Why I Joined Cutter Associates

Cutter Associates logo

I’m excited to announce I have joined Cutter Associates as a Director in the Client Facing practice. As a consultant at Cutter Associates I will be helping Asset and Wealth Managers with their processes, systems, and data to achieve their business goals including servicing/retaining existing customers, attracting/converting prospects, and improving their client experience. After working with a single firm for 18 years I’m excited to take my expertise on the road and assist other firms with their marketing technology and digital strategies.

Who is Cutter Associates?

For almost 20 years Cutter Associates has been helping asset managers with strategy development, vendor selection and solution execution leveraging market insights and best practices.  Serving over 240 asset managers in the front/middle/back office as well as client facing areas, we have deep expertise in technology, operations, and systems.

Need assistance with digital?

Our client facing practice can help optimize your firm’s sales & distribution, marketing, product development, consultant relations, client service, and client reporting functions throughout the client lifecycle – from prospecting to closing the account. We can help you assess your current capabilities, develop future state operating models and architectures, design strategic road maps, perform vendor selections and assist in implementation.

Areas of Domain Expertise:

  • Marketing Automation
  • Sales Enablement
  • CRM
  • Web Portals
  • Pitch Book and Presentations
  • Client Reporting
  • Email Marketing
  • Client, Account and Product Data Management
  • Social Media


Connect with me on LinkedIn or send me an email at  jrefford@cutterassociates.com.

Let me show you how to love your job search

If you’ve ever conducted a job search you quickly realize one of the biggest challenges is keeping track of who you’re networking with. By the third week you’re likely awash in post it notes. Perhaps you prefer to track your activities on paper or you manage calls and emails in a note-taking app such as Evernote. However, if you don’t mind investing a couple hours to set up a CRM, you’ll find it your job search has become much more organized.

Hubspot CRM

There are other customer relationship management systems (CRM)  built for job searches but many of them are centered around the application process. Since I believe I’m more likely to land a new position through my network, as opposed to online applications, I didn’t prioritize application tracking features. Instead I wanted a real CRM that would be a database of all the people and companies I care about. If you are looking to mass customize emails, track interactions and have a system for following up, Hubspot is a great solution for you. Oh, and it’s free.

Getting started

You don’t need to be a Marketing Technology wizard to pull this off but you’ll need to be comfortable with spreadsheets and somewhat tech savvy. After registering at Hubspot you need to:

  1. Upload a .csv of your contacts. If you’ve already created a spreadsheet of your contacts, this will be easy. Warning: Hubspot requires separate fields for first name and last name.  Another helpful hint, your contacts in LinkedIn often have their email addresses listed on LinkedIn but they are hidden on the page. You’ll find the email address when you click “Show More” at the top right of the LinkedIn contact page.
  2. Upload a .csv of the companies you’re following. Ideally, you’ve created a list from a third party search site based on your criteria.
  3. Configure Hubspot to track your applications as “Deals”. This article will show you how.

Making things easy

Here are some tips to make streamline your networking!

  1. Install the Hubspot Chrome browser extension and your networking contacts and associated emails will be tracked in your Marketing database (i.e. Hubspot).
  2. Use Hubspot “Snippets” to reuse common language you use in emails.
  3. Send emails via Hubspot and, before you hit send, create a follow-up task to make sure you are following up as needed.

Now,  go network! Good luck in your job search!

Colleagues – connect with me on LinkedIn at http://linkedin.com/in/iamreff.

Lately Lets You Say Goodbye to Marketing Spreadsheets

Lately Logo

Recently I had an opportunity to demo a new social media management tool called “Lately”.  Lately has some very interesting features, most notably a content generator which takes long form content and automagically creates social media content from the copy.

Key features:

Let’s review the key features.

Content Generation

As previewed, the cool feature about Lately is you can create social content, notably tweets, from an article or white paper. Lately uses IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence solution to cull out the best content for sharing. The tweets automatically have the proper hashtags inserted. You may need to tweak the results a bit, but it’s a great head start.

Content Planning

If you currently manage your content schedule in a third-party app (Excel or Outlook), you know what a hassle that is. Lately pulls all of your content into one view and allows you to integrate it with your Windows or Mac calendar for easy sharing with team members.

Other content planning features I liked:

  1. Bulk upload and scheduling
  2. Integration with bit.ly
  3. Easy to quickly unschedule posts

Influencer Tracking

Currently Lately can track influencer engagement on Twitter. LinkedIn is on the product roadmap.


While Lately doesn’t provide contact tracking or currently integrate with your CRM to develop and analyze sales pipeline, it does provide a clean and attractive mechanism for measuring Marketing performance across digital channels.

In Summary

Lately provides value for small/medium-sized teams looking to manage their social media effectively. If your social media team is relying on spreadsheets to manage content, Lately can streamline your social media operations. If you want to check it out, start by testing your website’s Marketing consistency. It’s FREE.I was not paid for this post.

2016: A Beer In Review

2016: A Beer In Review

2016: crappy year. great beer

The end of the year is a great time to look back on times spent with friends and family. Despite being, generally, a sucky year, my family was blessed with good health and good experiences. That good fortune allowed me to spend time on my personal passions: mountain biking and drinking craft beers. Funny enough, a lot of my mountain biking friends are craft beer fiends too – wonder twin powers activate!

This year I decided to look back on 2016 through beer googles and it turned out to be a fun, boozy way to reflect on the year. So without further ado, here are my best beers of 2016.

2016: A Beer In Review

So 2016 sucked. Loads of great people left us and we elected a megalomaniac to lead the free world. Yet all was not lost! Although I didn’t get my hands on a few of my faves, no “Heady Topper” by Alchemist, no “Sip of Sunshine” by Lawson Finest Liquids and no “Red Wheelbarrow” by Maine Beer Co (and let’s remember that awesome beer makes a great holiday gift), on the whole, I drank some great beers in 2016! Here are my top 12 beers loosely ranked by my personal preference.

  1. “Doppelgänger” by Tree House Brewery

    I was lucky to get this one gifted by a friendly co-worker. I’ve had beers from Tree House before (courtesy of madman mountain biker Dave R) and I’ve loved every one of them. Doppelgänger was the only Tree House beer I got my hands on this year and it was fantastic. For my money, Tree House is making some of the best beers in America. I actually planned a trip to their brewery, in the middle of nowhere Mass, this summer but I called it off because at the time Tree House was limiting purchases to 8 cans. The can limit, along with long lines, the possibility of them selling out and it being a 90 minute drive each way made it a tough sell.

  2. “Focal Banger” by The Alchemist

    I recently lucked into Focal Banger by fellow beer enthusiast and mountain biker, “Johnny Shade.” Johnny was able to pick up Focal Banger at a small retail store in Watertown. Very shocking to see anything from The Alchemist available for retail in Mass. As I mentioned, Heady Topper did not find me this year but I really enjoyed Focal Banger.

  3. “Cutting Tiles” by Trillium Brewing Company

    In what will soon feel like a broken record, Cutting Tiles was a hit with me. Since Trillium opened up a brewery in Canton, MA, only 8 minutes from my commuter rail station, Trillium has become an expensive habit. At $5 a can, I have to budget how much Trillium makes its way to the beer fridge but I usually make the trip at least once month. Cutting Tiles, and it’s varietals, has become my favorite beer from Trillium.

  4. Citra Cutting Tiles” by Trillium Brewing Company

    Yep. Same beer…with a different hop featured in the brew. This time it was citra. Cutting Tiles is brewed with wild honey, which I wouldn’t have thought I would like, but apparently, I like it. I like it a lot.
    I’m just now realizing every beer on this list is a IPA or Double IPA. In 2016 I tried to expand my palate by trying more styles of beer, but I always come back to what works for me. #hophead

  5. Galaxy Cutting Tiles” by Trillium Brewing Company

    Like I said, broken record. This is the third Cutting Tiles beer on the list and they make up three of the top five spots on this list. Part of the fun of looking back at the best beers I drank in 2016 is, well, if you had asked me what my favorite Trillium beer would have said Vicinity. Only when I looked at the scoring did I see that Cutting Tile varietals were consistently my favorite.

  6. “Crusher” by The Alchemist

    Crusher snuck up on me. I hadn’t even heard of this beer until madman Dave R handed me one. Heck, I didn’t realize it was even from The Alchemist until I looked more closely at the can. I was very pleasantly surprised! In living up to the name, this beer stands out from other, more floral and balanced beers from this brewery. It’s like a Heady Topper pushed to 11. Hoppier. More Bitter. Like Heady Topper on crack.

  7. “Santilli” by Night Shift Brewing

    Another local brewery. I’ve had a few great beers from Night Shift, Morph comes to mind but because each batch is different, the results can be uneven. However, I had a few Santilli in 2016 and each one was fabulous. One of my favorite local brews from a Massachusetts brewery.

  8. “Susan” by Hill Farmstead Brewery

    I can still remember drinking this beer. It was in the Northeast Kingdom at Mike’s Tiki bar after a great day of mountain biking. Mike’s is an outside bar that caters to mountain bikers. It has great beer, a food truck and often has a band playing some sort of hippie-Greatful Dead type music (hey, it’s Vermont). Shaun Hill is some kind of beautiful beer genius. I haven’t had a bad beer from that brewery yet. They don’t have much of a distribution outside of the NEK, but if you visit Burke mountain, you’ll find a number of establishments with Hill on tap.

  9. “Grapefruit Sculpin” by Ballast Point Brewing

    Not only is this beer great for fighting off scurvy, it’s one of the easier beers to find – at least for this list. You don’t need to go to “craft beer” bar to find it and it’s always available at your local bar store (at least in the Boston area). I’ve had grapefruit beers from other breweries like Harpoon and Long Trail, but Ballast Point’s has been the best for me. I love this San Diego brewery. In 2016 I also dug some of their darker beers like Victory at Sea. I’m currently hunting their Red Ale DIPA, Tongue Buckler. Again, it makes a great holiday gift! 🙂

  10. “Vicinity” by Trillium Brewing Company

    This is the first Trillium beer I had so it’s special to me. You know…like your first child. (kidding!) I didn’t know at the time but later learned that Vicinity was originally brewed and served at Boston’s Row 34 restaurant. Since both Trillium and Row 34 established themselves in Boston’s bustling Fort Point area, I can imagine the purveyors of both shared some awesome meals and beers together.

  11. “Abner” by Hill Farmstead Brewery

    I enjoyed this Double IPA after an epic day of riding 25 miles of the best trails in New England. Drinking awesome beer with awesome guys is pretty much a recipe for a fantastic evening. Oh, and did I mention we were enjoying awesome pizza at Parker Pie? This beer is great and this perfect setting made the experience special.

  12. “Undine Double IPA” by Down the Road Beer Co.

    I might have forgotten this beer if it wasn’t for this end of year review. Only in reviewing my top beer ratings did this beer return to my mind. I’ve had their Pukwudgie Pale Ale from this local brewery before but I still don’t know much about this relatively new brewery.  I love supporting local brewers and I’ll keep an eye out for more of their brews in 2017.


So, what did you drink in 2016? I was able to do this post because I faithfully logged my beers using the Untapped app. If you use Untappd, connect with me, “iamreff

How to Gain Organizational Buy-In for MarTech Investments


Recently I had a chance to attend a local Boston event with about 50 Marketing Technology professionals. I had the pleasure of facilitating a table discussion on “How to Gain Organizational Buy-In for MarTech Investments.”  That is: how to get funding, resources and organizational support for your strategic plans. I created a discussion aid (download below) using the theme “Hot” or “Not.” I used this theme to recognize that different strategies and tactics would work for different individuals, organizations and cultures — and because I thought it was a funny, lighthearted way to present the material.

Key Take-Aways

Through two sets of table discussions, several take-aways emerged:

  1. The ideas we discussed were both strategic and tactical. Marketing Technology professionals will likely find some combination of the attached useful, depending on your situation.
  2. While it’s important to satisfy the “mind” of executives, you’ll likely need to also convince their “heart.” Decisions are often not made solely based on facts. You’ll want to gain passionate support for your plans.
  3. The mix of strategies and tactics that will work for you will likely depend on your companies risk tolerance. How likely is the company to try something new and innovative? Our discussions confirmed that how established a company is influences its tolerance for risk.  Startups are eager to distinguish themselves as a new entrant leader whereas established companies are likely to be more concerned about protecting existing revenue streams.
  4. On a related note, some organizational cultures react well to a strategic vision that demonstrates innovation. In these situations positive themes of advancement and market leadership are likely to win out. Other organizations have a more defensive than visionary orientation. In such cases MarTech leaders may need to focus on competitive pressures.  Competitive case studies showing how others in your industry are excelling using similar technologies may be the best strategy. #FOMO

You can download the Hot or Not guide to “How to Gain Organizational Buy-In for MarTech Investments” by clicking on the image below.

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