Be Different Or Don’t Bother


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Founder of Spike Advertising Inc. Ken Millman

“Be different or don’t bother”-Ken Millman

Ken Milman a man of all trades in the marketing profession. He currently is the founder of Spike Advertising Inc. which is an advertising agency based out of Burlington, VT. Ken is the only employee at his company currently and at once he had 15 employees working underneath him. Ken is a type of guy that wants to shake up the pot and he truly embraces this type of change. Ken stated that he has about a three year life span on anything he does, and because he is always trying to find ways to change as an individual and an organization for the better. Ken looked at the data and found out that 80% of the time with a full staff he was simply doing work to run the business, but Ken honestly just wanted to work with clients 100% of the time, so Ken decided to go lean and strip down to the one man team of Ken Millman after over 15 years of Ken running Spike Advertising. Ken also has worked for medium-sized companies before Spike in San Francisco, Reno, and Ottawa. Ken attended Carleton University located in capital of the Quebec province in Ottawa, Canada and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications & Law. Ken participates in marketing strategy, creative, writing, producing, and project management for Spike Advertising. Ken also leads workshops on self-branding and has taught Marketing at Champlain College.

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Ken expressed to the class that advertising is a particularly interesting industry to observe trends because some aspects of advertising have change zero percent since the dot com boom, whereas in other ways advertising has changed monumentally. Ken told our class that in order to stay relevant in the advertising world, an organization needs to focus on developing content that is full of diversity. Ken made a point to also tell the class that technology is on an upward projection and that the pace of technology has completely changed the last few years with the rise of the social media platform phenomena and this has created mass confusion for lots of professionals working in the marketing and advertising field that have not adapted with the pace of technology.


In order to stand out to an employee Ken suggested that if you can focus on the things that have never changed in advertising ranging from concept design, concept plans, good writing, smart thinking, and being able to speak to the right audience are what could really make you indispensable to a company when you jump aboard the employment train. I love how Ken brought up to the class that he thinks nowadays there is new breed of marketing and advertising professionals who are master-bating with all this data, but is it really accomplishing anything with the usage of all of these new analytics and metrics? I thought he brought up a valid point of emphasizing on how being creative in strategy is the most important first step when working in the advertising and marketing industry.

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I was really fond of Ken’s perspective on how he makes sense of the relationships with his clients, and a quote that really stuck with me was when he stated that, “The day you start getting the account, is the day you also lose the account”, Ken is explaining that no client relationship is easy and that eventually all good things may come to an end, but it helps to diversify the types of client relationships that you do have. I also really enjoyed how Ken made a point to emphasize how important soft skills are from the first interview to your first day starting your new career. Ken also stated that no way will artificial intelligence in our lifetimes trump the soft skills that we possess. Employers will always need employees that can listen, follow up, do favors, and being able to fix things when they go to shit. These soft skills will grab the attention from employers as a rookie and this is huge if you are just starting a new job. Never let your soft skills get hidden behind the resumes and cover letters and anything you can do to be more authentic and treat yourself like a brand will do wonders for your career in the long-run.

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Marketing is truly about relationships on all levels, and with Ken working at an agency of only one, the relationships that he formulates with his clients and the people that Ken may outsource too make all the difference in if Ken can stay successful in the marketing and advertising environment.


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