On this episode, you’ll hear from Jeff Robinson partner at BOS Klein about a marketing campaign that didn’t go as expected and an important marketing lesson learned along the way in his career.

Transcript
Rob Ainbinder (:

"AMA Voices" captures conversations about marketing, diversity and more impacting our community in the Triangle. I'm Rob Ainbinder, VP of External communications for AMA Triangle and your host. On this episode, you'll hear from Jeff Robinson partner at BOS Klein about a campaign that didn't go as expected and an important marketing lesson learned along the way in his career. Welcome Jeff.

Jeff Robinson (:

Well, thank you, Rob. It's really nice to join you and I appreciate you asking me to be a guest on the podcast.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Absolutely. So tell me, how did you first get started in marketing?

Jeff Robinson (:ve been in the Triangle since:Rob Ainbinder (:

OK. So I guess moving to the present day, what what's been your firm's most memorable campaign?

Jeff Robinson (:client chose John Andretti's:Rob Ainbinder (:

Oh wow.

Jeff Robinson (:

They didn't know, we were talking to the Andretti family at the time for "Check It for Andretti". And so we were able to talk to Nancy Andretti, John's wife, and we got the green light to collaborate together and, come up with a car design and then tie in, "Check It for Andretti" with Starcom racing for the throwback race and build awareness for colon cancer.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Yeah.

Jeff Robinson (:

So that was, that was really cool.

Rob Ainbinder (:

That is cool. Like you were able to tie in cause marketing with the team. With commercial efforts, it sounds like.

Jeff Robinson (:

Yeah. We got really fortunate becausea lot of those brands are not sponsoring the old paint schemes and it's the throwback.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Nice.

Jeff Robinson (:

You know, usually you try to get the design of the car as close to the original throwback as possible.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Sure.

Jeff Robinson (:

And sometimes you're not able to mimic it exactly. But we were very successful at getting a hold of RCA. That's a long story.

Rob Ainbinder (:

I'm sure

Jeff Robinson (:

It was by luck and by chance. I went on LinkedIn and I was trying to find who I could find that could give us permission to use the RCA logo and brand on the car. Actually, I actually found the person on LinkedIn and they were in France and they're owned by another company and wow. Long story, long story short, they, gave us permission to use the brand on the car. And so we were able to really have a true throwback

Rob Ainbinder (:

Yeah. What, what did success, what did success look like for that whole effort? Like what were the metrics?

Jeff Robinson (:

You know, you know, what was, you know, what was really interesting is that the, the throwback race is really the it's a fan vote. So the fans vote on the best paint scheme. Best the best throwback. And so, you know, Starcom is probably not on the higher end of, of teams, you know, there's 40, there's 40 cup teams in NASCAR You know, the top teams have the larger budgets, bigger brands, but you're still in the cup series and you're still the top 40 cars in NASCAR. So we didn't really, we went in there really trying to accomplish two things we want, we wanted to obviously take care of our client, Starcom and provide the best throwback paint scheme for the race. Right. And help with their marketing. But we also were engaged with the Andretti family and "Check it for Andretti" and we wanted to build awareness for John Andretti and what they were doing. So, I think we went in there just really trying to accomplish that. And I think the big surprise was we found ourselves in first place in the fan boat really early out of the gate.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Wow.

Jeff Robinson (:

And, you know, that was probably something we didn't expect.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Okay.

Jeff Robinson (:

So we were expecting to do a great job, build some awareness, but we ended up, we ended up being in first place in the fan vote. It was early. We, all of a sudden realized that second place was Richard Petty's car. And it was a throwback car STP, you know, the old school throwback car. We really quickly realized that we gotta do something if we wanna stay in first place or at least end up in first or second or in the top three. And so we had to really pivot and jump online.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Okay.

Jeff Robinson (:

And really engage on Twitter and on social media to get the fan vote, to remain or stay steady. And it was back and forth with the Richard Petty team and our team for the first place for the throwback. What was really exciting about that was that Richard Petty's car was also supporting the "Check It" cause.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Oh, nice.

Jeff Robinson (:

So what ended up happening, which, which was just fantastic, was both the top cars in the fan vote were representing "Check it for Andretti" and building awareness for John Andretti. So if you think about that, that became a huge success.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Yeah. That's fantastic for that. What do you think, you know, given that some time has expired since that campaign, what do you think were some more timeless kind of lessons that you kind of walked away from that whole campaign experience with?

Jeff Robinson (:

I think, you know, really not settling for just the average. I think we were told in the beginning, it might be virtually impossible to get RCA on the car and I think, I think we didn't give up on that. I think the power of social media and I had a big talk, a big order to fulfill, to be able to get RCA on the car and I went to LinkedIn and I went to LinkedIn to find out how I could find the right appropriate person to give us permission, or at least give us the trade, you know, the trademark for the race to be able to do that. And we were told that was probably virtually impossible. And so I think, I think a big lesson is, is not, not to give up on something and, and using, using the new platforms and the new way to connect and to communicate with people, you can really get success, success there. And I think that's really what happened. I, I ended up, it was really late at night my wife was asking me what I was doing. And I said, I'm trying to find the right person in this organization to give me permission to use the RCA trademark on the car. I said that the company's been bought a couple of times and it's a company in France that I have to get in contact with. And she said, good luck. I'm going to bed.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Jeff Robinson (:

And I just got lucky. I don't know what to tell you. I sent a couple of, I sent a couple of LinkedIn connections out and I just was honest. I just basically honestly sent messages of what we were trying to accomplish and sure. You know, I woke up at 5:30 in the morning and the lady contacted me through LinkedIn.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Nice.

Jeff Robinson (:

And she said that they wanted to help and they gave us permission. And I think that made the car, you know, very close to the original throwback. And I think that's what put us in the fan vote and it allowed us to compete with Richard Petty's team. And I think that overall, you know, what was the biggest thing is we won for check it for ready. We, yeah. Both car, both cars came in, we came in second place in the fan vote and Richard Petty's car came in first. Right. And, you know, it went viral during the race mm-hmm

Rob Ainbinder (:

And fantastic.

Jeff Robinson (:

And I think I think the lesson is that you can really use the new platforms to achieve what you wanna achieve. It's a equal playing field

Rob Ainbinder (:

For sure. For sure. Especially as the new platforms emerge, it's kind of the, the early adopters tend to have a bit of an advantage, but, but for the most part, you know, people, you know, new organizations can join and get some footing pretty quickly as well.

Jeff Robinson (:

Very quickly. Right? Cause we, we, when we were trying to get the votes during the race we offered you know, in racing, they, the fans wanna get the hero card. Signed by the, the race car driver. And so we just basically used that as leverage and said, if you vote, we'll send you a hero card with a race signature on, they spread that word around pretty quickly.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Quickly? I bet they did. I bet they did. Cuz that's some collectible stuff and some highly sought after collectability. I guess on the flip side,what was a campaign that didn't go as expected and how did you turn it around?

Jeff Robinson (:

You know, I've been really trying to think about a campaign that hasn't maybe not gone as expected. I think we've, I think my team has had really good campaigns. I mean, there's been some more successful than others. I remember working with Z exhibit and they're, now Pinnacle Exhibits and, Jake's the CEO over there. And I worked with him on a campaign for the exhibitor show, which is like what the trade show of the trade show (industry)

Rob Ainbinder (:

For show exhibitors?

Jeff Robinson (:

Yeah.

Jeff Robinson (:

Yeah. And I think we had come up with a great campaign. We actually did a scratch off. We actually came up with created a 10 x 20 exhibit, which is unheard of against, against the back wall. So really you had a 10 x 20 display that had an upper deck. And, and in the front, in the front lower we created a wall, like a grid. And that grid was to be filled with like a tile, like a substrate that you used in exhibits and that tile had a scratch off on the back, you know, like a scratch off a scratch off game. So you would be able to come to the, to the exhibit, the booth. Get a tile, scratch it off and, and win cash. And, and it was really cool. And we, we weren't sure if you, if you could, if the show would let us give out cash we had a look at all that stuff and, and we had determined that we could, but we, we kind of left out like, well, the whole purpose of the campaign is to get pre-registration. You know, before people actually show up at exhibitor and to really help the client,have qualified meetings. And so we were concerned that we would just get a lot of tire kickers to the booth because they just wanted to, you know, win a chance, win cash. And then,our, you know, the client would be, have a hard time with actually being able to have like really good conversations. And so we had to come up with a way to really get preregistered,you know,register to come to the booth before the exhibitor and we wanted some qualifiers in there.

Jeff Robinson (:

And so what we did is we decided that if you preregistered early and you gave your information, right, like your company name, why you were going to the show. And that you would come to the booth to you know, to talk to, to this exhibit, you would double your chances on your cash. And so we had to come up witha digital coupon for that. So they could show that they registered early. And if they showed up with that digital coupon, when they scratched off the back of the tile, they would double their cash winnings. And that was very successful. It got us 750 preregistration before the show. And they came in with the code and we were able to id, we were able to identify those folks and our client was able to engage with them and have conversations. And that ended up with a very successful show for them. I can't disclose the figures, but they got quite a lot of qualified meetings and, and actual business out of that. And, that year they won an award for the campaign and for the booth and it was, it was actually written up in exhibitor magazine.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Nice

Jeff Robinson (:

The cool thing was the tile. Once you scratched off the back and you won your cash, then you were able to personalize the tile and then put it on the wall. Cause it had, it had a magnet strip on the back and over the course of the show, the, the tile created a mosaic.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Oh, neat. Oh, that sounds like really interesting concept for a trade show.

Jeff Robinson (:

Yeah. And at the end, at the of the show, we mailed the tile back to them.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Oh, wow.

Jeff Robinson (:

So it had, so it had a personal connection.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Close the loop with the lead.

Jeff Robinson (:

Yeah. So I think, I think the pivot, or, you know, what we, what we didn't expect was you know, getting pre-registration and we had to really think quickly and pivot and come up with an idea of how we would be able to pre register before they got to the show. It was very successful.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Well, thanks for sharing, sharing that. Switching to some questions about you and, and things like that. At what time of day do you get your best work done?

Jeff Robinson (:

oh man. If I knew that I wouldn't be here talking to you. Right.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Okay.

Jeff Robinson (:

You know, I think it's, I think it's in the morning time, I think the best time that Iget the best ideas or strategy. I actually, I actually, I actually walk three miles a day in the morning time and I think I get up at a quarter of six to do that. And I think when I'm walking and I'm by myself and I'm getting some exercise, I think that I come up with the best ideas, the best solutions. And the strategy. So I think early in the mornings, the best time that I get my best work done.And I think we're only productive for so many. And I think once you're past a certain amount of hours, I think it kind of starts declining.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Declining return?

Jeff Robinson (:

Yeah. So what we do, what we do at Boss Kline, Boss Digital, especially Boss Digital, that's our digital division here in Raleigh. We try to get really out of the gate Monday through Thursday. We try to, we try to, we try to,you know, try to catch the worm by getting up early. And we hustle during the week and our reward is the worklife balance on Friday and Friday is really your personal day. So our team's allowed to do whatever they wanna do on Friday. So they wanna get, take an appointment, go see a family member, travel, catch up on their paperwork. Take some time off. And what we try to do is we, we try to get all that stuff done Monday through Thursday. So we have a, we have a reward at the end of the week and, and throughout my career, I've always seen Friday as a day to just kind of like end the week recap. I think you're just more productive Monday through Thursday than trying to stretch that Friday out. So yeah. And I used to take work home, by the way. I used to be, I used to be one of those.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Okay.

Jeff Robinson (:

And I would take work home and never put it down. And I don't think I was, I was not more productive. I was actually more tired, more stressed. So what I've, and I'm not saying everyone should do this, I know that you gotta get deadlines done and stuff like that. But I've just found that when I leave work at five or six, I leave the laptop on the desk and I don't bring it home with me. And I turn it off and I don't turn it back on until I get back here.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Yeah. That's, that's interesting. I, I know before we started at, at my agencyFridays were some very creative days when I worked client side. For some reason. I don't know if it was because I was beginning the checkout and my mind was relaxing. But, I remember very clearly coming up with several interesting ideas, some saw the light of the day, some didn't on Friday.

Jeff Robinson (:

You know, you know, I think you're right there. I think if I'm around the office on Friday and you know, some people are exercising their reward and they've taken off or they've taken off early. And I, think because we don't have the stress of like deadlines on Fridays. I think we're more, we're more relaxed and my team is joking around and we're shooting the breeze. I've noticed that we come up with some really clever and interesting concepts and ideas. Yeah. When we're, when we're in, when we're in that relaxed state.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Yeah. That's interesting. What what are your favorite podcast besides ours?

Jeff Robinson (:

Oh my gosh. What does everyone say? What is it Gary V

Rob Ainbinder (:

and his blog? Well, you know, we're, our, our podcast is still fledgling, so we're still collecting ideas and, and surveying marketing leaders as, as we get the opportunity to. But certainly Gary Gary's work is very well known.

Jeff Robinson (:

Yeah, the 12, the 12, the 12 week plan is a really good the 12 week, the 12 week year.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Yeah. That's a, I think that's a spinoff of EOS, but it's called the 12 week year. I think that's really powerful and helpful if you're trying to run an organization and have structure and you're looking for performance. So,uI'm a big sales training guy, so I love listening to Sandler.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Okay. Podcast. Sure.

Jeff Robinson (:

Yeah.

Rob Ainbinder (:

So yeah. Sandler. What about anything from Jeff Blount?

Jeff Robinson (:

No. No.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Okay. Fanatical prospecting and those kinds of books. Yeah. He's, he's got a whole prospecting boot camp that's I found very interesting. Do you have any other authors that you'd recommend, maybe they just did books that might be recommended to our audience?

Jeff Robinson (:

Jim Collins "Good to Great" is always a great book to read. I think there's "Rocket Fuel" which is part of the EOS book series.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Okay.

Jeff Robinson (:

That's a really good book to read. So, you know, I'm not a big reader, I'm not really a big podcast listener. I think it'd be very hard for me to finish a, finish a book, maybe that's because I have attention disorder.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Well, some of our best leaders have, have some neurodiversity of one kind or another, for sure.

Jeff Robinson (:

Yeah. Yeah. I think there's the series that has Rocket Fuel trying to think of the other books in that series, we've been, we've been going through that, reading that, I mean. We have our own podcast called "Life is Digital".

Rob Ainbinder (:

Okay.

Jeff Robinson (:

Which I love listening to, sometimes I don't listen to it all the time cause probably gonna drive my team members crazy if I try to critique it too much. So I'm real, I really focus on, on what I'm trying to do and, and the vision of our company. And I, I think,ou know, I'm, I'm trying to put my focus on my team and spending a lot of time with them and sure. I think they're, I think we are really, we, we always constantly look for great things to look at in marketing and books, and my team brings some things in and,we're constantly trying to learn about our space and what's going on in our space with digital marketing. Everything's now the, you know, what is it, the web web three or the meta universe

Rob Ainbinder (:

Yeah, the metaverse web web. I like web three because metaverse has been co-opted by a social media platform that I kind of cringe a little at. So yeah. So cryptocurrency avatars virtual reality augmented reality. Yeah. we, yeah. I'm really familiar with a lot of what's happening there. It's really interesting, especially to me the underpinning technology of cryptocurrency. I will say just real briefly, it was amazing to me as an example of the good in cryptocurrency, how they came together and sent a million dollars in cryptocurrency to Ukraine without any intermediary straight into their bank account. And, and that to me is really emblematic of the power of some of web three. I don't know what, what you've seen.

Jeff Robinson (:

Yeah. You know, I'm a ex telecom guy. Right. So, and I/ You know, I was in the thick of the heyday of the phone cell phones and I know the power of technology where it's headed. And I think that I think web three is exciting. It's also a little scary, I think that we're a nation of convenience and I, and I think that we're going, I think we are gonna have to look at that space and have to participate in that space, but I think it's gonna be a, a combination of traditional, digital and web three. I don't see us fully being totally wrapped up in that. I think, I think, I think it's been breakdown some walls. I think it's continuing to level the playing field and I, I really think the consumer is gonna drive that the consumer is a lot more savvy than we are when it comes to technology. And so I, I just think they're gonna expect it and they're not gonna ask. And I think the pandemic really swung the pendulum when it comes to that. So,nd I, I think that was something that we really should pay attention to because everyone was online during the pandemic, including your grandparents and your relatives.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Definitely.

Jeff Robinson (:

So I think it's here to stay and I think, I think we're gonna have to learn how to communicate in this new digital technology and that's part of web three and what's going on there and yeah. You know, I, I think we're just gonna be expecting that interaction. I think the consumer's gonna expect that.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Absolutely. Absolutely. And that's a really great perspective to share that expectation of consumers, I guess, as we begin to wrap up here, what's one question you wish I'd asked you and how would you have answered?

Jeff Robinson (:

Oh man, you're throwing some curve balls at me today.I don't know if I was expecting anything, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm, you know, I'm in marketing. I help my, my clients market. I work with my teams. I'm not a, I'm not a huge fan of speaking in public. Like a lot of like a lot of people think that I am. But actually I'm not, you know, I'm a little bit reserved there. And so I, I wasn't sure if I was expecting you to ask me a, a question or not you know, maybe, maybe a little bit more about like how we serve, serve our clients or what we specifically do but I, I don't think I was expecting anything to be honest with you and the way that I would answer it, I would just answer it. He way that I know how to answer it, I would be up front and, and answer it the way that I could. So you know, I think I think you asked me some great questions and I, and I think it was a, a very, you know, it's a 30 minute podcast and you can't talk about everything. I'm just very ex very happy that you invited me on, and I'm very grateful for

Rob Ainbinder (:

That. Yeah. Well, we're very glad to have you on as well. It's, it's been a really, really good time having an exchange of, of marketing ideas. You know, the final question I have is one that's core to AMA and is kind of even espoused in, in our visioning our visioning document. And it, it is, this, it is what is next for marketing?

Jeff Robinson (:

What is next for marketing?

Jeff Robinson (:

Yeah. Customer service.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Okay. How so?

Jeff Robinson (:

Well, you know, content king customer service is almighty in the digital space.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Right.

Jeff Robinson (:gap in customer service from:Rob Ainbinder (:

All right. Thanks. Thanks for sharing that.

Jeff Robinson (:

I think they're, I think just like the consumer expects you to be technically savvy. I think the more that they're technical savvy, the more the demand for how you provide that service to them. And that's gonna be part of how you communicate.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Thanks for that. My final, our final question, where can we find you online?

Jeff Robinson (:

You can find me online at Boss.Digital, or you can search boss digital. Okay. Or you can search digital agencies in Raleigh or social media agencies in Raleigh. And you'll be able to find this easily because we've been working hard on our online presence. And also you can look up Boss Kline, that's our parent company. and LinkedIn's a really good way to look up, look me up online.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Okay. So

Jeff Robinson (:

Great. Yep. I love connecting on LinkedIn. So that's probably my platform or choice when it comes to business.

Rob Ainbinder (:

Well, thanks. Thanks very much for joining us, Jeff and I want, thank you. Yeah, you're very welcome. And I want to thank those that have, have listened or watched us. "AMA Voices" is produced by AMA Triangle and nonprofit educational voice in marketing across the triangle for over 40 years. Listen to the podcast on apple, Google, or wherever you listen. Find out more about our marketing events and training for marketing professionals of all levels. https://www.amatriangle.org Thanks again for joining us. Jeff,

Jeff Robinson (:

Rob, it's been a pleasure. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

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