I had the pleasure of interviewing Jacques Spitzer, founder of branding and growth agency, Raindrop. Jacques is an Emmy award-winning storyteller and published author who entertains, inspires growth and gives a fresh spin on universal truths to allow others to own their future. He is a successful entrepreneur and impactful relationship architect who is laser-focused on taking people and brands to their next level.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Thank you for the opportunity! Back in college, before I ever considered marketing as a career path, I was hosting prank shows on the school’s TV station and doing social experiments for fun. I’ve always had an interest in understanding people.
My first actual marketing client was a personal trainer named Ray Wetterlund III. We started seeing success together, which led to referrals and the realization that I could do this for a living. Now, I get paid to come up with creative ideas for world-class clients alongside an amazing team of 60+ employees. It’s so much bigger than any dream or vision I could have ever conceived.
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I’ll never forget: We ran a Valentine’s Day special for one of our first big clients and blasted out an email for the “sweatheart” deal. Of course, we meant “sweetheart,” and wish it could have at least been a normal typo that didn’t make a new, ridiculous word. We sent out an, “Oops, sorry!” follow-up email — which actually got the brand’s highest open rate ever — but the damage was done. It’s funny and lighthearted in hindsight, but in all seriousness, spellcheck everything.
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?
Two, specifically. First, we were able to double summer ticket sales for the San Diego Symphony, without being classical music aficionados ourselves. It showed our ability to bring a fresh perspective to any brand and reach a broader audience.
Second was an online video ad we produced for Dr. Squatch Soap Co., followed by several more, in 2019. They have combined for over a quarter billion views and helped other brands discover how to break through the noise with video advertising. From that, we learned how much work and creative it takes to produce content that people want to consume. It’s like being a singer who puts out a #1 single, and then another, and another…Pure soul, but also strategy in knowing what resonates.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
It’s our culture. Every company talks about it, and we feel like we truly and authentically have it. We’ve kept a 90% employee retention rate each of our 10 years in business and have unbelievable team members. Their character and continuity reflect in our work and client relationships. Yes, we make great content and know how to get results — but at the end of the day, it’s our people who make it happen together.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Every one of our clients are inspiring me with what they are doing… Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes, WORX Tools, Dr. Squatch, Bak Blade, T S Restaurants, The San Diego Symphony, they are all up to really exciting projects, which is why they are working with us!
Omigo and Crossrope are some newer clients that I think will change some more lives in 2020 and beyond.
Omigo is a luxury bidet company that is going to catch America up on bathroom hygiene. Not going to take us into toilet talk, but what we do here in America to get clean after we use the restroom is kind of barbaric compared to Europe, Japan and other cultures that have cleaner ways.
Crossrope is a weighted jump rope that’s a lot of fun and allows adults to break away from boring cardio. It is such an efficient workout and it really is changing the way people see something they might have done in middle school P.E. into the future of cardio.
I’m really excited to see what we come up with for both of these brands.
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
It’s hard for me to imagine burnout because I love this line of work — but I have definitely seen it and feel for anyone grappling with any sort of unhappiness in their career. I would say to recognize when you’re in a season vs. when it’s time for a fundamental change. There will be busy times, slow times, crazy times…You just have to be able to determine when it’s time to take a step back, ask for help or make a change.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
So many people. Adam Wagner, my business partner, is the brains behind what we do. My wife is so wise and someone I can always bounce ideas off of. David Oates, who runs a PR agency, mentored me in my mid to late 20s. I look back at the time he invested in me and am extremely grateful. Jeff Campbell, a highly decorated corporate leader who co-founded the Hospitality & Tourism Management Master’s Program at San Diego State, is a mentor who also became one of my best friends. His enthusiasm for life and his work is always inspiring. And, of course, my parents; watching them work and seeing how they treat everyone with love has always been a huge part of my experience.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. There are hundreds of memorable marketing campaigns that have become part of the lexicon of our culture. What is your favorite marketing or branding campaign from history? Can you explain why you like that so much?
Dollar Shave Club’s 2012 viral YouTube video showed the world the untapped power of that platform for advertising. It was an entirely new way of direct to consumer advertising that is still just as alive and well today. Instead of focusing on what kinds of ads we can make where people can’t “fast-forward” or “skip” them, we are focused on making ads so entertaining that even when you can skip, you won’t.
If you could break down a very successful campaign into a “blueprint”, what would that blueprint look like? Please share some stories or examples of your ideas.
I don’t necessarily believe there’s a blueprint to any campaign. It’s more a matter of gut-checking the fundamentals such as understanding your audience, matching your messaging to the medium, capturing and keeping attention, etc.
Companies like Google and Facebook have totally disrupted how companies market over the past 15 years. At the same time, consumers have become more jaded and resistant to anything “salesy”. In your industry, where do you see the future of marketing going?
Edutainment. Consumers don’t mind being served ads. They actually kind of expect them. They just want to be educated as to why the product or service is worth buying and be entertained in the process.
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.
1. What you’re doing now will look drastically different in 10 years. That’s how it should be when you’re growing both personally and professionally.
2. Just because you’re good at your craft, doesn’t mean you know how to run a business. Learning the latter is part of the journey.
3. Find and keep the best people you can. I’m glad I knew this for myself and have been able to do so. Having great people around you makes it fun and is the greatest return on investment you could ever see.
4. Be kind to yourself and turn learning lessons into growth.
5. Access to capital is absolutely crucial for any business. I didn’t even know what “cash flow” meant when I first started.
Can you share a few examples of marketing tools or marketing technology that you think can dramatically empower small business owners to become more effective marketers?
Facebook and Instagram advertising are beautifully intuitive, targeted and creative, especially for small business owners. Pair them with edutainment-style content, and you can see a real impact in sales on a relatively modest ad spend.
What books, podcasts, documentaries or other resources do you use to sharpen your marketing skills?
I love anything by Simon Sinek. Same goes for Gary Vee. Hearing either of them talk about business almost always translates to marketing in some way or another, particularly when it comes to the importance of focusing on relationships and living with purpose.
Who is your hero? Can you explain or share a story about why that person resonates with you?
My dad is my hero for his heart of service. He has always shown up every day, for everything, in a very stalwart way. Hard work. The thrill of business. The importance of kindness. He and my mother taught me all of the important things growing up that I carry with me today.
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 the world could use more kindness. It’s simple, but powerful. When people are kind to each other, they’re empowered to accomplish great things both individually and together.
How can our readers follow you online?
How can they not follow me… I’m literally everywhere. Joking, but seriously, you can find me on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and just about anywhere online by searching my name. Let’s connect!
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.
Thank you again for having me.