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Nick Schittone: Building a Spirit of Co-creation
Episode 1020th June 2022 • The Backstory on Marketing • Guy Powell
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About Nick:

Nick Schittone started his career in the music business, working for artist management companies responsible for artist relationships including Duran Duran and John (Cougar) Mellencamp, among other notable artists. From there, he joined a college television network start-up (CTN) as the Director of Programming where he worked with music labels, ESPN, Glamour Magazine, and History Channel to develop custom programming designed for young adults.  Nick then joined the marketing agency, Hothouse, 18 years ago to serve as the VP of Business Development focusing on client relationships. Since joining Hothouse, Nick has developed successful, long-term client relationships that include NBCUniversal, Deloitte, Mercedes-Benz, COX Automotive, CORT Furniture, STARZ, and IHG Hotels & Resorts, among other prominent and emergent brands. 

Nick shares how a spirit of co-creation and data-driven creative drives strong partnerships between agencies and brands. He explores the balance between data and creativity.

Links:

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Hothouse Website

Transcripts

Guy Powell:

Hi, I'm Guy Powell and welcome to the ninth episode

Guy Powell:

of the backstory on marketing. If you haven't already done so

Guy Powell:

please visit pro relevant.com and sign up for all of these

Guy Powell:

episodes and podcasts. I am the author of the upcoming book the

Guy Powell:

post COVID marketing machine, prepare your team to win. You

Guy Powell:

can find out more information on this at marketing machine dot

Guy Powell:

pro relevant.com. Today we'll be speaking with Nick's skin tone,

Guy Powell:

Vice President of Business Development for the hot house

Guy Powell:

agency. Let me tell you though, a little bit about Nick. He

Guy Powell:

started his career in the music business, working for artists

Guy Powell:

management companies responsible for artists relationships,

Guy Powell:

including Duran Duran, and John Cougar Mellencamp. He later

Guy Powell:

joined a College Television Network startup called CTN. As

Guy Powell:

the director of programming, where he worked with music

Guy Powell:

labels, ESPN, Glamour magazine and the History Channel. Nick

Guy Powell:

joined hothouse, a marketing agency about 18 years ago to

Guy Powell:

serve as Vice President of Business Development, focusing

Guy Powell:

on client relationships. Since joining hothouse, Nick has

Guy Powell:

developed successful long term client relationships with

Guy Powell:

amazing companies like NBC, Universal, Deloitte, Mercedes

Guy Powell:

Benz Cox, automotive, court furniture stars, and a handful

Guy Powell:

of others. Welcome, Nick. Thank you for having me. Yeah, great

Guy Powell:

to have you. So tell us a little bit about yourself. So what's

Guy Powell:

your backstory? on marketing?

Nick Schittone:

Yeah, I mean, the way you read my bio, right,

Nick Schittone:

I started in the music business. And the way that I started there

Nick Schittone:

was pretty funny because I was in high school. I was in a rock

Nick Schittone:

band, graduate high school, thinking to myself, You know

Nick Schittone:

what, I'm going to be a famous rock band guy, and started

Nick Schittone:

selling sending my demos out to management companies. And one of

Nick Schittone:

them called me saying, Yeah, let's talk. And when I came into

Nick Schittone:

the office and interviewed with them, it was less about being in

Nick Schittone:

a rock band, but then looking for an intern. And that turned

Nick Schittone:

into my opportunity working with the artist management company

Nick Schittone:

for Duran Duran. And so it was ironic that what I thought was

Nick Schittone:

more of a passion thing for me around being in a rock band

Nick Schittone:

actually turned out to be a career thing, where it started

Nick Schittone:

with working in an artist management company, learning

Nick Schittone:

more about the business and how it works, and having a curiosity

Nick Schittone:

for it and keep growing within it.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, fantastic. And so so now you're at hothouse,

Guy Powell:

tell us a little bit about what's going on there.

Nick Schittone:

Yeah, that was also very accidental, because,

Nick Schittone:

as you mentioned, you know, I went from the from the music

Nick Schittone:

business side to a college television network side, that

Nick Schittone:

then got acquired by MTV Networks. And it was an exciting

Nick Schittone:

time because I was in my 20s. During spring break productions,

Nick Schittone:

music, I never thought of myself as an agency person. But during

Nick Schittone:

that time period, I was working with sponsors. And that's when I

Nick Schittone:

got to learn more about the agency side of the equation

Nick Schittone:

where in order to get those brands to sponsor programming

Nick Schittone:

and things like that, I had to learn what agencies wanted. So

Nick Schittone:

after my tenure with MTV Networks, I was interested in

Nick Schittone:

learning more about what the agency world was like, I was

Nick Schittone:

introduced to hot house by a friend over at Turner. It was a

Nick Schittone:

very, very small shop back then focusing on entertainment

Nick Schittone:

marketing, which I thought was perfect for me, because our

Nick Schittone:

president came from Turner. I came from MTV. And that's how

Nick Schittone:

the the the relationship started, got started really was

Nick Schittone:

can we do more entertainment marketing work, which guy led to

Nick Schittone:

relationships with HBO, where we worked on Game of Thrones, where

Nick Schittone:

we worked with Showtime, and working on shows like promoting

Nick Schittone:

homeland, working with AMC Networks to promote walking

Nick Schittone:

dead. So it was a great start of my agency tenure, which then

Nick Schittone:

evolved into more of these integrated brands that you

Nick Schittone:

talked about, like IG hotels, and others because as the agency

Nick Schittone:

grew, we invited diverse people to join us, and they had so much

Nick Schittone:

other backgrounds that I could leverage in the storytelling of

Nick Schittone:

the agency that allowed us to diversify our portfolio along

Nick Schittone:

the way.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, you know, it's interesting, I've been in

Guy Powell:

marketing, you know, maybe just as long as you have and, and it

Guy Powell:

is fun to see the brands that you work on, and certainly the

Guy Powell:

bigger brands are a lot much more fun, they have a lot more

Guy Powell:

money and, and then to be on the entertainment side of things for

Guy Powell:

quite a while that, you know, like The Walking Dead and, you

Guy Powell:

know, some of the other ones that you mentioned, had to have

Guy Powell:

been a lot of fun. Sounds like pretty cool. It's an exciting

Guy Powell:

work.

Nick Schittone:

Definitely a lot of fun, great experiences. And

Nick Schittone:

you know, we talk a lot about the brands and the properties,

Nick Schittone:

but it's really about the people, right, the people you

Nick Schittone:

meet along the way, the people you can connect with and say,

Nick Schittone:

Hey, can we do something together? Here's an idea.

Nick Schittone:

Here's, here's a potential of something we can do together.

Nick Schittone:

And to see that spark come alive is the best part of the agency

Nick Schittone:

business that I've experienced to date.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, exactly, exactly. And, you know, it's

Guy Powell:

interesting to to see, you know, how those relationships develop,

Guy Powell:

and it really does come down to the one on one, and then you

Guy Powell:

know, where both sides are really getting a lot of value

Guy Powell:

from, from what, you know, from each side of what they're doing.

Guy Powell:

So makes a lot of sense. So, but marketing has certainly changed

Guy Powell:

here over the last couple of years. And, and now with COVID,

Guy Powell:

and post COVID. So what do you think are the biggest challenges

Guy Powell:

facing some of your clients and some of your brands,

Nick Schittone:

you know, you hear a lot about data. And data

Nick Schittone:

is, has good sides to it. And also challenging sides to it,

Nick Schittone:

the data gives you more insights of what brands are looking for,

Nick Schittone:

to help them elevate their game. But because data is so present,

Nick Schittone:

now, in marketing, people want to see instant ROI. And as you

Nick Schittone:

know, you don't see a TV commercial today for a car and

Nick Schittone:

then immediately go to the car dealership and buy. And so

Nick Schittone:

there's this pressure, endless pressure on marketers to deliver

Nick Schittone:

instant ROI. And so how do we educate marketers and the people

Nick Schittone:

that they work with, that these campaigns that we develop, even

Nick Schittone:

though there are insights that we're leveraging data that we're

Nick Schittone:

leveraging, we're testing, there's got to be a long game

Nick Schittone:

into these kinds of considerations. It's not just

Nick Schittone:

about the instant ROI. And so I feel that there's a lot of

Nick Schittone:

pressure now that as AI comes into play, and data still

Nick Schittone:

becomes more prevalent prevalent in these campaigns, how it just

Nick Schittone:

puts the pressure to get that instant ROI.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, absolutely. And we work for a brand that was

Guy Powell:

about to put a commercial in the Superbowl. And they wanted by

Guy Powell:

Monday morning, the sun, you know, after the Sunday, they

Guy Powell:

wanted a projection of how well that ad performed, and whether

Guy Powell:

it generated an ROI. And so to your point about, you know, I

Guy Powell:

gotta know what happened now. And but nevertheless, you know,

Guy Powell:

you're not really only looking at what the short term value is,

Guy Powell:

you're looking for what the long term value, because that's

Guy Powell:

really where we're marketing, I think plays a role and a huge

Guy Powell:

role for the company. It's not about not necessarily only about

Guy Powell:

closing deals today, it's closing deals tomorrow, next

Guy Powell:

month, next quarter next year, and setting up your brand to do

Guy Powell:

that. Couldn't agree more? Yeah. And, you know, so machine

Guy Powell:

learning and AI, you mentioned those, they've certainly come to

Guy Powell:

be a big component of a lot of the different marketing

Guy Powell:

activities that that underlie the the operations of the of the

Guy Powell:

marketing team.

Nick Schittone:

Yeah, and you know, to to expand on that. You

Nick Schittone:

can have all this data in front of you, you still need people to

Nick Schittone:

dissect it, analyze it, to make a hypothesis of what we can do

Nick Schittone:

with it. Yes, you can test and see things in action. But I

Nick Schittone:

think the value today for marketers around data is going

Nick Schittone:

to be who are those people that can read into the data, see

Nick Schittone:

something special in it? That's worth testing, worth exploring

Nick Schittone:

further, not only from a measurement perspective, but

Nick Schittone:

even creativity, right? I mean, when people are seeing ads and

Nick Schittone:

things like that, yes, you want them to buy something, but you

Nick Schittone:

also want people to feel connected to it, right? And

Nick Schittone:

creativity does that there's a piece of creative that all of a

Nick Schittone:

sudden stands out to you and goes, Wow, that's pretty clever.

Nick Schittone:

I love that this brand did that. I want to learn more about them.

Nick Schittone:

And there's various campaigns in the marketplace that you can

Nick Schittone:

immediately think about when you say that, right? Like, wow,

Nick Schittone:

they're a very clever brand and how they talk and how they walk.

Nick Schittone:

And so I think having the superpower to understand how

Nick Schittone:

data could help amplify the next level of creativity is going to

Nick Schittone:

be key for marketers.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, absolutely. We're working with a furniture

Guy Powell:

company right now. And one of the questions is, you know, we

Guy Powell:

know what the data that they have is, but you also have to

Guy Powell:

kind of capture the data that's related to the business

Guy Powell:

question. And, you know, in their case, you know, it's not

Guy Powell:

just about you know, how well does TV work, but how well did

Guy Powell:

this specific campaign work? How well did it influence other sub

Guy Powell:

components to that campaign? How did it influence search, or, you

Guy Powell:

know, or social or what have you and, and so it's not just about

Guy Powell:

getting the data. That's, that's available, but making sure

Guy Powell:

you're getting the right data, and potentially adding data to

Guy Powell:

that to make sure you're going to be able to really provide the

Guy Powell:

insights that you need to make those campaigns really, really

Guy Powell:

successful.

Nick Schittone:

Yeah, it sounds like what you're saying guy is

Nick Schittone:

how you're building on things as you go, right. There used to be

Nick Schittone:

a time where campaigns were seen as one and done. It's a holiday

Nick Schittone:

campaign, right? It's summer something but what we're really

Nick Schittone:

do During these days is taking a look at the campaign's how they

Nick Schittone:

flow together, what we're learning every time we're trying

Nick Schittone:

to build a next evolution, you know, evolution of those things,

Nick Schittone:

and having at least a look back and began to say, Okay, what

Nick Schittone:

worked there? What didn't work, let's avoid those mistakes. And

Nick Schittone:

let's build on those things moving forward, right. But

Nick Schittone:

everybody's running with their hair on fire, which means when

Nick Schittone:

you get that call saying we need to do something, people want it

Nick Schittone:

today. And so how do you pause, take a look at the questions

Nick Schittone:

again, think about the insights, the guidance, to make sure that

Nick Schittone:

whatever you're planning for, is a good foundation moving

Nick Schittone:

forward, built on what you've done in the past.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, you know, it's funny, when you you're talking

Guy Powell:

about that, you know, it's not just what you did today, but how

Guy Powell:

can you continuously improve it? And then also, to your point

Guy Powell:

about being able to answer questions very quickly. You

Guy Powell:

know, in our business, it takes a while to get to a place where

Guy Powell:

you have an infrastructure to where you can then say, Oh, you

Guy Powell:

want that answer? I can give you that tomorrow, but I got to

Guy Powell:

build up all of this stuff, first, the operations piece of

Guy Powell:

it to be able to do that. And I think you're right, I think, you

Guy Powell:

know, the, the CEO says to the CMO, well, how did it go this

Guy Powell:

weekend? And he needs to know, because the CEO has got, you

Guy Powell:

know, there's his shareholder call, or his board call, or

Guy Powell:

whatever it is. And he needs to know. So, you know, you got to

Guy Powell:

be able to answer that. And, and that, that definitely, you know,

Guy Powell:

means that you have to be flexible and ready to, you know,

Guy Powell:

be prepared for those kinds of questions.

Nick Schittone:

And guy, that's an aspiration, we have, like,

Nick Schittone:

you know, I think every agency in this country or in this

Nick Schittone:

world, you know, not only do they want to work with great

Nick Schittone:

marketing teams, they would love access to the other C suite

Nick Schittone:

people to understand what the pressures are on them, how they

Nick Schittone:

look at these kinds of programs, how they understand how these

Nick Schittone:

things can help them with their business, because sometimes it's

Nick Schittone:

seen in a silo, right? Like, by the time an agency sometimes

Nick Schittone:

gets a brief, it's already two or three tiers down where it's

Nick Schittone:

like the CEO said something, then it went to this tier of

Nick Schittone:

people saying, Okay, let's put some money behind it, then

Nick Schittone:

there's a team that actually starts thinking about it. And

Nick Schittone:

then by the time it comes to us, it's like, Can we ask any

Nick Schittone:

questions? Can we influence this in any way? And it's like, no,

Nick Schittone:

we need to be out there tomorrow. And you're like, Okay,

Nick Schittone:

let's, let's work with it. But I think every agency would love a

Nick Schittone:

seat at the table, to better understand the pressures on the

Nick Schittone:

CEO and say, Hey, we can do this in the short term. But we also

Nick Schittone:

want to make sure we're doing these things for the long term,

Nick Schittone:

too. How do we balance that for you that you can see it and find

Nick Schittone:

value in it? And then over time, see the results and the impacts

Nick Schittone:

of the things we're doing together?

Guy Powell:

Yeah, and I agree with, with that, and, you know,

Guy Powell:

and no question that you it's easy to get kind of access to

Guy Powell:

kind of the mid tier level, the senior level, and then they get

Guy Powell:

access, so to speak to the sea level, and then the CEO, it's,

Guy Powell:

you know, it's kind of like a pyramid, you might get, you

Guy Powell:

know, half a minute or a couple of minutes with with them. But

Guy Powell:

one of the things that I've learned that I'm sure you have,

Guy Powell:

too, is when the CEO asks a question, then, you know, it's

Guy Powell:

really understanding what's behind that question. Number

Guy Powell:

one, and then number two, being prepared for that same question,

Guy Powell:

you know, three months from now, when the next quarter comes up,

Guy Powell:

or being ready to make sure that you're ready to answer those

Guy Powell:

kinds of questions, because you know, that the question is going

Guy Powell:

to come back again. And so we kind of see that as a way to

Guy Powell:

drive, how we're supporting our clients, based on what those

Guy Powell:

questions are that get asked,

Nick Schittone:

no doubt. I mean, I always tell our people

Nick Schittone:

that 50% of what we do his politics, not only are we

Nick Schittone:

selling to audiences, but we're actually you know, finding out

Nick Schittone:

politically how things work internally, to get people

Nick Schittone:

aligned, to get people to see value, to understand how it

Nick Schittone:

connects to their business strategy, to make everyone say,

Nick Schittone:

We're bested in it. And it's not just, it didn't perform, it's

Nick Schittone:

done. It's it didn't perform as good as we thought, how can we

Nick Schittone:

build on it? And so understanding those nuances of

Nick Schittone:

what triggers people internally to say yes to No, stop pause, is

Nick Schittone:

absolutely critical. So you know, we're becoming consultants

Nick Schittone:

to them, in the spirit of just partnership, and building better

Nick Schittone:

together.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, absolutely. And to your point about 50% is

Guy Powell:

politics. I mean, there's certainly a big piece of that,

Guy Powell:

because everybody has a different agenda. And one of the

Guy Powell:

big challenges that we have is and we try and overcome that by,

Guy Powell:

you know, doing interviews ahead of time and stakeholder

Guy Powell:

interviews, to make sure we understand exactly what they all

Guy Powell:

want. And I'm sure you do and kind of a similar process. So

Guy Powell:

because you have to understand it. Yeah. And you have to not

Guy Powell:

only and I think one of the hardest jobs for a an agency is

Guy Powell:

selling the creative internally, because there's always people

Guy Powell:

that think that you know, they have a maybe, and I don't mean

Guy Powell:

it in a negative way, but they might have a slightly better

Guy Powell:

idea, or how do you how does that, you know, how do you think

Guy Powell:

that's going to work? What's the research on it, and being able

Guy Powell:

to really sell that internally to the to the rest of the

Guy Powell:

company is is a big challenge.

Nick Schittone:

Yeah, that's changed a lot over time guy, I

Nick Schittone:

don't know how I'm sure that this really successful agencies

Nick Schittone:

do this. And we've learned to do this, which is, it's not about

Nick Schittone:

you giving us a brief we disappear. And then we come back

Nick Schittone:

to you with an aha moment. It's about co creation. It's about

Nick Schittone:

collaboration, that they're part of every step, because budgets

Nick Schittone:

are always tight. No matter how much budget you get, it's always

Nick Schittone:

tight, right? You can get 100,000 A million dollars, and

Nick Schittone:

it always feels tight. So what you don't want to do is waste

Nick Schittone:

people's time and money. So knowing that there's a lot of

Nick Schittone:

political pressure internally for these things to work, right.

Nick Schittone:

Having the spirit of procreation where we're working together at

Nick Schittone:

every step of the way. There shouldn't be any surprises. One,

Nick Schittone:

once we go into the marketplace, it shouldn't be, hey, I knew it

Nick Schittone:

wasn't going to work. Because you know, these guys surprised

Nick Schittone:

us with an idea too late. No, we've been building it together.

Nick Schittone:

We've been getting buy in along the way. And so I think the

Nick Schittone:

successful agencies obviously understand that and have to

Nick Schittone:

construct continue to go down that path of procreation.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, I really liked that term. And I'm gonna have

Guy Powell:

to, you know, you're you're, you're you're almost consulting

Guy Powell:

to me on some of the things because that term is a good one,

Guy Powell:

we do a, you know, we do a lot of that as well, as, you know,

Guy Powell:

it's not just us throwing some numbers across the transom and

Guy Powell:

hoping they stick at it is a question of what is it that you

Guy Powell:

want? And, and that absolutely makes a lot of sense. And, and

Guy Powell:

certainly for an agency and getting the, you know, the

Guy Powell:

right, the right materials out and the right creatives out and

Guy Powell:

the right channels done and everything it has to be co

Guy Powell:

created. So do you see any differences, though, between

Guy Powell:

larger clients and smaller clients? Are they all the same?

Guy Powell:

Or any major differences there?

Nick Schittone:

You know, you, when it comes to larger clients,

Nick Schittone:

they have more politics, right? They want to move quickly, but

Nick Schittone:

then they themselves sometimes slow themselves down, right?

Nick Schittone:

Just because of the nature of the amount of people that have

Nick Schittone:

to approve things. To get them to say yes, but they do have

Nick Schittone:

bigger budgets, and they have more sophisticated in house

Nick Schittone:

resources, that allows us to kind of understand better plugin

Nick Schittone:

better and things like that. The the emergent brands, they're

Nick Schittone:

excited on day one, but their appetite is bigger than their

Nick Schittone:

budget, right? And so, and then less sophisticated, they just

Nick Schittone:

want to be out there just testing things where you know,

Nick Schittone:

if it doesn't work, they immediately stop. And so how do

Nick Schittone:

we, as an agency, bring kind of the balance to those things,

Nick Schittone:

saying, Hey, you're an emergent brand, you know, you got tight

Nick Schittone:

resources. But let's plan this out the right way, based on our

Nick Schittone:

experience, so that we can find success. And it's not a short

Nick Schittone:

term thing, it's a long term thing. I want to build your

Nick Schittone:

brand, right, everybody wants to build a brand. And so and so I

Nick Schittone:

think the biggest difference is, you know, the bigger companies

Nick Schittone:

moving slower, with more sophisticated, you know, smaller

Nick Schittone:

brands wanting to move quicker, but having less resources and

Nick Schittone:

other ways of measuring and thinking about things that kind

Nick Schittone:

of make it a little bit more challenging. But that's our job.

Nick Schittone:

Every time we get a call to say let's do something together if

Nick Schittone:

it if it checks off the boxes for us to say, Okay, I think we

Nick Schittone:

can do some special things here. It's up to us to guide them. And

Nick Schittone:

so sometimes creatives and others just want to do the work.

Nick Schittone:

But I think people in my role have to think about, okay, I'm

Nick Schittone:

here to benefit the client, but I'm also here to benefit our

Nick Schittone:

people. How do I set the stage that everyone can play well

Nick Schittone:

together, manage expectations, get alignment and think about

Nick Schittone:

the long game?

Guy Powell:

Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, I think to, to

Guy Powell:

your point about the larger companies, you know, they just

Guy Powell:

have momentum, and that momentum is everywhere, it's in selling,

Guy Powell:

it's in being in distribution, it's being in marketing, and,

Guy Powell:

and, you know, so they're ready, because to take the longer leap,

Guy Powell:

so to speak, because they, they have the infrastructure to

Guy Powell:

really make sure that things are working, and, and then to, you

Guy Powell:

know, continuously improve and work against that. I think the I

Guy Powell:

think you're right, the smaller companies, they you know,

Guy Powell:

they're depending on how small or how emergent they are, if it

Guy Powell:

doesn't work that first time, you know, they can be really

Guy Powell:

screwed for the, for the future. So you know, you have to take

Guy Powell:

the time even for them to get it right. But you also have to be

Guy Powell:

able to change very quickly when something isn't working. So,

Guy Powell:

yeah, makes a lot of things. We're

Nick Schittone:

about to we're bound to get into the creative

Nick Schittone:

freight phase for an emerging brand that we're excited about

Nick Schittone:

working with where they hired us because we have that big brand

Nick Schittone:

expertise. They are listening. We are co creating. We are

Nick Schittone:

talking about expectations. They're on board, we're on

Nick Schittone:

board, the team is excited. And so I'm hoping that when it gets

Nick Schittone:

out into the marketplace, the reactions aren't going to be

Nick Schittone:

immediate. It's going to be how is it performing? What can we do

Nick Schittone:

to make it better and so the test is on and we'll see where

Nick Schittone:

it goes next. But, you know, we want to preserve that spirit.

Nick Schittone:

Because we want to nurture those things as they progress.

Guy Powell:

Yeah. And you want to keep them for a long term

Guy Powell:

clients, so you have to continue to build on and be successful

Guy Powell:

with them. And success is not an easy thing. I mean, yeah, you

Guy Powell:

can roll the dice. And you might get lucky. But unless you really

Guy Powell:

put in that prep, like you're talking about rolling the dice

Guy Powell:

are, the probability of winning is a lot, lot higher. And and

Guy Powell:

all that prep work is critical. No question about it.

Nick Schittone:

Yeah. And if you think about it, guy, like every

Nick Schittone:

agency struggles with, who do we work with? Sometimes, you know,

Nick Schittone:

you want to work with the giant brands, because you think that's

Nick Schittone:

gonna give you fortune and fame, and they prove to be really

Nick Schittone:

difficult. And then you work with some mid market clients

Nick Schittone:

that you're like, oh, pleasantly surprised that we can do bigger

Nick Schittone:

things with them than some of these emerging brands, you know,

Nick Schittone:

some of them do do turn out to be a winner for you. Because you

Nick Schittone:

know, you're happy with the relationship with the outcomes.

Nick Schittone:

But you know, making decisions on who to bet on is, you know,

Nick Schittone:

it's not just a brand thing. It's, it's an agency thing to

Nick Schittone:

like, we look at the stuff that comes our way and goes, Okay, is

Nick Schittone:

this right for us? Do we want to invest in this? Do we see

Nick Schittone:

upside? Are they listening to us? Can we influence them? Can

Nick Schittone:

they are they going to value us? Like there's a whole host of

Nick Schittone:

questions we asked ourselves, and if it checks enough boxes,

Nick Schittone:

we're like, okay, we hope they're in it with us. But you

Nick Schittone:

know, you only find out once you're in it to see you know,

Nick Schittone:

what succeeds? and what doesn't? And what are the learning

Nick Schittone:

lessons? Regardless, because even when things go, Well, you

Nick Schittone:

want to learn from those things and say, Okay, how do we apply

Nick Schittone:

those principles to this? Even when it's not working? How do we

Nick Schittone:

avoid?

Guy Powell:

Yep. Yeah, absolutely. And I, and to your

Guy Powell:

point, as well. I mean, luckily, I've never had to fire a client,

Guy Powell:

all our clients have been really good and, you know, ready for

Guy Powell:

the kind of environment that we have. But you're right, if you,

Guy Powell:

you know, you you run into a client, and you think, you know,

Guy Powell:

they're going to be able to work with them and be able to help

Guy Powell:

them and guide them along, to really have success on both

Guy Powell:

sides. And then sometimes, you know, you hear stories where the

Guy Powell:

politics or the internal, whatever is going on, and you

Guy Powell:

just can't you just kind of can see that you just can't be

Guy Powell:

successful there.

Nick Schittone:

Yeah, it just organic all of a sudden just

Nick Schittone:

stops. Because it proves to be too difficult to nurture, and

Nick Schittone:

maintain that sometimes it's not even about firing. It's like we

Nick Schittone:

both see it that it's just, hey, it's not what we thought it

Nick Schittone:

would be. You're a giant company, we'd love to do that

Nick Schittone:

kind of work with you. But for some reason, there's so many

Nick Schittone:

stops, and so many twists and turns that is turning our

Nick Schittone:

stomachs to and we'd love to do this with you. But all of a

Nick Schittone:

sudden, the conversations just end and it's okay.

Guy Powell:

Yeah. Yep. Well, let's get on to some positive

Guy Powell:

stuff. Yeah. So what do you see as the big trends coming up? In

Guy Powell:

marketing? What's what's really hot now? And where do you think

Guy Powell:

there's some new opportunities for brands to maybe get some

Guy Powell:

short term or even some long term wins?

Nick Schittone:

Yeah, I think you know, the world of

Nick Schittone:

creativity is always exciting. If you can embrace the next

Nick Schittone:

generation of creativity, right? You're hearing about the

Nick Schittone:

metaverse, and a obviously agencies like ours are like,

Nick Schittone:

what is this world about? You know, what, what are brands

Nick Schittone:

doing? What does it mean, from a creativity perspective

Nick Schittone:

developments? We talked about data on all things. At first, it

Nick Schittone:

scared us because we're like, Oh, my God, the machines are

Nick Schittone:

taken over the world. But then you're like, you know what,

Nick Schittone:

those that those data points need to be powered by

Nick Schittone:

creativity? Again, who are those people that can help unpack the

Nick Schittone:

data to help us build a better creative. And so I think

Nick Schittone:

marketers are now starting to find this balance, that it's not

Nick Schittone:

just all about data, data data, when we bring it the balance

Nick Schittone:

back between data and creative. So I think that allows people to

Nick Schittone:

be creative, again, that you're leading with creative strategy,

Nick Schittone:

you're testing a little bit more, you're thinking about

Nick Schittone:

creative segmentation, that whatever I do on TV is not what

Nick Schittone:

I'm going to be doing on tick tock. And so you know, who are

Nick Schittone:

the players in the marketing side, on the brand side, as well

Nick Schittone:

as on the agency side? Who are the specialists that can inform

Nick Schittone:

something new and different? And so it's about curiosity, you

Nick Schittone:

know, if you if you have the appetite for testing,

Nick Schittone:

determining what's working on different platforms. So I think

Nick Schittone:

the bevy of opportunities within the creative, creative space is

Nick Schittone:

endless. It's just a matter of what's right for the brand.

Nick Schittone:

What's right for the budget at hand and the player that are

Nick Schittone:

involved, that we can co create together and see how we can

Nick Schittone:

elevate the messaging and the creativity in such a way that

Nick Schittone:

really connects with people. Because at the end of the day, I

Nick Schittone:

think the reason why you joined the agency business is because

Nick Schittone:

you want to connect with people, whether it's on the on the brand

Nick Schittone:

side or you are on the end user to consumer side. It's it's that

Nick Schittone:

feeling you get like wow, it's connecting. This what if this

Nick Schittone:

conceptual idea is resonating? And, and I'm a part of it. So

Nick Schittone:

it's exciting to see we just want to know award with one of

Nick Schittone:

our clients, IHG hotels. And it was all about welcoming back

Nick Schittone:

travelers because of what's been going on with COVID. And dispute

Nick Schittone:

of the spot is positive. We went with like happy music, the

Nick Schittone:

world's opening up again, go connect with people, it

Nick Schittone:

resonated, it achieved all the things, but you know,

Nick Schittone:

creatively, it made us all smile, like this, put a smile on

Nick Schittone:

my face. And when I posted it, even on LinkedIn, you know, even

Nick Schittone:

the business community smiled and said, This is great. And so

Nick Schittone:

I think that's why we do what we do, right? Because it connects

Nick Schittone:

with people and puts a smile on your face.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, and I think you're right, I think the you

Guy Powell:

know, there was kind of a tendency to do a lot of data.

Guy Powell:

And we're the data guys and you know, we love good data. But on

Guy Powell:

the other hand, we know that the reason why the creative guys may

Guy Powell:

get the big bucks is because it is hard to come up with really

Guy Powell:

good creative and that really just resonates kind of like what

Guy Powell:

you were saying with IHG you know, that creative that

Guy Powell:

resonates? That's just an immediate success. You know, and

Guy Powell:

there's, there's really a handful of good examples that

Guy Powell:

were one little creative, put the company on the map. And one

Guy Powell:

of them is Aflac. We used to work with Aflac and that Aflac

Guy Powell:

Duck when it came out, it was just, it just the company just

Guy Powell:

exploded. And that's, you know, that's where the creative is so

Guy Powell:

important.

Nick Schittone:

Your goal? Yeah, I do think you know, as long as

Nick Schittone:

creatives know that we have to be data lead, insights, lead.

Nick Schittone:

It's all about a business strategy. Once that's set, let

Nick Schittone:

the creativity come into play, let it go in places where you

Nick Schittone:

didn't think was possible, and test it, see what happens to

Nick Schittone:

you, it might shock you, you know, think areas that you

Nick Schittone:

didn't think that the creative should be, might be one of the

Nick Schittone:

most influential areas where it's growing your business,

Nick Schittone:

because you just didn't think about that, you know, initially.

Nick Schittone:

So I think to your point, you know, it's becoming more

Nick Schittone:

balanced. And I think it's good for everyone.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I think you're

Guy Powell:

right, you know, you you know, the balance between too much

Guy Powell:

data too little creative, or whatever. I think it's

Guy Powell:

definitely swinging back to more creative. And I do believe, you

Guy Powell:

know, that the most successful companies are going to use data,

Guy Powell:

to derive their creative, and, and then of course, to, you

Guy Powell:

know, provide continuous improvement along the way. So it

Guy Powell:

makes it definitely makes a lot of sense. So, looking into the

Guy Powell:

future, then where do you see growth coming from for? Now, you

Guy Powell:

know, given that maybe there's a market slowdown or whatever?

Guy Powell:

Where do you see growth coming from?

Nick Schittone:

Yeah, I mean, in terms of where growth comes

Nick Schittone:

from, I think it starts with keeping an open mind, having a

Nick Schittone:

curiosity for new things, as you know, guy, I'm a part of ama

Nick Schittone:

Atlanta, which is part of the National American Marketing

Nick Schittone:

Association, putting on events, where we're talking about what's

Nick Schittone:

next. Right? So having a curiosity for new ground, if you

Nick Schittone:

are receptive to it, understand it and can package those

Nick Schittone:

opportunities up to clients and prospects and say, Yeah, I think

Nick Schittone:

we understand this enough to be dangerous, you know, would you

Nick Schittone:

could you what if explore together, I think that can

Nick Schittone:

unlock new growth, not only for our agency, it's not a selfish

Nick Schittone:

thing. It's more about, could you imagine if we tested

Nick Schittone:

something, how this could help your business too. So I think

Nick Schittone:

the growth comes from New Media platforms, new levels of

Nick Schittone:

creativity, that brands are willing to invest in us having

Nick Schittone:

constantly an open mind that it's not these six, seven things

Nick Schittone:

that we do in marketing, that it could be 10 1215 things. It

Nick Schittone:

allows us to even be more conceptual, testing more areas,

Nick Schittone:

and really push the boundaries on what marketing really is,

Nick Schittone:

right? It used to be considered just an advertising campaign.

Nick Schittone:

There are brands that are probably doing things that

Nick Schittone:

aren't advertising that are really working well. And it's

Nick Schittone:

helping the business to grow. And so what are those channels,

Nick Schittone:

like, understanding it better, whether it's b2b, whether it's

Nick Schittone:

trade show, whether it's consumer, it's having that open

Nick Schittone:

mindset that, you know, everything can can be in play,

Nick Schittone:

and that allows us to grow in the marketplace?

Guy Powell:

Yeah, absolutely. And I think there's also, you

Guy Powell:

know, to your point about taking on potentially trying or testing

Guy Powell:

new media channels, and, you know, I think, you know, going

Guy Powell:

back 15 or 20 years when the internet first came out, I think

Guy Powell:

there was, you know, big winners that just have brands that just

Guy Powell:

jumped on the jumped on and move very quickly. And then you have,

Guy Powell:

you know, all of the all of the improvements that have taken

Guy Powell:

place since then, and those early brands that jumped on

Guy Powell:

that. And you know, you mentioned the AMA and we have an

Guy Powell:

event coming up on NF Ts, maybe talk Talk about NF T's What do

Guy Powell:

you see going on there?

Nick Schittone:

Yeah, like, like I mentioned to you, you know, to

Nick Schittone:

it's a new world, we don't fully understand it. And so we asked

Nick Schittone:

some experts to join us. So we got the Global Director of

Nick Schittone:

Mehta, a huge, obviously, they're deeply immersed in that

Nick Schittone:

world. And then we even got the head of innovation from Turner

Nick Schittone:

Sports, who, when I, when I spoke to this individual said,

Nick Schittone:

Hey, we're using these sports properties, and basketball, golf

Nick Schittone:

and others, and other properties that they work with to do these

Nick Schittone:

brand immersion experiences. And we're like, wow, tell me more.

Nick Schittone:

And so, you know, I'm very curious to learn more about how

Nick Schittone:

brands are thinking about these meta verse NFT related

Nick Schittone:

experiences to engage with consumers, how things can get

Nick Schittone:

tokenized how you get incentivized, how you get

Nick Schittone:

rewarded as a customer, as a fan? Would it mean, what does it

Nick Schittone:

mean? How's it how's it dimensionalized? So it's very,

Nick Schittone:

very, it's deciding to learn more so but it just like you and

Nick Schittone:

maybe others, you know, we're asking the questions, is this

Nick Schittone:

relevant with the brands that I work with? Who could it be

Nick Schittone:

relevant for? We might be stereotypical about it and say,

Nick Schittone:

it's not relevant for this brand. But maybe after this

Nick Schittone:

conversation, we're like, maybe what if, what if we tested that

Nick Schittone:

they didn't think it was right for them? Well, maybe we can

Nick Schittone:

take 5% of a budget and see what we can do with that, see if that

Nick Schittone:

has any meaning to it. So I'm excited to learn more from these

Nick Schittone:

individuals about what's possible, and what the future is

Nick Schittone:

going to look like. Because they're building the platforms

Nick Schittone:

for the future for other entities to come in and play.

Nick Schittone:

It's a sandbox, right? So it's going to be exciting to learn

Nick Schittone:

more from them.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, even even other

Guy Powell:

technologies, like even the, you know, a smartphone or whatever,

Guy Powell:

with when they first came out, they weren't smart. And now, I

Guy Powell:

mean, the, you know, you only use the phone for maybe 1% of

Guy Powell:

its capabilities. And, you know, hopefully there'll be some

Guy Powell:

really interesting things coming up with NF T's or maybe there's,

Guy Powell:

you know, other stuff that, that'd be really fascinating.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, I'm excited to hear more about that, that's for sure. And

Guy Powell:

ready to invest in something. I don't know what it is, but her

Guy Powell:

investments in something there.

Nick Schittone:

Yeah, I mean, if marketers want to learn how to

Nick Schittone:

really succeed in our world die, everyone's talking about the

Nick Schittone:

skills that you need to have, right? And of course, you need

Nick Schittone:

to have skills, right? If you, if you want to be a designer,

Nick Schittone:

you gotta have design skills, right? If you're going to be a

Nick Schittone:

videographer, you gotta learn how to shoot video. But I do

Nick Schittone:

think the most important quality you can bring to the table is

Nick Schittone:

curiosity. Right? An open mind, to say what's possible? Because

Nick Schittone:

if you just look at things from a one track perspective, that's

Nick Schittone:

where life will take you. What if curiosity says How could I

Nick Schittone:

play in this? What would that be? And having also the skills

Nick Schittone:

to be able to sell those things conceptually to people, right?

Nick Schittone:

We were in a conceptual world, right? We're building ideas in

Nick Schittone:

our own minds, having to give to sell something to other people

Nick Schittone:

to say, whatever. And being excited and showing people that

Nick Schittone:

you love it enough that it's worth pursuing. That's like a

Nick Schittone:

gift that you can give not only to yourself, but to give to

Nick Schittone:

other people you work with, because people like to rally

Nick Schittone:

around things to see, okay, how could we, let's build it

Nick Schittone:

together. And let's hack it, you know, design thinking is all

Nick Schittone:

about giving you something and just keep packing it to make it

Nick Schittone:

better. So I think you know, that spirit needs to come alive,

Nick Schittone:

even bigger and bigger ways as these new worlds open up for us.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, absolutely. And you mentioned curiosity

Guy Powell:

before, and I was gonna hone in on that. And you are so right.

Guy Powell:

And that's not a skill. I don't know if you can learn that skill

Guy Powell:

in college or whatever. But it's definitely something that, you

Guy Powell:

know, if you have that, whether you're going to be a designer or

Guy Powell:

a creative or a media buyer, or whatever it is. If you have the

Guy Powell:

curiosity you are going to do you have to do well, because

Guy Powell:

it's just asking the question, Well, how could we maybe use

Guy Powell:

this to our advantage in some way? Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So

Guy Powell:

if you were going to invest in the future in a technology and

Guy Powell:

lay down, you know, 10 grand or something like that, what would

Guy Powell:

that be?

Nick Schittone:

Again, I think like the metaverse given that

Nick Schittone:

it's a new ground territories, I see the younger generation not

Nick Schittone:

consuming the media that maybe perhaps you and I don't want to

Nick Schittone:

stereotype you guys because much, probably much younger than

Nick Schittone:

me. But, you know, I see the way they're consuming media. It's

Nick Schittone:

much differently than the way I grew up, right? Newspapers are

Nick Schittone:

not a thing anymore. Neither are magazines. TV, while people are

Nick Schittone:

watching it, it's more on demand. And that means you're

Nick Schittone:

bypassing the ads. So these new worlds that are opening up on

Nick Schittone:

social, some of them are going to take off in big ways. And so

Nick Schittone:

you know, could could you buy a piece of real estate within it

Nick Schittone:

and and have that kind of have the ability to create something

Nick Schittone:

in it to test to invite brands to even be a part of it. I think

Nick Schittone:

that's where I would put some money for sure.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, yeah, I was thinking about that, as, you

Guy Powell:

know, could you buy a, you know, a property on Times Square? Or

Guy Powell:

could you buy a property in Central Park or something like

Guy Powell:

that, and whatever it is in the metaverse and and then hold on

Guy Powell:

to it for a handful of years and make some money at it. I

Guy Powell:

remember, you know, delta.com used to not be owned by Delta

Guy Powell:

Airlines. And they had to pay big bucks for that. So whoever

Guy Powell:

had it, it was supposedly a computer store, but whoever had

Guy Powell:

it, and they did, they did pretty well by you know, picking

Guy Powell:

out that one asset that was really valuable. Yeah. So

Guy Powell:

anyway, so what's the one most important thing you'd like to

Guy Powell:

get across today? Before we close,

Nick Schittone:

I think the curiosity factor that I was

Nick Schittone:

leaning into, you know, I'm not a traditional marketer, I came

Nick Schittone:

from the music side of things, the television side of things, I

Nick Schittone:

found the business of the agency world curious enough to learn

Nick Schittone:

more about it, and then stumble my way into it. Even when I meet

Nick Schittone:

with people, it's not it's not necessarily I'm going in there

Nick Schittone:

with a hard business proposition. It's really about

Nick Schittone:

listening, learning, asking a million questions, seeing what's

Nick Schittone:

on the minds of people. So I think that if you have a spirit

Nick Schittone:

of curiosity, I think it can take you to lots of different

Nick Schittone:

places, lots of fun places that you didn't think were possible,

Nick Schittone:

just simply because you asked. And you were curious enough to

Nick Schittone:

ask.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, it's funny how that, that that question the

Guy Powell:

what if question is so, so important. And and then you

Guy Powell:

know, that innate, either you either have it or you don't, or

Guy Powell:

you have it really strong or maybe not so strong, but being

Guy Powell:

able to really be curious about, you know, how this works, or how

Guy Powell:

this could work. And I think that that's a really good point.

Guy Powell:

So anyway, Nick, thank you so much, really appreciate it. And

Guy Powell:

actually, you know, I need to get some consulting from you.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, there were a couple of things that you mentioned that I

Guy Powell:

could definitely use and how I pitch my business and stuff like

Guy Powell:

that. So really appreciate it. And otherwise, please stay tuned

Guy Powell:

for other videos in this series of the backstory on marketing.

Guy Powell:

And please visit marketing machine dot pro relevant.com to

Guy Powell:

download this, the first chapter of my book and other valuable

Guy Powell:

excerpts, Nick, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Nick Schittone:

Thank you so much, guy.