In this episode, Stacy sits down with Lou Carlozo, who is the Founder and President of Carma Productions. The two talk about what steps you need to take in order to win the content war, and how to “pull” instead of “push” so you can create your best material.
Hollywood Branded Refresher Episodes
Check out some of the past episodes we’ve covered on our Marketing Mistakes podcast
- EP222: Creating a Content Strategy for Your Brand with Kristin Bryan | The Chef Sisters
- EP198: How To Generate Content During COVID-19 with Harry Lowell | NiteLite Pictures
- EP191: Creating Audience Rapport in Content Marketing with Don Simkovich | So Cal Content Marketing & Media
Hollywood Branded Content Marketing Case Studies
The following content marketing case studies below provide even more insights.
- How to Leverage Music Videos for Branded Content Partnerships
- Shonda Rhimes And Dove Team Up For Branded Content Campaign
- SVOD Content At The Academy Awards: Amazon Breaks TV Content Barriers
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Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones, the founder of influencer marketing and branded content agency Hollywood Branded. This podcast provides brand marketers a learning platform for topics for us to share their insights and knowledge on topics which make a direct impact on your business today.
While it is impossible to be well-versed on every topic and strategy that can improve bottom line results, my goal is to help you avoid making costly mistakes of time, energy or money whether you’re doing a DIY approach or hiring an expert to help. Let’s begin today’s discussion.
Speaker 2 (00:31):
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. Here’s your host, Stacy Jones.
Stacy Jones (00:36):
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones, and I’m so happy to be here with you all. Today, we’re switching things up a little bit, and I’m bringing you a special interview session I had with a guest from our agency’s Marketers Content Playbook Virtual Summit, which we launched last year. Our August virtual summit series is created to help business owners establish their rising brand marketers and students have access to over 100 speakers who provide the latest and greatest insights on how to create content, market and advertise it, and get others to market your brand for you.
Marketers Content Playbook Virtual Summit grew into reality from my last four years of interviewing hundreds of business and marketing experts on this very podcast. Today, I’m excited to share one of the sessions held from this last event. Get ready to listen and learn and welcome to our Marketers Content Playbook Session sneak peek.
Hello, everyone. I’m Stacy Jones, the founder and CEO of Hollywood Branded and this event, the Marketers Content Playbook. I’m happy to be bringing you another sensational interview session, and I’m sitting here with Lou Carlozo, who’s the founder and president at Carma Productions Worldwide. Lou is going to be diving in with me to share his insights on how marketers can pull targeted customers in by giving them what they need, by pulling them in versus pushing away. There’s a little surprise for you guys at the end, so make sure you stay tuned in. It certainly surprised me. Let’s get this Marketers Content Playbook Session started. Lou, welcome. So happy to have you here.
Lou Carlozo (02:15):
Welcome, Stacy. It’s great to be here. It’s a real privilege. Since it’s 80 degrees here in Iowa City, I thought I can start by putting this on. Do you know what this is?
Stacy Jones (02:26):
It’s a great ski hat, but what else is it? It’s something else.
Lou Carlozo (02:29):
It is a British hat.
Stacy Jones (02:31):
Lou Carlozo (02:32):
This is my Mike Nesmith hat. Do you remember the Monkees? Hey, hey-
Stacy Jones (02:37):
I do, “Hey, we’re the Monkees.” Yeah.
Lou Carlozo (02:41):
A hat can change a life, and I think that as a core lesson in marketing and content and being different, I love to tell the story. I will make it brief. It was that on the day that the producers of the Monkees health screen test for tons of applicants, all these dashing good-looking, funny young men came in and gave their screen test. One guys, a Texan named Mike Nesmith, whose mother, by the way, invented the liquid paper, he ran out of his apartment very fast and grabbed a hat because his hair was mussy, and it was a winter hat. This is LA. He does the screen test with the winter hat on and after looking at hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of auditions, one of the producers turns to the other and says, “What about that guy with the hat?” Right?
He figured out a way to stand out and stick out that was authentic to his personality and not contrive, but at the same time so different that he proved to be unforgettable. That hat got him the part. That part changed his life.
Stacy Jones (03:53):
That is the story of how someone found success.
Lou Carlozo (03:55):
Yes. Do you mind if I take this hat off? I’m a little hot.
Stacy Jones (04:00):
No. I think at an 80-degree day you should definitely keep a massive ski hat on. Yes.
Lou Carlozo (04:04):
It does hide my bald spot, but, anyway, what are you going to do, right? It’s the march of time. Yeah. We can jump in and start this any way you want. Thank you, by the way, for the introduction, and for those of you who do not know me. I’m Lou Carlozo, and I am presently right now the editor-in-chief of a journalist source media relations platform called Qwoted. So, if a reporter is working on a deadline, they need a source. They log in to Qwoted, and we have hundreds of journalists signed up, and then that act as a natural place for media relations people to say, “Hey, Mr. or Ms. Reporter. I got a source for you.”
I have developed tremendous friendships over the years with people in public relations, media relations, and then that led me to become a content marketer person at a particular juncture of my career. I’m a journalist by training. I was surprised by how little I knew, to be honest, but then once I got to learn things from really smart people, I was surprised how little other people in the profession knew.
I think it boils down to this one truism, right? Stacy, I think this is true in every profession, not just marketing. Let’s be fair, right? There’s a lot of people in marketing who do not know what the hell they’re doing. They don’t because they’re reading into it academically. They’re studying books. They’re copying what other people have done. They don’t have an original bone in their body. They’re sustaining in finance called innovation theater, where you could put up a bunch of slides and demonstrations and citations to show that you’re thinking in terms of tech innovation, and the truth is you don’t know bull.
I think in marketing it’s that way. A lot of times, too, we subscribe to some content marketing magazine or we attend a convention or we do something that we think we’re supposed to do, but in the end, the emperor has no clothes. We go back to our cubicles and think, “Oh, my God! How am I going to stick out? How am I going to do something that’s different?”
For me, attending this virtual conference is different. I am really grateful because when I told you what I wanted to speak about, I wasn’t sure that it would resonate, but you were encouraging to me. The theme of that is very simply it’s pull marketing versus push marketing, and I want to say upfront that my area of expertise is content, right? So, other areas of the marketing sphere I don’t know that I’m really qualified to talk about all that much, but content has been my life first as a journalist, then as a multimedia journalist. I have done radio. I have a podcast right now. I built a podcast for my previous employer that 125,000 listens by the time I got out. It was a niche podcast on banking.
So, when it comes to pull content, sometimes by trial and error, sometimes by being taught by really wise people, and sometimes by just taking what I knew to the table. I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work. When it comes to content, I want to say that I would be surprised if even 10% of what I see works.
Stacy Jones (07:24):
No, and I’m not surprised. There’s not that much innovation necessarily out there. One of the things that when you’re sharing what your topic was going to be, what I really liked about it was that you talked about the fact that you wanted to show how advertorial should not be, which ends up being adversarial, where you have people where you’re creating content and you’re trying to control that messaging so badly, and all you really do is just hit people over the head and make them shrink back.
Lou Carlozo (07:58):
Yeah. It’s like dating, right? If you want to go out on a date with someone and you are attracted to them, people will smell that vibe right away that you’re trying to just impose yourself on them. I mean, let’s try another example. “Hey, Stacy. Come on. Let’s go to a meeting. Let’s to a meeting. I got a three-hour meeting. I want you to sit in on my work, and we’re just going to talk about a lot of stuff that we’re not going to do,” and that is how so much content comes across to people because you have to consider two things right away that I think we all know, but we all forget, myself included, is that right now, the average person has a seven-second or less attention span. Goldfish have a speed, right? So, we don’t have a long attention span.
The second thing is that the noise floor is by far the deepest, loudest, and widest. It has been in history. Guess what? Wait five minutes. It’s never going to be that slow or shallow again, right? We’re constantly in competition. So, the idea of pushing a message, the idea of conventional advertising wisdom from, say, a generation or two back. It all needs to be reexamined and rethought.
So, pull marketing with content is exactly what it sounds like. It is a way of drawing people in. Now, there are a lot of different ways to do that. One of my favorite examples from something a little outside my bailiwick, and I’ve cited this on many articles I’ve written is the Dollar Shave Club ad, right? He could have gotten up there and said, “I want to share you this new revolution in razor blades. You’re really going to …” That’s pushing, but as an amateur improv comedian, what he did was created something that was funny, and people could have given rat’s ass about shaving blades were tuning in just to watch this. I mean, the numbers were incredible.
He did talk about the blades, right? “Our blades are effin’ great.” The point was he pulled people in. He gave them something funny and amusing, and it’s disappointing but it happens all the times. How many people now have tried to imitate that ad? People with beds and contrived accents and seeing one for body wash. It’s absolutely terrible. They’re not creating this guy created. They’re imitating. So, the other thing about pull content is how can we innovate and create.
Let me talk about what I’ve seen that many marketer thinks should work but it doesn’t. So, let’s say you’re a bank, and you want to start a blog because that’s a good thing to do. Banks, financial institutions, sales organizations, they really should think about having content. That’s a value ad.
So, you’re writing let’s say something even you think is helpful, right? How to start a retirement account. Well, if I’m in a meeting consulting, I’m going to ask four questions right away. It’s number one. “What are you saying here that’s any different from anything that’s been on 50 other bank websites you’re not saying it differently?” Number two, “This is boring as shit to read. Why did you hire someone from the back office of the actuarial number crunching department to write this thing so that it’s indecipherable, full of jargon, and impossible to understand.”
Number three, “I have never seen a man in a crisp well-starched tie bending over a computer thoughtfully while the client looks on anytime in my life except for on a freaking bank website,” right? Get rid of the visual static. You’re not drawing anyone in by that, and number four, “It’s not just what you present but how,” because whether people realize it, when they are putting content up like that, the visual static is immediately going to turn people off. A picture paints a thousand words, right?
So, picture this, right? You meet a guy with a hat like that, you’re going to conclude a bunch of different things, but I’m not boring, right? Maybe I’m stupid or foolish or over the edge. Let’s toss the hat back for a second, the idea that the content just relays content, right? This is a very common thing that happens in right brain field such as finance. It happens as I mentioned before in sales. It happens in manufacturing. It happens with products is that the content is viewed as something that needs to exist, to say something about something we want to say something about.
Whereas the quality of the writing is often given short drift, the quality of the presentation. I mean, yeah, a lot of people might not hire me if I walk in to a boardroom to say this, but I’m pretty fearless because I have a good life and I love doing what I do. I’d say, “You know what? Instead of the corporate stuff, why don’t we have some crayon drawings? Why don’t we satirize these stupid stock art photos that we see on every bank website or why don’t put a photo up that has no correspondence to the content whatsoever?” or maybe you got a guy on a motorcycle or something like that, the motorcycle rider’s guide to 401Ks. I mean, I’m just coming up with these dumb ideas off the top of my head, but the idea-
Stacy Jones (13:58):
Not dumb. Disruptive. You’re coming up with things that are disrupting something that’s standard and stodgy and staid.
Lou Carlozo (14:04):
We have to do that, absolutely, because if we don’t, what we’re going to get is the same thing that’s already out there, and I’m calling my own ideas dumb. I’m a self-effacing type of person. I’m really terrible at being self-effacing, by the way. It’s one of those things that we never want to say another person’s ideas are dumb, but part of this push/pull is that in meetings or so-called brainstorming sessions, we are afraid to share our ideas because we don’t want to be laughed at. We don’t want to have our ideas shut down or we don’t want to see as I saw with one of my old employers the brainstorming meetings where the places where good ideas went to die. Everybody knew it. Every time you brought it up, somebody at senior level would say, “Well, no, not really. That’s not what happens,” right?
That innovation has to be in your DNA. Boy, I hate the word innovation, but, really, let’s just say being inventive. That has to be in the DNA. So, if we look … Now, let’s step back and let’s say Bank ABC said to me, “Lou, you’re right. We really need to rethink this content and we want to hear more about what this pull thing is. How does it work?”
Well, it works like this. If you think about the Dollar Shave Club ad I gave as an example, so much advertising and marketing turns people off, right? To every person watching this, I want to challenge you because you’re not just a marketer, you’re a consumer. How do you feel when the marketers had his off and you’re being marketed something aggressively, stridently, in the same way you’ve always seen it marketed, right? Don’t just think like a marketer. Think like a consumer because that empathy is the very first step to understanding pull marketing.
Then don’t be shy about asking yourself the question we should all ask. If I was going to be marketed to, what would I appreciate? What would I actually value? What would I want? At the end of the day, we are really in this why are we doing marketing as opposed to something else. Well, we love it, and I think when we do it well, we make a difference. We serve, right?
So, I’m with this bank and I say, “Well, we want to write about 401Ks. That’s a great idea. We’re giving people something they need, but they might not necessarily want it. So, what are we going to do about that? Again, starting from that place of we’re marketed to two, what would I want? Well, I’m a funny guy. I might appreciate it if someone got their guitar out and they put a video upload. (singing)
Stacy Jones (17:10):
Somehow I think you’ve done this before. I think that you have this down. I think that you have the best props ever of anyone who is doing a presentation.
Lou Carlozo (17:20):
Well, here’s what it comes down to. Thank you very much. It’s a wonderful compliment. If we don’t dare to think differently, we will never stand out. We’ll never have that Mike Nesmith hat on. We will never, okay? I didn’t make this up, Stacy. You didn’t make it up. It’s the world we live in. The noise floor is this high. We have to be really smart about how we break through.
So, when I think about what I might suggest to a bank is, “Hey, why don’t you guys write a bunch of songs about the different financial challenges that people have and make some videos? Better yet, why don’t you challenge viewers on the website to make up their own video and the first prize is $1,000?” Very old school marketing thing, but, hey, unless you’re willing to stick with the old way of doing things, that typical 401K article by the person who’s not an engaging writer, do you think that’s going to work better. It takes courage, but you know what? The courage sometimes is what the people we are trying to market to will reward.
So, pull marketing is saying, “Hey, a bank wants me to write a song about this?” Even if there’s no prize being offered, that’s an enticement, right? I think another thing, too, is to get really different types of creative writers. Here’s, by the way, something that I have seen that I’m going to call out right now is you marketers that don’t hire and enlist people who are like, let’s say, feature writers for newspapers or creatives that are in entirely different fields, whether it’s music or fiction, you have no idea the thickness and height of the silo you have built around yourself, and I know because I have friends who are ridiculously creative, but their resume doesn’t read like something out of the content marketing association bible, and they don’t get that shot.
Stacy Jones (19:39):
No, because you need to be able to build stories, and that’s what you’re talking about. You need to figure out how to educate and entertain. So, entertainment, you need a story, you need to actually build something that disrupts and breaks down barriers and makes you not the same old, which otherwise your bank is.
Lou Carlozo (19:57):
Yes. Mommy, daddy, tell me a story. Please tell me a story. Daddy, I know you’ve read that story to me 15 times. Can you read it a 16th time? As human beings, we are hardwired for story. That’s why we watch ridiculous shows like Tiger King. That’s why we have been unable to kill the actual book business. People still go out and buy books. It’s why we go to movies. It is hardwired.
So, you and I are actually riffing right now, Stacy. We’re in this meeting. We are in the meeting with a bank and I say, “You know what? We’re going to tell customer stories,” which is a common type of thing, but just even taking a step in that direction is the person that goes onto the website doesn’t want to see someone that looks like a banker. They want to see themselves. You start with that, just the idea of telling a story. Stories draw us in.
If I told you, for example, the story of how I became a journalist, which, honest to God, begins with I was fired from a waitering job because my hair was too long. I know that’s not believable now, and I wanted to find a job where they wouldn’t make me cut my hair. That’s it. It could have been a bowling alley. It could have been a music store. It could have been Chuck E Cheese. I just didn’t want to cut my hair, and the first place I could find a job was at the local newspaper, which turned out to be the Philadelphia Inquirer, right?
If I add to the details of that and I engage through the art of storytelling, I have a much better chance of pulling you in. Nobody wants to hear me lecture about any topic, but if I tell you a story about that topic, it’s much more engaging. I think there’s a huge opportunity for pull content right now with COVID. COVID is the universal story that we’re all sharing right now. I happen to be a person who really values positivity and hope.
If we’re telling those stories in an authentic way, I mean, here’s a switch, right? I have seen certain financial institutions do this and certain businesses do that you might post a story that has nothing to do with the product you’re marketing, but it’s inspiring. Guess what happened? Someone just tuned in to your channel, all right?
So, you and I are back at this meeting, and I actually am going to ask this question. I love to hear your response, Stacy. You know what? We’re going to take a break from doing all of this educational content for banks, and what we’re going to do is just have people tell their stories about finance, what they’re struggling with, how good or bad things have been, what gives them hope for going on, how are they making it work.
Stacy Jones (22:57):
Sure. Now, all of a sudden, you actually are engaged with characters. You have something that you have in common with someone, potentially. There’s something that’s a little bit more in-depth that you can share and stir at. Even if it’s a story that is a turn off to you, at least it’s something that is engaging and something different.
Lou Carlozo (23:17):
Absolutely. In this time in particular, because marketing doesn’t exist separate from the world, marketing is part of the world, and one thing that I think a lot of us and I know at least I do worry about is the forces that are pulling us apart.
So, what brings us together? Any marketing campaign or content initiative that begins with that thought right now because let’s face it, our widgets and our products and our content more than ever does not exist separately from what’s going on out there. I think the better chance we have of really creating something, putting something out there that’s going to engage people.
I think another part of this discussion that is important for me to touch on is this idea of how much in the way does a team do with content that limits themselves. So, earlier, I talked about the example, “Hey, maybe write some songs about these topics.” I think another possibility within that, and I’m seeing a huge potential with this, is podcasting, right?
Again, there seems to be this bifurcation, and I hosted a podcast for an employer, which I got up to 125,000 listens and when I left to go do another job opportunity, the person that replaced me frankly is brilliant. He’s a great guy, but there’s a problem is that when I listen to the podcast now.
Other people have related this to me. It’s all about the content. It’s not about the delivery of the content. So, podcasts have this incredible potential to entertain and inform. So, pull content really involves, if you’re looking at a podcast, for example, it’s not just, “Oh, we’re going to put a podcast,” and this is what happens a lot of times. There’s a financial, personal finance site out there that if I told you the name of it you would immediately know who they were. They’ve got a podcast out there, and it could be doing so much better than it is, but they’ve also nailed this formula where they’ve got two really engaging hosts. They look funky, and they have fun, and it’s conversational, and they’re still really great content out there.
So, we really with the push formula tend to think, “Okay. We’re going to do this blog here, and we’re going to do this podcast here, and here are a couple things so clever. We’ll just imitate that.”
Pull content is about also being as absolutely inventive and true and unique as you can be, and if you’ve thought about your brand at all, then you know what makes your brand unique. I mean, I’m just using this as a for instance. If you’re very formal blue blood type of bank and you know who your clients are, you may not want to try something really goofy and off the wall because it doesn’t fit your brand, but then you have a-
Stacy Jones (26:40):
Unless, unless your core consumer is aging out and all of a sudden you’re a blue staid bank and you’re like, “How the heck do we get these genzennials because they’re not going to put any money in with us and they’re going to all these cooler hipper banks, and I’m going to die as a brand.”
Lou Carlozo (26:59):
You must be reading my mind because this is exactly where I was going is there is a small bank in Massachusetts called Avidia Bank. Everybody who wants to see something exceedingly clever should check them out. A friend of mine, CarrieAnne Cormier, she runs a social media platform slash incredibly bizarre, wonderful idea called the Avidia Smarties, and they’ll do stuff like dress up in hiphop gear or do bizarre meetups and things like that, and it’s broadcast on social media, and it has helped this community bank really appeal to an audience that gets that. They’re not pushing. They’re pulling. They get worldwide attention from what they’re doing.
Stacy Jones (27:47):
They’re fun. They’re fun.
Lou Carlozo (27:49):
They’re fun, and they’re being authentic.
Stacy Jones (27:50):
We all want to have fun and people forget that.
Lou Carlozo (27:55):
Yeah. Oh, yeah. You know what? Because look at how much of our days aren’t fun, right? You get called into the office and the boss says something to you or you love your job, but you’re just having a really difficult day or you get home at the end of the day and you realize, “Man, nobody hugged me today. Nobody even touched me,” right? Fun is that commodity. It was a dirty word for a long time, I think, in certain businesses that considered themselves very staid, but I want to amplify your point because I think it is so important is that the world is in a constant state of flux and change. I think it’s accelerated more than ever.
You do see a willingness of some staid companies to push the envelope a little bit, but if you’re going to be, say, very calculated in your marketing, and I don’t have a problem with that, whatsoever, and you say, “Hey, just as you said, these customers are aging out. We got the genzennials coming up or we’ve even got people that are so internet savvy at 14, they’re in some ways ahead of the curve certainly where I was when I was in my 30s.”
We have to start thinking about those people about what appeals to them, right? I mean, I think at some point we’re going to see and I would be suggesting this and helping to engineer this if I was at a bank. The very first entirely TikTok-orchestrated marketing campaign with the core team probably a bunch of people who, if they’re not K-Pop fans, they’re of that cohort. They understand that format. They get it. They know it. I mean, go ahead and laugh me off, but it was a bunch of K-Pop fans that were responsible for Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa being poorly attended because they knew something that his campaign manager didn’t know. They knew something that all of the internet savvy people working for that campaign didn’t know.
That’s one thing I’ve never been shy about doing in my own career is wherever the good ideas are, go get them. If that means a bunch of 13-year-olds, that’s where you go. That’s where you go.
I’ll give you an example of how employed pull marketing really successfully was when I was a managing editor at AOL, I had this idea to start a finance subsite for college kids. My editor and I, and I’ll give her a shout out because she’s an incredible person, Beth Pinsker. Hi, Beth. We came up with the name Money College. I turned around to Beth and I said, “Well, this is what I want do is I’m going to get all college students to write this thing.”
She’s like, “Really?”
“Well, you got to go talk to this guy, right?”
This guy, whose name I won’t mention, a very upper cross the New Times kind of person said, “Lou, I don’t think it’s possible to stay generous in best practices when they are 17.”
I’m like, “You don’t get it, man. What we’re going to do is we have college students writing to college students. If you want to appeal to college students and their parents, you’re going to hire a bunch of New York Times guys to do it or are you going to get people of that cohort?”
We did it. I picked 20 people, trained them all on best practices. A lot of them were my students at Loyola University. We had our first seven-digit page view item within the first week, and it was a writer of mine who I think is now really high up at Vice. She wrote about how Sallie Mae was ripping her off and how she’d never get out of debt. Bam! That resonated. She got it. She was pulling people in, right?
I’m going to amplify another point you mentioned. She told a story. She told a story that she knew would draw people in. I’ll tell you what, we got a $50,000 a month sponsorship from an advertiser within one month. My writers killed it. They did really, really well, but they killed it. I didn’t kill it. Why? Because they knew how to pull people in just by being themselves, being authentic, and speaking to that audience.
Stacy Jones (32:26):
That’s the difference between your podcast as well, right, that you had. It was successful because you’re Mr. Personality. You are. I mean, you have a lot of charisma, and that comes across airwaves.
Lou Carlozo (32:36):
This is a charisma fish right here.
Stacy Jones (32:37):
There you go. I could not do that if I tried. So, you do, and when you’re sitting there and you’re storytelling, it’s not just telling a story. You’re getting little bits of the piece of who you are into everything, whether you’re writing it, whether you’re creating it, and it’s something that’s a visual piece, that’s a video. There’s little pieces of all of us that if they actually, and we allow those to go into the content and it’s part of the marketing plan, it’s going to resonate more. That’s why Hollywood does work in so many ways because that’s what people do.
Lou Carlozo (33:11):
Of course. When I mentioned the song thing on the bank website, for example, and you’re talking about Hollywood, I didn’t make that up. I did that, and I got promoted into a full-time job because of it. Beth Pinsker and I once again, we’re brainstorming at AOL and she says to me, “Black Friday is coming up.”
I’m thinking, “Okay. Yeah. Write a story, Beth.”
She’s like, “You’re a musician, right?”
I said, “Yeah.”
She’s like, “Why don’t you write a song about it, and then we’ll shoot a video.”
So, I went and got a bunch of musicians in the studio. We recorded a song about Black Friday. The song blew up on YouTube. The video was great. Three weeks later, a vice president of a company said, “You’re not a freelancer anymore. I want you to work for us.”
So, the only risk and I understand this, I get that, is that we are afraid to be laughed at. We are afraid to fail. We are afraid that if we put an idea out that’s different like that and it doesn’t work, then we are suddenly going to be cast aside. Our clients aren’t going to want to work with us. Our colleagues aren’t going to want to work with us.
Well, I think that when you’re creating this pull marketing ideas, it’s very important to not take yourself too seriously. A lot of hearts are broken and a lot of good will is broken when we go out there and we say, “This is about going to …” I’m always the first person to say, “Well, look. It might not work, but what do we have to risk by trying?” The next thing is to be smart. Marketing doesn’t have to be a cajillion dollar campaign. I think the Dollar Shave Club ad was shot 300 bucks. In the case of the Black Friday video that we did for AOL, that was $200.
If you put all of your faith in the idea and are smart about how to do it and how to produce it, the tech teaches us this, the minimally viable product, and you just get it out there. There’s very little risk. I’m going to be honest with you, Stacy, it’s taken me like an entire career to get to this point, but because I don’t take myself seriously, and because I don’t think there’s anything to lose with sharing your best, especially because life is short, I’ll walk into any room with anyone, any CEO, anybody, you name it, and I’ll say to them, “Look. Give me a sheet of paper. I’m going to jot down 40 ideas in 30 minutes for things you could be doing.”
They might look at me and say, “Well, what do you know?”
It’s like, “Well, you brought me here, right?”
“Hey, Lou. These ideas all suck.”
“Well, I’m sorry you feel that. I don’t invest in the result. I try to put everything into the idea and it’s not about me.”
So, for example, I’m going to make up one right now. Ready?
Stacy Jones (36:20):
Lou Carlozo (36:22):
Okay. The marketing campaign starts with a video of the marketing team around a table, and they throw their pads under the table that says, “Screw this shit. I quit.” Then the video cuts and say, “We don’t have a marketing campaign. You think of one,” right? Then suddenly, you’re challenging people to come up with the best possible marketing campaign.
Now, I have seen, I think it was Coca-Cola that did something like shoot your own Coke ad. This might be really different or you do … At this right now let’s say with live bands not being able to perform, who’s being hurt more than anyone else? It’s the roadies, right? Well, why not have a Roadie Olympics and broadcast it like the way you would do some music concert? Who can change the guitar strings the fastest or who can do different types of events? That could be if you had to do some marketing around raising awareness and raising funds for roadies, you come up with something really fun like that.
It’s really just about fearless creativity, and being willing to say, “Yeah. Maybe my idea sucked, but I’m going to put them all down on a piece of paper anyway because I have faith in what I’m doing and I want to pull people in and I want to tell stories, and I want to be positive and upbeat.” Sometimes depending what the campaign is, you might have to be sobering or whatever, but it’s still pull, pull, pull. Give me a reason to take a break from Facebook. Give me a reason to take a break from doing whatever it is I’m doing with my dog or my guitar.
I’d be the first person to say, “I could not watch that Dollar Shave Club ad enough times,” and then I kept going back to the sequels and watching those. I don’t think any of them were as good as the first one. Some of the incredible things that I see banks doing in the financial sphere really has to do with, and I think this is another really important part of pull marketing is don’t tell, show.
Here’s tell, “We care about our customers.” Here’s show, “After hurricane Harvey hit, USAID decided that they need to figure out a way to let homeowners know their possessions were secured even if they couldn’t get back to their homes. So, within 24 hours, we developed this technology where you could log in to our website and check out your home.” That’s real, by the way. They won awards for that, and that’s showing, and it was also authentic. There wasn’t any contrivance into it in terms of just trying to create this gizmo to get attention.
So, I don’t know that it’s all that hard. I think it’s much more question of courage and not wanting to be the person that sticks their neck out, and within the organizations, can we dare for a minute not to be clickish? Can we dare to recognize the creative voices that might have something to offer but they’re not part of the C-suite or they’re not part of the in crowd?
I say that from experience, too, because I have been both the supervisor and the supervised, and in either instance, I found that the best, most original, most capable, most creative ideas came when people felt safe, and welcome, and pun intended, drawn in. They were drawn in.
The worst situations were when everything was top down and the supervisors knew. I’m sure there are marketing companies that get that and then some, and I’ll tell you what. If I knew who they are and you tell me who they are, I’d love to sit at their feet and learn because I think that that constant activity of learning applies I think the X axis is we learn how to market by talking to and getting to know and putting ourselves in the shoes of the people we’re trying to reach, but it’s also learning from and talking to who have figured it out.
I could give this talk today and I’m so happy to be doing it, but tomorrow, I’m going to be like, “Hmm, more to learn about this pull marketing thing. Who can I talk to that’s making really incredible content or has figured out a way to package it or figured out a new format that really makes sense?”
Stacy Jones (41:14):
Well, it’s interesting because you’ve talked about how you need to be able to leverage people who know what to do, who know how to write, who can write copy, who can write headlines. You talked about diving in for your authentic self and sharing that in your stories. You also talked about potentially crowdsourcing with getting other people to generate content and you didn’t touch on it, but it’s there, but that’s not influencer marketing is supposed to be doing for brands, and then brands are not always doing it right where they’re supposed to be opening their doors up and letting someone else tell their story in an engaging way, where that person is a media outlet all of their own, and they have their platform, they know their platform. I think that’s where we as marketers and storytellers a lot of times need to remember that those third party people can sometimes tell our stories better.
Lou Carlozo (42:09):
Exactly. You have touched upon something that when I have seen it work, it’s absolutely brilliant, which is the idea of the brand ambassador. When we talk about let’s say just a standard influencer on Twitter or YouTube or TikTok or Instagram or some-
Stacy Jones (42:29):
They have to have passion.
Lou Carlozo (42:30):
Stacy Jones (42:31):
They have to have passion. They have to have something.
Lou Carlozo (42:34):
They do have to have passion. I don’t necessarily think there is a wrong way to do that, but one of the things we have to consider is that the pitch person, the spokesperson, that’s a very old model. So, how much mileage, and I’m not saying this is a declarative statement, I’m asking a question. How much mileage will you get in the end if you hire someone who is an influencer, but they’re only doing it because they’re getting hired? Look, you might get a lot. Let’s face it. Maybe the person is having a ton of fun doing it, but it can also backfire.
If one of those off might moments somebody is saying something about the product and they’re like, “Yeah,” we have to be careful is what I’m trying to say when we do that because if you put all your eggs in that one basket, even if it all goes well, can be very expensive.
Now, compare that to the Stacy who’s sitting right next to me, and we work together at this company, and I’m the new guy and you’re like, “You know what I really love about this place is that I’m very skeptical about when people say they want to help me with my finances, but I’ve gotten plenty of help here just from …” Suddenly, our boss comes over and says, “Hey, Stacy. Do you mind writing that down? Do you mind posting about that?”
I’m going to single out millennials, and I’m not millennial bashing, by the way. There’s no warning signs if that thing go off. It’s just the opposite is that consider this marketer friends. Millennials are going to inherit the most amount of money and wealth of any generation that has ever lived on the planet because they are in many, many, many cases the children of baby boomers who have amassed great wealth. Yet, they also have lived through something else. They lived through the great recession, and they lived through watching their parents, their family members, friends of their parents getting wiped out in the case of banks because of greed and toxic mortgage pools and all the other shenanigans that were going on.
So, even though they’re going to have this tremendous amount of buying power, they’re also very skeptical. Now, whose word are they going to take, right? Do they take the word of the spokesperson who’s hired out or someone of their cohort, someone … Again, another point that you made just like them who is writing and suddenly they can let their guard down a little bit. It’s not what’s this person trying to sell. It’s story. They’re telling their story.
The more those brand ambassadors you can get, and this is not necessarily a new idea. I think people know about it, but let’s do it, right? Let’s get this brand ambassadors. Who speaks for you? Who speaks for me? Their testimony, it’s going to speak volumes.
Stacy Jones (45:48):
You have covered so much. All of it awesome. All of it fantastic. I know everyone has enjoyed your personality and how you’ve shared and told your own story through doing it. So, thank you.
Lou Carlozo (46:01):
No. I didn’t cover one thing.
Stacy Jones (46:03):
Lou Carlozo (46:03):
Stacy Jones (46:03):
Wooh! I have to say, that’s awesome. That was just about awesome and unexpected.
Lou Carlozo (46:44):
I just shut down my brand.
Stacy Jones (46:49):
Yes, but you just elevated mine. So, thank you.
Lou Carlozo (46:51):
You’re great. Stacy, I can’t tell you what a privilege this has been. I knew right away when you invited me I had to do this. I hope it put a smile on some people’s faces, and I hope also that anything I’ve shared is help.
Stacy Jones (47:08):
Lou, I think that the information you’ve given us is something that is so essential that people forget about. You covered the basics, but you dove so much more into the actual reason why we all are in this field. We are marketers in order to story tell. We are marketers to build brands, and you are obviously one phenomenal brand builder. So, thank you.
Lou Carlozo (47:32):
Thank you. You have my information, which I know you will pass on. If anybody wants to have a phone conversation with me or grab a cup of coffee virtual or in-person in Chicago, I’m happy to do it. I love to meet new people and make new friends.
Stacy Jones (47:46):
Well, how can people get a hold of you? You want to give a shout out?
Lou Carlozo (47:49):
Sure. One of the easiest ways is to connect with me on LinkedIn, and it’s Lou, L-O-U, and last name is C-A-R, like a car, L-O-Z-O. Another way, and this is very simple is [email protected] Now, Qwoted is spelled with a W instead of a U, [email protected], Q-W-O-T-E-D dot com. If you send an email to me there, I will be able to get back to you, hopefully, within the same day, and also through you. You have the information that you can pass out once the presentation is done. I know you and I will stay in touch.
Stacy Jones (48:27):
We will, and it’s on the website. It’s going to be everywhere. So, yes, please get a hold of Lou, and you and I are definitely staying in touch. So, thank you.
Lou Carlozo (48:27):
Stacy Jones (48:36):
You’re my now new favorite person to interview. So, thank you for that.
Lou Carlozo (48:39):
Oh, I’m blushing.
Stacy Jones (48:43):
So, for everyone, thank you so much for tuning in today, attending the conference. So happy to have you here, and I don’t even have to say I hope this gave you information to ponder. I know this did, and I know this is going to make you a better marketer. So, thank you.
Lou Carlozo (48:57):
Great. Welcome, Stacy. Take care.
Stacy Jones (49:00):
Thank You For Tuning In!
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