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Marketing Product Development

Minneapolis, MN
March 17, 2018

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Michael Jay Esson

Cell • 612-***-****

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Seasoned Creative Director and marketing professional with over 30 years of experience and a demonstrated track record for creating and implementing unique marketing communications and product development initiatives. Perceptive strategist and innovator recognized for designing award-winning creative while increasing enterprise/shareholder value and return on investment. Accomplished business leader respected for training and directing high-performing teams, and inspiring team accomplishment and performance excellence. CAREER HISTORY

Asset Marketing, LLC, Burnsville, Minnesota

(Direct Response coin company.)

Creative Director, January 2017 - Present

• Oversee the development and execution of catalogs, print, digital advertising and marketing communications including corporate and product collateral, space ads, magazine ads, direct mail, e-mail and website offers for and brands.

• Manage graphic design, photo art direction video production, copy editing including all phases of the creative process. Provide creative direction and leadership to Creative staff and outside contract labor.

• Develop and oversee an advertising review and documentation process to ensure compliance with all laws, rules and regulations and to ensure all advertising claims are sufficiently supported.

• Hire, train, develop and manage staff to meet the needs of AMS.

• Preparation of job descriptions and performance reviews for a staff of six.

• Manage creative priorities, planning and organizing, problem solving, communication (oral and written) and making group presentations as required.

• Manage print purchasing and production of sales, marketing and corporate materials in a timely and cost-effective manner, with ultimate responsibility of vendor relationships.

• Manage internal workflow and balance with the use of outside labor, when needed. TekSmart Fitness, LLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota

(Start-up Direct Response consumer products company.) Chief Marketing Officer, 2014 – January 2017

• Plan and direct daily operations including hiring vendors and manufacturers.

• Designed and developed a new FDA cleared electronic muscle stimulator.

• Responsible for strategic planning, FDA and FTC oversight, branding strategies, new product development, advertising and promotional campaigns, market research and web programs.

• Manage overhead and budgets

Contour Technology, LLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota

(Start-up Direct Response consumer products company.) Chief Marketing Officer, 2010 - 2014

• Promoted to CMO to plan and direct daily operations while maintaining creative responsibilities.

• Responsible for strategic planning, FDA and FTC oversight, branding strategies, new product development, advertising and promotional campaigns, market research and web programs.

• Implemented effective cost-cutting programs in several areas.

• Lead implementation of a cloud based order processing and warehouse inventory management system for improved efficiency.

• Reduced cost of goods by 45% while maintaining high quality standards.

• Initiated a RFP process to reduce fulfillment facilities resulting in a cost reduction of $5 per unit, saving $1M in fulfillment costs.

VP Marketing and Creative, 2007 - 2010

• Primary creative force behind the product introduction and creative evolution of the Contour Core Sculpting System, resulting in unprecedented revenue growth, the highest MER in the industry and a conversion rate of 44%.

• Developed and launched five Nutraceutical products, which generated over $1M in additional up-sell revenue on telemarketing calls and web sites with no marketing costs.

• Designed and wrote copy for scripts, manuals, print collateral, packaging and web sites.

• Guided creative outcomes of in-house and agency teams, directing advertising, design, and web strategies.

• Propelled startup to rapid launch and swift revenue generation of $35M in the first year and has sold over 1 Million units, surpassing $200M in revenue in 5 years.

• Designed and created marketing collateral and exhibits for trade shows.

• Developed a brand identity, including a distinctive graphic style and tone, for all company communications.

• Devised optimal communications strategies to reach target audiences.

• Identified and implemented SEO and SEM tactics that delivered quality measurable results.

• Managed all social media programs, including internet forums, blogs and social networking applications. MVP Marketing + Design, Minneapolis, Minnesota

(Full-service web design, print design and branding company.) Sr. Art Director/Creative Manager, 2003 - 2007

• Created award winning marketing communications for clients such as 3M® Health Care, 3M® Microbiology, Post-it Notes, EMPI®, Tekran®, NaturNorth TechnologiesTM, and Worthington AviationTM

• Directed a team of seven designers and copywriters.

• Wrote copy for brochures, ads, scripts and web sites

• Collaborated with a team of designers to offer improvements and direction on projects.

• Played key role in new business presentations.

Mello Smello, Minneapolis, Minnesota

(Manufacturing and marketing company in the printing, packaging and promotions industry.) Sr. Art Director, 2000 - 2003

• Created original 3D toy and print premiums for Popeye’s®, Chick-fil-A® and Foster’s Freeze® kids meals.

• Responsible for market research in the kids and family channels.

• Worked with domestic and foreign manufacturers to develop cost effective promotional premiums.

• Represented Kidcentives and Cheap but Amazing divisions in new business presentations.

• Lead creative team in ideation sessions.

GraF/X, Minneapolis, Minnesota

(Full-service web design, print design and printing company.) Creative Director, 1999 - 2000

• Directed a team of nine multimedia and print designers.

• Facilitated brainstorming and concept development.

• Designed unique marketing materials, and websites for diverse client industries such as Wedgwood Golf, Rainbow Play Systems and Evel Knievel.

• Designed new layout and advertising kit for Experience magazine for LIFE TIME FITNESS®.

• Designed layout and advertising kit for Buon Gusto food and wine magazine.

• Scheduled projects, managed resources and supervised workflow to assure deadlines were met.

• Collaborated with a team of designers to offer assistance and direction on projects. Coordinated Strategic Alliances, Chester, New York

(Product development and marketing company distributing through home shopping and retail channels.) Creative Director, 1997 - 1999

• Created What-A-Great-IdeaTM direct mail catalog.

• Created b-roll video and materials for on-air QVC presentations.

• Contributed ideas during strategic and conceptual brainstorming sessions.

• Worked with inventors to develop products and create brand messaging.

• Designed and produced logos, manuals, sales literature and retail packaging.

• Wrote copy for all product materials.

American Harvest, Chaska, Minnesota

(Direct response and retail consumer products company.) Art Director, 1991 - 1997

• Conceptualized, designed and produced advertising and collateral material for domestic and international marketing, which helped drive company revenue from $5M to $125M.

• Directed a team of five designers and copywriters.

• Designed cookbooks, point-of-purchase displays, infomercial sets, trade-show booths, and trade campaigns.

• Directed and managed outside vendors.

• Conceptualized, produced and edited corporate videos.

• Designed and produced a successful two-step direct marketing campaign for the Fast TrackTM exerciser, yielding an 11% conversion rate and a cost per order of $75.

• Produced multilingual retail packaging for domestic and international markets. Flint Communications, Fargo, North Dakota

(Full-Service Advertising Agency)

Graphic Designer, 1988 - 1991

• Designed unique print materials, including advertisements, brochures and logo designs.

• Received Addy award for Manitok, White Earth Wild Rice logo and package design.

• Developed the name, marketing plan, logo, and sales kit for Kenoo, Fine Ojibwe Handcrafts.

• Designed Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Melroe/Bobcat print materials.

• Designed artistic signage and print collateral for special corporate events. EDUCATION

Minnesota State University, Moorhead, Minnesota

• Bachelor of Science, Mass Communications / Minor, Graphic Design Eureka! Ranch, Cincinnati, Ohio

• Trained Brain


• Motivational team leader and mentor with a proven ability to give clear direction within a multi-disciplinary team.

• Proven track record in determining and designing the most effective communication tool to reach and persuade the target consumer.

• Strong oral and written communication/presentation skills.

• Ability to successfully manage and prioritize multiple projects in a deadline-driven environment.

• Organized and focused individual with strong problem-solving skills.

• Professional and positive approach, self-motivated, team player, dynamic, creative with the ability to work on own initiative.

• Constantly updating knowledge base on design and marketing trends. AWARDS

• Addy award: Manitok Logo, Manitok corporate stationary

• Davey award: Minnesota Sleep Institute and Tekran web sites

• American Graphic Design award: 3M Microbiology Ad, EMPI Select Pain Management System, Worthington Aviation, 3M Office Supplies Brochure

• American Corporate Identity award: NaturNorth Technologies APPLICATIONS

• Adobe InDesign, CS5

• Adobe Illustrator, CS5

• Adobe Photoshop, CS5

• Adobe Acrobat Pro

• Microsoft Word

• Microsoft Excel

• Microsoft Powerpoint

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