Adam Rossow of Group RFZ: “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good”

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good. This is something one of my brothers always says and I try and remember it anytime I am spending an inordinate amount of time trying to find the ideal font type or waiting for the ideal time to launch or release something (which there seldom is). As […]

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Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good. This is something one of my brothers always says and I try and remember it anytime I am spending an inordinate amount of time trying to find the ideal font type or waiting for the ideal time to launch or release something (which there seldom is).


As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Adam Rossow.

Adam is a co-founder of Group RFZ, an influencer and content measurement firm based in Denver. He helps brands and agencies get past vanity metrics and understand exactly how their marketing programs are impacting the way consumers think, feel and act.

An experienced marketer and executive, Adam cut his teeth in the integrated marketing and thought leadership space. He was a co-founder of iModerate, an online research firm, and during the shift from offline to online, he helped agencies navigate this new landscape. Adam has been an avid proponent of digital content marketing since its inception, and an avid Boston sports fan since birth.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory?” What led you to this particular career path?

As a marketer and PR professional for many years, I was always frustrated by the inability to prove to myself and my colleagues that the work I was doing was having a real impact. Like many marketers, I was spending a lot of time and money on large content initiatives and other digital programs designed to raise awareness and demonstrate thought leadership. It wasn’t like I could tie my efforts to items in a shopping cart or a promo code, so I counted visits, reach, clicks and all the other stuff that we tell ourselves matter, but in most cases really doesn’t. Going to large marketing conferences and talking to my peers, it quickly became evident that this wasn’t just a “me” problem. Luckily, I was in the market research space at the time and one of my current partners was already working on a way to crack this nut.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

What Group RFZ is doing disrupts the decades-long reliance on vanity metrics — and we do so primarily in the two digital realms that need it the most: Influencer marketing and content marketing. Each of these sectors represents a huge and growing share of marketing investment, but marketers often walk away with measurements that leave them scratching their heads. We set out to provide clear metrics that show the exact impact that these efforts have on whatever the goals are — from raising awareness, to shifting perceptions, to driving purchase intent. Like many disruptive solutions, we didn’t completely reinvent the wheel. Research is a science, and there is a right way to go about it. What we did do is create a brand lift measurement solution that utilizes a tried-and-true research approach, but is built to accurately measure the campaigns of today.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

My funniest professional story pre-dates Group RFZ. I was launching my very first print ad campaign as a marketer. I spent a month toiling over the copy, the imagery, and the overall look and feel. Then, when the ad comes out in trade journals nationwide, the company’s phone number is completely wrong. I was mortified. Luckily, that phone number wasn’t actually in use, so I was able to grab it, set it up and play the whole thing off like it was purposeful — as if I had set up a new landline to track incoming calls from the ad initiative.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I’m lucky enough to have been surrounded by mentors my entire life. My mother is wildly creative, my father was the hardest worker in the room, one of my older brothers is a successful entrepreneur, while the other is an extremely pragmatic and gifted attorney. I feel like I was able to pull from a broad spectrum of knowledge, experience, and mindsets without even leaving the home. There are countless stories about how they made an impact, but one that stands out is how my father, in the beginning of my career, would celebrate even my smallest successes. He would always call me up, be my biggest cheerleader, and let me know that having that feeling of pride and accomplishment was a driving force — and he was right.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

I always think disruption or trying to disrupt is a positive. Without disruption, stagnation is inevitable, and I think that’s the case in almost every industry. If there is a better, safer, less expensive, more beneficial way of doing something, then why would we not we embrace it? If nothing else, it pushes behemoths to innovate and not rest on their laurels. Dollar Shave Club is a great example. They didn’t reinvent the razor, but they level set a razor’s real value and gave us a new purchasing channel that made a lot of sense for people. Not only are they successful and a blueprint for other direct-to-consumer razor brands, but the big boys were forced to take notice, adapt and, in the case of DSC, purchase them.

Can you share three of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good. This is something one of my brothers always says and I try and remember it anytime I am spending an inordinate amount of time trying to find the ideal font type or waiting for the ideal time to launch or release something (which there seldom is).

Don’t say in five paragraphs what you can say in one. When I first entered the workforce, I thought the more explanatory I was the better. Decks “had to be” 10 slides long, thought-leadership pieces “had to be” at least three pages. My first boss looked at me after reading an absurdly long press release I drafted and said, “Don’t say in five paragraphs what you can say in one.” He also not so subtly reminded me that we weren’t getting paid by the word.

Do the thing you dread the most first. This one comes directly from my 7th grade homeroom teacher. She noticed that I was always putting off the piece of homework I deemed to be the hardest, which pretty much set me up for a daily dose of anxiety. She implored me to spend at least 20 minutes doing the thing I feared most first. It’s something I still try and do to this day.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

My partners and I are really focused on making actionable measurements tablestakes for all marketers. This idea of measuring what matters sounds simple and sensible enough, but the reality is that we aren’t there yet. It’s going to take a lot of education, broadened accessibility to the right solutions and getting people to do what’s best over what’s easiest. There is a lot of work wrapped up in that mission, so continuing to not just beat that drum, but making it happen is what’s now and very much what’s next.

Do you have a book, podcast or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

Duct Tape Marketing is a book that I will always remember. I was in charge of a somewhat modest marketing budget many years ago, but was always looking to recreate the brilliant campaigns I’d see from the likes of P&G and Nike. While I was enamored with the marketing titans, I was in a completely different space with much more limited access to resources and budgets. Duct Tape Marketing brought me back down to earth and gave me practical ideas that worked. It helped me realize early on that a big idea can be small, as long as it is hugely impactful for your business.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote?” Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Some days you’re the pigeon, some days you’re the statue.” While I always found this quote amusing, it also helps me keep things in perspective. Some days you are flying around high and everything is going your way — the next you’re getting defecated on from above. It’s kind of how life works. So, I try to keep in mind on those days that I’m the statue, that tomorrow I will probably be the pigeon.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I think bringing the most amount of good to the most people starts with us respecting each other and treating one another better. So many of our problems stem from how we view, feel and act towards one another. We give in to stereotypes and pre-conceived notions, and often judge instead of learning or trying to be empathetic. If we could just be kind and elevate people rather than pushing them down or casting them aside, we’d be in a much better place.

How can our readers follow you online?

I would welcome the chance for them to follow and interact with me and Group RFZ on any of my social channels. You can find us on the web at https://grouprfz.com and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/adam-rossow-489592 and https://www.linkedin.com/company/grouprfz.

This was very inspiring.

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