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Joe Koufman: Chemistry in Marketing Matchmaking
Episode 115th July 2022 • The Backstory on Marketing • Guy Powell
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About Joe:

Joe Koufman is responsible for introducing three married couples and countless business relationships. In early 2014, he parlayed his passion for connecting people with his deep relationships with marketers and agencies to build the marketing matchmaker service, Setup. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Joe spent six years leading business development and marketing for Engauge. As Senior Vice President of Business Development and Marketing there, he helped the agency build new relationships with high-profile clients like Cisco Systems, Newell Brands, AMC Theatres, Hanesbrands, and Hershey’s. Joe serves on the board of directors of the American Marketing Association (AMA Atlanta), the Atlanta Interactive Marketing

Association (AIMA), and the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia. He also volunteers weekly at Everybody Wins! Atlanta, and participated in the Entrepreneurs’ Organization Accelerator program.

Joe joins Guy to share how finding the right mix of compatibility and chemistry is crucial for creating long-lasting partnerships between agencies and brands.

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Guy Powell:

Hi, I'm Guy Powell and welcome to the 10th episode

Guy Powell:

of the Backstory on Marketing. If you haven't already done so

Guy Powell:

please visit proelevant.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 more information on my book at marketing machine dot

Guy Powell:

pro relevant to.com. Today we'll be speaking with Joe Kaufman.

Guy Powell:

Joe is responsible for introducing three married

Guy Powell:

couples and countless business relationships in early 2014. He

Guy Powell:

parlayed his passion for connecting people to founding

Guy Powell:

setup at and you can find setup@setup.us setup is a

Guy Powell:

marketing matchmaker. But before becoming an entrepreneur, Joe

Guy Powell:

spent six years leading business development and marketing for

Guy Powell:

engage, which was acquired by the publicist group, and then

Guy Powell:

merged also with moxie. As Senior Vice President of

Guy Powell:

Business Development and Marketing. He helped the agency

Guy Powell:

build new relationships with high profile clients, such as

Guy Powell:

Cisco Newell brands, AMC theaters, HANES Brands, and a

Guy Powell:

whole list of others. When Joe isn't working, he loves to

Guy Powell:

discover new music. And he hosts a weekly radio show at gumbo

Guy Powell:

show.com. And he spends a lot of time with his wife, Michelle,

Guy Powell:

and their twins Joss and Radley. Most weekends he's supporting

Guy Powell:

his kids activities, playing his grandmother's trumpet, running

Guy Powell:

and immersing himself in music. Joe, welcome, and great to have

Guy Powell:

you today.

Joe Koufman:

Thanks so much, Guy. It's such a pleasure to be

Joe Koufman:

here with you.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, thank you. So let's get started. So tell us

Guy Powell:

about yourself and what your backstory is on marketing. Yeah,

Guy Powell:

so

Joe Koufman:

I grew up in North Carolina, even though I had

Joe Koufman:

Boston roots. And I graduated from Wake Forest University, and

Joe Koufman:

spent four years in retail. And retail moved me from New

Joe Koufman:

Orleans, Louisiana, to Jackson Hole Wyoming, to Atlanta,

Joe Koufman:

Georgia, where I finally ran the Eddie Bauer at Lenox Square

Joe Koufman:

Mall, which was the biggest of their stores in the southeast.

Joe Koufman:

And at 26 years old. Having 50 employees and running that

Joe Koufman:

store, I did one holiday season and decided I was done with

Joe Koufman:

retail forever. And so I joined a.com called Knowledge storm and

Joe Koufman:

spent eight years there. And we went from all thinking we were

Joe Koufman:

going to be millionaires to layoffs and things over time

Joe Koufman:

during the.com bust, to eventually selling to a recently

Joe Koufman:

company that went public called Tech target bought knowledge

Joe Koufman:

storm for $58 million, used about half of their IPO money.

Joe Koufman:

And then I went to join a small digital agency called spawn

Joe Koufman:

logic was probably 60 or so people that soon got acquired by

Joe Koufman:

engage, which ended up about 250 people. And then we sold as you

Joe Koufman:

said, approval says six years after after I joined. And our

Joe Koufman:

revenue when we sold was roughly 40 to $43 million. And of that

Joe Koufman:

$43 million of annual revenue, I was responsible for probably 60%

Joe Koufman:

of the clients that made up that revenue, maybe a little bit

Joe Koufman:

more, maybe 65%. But and when when we were acquired by pulses

Joe Koufman:

group and merged with moxie, as you mentioned, it became clear

Joe Koufman:

to me that I you know, while it was a very, very good agency and

Joe Koufman:

great holding company, it wasn't going to be the same kind of

Joe Koufman:

agency that I had joined six years earlier. And for me, I

Joe Koufman:

really loved matchmaking as you as you mentioned in my bio,

Joe Koufman:

it's, you know, a hobby, but then I definitely love

Joe Koufman:

connecting people together at at my company set up our purpose is

Joe Koufman:

to unlock the power of human connections. That's our real

Joe Koufman:

purpose. And, you know, it's that is my personal life. That

Joe Koufman:

is my professional life. And I think the people that I've hired

Joe Koufman:

and my team, all would agree that they love also unlocking

Joe Koufman:

the power of human connections. So that's the path that brings

Joe Koufman:

us you know, it's we just had our eighth anniversary in

Joe Koufman:

February of 2022 and It's been quite a journey.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, wow, eight years is not an easy thing. And

Guy Powell:

then to and I know you guys are very successful, and you're

Guy Powell:

definitely in a very interesting space. And I like that concept.

Guy Powell:

Well, I found, I helped set up three marriages. And then I also

Guy Powell:

do that for businesses. But I, when I saw that I really smiled.

Guy Powell:

That was pretty good.

Joe Koufman:

Well, and they're not all still married guy, but I

Joe Koufman:

never claimed to be a marriage counselor.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, very good. I like that. So, so what kind of

Guy Powell:

agencies and brands do typically worked for it. So build those

Guy Powell:

relationships? Yeah.

Joe Koufman:

So the way we normally work is, most of the

Joe Koufman:

brands that we work with are on the medium to large size. So

Joe Koufman:

we've worked with a lot of fortune 500 brands, as well as

Joe Koufman:

some mid market kind of companies too. And the way our

Joe Koufman:

process normally works is that we work with the client to help

Joe Koufman:

them write a brief, to outline and clarify exactly what they're

Joe Koufman:

trying to accomplish from a marketing standpoint, then we

Joe Koufman:

look across a network, a group of agencies to determine if any

Joe Koufman:

of those agencies are a really good fit to solve that problem.

Joe Koufman:

And, and we put those agencies through a very rigorous vetting

Joe Koufman:

process upfront before we even will work with them before we

Joe Koufman:

even write the brief for the client or where there's a need.

Joe Koufman:

But if any of those agencies are a good fit on paper, to solve

Joe Koufman:

the problem, they're capable, they have the client experience

Joe Koufman:

or the discipline expertise, then we typically will introduce

Joe Koufman:

that client to three or four different agencies that are all

Joe Koufman:

capable. And the reason we do that, as any good matchmaker

Joe Koufman:

will tell you, there's compatibility on paper, and then

Joe Koufman:

there's chemistry. And we can predict combative compatibility,

Joe Koufman:

or compatibility with compatibility on paper all day

Joe Koufman:

long. We can't always predict the chemistry. So by introducing

Joe Koufman:

the client to three or four different agencies, we're

Joe Koufman:

allowing the client to own that communication and determine if

Joe Koufman:

there's chemistry and determine if they want a second date with

Joe Koufman:

any of agencies to use the dating analogy again. On the

Joe Koufman:

other hand, when we write the brief, if it's clear that the

Joe Koufman:

need of the client is different than just introducing them to

Joe Koufman:

three or four agencies, and getting out of the way, then we

Joe Koufman:

can work with the client to actually perform a custom agency

Joe Koufman:

search where we run the entire process from writing the profile

Joe Koufman:

of the ideal agency by interviewing all the key

Joe Koufman:

stakeholders, building a really long list of potential agencies,

Joe Koufman:

narrowing the pool down to a much more manageable group,

Joe Koufman:

sending out some requests for information, questions that are

Joe Koufman:

relatively easy for the agency to answer, you know, in a half

Joe Koufman:

hour or something, narrowing the pool down based on those

Joe Koufman:

answers, issuing an RFP to a handful of agencies, and then

Joe Koufman:

picking the top three or four to pitch the client and then

Joe Koufman:

helping the client ultimately make a decision. So we were able

Joe Koufman:

to help the client, find the right agency, whether it's from

Joe Koufman:

the pool of agencies that are already working with us, or a

Joe Koufman:

much larger pool that don't work with us.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, yeah, very interesting. And I think you're

Guy Powell:

right, though, I think, you know, one of the challenges, I

Guy Powell:

think, with selecting an agency is there. There's the

Guy Powell:

differences between them. Certainly, there's personality,

Guy Powell:

and there's certainly some people have a creative bent in

Guy Powell:

one direction versus versus another. But if that chemistry

Guy Powell:

doesn't match, then it's, it's, well, it's just like a marriage.

Guy Powell:

If that chemistry doesn't match, boy, it's not going to not going

Guy Powell:

to do very well over the long term. And it's an expensive,

Joe Koufman:

right, right, right. You need you need, you

Joe Koufman:

need both both capability and chemistry. And I used to think

Joe Koufman:

it was 5050 50% capability and 50% chemistry. Now, I believe

Joe Koufman:

it's actually probably 35% capability and 65% chemistry,

Joe Koufman:

chemistry is probably even more important than capability.

Guy Powell:

Yeah. And I think even in our relationships with

Guy Powell:

our clients, you know, if you don't have that rapport and that

Guy Powell:

chemistry, there's always as good as we all try to be. And,

Guy Powell:

you know, I think just about every agency is excellent at

Guy Powell:

what they do, but there's always things that go wrong. There's

Guy Powell:

something that gets in the way A summer, whatever it happens, and

Guy Powell:

you need that chemistry in that report to be able to get past

Guy Powell:

that. So that you're, you know, so that you really are able to

Guy Powell:

deliver really, really good work for the agencies and that I

Guy Powell:

think you're right, I think it is definitely 65%. So almost

Guy Powell:

like, you know, there's in any conversation 80% of the message

Guy Powell:

is in the in the body language, and only 20% is in the wording.

Guy Powell:

So maybe it's something similar to that.

Unknown:

Yeah. Oh, yeah, for sure.

Guy Powell:

So has that changed at all? Since COVID? Has the

Guy Powell:

internet as the turnover gotten better? Or worse? Or has have

Guy Powell:

the relationships changed significantly?

Joe Koufman:

So the short answer is, turnover is increased on the

Joe Koufman:

brand side with marketers and with the agencies in terms of

Joe Koufman:

staff and employees, because of, I'm not calling it the great

Joe Koufman:

resignation, I'm calling it the talent wars, you know, it's

Joe Koufman:

essentially, and but we're finding, we had our busiest

Joe Koufman:

quarter ever, in terms of brands looking for agency support,

Joe Koufman:

because eight brands are leaner than they ever were some of

Joe Koufman:

them, you know, laid off people early in COVID. And then found

Joe Koufman:

themselves pretty short handed in terms of being able to

Joe Koufman:

execute on their marketing initiatives. And right now, you

Joe Koufman:

know, because there are more marketing needs than there are

Joe Koufman:

staff trying to, if you were as a client, trying to add

Joe Koufman:

headcount for creative art director, a copywriter, a email

Joe Koufman:

marketing expert, a social media expert, an analytics person, a

Joe Koufman:

project manager, and account manager, if you wanted to add

Joe Koufman:

all of those headcount, it's really tough to even if you

Joe Koufman:

could find the people, which it's hard to do, do you really

Joe Koufman:

have the room in your organization to bring on six,

Joe Koufman:

seven new people who, some of whom are specialists in their

Joe Koufman:

craft, and not generalists. So we're seeing that brands clients

Joe Koufman:

are hiring, more and more agencies support because with

Joe Koufman:

one single, you know, agreement with an agency, they can get all

Joe Koufman:

of those discipline experts to work on their account. Rather

Joe Koufman:

than trying to hire them all separately. And also, as

Joe Koufman:

projects and need scale up and scale down, you can scale up and

Joe Koufman:

scale down that agency relationship, a lot easier than,

Joe Koufman:

you know, if, if worse, come to worse, and you really, really

Joe Koufman:

needed to cut expenses, it's a lot easier to cut the agency

Joe Koufman:

than it is to lay off seven people. So we're seeing a lot of

Joe Koufman:

velocity right now, in terms of we're busier than we've ever

Joe Koufman:

been in the eight year history, in terms of the total number of

Joe Koufman:

introductions we're making between brands and agencies.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, and I think your your, your point is

Guy Powell:

definitely right, the agencies are they have the ability to

Guy Powell:

scale up and scale down a lot more easily. You know, in

Guy Powell:

however they do it, but because they have the management team in

Guy Powell:

place, and then the agency, you know, account management in

Guy Powell:

place, and then they've got, you know, people that can, you know,

Guy Powell:

execute on various things that it is a lot easier. And I think

Guy Powell:

you're right to is it is hard for companies to hire folks find

Guy Powell:

the folks poach the folks nowadays. And, and, and then and

Guy Powell:

then they don't have really a guarantee, so to speak, that the

Guy Powell:

person that they actually hired is actually going to be able to

Guy Powell:

deliver on what they wanted to hire. And so that is that is

Guy Powell:

tough, that is really tough for them. That's for sure. So what

Guy Powell:

do you think the biggest challenges are now and in, in

Guy Powell:

the post COVID world for finding an agency? Is there? Is there a

Guy Powell:

lot of demand now, like you said, or how does that how does

Guy Powell:

that work?

Joe Koufman:

Yeah, I mean, we're, the challenge with

Joe Koufman:

finding an agency, this is actually not even post COVID,

Joe Koufman:

pre COVID. This has always been the challenge is, first of all,

Joe Koufman:

marketers are somewhat limited by their network, right? I only

Joe Koufman:

know who I know, and agencies change pretty rapidly in terms

Joe Koufman:

of an agency that was fantastic two years ago, may not be any

Joe Koufman:

more an agency that was not well known two years ago might be

Joe Koufman:

great now. So we're limited by asking some colleagues or

Joe Koufman:

friends with agencies they've worked with and that kind of

Joe Koufman:

thing. Secondly, time finding, you know, go ahead and Google

Joe Koufman:

user experience agency and see how many 1000s and 1000s of

Joe Koufman:

results come up or, you know, whatever, public relations firm

Joe Koufman:

or advertising agency or web design, whatever the thing is

Joe Koufman:

your need. It's really inefficient to just search and,

Joe Koufman:

you know, so takes a lot One time to find the right agency

Joe Koufman:

and narrow in on the one that's the best fit for you. And then

Joe Koufman:

the other thing is vetting, vetting the agencies and putting

Joe Koufman:

them through a process. It's difficult. It's time consuming.

Joe Koufman:

It's a challenge to Okay. Again, I've got this list of 1000

Joe Koufman:

agencies that came up on a Google search. How do I

Joe Koufman:

differentiate them? They all say they're good at everything.

Joe Koufman:

Right? And they're not right. So one of those are all problems or

Joe Koufman:

challenges that we solve for the client at setup, because we've

Joe Koufman:

already put the agencies through a really, very rigorous vetting

Joe Koufman:

process, it takes about a month for us to complete. It includes

Joe Koufman:

us talking to serving current clients of the agency and past

Joe Koufman:

clients of the agency that no longer work with them, because

Joe Koufman:

we've found that they're the most candid about what the real

Joe Koufman:

strengths are they agency and their weaknesses. We also survey

Joe Koufman:

the key staff within the agency to understand one how self aware

Joe Koufman:

they are, you know, do they do their answers jive with what

Joe Koufman:

current and past clients say, but also to understand, you

Joe Koufman:

know, where they're going, what they feel their real strengths

Joe Koufman:

are, and that kind of thing. And that whole vetting process helps

Joe Koufman:

us really get to know the agency as well. It also holds a mirror

Joe Koufman:

up to the agency and allows them to learn more about themselves

Joe Koufman:

and their strengths and weaknesses. But also, it

Joe Koufman:

sometimes even uncovers opportunities, because we'll

Joe Koufman:

sometimes survey a past client that says, Man, I really we

Joe Koufman:

asked them a question like, What do you wish this agency could

Joe Koufman:

have? Could have done for you? And sometimes the answer is

Joe Koufman:

something that they've added, since they stopped working with

Joe Koufman:

agency or something. So that whole process, we call it our

Joe Koufman:

agency assessment process. It helps us upfront, cut down on

Joe Koufman:

some of that information overload of Google search of

Joe Koufman:

being able to help the client only work with agencies that

Joe Koufman:

have been really well vetted only work with agencies that

Joe Koufman:

have demonstrated success with, you know, similar clients in the

Joe Koufman:

industry and similar types of projects and things like that.

Joe Koufman:

And so it's, it's a time thing, it's an efficiency thing, and

Joe Koufman:

it's not limiting the client to just a couple of agencies that

Joe Koufman:

they've heard of.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, absolutely. I can definitely see that. And so

Guy Powell:

do you think now, the agencies or the searches are trying to

Guy Powell:

consolidate, you know, down to, let's say, you know, just a

Guy Powell:

handful of agencies versus having, you know, a whole bunch

Guy Powell:

and being very specialized with each one is, how do you how do

Guy Powell:

you see that as the trend in the industry, or is it, it's still

Guy Powell:

just totally dynamic going back and forth, depending on the

Guy Powell:

company.

Joe Koufman:

It's a pendulum that definitely swings back and

Joe Koufman:

forth, and we see it every year or two, there's a, we'll see.

Joe Koufman:

Some clients that really want to work with One Agency of record a

Joe Koufman:

general agency that we found that they are often very, very,

Joe Koufman:

they're often good at many things, they have a larger host

Joe Koufman:

of disciplines of marketing that they cover, but they aren't

Joe Koufman:

necessarily specialists. So they're not super deep in a

Joe Koufman:

specific discipline. We have other clients that like to

Joe Koufman:

manage a group of specialists. And the challenge there is that

Joe Koufman:

the specialists aren't always seeing the real big picture of

Joe Koufman:

what the company is trying to accomplish. And, and it's a lot

Joe Koufman:

more management for the client to manage multiple agencies

Joe Koufman:

instead of having one quote neck to choke, you know, one agency.

Joe Koufman:

I personally, would, if I were the client, I would prefer to

Joe Koufman:

manage multiple specialists, rather than one big agency of

Joe Koufman:

record because I feel that I would, I'm willing to spend more

Joe Koufman:

time and energy managing multiple agencies but getting

Joe Koufman:

the DIS the best of the best in terms of discipline expertise.

Joe Koufman:

But we see that pendulum swing back and forth with a pendulum

Joe Koufman:

we see guy is companies that want to build in house agencies

Joe Koufman:

and in house, you know, capabilities versus partnering

Joe Koufman:

with age external agencies to do work. And we see that go back

Joe Koufman:

and forth. Many big brands try to build their in house agency

Joe Koufman:

as a shared service that maybe multiple brands within the

Joe Koufman:

agency come to the shared service for marketing. The

Joe Koufman:

challenge with that is that often you know the client As a

Joe Koufman:

people that want to go work for an agency, are different than

Joe Koufman:

the kinds because they want to work on multiple clients and

Joe Koufman:

multiple different industries are somewhat different than the

Joe Koufman:

kinds of people that want to work on one for one company and

Joe Koufman:

one brand. So and also one of the one other piece with the in

Joe Koufman:

house agencies versus external is that often those shared

Joe Koufman:

services teams are strapped with capacity issues. And so it

Joe Koufman:

leaves the brands that are the clients, the internal clients,

Joe Koufman:

sometimes frustrated, trying to get good quality work out of

Joe Koufman:

that internal agency, and then they say, I'm just gonna go hire

Joe Koufman:

my own agency, outside of the shared services.

Guy Powell:

Well, and especially to if if you have a, you know,

Guy Powell:

if you're a family of brands, and they all have certain things

Guy Powell:

that are specific to a specific holiday, and, and all of a

Guy Powell:

sudden, they need a whole bunch of stuff for the Memorial Day

Guy Powell:

sale or the and then, you know, you got this peak in demand

Guy Powell:

that, that the internal agency may not be able to handle. Yeah,

Guy Powell:

and I think you're right to that, there's no question even

Guy Powell:

for us, when we, one of the, we do like quarterly updates for a

Guy Powell:

lot of our analytics work. And, you know, so that's four times a

Guy Powell:

year that for our clients, we're super busy, if they were going

Guy Powell:

to hire and do that internally, that person that would be doing

Guy Powell:

our work, so to speak, would have nothing to do for three or

Guy Powell:

four, you know, three more, maybe even six weeks out of the

Guy Powell:

quarter. And, you know, and these people in our industry

Guy Powell:

analytics, and in your, you know, in agencies, these

Guy Powell:

creative people, they don't want to sit around doing nothing for

Guy Powell:

six weeks, you know, they'd rather be doing, you know,

Guy Powell:

something that's very interesting and very, you know,

Guy Powell:

sparks their curiosity and really gets their juices going.

Guy Powell:

And I think that's one of the big challenges on both sides,

Guy Powell:

you know, even for the agencies, to be able to keep those people

Guy Powell:

and keep them really busy and give them then the new the new

Guy Powell:

deal. Every you know, every, every once in a while, hey, you

Guy Powell:

got to work on this one, and then this one and this one, then

Guy Powell:

jump back and jump back. You know, that's a that that

Guy Powell:

requires a special type of person, and they don't want to,

Guy Powell:

you know, be bored, so to speak, necessarily with working on an

Guy Powell:

internal agency and trying to run an internal agency. Yeah.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, so So is there any big difference between larger brands

Guy Powell:

doing a search for a larger brand versus a smaller brand, or

Guy Powell:

potentially even a startup? You know, if you get a start up and

Guy Powell:

an IPO, and you're about to try and get on the Superbowl, or

Guy Powell:

whatever, you know, it's the search is different there than

Guy Powell:

otherwise?

Joe Koufman:

Well, if you're trying to get into Super Bowl,

Joe Koufman:

the search is very different, because that's a full on RFP

Joe Koufman:

process, usually, because those are millions and millions of

Joe Koufman:

dollars. But to answer your question, smaller agencies

Joe Koufman:

usually hire sorry, smaller clients, smaller brands usually

Joe Koufman:

hire smaller agencies that are a little more generalists. Because

Joe Koufman:

they can't afford to hire for different agencies, they only

Joe Koufman:

have the budget to hire one. And that one better be able to do at

Joe Koufman:

least many of the things that the client really needs. The

Joe Koufman:

larger the client, the more likely they are to work with

Joe Koufman:

specialist agencies, either a big AOR and some specialists or

Joe Koufman:

all specialists, because they, you know, they hire an agency

Joe Koufman:

specifically to do CRM and marketing automation, they hire

Joe Koufman:

an agency specifically to do content creation, they hire an

Joe Koufman:

agency specifically to do public relations, or web design or app

Joe Koufman:

development, or whatever the thing is that they need help

Joe Koufman:

with, they know that they're a large agency of record, probably

Joe Koufman:

doesn't have all of the chops to do all of those individual

Joe Koufman:

things. Well, so the bigger the brand, the more likely they are

Joe Koufman:

to hire a group of specialists and you know, the smaller brands

Joe Koufman:

have to hire a generalist that smaller on the smaller side in

Joe Koufman:

terms of staff too, because they can't afford the same scale that

Joe Koufman:

a bigger Yes,

Guy Powell:

he could divide. Yeah. And they need on boats.

Guy Powell:

And it's on both sides as well. Because, you know, the fees are

Guy Powell:

one thing, but also you need personnel to manage all that.

Guy Powell:

And, you know, then the more you have going on on the outside,

Guy Powell:

you gotta have more people on the inside to manage what's

Guy Powell:

going on on the outside. So, yeah, so the market and

Guy Powell:

marketing has certainly changed over the last Well, certainly

Guy Powell:

since COVID. And pre COVID versus post COVID. And, and, and

Guy Powell:

we definitely saw it, you know, I was my book has a basically

Guy Powell:

has that is that one of its premises is that there is a big

Guy Powell:

big difference. Pre COVID versus post COVID in technology. What

Guy Powell:

do you see then now, post COVID are as the biggest Challenges

Guy Powell:

facing facing agencies and even on the other side, the brands

Guy Powell:

that that they're working with.

Joe Koufman:

It's funny, you asked that question now, because

Joe Koufman:

we're in the midst of wrapping up our fourth annual marketing

Joe Koufman:

relationship survey. And in fact, it's going to close soon,

Joe Koufman:

I'm not sure, by the time this airs, we may already have closed

Joe Koufman:

it. But essentially, what this is the fourth year that we've

Joe Koufman:

looked at those, that marketing landscape and how it's changed,

Joe Koufman:

and also those relationships between brands and agencies,

Joe Koufman:

that sort of part of it. Interestingly, in last year

Joe Koufman:

survey, which we were fortunate enough to have, at age,

Joe Koufman:

published it on their homepage and the print and send it out

Joe Koufman:

via all their newsletters and things. So they got widely

Joe Koufman:

promoted, and by Ad Age. But what their headline was that

Joe Koufman:

within the next six months, one in three brands will change

Joe Koufman:

agencies. And I kind of chuckled when I saw the headline, because

Joe Koufman:

I think at any given moment, one in three brands is thinking

Joe Koufman:

about changing agencies that was validated by our that's

Joe Koufman:

validated almost every year and survey, which is, you know, two

Joe Koufman:

thirds of the clients are perfectly happy with their

Joe Koufman:

agency and 1/3 are not going to get to switch what a client's

Joe Koufman:

care about and what brands care about clients care about? Well,

Joe Koufman:

what they don't care about is the proximity of their agency,

Joe Koufman:

whether the agency is down the street from them or not, it's

Joe Koufman:

especially during post COVID, we all learned that we could work

Joe Koufman:

remotely successfully, and that we don't need to be in the room

Joe Koufman:

with the with our customers, with our clients with our

Joe Koufman:

agencies. They don't care about whether the agencies win a lot

Joe Koufman:

of awards. They don't care so much about the seniority of the

Joe Koufman:

team or whether or not they have specialized capabilities. They

Joe Koufman:

do care about which this is heartening. Because these are

Joe Koufman:

things that agency people can control. They care about

Joe Koufman:

creativity. They care about professionalism. They care about

Joe Koufman:

chemistry. They care about cost. And they're looking for

Joe Koufman:

transparency in the relationship, they're looking

Joe Koufman:

for vulnerability, they're looking for some employee

Joe Koufman:

retention, even though the agency business is typically as

Joe Koufman:

pretty transient in terms of people coming and going. There

Joe Koufman:

is value in some longevity and institutional knowledge, that

Joe Koufman:

kind of thing. And they just want clear expectations. You

Joe Koufman:

know, part of that this survey is to understand what clients

Joe Koufman:

wish agencies knew what agencies wish clients knew. And it's kind

Joe Koufman:

of funny, because they're, like, look, the clients wish the

Joe Koufman:

agencies would act as more strategic partners, and agencies

Joe Koufman:

wished the clients would let them do more strategic work. So

Joe Koufman:

what's the problem here? There's a disconnect. And the answer is,

Joe Koufman:

you know, the clients say things like, I don't think the agency

Joe Koufman:

truly understands bureaucratic red tape within my organization,

Joe Koufman:

or your other priorities that aren't just this marketing,

Joe Koufman:

stuff that I'm working on with you. And agencies want to be led

Joe Koufman:

into the inner circle, and part of the planning meetings and all

Joe Koufman:

of those things. So it's just there's a, you know, that

Joe Koufman:

transparency, that vulnerability, that clear

Joe Koufman:

expectations, that would go a long way in, in really improving

Joe Koufman:

relationships between brands and agencies.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, that is definitely funny. And I think I

Guy Powell:

think you're right on the outside, you know, even with our

Guy Powell:

relationships, on the outside, we are always providing kind of

Guy Powell:

the strategic look at whatever it is that we produce. And, and

Guy Powell:

yet, in terms of actually getting across, what we think,

Guy Powell:

you know, is going to be potentially important, or at

Guy Powell:

least getting that feedback so that we can build it into what

Guy Powell:

we deliver is sometimes is sometimes lacking, and, you

Guy Powell:

know, and you're basically, you know, instead of being, you

Guy Powell:

know, the, at least the collar on the dog, you're kind of the

Guy Powell:

tail and you find you find out when that when that dog starts

Guy Powell:

to wag its tail, you don't find out, you know, right next to it,

Guy Powell:

you know, you know, when they first heard it, so, yeah, yeah,

Guy Powell:

I think I think that's, that's a really good, that's a really

Guy Powell:

good, good point. So otherwise, you know, there's things like

Guy Powell:

and we were just at an event together on NF Ts. I'm just

Guy Powell:

curious. How you see that now. Influencing agencies, are there

Guy Powell:

going to be now NF T specialists and or are they going to be

Guy Powell:

generalized into a digital or is it going to be both or all of

Guy Powell:

the above?

Joe Koufman:

Yeah. Well, that's one reason In that I think a lot

Joe Koufman:

of clients hire agencies is because they rely on their

Joe Koufman:

agencies to keep their fingers on the pulse of emerging trends.

Joe Koufman:

You know, if you're working for a giant hotel company or for a

Joe Koufman:

company that sells soda, or you're working for a company

Joe Koufman:

that sells hammers and paint and home renovation supplies, you're

Joe Koufman:

focused on selling more paint and hammers and are selling more

Joe Koufman:

soda or selling more booking more hotel rooms. You're not

Joe Koufman:

focused on every emerging trend that as it comes along, I mean,

Joe Koufman:

even with social media, there was Friendster, and then there

Joe Koufman:

was,

Guy Powell:

I'm gonna MySpace,

Joe Koufman:

MySpace, thank you Myspace, Facebook, and then

Joe Koufman:

Facebook, and then Instagram, and then Snapchat and Tiktok.

Joe Koufman:

And whatever's next right, and metaverse. And I'm not saying

Joe Koufman:

that some of the some of these emerging technologies will

Joe Koufman:

stick, you know, Instagram and Snapchat are here to stay right.

Joe Koufman:

Tick tock is here to stay, I think. But and there were some

Joe Koufman:

time there were days when we weren't sure that tick tock was

Joe Koufman:

right, make it right. For a number of reasons. But my point

Joe Koufman:

is that all of these trends NFT, and cryptocurrency and

Joe Koufman:

blockchain, I think elements of them are here to stay agencies

Joe Koufman:

are part of their job is to keep their finger on the pulse and be

Joe Koufman:

helpful and advise their clients as to how to get into into them

Joe Koufman:

in a safe way. And I would say that clients and agencies need

Joe Koufman:

to reserve a portion of their budget for testing, you might

Joe Koufman:

not spend 95% of your money on your budget on on NF T's. But

Joe Koufman:

man, you shouldn't be spending 5% of it. So that your, if it

Joe Koufman:

really does become a massive part of our world, or our new

Joe Koufman:

world, then at the very least you are in it. So I think but I

Joe Koufman:

think that agencies are more likely to stay abreast of those

Joe Koufman:

trends, because they live and breathe it all day, every day,

Joe Koufman:

versus having to take time away to sell some more hammers and

Joe Koufman:

lumber, or take time away to try to get right help hotel rooms

Joe Koufman:

booked.

Guy Powell:

Well, and I think, you know, even going back to

Guy Powell:

when the internet started, you know how many domain names were,

Guy Powell:

you know, not taken, when I think of delta.com paying, I

Guy Powell:

don't know, nobody knows how much they had to pay. But if

Guy Powell:

they had used, you know, even one or 2% of their budget to

Guy Powell:

understand what was going on, they would have realized that

Guy Powell:

they need to protect their domain, you know, delta.com, or

Guy Powell:

whatever, just so that they could be ready in case it really

Guy Powell:

took off. And then secondly, though, I think those companies

Guy Powell:

that get in early, like get into Snapchat early on or get into

Guy Powell:

Instagram early on, they can get a very short term, very high

Guy Powell:

return, because it's kind of it's, it's, you know, it's the

Guy Powell:

wild wild west. So you can try a whole bunch of stuff, get known

Guy Powell:

for it, and then all of a sudden, you, you get all of that

Guy Powell:

brand, you know, brand value out of it. And and those companies

Guy Powell:

that that go in late, they kind of only get the mature growth or

Guy Powell:

mature value as opposed to that early on big value.

Joe Koufman:

I'll give you a perfect example since your book

Joe Koufman:

is about marketing in the post COVID world. Ecommerce is a huge

Joe Koufman:

example of this. The brands and companies particularly retail

Joe Koufman:

brands, or Restaurant Brands that were already involved in E

Joe Koufman:

commerce had already set up their ecommerce infrastructure.

Joe Koufman:

And already were selling goods online, whether that good is

Joe Koufman:

delivered by you know, FedEx or UPS or USPS, or whether that

Joe Koufman:

good is I'm going to drive by the restaurant and pick up a

Joe Koufman:

takeout order or Beauprez, buy online, pick up in store,

Joe Koufman:

whatever, whatever the delivery mechanism is. Those that had

Joe Koufman:

already gotten into E commerce pre COVID emerged really strong

Joe Koufman:

because they already could deliver to the new norm that was

Joe Koufman:

set because of the pandemic that I might not want to step foot in

Joe Koufman:

the store or in the restaurant, but I'm still willing to eat the

Joe Koufman:

food or I'm still willing to buy the item. And those that didn't

Joe Koufman:

have that infrastructure in place, really struggled to, for

Joe Koufman:

example, hire agencies that can support ecommerce, but who were

Joe Koufman:

swamped, you know, because they're so so So to your point,

Joe Koufman:

the early adopters of as new technologies emerge, the early

Joe Koufman:

adopters, I think, are in a better position to thrive long

Joe Koufman:

term than those that are waiting to see if it's gonna pan out.

Guy Powell:

Right, right. And a good example of that is

Guy Powell:

Chick-fil-A, they had online ordering figured out well before

Guy Powell:

the COVID, lockdown started, and they were then able to once they

Guy Powell:

were able to open up again, they were able to take orders

Guy Powell:

immediately, whereas a lot of the other, you know, drive thru

Guy Powell:

restaurants were not. And so you could order online, and then

Guy Powell:

pick up like you said, pickup in the drive thru and Chick-fil A

Guy Powell:

was just, they exploded during COVID. Because they were ready

Guy Powell:

because they had the technology ready. So that when people were

Guy Powell:

coming back and didn't want to come into the restaurant, but

Guy Powell:

we're ready to do the drive thru the bonus, I like that, I'm

Guy Powell:

going to use that one. But you know, being able to pick up

Guy Powell:

their sales just just exploded, and they, you can just see how

Guy Powell:

well they've done compared to the other ones.

Joe Koufman:

I have a related example. Speaking of Chick fil

Joe Koufman:

A, I hired a really smart and talented young man to set up,

Joe Koufman:

who found he got an opportunity to take his dream job, which is

Joe Koufman:

that he was hired by Chick fil A before the pandemic began to

Joe Koufman:

help them roll out delivery. So initially, they worked with

Joe Koufman:

DoorDash and Uber Eats and the other delivery services to

Joe Koufman:

deliver food. And they had to figure out which food travels

Joe Koufman:

well for delivery, which who doesn't then figure out how to

Joe Koufman:

efficiently get it to the people that were ordering it at their

Joe Koufman:

homes. But again, they were looking at delivery as a as a

Joe Koufman:

distribution model before the pandemic hit. And when pandemic

Joe Koufman:

hit, you can bet that delivery service became huge. And this

Joe Koufman:

young man is thriving within the company. Because, you know, all

Joe Koufman:

of a sudden, everybody started looking at him and saying, Wow,

Joe Koufman:

you're the guy that's going to help us get this food to the

Joe Koufman:

customers who don't want to go sit in our restaurant right now.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And, and, and I

Guy Powell:

think, you know, to, to, you know, the point about being able

Guy Powell:

to have a couple of percent of your budget ready for

Guy Powell:

experiments, you know, whether it's NFT's nowadays, or whatever

Guy Powell:

the next big thing is or the metaverse or whatever, it's,

Guy Powell:

it's definitely being ready. And, you know, and if it, you

Guy Powell:

know, I think there's still a lot of challenges with NF T's

Guy Powell:

and, but nevertheless, to be ready to either do some short

Guy Powell:

term things and experiment and find out that they work or find

Guy Powell:

out that they don't, and then be ready when that when that

Guy Powell:

explosion starts to take off that you can ride that wave

Guy Powell:

going all the way up. And and I think brands can can really do a

Guy Powell:

good job with that. And then you know, getting back to agencies

Guy Powell:

and brand relationships, you know, the if the brand, if the

Guy Powell:

agencies aren't bringing those ideas, or if the brands aren't

Guy Powell:

asking for it, then I don't think they're, you know, they're

Guy Powell:

probably doing themselves a disservice by not, you know,

Guy Powell:

thinking about outside the box as to what what might be

Guy Powell:

possible coming up over the next, you know, year, maybe it's

Guy Powell:

even six months, or maybe it's a little further out. Yeah,

Guy Powell:

absolutely. Yeah. So, anyway, we're about out of time, I'd

Guy Powell:

love to keep going. But anything, anything you'd like to

Guy Powell:

close with, that we didn't get to talk about? Yeah,

Joe Koufman:

there's one other thing, one other service that we

Joe Koufman:

provide that might be interesting to some of your

Joe Koufman:

listeners. And that's what we call marketing ecosystem

Joe Koufman:

planning. And what that means is that, in some cases, the client

Joe Koufman:

is not ready to hire an agency yet. What they really need to

Joe Koufman:

understand is what's the right balance or mix between internal

Joe Koufman:

resources, you know, hiring headcount, and external

Joe Koufman:

partners, agencies or otherwise. And so, one of the things we

Joe Koufman:

launched because clients were demanding this, we just finished

Joe Koufman:

a project for a fortune 500 company, that they weren't ready

Joe Koufman:

to hire an agency yet, they really truly needed to

Joe Koufman:

understand what their Nirvana should look like from a

Joe Koufman:

marketing ecosystem standpoint. So we help them paint the

Joe Koufman:

picture of what the ecosystem should look like. And then we

Joe Koufman:

help them understand where they are today and get a roadmap to

Joe Koufman:

how they get from where they are today to where they should be.

Joe Koufman:

And by the way, once we identified some of those

Joe Koufman:

external partner buckets that were empty or leaky, we can also

Joe Koufman:

help them find agencies but this is before you get there. There's

Joe Koufman:

an ecosystem that needs has to be planned for before we can

Joe Koufman:

start filling those buckets. So it's, we call it a marketing

Joe Koufman:

ecosystem planning. And it's another service that we offer to

Joe Koufman:

clients that are truly not quite ready to hire agencies or

Joe Koufman:

anything like that.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, understood. And and I think you're right and

Guy Powell:

potentially even for, you know, brands that are in kind of a,

Guy Powell:

rebuild the refresh mode where they, you know, had maybe a down

Guy Powell:

quarter, maybe something went wrong, maybe they are just

Guy Powell:

recovering from supply chain issues, or where they were just

Guy Powell:

acquired and you know, they've got challenges and then, you

Guy Powell:

know, the this, then they really, not only that, do they

Guy Powell:

need the strategy on how they're going to recover and get out of

Guy Powell:

the hole that they're in. But then as they're trying to get

Guy Powell:

out of that whole is, what is the right ecosystem, I can see

Guy Powell:

that being very valuable for brands exactly like that. And

Guy Powell:

making sure they put those partners in place that can

Guy Powell:

really help them propel, because otherwise the marketing team is

Guy Powell:

going to lose, and then marketing for most of these

Guy Powell:

brands. If marketing doesn't work, they're gonna lose.

Joe Koufman:

Yeah, and this case, the client that hired us

Joe Koufman:

was brand new VP of Marketing with a lot of direct reports,

Joe Koufman:

and they had a lot of direct reports. And they were doing

Joe Koufman:

lots and lots and lots of marketing projects, but they

Joe Koufman:

weren't really looking carefully at should they be doing all

Joe Koufman:

these marketing projects. And are they the best, you know,

Joe Koufman:

there's the output, the best quality and all of these things.

Joe Koufman:

And the other thing is that a lot of the marketing efforts

Joe Koufman:

were because several companies came together to become a larger

Joe Koufman:

company, that's a fortune 500. In some cases, her predecessors

Joe Koufman:

were running marketing, like they were still a smaller

Joe Koufman:

company and working with, you know, did they have the right

Joe Koufman:

team in place for them to scale to the next level, do they have

Joe Koufman:

the right set of partners to scale to the next level, so

Joe Koufman:

we're, we were that that particular project was about

Joe Koufman:

helping them understand that. And now, now that we've

Joe Koufman:

delivered our output from that, they definitely are going to

Joe Koufman:

need help figuring out how to, they're gonna have to hire some

Joe Koufman:

people, they're gonna have to hire some agencies, potentially,

Joe Koufman:

or at least review their agencies and make sure they're

Joe Koufman:

getting what they need out of them. So anyway, I love that

Joe Koufman:

service, because it's very consultative, and it's a way

Joe Koufman:

that we can help the clients think through that ecosystem,

Joe Koufman:

and that perfect mix of internal and external resources that

Joe Koufman:

sometimes the client is too close to it, you know, to be

Joe Koufman:

able to really get a fresh set of eyes and perspective from the

Joe Koufman:

outside to understand what could be.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, now, and, and definitely to support those

Guy Powell:

existing or potentially relationships that need to be

Guy Powell:

replaced. I definitely see that and, and, and I could see a

Guy Powell:

whole lot of different triggers, you know, industry downturn, you

Guy Powell:

know, supply chain, whatever those problems are, as well as,

Guy Powell:

you know, new hires or whatever were you, you just gotta get a

Guy Powell:

good feel for what's going on before you commit to the to

Guy Powell:

trying to deliver on a strategy when you realize that, hey, my

Guy Powell:

team isn't there. And the team is not only the internal side,

Guy Powell:

but it's the external you've got to have that that the capability

Guy Powell:

and the chemistry with the exhales. Right, right, right.

Guy Powell:

Yeah. Well, Joe, it's been great. I really appreciate it.

Guy Powell:

And it was so good to be able to set up our podcast relationship

Guy Powell:

for today. Thanks. Thank you. I thought I'd try and figure out a

Guy Powell:

way to get all that in there. Our name has become very

Guy Powell:

intentional. Yep. Yeah. Absolutely. And I think we were

Guy Powell:

able to get some chemistry going. So even got some messages

Guy Powell:

and, and whatever. But in any case, for the listeners, please

Guy Powell:

stay tuned. We've got many many other videos in this series

Guy Powell:

coming on the backstory on marketing, please visit

Guy Powell:

marketing machine dot pro relevant.com. And if you'd like

Guy Powell:

to go there, and you'll be able to download the first chapter of

Guy Powell:

my book. And then there's also valuable excerpts and a whole

Guy Powell:

bunch of other stuff. And if you liked this podcast, please

Guy Powell:

definitely give me give us five stars and that way it'll get

Guy Powell:

proliferated out to a whole bunch of other for a whole bunch

Guy Powell:

of other folks and other listeners. Joe, thank you so

Guy Powell:

much.

Joe Koufman:

Hey, thanks so much guy. Appreciate your having me.