Blue Magnet’s 2016 Year in Review

As 2016 comes to a close, we are taking a moment to reflect on our favorite moments from this past year at Blue Magnet Interactive. 2016 brought many new adventures, outings, and achievements. We were thrilled to announce that Blue Magnet was recognized as one of Inc. 5000’s Fastest Growing Private Companies in America. We restructured our company into specialized teams to provide our clients with stronger results and launched a new web-based reporting tool. We have maintained our relationships with over 100 hospitality partners and we continue to grow our client base every day. This year our team members represented Blue Magnet at more conferences than ever before, traveling to Las Vegas, Indianapolis, Orlando, and Atlanta – to name a few.

And let’s not forget about all of the fun we had! We cheered on the World Series winning Cubs, toured a famous Chicago brewery, sailed Lake Michigan on our own private yacht, became pasta making masters, and indulged in the most delicious food our city has to offer. 2016 was an outstanding year for our company and we are grateful for our amazing team and wonderful clients who contributed to our accomplishments. Before we embark on a successful 2017, let’s take a moment to reflect on the last twelve months at Blue Magnet.


We can’t think of a better way to start off the New Year than by celebrating another year of digital marketing success. In January, we reflected on how far our company has come as we celebrated our 9th Birthday.

At the start of the New Year, we were excited to welcome a new member to the Blue Magnet family. Our SEO Strategist, Sean Francis, proposed to his fiancé Kirsten – and she said yes!


Our Blue Magnet family grew even larger in February as our Managing Partners, Matt Bitzer and Chris Jones, each welcomed a new bundle of joy to their families. We are all putting our bets on when the newest (and youngest) Blue Magnet dynamic duo will take over as Blue Magnet CEOs.

Caffeine enthusiasts of the office rejoiced when our brand new JURA coffee maker graced us with her presence. If you were ever wondering what fuels our digital marketing success, now you know – it is our famous SEO Roast Coffee.

Coffee Machine


Our amazing party planning committee planned an unforgettable Q1 team outing at Revolution Tap Room. We had a great time touring the brewery, tasting the delicious beers, and eating Honey Butter Fried Chicken!

Revolution Brewery

March also meant travel for a few members of the Blue Magnet team. Tim and Jesse enjoyed meeting face-to-face with clients to discuss digital marketing at the Windsor Capitol Group Conference in Las Vegas.

WCG Conference


Chris Jones, Karie Miller, Matt Bitzer, Moriah Miller, and Steven Williams enjoyed meeting and mingling with a great group of hoteliers at the Davidson Hotels & Resorts Conference in Indianapolis while Stephanie dispensed her social media knowledge on a panel at Spire’s Annual Conference in Atlanta. We want to send a big thank you both the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis and Crowne Plaza Atlanta MidTown for their wonderful hospitality.

Davidson Conference


In May, we welcomed Tyler Young to the team as our new PPC Strategist. Tyler’s technical knowledge, analytical mindset, and overall passion for online advertising made him a great addition to our team!


As June rolled around, we decided to take our competitive spirits to the intramural kickball field for the fourth consecutive year. The Rippin’ Tippers Kickin’ Dingers kickball team had another great season full of fun, laughs, and even a few wins!

Kickball 2

In June we were proud to announce many well-deserved promotions. Sean Francis was promoted to Director of SEO and Karie Miller became our Director of Digital Strategy. Client management pros and strategy experts, Nicole Poggensee and Steven Williams were promoted to Senior Digital Marketing Managers. Last but certainly not least, our SEO expert, Jesse Gaver, was promoted to Senior SEO Manager. It’s safe to say we saw some fantastic, internal growth at the beginning of summer!

Chris Jones, Matt Bitzer, and Karie Miller had an excellent time meeting with hoteliers and chatting about digital marketing trends at the Interstate Hotels & Resorts conference in June! We want to extend a big thank you to all of the hoteliers that stopped by our booth to chat and Interstate Hotels & Resorts for hosting an unforgettable conference.

Interstate Conference


We were excited to welcome the social media fanatic, Phoebe Svoboda, to our team as a Social Media Manager.


August was a very exciting month for our company! Blue Magnet was recognized as one of Inc. 5000’s Fastest Growing Private Companies in America. We were truly honored to have earned this recognition alongside the nation’s most innovative companies. To celebrate our company’s big accomplishment, our team embarked on one of our favorite quarterly outings: a yacht cruise! We enjoyed soaking up the sun, celebratory cocktails, and cruising down the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.

Boat Outing

In August, Karie Miller and Nicole Poggensee spent a day learning and discussing some of the newest content marketing trends at Content Jam in Chicago.


Take us out to the ball game! Our party planning committee was at it again in September and hosted a memorable company outing at Down the Line Rooftop where we cheered on the Chicago Cubs. If you didn’t hear, the Cubs ended up winning the World Series for the first time in 108 years. We would like to think our loud cheering brought the team some extra luck this year.

Cubs Rooftop Game

Meanwhile, SEO enthusiasts Sean Francis and Jesse Gaver’ jetted off to Seattle for three days of enticing digital marketing sessions at MozCon.

MozCon 2016


We kicked off October by welcoming Suzanna Colberg to the Blue Magnet team as a Digital Marketing Manager. In true Blue Magnet style, we wrapped up the month with a Halloween themed happy hour. The team had a spooktacular time dressing up in their Halloween costumes and enjoying haunted treats.



Blue Magnet continued to grow in November; we welcomed two new team members: Brianna Breshears (Social Media Manager) and Dennis Reid (VP of Business Development).

Our entire social media team had the opportunity to attend their favorite conference of the year: Social Media Week. Our Director of Social Media, Stephanie Hilger, even had the opportunity to participate in Hootsuite’s event, “Get Smart on Social.” Stephanie educated the audience on how to better empower internal teams and clients to use the power of social media.

SMW 2016 Event


Nicole Poggensee embarked on a journey to Atlanta to present at the Atrium Hospitality conference. Nicole showcased many social media, SEO, and PPC case studies to explains how Revenue Managers can maximize their partnership with Blue Magnet.

Our end of year Holiday Party was another one for the record books. We started off the day by indulging in a delicious brunch and watching our favorite holiday classics. Next we traveled to Cooking Fools to try and not make a fool of ourselves in the kitchen. Our team learned how to make ravioli, pappardelle, vodka sauce, and pesto…and then we got to taste test everything (it’s safe to say we made some delicious pasta)! We finished the day at Mercadito where our significant others joined us for a wonderful dinner full of tacos (our favorite), guacamole, and margaritas. We enjoyed celebrating all of the company’s successes this year over pasta making, cocktails, and a tasty taco dinner.

Bring On 2017!

BMI Holiday Party

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