One-year milestones aren’t typically called out; but in a world where experience is everything, the first year of anything is something extra-special. As MMR LIVE reflects on its inaugural year, we also celebrate the first anniversary of our first full-time employee, Toni Griswold-Miller, whose experiences parallel LIVE’s evolution from innovative idea to experience strategy expert.
Toni Griswold-Miller’s degree in sports management from Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia, led her to roles with the Atlanta Braves, the New England Patriots, Turner Sports, and traditional large corporations.
She held positions in customer service, marketing, digital media, and digital research. All of those roles prepared her to bring a unique perspective to LIVE.
“When I first talked with Tricia (Patricia Houston, LIVE Founder/COO), I didn’t know if LIVE was the right fit for me,” Toni said. “I’d been working as a digital research analyst and liked what I was doing. The more I got to know her and learned about her vision for LIVE, the more intrigued I became.”
The clincher was the opportunity to join an organization just starting.
“I loved the idea of coming in on the ground floor to build something new that had the potential to be really great,” said Toni. “Since LIVE is a new niche within marketing research, there weren’t a lot of pre-determined rules and practices that dictated what we were going to do all the time. Tricia loved hearing my thoughts right from the start – even during our interviews. She really listened to me. I felt like I was ‘Toni’ and not just a number.”
A better experience on the front lines
Toni’s first role focused on the execution of digital research, which matched her experience. As the LIVE Trifecta – LIVE’s exclusive approach that combines experiential principles with marketing research and operational expertise – evolved, she had a chance to become a field leader. In her current role of Field Operations Director, she now manages all aspects of day-to-day fieldwork execution, including hiring staff, executing intercepts and surveys, and compiling and presenting data and insights.
“I’m working with clients to better the experience on the front lines,” said Toni. “That’s very cool for me because I’m in on the ground floor working with big-name companies to help them figure out how to make their businesses better.”
Toni particularly likes the opportunity to make a difference.
“It’s gratifying to see clients use ideas we’ve mapped, tested, and helped to improve,” she said.
The challenge is an opportunity
Fieldwork isn’t without its challenges, however.
Toni’s most memorable moment so far was actually her very first LIVE project, which was for a Fortune 50 client. The project, Toni recalled, was approved on a Tuesday and executed in the field three days later.
“I have to admit that pulling together everything needed was stressful, but it was also a lot of fun,” Toni said. “Looking back, it was chaotic at first, but the client had no idea it was my first project. There is no way I would have had the chance to be that hands-on, that much of a project leader, in a big company.”
One year later, Toni continues to oversee fieldwork and grow her own influence within LIVE.
“I love that I can voice my opinion,” she said. “I appreciate that LIVE trusts me and is willing to let me roll with my ideas.”
Toni is quick to credit the extended LIVE team for LIVE’s successes and for helping her to grow her role.
“I’m most proud of our team,” she added. “We’ve worked hard to refine LIVE’s service offering and make it flexible enough to meet the needs of a very diverse client base across many industries. I love being part of a team that works hard and never gives up despite the natural setbacks that are bound to happen.”
‘A mission to improve every experience’
Toni’s next dream? She wants to return to her sports roots and work with the New England Patriots. She wants LIVE to help them create a better fan experience, especially now that she’s seen the benefits of using a sound experience strategy to drive impact.
“We’re agile, flexible, and able to figure out how to create experience solutions,” said Toni. “We all come from different backgrounds and work experiences. That’s what makes what we do so valuable. We can take a bunch of ideas, bring them together, and execute them. It’s really all about making recommendations to solve problems. We’re on a mission to improve every experience.”