Alec entered digital marketing in 1996. One of the boldest engagements he worked on was one of the first monster eCommerce sites, launched in 1998 and highlighted in Cisco’s annual report that year. He was subsequently on the team that helped establish a global presence for MSN and rebranding for a major bank. He joined Blast Radius for a number of years on some of the biggest brands in the world, including Nike, Starbucks and BMW. A desire to make a real difference pushed him to join Klick Health, where he heads up our Sales and Client Services teams.
Why are you passionate about health and wellness?
I used to weigh 250 lbs and now I’m 190 lbs. I owe a personal epiphany while working at Klick. I was presenting to a Hypertension team and we were discussing a persona of a male site visitor that would be a likely candidate for their product. After the working session a realized that I was describing myself. I was 38 at the time – obviously overweight, had high cholesterol, high blood pressure. I went home that night and cleaned out the fridge and cupboards of everything bad. I put on a Fitbit and started tracking everything I ate and my activity and my sleep. Four months later my body had effectively rebooted.
It’s clear to most of us what we need to do to stay healthy but not until I saw all the data come together on one screen did I see the sense of urgency. I’ve been in digital marketing for 15 years and I’ve always understood data and its power. But harnessing data to change behavior that can result in healthy outcomes versus ecommerce transactions is way more meaningful to me now. I have 3 kids and I know I’ll see them grow up whereas before it would have been a miracle to see 50.
The work I’ve done in every other vertical was interesting but not overly rewarding in the sense that I wasn’t really making a difference. I watched all of parents’ generation start to get sick and die and at that time joined Klick to gain a deeper access to Health and Wellness companies to gain a better understanding of how this could work better. I used to think that Pharmaceutical companies were evil but all of my clients have personal stories as to why they joined these companies that are directly linked to conditions that threatened their loved ones. I now have a clearer understanding of what passion for work can really mean.
What excites you about technology and its role in healthcare?
I studied Mechanical Engineering in school; during that time I studied math and science to a fairly deep level. When I got out of school I assumed that everyone else had had a similar experience to me. Scientists studied their discipline of science for years. Commerce students studied financial mathematics for years. I believed that each person in their profession was a well trained expert. What I came to learn however was that companies are generally good at a couple of things and suck at everything else. Car companies may make great cars but are terrible marketers or alternatively they make terrible cars but run financial services very well. More often than not I found companies that made things very well didn’t market them well at all. Those that were aware of this leaned on their agencies heavily. Those agencies did what they believed to be the right thing very well; I think what they did worked for a long time but I know that is no longer the case.
I used to believe that an intimate understanding of technology was going to level the playing field but it’s not. It’s shifting power from those that don’t understand it to those that do and more importantly know how to leverage it. I’m always excited about the fact that technology can be developed to compensate for people’s lack of understanding of math and analytic thinking and help them make rationale decisions on how to market their products better. I remember a time when I met with Blockbuster in Texas and they laughed about Netflix. Two years later they were gone and Netflix was the household name. Then Netflix ignored their data and made a decision to satisfy shareholders and in the blink of an eye lost 800,000 customers. It’s a really exciting time to be here and technology is inventing new rules or reminding us of old ones each day.
What are your passions outside of work?
Zero carbon footprint at home, home automation, carpentry, and bounty hunting.