Why I Started MI Academy

A Quick Note on where it all began from Alita Harvey-Rodriguez, Founder and Managing Director of MI Academy.

Hey there,

You know it’s a funny thing. Sitting here writing to you about where it all began. It’s been a long time coming. 6 years, in-fact!
I want to wind the clock back to where the idea for MI Academy was born. Picture this, it was 2013, and there I was working for a huge-arse marketing automation and credit services company. Moving on up the corporate ladder. Life was good!
But there was something that really irked me. Something I just couldn’t shake. The company was worth about $4 billion and yet…their customers hated them…like how, seriously!

On stage at Retail Global

It didn’t matter what software we sold them or the bells and whistles we promised. There was a disconnect. We offered ZERO guidance to exactly how the business could use these resources to benefit the client’s experience. It’s like selling Ikea furniture without the instruction booklet! 
The result? Frustration, distrust and overwhelm. The software was used at half-capacity and the time to value (TTV) was agonisingly lengthy. This wasn’t the first time I experienced this ‘irk’ and unfortunately it wouldn’t be the last…
See, over my career, I’ve worked my way through every facet of the eComm industry. I’ve led marketing teams in-house, worked at agency-level and sold world-class marketing software to world-class businesses. What I saw was many great innovations…all muted by a strong sense of user disconnect. 

In my experience, 

  • In-house teams are thinly spread, time-poor, stuck in business as usual (BAU) activities. White knight software providers ride in on their gallant steed promising life-changing solutions, they get a signature on the dotted line and off into the sunset they go. ‘Now what?’ The team then spends months, if not years trying to strategically implement the revolutionary software, ignoring simplistic creative problem-solving processes and spewing budget down the drain. 
  • On the brink of brain and budget bankruptcy, the team will then turn to an agency. This solution works perfectly until the agency…well, stops working. The skills being injected into campaigns are suddenly snatched away and the team is left with MarTech software they still can’t utilise to its full extent. To top it off, some third-degree agency burn. Ouch! 
Speaking on the importance of Customer Experience at Online Retailer

And what did I learn from this experience? That there is a massive gap in the market for in-house capabilities that bind together agency strategy and adoption of MarTech. It was a no brainer!

My ‘Ah-Ha’ Moment 

With a fire in my belly and a desire for real change, I called a bunch of C-Suite professionals and asked, “What would it mean to your business to possess agency-level marketing and customer experience skills in-house?”

The answer was synonymous, “That would be incredible…BUT I don’t have the TIME or KNOWLEDGE to train them.” 
To which I asked, “What if the training was application-based? No downtime. Transforming team capabilities while implementing your next scheduled project or product launch. We won’t even ask you to re-platform or re-hire?” 

They quickly followed with “We would love to have those skills in-house.” 

Our annual Retail Elevate: Email Marketing Masterclass at Online Retailer

Something More, Something Sustainable  

Online or classroom-style training didn’t scratch the itch. The market needed something unique, something customised—something sustainable! 

So, I created this very solution and called it MI Academy. Well, there’s a whole lot of prototyping, all-nighters and a few rebrands prior to this point, but hey, that’s a story for another day!

Today MI Academy is a multi-award-winning digital marketing and customer experience training and consultancy provider. We have grown our team to 9 Subject Matter Experts and Curriculum Developers and train teams throughout Australia and New Zealand. 

So How Does this Team Transformation Process Work?  

We have a holistic approach to capability building that you won’t find anywhere else. 

Let’s jump straight to the juicy bits… imagine this information arrived in your inbox after an initial chat about how our programs work and next steps: 

Championing the Agile Mindet

Dear legend, 

I’m so glad you’ve chosen to take this step forward to help transform your team! 

In this email, I’ve included 

  • The challenges, in your team and industry, that you require solutions for 
  • A recap of your top 4 priorities for the next 12 months 
  • How MI Academy’s training programs work 
  • Next Steps 

Your 12 Month Project Roadmap  

  • Project 1 – FOUNDATIONS – Resetting our priorities and creating the optimal platform for growth moving forward.  
  • Project 2 – ACQUISITION & GROWTH – With strong foundations, it’s time to drive new customers to your top-performing channels.
  • Project 3 – RETENTION MARKETING – Developing a strategy for retention using highly segmented campaigns driven by customer feedback. 
  • Project 3 – OPTIMISATION – It’s now time to identify our most profitable campaigns and scale them to be viable in the long-run. 

Your MI Academy Consultant 

Erica, Natalie and I at Online Retailer

How it Works

Our process is quite simple really. You’re driving this change. Your team, your customers and your goals. We are merely a trusted side passenger.

Transform Your Team on Your Terms

Hire? Upskill? Outsource? It’s totally up to you, but we can help kickstart the process with a skills gap analysis that takes into consideration:

And as always, if you want to ask me any questions please reach out on LinkedIn or send me an email.

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