George brings a combination of business acumen, sales passion, and servant leadership to his chosen role in business development for creative and marketing agencies. Respected and well-regarded throughout the Midwest and nationally, George has helped grow both the agencies he has worked for and those he has partnered with, and his reputation is rooted in equal parts of integrity and success.
Since his early career, George has been involved with creative teams and their business leaders, taking care of client relationships and developing new ones. He has been a key contributor to the stability and business growth of agencies including Muller + Company, Callahan Creek, Barkley Blacktop, and Propaganda3. Most recently, George has led Rock Creative Network, providing business development to full service agencies, creative studios, specialized consultancies, and service providers – all centered in the advertising and digital communications business.
George leads new business initiatives from his grounding in strategy, his orientation toward relationship development, and his core values of service. One of his special gifts is the ability to help a team identify their unique positioning to the market, and then to translate that into new business results through effective prospecting, targeting, and new and expanded relationships that lead to sales.
True to his values, George is also a passionate participant in his community, serving on advisory boards for the University of Missouri at Kansas City and Johnson County Community College, as a Mentor in Men Of Iron, as a volunteer and leader for the Gift of Life Foundation and Gillis Center for Children and Families, and a former President of his Toastmasters chapter. He has also served the professional marketing community on the board of AAF-KC (American Advertising Federation).
Brad: Hello. Welcome to the In a World with Real Media podcast. I’m here with my brother from another mother, George Weyrauch. Obviously, you can’t see us, but it’s like I’m looking in a mirror right now.
Brad: George and I have known each other for five or six years, maybe longer. I don’t know how long it is. George, you’re well known everywhere I go, especially with somebody in the agency community or in a marketing community. I’ll say, “You know George Weyrauch?” “Oh yeah, I know George. Everybody knows George.” You’ve got the network to die for. You’ve done an incredible job over the years of building up that network, so that’s amazing.
Brad: I wanted to talk a bit… start you down this path of your career. You’ve had a lot of agency experience. I was looking on LinkedIn and some of the things that you’ve done are pretty amazing. Can you just talk us through… the listeners, tell them a bit about what you’ve done and how you’ve built up your foundation to get to where you are right now?
George: I’ve been an advocate and a big fan for Kansas City creative. Kansas City has always been looked at as a flyover. We’re not Chicago. We’re not St. Louis. We’re not this. We’re not that. It’s almost like Kansas City professionals, agency leaders, are too humble because they don’t like to talk about themselves.
George: I was on the ad club… I still call it the ad club… board. I’m looking around and I realize that what we have here in Kansas City, the incredible talent that we have with agencies… and it’s not a matter of having really big agencies. I don’t believe bigger is better. We have some incredible talent but nobody was talking about it outside of Kansas City. So I ended up making a recommendation to the president of the ad club at the time that we should start talking about that our talent that we have outside.
George: There’s an agency search consultant, so if you’re a big company and you want to do an agency search, you don’t it yourself. You hire these agency search consultants. They just happen to be in New York and Los Angeles and Minneapolis, Chicago, but nobody ever comes to Kansas City.
Brad: To search for an agency.
George: Yeah. I ended up doing an agency search consultant tour and ended up having… I reached out to the top agency search consultants that were recognized and I invited them to come to Kansas City. We’re going to wine you, we’re going to dine you. It wasn’t just about showing them the great talent that we have, but it was the city of Kansas City and the people that we have.
George: We did this for three years. In three years, I think we had probably 50 to 60% of the top agency search consultants came to Kansas City. I reached out to every single one of them afterwards and I go, “Okay, what did you think?” And every single one of them said, “We had no idea of the talent that you have in Kansas City and the people are just so nice to work and cost of living…” Everything about Kansas City they fell in love with, including the creative.
George: I think we need to do a better job of telling the story. Even on my business card… Rock Creative Network… my title is relationship evangelist. I’ve always been an evangelist for the agencies that I’ve represented, the partners that I serve, and the community… Kansas City… that I’m in. I’m an evangelist. I love telling the story, and it needs to be told.
Brad: Yeah. I’ve seen that same thing in the production community as well, where a lot of the agencies won’t use in-town production companies. They’ll want to go out to the coasts and spend mega dollars budget-wise, when they could have that work done here at least as good… and in some cases better… yet we’ve fought that battle for years. I think that might be changing a bit, but it’s amazing that those things have been happening.
George: I remember not that long ago… it might’ve been a year and half, two years ago… you had some gentlemen in from LA and they were big into the music scene, and they were blown away by what you have here at Real Media: the production capabilities. They said that it was basically, in many cases, better than they could get in LA. They were shocked.
Brad: It’s kind of a hidden gem, and that’s one of my challenges. This podcast is not about me, by the way, but that is one of challenges, is getting the word out about what we actually can do here.
George: You need an evangelist don’t you?
Brad: I’ve got one.
Brad: That’s awesome. I’m just going to go through some of the things from LinkedIn. You’ve been in public relations, Output Technology, and account executive there. Was that a part of Mueller?
George: No. That was interesting. I worked for a design group long, long ago called Network Graphics. This was back when computers were just coming out but they embraced it. The gentlemen that was the founder… and it was a small shop. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity, starting with Network Graphics, to work with small creative shops, but the talent is off the chart. I’m blessed, really lucky, to find places…
George: Network Graphics was one of those. It was acquired by a group called Output Technologies, which was owned by DST. They didn’t realize what they had. They were using Output Technologies and the graphic group that we’re a part of was a leader for these big opportunities and companies. We were a small part of it, but it was unbelievable talent.
Brad: From there you went to Mueller. Seven years, that’s a long time to be at an agency.
George: I was actually total 10 years at Mueller and company.
Brad: Is that right?
George: I started up for three years. That was really my first agency job as a bisdev guy. I had called on them and was talking with Kathy Mueller… I just adore Kathy and still call her friend… and had a nice meeting. I was trying to sell her a service that I was selling. She called me back and wanted to meet. I’m thinking, “Great, I’ve got a deal here.”
Brad: “I’ve got a deal here.”
George: She looked at me and she goes, “I don’t want anything that you’re buying. I want to hire you to be my first bisdev guy.”
Brad: Is that right?
George: I said, “I know nothing about advertising.” She goes, “I will teach you everything you need to know about advertising. What I can’t teach you is what you know about selling and relationships with people.” That was the beginning. I give that to Kathy and John Mueller. That was the beginning of my advertising career.
Brad: Wow. A fateful thing that happened in your life right there.
Brad: From Mueller to Callahan Creek, another big name. And then Toastmasters. Tell me about that.
George: I’ve never really known why… because I never really thought I was a speaker. Never really wanted to be a speaker. But it was almost like the lord put on my heart that I need to be a better speaker and presenter.
George: In an agency world… especially as a bisdev guy… you’re always speaking. You’re always presenting.
Brad: In front of somebody, yeah.
George: You’re always on. If it’s one on one or it’s to a team or group of people. I was in Toastmasters probably five or seven years. I’ve kind of lost track. Really the only reason I stopped going and participating in Toastmasters is I got my Competent Communications Certificate, which always shocked me. I don’t want to just be competent. Never understood that.
Brad: Quite a name.
George: And really the only reason I stopped doing it was I launched Rock Creative Network and I wanted to give it 100%. I didn’t have the time to devote to Toastmasters.
Brad: You think that’s helped you, though, in things that you’re doing and moving forward? Every experience has value, doesn’t it?
George: Absolutely. What’s really surprising, especially in this day and age, I think more and more people don’t realize the importance of being a good presenter and a good speaker. Even in our industry, studies show that if, as an agency, you’re in a pitch… you’re an agency pitch in a review… the sad thing… this blew my mind… 80% of how you say it is more important when they’re making a decision on who are we going to select as an agency. It’s 80% how you present and only 20% content.
Brad: Amazing, isn’t it?
George: But if you think about it, oftentimes if you’re presenting to a company hopefully you’ve done your research, you know what they’ve been doing, you have a… It doesn’t surprise me that it’s 20% because agencies are pretty much saying the same thing, but it’s how do you say it and how do you communicate.
Brad: Yeah. If you can’t do that well, how are you going to do that for your client?
Brad: There’s a lot into that. Toastmasters probably helped you in that area a lot.
George: Absolutely. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to be a guest teacher, guest speaker, at a lot of different universities on branding, on marketing, and presenting. What surprises me today is that the students… they’ve got some incredibly talented students that are getting ready to go out into the world, but they can’t even look you in the eye, let alone present. I always tell them, if it’s not Toastmasters, go find a coach to help you with your presentation skills, because it really is about having the confidence and looking that person in the eye and saying, “I really can help you and I’m really good at what I do.”
Brad: Yeah. And you’re on the advisory board at JCC still.
George: Both JCC and and UMKC as well.
Brad: Is that right?
Brad: Good place to say, “Hey, we need to be helping these kids in some of these areas.” With social media and phones and things like that, people don’t look at each other any more. Even at our house, I’ve got teenage boys and we find ourselves… I look up sometimes and everybody is just on the phone. That’s our world these days, isn’t it?
George: In their world…
Brad: In their world, yeah.
Brad: From there, obviously Rock has come along, Propaganda3… you were with them for a bit… Barkley was a big chunk… almost four years with Barkley.
George: Actually, that was Black Top Creative and Barkley acquired Black Top in that last year.
Brad: Okay, so by assimilation went over to Barkley. And then Rock.
Brad: You’re very unique in your career path. What was it that made you think, “Okay, here’s an opportunity that I want to take?” Obviously, like we talked about, you have a network that’s really incredible and it made sense to say, “Okay, I’m going to go out and start Rock Creative Network.” Tell me about that decision making process. Why did you do that? It’s different from anybody.
George: Yeah, it is. I will tell you there was no time in my career that I ever think of myself as an entrepreneur, solopreneur. Never was a time I wanted to be self-employed. I feed off the energy of other people. I love being on these teams with these agencies. It’s like a big family. Being Sicilian… half of me being Sicilian, my wife would argue about that… family is really important. All those agencies that you talked about, they’re incredibly talented people, but none of them were very big. I mean, Mueller and company at their peak was probably 40. Black Top was around 24, 25. Even Callahan Creek, when I first started there, they were about 35 people, and when I left there was about 70. Never really big.
George: You get to wear a lot of different hats. My passion and what I really love to do… and apparently most people hate it… is business development prospecting. To me, it’s building relationships and trying to figure out what people want. Brad, I think that’s the key in how I took this track. I started becoming a student of CMOs… chief marketing officers… because if I understand what she needs, I’m going to be able to help everybody else. That includes marketing directors, brand managers, even presidents of companies.
George: One of the things that I’ve learned about CMOs… this has really only happened in the last 10 years. It used to be a CMO’s responsibility was do great campaigns, do great creative, get attention, get exposure, and win awards. That’s changed significantly. And it was, at that time… their lifespan at a company was like 14 to 18 months. But what happened is that they finally realized… I mean, just brilliant… that a CMO should be held accountable to the same goals and expectations as the CEO. They’ve got to show an ROY. They’ve got to show results. It’s no longer about just doing things to make people laugh, it’s, “Get people in our door. Get them to buy. Get them to engage us.”
George: Now, there are specific things that a CMO. At Rock Creative Network, I’ve kind of flipped the model, and instead of representing one specific agency and trying to sell everything that we do to that CMO, now I represent a roster of 40 to 50 incredibly talented individuals, agencies, companies. Anything that a CMO needs I have in the Rock Creative Network. My mantra has been stop selling, start serving.
George: As agency leaders and bisdev people, we still come across as pure salespeople. Nobody likes to be sold. Even the title on my business card is relationship evangelist. What does a salesperson do? Creates relationships, hopefully.
Brad: A good one.
George: A good one. An evangelist is somebody who is speaking and telling a story. All the people that I represent, I’m telling their story because a lot of people have a hard time prospecting or just talking about themselves, so I talk about them.
Brad: Especially in the creative community. Creatives are typically not good at that at all.
George: You know what’s amazing, Brad? Again, I’ve worked with some incredibly talented creatives and they look at me and they go, “I can’t believe what you do. I could never sell. I don’t sell.” “But when you present concepts to a clients, what do you call that?” “That’s presenting.” “No, you’re selling. You’re selling your idea, your talent, your solutions to a problem that they have.”
George: Today, I am very focused… I do a lot of research and ask a lot of questions to find out, “All right, Miss CMO, what is it that you really need?” Because I’ve done some research on their industry, their company… maybe even the person… I have an idea of what she might need, but I’m not going to be arrogant enough and go in and say, “This is what you need. I’m smarter than you.” I’ll ask leading questions. Then I shut up and they tell me exactly what they need and I go, “Okay, I have solutions. I have people in my network… high ethics, incredible integrity, passionate about helping people in the craft that they have, and they’re seasoned and very good at what they do. And they have a servant heart. They’re going to take their god-given talent and they’re going to help you and then get it paid,” rather than how it typically has been, is, “How much money am I going to make off of you, Miss CMO, before you go away or you fire me?” Which is typically how it works.
Brad: It’s amazing the return when you different approach, isn’t it?
George: It’s a relationship first, and I think we’ve gotten away from that.
Brad: I tell people this sometimes, that I spent a day with Zig Ziglar. I was with a gentleman named Joe Calhoun. We went to Dallas and interviewed him. It was really a neat interview. Everybody knows who Zig Ziglar is: motivational speaker. He’s passed away now.
Brad: One of the things that has always stuck with me about that day is… He says, in his Zig Ziglar voice, “If you want to be successful, help somebody else be successful,” and that is so true. For us here at Real Media, we donate a lot to different causes, different things. Just this week, we probably did five or six videos for an organization called Brothers in Blue, which they help inmates with faith things, get prepared for coming out. The recidivism rate for them is way better than the national average because they’re being helped and they’re being prepared for when they get out instead of going right back to what they used to do.
Brad: We donate all of that. I think our last production… we keep track of the numbers… we donated close to 30,000 dollars in production to this deal.
George: Amen, that’s awesome.
Brad: But you know that’s going to come back. That’s the thing about it to me. And who knows when: who cares? That idea is that if I help somebody be successful, I’m going to be successful. There’s something faith-wise or something that happens when you actually put yourself aside and help somebody else be successful. All of a sudden, good things start happening for you. Would you agree with that?
George: Absolutely. You and I both brothers strong in our faith. Even though I’m a solopreneur… I’m self-employed with Rock Creative Network… I always tell people, “Everything that I do every single day is to try to serve people: to help them.” In many cases, I get paid for what I do. Not always. There are many times where somebody will come to me and they’re looking for a solution or some resources and I don’t have it, but I know somebody that can do it, and I’ll make that introduction. I’ve had people tell me, “How do you get paid for that?” It’s like, you don’t always get paid for doing the right thing.
George: I’m kind of looking at it this way: my pension right now is really good and it’s not of this Earth.
Brad: That’s exactly right. Transition that into faith. That’s something that’s important to us at Real Media. We don’t talk a lot about it except in our inner circles, but we do a lot of things. For example, I have a podcast that I do with a pastor every Friday. Love it. We talk about current events. We talk about different things in the Bible: stories. We just did a podcast last week about Jonah. Amazing discussion about him and things like that.
Brad: City Union Mission, which is a faith organization, we donate a lot to them. Brothers in Blue is a faith organization. We do a lot of things here that people won’t know about that are faith. Honestly, we wouldn’t be here without faith. We’ve been in business 22 years and come through some incredibly challenging times. Without god being right there pulling us through… and clearly it was him… we would not be here today.
George: I’ve watched you go through it on a few occasions and the faith and the trust had in… You knew what you were doing was right and just kept pushing through it. And he helped you, absolutely.
Brad: It wasn’t easy.
Brad: Talk about the importance of faith in your business. You wear it on your sleeve and I love that about you.
George: Actually, not only on my sleeve. I have scripture tattoos on my arms that most people can’t see or haven’t seen, but that’s okay. It’s really for me anyway.
George: God has really put on my heart to… and we’re supposed to be his disciples, right? We’re supposed to talk with him. I’ve never been told that I was shy. I think it’s really important for all people to realize who he is. They get tied up… and this does change a bit… It’s funny that he put me doing Rock Creative Network… and again, my title is relationship evangelist, and people will look at that and go, “Wow, that sounds kind of religious,” and I’ll tell them, “Well, it is. I’m an evangelist for Jesus Christ, my lord and savior, and for all the partners I represent. What do you want to talk about?” It opens up some of those doors.
George: What I really try to do is… There’s nothing special about me. I didn’t go to seminary. I’m not a theologian. I’m just a guy who loves Jesus Christ and I’m doing what he has called me to do. There are some people that I grew up with that knew who I was, how I was, 25 plus years ago and I really wasn’t a very nice person. I wouldn’t have liked that person today. I was very arrogant, very self-centered, very prideful, and I had this beautiful head of hair.
Brad: I can’t believe that’s true.
George: Oh, I’ve got pictures. The ironic thing is that scripture even tells us that pride is one of the things that Jesus hates. He also has a sense of humor. For those people who see me now with absolutely no hair, I tell them, “This is what happens when you’re prideful.” God’s got a sense of humor.
Brad: I just think there’s a lot going on up there and hair can’t grow. That’s what I think.
George: I’ll take that.
George: What I try to do… and this is interesting… When I launched Rock Creative Network, there were some people that came to me… really good friends that I call my brother… that are not believers, and that’s great. I’m never going to judge anybody. I’m never going to hit anybody over the head with Bible verses and throw holy water at them. We’re supposed to love and don’t judge. Unfortunately, there are a lot of Christians out there that, for some reason, feel they have the right to judge and to tell people who have different sexual preferences or whatever that might be that they’re wrong and we’re right. No. We’re supposed to love them, accept them.
George: And the advertising world… I’ve been told this… is one of the most bleeding liberal businesses, industries, in America. And when I first launched Rock Creative Network… this is kind of humorous; it’ll show you who I am… a really good friend came up to me one day and it was almost like he was hiding something. He goes, “I’ve got to tell you something.” I go, “All right.” He goes, “There’s a lot of people in our industry that don’t want to hear about your faith and your servant heart with all the things that you’re talking about. We’re bleeding liberals. We don’t want to hear this. You’re really going to upset them and they’re not going to want to work with you.” I thanked the person. I said, “Thank you. I appreciate it. I know it took a lot for you to say that, but Jesus Christ is my lord and savior. He bled for me. I would rather make him happy and upset everybody else. You continue to keep bleeding. You might want to think about changing sides.”
George: To your earlier point, that faith and knowing what I was called to do and I just keep doing it, when you do it by yourself it’s really hard, but I’ve never really been by myself. I just keep doing what he’s calling me to do: loving people, serving people, helping people. It’s working. I truly trust that he is in control.
Brad: I think people are shocked when they see people like that. “You like me? You want to be nice to me?” The whole faith thing has been hammered into people’s minds the wrong way. If you study Jesus, what’s he’s done, just talking about the woman at the well. Not to get too deep into that side of our discussion, but that’s the type of person that Jesus wanted to spend time with. If you’re listening, you can go study this story of the woman at the well, but if you look at her background nobody wanted to be around her. Nobody wanted to have anything to do with her, and yet he loved her and wanted to help her. That’s the heart we should have.
Brad: I’m with you. There’s plenty of judgment out there in the world for anybody that’s doing anything. I just want to build relationships. I want to get to know you. I want to hang out with you. I don’t care about any of that stuff. And work on my relationship with god and just make sure that’s good and then be prepared to do what he asks me to do.
George: You’re right. I think people are really surprised when they look at me… I look more like a biker than I do a Jesus lover, a Jesus freak. They take a look at me and they just, “Well, this is probably who he is.” Then they’ll see that I like a good cigar once in a while and I like a good scotch. I’ve had people look at me and go, “Wait, you’re a Christian and you’re drinking?” Yeah. The Bible says he turned water into wine and says, “Just don’t be stupid and get drunk.”
George: What’s really interesting, Brad, is there’s a lot of guys out there that maybe they don’t want to go to church. They don’t want to hear this. They’ve been pushed away for whatever reason. What breaks my heart is that it’s almost like they have taken the church, which I call the little c denomination, and they tie it directly to Jesus. They’ll go there and they’ll get upset with something that happened or something that they’ve done, and they not only walk away from church they walk away from Jesus. And that breaks my heart.
George: There’s a place out here in Oberlin park: The Outlaw. It’s a great cigar place. I go there with a group of guys. I’ve got a little tribe of guys. We spend time together. We spend life together. I’ll send on Facebook… and sometimes on LinkedIn… on a Friday afternoon, I’ll go, “If you’re a guy that just wants to talk about guy stuff… sports, family, work, and Jesus Christ… and have a good cigar with a bunch of guys, come over and spend time with me.” And it’s amazing. There will be anywhere between four and a dozen guys that show up. It’s just guys wanting to talk. Something’s missing and they need it. Really what breaks my heart is that then I have Christian friends that will tell me, “Terrible, going to a place like that where there’s cigars and there’s liquor.” My comment to them is, “Where would Jesus go? He’s already at the churches, but if these guys aren’t going to go to a church but they’ll go to a bar or they’ll go to The Outlaw and have a cigar with guys talking about Jesus and life… I think that’s where I need to go.”
Brad: George, how do you integrate faith into your daily business walk? That’s one thing I think a lot of people struggle with from a faith standpoint. How can I do that? What would you say to that?
George: You just live it. You walk it. I’m not a walking billboard of scripture. There’s oftentimes people… with the exception of my title, and maybe some of the language that I use… they’re probably never going to know that I’m a Christian, except that I try to be kind. I try to help people. I love people for who they are. I don’t judge people. It’s almost like instead of hitting them over the head with a Bible or quoting scripture to them and throwing holy water at them, you just treat them as the Bible tells us we’re supposed to treat people.
Brad: So living it out in your daily walk. That’s kind of the way I look at it too. I just want to be nice to people, help them, but I also want to be wise: wise in how I deal with clients and how I deal with vendors and things like that and try to do the best that I can. But the whole idea of what are the two commandments: love god and love your neighbor. Everything fits into that, right?
Brad: If you can live that way, you’re going to be successful, I think.
George: And I kind of take that back to my business model. It really, truly is…
Brad: Yeah, it fits in perfect with your business model, doesn’t it?
George: Absolutely. The whole focus here is that there were times when I worked at an agency… total transparency… made a whole lot more money than I do now. But what I’m doing right now is even more fulfilling, because I’m not just closing deals to close deals and cash a check. It’s not about a transaction, which oftentimes for bisdev guys, salespeople, it’s about a transaction. Close a deal. Always be closing.
George: No. Because sometimes if you’re sitting having a conversation with a prospect, and what you have is not what she wants, don’t sell her on that. Find out what she needs and make the introductions to what she does need. I now have the flexibility and the opportunity, since it’s my company, to really listen to people and help them. The sad thing is that it’s so unique to people. They’re ready for it, they just don’t realize it exists: “Somebody actually wants to help me and not sell me?”
Brad: It’s almost like an education that needs to happen, right? And they don’t believe it.
George: It is. We were talking about CMOs, but it’s not even just the CMOs, marketing VP, marketing director. They have, today, so much more responsibility than they’ve ever had, and now it’s not even tied just to the marketing. It ties and brings sales together. It has to show results. Quite frankly, they’re teams. There was a point in time where you have a marketing company and you might have 15, 20 people on your staff to do all the things that you mean. Well, those have been cut way back and in many cases cut in half, and they still have to do the exact same, or more work, than before with fewer people.
George: It’s really kind of up to people like you and I to step in and go, “I’m really good at this. Can I help you with that because I see that you have a need for it, but you may not have the resources in-house. Can I help you?”
Brad: I’m seeing that with some of the brands that we’re working with that have agency relationships but still engage with us outside of that agency relationship because the need for content is so big.
George: Content is huge.
Brad: We have some local brands here that used to live on just TV only. You can’t live on TV only anymore. Pretty soon it’s maybe not going to be TV at all.
George: It’s on your phone. It’s video.
Brad: You look at Hulu and places like that, it’s changing. You have to diversify your advertising mix. You think about a CMO now, their decision making used to be a lot easier, and now it’s much harder. It’s kind of like the wild west: “What’s going to work for my audience?” If you don’t engage with people who are on the front lines and know what’s happening, you’re brand is going to fall behind.
George: There’s also been a big shift where there used to be… Back years ago, when I first started, you have an agency of record and they do everything related to your advertising and your marketing designs. Back then there was no digital, but they did everything. They were responsible for everything. They would say, “We can do everything great.” “No you can’t.” Not everybody can be great at everything.
George: Because of this shift where CMOs are now… and I keep saying CMOs. It might be a marketing director. Because they now have the responsibility to show an ROY and increase sales, increase traffic, they no longer can except that one agency can do everything great. It’s shifted. There may be a lead agency, but now they have to play well with others. There are going to be organizations out there that will tell their lead agency, “We need the best video production in the area,” and they say, “Go work with Real Media.” And there’s somebody else that does analytics really well that an agency can’t do, or digital and web.
George: All of these specific, very focused needs that a CMO might have, it’s no longer done in one agency because it can’t. It’s not possible. Now everybody has to work together to build the brand, to increase sales, to increase ROY, and to make that CMO look really good and to be successful. And if you’re not and you’re trying to be everything to everyone, you’re a generalist. I’m afraid those are going to die.
Brad: That’s very true. It’s amazing to see that transition that’s happening and how people… CMOs and marketing people… are having to think a lot different. It’s almost like an education needs to happen daily, monthly, so that they know where their audience is changing and where they are and how they need to connect with them differently.
George: It’s interesting. I said earlier that I’ve been a student of CMOs and there are different publications that I read online, different websites, and they’re not shy in telling us what they need. We’re coming into fourth quarter, so there are going to be articles out there, interviews done to these CMOs… great CMOs… to find out, “What is it that you’re looking for? What is it that you’re needing moving into 2020?”
George: I will tell you, in 2019 when I was doing this homework, there were really three areas that they were talking about that was important to them. Analytics was one, and it wasn’t a matter of capturing the analytics. It’s like, “We want to understand who our customers are, what gets them engaged, so take these analytics and show me what to do with it. What does it mean and how can I take it and actually do something with it?” Analytics is important.
George: Digital, and that doesn’t surprise people, except it’s not a website. When they talk about digital, it kind of blew my mind, but it goes back to the responsibility of being part of selling. It’s, “We need digital tools to increase business, to enhance sales.” Now artificial intelligence has become a hot thing, so how do we utilize that? So it’s technology and digital.
George: The last one is content. It was interesting and good for real media because there was a study recently done that said of all content consumed, 80% is video. And if you think about it, you and I are a bit older than some. The millennials… you said it earlier… your kids, they’re always on their phone. They’re consuming data. They’re consuming content through their phones and it’s video.
Brad: My kids don’t even watch TV. Rarely, like sports, we watch sports. But everything else is Netflix, Hulu, online platforms. If you’re a marketer, you better be tuned in to what’s happening there from a content standpoint, because traditional avenues for marketing are not going to be there.
George: So true.
Brad: It’s an interesting time we live in. And that’s one of the things we’ve done here, is try to embrace that and look at it from a solutions standpoint: what can we do to help a CMO solve some of those problems? It’s starting to catch on, finally.
George: That’s one of the things that I love about the stream stage that you have here at Real Media where you make it so cost-effective for somebody to come in with the green room and the background. You could basically put them wherever they need to be, want to be, and help them, because there’s a lot of people that… sitting behind like we’re doing right now that people can’t see us but they can hear us. People like to talk, and there’s a lot of people out there that have some valuable information that needs to be shared, but you put them in front of a video camera and they lock up. I love that the stream stage that you have makes it really easy with the teleprompter and all of that. You make it very comfortable for them to be great, to be that subject matter expert that they are and to get out that information that people need to hear.
Brad: There are always the high end options for creating video, but what we have done is create… We can do still do all the high end… We worked for the Superbowl broadcast a couple of years ago, but now supplementing that with content that is still visual but now you’re getting in-depth about your brand and the things you do, or training and all those things. It’s taken a while for people to really understand the use of it, but now they’re getting it. It’s going very well.
Brad: I want to wrap here. Just wanted to close with… hopefully there’s some marketing people, CMO people that are listening to this… what advice would you give to them? Working with you, looking at how they can solve some of these problems, what would you say? Say I’m a CMO of a good-sized company here in Kansas City and I need help finding resources.
George: Great question. There are groups if you’re a CMO or a marketing director, and it’s not even necessarily just CMOs, but that’s what we’re talking about right now. You almost need to have a tribe. There are groups here in Kansas City and globally where… there is one in particular… CMOs literally come together once in a while and they can talk to each other. They understand each other and it’s safe.
Brad: And they can trust each other.
George: I had this conversation with a pastor friend. You get to a certain level and you have to be very, very careful. I mean, it breaks my heart, because talking to a pastor who’s helping so many people and he’s sharing the message and it looks like he’s got everything under control, but he made a comment to me that really shocked me. He goes, “You get to a level like this and you don’t really have close friends, because everybody else is on your staff or they’re in your congregation and you have to be careful because they might see something in you that’s real that they don’t like.”
George: It’s kind of the same thing with CMOs. There was a few years ago… I did through Rock Creative Network… it was an event that brought all my partners together. One of the questions that everybody always asks… and you’ve been asking… “What do CMOs need? What do they want?” Again, I’m a student, so I answer that, but I started thinking instead of me answering that question, why don’t I bring in CMOs and marketing VPs from some incredible companies here in Kansas City… and we have lots of them… and let them answer the questions. It was interesting because there were four of them that had never met each other before, and they’re so busy with their career and running their in-house team at their companies that they never talk to others.
George: It was awesome because at that moment, when we left, the four of them became a tribe. They started getting together and they were able to talk to each other. There was a trust and an understanding: “If I go to this person who is a fellow VP of marketing, he or she may have gone through what I’m going through now and could probably give me some advice, give me some help.” You can’t do that to your board. You can’t do that to your team because you’re in a position of power and strength supposedly.
George: I think the most important for those is find your tribe. Find your tribe of trusted friends that you respect. Help each other out. Grow together. Do life together. Doesn’t have to be over a cigar and a scotch. It might just be lunch. It might just be a get-together every once in a while and you have a conversation. Just open up. Total trust.
Brad: Be transparent.
George: Be transparent.
Brad: That’s key in a group like that, right? I can really share an issue I’m having and get true, unfiltered feedback.
George: Yeah. But also be receptive to help. Oftentimes people will come to you and it’s all these issues that they’re having: “Help me, fix me.” It’s all about them, and that can be draining on the recipient. Make sure that you have that open heart and the desire to actually want to help people, even though you may not get anything out of it.
Brad: It’s back to that Zig Ziglar thing: you help somebody else be successful, you’re going to be successful.
Brad: That’s exactly right.
Brad: Well George, I appreciate you coming on. You’ve got to come back. I feel like we have a lot more that we can talk about: a lot of areas that you and I could dive deeper into and I think the audience would really get something out of, even content and marketing and the tribe. I wasn’t expecting to go there. That’s awesome. That’s great advice. We all should have a tribe.
Brad: Would you come back, number one, and be on the podcast?
Brad: We’ll get into some more detailed things. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
Brad: How can people get a hold of you if they want to reach out to you?
George: I have a website. It’s rockcreativenetwork.com. Also, I’m on LinkedIn. I will give you my phone number, just don’t say bad things about me because of my faith. It’s 816-305-4728, or just ask somebody. They probably already know me.
Brad: That’s true. I can vouch for that.
Brad: Maybe a podcast for you at some point, too. Are you thinking about that?
George: Absolutely. I actually had a conversation with one of my partners: Image Makers. There’s a call out for Dan at Image Makers, an incredible digital solutions company that do websites and weird digital things. If you have a problem that you want a digital solution, they will do that. I actually had Image Makers do the Rock Creative Network website and actually reached out and talked to him last night about how do we incorporate podcasts to the website. We’re looking to get that done.
Brad: So, I know a guy, just if you’re looking for somebody.
Brad: Dan is awesome, by the way. You know that we’re working on some things together, too.
George: How did you meet Dan?
Brad: I don’t know. There’s probably somebody who introduced me named George.
Brad: I appreciate it. Thank you for listening everybody. This is the… Oh, you’ve got to give me the In a World. Come on. I’ve got to hear that.
George: Everybody, come, and be a part of Real Media’s world.
Brad: That was a little different feel than I was hoping for but we’ll go with that.
Brad: This is the In a World with Real Media podcast. Thanks for listening. We are on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, radio.com, a lot of those podcast formats. Be sure to subscribe so that you get notified every time that we release a podcast. We want you to listen.
Brad: Thanks for joining us. Talk to you soon.