Denis Mackenzie is the COO of an international marketing firm. The company is based in New York City but has offices throughout the United States and Europe. The company is largely involved with the marketing of wine and spirits.
Mackenzie travels widely and speaks French and Italian. He is currently learning Greek. He believes that learning the local language is one of the best ways to connect with customers and clients.
Denis Mackenzie got his start in the marketing field at a small local company. Starting at entry level, he worked his way up through the company until he had several accounts of his own. He was pleased to be able to increase his clients’ sales and extend their reach through innovative marketing techniques.
After a few years at his first company, Mackenzie decided that he wanted to spend time abroad. He applied for a position at an international marketing firm that is involved in the wine and spirits industry. He was assigned to Bordeaux, France, then to Tuscany in Italy. He then moved to Greece. His international experience made him a valued part of his company, and he later rose through the ranks to become the Chief Operating Officer.
Denis Mackenzie’s hobby is owning a winery in western New York state. He bought the winery in 2001 and brought it back from difficult times. After a few years, the winery was profitable. Through his winery, Mackenzie supports many local and national causes. His popular sip and paint nights give residents a fun way to enjoy themselves while giving to a good cause.
What was your best/favorite subject in school?
My best subject in school was Social Studies. I love history, and learning about how people lived in the past has always fascinated me. That’s part of why I enjoyed living in Europe so much. I also feel very strongly that people need to understand history to understand current events.
What was your first job?
My first job as a teenager was in a car wash. I was assigned to the hand washing and detailing side of the business. That was backbreaking work, but it taught me how to value money. My first job after college was as a marketing assistant in a small firm. My boss was my mentor and taught me to determine what a company needs regarding marketing strategies.
Where and how did you first get into the industry you currently work in?
I started in marketing in the late 90s just before the dot-com bubble burst. Luckily, my industry wasn’t focused on high technology, so we were able to escape the worst of its effects. I decided that I wanted to go into marketing because it is a creative job. It allows for many new ideas. I loved the exciting atmosphere of marketing. It was awesome to see how we affected our clients’ sales with our ideas.
How have those jobs prepared you for what you do now?
I wouldn’t be where I am today without those early jobs. My first job out of college prepared me to apply for an international marketing job at the company I work for now. I decided that I wanted to get out of New York state and see the world. My experience with these small companies enabled me to think creatively and to apply new methods to marketing.
Describe the best day of work you’ve ever had.
I was excited to receive a contract to do the marketing for one of the country’s top wineries. It was the pinnacle of my career as a marketer. My staff deserves the credit for getting the contract. It’s their ideas that keep our company running.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
I’m motivated to bring success to my company, both financially and regarding reputation. Our company has high standards for ethics and the quality of our work. I am also motivated by my winery, which is currently a part-time endeavor for me. I would like to be able to work there full time, but I enjoy my job too much to let it go right now.
What kind of business ideas excite you most?
Innovative social media marketing fascinates me. I’ve hired new staff who can take full advantage of social media in their work. I don’t want to give away too many of our new ideas, but you’ll see that we have some awesome new applications for social media in the pipeline.
Have you ever tried any unorthodox techniques to attract attention to your business?
A few years ago, my winery ran a contest for “winemaker of the week.” It was an internship for a local fan of our winery. It was fun for all of us, and it drove a lot of business to our winery because we had been on the local news. Innovative ideas are part of any good marketer’s toolkit.
What personal achievement are you most proud of?
I am very proud of my winery, which has turned a profit for fourteen years now even through bad weather.
What wisdom would you have liked to share with yourself when you first started out?
Learn more languages as a teenager and in college. It’s harder to pick them up as an adult. Speaking multiple languages has been a huge help in my line of work.