Market Man

James KruegerMeet James Krueger, Augustana class of 2004, partner and VP of Interactive Services at Click Rain, an online marketing and strategy firm based in Sioux Falls.

James Krueger, Augustana class of 2004, was born and raised in Sioux Falls. He majored in business administration with an emphasis in marketing and management.

Q. How/why did you end up choosing to attend Augustana?

A. My family has pretty deep roots with Augie and I grew up around campus — going to all the sporting events, concerts, parades, etc. My grandfather (Dr. Harry “Doc” Krueger) taught in the Music department for 30-some years and my uncle (Dr. Steve VanBockern) is currently a professor in the Education department. My three siblings, parents, and multiple aunts and uncles all attended Augie. So going to college there was never a hard choice for me. In addition to the family connection, Augie offered up the well-rounded, liberal arts education I was looking for.

Q. Favorite professor and why?

A. Jaciel Keltgen and Shelly Gardner (Business Administration department) were my favorite professors. They both brought real world examples to class that were engaging and relatable for students. In addition to these “life” examples, they brought in the best guest speakers for their classes. The speakers were always handpicked and did a wonderful job addressing what the students needed to hear. I remember Joe Henkin coming into one of these classes; he wasted no time telling students what they needed to do to stand out on the job hunt, talked salary expectations, etc. — it was really great to hear at the time.

Q. What’s your best memory from your time on campus?

A. I’d have to say move-in day freshmen year — there was a lot of excitement mixed with anxiousness for the upcoming year. I’ll never forget the memory of actually moving in and experiencing the “dorm life” for the first time.

“For any college students, make sure you intern for multiple companies and industries. This is by far the best way to get a glimpse of what your future career could look like.”
— James Krueger, Class of 2004

Q. Favorite class and why?

A. The intro classes in marketing and management are what really lit the fire for my future career. As a requirement for one of these classes, I completed an internship at a local advertising agency here in Sioux Falls. This is what ultimately opened the door to my career and where I started to get some actual hands-on experience so I could apply the knowledge I was learning.

Q. Discuss your career and your current position.

A. I’m a partner and VP of Interactive Services at Click Rain. Each and every day is truly different, which is why I love this business so much. I work with clients in all types of verticals and am in charge of client services for Click Rain’s largest accounts. On any given day I provide online marketing strategy (search, social, CRM, email, mobile, etc.) while also handling some of the Click Rain day-to-day operations. As partners (there are three of us), we are responsible for the future of the company and steering the ship on company initiatives.

Q. Greatest professional accomplishment so far, and why?

A. Becoming a partner at Click Rain has been the highlight of my professional career for sure. Solidifying myself in a company that preaches faith, family, work (specifically in that order) is a true honor and something I’ve been gunning for my entire career. At Click Rain I work alongside the most brilliant minds in online marketing today and each day is a blessing. As a company we were recently named to the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing companies. Being part of this is another great accomplishment.

Q. Greatest personal accomplishment so far, and why?

A. My family — hands down. I have a beautiful wife of eight years (I had to count) and three boys (ages 6, 4 and 10 months) who I could not be more proud of. The kiddos make life crazy but they are the most rewarding part of it — beyond comparison — and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

My wife and I have also run eight half-marathons together. Setting aside time for training runs allows us to catch up and get out of the typical “day-to-day.”

Q. Looking ahead, what’s next for you — professionally and personally?

A. Continuing to grow Click Rain while keeping the culture that we currently established is a top priority. I’ve always been a big culture person, as you have to love what you’re doing and the environment plays a big part of this. The challenge for any company that experiences rapid growth is maintaining that “special sauce” that caused your growth to begin with. This is absolutely critical and doesn’t just happen by itself.

Personally, raising my boys with the core beliefs that have been instilled in me is my main goal. Balancing faith, family, then work is an ongoing task and I want to keep this top of mind.

Q. If you could give one piece of advice to your 18-year-old-self, what would it be?

A. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; making mistakes is the best way to learn and grow personally and professionally. For any college students, make sure you intern for multiple companies and industries. This is by far the best way to get a glimpse of what your future career could look like. You might just get your foot in the door with some great companies along the way.