Derek Van Nostran exhibits substantial experience in the digital marketing world. As a graduate from University of Vermont, he acquired a marketing degree with a concentration in psychology. Coming from Chicago, he moved to Atlanta at age 21 and has adopted Atlanta as his new home. He landed his first job as an account executive at an advertising agency, TMP Worldwide Advertising and Communications which focused on Yellow Pages. When TMP needed someone to run digital marketing for clients, Derek became the regional digital marketing manager. Through the years, Derek has held multiple positions at several different companies. He was a marketing director for Last Minute Travel, a digital brand manager and the VP of brand strategy for The Weather Channel, and the VP of digital marketing for CNN to his current position.
Currently, Derek is head of marketing for a small start-up, NewsON. Branching from Sinclair Broadcast Group, NewsON is a seven-person company with 222 stations focused on streaming video for local news. He describes the culture as flexible, fast-paced, self-motivated, and unstructured. His two main roles involve obtaining more consumers to watch and acquiring more stations to participate. One of the biggest challenges faced is the lack of resources. As a small company within a bigger spectrum, Sinclair Broadcast Group does not always recognize NewsON’s priorities such as new products on new platforms like Amazon. However, some of his favorite aspects include direct control on business, independence on decision-making, and immediate feedback.
When I asked Derek if he preferred the agency or client-side, he concluded there were positives and negatives of both industries. He insists every marketer should start at an advertising agency to obtain a true taste of marketing experience; however, it’s ideal to eventually settle down in a client-side company to attain a more structured lifestyle.
What qualities do you consider great marketers to uphold?
Truly great marketers are extraordinary story tellers, generate creative solutions to tough issues, think on their feet, face challenges with determination, and showcase great collaboration skills.
What educational preparation do you recommend for someone to advance in the marketing field?
Go above and beyond inside and outside of class. Join clubs, get involved, develop a social network, create content on social platforms, and always do the extra. For example, ask Jen or the AMA executive board if they ever need help with anything such as marketing events. Initiative and getting your name known is essential for developing connections.
Do you have any tips on how to be successful?
- Invest early – the earlier you invest, the faster your wealth will accumulate.
- Raise your hand – participate in discussions and get involved.
- Build your network – attend networking events, expand your connections, and get out of your comfort zone.
Derek is an over-achiever in the marketing industry. He is one of the original founders of Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association; consequently, he served as the second President for this exceptional organization. He is very active in not only the marketing industry, but also the programs offered at the University of Georgia. He is President of Jen’s Digital Marketing Advisor Board; moreover, he also volunteers his spare time to coach several teams in the Digital Marketing Competition. Additionally, he’s involved with the American Marketing Association’s mentorship program, so I have the pleasure of having him as a remarkable mentor. I highly encourage marketing students with a digital emphasis to connect with him on LinkedIn. With his extensive experience, he is one of the best mentors to guide you in growing your network.
If you would like to connect with Derek on LinkedIn or check out NewsON, AIMA, or AMA: