Blog: Chad Wiebesick

Does Ann Arbor have its own Mad Men culture? Chad Wiebesick says yes. As the Interactive Strategy Director at Perich Advertising + Design and president of the Ann Arbor Ad Club he probably knows what he's talking about. Guess what he'll be writing about in this week's guest blog?

Chad Wiebesick - Post No 1: Advertising & Marketing In A2

Ashlynn McGill of Steve’s Custom Signs is new to the Ann Arbor marketing community. Like many of us, she wants to grow her business and her career. In addition to being socially adept, Ashlynn is also smart – she accelerated from zero to one-hundred by getting involved in local networking groups. Only a few months into Ann Arbor, she quickly landed a client while networking at a professional organization, the Ann Arbor Ad Club. She is one of hundreds of local marketers accelerating their career by joining professional marketing groups.

In this regular series, we will reflect upon the trials and triumphs of the local marketing industry as we weather the economic storm. We’ll dive into what it means to be a marketing communications professional in our area, reveling in the glitz and glamour of Mad Men themed advertising award shows, to caving under the crushing blow of hearing widely-known ad agency BBDO closing its Detroit office and laying off hundreds of employees. We won’t focus on sob stories. We’ll feature success stories. We’ll celebrate the unsung heroes in our marketing community that are growing their business, prospering in pessimistic times, and making a difference. We believe the darkest nights are when the stars shine brightest.

In spite of these tumultuous times, the Ann Arbor marketing community is surviving. Perhaps tepidly thriving. For someone new to the field looking to break in, or a seasoned professional looking to network, Ann Arbor offers nearly a half-dozen marketing professional organizations dedicated to helping marketing communication professionals grow their career and their business.

Derek Mehraban, CEO of Ingenex, launched the networking group LA2M just two years ago. LA2M, which stands for Lunch Ann Arbor Marketing, has grown from a few dozen attendees to attracting well-over 60 people – each week. heralded LA2M as a “Rising” organization in their “Rise and Fall” barometer.

Ann Arbor SPARK – a non-profit business incubator – hosts a monthly marketing series titled Marketing Roundtable. Run by leaders of some of the best local marketing agencies in town, Marketing Roundtable is a staple resource for Ann Arbor’s growing start-up business scene. Spearheaded by Sean Hickey of PWB Marketing Communications, monthly programs consists of a moderator and panelists who make brief presentations about various marketing topics, such as how to build an effective marketing plan, naming your company or product, marketing strategies for start-ups, etc.

If anyone has any doubt on the popularity of social networking – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. – consider the following facts: Three-quarters of all Americans use social technology. Visiting social sites is now the 4th most popular online activity, ahead of personal email. And if Facebook were a country, it’d be the 8th most populated in the world (ahead of Japan). Jessica Soulliere, Social Media Communications Coordinator for University of Michigan’s Health System, is keenly aware of the prolific growth of social media usage amongst individuals and businesses. Earlier this year she started a professional organization for social media marketers – the Social Media Club of Ann Arbor. The organization is off with astonishing success with over 200 Facebook Fans.

The Ann Arbor Ad Club is the longest-running marketing organization in the county – soon celebrating two decades of dedicated service and hosting the city’s perennial favorite awards show for the best in advertising and marketing. Called the ADDY Awards show, it’s affectionately referred to as the Academy Awards of Ann Arbor advertising. Winners from Ann Arbor’s local competition go on to compete at the national level. Event attendance to monthly events has doubled this year.

Feel free to contact me at if you’d like to get introduced to any of these networking groups and professional associations.  These are just a handful of the many resources available for local marketing professionals. If you found this article informative or have additional thoughts to share, please drop me a line. I welcome your feedback.