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sparked: A new kind of social media training program


“Arik, I have a couple team members I need to train up when it comes to social media ad buying–where should I send them?”

It’s a question I’ve been getting more and more the last couple years. And, so far, my response has been: “Beats me.” Because, really, there’s not a solid, reputable place to send these folks.

Think about it.

Sure, classes exist that cover social media and digital marketing at the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas. But, as reputable as those institutions are (and I love them both), those types of classes are often taught by tenured professors who are a bit disconnected from the workforce (with the notable exception of people like Betsy Anderson at the U of M).

Or, there are social media certificate programs. I’m sure you’ve seen some of these in your Facebook or LinkedIn feeds. They cover the right subject matter areas. They talk a good game. But, in the end, the classes are led by people who just don’t have Fortune 500-level marketing chops. And, they’re just not respected by big companies and agencies (that’s not me saying it–that’s coming right from the people I’ve talked to about this the last few months).

So, there’s a gap. A HUGE gap, in my opinion.

My business partner and friend, Jamie Plesser, and I hope to fill that gap with sparked.

sparked is a social and digital media training program where real-world professionals who work from some of the Twin Cities largest brands and agencies are the professors.

People like Jamie Kvamme from Polaris who will be teaching our class on social media advertising. Jamie has led and managed social media marketing, including sophisticated ad buys, for Polaris for the last four years.

Or, people like Cydney Strommen from Fast Horse who will be teaching our class on influencer marketing. Cydney has led tremendously successful influencer campaigns for brands like General Mills and Coca-Cola. Doesn’t get much bigger than that, does it?

Other professors for this first program include Greg Swan from Fallon (who will be talking trends, which is what he does best), Kaitlyn Schiltz from Sleep Number (who will be teaching a class on content), and Amanda Gebhard from Boston Scientific (who will be teaching a class on community and crisis).

But, sparked will be much more than just a training program. It will be an experience.

We’re holding the program at The LAB in Loring Park–a really cool space, if you’ve never been.

The classes will be interactive–we may even get out of the classroom for a session or two for some real-time experiential marketing!

We’re partnering with non-profits like Still Kickin so our students can test their digital chops with a real-life organization.

And, we’ll give our students the chance to stay connected long after the program with a private Facebook group curated just for them.

We’re limiting these classes to just 25 people so we can best guarantee a first-class experience and optimal training environment.

Want to be a part of the first sparked cohort? Sign up now!



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