We’ve had great response to our Meet the Bloggers series. This month we venture into the digital world to find our latest victim, Interactive Services Director, Jeff Schaefer. My coworker, Erin Doherty, and I recently sat down with Jeff, who also just so happens to be our boss, to get to know him better. While Jeff has been here for a little over six months, we wanted to learn a bit more about his past, love for everything interactive and most importantly, affinity for good beer.
ED: How did you get started in this business?
JS: Kind of by accident. I was a Buffalo ex-pat working in athletics media relations looking to get back to the area when the guys at clevermethod, a local web agency, gave me my start in digital marketing and brought me back to Buffalo. What they taught me and the experiences I had there provided the ideal foundation for my position at SKM. I’ve been able to marry my digital knowledge, sales experience and PR background into our interactive department.
ED: What is it about SEO, QR codes and email campaigns that you enjoy?
JS: Whether you’re looking to generate leads or selling a product, these tactics are a cost-effective way to produce measurable ROI for your business. When properly executed, SEO, QR codes, email and other interactive marketing initiatives provide a sales force with tools that increase exposure within the target market.
ED: What are some of your favorite tools or programs that we use in our department? Why do you enjoy using them?
JS: The tool that I enjoy using the most is Google Analytics. The wealth of information and data that you can get from looking at the analytics, tracking campaigns and conversions is incredible. That data, usually pulled close to real-time, is a dream for marketers and provides us with quantifiable results for our interactive initiatives. I also love it because at heart I’m a stats guy. I love sports, I love crunching the numbers and looking for trends. Google Analytics is like analyzing the back of a baseball card when I was a kid.
ED: No surprise there. Every time I walk past your office, GA is on one of your two monitors.
LC: What is the best part of your job?
JS: The people. The people that I get to work with and that we work for each day. They challenge me to constantly learn new things about our business and search for new and creative ways to market our clients.
LC: Can’t argue that.
LC: What is your favorite interactive campaign/website and why?
JS: One of my favorite interactive experiences recently is actually an iPad app. The Contre Jour game by developer Chillingo is a visual, audio and physical experience that is great for kids and adults alike. I enjoyed listening while my children played the game, the soundtrack was worth the purchase price alone, and the graphics and clever puzzles make the app a truly unique gaming experience.
LC: If you had to choose a different career path, what would it be? Or when you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
JS: Like a lot of boys, I wanted to be a baseball player, a dream I held on to much too tightly for too long. But who wouldn’t want to play a kid’s game for a living? I was a catcher and my favorite player growing up was Gary Carter, who played the game with the joy and energy of a kid, which was why I had a pang of heartache for my own youth when he passed away at too young an age a few months ago. We all should hold dear those bright, summer days of our youth when everything seemed within our reach, even the major leagues.
ED: If you had one wish, what would it be and why?
JS: This is going to sound really sappy, but I wish I could spend a few more minutes with each of my grandparents. One I never knew, one was gone too soon, another was crippled by dementia and just when I was really starting to appreciate how little precious time was left, the last was gone, too. There are so many things I would like to ask them, to know more about their life, childhood and what their grandparents were like, and to get one more hug.
ED: How do you think your kids would describe you?
JS: Depends who you ask. One would probably say tall, another would likely say bald and the third would call me a thorn in the side, but in slightly more colorful language, referencing a different body part. But hopefully they’d all say a loving Daddy that makes them laugh and makes good pancakes (see below).
ED: What is your favorite activity to do outside of the office?
JS: Two things outside of family activities… I’m an avid reader and I love to fish. Two great ways to relax and unwind. I always have at least two books going, one fiction and one non-fiction and there isn’t much that beats a few hours wetting a line.
LC: We hear you really like beer. What is your favorite kind?
JS: I’ve been on an IPA kick recently. I enjoy hoppy beers like the Dogfish Head IPA series, Ithaca Brewing’s Flower Power IPA, the Southern Tier 2x IPA, the Torpedo from Sierra Nevada, Great Lakes Brewing’s Commodore Perry IPA and the Imperial IPA from Saranac. However, not that long ago I had a tall boy of Breckenridge Brewery’s 471 Small Batch Double IPA and it was fabulous.
LC: Do you like to travel? If so, where is your favorite place you’ve been thus far?
JS: I’m not much of a traveler for fun. In my prior career I travelled for my job – a lot – and can lay claim to having been in 36 of the 50 states, mostly on somebody else’s dime. My favorite place, is the same place I’ve been going to for more than 30 years in a tranquil little corner of Algonquin Park in Ontario. I won’t tell you where, though, we don’t need the secret getting out.
LC: What is your favorite movie?
JS: Easiest question on this list. Raiders of the Lost Ark.
LC: Do you have a hidden talent? If so, please explain.
JS: I’m good at puzzles. During my college days when I had time to burn between nights at the bar, I could solve the Rubik’s Cube in under a minute.
LC: What is your favorite thing to cook?
JS: Breakfast. I live for Saturday and Sunday mornings making my kids pancakes, waffles, eggs and bacon. They just love bacon. My kids are so smart… mmm, bacon. Say did you have breakfast yet?