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Meet Michael Uetz and Danette Amstein of Midan Marketing in Lincoln Park Area

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael Uetz and Danette Amstein.

Michael and Danette, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Our partnership first started when we both held positions with the Beef Checkoff Program, first through the National Live Stock & Meat Board and later the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Working on behalf of the more than one million cattle producers in the U.S., we developed successful marketing programs to stimulate beef demand and sales. After a few years of being on our own, we joined forces in 2004 to create a first-of-its-kind marketing firm that truly blended our unique skills. Today, Midan (“Mi” from Michael and “dan” from Danette) has 40+ team members and is continuing to grow every day.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Let’s call it a smooth road that also included areas of small and large potholes, a few detours and some hairpin curves to maneuver! Some of our key struggles:

•Learning how to run a business: We knew when we started Midan that we could support meat industry clients when they needed assistance in marketing, communications and/or research. We also realized we knew nothing about setting up and running a company! While attending a meat industry conference, one of the keynote speakers mentioned his business coaches and this intrigued us. So we did what anyone can do: we Googled executive coaches! The result was a long and incredibly beneficial relationship with the owners of Maximum Value Partners out of Cleveland. They guided us in creating a solid business foundation for Midan. We appreciate all they have done for us.

•Building a team: We spend a tremendous amount of time finding individuals who not only have the skills we require but also “fit” our culture. Our interview process is extensive, but it has resulted in an outstanding team of professionals who create great work and truly enjoy working together.

•Maintaining our culture: We value the way we started as a small family-owned business, and we strive to operate that way even though we are 40+ team members strong. As we’ve grown, it has gotten more difficult to maintain that small, personalized company feel we initially created. This has caused us to become very intentional in our efforts to build up and protect our culture. Now our team members share the desire to maintain that culture and work alongside us to do so.

•Letting go: This is our baby! Back when we started, Michael’s office was a downstairs closet of his home and Danette’s was over her garage. We did everything! As we have grown and the demands of running the company have increased, we have been blessed to be able to attract outstanding people to join our team. Our challenge has, and to some degree continues to be, knowing when it is the right time to step aside so that our very talented team of experts can do their thing.

Midan Marketing – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Midan is more than a full-service marketing, communications, and research agency. We are a team of individuals who are passionate about helping our clients develop the best strategy to reach their business goals. We devote our days to thinking about meat, talking about meat, writing about meat and creating beautiful art centered around meat. We care and relate to the ranchers and farmers who help bring calves and piglets into the world and to the families who enjoy dinners created around a tender, mouthwatering entrée. Staying focused on just meat can be a challenge because we walk away from other opportunities. It does, however, make us experts. No agency in the country knows meat better than we do. We own that and we are proud of that.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Most new companies start out like we did with a passion for what they do and a minimal investment. Many don’t survive. We are most proud of the fact that we are still going strong – and growing – after 13 years. We didn’t just choose agriculture as a marketing category. Members of our families still raise cattle back home in North Dakota and Kansas. We are both still involved in our family’s operations which gives us personal satisfaction in being able to work daily to make a difference for agriculture. We are proud of that opportunity we have to create change—which to us, is a success.

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