the Kappa Class (2003) of Leadership Maine—go Kappa!
Asked about the future of the Internet or a snazzy term like Web 3.0, Victoria offers an ambitious response: responsive and predominantly mobile, aggregated, portable, and filtered with artificially intelligent algorithms tailoring semantic search results divining by a searcher’s intent and the contextual meaning—full integration of social, video, geo-targeting, mobile, a touch of the cloud and conscience arising from social relationships (something Adam Smith wrote about in The Theory of Moral Sentiments in 1759 …).
Victoria professes that she cannot live without her iPhone Notes app—“it’s the simplicity that I appreciate.” If one of the developers here at the office could program her, she would choose to be a “Wii yoga program.” Yoga and meditation keep her grounded and focused (still a work in progress).
In addition to her collegiate experiences, there’s alphabet soup behind her name (she’s a Fellow in two institutes plus she has two other certificates). Victoria is a lifelong learner, committed to keeping abreast of trends, emerging business opportunities, and subjects of interest to her. She reads gads of professional blogs and e-bulletin boards. What’s the book on her nightstand at the writing of this bio? Tao of Twitter. Victoria’s favorite professional books include The Hero and the Outlaw, The Art of War, The Servant, Conscious Golf, and The Four Agreements.
Connect With Dirigo Design & Development and Connect With Your Goals
Achieving success in your business isn't just about your organization's products and services. And it's much more than your organization's brand and its leadership team. Dirigo is an experienced integrative marketing organization that achieves goals. If your organization wants to generate more, call Victoria Kuhn at 207-358-2990. We're here to help you connect with your customers and grow your organization.
Jessie is an accomplished print and interactive designer with more than 14 years of real-world experience. As creative director at Dirigo, she rules the roost in creative Web design, brand positioning, logo development, and print collateral. She uses her past experiences in art, design, and production at Bangor Metro and Maine Home+Design to our clients' advantage. Way back, she worked for five years as a Web developer.
Jessie is a chameleon, a jack of all trades, a diverse thinker able to adeptly pivot and change her spots. Visually, she’s a really lush neon green super sophisticated lizard that becomes another color when she wants (maybe eggplant or paprika red).
When I asked Jessie’s favorite color, she said that the question was akin to having to select a favorite child (and that’s hard). She doesn’t have any two-legged children though her favorite child is a four-legged border collie named Two-Bit. A great Machiavelli in her own right, Two-Bit is super sweet and loves attention (and rules as the office dog). Hey, she never answered the color question…
In Jess’s spare time, she is an avid brunch eater, consumer (and maker!) of fermented foods and beverages, and wishes that her mind would make itself up. While chameleons are omnivores, Jessie is a vegetarian though she has the occasional weak moment and wants to eat steak tartare!
As a Mainer, she’s from one of the sweetest parts of Maine: Dover-Foxcroft in Piscataquis County, graduating from Dover-Foxcroft Academy. She grew up with two sisters, a younger brother, a dog, a cat and a bird. She left the big town of D-F for Orono to attend University of Maine. In 2005 she graduated with a bachelor's degree in new media and minors in studio art and computer science. At UMaine she learned and honed her design, printing, and artistry—and while she says, “I’m not a programmer now,” she represents the rare breed that transcends design and interactive marketing. In college she programmed in Visual Basic, C++, and VB.NET. While these programming languages may be from yesterday, they give her perspective untypical of a creative designer-brand steward extraordinaire.
She is a proud member of the Me generation, not selfish, but aware of herself and being herself. Jessie is a social beast. She frequents Facebook, Flickr, Bnter, Twitter, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Gowalla, AboutMe, and Tumblr. Jessie uses technology, even when she sleeps. She wants to be invisible, fly or shape-shift. For style, it’s Lady Gaga and David Bowie smashed into a glamorous, beautiful hybrid. She’s not binary, frequenting both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. When I asked where Jessie wants to travel, she said, “all the countries” very matter of factly… or worldwide club hopping. Like any good agency pro, she’s able to adapt to changes in deadlines and changes in the nature of assignments. Jessie can always be depended upon to meet or beat deadlines and brings enthusiasm and energy to her projects.
Connect With Dirigo Design & Development and Connect With Your Marketing Goals
Achieving success in your business isn't just about your organization's products and services. And it's much more than your organization's brand and its leadership team. Dirigo is an experienced integrative marketing organization that achieves goals. If your organization wants to generate more, call Victoria Kuhn at 207.358.2990. We're here to help you connect with your customers and grow your organization.
Barry Morgan graduated from the University of Maine in 1979. After moving to Portland, Barry teamed up with Sunshine Broadcasting and launched his career in radio advertising. For a short period he was a partner in a regional newspaper until he joined CBC Advertising (previously Creative Broadcast Concepts). Ten years after joining CBC, Barry became CEO of the agency (and entered into a partnership with Frank Drigotas, both purchasing it from Jim Boldebook). In 2012 Barry's CBC partnered with Victoria Kuhn and Dirigo to build a truly responsive advertising platform (you can read more about web development, responsive design, and execution).
Dirigo has a strong automotive customer base and a robust set of direct response advertising and lead generation clients. Direct response and lead generation marketing and the automotive sector share many traits. At the end of the day, it all comes down to results. Can you get results? Can you sell cars and trucks, software, health products, seeds? Well, both CBC and Dirigo can sell and service our clients too! And having a diverse customer set turns out to be a strength.
After more than 2,500 hours, in the summer 2013, we launched Faulkner Hyundai on the new platform. The CBC-Faulkner relationship started in 1993 with one radio ad and now more than two decades later, it has developed into a robust partnership that has delivered impressive results and helped solidify two of the most trusted names in the automotive industry. The Faulkner Organization is one of the largest automotive dealerships in the US with almost a billion dollars in annual sales and close to 1,000 employees. Mike Rocci's Philadelphia Hyundai site (and the Faulkner Organization) was the perfect alpha client for the new platform.
A little more about CBC Advertising: CBC is one of the leading automotive advertising agencies, servicing more than 100 dealer groups in North America and the Caribbean. They also happen to be one of Maine's largest specialty ad agencies. With the addition of Dirigo, it now has full mastery of both digital and offline marketing. The two firms complement each other. CBC brings to Dirigo in-house television and radio production. Likewise, Dirigo brings to CBC a deeper interactive skill set.
Entering the auto platform space is brave. The market is dominated by an old establishment: ADP's Cobalt Group, Reynolds and Reynolds, VinSolutions, and Dominion Enterprises—each with hundreds, and some with thousands, of employees.
Knock, knock. We're here to play in digital/web automotive market, come talk to us. We think that we can do better!
Matthew Small works on the Strategy, Media & Content side of the Dirigo house. He manages scads of search engine marketing campaigns (SEM), online reputation management programs, social media engagements, and e-mail sending strategies. He is a master of Bing Ads, Google Adwords/AdSense, Google Merchant Circle, Facebook Ads, and DoubleClick for Publishers. We use Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, and our own proprietary analytics system to manage campaigns and budgets.
With his primary focus being to increase visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs), Matt whips-up his magic through various optimizations—on-page and off-page—plus paid placements (PPC), contextual advertising, remarketing campaigns, dynamic auto ads, pay-per-call, and paid inclusion. He’s responsible for on-page search engine optimization (SEO) or what we call search marketing integration: that is, Matt adjusts and rewrites web content to achieve higher rankings in SERPs plus he recommends new landing pages to provide a better user experience and higher paid search quality scores too.
Matt also partakes in social media marketing or the process of gaining traffic through social channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Day in and day out Matt is centered on creating and curating content that attracts attention and encourages engagement. And because our clients need full-service marketing services, Matt also buys and manages offline print campaigns and participates in video and photo shoots. He also supports e-mail marketing, HTML markup, and SQL data. Prior to joining Dirigo Matt worked for TripAdvisor in Boston on various projects to thwart reputation SPAM. Prior to TripAdvisor he worked in the financial services sector where he performed due diligence on financial analysis, market research, and field reports. At Dirigo, Matt’s largest verticals are the automotive and health sectors.
Matt graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics with a minor in information technology from University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He’s an avid skier. As a member of the alpine ski team at UMass he helped secure the 2008 USCSA National Championship. He’s a giant slalom guy and we’re glad he’s on the Dirigo team (and our ski team too).
At Dirigo, we’re all about SMART (specific, measureable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) goals and prioritize them accordingly. This is where his economics degree comes in handy: SEO, PPC, reputation, and social media are all about metrics and analytics.
Matt doesn’t believe in SEO games—that is outright manipulation of the engines to achieve high rankings. His primarily focus has always been on serving consumers via long-term strategies. The days of SEO as a distinct, independent discipline are over. SEO/SEM has become a more creative, diverse, and challenging profession. Consumers and search engines want quality content, engagement and dialogue, and social proof of a brands’ existence. Matt is fixated on the integration of best practices. He likes to say: “if we serve end-users and produce and curate high quality content, good results follow.” He’s dead on!
Marketing is Easy... it's Doing it Right that's the Hard Part
No matter what stage your business is in, we can help by providing you with strategy, development creative, search engine marketing, copywriting, social media solutions and much more. Connect with Dirigo and connect with your goals. Call us today at 207.291.2990
Derek joined Dirigo in the October 2013 after three years with Sugarloaf Mountain as their full-time in-house ASP.NET & PHP web developer. Sugarloaf sits atop an Ingeniux CMS installation—an enterprise content managment solution that he installed and integrated. Earlier, Derek was the primary developer for the Stein Eriksen Lodge and the Chateaux reservation booking widgets, their marketing retarget systems, and general webmaster duties. At Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Derek rolled out a homespun PHP-based CMS system during their last major redesign. From 2000 to 2013 he freelanced, primarily developing smaller sites with Wordpress and other CMS systems, custom Tumbler themes, and single page web apps using Node.js, Express.js and Backbone.
Like most of the Dirigo team, Derek is full stack developer—meaning that he is as strong on the front-end as he is on the back-end. He is particularly strong such that there is no hindrance of speed or quality in either area.
The future of website development is to create a website without the web developer. I'm part of that moment. My role, always, is to think, problem solve and conceptualize—translating ideas into working things. I respect the tasks that clients want to do themselves, and I’m here to offer expert advice and provide technical expertise as needed. I'm here at Dirigo building business systems and platforms that will reshape our industry. Change is coming!
Work with Dirigo
I would be happy to share with you my experiences and to help the right client grow its online business. Drop me a note and I'll be in touch with you as soon as possible.
Gerry is a renaissance man, a modern day polymath, a chameleon of sorts with an undergraduate degree in theatre plus minors in business and music. He graduated with a MS in Computer Science in the fall of 2012—that’s the ticket for Dirigo. We eat-up computer science majors. They have excellent critical thinking skills and the ability to see the steps needed to implement a design that functions well for the user’s experience.
Gerry programs in ASP.NET, J2EE, C#, C, Pearl, Spec#, jQuery, AJAX, and SQL. He is being apprenticed by our senior software developers as he follows that long and winding dark road on his way to becoming a master himself. Becoming a brilliant developer here at Dirigo is akin to studying Wing Chun under the tutelage of Yip Man (look it up). This is an industry where practice, repetition, and access to challenging works count. It takes at least five years to become a fully self sufficient developer.
Developers need to be more than code-generating machines. We expect more of our digital life and these Gerry-type guys. Coding don't cut it anymore! The key to being a great web developer is not the technologies, but the best practices that you follow. Technologies come and go. Best practices mostly remain—albeit they evolve slowly. As a developer, if you have a good grounding you can change with the times and technologies without difficulty. The Dirigo way is to instill best practices. Gerry is soaking up lots of marketing strategy. He often asks “why?” This is the most important question a developer can ask. The development cycle is a two-way conversation. Gerry can only advise clients produce the right solution if he’s thinking about the "bigger picture."
Gerry has taken over our Flash ActionScripting activities and our video streaming servers. He is a master of the Entity Framework Code First and modal-view-controller (MVC) approaches. In addition, Gerry works with the ADXStudio, Dirigo Edge, and WordPress content management systems.
Gerry’s interest in computer science stems from a desire to design and develop new software that is not only practical but user friendly. Just as users are not developers, developers are not users (we know, how profound!). The only way to achieve user-developer merriment is to work with users throughout the conceptualization, creative design, and goal of the digital brand process—and incorporate feedback throughout with best practices to provide the best user experience possible. While a coder, Gerry brings a balance of critical thinking, creativity, logic, and fun to our clients.
During the interview process, we asked Gerry if he knew he was going to be trapped on a desert island what three things would he bring. You know, one of those pesky interview questions. “First of all, I would thank the ship’s captain for allowing me to bring three things.” Umm, we thought this was an interesting response, and then he said: “A 500-gallon tank of gas, a chainsaw for clearing out trees, and a helicopter for getting home.” Pragmatic and a nice outside the box answer. Most folks bring stuff like a satellite phone, a bottle of Jack and Coke, and a Swiss army knife. What he conveyed well was imagination and resourcefulness: two critical qualities at Dirigo and a strength of Gerry’s.
In Gerry’s spare time, he is very much involved with theatre. He dances, acts, directs and is on the board of a local dance company, Vivid Motion.
Educated, Experienced, Knowledgeable and Creative
We are fresh thinkers. Conceptual thinkers. Out of the box thinkers. We are leaders in our industry because we never forget to be students of it. We are a consulting-centered botique agency engineered to transform marketing in the connected world. Give us a call, and let's talk about how we can put Dirigo to work for you.