Getting to Know You: Mike Swart


Resilience, curiosity, bravery, service, caring and teamwork are just some of the characteristics that define every member of our team.

Founded in 2010, WHOSAY is built from the best of entertainment, technology and advertising. The people that power WHOSAY are an incredible blend of advertising, technology and media professionals that foster a wonderful spirit of creativity, innovation and  commitment. Today you will get to know Mike Swart, Head of Shopping Marketing.

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WHOSAY: What is your role at WHOSAY?

Mike Swart: I am the Head of Shopper Marketing. I lead a Bentonville-based team that is dedicated to the Shopper Marketing discipline across all channels of retail including Grocery, Drug, Mass, Home Center, Club, Dollar and Specialty.  

WS: What was your job before coming to WHOSAY?

MS: My career has led me through a healthy mixture of start-ups (x2) and big matrix corporations (Coca-Cola, Catalina) and even a little pure entrepreneurship. My most recent job was Executive Director at Catalina Marketing with focus on introducing innovation to retailers. Other experiences have included time at an Influence Marketing start-up and I was employee #5 at a mobile location services start-up. My wife and I also opened, operated and sold a still thriving franchised fitness center in the early 2000s.      

WS: What's the first thing you do as soon as you arrive in the office?

MS: Since I work from home or I'm traveling, it's hard to define "arriving in the office," but generally I spend the quiet early morning skimming headlines and articles looking for gems to dive in to. I get a steady flow of relevant content from my LinkedIn feed, but I also frequent publications like Ad Week, Drug Store News and P2PI's Shopper Marketing Magazine and Newswire, as well as TechCrunch and to feed my start-up appetite.  Oh...and I love my coffee over ice.

WS: What's a typical day at WHOSAY like?

MS: It's cliche to say, "there is no typical day," so I won't say it. But I will say that no two days are alike. I lead the Shopper Marketing discipline, one of the several exciting businesses at WHOSAY. My role is 90% sales and 25% business building. (See what I did there?) In both cases, my typical day is consumed by listening and learning from customers, both internal and external.       

WS: What's the most challenging part of your job? And what's the part you enjoy the most?

MS: Being dedicated to Shopper Marketing requires a deep understanding of not only the adtech market but also retail and CPG industries. Finding a balance between retailer objectives, brand objectives and (most importantly) shopper-needs can be a challenge. What I enjoy, however, is having turn-by-turn directions powered by WHOSAY's first party social affinity data and the support of a talented team of creatives and Hollywood industry insiders.  

WS: Who's the nicest icon, trailblazer, influencer or micro-influencer talent you’ve worked with at WHOSAY?

MS: All have been wonderful, but none can beat the room-changing smile of DeAngelo Williams. We did a shoot that included his young daughter, so we got to spend time with DeAngelo, his wife and the entire family and he proved to be an incredible father with a delightful family.  

WS: Who is someone at WHOSAY that inspires you and why?

MS: Passion and vision get you nowhere without action. So I'm inspired by action. Our founding partners Steve Ellis, Harvey Schwartz and VP Marketing & Creative Services Jenna Sereni have passion and vision and most importantly they don't hesitate to act.

WS: What's your secret life hack and/or productive hack?

MS: My conventional answer is Evernote. Write everything down using a note-taking app like Evernote. My less conventional answer is Interval Fasting. It's not a diet, but rather an eating pattern. I've been practicing Interval Fasting for a few months and energy is up, weight is down and I can't tell you how much more productive my workdays are when food is less of a disruption. 

WS: Share your advice with aspiring young people who want to break into your industry

MS: Work smarter AND harder. Use your heart AND your brain when you choose your path.  I have a mountain of respect for a generation that demands meaning and fulfillment in a career, but sprinkle a little practicality and choose a path where you can add value to society while earning a living.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU is a series of interviews with the WHOSAY team.  

#wearewhosayBy Alex Marin