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30 Surprising Things about The Lacek Group

30 Surprising Things about The Lacek Group Article Featured Image

It’s a landmark anniversary around here, and we’re embracing it. Bring out the candles, the cake, and the list of accomplishments. 

For 30 years The Lacek Group has gathered top talent to design and build the ultimate customer experience and leverage data to its full potential. The work is rigorous, and our industry-leading clients expect the best—as they should. 

And as a team, we aim to exceed client expectations, stay curious, and treat each other well. We’re based in Minnesota, so we’re conditioned to dial back the bragging, but clearly, we’re doing something pretty well. (Or a bunch of things.) 

As part of our celebration, we’re sharing 30 surprising tidbits you may not know about Lacek. Enjoy! 

  • Our longest-tenured client has partnered with us for 29 of our 30 years. 

  • We have no connection with LASIK corrective eye surgery—but we have great vision and insights. 

  • Why are we called The Lacek Group anyway? Because our agency was founded by Mark Lacek, a pioneer in customer loyalty. 

  • Our agency mantras: 

    • We, not I.

    • Leave your ego at the door.

    • Good work begets good work.

    • When you grow, we grow. 

  • Our CEO, Bill Baker, is a former client and an attorney, who’s been with The Lacek Group for 27 years. He’s joined by a senior leadership team with a bazillion years (yep, that is the technical term) of combined experience. Together they’re the very definition of stable, proven agency leadership. 

  • 77 of our employees weren’t even born when we took on our first clients 30 years ago. 

  • During our 30-year history, we’ve had offices in cities near and far: Atlanta, Singapore, Seoul, Sydney, London, Tokyo, Bloomington, and Minneapolis. What’s next? Before the end of 2023, we’ll relocate to a space in the Dayton’s Project, a mixed-use renovation of a Minneapolis retail landmark. It will mark only our third HQ address in three decades. 

  • As pioneers in the travel industry, we also owned a travel agency at one time, so we were closely tied to the audiences we served. 

  • We were named a Leader (the top ranking) by independent research firm, Forrester, in the Forrester WaveTM: Loyalty Service Providers Q3 2019 and 2021 reports. 

  • Unlike many of our competitors, our Creative and Data Intelligence teams are roughly equal in size. They collaborate daily to deliver data-driven, personalized, and emotionally relevant creativity. Their complementary skill sets mean we consistently deliver work that balances the art and algorithms of brand devotion for our clients. 

  • After George Floyd was murdered in our home city of Minneapolis, we initiated an all-agency collaboration to ensure that our commitment to a more equitable workplace and community was sustainable. The committees created then continue to advance change: Education and Knowledge, Hiring Practices, Community Involvement, Retention and Inclusion, and Financial Support. 

  • We introduced the BIPOC scholarship program in 2021 to promote diversity in the advertising and marketing industry. To date, we’ve awarded seven $5,000 scholarships to high school and college students. 

  • Lacek joined the Minneapolis ad community’s DEI cooperative, AdVocation, in the 2023 Twin Cities Pride March. 

  • We spend more than 44,000 hours annually crunching data to gain insights, activate programs and measure performance. 

  • In collaboration with a major hotel client, we identified a marketplace opportunity and launched a revolutionary and sustainable proposition to loyalty members: no blackout dates and no capacity controls. This industry-changing innovation became a core program component. (You’re welcome!) 

  • Last year we onboarded eight new clients and lost zero. 

  • In our first year of business, we sent 300,000 pieces of direct mail. Today, we send more than 5,000,000,000 personalized, omnichannel communications each year on behalf of our clients. 

  • Lacek has played a role in the development of many of the world’s loyalty programs including: 

    • Aero California Club Altus

    • Asiana Bonus Club

    • Delta SkyMiles

    • Disney’s EarMarked Rewards

    • Dunkin’ Rewards

    • Enterprise Plus

    • Foot Locker FLX Rewards

    • FordPass Rewards

    • Gap Good Rewards/Old Navy Navyist Rewards/Banana Republic Rewards/Athleta Rewards

    • Lan Chile LanPass

    • Lincoln Access Rewards

    • National Emerald Club

    • Passages (Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines)

    • Philippine Airlines Mabuhay Miles

    • Singapore KrisFlyer

    • Starbucks Rewards

    • Starwood Preferred Guest

    • Swissair Qualiflyer

    • The Home Depot Pro Xtra

  • We work hard, and we play hard. Together. At team-sponsored monthly social events, Soup Smackdown competitions, our annual holiday gift basket raffle, and Year-in-Review celebrations. We’re not just colleagues; we’re friends.

  • More than three years into the pandemic, almost all of us (96%) still find ourselves saying at least once a week: “You’re on mute.”

  • Employee recognition sits at the heart of our team culture. It started with beer-cart Fridays and now includes Achiever Awards, Impact Awards, RAVEs and Waves, milestone anniversary celebrations, and more.

  • We love getting together, as evidenced by our teams (basketball, broomball, bowling, and curling), clubs (book, push-up, gamers, board game, space, and Toastmasters, called Speakeasy), and foodie group.

  • The first Achiever Awards event—our celebration of peer-nominated and peer-elected leaders across the agency—was a festive, but barebones event held in a garage. In later years, the annual event was in a colleague’s backyard—and eventually it became a fully produced celebration held at unique venues across the Twin Cities. For 26 straight years we’ve recognized outstanding coworkers who exemplify our agency values: Agency Citizen, Artful Collaborator, Innovative Solution Finder, Thought Leader, Unsung Hero, Most Winning Attitude, Rookie of the Year, and Achiever of the Year. 

  • We’re committed to our Community Engagement Partner program, a lasting idea born from the employee culture survey feedback. We’ve partnered with amazing organizations that help those in our community who are in need of extra support: People Serving People,, Ronald McDonald House, Second Harvest Heartland, Special Olympics Minnesota, Habitat for Humanity, and our current community partner, Hammer & NER. 

  • Our colleagues speak 29 languages: Afrikaans, American Sign Language, Arabic, Bosnian, Chinese, Croatian, Danish, English, French, Garathi, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Marathi, Nepali, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, Telugu, Tswana, and Zulu. 

  • Loyalty and service matter to us. Every fall, we celebrate key employee milestones. Three years is marked with a piece of carry-on luggage; a five-year luncheon is organized; and a celebratory dinner marks 10, 15, 20, 25, and now 30 years of service. 

  • We are not subject to inflation when it comes to in-office vending machine beverages—25 cents, always! 

  • We are 12-years strong in our mentorship program and more than half of our employees participate every year. 

  • The agency owns and regularly uses a Frosty the Snowman costume to celebrate the winter and holiday season with the littlest members of the Lacek family. 

  • As a result of employee feedback, the Recognize Another Valued Employee (RAVE) channel was created in 2014. So far, more than 17,175 RAVEs have been shared across the agency to acknowledge above-and-beyond teamwork. 

If you’re interested in joining our team so you can be part of our next 30 years, explore open positions at The Lacek Group on our careers page.

The Lacek Group, a Minneapolis-based data-driven loyalty, experience, and customer engagement agency, has been delivering personalization at scale for its world-class clients for more than 30 years. The Lacek Group is an Ogilvy company.