Ayanna Thompson

Marketsmith’s “Amazing Journey” Contest Aimed at Keeping & Attracting Employees

Cedar Knolls-based marketing agency Marketsmith decided that it needed to do more to attract and retain the top talent that makes it the marketing leader it has worked hard to become.

The company, ranked by Inc. Magazine as the #1 Woman-Led Company in the New York metropolitan area (and #5 nationwide), announced in June 2016 that it was launching The Amazing Journey. It was an opportunity for employees to earn “miles” toward rewards that ranged from a car or a spectacular vacation to a variety of other rewards.

The employees earned their miles not by flying, but by taking part in four categories encouraged by the company: Be A Better You; Do Good; Drive Revenue, and Be Social.

Some specific ways employees earned miles included:

  • Starting a book club
  • Instituting a recycling club
  • Joining the walking club
  • Forming collectives to address client challenges and new business development
  • Volunteering as tutors and activity guides
  • Introducing new processes to drive efficiencies
  • Performing acts of kindness throughout the year – driving a co-worker to the doctor, inviting new hires to join lunch, and establishing our own charitable giving
  • Creating and sharing content that attracted new staff
  • Recruiting real-life models for client campaigns
  • Writing and performing original music for branding videos

With 100 percent participation in the initiative, the company reported The Amazing Journey succeeded far beyond expectations.

The grand prizewinner was direct marketing manager Ayanna Thompson, who was awarded a Mini Cooper.

Thompson recalled the night The Amazing Journey shoved off.

“We were all so excited and grateful about the unveil and the opportunity being presented to us,” Thompson said. “When it was time to go, we all lined up to receive our personalized Tumi luggage. We left the venue with huge smiles on our face as we pulled our luggage by the handle and prepared for the opportunity to embark on the Amazing Journey.”

First prize – a $5,000 trip for two to the destination of her choice – went to Nicole Malino, the firm’s senior vice president of client services.

Marketsmith CEO Monica Smith called The Amazing Journey an unqualified success.

“We had hoped for 75 percent of the staff to reach 50 miles, with the winner reaching 100,” Smith said. “So far, more than 5,000 miles have been logged by 100% of our employees. Our team has challenged one another, mile by mile, to improve ourselves, our work and the world around us.  And with the incredible diversity of talent at Marketsmith, it’s not surprising that our top mileage-earners have logged miles in many different ways.”

During the program, Marketsmith actually hired 20 new employees, many of whom joined in the middle and still racked up significant miles. The leader among new employees was digital marketing associate Gina Partite, who was awarded a new Tumi bag for earning 140 miles – much of which came for her work volunteering with the Cedar Hill After School Program and supporting Strides Against Breast Cancer.

With The Amazing Journey now complete, Marketsmith look to how it can build on its success in 2017. As Smith put it:

“As always, we face the journey with the intention to always be the best we can, for ourselves and everyone around us.  We do great work so we can do good things.”

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