YA President and CEO Chris Behrens reflects on the past year and offers thoughts on what’s ahead

Chris Behrens, President and CEO

Thanks for a remarkable year
At the end of each year that I’ve been at YA, I find myself thinking, “It can’t get any better than this.” But we seem to keep topping ourselves, and 2017 was no exception. We’ve made great strides as a team, and our success is reflected in some impressive metrics for the year that was. Now that we’re wrapping up last year, we’re looking forward to an even-better performance in 2018. Here are some of our highlights:

Growth continues
We added $9 million of new revenue growth to our books in 2017, which is a significant achievement. I believe this level of growth speaks volumes about the way we’ve been able to work our strategic plan to maximum effect. We’ve got a product offering our clients want, and our employees are executing and delivering promotional programs to grow their respective businesses and realize a return on marketing investment.

Lighting a spark with Ignite
One of our red-letter days this past year was October 19, when we co-sponsored the inaugural Ignite conference at the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management. YA made a three-year sponsorship commitment with the Institute for Research in Marketing for this event, and we’re already looking ahead to possible topics and speakers for next year. What made the conference such a success? I know that the format played a part in its effectiveness. Each session paired a business scholar with a Fortune 500 business practitioner, which allowed attendees to see both sides of relevant topics such as using new tools to shape the customer experience, using the right metrics and analytics, how marketers can participate in the conversation and the value and practice of integrated marketing.

Another reason this event was such a “win” for the attendees was the quality of our speakers. We had professors from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, the Wharton School and NYU’s Stern School of Business. And our business speakers – from Comcast, U.S. Bank, General Mills and ESPN — offered real-world case studies that were practical, informative and aspirational.

What’s ahead
We’ve been in a strong building mode over the past three years, as we invested $14.2 million to significantly expand our U.S. and Canada operations and enhance our technical platform and capabilities. With this foundation in place, we’re ready to scale better, faster and more creatively for our clients. In our next three years, we plan to innovate in new verticals, geographies and channels, with new social/mobile applications that will offer our clients even more effective ways to engage with and build their customer base.

We’ve truly undergone a transformation in the past few years, and that has only been possible because of the incredible depth of talent and commitment that come from our YA team. They are truly the best in the industry, and I’m proud of all of them.

If you’d like to start your New Year by learning more about how YA can help you turn even first-time customers into loyal brand advocates who take action, buy more and spread the word, please contact me to begin the conversation.

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