Hollis is a highly-driven subject matter expert and thought leader with a thirst for knowledge, an unbridled sense of curiosity and a passion to deliver unbiased, simplified information and advice so businesses can make better decisions about how to spend their dollars and resources.
Hi, I’m Hollis. Thanks for stopping to learn, share and communicate.
When it comes to digital advertising and marketing, I’ve been around the block a while. In 1998, after 10 years working in various aspects of traditional marketing, sales, PR and publishing, I founded my first company, Web Ad.vantage. My original premise was to produce co-op, shared-cost print ads to help online businesses promote themselves in the off-line world. Very quickly, I learned the laws of supply and demand. The prospects I spoke to didn’t want off-line advertising, they wanted online help with things like email marketing, buying banners and site linking/online PR. So pretty darn quickly I went from brokering advertising to providing professional services!
In order to learn and employ my craft, I had to go online and “just do.” Back in those days there weren’t any degrees in digital marketing or e-business. Few books existed. Mostly, it was peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and tons and tons of online reading and practicing. As I absorbed all this information, I decided I’d put it to good use. Tapping into my writing skills, I began publishing a weekly email newsletter which quickly became syndicated through some pretty well-regarded publishers (eMarketer, Ziff-Davis). I also began being asked to contribute independent pieces to trade publications and news journals, and before long I was also on stage presenting on various aspects of “Internet marketing and advertising,” as we called it before the words “online” or “digital” were used.
By 2005, I had a regular column with the online publication ClickZ in which I wrote about digital media planning and buying. In 2010, I authored the book, “Twitter Marketing: An Hour a Day” published by Wiley & Sons. In 2011, I also began the Digital Entrepreneur column on Inc.com.
My journey as an entrepreneur led to many awards and accolades, which are listed on my LinkedIn profile, but my journey is far from over. Obviously, since those early days of the “Wild, Wild West” much has evolved and change comes at an ever more rapid pace. At the forefront of “what’s new” is the place where I belong and feel most comfortable in is because to me, that’s where I’ve always had to live in this business. I like learning for learning’s sake and then helping others understand what I’ve learned by translating it, advising upon it, guiding decisions and connecting people to help them in this process. These are the skills I also bring to my business relationships.
Prior to my digital adventures, I had a 10-year career in the food industry, which corresponded well with my passions for fitness, outdoor activities, gastronomy and enology (hence the fitness), the Travel Channel (I travel to eat and drink), and an undeterred aversion to squirrels (more about that only if you ask).
I’m a graduate of Cornell University with a BA in Social Relations, a tiny interdisciplinary study combining Social Psychology, Anthropology and Social Psychology, and a Concentration in Communication Arts. I think it helped set the foundation for me to better understand how to observe people and know what makes them tick. What, after all, is marketing if not the ability to motivate, influence and sway people’s mindsets?