How I Made it in Marketing

Creative Marketing and Advertising Campaigns: Hold the line & get a door kicker (podcast episode #84)

January 22, 2024 John Reid Season 1 Episode 84
Creative Marketing and Advertising Campaigns: Hold the line & get a door kicker (podcast episode #84)
How I Made it in Marketing
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How I Made it in Marketing
Creative Marketing and Advertising Campaigns: Hold the line & get a door kicker (podcast episode #84)
Jan 22, 2024 Season 1 Episode 84
John Reid

When I was president of my homeowner’s association, it changed my walk through the neighborhood.

Before I was on the board, it was – hey, how you doing, talk about sports, the weather, whatever.  But once I was on the board it became – I have an idea, we should have this, this should change, etc.

And I’d always say – ‘Great, make it happen. We’re an all-volunteer organization, if you want it to happen, make it happen.’ The conversion rate on that was maybe 2%.

Marketing organizations and businesses are really no different. Everyone has ideas. Yet precious few have the tenacity and fortitude to make them happen.

Which is why I loved a lesson from a recent podcast guest application – ‘Ideas are easy. Making is the hard part.’

Here to share the story behind that lesson, along with many more lesson-filled stories, is John Reid, CMO, Aidentified (

Aidentified has raised $10 million in Series A financing for its artificial-intelligence-based platform.

The company has 40 employees, and John manages a team of five.

Stories (with lessons) about what he made in marketing

Here are some lessons from Reid that emerged in our discussion:

  • The key to turning great ideas into successful campaigns…you need a ‘door kicker’ like Hannah. 
  • If you don’t ‘hold the line,’ you won’t create great marketing
  • Ideas are easy. Making is the hard part. 
  • Be easy to root for
  • Make a decision
  • Marketing’s not going anywhere
  • Related content discussed in this episode

Related content discussed in this episode

Get ideas for using AI to enhance your marketing campaigns. Begin your free trial to the AI Guild at (MECLABS is the parent organization of MarketingSherpa).

Creative Marketing: Does it all make sense? (Podcast Episode #19) (

What is B2B?: Discovering what the customer wants by understanding your Buyer’s Funnel (

Entrepreneurial Resilience: Many of the day-to-day annoyances that inspired him to sell, he actually missed after he sold (podcast episode #78) (

Informed Dissent: The best marketing campaigns come from the best ideas (

Marketing Chart: The importance of making the right promise with your marketing (

Innovative Marketing Leadership: It is okay to think outside the box but make sure you don't create surprises (podcast episode #82) (

B2B Marketing: Marketing shouldn't be about driving demand; it's about driving value (podcast episode #40) (

Apply to be a guest
If you would like to apply to be a guest on How I Made It In Marketing, here is the podcast guest application –

Show Notes Transcript

When I was president of my homeowner’s association, it changed my walk through the neighborhood.

Before I was on the board, it was – hey, how you doing, talk about sports, the weather, whatever.  But once I was on the board it became – I have an idea, we should have this, this should change, etc.

And I’d always say – ‘Great, make it happen. We’re an all-volunteer organization, if you want it to happen, make it happen.’ The conversion rate on that was maybe 2%.

Marketing organizations and businesses are really no different. Everyone has ideas. Yet precious few have the tenacity and fortitude to make them happen.

Which is why I loved a lesson from a recent podcast guest application – ‘Ideas are easy. Making is the hard part.’

Here to share the story behind that lesson, along with many more lesson-filled stories, is John Reid, CMO, Aidentified (

Aidentified has raised $10 million in Series A financing for its artificial-intelligence-based platform.

The company has 40 employees, and John manages a team of five.

Stories (with lessons) about what he made in marketing

Here are some lessons from Reid that emerged in our discussion:

  • The key to turning great ideas into successful campaigns…you need a ‘door kicker’ like Hannah. 
  • If you don’t ‘hold the line,’ you won’t create great marketing
  • Ideas are easy. Making is the hard part. 
  • Be easy to root for
  • Make a decision
  • Marketing’s not going anywhere
  • Related content discussed in this episode

Related content discussed in this episode

Get ideas for using AI to enhance your marketing campaigns. Begin your free trial to the AI Guild at (MECLABS is the parent organization of MarketingSherpa).

Creative Marketing: Does it all make sense? (Podcast Episode #19) (

What is B2B?: Discovering what the customer wants by understanding your Buyer’s Funnel (

Entrepreneurial Resilience: Many of the day-to-day annoyances that inspired him to sell, he actually missed after he sold (podcast episode #78) (

Informed Dissent: The best marketing campaigns come from the best ideas (

Marketing Chart: The importance of making the right promise with your marketing (

Innovative Marketing Leadership: It is okay to think outside the box but make sure you don't create surprises (podcast episode #82) (

B2B Marketing: Marketing shouldn't be about driving demand; it's about driving value (podcast episode #40) (

Apply to be a guest
If you would like to apply to be a guest on How I Made It In Marketing, here is the podcast guest application –

John Reid: We're smart people and we're all passionate about what we do, and we think the world expects us to have the the answer on the spot, you know, and being able to say, I don't know, let me think about it. So I think early in my career, I was terrified of saying that, like you have to have the right answer all the time.

But actually you're so much more credible when you're saying like, I don't know. And you know, if I don't know, I'm not going to try to make it up. You know, I think any time that, you know, I'm around a team now working with other people and just being able to, you know, out of their expertise and say, all right, well, you're brilliant.

This is why I hired you. Tell me what to do.

Intro: Welcome to how I made it in marketing from Marketing Sherpa. We scour pitches from hundreds of creative leaders and uncover specific examples, not just trending ideas or buzzword laden schmaltz, real world examples to help you transform yourself as a marketer. Now, here's your host, the senior director of Content and Marketing at Marketing Sherpa Daniel Bernstein, to tell you about today's guest.

John Reid: And.

Daniel Burstein: I had been the president of my homeowners association, and I've been on the board of directors for many years, and it changed my walk through the neighborhood. No longer was it just like, Hey, how you doing? And talk about sports, the weather, whatever it became. People coming up to me with, I've got an idea. Daniel, you should do this.

we should have this, Daniel. This should change. Daniel And then always say, Great, make it happen. We're an all volunteer organization. If you want it to happen, make it happen. The conversion rate on that was maybe 2%, if I'm lucky, but now I'm talking about homeowners, association, marketing organizations, businesses. They're the same. Everyone's got ideas, but if you have the tenacity and fortitude to make them happen, which is why I love the lesson from a recent podcast guest application Ideas are easy.

Making is the hard part. Here to share the story behind that lesson, along with many more lesson filled stories, is John Reid, the CMO of identified. Thanks for joining us, John and Daniel.

John Reid: Thanks for having me.

Daniel Burstein: Absolutely. So let's take a quick look at your background, cherry picking some places you've been here. Some people understand who I'm talking to you. You've been a copywriter at Hill Holiday and publicist, Seattle senior copywriter Kramer grizzled associate creative director Crispin Porter Bogucki, chief Creative officer at Evolution Bureau, head of brand and Co-Founder at Consortium nine, founder of Illuminator.

And for the past seven months, CMO at Identified Identified has raised $10 million in Series A financing for its artificial intelligence based platform. They have doubled their revenue in each of the past two years. The company has 40 employees and five of them report to John. So, John, give us a sense your journey. You were a fractional CMO, now you're a full on CMO, fractional CMO.

We haven't had anyone on the podcast How and how I made it. Marketing that's had that role before. I have never personally worked with someone, but I've been hearing this term a lot. So give us a sense what was that like and then what is your day like today?

John Reid: Sure. Yeah. So the fractional thing came on as a result of just business was so slow and I started freelancing again. And then in addition to doing all the creative work, I was helping out some friends who had their own brands and just I love talking shop. So just kind of issuing advice and sitting there over coffee and you know, one one of my one of my friends had this tech company and they needed like a lot of marketing help.

And we just kept talking and talking and, you know, eventually I just given was so advice, so much advice. It's like, hey, you could you should come in as like a part time basis and just start helping us and, and that I did, you know. And so I was doing that with a bunch of other projects over the course of last year.

And then on the fractional basis, I like to say the the fraction quickly became one over one. And I wasn't having a ton of a ton of time to do other things I didn't really want to do other things. And so then they pulled me in full time at the beginning of this year.

Daniel Burstein: You know, it's funny, I'm not a big Zev guy. I'm not going to that at all. But how many freaking LinkedIn messages do you get a day of like someone trying to business that I know you said you're just trying to help someone out. That's the best business development ever. I look at that that turns into this role.

And, you know, I think that's just that's a great lesson right there for everyone. Like maybe start by helping people out instead of spending.

John Reid: When, you know, I mean, that's that is like that's exactly it. That is that's what we do for sure. You know, I like to say just I'm here to help the answer to that. To answer your rhetorical question, I get all of once in messages and, you know, and I've and I've sent, you know, a million of those as well, you know, and I try to actually get back to as many of them as possible.

This is a big deal for me. So if it's not just a, you know, someone launching a 7000 sales emails, you know, I do try to get back to people like because you've had that experience of like just like, you know, launching a million emails into the Abyss is just it's, it's soul crushing. So, you know, knowing someone else is out there, I think is, you know, it's just something we can do for people.

Daniel Burstein: You know, it's funny you say that because I reply to everyone 100% of them. It's a it's a form letter. It's basically here's what we're looking for, right? Because a marketing Sherpa, we're looking to publish case studies where we're looking for podcast guys. So we're looking to help other marketers. Those people should know that. But I do. I do reply to 100% of them because like you said, hey, at least and then there's their opportunity.

So are they going to drop the sales spiel and see like, here's an opportunity to help other people? If your case studies and we can maybe we could start working together more, is are they going to keep pushing it now 80 or 90% of them keep pushing and just like here's my club only let's right. I need I need two books.

How many conversations this quarter But I'm great. You know, a few of them. You find some good relationships they didn't think you would for sure. All right. With that, let's jump into some lessons from your career, lessons from some of the things you made. I like to say I've never worked in any other current or being a podiatrist or an actuary or anything, but I feel like marketing is kind of special because we get to make things not.

So let's take a look at some lessons from the things you made. The first lesson you say the key to turning great ideas into successful campaigns. You need a door kicker like Hannah. Hannah? So who's Hannah? Yeah, I know.

John Reid: I'm going to say had a Granger's name a lot because people should hire Hannah Granger because she's. She's fantastic. It's so she was one of the marketers inside. Jamison When we were working together, we worked on the digital and social part of their business, right? So, you know, I just started as the CO at Evolution Bureau and one of the creatives had a a video he was doing.

I basically turned a bottle of Jamison into a spaceship, you know, and I think that'll be a cute video for sure, but let's just do it. Let's just do it for real, you know? And everyone was like, How would you do that? I'm like that. Well, just let's just try right? And, you know, inside of two weeks we got that.

We got that entire thing done. And so here's some of the keys to that was like one, you know, doing these things, having a plan and doing it in a really disciplined way. So, you know, the client doesn't see it as like, you know, just a bunch of cowboy is trying to, you know, do whatever they want. And then, yeah, you need you need a rabbi, you need someone inside, you need an advocate.

And you know that for us, that was that was Hannah, you know, and I think that, you know, that like, get it done. This, you know, I think is so valuable. And I think you see that a lot on the agency side and the find it on brand side I think is really special. I like to say the Kool-Aid man is my spirit animal, you know, And so it's like try to bust through, you know, any challenges that pop up along the way is is really important because they happen.

But I heard another one of your episodes, like you're never going to do great work if if your your client isn't as ambitious as you. And I think that's just like it's like such a great quote because it's so spot on.

Daniel Burstein: So you just burst into a conference room and go, yeah. And then you make sure that said, I don't want you. We we kind of fast forward over this, but I want the audience to understand exactly what you did when you say, well, we did it, we had this idea we went to you actually launched a bottle into space from the UK.

Is that writer?

John Reid: That's that is correct. Yeah. I probably should have actually talked about the project. So you know what it was is it was an April Fool's project, which is like a bigger holiday for Jamison than St Patrick's Day. Even. And we launched a new product called Jamison Space Aged. And the great thing about having Hannah on the brand side was she was able to pull in basically like all the different disciplines inside of Jamison.

So down to we treated it like a real product launch and it was on their site and it was listed as sold out because it was so popular, you know, But just being able to create that level of real ness around the project just made it, you know, so possible, which, which is huge. And I gather producer who was originally going to make this little video and I'm like, all right, cool.

Like find someone who can launch this thing into space. And she's like, Well, you know, I found someone, but they're in Manchester, England. And my cool said, Well, I have to go to England tomorrow. Like, yeah, so like then she did, right? And then just, hey, you know, my one of my big things is like, we can definitely do this.

You know, at that time there was a little go kart driving around the surface of Mars, sending us selfies, you know, So in comparison to that, I think our, you know, our dumb advertising idea is going to be like pretty doable. You know, So given a little bit of time and a little bit of money, I think we can make pretty much anything happen.

Daniel Burstein: Well, you made it come to life that saying what they could put on the man on the moon, we can do this. Right? Right. So you mentioned Alex, a card of porno or porno record fame. You said that he said it was his favorite project of any of his brands did that year. And I wanted to ask you about Alex Ricard and Pernod Ricard.

Alexander Ricard and what you learned. Like, what did you learn seeing the inner workings of that organization up close? Because to me, it's a pretty organic, interesting organization. Him specifically, you go to his Instagram, he says it's not business, it's passion. He says, humbled by what we create. Conviviality, right? You get this idea and it's, you know, a spirits brand.

It's all about branding and, you know, fun and stuff. But then when you look at the guy himself, you know, it is a family business, but he didn't just jump right to the family business. WARREN And Accenture. MORGAN Stanley, he did M&A like this is a guy who knew business. So what did you learn working up close with an organization like this high business acumen?

But again, the thing that we need so much in marketing, the ability to create this fun brand around the product.

John Reid: Sure. Yeah. Well, I didn't work with him directly at all, and I worked with him. I would say that I worked with him culturally because everything that you see about him online or anything that he that he talks about is a really well-represented inside of the the Jameson organization. So, you know, they own a lot of spirits brands and I've had the chance to work on a few of them.

And there's that sense of like the importance of conviviality and just like just taking seriously what we do and what they do with their brands role in people's lives. I really that really comes through across the board. So I think it's really impressive to someone, especially inside of a family business, who's really, really kept that nailed down and really championed.

But their what their brand and cultures are all about.

Daniel Burstein: And you talk about I mean, this is the Jameson story. Great example of what it takes to get a very, very creative idea, you know, done in a major brand. But what about in B2B brands? Like do you have any examples of that? Like what it takes in B2B brands? Because when I heard this story, I can always kind of hear my professor from my portfolio class back in college and she'd say, like, I want to see portion Harley in your portfolio.

You know, a lot of people could do great work for Fortune, hardly find a boring company and do a great work, do it for a bank or something like that. And it could be hard for me to be. And so for me, you know, I want to hear kind of your your thoughts on this, too, for me to be.

I do think the one upside is you can get closer to the customer and you can use that when you're trying to pitch ideas. And I remember talking to Christian Zhivago, who's your real advocate for interviewing customers, And she would say political power comes from understanding the buyers funnel. So do you have any examples or experience with that?

John B2B brands like it's hard to do good work for creative B2C brands or man B2B brands. It could be even that much harder.

John Reid: Well, I think you're spot on, you know, and when, you know, working on Jamison or Burger King or, you know, brands like that is like that's terrifying because if you're not hitting out of the park, you know, it's like, why even bother, right? So I love, like, working on boring stuff. You know, I've got a project I love in my portfolio I'm from, you know, about like, like dog food.

You know, I think stuff like that is like, well, you know, I love brands. You can't really afford to be boring. So working in the Bay Area, it's it's basically impossible to work in marketing and advertising in the Bay Area without touching a lot of the B2B tech brands. Right? So I've had a chance to work on Microsoft's B2B side and Intel and HP and and Dell, you know, so it's really I like everything and I'll I'll beat this drum till everyone is bored of listening to me.

But it's just it's just the people, you know. And so there is no B2B, there's no B, it's just a person who buys that, you know, it's a person with a problem who needs a solution, who then just has to walk it through an organization, you know, But it is just not as different as people want to make it.

You know, just in my experience in like to that, I don't know. It's like I'm the the client side, you know, it's just like the same as anything else. If you've got someone who's going to champion a great idea and you have that level of trust, then you can make great things happen, you know? And if the I think the one thing that happens a lot in the marketing B2B space, it's like, you know, you have a lot of like really established brands and you know, those are those are brands where they can afford to be boring, you know, and those are typically more difficult brands to work with, you know, So the best work

that I've done, especially, you know, even in the B2B space, you know, is, you know, challenger brands, brands that have something to prove, even, you know, like working with like the team at Dell was fantastic because they were really ambitious and they knew that they could not afford to be boring, you know? And the work I made for them was was really interesting and fun and did really well for them.

Daniel Burstein: That's a really good point about the Challenger brands. And, you know, it's that famous Avis. We're number two. We try harder right? And one thing I learned in my career, especially as a younger writer, it's even within an agency sometimes take the dog projects, right? Like I remember one of the favorite campaigns at Creed was a stupid it was a for realtors in like a realtor newspaper.

And it was like their spoof campaign where every other campaign was just a bunch of dollar bills thrown up there, and no one in the agency wanted to take it stung. No one wanted to do it. But it gave me a chance to do something, at least mildly creative. I was able to change it from all about dollar bills.

I made this Thank you campaign that was kind of young. Buy the house. I saw what realtors do and like, Hey, thank you for missing dinner with your family to take, you know, these new customers without any. It resonated with the realtors and like it was a fun thing to do and because but really, I only took that because, like nobody else wanted to do it in the agency, you know.

John Reid: For sure, you know, And I think that's that's really telling. I go, I, you know, I want to hire that person all the time. That's been kind of a, I don't know, maybe like a hallmark of my career. It's certainly what I would say, like launched my career to whatever success you could have had was I remember when I was that came across and we're working on this like Super Bowl campaign and, you know, so everyone is writing like a zillion scripts and tensions high and nobody wants to do the nobody wants to do the website part of it, you know?

And, you know, it's like this, like classic thing. And I, you know, feel bad bring up something that's like 15 or whatever, years old. But we made this thing called Monkey Mail and it was like basically, you know, long story short, you could basically make this like monkey character swear, you know, just talk with your voice, which meant people made notes were and it was crazy popular, you know, like getting a this is my first experience getting to watch something kind of catch on in culture, you know.

And I think the idea of of something going viral and virality was like, and that is like that is like such a high, you know, that's such so interesting to me. And, you know, talk about making stuff like getting to see something that you made and millions of people are engaging with it, like that's being able to see that versus just like, you know, you know, people are watching your TV commercial because you made them, you know, I think is that's something that I just like really, really gets me excited about what we do.

Daniel Burstein: I love it. That was one the exciting things for me, from going from print to digital, like it was a lot harder to get a sense of how, you know, people were interacting around your stuff, right? But to do great work. You also mentioned if you don't hold the line, you won't create great marketing. So how do you hold the line?

John Or maybe how have you not in the past?

John Reid: man, this is such a thing, you know. Well, it gets back to having an advocate inside the brand, you know someone and they're going to hold the line because a lot of the times we'll have this like great project and this is how it's structured at LA. And then it's like, well, the CEO doesn't want to do this part of it.

And then, you know, and then it's kind of like you've declawed it or you've made the idea not quite work, you know, for, for me, the times where I have not held the line because I'm a you know, I think I'm kind of a weaponize optimist and my cool will just make it good anyway, you know, And that's like really helped me a lot in my career.

It's also been detrimental. You know, I had one one project where there was like just just one part of it where we had to, like, issue our like, you know, rewards and coupons and stuff to keep people engaged and going with it. And the client, like really late in the project said, Well, we're not going to do that part.

And I'm like, All right, well, what's that one? You know, I wanted to keep doing that. So, you know, we did and it was like it was fine. It worked. But it was not as it wasn't as exciting. It didn't do what I would I really knew it could have done, you know, And any time that, like anytime someone wants to chip away at a key component, you have to be brave enough to walk that idea out back and put it down.

You know, I say, like our our superpower as creative marketers is we can always have new ideas. You know, I can have more ideas than you can tell. Like, you will be exhausted at killing ideas or tell me why they don't work and I will keep coming back with more great ideas. It's something that I tell you know, everyone who's ever worked for me, you know, is something that I impress upon them.

It's like creativity is is great. There's a lot of creative people out there. There's everyone's got an idea like this is about resilience, you know, and being able to come back when, you know, when there's some reason why something doesn't work, you know, thinking it through and being able to come back with another solution like that. That's the job.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah. You know, I was reading an article in Time magazine this morning about The Sopranos. It's the 25th anniversary. And one of the things they said that made that show so great was David Chase, the creator. HBO would write checks for whatever he wanted, and there were no notes. There were no notes from like the industry executive. That is an ideal client.

Yeah, but but, John, most of us don't have that client. So I want to ask you what communication strategy has been effective for you when working with stakeholders to make sure you can hold that line, right? So, for example, I know you talk about sometimes there's a point to kill the idea sometimes, too. We just need to communicate that idea, that value proposition.

In fact, we sell it internally. And for example, I interviewed Rich Davis, the founder and chief creative officer of Thanks Spark on how I made up marketing and the way he did. One of his lessons was let others talk first, always let them finish their thoughts. Leadership can be more about listening than talking. And I know for me, like when I'm in that role and I'm like pitching an idea, it's so hard to listen.

You just pitch, pitch, pitch and try to push it. And that was good for me. It's like, No, no, you got to start. You've got to really hear them. What is their objection? Do they have a good point or is it something they're not understanding it? Right. Or is there something else where like, hey, this is never going to happen, dinner for you?

Is there a specific a communication strategy you've used to be able to to hold the line, but sell that idea internally and not give up on it too soon?

John Reid: Sure, Sure. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. So as a as a extremely ADHD person, but you're talking about like letting people finish and stuff like I am anymore. Like I have to count to four before I say anything, you know, because like, as someone's talking, like, I got it. And here's the thing and here's our solution. Like, doesn't work, you know, it's, it's off putting.

And maybe I've seen this problem a thousand times and know how to solve it, but we have to just like, just let it let it sit. I don't think I don't think ideas get sold in the room. I think you walk in the room and the idea is already sold or it's already dead, you know, because if you're not if you're not collaborating with the people, the internal stakeholders, like this idea of like this, like, you know, like pulling away the magic curtain and here's our, you know, here's our precious baby, you know, that's like that's dead.

That's over. You know, that's been over for 20 years. Probably anywhere I've been was like, how do you guys sell that idea? It's like because the client's along for the ride the entire time and there's, you know, and they're invested in it. You know, it's like if you're taking it off the first notes you're taking on, on an idea are when you unveil it, that's like that rarely goes well.

You know in my experience, you know and when you have someone we have like people inside of the organization who are excited about it and like when you when there's a great idea, people want to build, you know, and when you have that happening, like, like, you know, you go into the room that it is already sold. You're good.

Daniel Burstein: It's a carousel. John It's a carousel. And the famous mad. A Okay, so let me how do you do this then? So I know you've talked a lot about that, having an advocate in the organization, I agree with you. When you take people along on the journey. Right. It's a lot different than just telling me I know the answer.

It's like, no, you've come along on the journey. You've kind of like, you know, found the roadblocks you've got over them with us, so you're bought in on it. I mean, is it the meeting before the meeting or is it much more than that? Like, how do you get them involved in this creative process with you?

John Reid: Less formal is good. You know, again, it's all just people. You know, people don't like to be sold to, right? People don't like to be pushed and never want. And, you know, I don't want to sell an idea that way. I never want to feel like I'm pushing someone over a cliff. You know, because then they have, like, plausible deniability if something doesn't go perfectly, you know, there's like, the finger pointing is very easy that in that case.

But I think just like, you know how you would want you know, how how you would want to be brought along on that journey is like, you know, we don't need like a thousand meetings or whatever. It's like a quick phone call or an email or something. And it's just like, you know, make sure your ears are aligned and make sure that people are bought in along the way and have a chance to contribute nuts.

No, that's everything.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah. And, you know, I think one thing, Nick Labs is the parent organization of marketing Sherpa, and one thing we do is these value proposition workshops. And one thing I think where they're so effective is we bring the key executives in the room for two days and we we go through the process and we go through the questions with them and we have them answering these questions, you know, like one question.

The key question being, you know, find the ideal customer, why should I buy this product over any other product and let them wrestle with that decision and, you know, kind of have some bumpers and some guidance. But then at the end of the two days, it's what they came out with, right? And now we're all executing on their idea again with bumpers and pushback and guidance.

It'll get off the rails pretty quickly.

John Reid: Right, Right. Yeah. But they're in gonna I'm going to hold this is this is like my my big recommendation for for reading the it's called the design thinking playbook and the the stuff that you're talking about right now with the workshops and we're going to get together and problem solving that way. It's like, you know, I'll hold the book up to the mic so people can hear it for a second.

So that's the workshop, That's it. Who wrote that? It's a michael lyric. Patrick Link and Larry Leffler, and it's just like, fantastic. You know, if like, if I could just like, hand someone like one thing and tell them to go be a marketer, it's fine. It's probably that.

Daniel Burstein: I love that. Okay. Well, as you mentioned, you know, I love this idea. I mentioned the beginning. Ideas are easy. Making is the hard part. We've talked a lot about ideas and yes, we've talked about making them too. But how do you actually make them?

John Reid: Yeah, the ideas are cheap. I mean, how many times this happened? Like you've heard friends who, like, have an idea for a product. You're like, that's pretty good, actually, you know? Yeah. You know, like when you're a writer, people are like, here's an idea for a commercial. And like, you know, they're like, usually horrible, but there's always, like, stuff in there that's good.

You know, everyone's got ideas, you know, It's like the idea. But being able to make stuff like that's, that's the thing, you know? So how does that happen? Well, you line up the right people. You know, I'll, I'll beat the drum about talent density again and again. But you need to have makers, you know, people who can actually do stuff.

I think I'll I'll reference another Jamison projects after that first one I mentioned like next year everyone's like psyched about the way we do this thing and the next one we call it like Jamison Catch mates and the insight was that roommates are stealing each other's Jamison you know and so we turned a bottle of Jamison into a glitter bomb and so that when you can put that on your shelf and if your roommate was stealing your booze, then they would be covered in glitter.

So. Well, how do we do that? Well, our creative director, Chris Sitkowski, is just like this amazing maker and he just figured it out. And he made a glitter out of a bottle of Jamison. And once you see that, you know, that's like it's easy to get people on board once they see that this this bottle is exploding glitter in super slow motion.

We did have to move offices after that because their hands full are everywhere forever.

Daniel Burstein: So the question is, when you came home to your wife covered in glitter, how did you know I won't go there?

John Reid: I said, We're like the plague, you know, we have two kids. And my wife and I agreed early on that there will be no glitter as as few drums as possible. But zero glitter is coming into our home.

Daniel Burstein: So we've talked a lot about making campaigns. But you had mentioned a friend of yours yet yens and they didn't catch his last name. And you talked about actual products. He made jerky brand soup, bran wine brand all of these things and so I want to get into what about when it comes to actually making a product or maybe making an offer.

So, I mean, for me, one thing I found or I've written about this before is there's that brainstorming urban legend that there are no bad ideas and we talk about ideas before, but but I hate that there are bad ideas. And if you actually want to make something, you have to be able to push through an organization, kill the bad ideas and get the good idea there and get it done.

Yeah. So for you, I know you want to talk about yens and I didn't get any his last name and maybe what you learned upfront from him like like how do you actually build a product now? I mean we've talked about ideas, talk about campaigns, but an actual product.

John Reid: Right, right, right. Yeah. So, so you and I have worked on stuff before. He's really good friend. And, you know, he's got that Kool-Aid man energy, you know, And that's the like of Relentlessness, you know. And so it's something that I really look forward to hiring people. And he's got it in spades, you know? And so I think there are two things here are there's there's so many bad ideas.

Most ideas are really bad, you know, or undoable or not that interesting. And I think you gain a lot of credibility with partners or clients or coworkers when you're willing to kill your own ideas. You know, And again, back to our superpower, we can always have more ideas, right? So let's not spend time making something that's not good.

Or if we are spending time making some, that's not good. Be that a product or a campaign or what have you like, let's just stop, you know, like, let's like, not hold ourselves. Let's not spend too much sunk cost on these things. So there's there's definitely that. So I think the thing that Jens gets really well is you know, I think his playbook is really interesting.

I pointed this out to him and he didn't even realize that he did it. But it's, you know, but it's but it's a great playbook, you know, take like kind of downmarket products and do the upmarket version of them or vice versa. Now, to take like a really upmarket, say, inaccessible product. And how does he make that accessible?

So, you know, he made krave jerky is for nominally a successful jerky brand, you know, and like the first thing that you think about with jerky is like gas station packets of God knows what you know, I think he really that product transformed that category, you know. So I would say with him it's like, right great ideas plus relentlessness.

And I think that's probably true. See across the board. And any good idea that's happened is like a really that goes by comes from those two things.

Daniel Burstein: You know, if this was a Z morning Z radio show, I would have a button that I could push every time you said the Kool-Aid man, just to say, yeah, I just but, you know, I don't have the sound effects.

John Reid: I promise not to mention them again.

Daniel Burstein: No, I love it. I love it. That is that is an example of jumping in and getting into like.

John Reid: I probably begun.

Daniel Burstein: That meeting.

John Reid: So, yeah.

Daniel Burstein: Just having.

John Reid: 40 ideas right.

Daniel Burstein: Now. I haven't done it probably in that way in a meeting like the Kool-Aid Man. But is that kind of idea of having to jump in and be like, Wait a minute here? We talked about a lot of lessons from the things you made. That's what we do as marketers. We get to make things. We also get to make them from people.

You've already mentioned a lot of people. We have some more people that you learned lessons when you collaborated with. I'm going to ask you about them in just a moment. But first, I should mention that the How I made It a marketing podcast is underwritten by McLeod's Institute, a parent organizing mission of marketing Sherpa. And you can get 10,000 marketing experiments working for you with a free trial of the McLeod's AEI Guild at Mech Labs.

Dcoms I that's MGC wl ab Eskom slash A.I. to get artificial intelligence working for you or marketing organization. All right. As I mentioned, we collaborate with people. That's a key thing we get to do with marketers. Keith One thing and get to work up close and see some of them for you. One of them is the actor Michael B Jordan.

And you said from him you learned to be easy to root for. So how did you learn this from Michael B Jordan.

John Reid: man, this is a prince. So let's see, I was working on the Adidas brand and he was, you know, one of the one of the celebs they had pulled in. And we were just and this is like, God, it was after the Wire, but before he was enormous. Right. And it was really interesting. They we worked with this.

We had we like, you know, the back to back shoots basically at once, you know, like like three days shoot, three shoots, three different celebrities. The person we had shot the day before was this hip hop R&B artist who I'll say the person's name and you wouldn't you know, you wouldn't even like recognize that anymore. And that shoe was like, if you were writing a terrible TV show about what it's like to work with celebrities.

It was it was that you know, it was the handlers saying, you know, we got here something like, dude, no one wants to be done with this more than me right now. So trust me, we'll get you out of here as soon as humanly possible. So then we went into the shoot the next day with Michael B Jordan, and just I'm just, like, clenched up.

I'm like, I can't do another another day of that. And it was just so easy to work with. And he was professional and he was thoughtful and he was appreciative. And, you know, he's already a star. It doesn't need to be you know, he didn't have an entourage, You know, it was just like he's just a person, you know, And again, really easy to root for, you know?

So like watching his career just explode and then watching someone else's career, sort of like Peter out, you know, it's like if you're if you're hard at work, you know, people are so you don't have time for it, you know, like being hyper precious. And this idea of like, I think it gets back to what we do this, like celebrity celebrity CMO idea.

I just think it's exhausting, you know, And it's not I think people are into it anymore. So is it a route for you know, I've got some some good evidence from people I've worked with that That's a that's key.

Daniel Burstein: I do want to mention we're not going to release a video so no one can see it. It's only the audio. John does not have an entourage right now, just so everyone knows. I just want to just want to be clear about that.

John Reid: Half of them are in that room back there.

Daniel Burstein: I just can't see them. So be easy to root for. I like this because I also think this is a great lesson for brand. So I want to ask you, how can brands be easy to root for? Right? For example, we did some research with 2400 Americans, half of them We said, think about a company that you're satisfied with.

Half. We said, think about a company you're unsatisfied with. And we ask them a bunch of other questions. Why those questions was how well do the products and services of that company do their intended job? So 49% of satisfied customer said very well, only 6% of unsatisfied customers. Right. Which you would kind of expect. But in our role as marketers, tell me where that fits in is yeah, did it do its intended job?

Do we make the right promise? Right? If we make the right promise in our marketing, it should do its intended job. And to me that is one way to make a brand easy to root for. Right? We're not. We're setting it up for success, not for failure. So we're wonder for you, John, that that's my opinion. How can we make our brands easy to root for.

John Reid: Now that's I think that's spot on. You know and I think what you're saying gets back to that old expression that like, you know, nothing will kill a bad product faster than good advertising, you know, which which holds true over and over again. Brands that are easy to root for are are humble, have some have some degree of humility.

You know, and I think like when a brand screw something up such a great opportunity like never miss that opportunity if you're if you're brand if you do something wrong because the way that you react to that is way more important than what you're saying, like every other day now. And I think it's one of the one of the promises of the current media landscape we live in, you know, around, say, especially social media.

Is that immediate feedback, you know, And so as a brand, you can raise your hand, say, hey, we botched this and here's how we're fixing it. You know, instead of tightly controlling the PR machine and trying to, you know, trying to shut the whole thing down, it's like just being able to say like, hey, I messed up, you know?

And that's like a that's a big deal for me. And just like the work environment, you know, like just being able to say, look, we're going to step on each other's toes, like all you know, it's like smart people working really quickly together on intense things. You know, people are going to mess up and they're going to make mistakes and they're going to say the wrong thing.

And being able to say like, man, I really messed that up. I'm sorry. I'll I'll I'll I'll try not to do that again. You know, it's like it's so disarming, you know, and it's disheartening for brands. It's our and for people. And it's I think something that, you know, certainly helped me once I realized that and took that to heart.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah. You know, I think another element of it is being on brand, so to speak. Like if a brand is setting up a certain promise and they're not, you know, some brands can get away with certain things because they haven't made a promise that other brands can, you know, for example, some of Google's products do is kind of funny to me because it seems to go against what Google says it does for.

With that before we we leave the kind of celebrity portion of our interview here, I just want to bring up William Shatner, because you mentioned him as well, and it seemed like your experience with him wasn't the same as Michael B Jordan's. It was on brand because you saw publicly others who you saw privately.

John Reid: man, that's fantastic. Yeah, I got to work with him a few times and that's who he is, man like that, which is great. You know, it's if someone is not who they are in the public persona, that's really disappointing. But, you know, to be to be abused by William Shatner was kind of a rite of passage at one of the agencies that I worked on.

I we were shooting a commercial on time. I love this. And like the you know, director and I were sort of like laughing about just like his whole thing, you know. And, you know, we asked him to redo a line a certain way. And yeah, he just wasn't he wasn't into it and ask again. He's like, All right, I'll do it.

You're fucking it up, though. I'm just.

Daniel Burstein: I know.

John Reid: You're sorry. I wasn't supposed to swear on your podcast. You're screwing it up. And he's just like, like, okay, thanks. But, like, man, it was so fun to get sworn out by William Shatner, you know, Like, what a treat.

Daniel Burstein: Well, there goes the virtual swear jar. So I was going to mention, when you're talking about the the monkey. That's weird. Online. I wanted to get you to say a few of those swear words just to get your PR up, to get concerned. But I didn't. But but we got to after 37 minutes and we got the swear word in.

So it's.

John Reid: Right. And it was pretty good, I think. Yeah, for sure. I think it's going to be happy that, you know, you can beep that out if you need to. But I think overall with my my normal potty mouth, I think we've I think we've done pretty well so far.

Daniel Burstein: It's fine. You got to be who you are and we'll just let Apple notes explicit. So a lot of the things we talked about it can be easy to be gun shy to actually jump in and do some of these things because, you know, my God, Like what if it doesn't perform? Like there's so much to go through.

One of your key lessons, which I love, is make a decision. We could add an expletive between a and decision. I think make a decision, but we won't. And you learned this from Andrew Robinson, head of BBDO. I think this is so true. How did you learn this from Andrew and how do you live it in your life?

It's so hard to make these decisions sometimes.

John Reid: It is. It is. And the other thing is it's so easy to not do stuff. Now. I think when you're in a you know, in a working you're inside of a big organization, it can be really difficult to get stuff made because it's so much easier to not do anything right. You're not not say yes. You know, Yeah.

The one of the smarter things that I did was when I first became a creative director, I, you know, no one trains anyone in advertising. So, yeah, I emailed like everyone who I thought was a good leader or a good boss of mine or, you know, what have you. And Andrew Robertson, who was the supreme overlord of BBDO, had mentioned one of my projects in a talk.

That is, I kind of felt like maybe he owed me one. So to reach out to him and he got right back to me on super cool. And that was the thing is like make a decision and see all the way through. And if that decision is the right one, then all the better. But it's much better to have made a choice and execute against it than to keep tacking and try something different and not see it all the way through.

So, you know, I really took that to heart. I think it's 100% accurate. You know, And I think it just gets back to like brands that can't afford to be boring, do bold the things. I like to reframe this idea of risk for everyone I work with in marketing, it's like, well, that's a really risky idea. It's like, Well, it's not.

If it's risky, we shouldn't do it now. But what's really risky in marketing is invisibility. If you're going to spend whatever money you're going to spend and no one's going to notice because whatever you've made is totally innocuous, then you're doing it wrong. You know, I call that a creative malpractice. You know, So the real the real risk is that no one will notice.

Outside of that. It's like what's really the huge downside? You know, like if people don't like something, they're not going to pay attention to it or you're going to get some angry letters like, big deal, you know? So I'm a I'm a huge proponent of making sure that brands are not invisible. Right. Obviously, it's that's that's what we do.

And, you know, that comes from. All right. Let's let's say yes, you know, let's say yes or something and then let's make it happen and let's take it all the way.

Daniel Burstein: Well, here's and this made me just less of a conversation question than an observation to see what you think. But here's where I also make a decision really comes in for me. Like a lot of times we're trying. So when you're any marketing campaign, you're doing any message you're doing, there's an other human being who is different from you.

We call them a customer, but they're just a human being. We're trying to figure them out and try to put something out in the world that will serve them, get their attention, whatever. Right, And so we can debate this a lot internally. We can do these focus groups and surveys and stuff. But until you get that out in the world, you don't really have that feedback and needed to see what works and what doesn't and when.

So when we refuse to make a decision, when we just keep it internal and we keep dragging their feet so we don't do something like we're not getting that feedback. So I would say that's why to me make a decision is so valuable. I guess even if it doesn't go to plan, even if it if it goes off track a little, let's learn something from it because it actually went out there.

And then what can we do based on that new knowledge, right?

John Reid: Sure, Sure. Well, you know, that's that's a big thing for me, too, is like, you know, empathy based marketing. You know, it's like customer focused. And now we have customer obsessed, you know, because we need we need like a more extreme version of that. It's like you just talk to people, you know, and you find out where you can find out, you know, if you've got an idea.

And it seems really bold, then the reason why it sounds really bold is it should be really insightful and it should be something that your target is going to resonate with. And there is one way to make that happen. And so, you know, I've heard in other episodes of your podcast as well as like you just go out and talk to people, you know, and then have some empathy and see what their day is like, you know, and, and see what the the role of your product or your brand.

Like, what can you do for them? What's their what is their problem, What's the task to be completed? Know what could we do? And if we know that we know our customer well enough, then you know, we could we could roll big dice. You know, we can do really bold things so long as we know that it's going to resonate with our customer.

But like you're saying, what's like the know? What's the most you can know is maybe like 60%, right? Maybe 70 if you're brilliant, genius. And so, yeah, then you just need to get you get feedback from the market, you know, And that's like people who are looking at your marketing or that's people who are using your product, you know, it's just like that feedback loop.

I think we're really lucky right now inside of inside of marketing where as we got we get these customer feedback loops that are that really obvious that we can, we can tap into. And we're foolish if we don't do that.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, and I'm glad you bring up customer focus, customer obsessed, because there's a specific term that I like to use and we used as an organization, which is customer first, right? And specifically because like, yeah, we're all kind of obsessed with the customer all focused on them. But the difference with customer first is it kind of forces you to make a decision.

And so that like that research I shared before, that was part of a bigger survey. We did with 2400 Americans to figure out customer first marketing. And what we found was, which goes align in line with your be easy to root for less. And when it wasn't like if your companies made mistakes or this or that, or they didn't do something right, it was if customers felt like the company had their best interests at heart, like if they did, then yeah.

Like if, if a mistake happens, they're a little more forgiving. And you mean they're more likely to recommend the more likely duty? And but if they felt that the customer didn't have their bet, their company didn't have their best interest at heart and man, they were pretty burned, you know, MVP, a minimum viable product wasn't enough. You need a minimum loss of pride, you know.

And so I think that comes down to then for us, like what customer first needs it is for us to make a decision. There's a lot of easy decisions for the customer and easy decisions for the brand, but there are some of those 5050 jump balls, and when there are, we should say, what's in the best interests of the customer instead of the brand.

John Reid: That's exactly. Yeah. You know, I wish the microphone would pick up how vigorously I'm nodding right now, but I think Customer first is actually the best way of of expressing that thought 100%. I'll be using that moving forward. And it's it's the best yardstick for we do this thing, you know. Yeah. And I think, you know, you see this all the time in product design where you can tell I was like engineer is like, we can do this.

That would be cool. And I was like, Well, why? You know, and, you know, being taking that customer first approach that will really tell you what you need to do and maybe more importantly, what you don't need to do.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah. And sometimes when, hey, you just got to eat it as a company in the short term to do and it will pay off in ways you to understand customer lifetime value and all of these other things.

John Reid: And you know what else I mean? You said the your customers, the love your brand. They feel like that you have their best interests at heart. And that's you know, that's a big thing for working with clients and other internal stakeholders like for me, well, one of the keys to success is like once once you build a love and trust, you know, we have a much it's much easier to work together so well, how do we build the love and trust?

Well, that comes from them knowing that I have their best interests at heart, right? So I'm really invested in their brand in general, and I'm really invested in them specifically, right? So I want the brand to be wildly successful, whatever that looks like. That's what I'm going to do. And I love working with great people and I want to do it over and over again.

So you know, my clients know and you know, my coworkers know. It's like I just want what's best for them and best for what we're doing. And they're it's like it's much easier to do great things when everyone knows that you are fully invested and in them and what we're doing.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, like I said, not only clients, but coworkers. So let's talk about that element of being a marketer, marketing leadership, our employees, our team. One lesson you said marketing is not going anywhere and you learn this from Rob Rich, the creative director of Publicist Seattle. Tell us how you learned this about Rob.

John Reid: Yeah, from Rob. That's that's a that's a good one. And I've kept that close to my heart forever. So let's see, we were talking about starting a family not united whether but in that he's a guy, Johnny you never you never ready you never ready. You just you just got to jump in and do it, you know? And I think that's true for so many.

It was my terrible accent. So that's true for, you know, so many things. Like you just got to jump in and do it. And then on the, you know, on that's like were talking about more like personal life stuff. You know, I, I missed someone's wedding early in my career because I was working on this like, radio script project and it's just like I just, you know, like I want to die inside when I realize you want to do it.

And, you know, like, maybe they would have fired me for that. And if they did, maybe that would have been good, you know? Yeah, it's like the times where I have missed out on life stuff because of marketing. It's like, God, I never I never look back at that. And, you know, I did I did the right thing, you know?

And so I think marketing's not going anywhere. It translates into a few things for me. It's like one just like, relax a little bit, you know, and, and play. Louis Right. I mean, I think in any, anything, you know, music or sports, getting into some kind of flow state, any time that you're using your brain to make your money, staying loose is like it's always it's always better.

The other thing, I think the word that's super applicable is how I work. People who who work for me, you know, and I'm a big proponent of talent density being incredibly, you know, maybe the most important thing, you know, so hire great people. I want to keep working with them. And so I want to make sure what we're doing works for them in the long term, you know?

And it's so if you're like, you know, if you're engaged in this, like sweatshop mentality and so, you know, you lose people because they have families, they have stuff to do, they burn out, you know, And so and I'll go see a movie sometimes. Just relax, you know, like let's, you know, tell everyone we need an extra day on this because someone just needs to think about something more or just needed to go get some perspective now.

So, man don't miss out on life stuff because of marketing. That's silly. And I wish I didn't have to say that. But you know, I think a lot of people are passionate about what we do, you know? And so it's, you know, that's so it comes up a lot, you know, and and work at a pace that you can work at for a long time, you know, not all just sprinting all the time and burning out.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah. So and I think marketing's not going anywhere is a term to like, you know, if someone's got life going on marketing is going to be here when you get back. I like that. But yeah, I wonder, are there any specific things that you do either for yourself or your team to kind of model behavior so they know that they can do certain things to make sure they don't burn out?

You know, for example, I interviewed Tara Roberts in the CMO Bentley on how I made up marketing, and one lesson she shared was Never be afraid to ask for help. Right? And this isn't shocking. We've heard it before, but hearing that from a senior leader and hear her specific story, how early in her career in SAS, she was at an event, you know, she found someone who she really, you know, kind of liked how they were presenting.

She was brave enough to go up to them, ask for help and say, Hey, can you help me figure out this crazy SAS world? I'm pretty new to it. And then they became kind of close industry friends for a long time. I think seeing that you're modeling that for your team, it's like, okay, like I can ask for help, right?

Sometimes you say these words to teams because we think as leaders we should say these words, but unless we really model these behaviors, I don't know that our team really believes them. You know what I mean? So I mean, for you, is there any way you found to be able to model that, to make sure you don't burn out?

Your team doesn't burn out now?

John Reid: I mean, the person you're talking about is like there's humility, right? Which makes them easy to root for. Right. And so that's you know, that's a key to success for sure. Let's see. There is a lot of the times where we're smart people and we're all passionate about what we do and we think the world expects us to have the answer on the spot.

You know, and being able to say, I don't know, let me think about it. So I think early in my career I was terrified of saying that. And like, you have to have the right answer all the time. But actually you're so much more credible and you're saying like, I don't know, but you know, if I don't know, I'm not going to try to make it up.

You know, I think any time that, you know, I'm around a team now working with other people and just being able to, you know, out of their expertise and say, all right, well, you're brilliant. This is why I hired you. Tell me what to do. You know, I think that's, you know, that certainly helps. And the thing is, there's a few little things when people are taking time off or if people are, you know, out of office for some reason, you know, at first, but always sort of like, hey, I've got this doctor's appointment.

I have this thing that needs to get lanced. And I'm like, I don't want to hear it. I don't know, but never tell them, you know, don't explain why you're not going to be in the office. Just say I'm out for this hour. I'll see you after that. Here's why. There's a lot of people with not great boundaries, Right?

And if you tell them why you're not going to be out, then we'll start having a discussion about it. You know, and I don't ever want people to feel like they need to justify while they're why they need to be out. You know, also, like if they're interviewing or something like, I don't want to be lied to, you know, So you're out.

You're not out, you know, that's it. And in that and then that's also like very, very protective of people's time off because it's really important, you know? And there's been times in my career I was like, I'm taking a week off. You know, I'm looking at my email and stuff like three times a day. It's like, I'm not recharging, you know, like the the company is not getting out of my time off what they need to get out of my time off because I'm not getting out of my time off.

So when someone's on vacation, but I will hold that line for them, like do not talk to this person. We want them to come back refreshed and feel like again, we have their best interests at heart.

Daniel Burstein: So, John, we've talked about many different things that it takes to be a marketer. If you had to break it down, what are the key qualities of an effective marketer?

John Reid: I don't know.

Daniel Burstein: You were perfect. You just modeled what you said. When you don't know something, go say, Well, we'll be back in a week and then you follow up with me and let me know.

John Reid: I'm not going to know next week either. Here's what I know. I know. I know what works for me. And that is curiosity and empathy. So empathy works really well when you're leading people, and it works really when you're marketing to people, it's actually critical for both of those things. And then one of the if I could only ask one question when I'm interviewing someone, it would be, what's the last thing that you taught yourself or what is the last thing that you learned?

That's probably the most predictive question that I ask an interview. And when people have a lot of answers to that, then, you know, typically they're a really interesting and interested person. And I think that's a really key to the kind of personality that succeeds in marketing. So I'll say I'll say curiosity and empathy are certainly the things that have worked for me.

Daniel Burstein: Well, John, you are clearly a very interesting person and I was very interested in this conversation. So thank you so much for your time today.

John Reid: Thank you. Dan, I read a really good time. Appreciate you having me on.

Daniel Burstein: And thanks to everyone for listening.

Outro: Thank you for joining us for how I made it in marketing with Daniel Bernstein. Now that you've gotten inspiration for transforming yourself as a marketer, get some ideas for your next marketing campaign. From Marketing Sherpas. Extensive library of free case studies at marketing Sherpa dot com That's marketing s h e rpa Ecom been.