I donate time, resources, and money to charity every quarter by taking a % of every project and putting it aside to help a cause.
Asa part of my Marketing Strategy Series, I’m talking with fellow marketing pros at the top of their game to give entrepreneurs and marketers an inside look at proven strategies you might also be able to leverage to grow your business or career. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Maury Rogow.
Maury Rogow is the founder and CEO of Rip Media Group, a trailblazing video marketing company based in Los Angeles, California. Rip Media Group brings a unique combination of storytelling art and ROI strategy to the field of animation and live-action video. Rip Media Group brings together a team of award-winning storytellers, technicians, and artists to create world-class voiceover, animation, and live-action video to grow businesses of any size.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting and what lesson you learned from that?
I have so many funny and embarrassing stories about successes and failures — and I think that is what makes people succeed — having the tenacity to try, fail, and keep going.
My first blunder was as a teenage ‘entrepreneur’ trying to take over the lawn care in my neighborhood. I wrote a short letter to each neighbor as to why I was a better choice than the larger companies and walked around dropping them off at every door for a mile.
My eyes and hands were so tired from personalizing hundreds of hand-written notes, that I started abbreviating, and dropped them off with the headline: “Yard Lawning and Other Oddities”.
I only realized it when a neighbor called laughing and said ‘You’re hired! But, no need for your oddities!’
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
Absolutely. I fully immerse myself in every new brand I have ever represented, learned the products and every aspect of them. Product training was a big part of most companies. In many of the companies I was with, there was a built-in policy to remove the lowest performers each quarter.
What I found: companies love their own product and message. But customers only care about how it makes them better, faster, stronger and transforms them. Simply put: People do not buy products; they buy the story you tell.
If you cannot understand and share your transformation story, your business will die. When I focused on the results and telling the best story, it created massive results in company after company.
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
Creative storytelling is taxing, as is running a business. So, I have a ‘mantra’ that I go through every morning with my young child. It is all about balancing life to achieve in different areas. Achieving work and lacking in the other areas is what causes burnout.
We go through the ‘five to thrive’, which are the 5 areas you want to achieve something in each day: Body (Health/Fitness), Balance (Family/Love), Being (Taking breaks and mindfulness), Brains (Learning/Work Success), Bubbles (Laugh and Smile). I’m not perfect every day, but small achievements in each area keep you healthy, wealthy, and wise — and full of energy. We also remind the team that we are the lucky ones, we get to do exactly what we love to do every day.
Great advice. None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful to who helped get you to where you are?
To be at the top, I found that raw talent and technique are not good enough. I had a manager early on that took all that raw energy and added fun. Kevin Keehn showed me the enjoyment is a big part of the job, not something for after hours. He loved customers, loved to have a great time with them, and invited them out because he wanted relationships and partnerships.
This made all the difference. I view each customer of ours the same, I enjoy them, appreciate them, and help guide them however I can…even when it is out of our scope.
Consumers have become more jaded and resistant to anything “salesy”. Where do you see the future of marketing headed?
Clearly, the industry is now driven by algorithms. This is a good thing as you can measure results quickly and effectively, but if you remove authenticity, the campaigns will fail.
Getting your brand story clearly defined is the core, and the next decade will be all about getting your videos to work for you, and instead of salespeople in the top of the funnel, personalizing media for every customer segment and even every single consumer by name, and creating interactive content that engages people that do not want ’to talk to sales’.
Can you please tell us the 5 things you wish someone told you before you started? Can you please share a story or example for each.
Having your company is harder and less glamorous than it looks, until it is! You need to think of a business as a fulltime job, and your child. When it’s young, you will work all day, and be up a lot of the night. As goofy as this sounds, when I started getting ‘gifts’ from vendors, customers, and calls from companies that wanted to work with us, I knew I had something. I had created something that people wanted to be a part of after thousands of hours of hard work.
Get your systems, processes, and people lined up. Build your billing, accounting, legal, and workflow software for where you need to be in 2 years, not where you are today. Plan and build for where you want to be. I had systems that couldn’t grow to dozens of projects, and it slowed us down to the point that I had to say no to projects at one point because I didn’t think we could service them effectively. That is never a place I want to be, so I fixed that immediately. We are now built to be 10x the size we are.
Hire slow, fire fast. It seems harsh, but a few years ago it took me months to have that tough and final conversation with someone that seemed to ignore all the coaching and suggestions we made. By moving so slowly, I wasted time and a lot of money on someone that was not willing to improve. After they left, I found almost no difference in the work we completed! Meaning: They were doing very little, and I wasted tens of thousands of dollars and hurt the more effective members of the team that watched me move so slowly.
You will underestimate what you can do in a year, but overestimate what you can do in a day. How did we fix this? The book ‘Traction’, by Gino Wickman. We lay out our major quarterly goals and laser focus and evaluate progress. The daily tasks are only built to get those goals completed; non- core goals need to wait.
Do not wait, take action with the best information you have at the time. Waiting for a perfect answer will cost you. The Army has a saying: Perfect is the enemy of Done. I can think of numerous examples early on where I tried to create the perfect deck and worked all night aiming for perfect. Then at the presentation, I barely used it.
Learn to say ’No’ and ‘I don’t know, but I’ll get back to you’. You need to cherish your time and avoid the can-I-pick-your-brain-calls unless critical. If a customer asks a question you don’t know, do not B.S. EVER. Just be honest and do some homework to add value to them.
What books, podcasts, documentaries or other resources do you use to sharpen your marketing skills?
I like to open the door to alternate and industries that are not directly in my line so I can see how others create success. Creativity Inc is excellent, as is The Pumpkin Plan. Of course, the Advertising Age, Adweek and Harvard Business Review are critical.
One more question! 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?
I donate time, resources, and money to charity every quarter by taking a % of every project and putting it aside to help a cause. Because of this ‘account’ we have created work for non-profits that get homeless jobs, work to eradicate breast cancer, stop malaria, and raise funds for heart disease. I would like every business owner to start now by helping with your own knowledge, money, and influence, even if it is 1%. Starting the habit now will multiple the results in a few years when you are helping thousands of people.
Thank you so much for sharing so much value with us!