Branding decides how your audience feels about your company. A great promotion or marketing campaign may be enough to get a new customer through the door, but how that customer thinks about the brand determines whether or not they'll return. And many agencies can help you with that.
While a lot of agencies are good at certain things, 80% of them wouldn't be suitable for you. Good agencies take care of the process, communication, and don’t miss deadlines — and if they do miss them for some reason, they explain why it happened. Even today, because of that, smaller agencies are a better choice.
In this episode of YouShouldTalkTo, our host Daniel Weiner welcomes Kammie Kasten, Director of Marketing at FireRock Building Materials. Kammie and Daniel talk about brand marketing and the importance and challenges of brand measurement. They discuss the impact of the supply chain on marketing efforts and why people are increasingly going to smaller agencies.
💡 Name: Kammie Kasten, Director of marketing at FireRock Building Materials.
💡 Noteworthy: Kammie graduated from Clemson University, majoring in communications at Clemson. After graduating, she moved into the agency world, and her first agency job was as a social media planner. Kammie then worked at Big Communications as an interactive producer, social media strategist, and digital strategist, and finally, as an AVP marketing strategy at Regions Bank. Since July this year, she has been marketing director at FireRock Building Materials.
⚡ Brand marketing doesn't get the credit it deserves. Brand marketing is the process of establishing and developing a relationship between a brand and a consumer that promotes the entire brand, using products and services as evidence to support the brand promise. According to Kammie, brand marketing should not be neglected. "In the digital space, people are always looking for a cost-per-acquisition measurement. And unless you're using a mixed media model that can measure all those touch points that somebody might have in the journey (and even then, there are limitations to that), it's not giving fair credit to brand marketing efforts that are not necessarily driven by new accounts or phone calls at the bottom of the funnel. I still love brand marketing, and I think it's valuable. I think it's also valuable for younger generations who value the ethics of an organization, and they wanna know that they're supporting an organization that aligns with their values."
⚡ Agency experience can make you a better agency partner if you're in marketing. Kammie has had many interesting experiences, including big agency experience and transitioned to the brand side. Today, she is the marketing director at FireRock Building Materials, and she points out that her previous experience has helped her a lot in this job. "At the end of the day, it makes me sympathetic, but it also makes me a better partner and a more accountable marketer because I've seen the inside. I've seen the spend machine. I can sniff out a turd, but I also think it means that I know how to approach an agency. […] A lot of times, you go through a discovery phase of trying to understand what their (clients) problem is, and you realize it's something that's not within your realm of experience; it's not an agency problem. But then, you're going to spin and try to change the perception of a brand when they have a quality issue, or they have an internal culture issue; you can't solve for those things."
[00:00:00] Kammie Kasten: If you're in a pitch process, make sure that you put your talent forward.
[00:00:02] Don't hide behind something because you also wanna feel out that relationship and make sure that it's right. Because sometimes, you just need to have good vibes, especially when you're creative problem-solving. You wanna make sure that you get someone that you're on the same page with and can help you work through problems.
[00:00:56] Daniel Weiner: Hello and welcome to another episode of the YouShouldTalkTo podcast. I am Daniel Weiner, and this podcast is brought to you by YouShouldTalkTo and myself. YouShouldTalkTo pairs brands and marketers for free, with vetted agencies and/or freelancers for pretty much any marketing or technique, because finding great agencies is a pain in the ass.
[00:01:14] Super excited to be joined by the second Clemson alumni who's been on my podcast. Shout out, Alan McGee. Uh, Kammie Kasten, who is Director of Marketing at FireRock Building Materials. Kammie, how the hell are you?
[00:01:26] I'm great. I'm still adjusting to, to, standard time, I guess, is what we're on now. So, yeah, like, three or four cups of coffee deep, overcaffeinated, under-fed, ready to go.
[00:01:34] Daniel Weiner: Excited to be here, I hope, as well.
[00:01:36] Kammie Kasten: Yeah, of course. Always excited to talk to you.
[00:01:39] Daniel Weiner: That's the spirit. Kammie, let's start with a little bit of controversy. What is an unpopular marketing opinion of yours or a hot take of sorts?
[00:01:48] Kammie Kasten: So, now that I'm not in, like, a marketing organization, my, I might not be totally up on what the current controversies are, and I'm in a marketing department of two, me and a coordinator. But, in my past experience, I think, brand marketing doesn't get the credit that it deserves. Brand marketing in the digital space, in particular, I think people are always looking for a cost-per-acquisition measurement.
[00:02:12] And unless you're using, like, a mixed media model that can measure all those touch points that somebody might have in the journey, it's not giving a fair, and even then there's limitations to that, but it's not giving fair credit to brand marketing efforts that are not necessarily driven at, you know, new accounts or phone calls and, um, the bottom-of-funnel.
[00:02:31] So, I still love brand marketing. Maybe that's a little bit of my background, but I think it's valuable. I think it's also valuable with younger generations who value the ethics of an organization, and they wanna know that they're supporting an organization that aligns with their values. So, don't think it's something worth neglecting.
[00:02:49] Is that controversial?
[00:02:51] I think brand marketing is having a really good week. I don't know if you saw Airbnb posted like a whole thing about...
[00:02:57] Kammie Kasten: I did see that.
[00:02:57] Daniel Weiner: ... like, how they've invested in brands. I think when big companies with big names take note, but you actually, uh, you didn't see the LinkedIn post I made today that I tagged you in, before this.
[00:03:06] Did you? I'm assuming not.
[00:03:07] Kammie Kasten: I've not been a LinkedIn this morning.
[00:03:08] Daniel Weiner: I was gonna say, I, it's very, uh, very controversial now. I basically was talking about, like, how, you know, I guess it pertains to brand, like how we hadn't really talked since college...
[00:03:17] Kammie Kasten: Hmm.
[00:03:17] Daniel Weiner: ... and of like content and stuff like that. You knew exactly what I did and reached out, which I would argue is the power of brand, as well.
[00:03:24] Not that I am Airbnb, but, you know, stuck in your mind, you presumed I was not a total shithead or monster and reached out and, you know, were interested in chatting about your agency needs. So, I'm all for brand. What I would throw back to you is, you know, which is probably a question you don't have the answer to, but I'll put you on the spot.
[00:03:40] If somebody pushed back, say a C-Suite member, regarding, like, measuring brand and stuff like that, what would your answer to that be, if someone's dealing with that internally, at the moment?
[00:03:51] Kammie Kasten: I have been in that experience. So, I worked for, um, Super Regional Bank, at, for a time in my career. So, we had that experience of wanting to advocate for investment in the brand and potentially wanting to increase spend in brand or do more in the digital space with brand. But because it didn't drive to the bottom of the funnel and it didn't drive for new accounts, it was really hard to advocate for that.
[00:04:16] So, if you're struggling with that, you can always try to run a test. But you have to be able to set up metrics that are specific to brand, and that can be challenging because awareness isn't a very sexy metric. So, I have run into that, and basically, all we did was advocate for test and learn agendas specific to certain channels.
[00:04:35] Testing different messages, testing different journeys, things like that. But it's tough when you're dealing with, you know, publicly-traded organizations or people, you know, privately-owned organizations that have financial stakeholders, they wanna see the metrics that move the needle, and they don't realize that investing in the top of the funnel really can impact the bottom of the funnel at the end of the day.
[00:04:55] Kammie Kasten: Huge organizations like Airbnb and, and YouShouldTalkTo investing in, brand marketing is gonna make a difference.
[00:05:00] Daniel Weiner: I would definitely say I'm shocked that they didn't reach out to me for comment, truthfully, in that article. I, we're definitely on par, uh, I would say revenue-wise and just corporate structure, you know? It's funny, at my former agency, I can remember being in meetings where, like, a brand we were, you know,
[00:05:14] prospecting would say like, "Oh, our goals are awareness." And we'd be like, "Oh, thank God." 'Cause we knew it was kind of like bs, like, "Great, we're not gonna be able to measure this." Maybe like, "Yeah, we know." We're like, "Oh, thank God we can do anything." Like, this is.
[00:05:24] Kammie Kasten: Right, Right. And it is important as, like, a brand marketer, you know, or as a marketer, to know how to hold your agencies accountable because I've definitely been in that role where you're like, "I can say anything." I can be like, "Look at the reach, so many impressions."
[00:05:38] Daniel Weiner: eyeballs.
[00:05:39] Kammie Kasten: I know, but also, if you wanna advocate for brand marketing, you've gotta work with your agency to figure out how to get more valuable media.
[00:05:46] Like, "What is a more measurable channel or a way for us to prove this?" Find a partner, we worked with Nielsen on an influencer effort. So, that was one of the tools that we used to try to prove out the value of working with, like, influencers for your brand. So.
[00:06:02] Daniel Weiner: Sweet. For those who have not heard of FireRock Building Materials, tell us a little bit about it.
[00:06:07] Kammie Kasten: So, our legacy product is pre-engineered manufactured fireplaces. So, we manufacture those out of a plant here, in Fairfield, Alabama. We were starting in Atlanta. We purchased and moved to Birmingham 15 years ago. Since then, we've also added wet-cast concrete pavers to our manufacturer products.
[00:06:27] And then, we partnered with some manufacturers to sell through steel doors and windows, slate and cedar roofing, and hardwood floors. So, all of these typically going into, you know, they're more expensive options, so typically going into high-end homes. Based in Birmingham, a very large footprint across the Southeast with representatives across the Southeast, but we also have representatives in California and several in Texas, and we sell nationwide, though.
[00:06:54] Daniel Weiner: And you focus on both direct sales and through distributors and partners and stuff like that?
[00:06:59] Kammie Kasten: Yeah. So, our manufacture products are sold through distribution, as well as direct sales, depending on the market, largely direct sales. And then all steel doors and windows, flooring and roofing is sold direct. So, it's a balance there. Those are two very different audiences. They have similar needs, obviously, but they're very different between distributors and architects, and builders.
[00:07:21] Daniel Weiner: Sure. How's, uh, supply chain stuff affecting your marketing efforts? If, is it having, I don't want to, I don't want, I don't wanna trigger you. If you need like a cigarette, feel free to grab one.
[00:07:31] It's not, like, for us being manufactured for our two main products, our pavers and our fireplaces, we have been impacted by some of them, but with, like, getting our materials. Uh, but we've been able to pivot, find new suppliers. But, yeah, people tend to wanna blame the brand and not the bigger picture.
[00:07:49] Kammie Kasten: So, at the end of the day, like, you're kind of the throat to choke. So, prayers for our customer service team when that happens, but I think we've been, when it comes to our manufactured products, it's been manageable. But yeah, it's, it's tough.
[00:08:01] Daniel Weiner: Are you turning on and off marketing efforts or it hasn't been had that sort of, uh, granular effect?
[00:08:06] Kammie Kasten: So, I started at FireRock in July, but my predecessor did not turn it on and off marketing efforts. We just stayed steady. Because we are looking, especially with, like, distributor, we're looking for them to stock products, not necessarily, we're not manufacturing on demand.
[00:08:21] Daniel Weiner: That's when you, that's when you flip on those brand efforts, you know?
[00:08:24] Kammie Kasten: Mm-hmm.
[00:08:25] Mm-hmm. Yep.
[00:08:26] Daniel Weiner: You've had a bunch of interesting experience, including big agency experience, and now you switch to the brand side. Do you think that that experience has made you more sympathetic to the woes of agencies? Has it made you a better partner to agencies?
[00:08:41] Kammie Kasten: Yeah. I like to tell my agency partners that I'm, I'm not a regular client, I'm a cool client.
[00:08:46] Daniel Weiner: Wow.
[00:08:47] Um, I know a really good millennial mom joke right there, but I think at the end of the day, it makes me, yeah, it makes me sympathetic. But it also makes me a better partner and a more accountable marketer because I've seen the inside, I've seen the spend machine. I can sort of sniff out a turd, uh, but I also think it means that I know how to approach an agency. I think, oftentimes, when I was on the agency side, clients came to us without even really knowing what their problem was or what they were trying to solve for.
[00:09:16] Kammie Kasten: They just knew that their product wasn't selling, or they, you know, they had an awareness issue, and they'd come to us with these really big questions. And a lot of times, you go through a discovery phase of trying to understand what their problem is, and you realize it's something that's not within your realm of experience.
[00:09:29] It's not an agency problem, but you're gonna then spin and try to change the perception of a brand when they have a quality issue or, you know, they have an internal culture issue. You can't, you can't solve for those things. So, I think, I am able to get to know us as an organization and identify our needs and go specifically to the agencies with a directive and not ask for them to solve our problems, if that makes sense.
[00:09:54] Daniel Weiner: It does. I'm guessing it's positive then to my next question, your overall opinion on agencies, 'cause even though I work primarily with them, they get a, I say a bad rep, but, like, an interesting rep. Everybody's had, you know, a super negative experience and a super positive experience, typically, and some people are just very, like, adamant about working with agencies or attempting to not. Are you very, you know, pro or, you know? Talk me through that a little bit, just your overall opinion on agencies.I love agencies, I think. Some of the smartest people I, I have will ever know I met through my agency experience because they're problem solvers.
[00:10:25] Kammie Kasten: And so, that's why they're in that role, is they're constantly getting a chance to dig into new challenges and think through new creative solutions. And so, I'm a big fan of them. I think that they get a bad rap from people that are distrustful of it. Or maybe because by people that don't feel like they were validated by what the outcome was, which, again, goes back to making sure you know your organization, and you know what you're trying to solve for when you approach an agency.
[00:10:53] Daniel Weiner: Yeah, no, I totally agree. To that end, are you, uh, I find typically folks with your title, Director of Marketing, VP of Marketing, CMO are getting hit up, essentially, every 12 seconds by vendors, technology providers, agencies. Is that the case for you?
[00:11:07] Kammie Kasten: Yeah. Like, what, 50 emails a day or something like that? And I would say that almost every single one of them probably needs to change their email marketing strategy.
[00:11:16] Daniel Weiner: I've started, I used to do it more. I don't do it now as much 'cause I'm more sympathetic towards salespeople. But, uh, I oftentimes will reply when I get something like that, that I've just been prospected miserably. Like, "Hey, if you all need an email marketing agency, like, let, let me know. I'm, I'm, I, I know a guy."
[00:11:32] Kammie Kasten: Got a little experience, got some connections. So, yeah, you should, you should do that.
[00:11:37] Daniel Weiner: Is there anything in cold outreach that an agency or vendor can do to get your attention in, you know, the most common answer here is like, if it's just the most timely thing? If I'm looking for X vendor and X vendor reaches out, like I'm happy, you know, that's usually the only thing. Is there anything for you that somebody can do to stand out or separate themselves from the pack?
[00:11:56] Kammie Kasten: Yeah, I mean, I think timely, you just, the luck of the draw somewhat has been true. But also, if the email, the initial email is somewhat customized, you've done a little bit of research on our organization and our marketing efforts so that it's not just a form filled out and with my name put in and my company put in.
[00:12:16] And then, you follow up and say like, "Just following up on the below.
[00:12:21] Did you have any questions?" Yeah, a little bit of personalization can go a long way.
[00:12:27] Daniel Weiner: I tell everybody, "This is your chance." Like, "If wine is your thing, here's the chance to plug it." You know, what can somebody send you in the mail to get your attention? Everybody loves a care package. So, uh, if you can think through that for the rest of the podcast, if there's something you want to get this holiday season, especially.
[00:12:40] Kammie Kasten: I did have a vendor who, I really liked her, but she did always show up with, she always brought me a bottle of wine. And, uh, at Christmas, she sent me really nice candles, which I loved. I was like, this is not, it wasn't branded, it wasn't, you know, it wasn't another tchotchke. It was something that was really nice.
[00:12:59] And I think based on the fact that she knew I was, like, a 30-something woman who was gonna like a nice candle. So, not just...
[00:13:07] Daniel Weiner: I'm a, I'm a 30-something, I'm a 30-something male and I love a nice candle. Thank you very much. Uh, you know, I showed up to, truthfully, like, basically every meeting of my life at my former agency with baked goods. I would find out what they liked and get that. And once, it's an excellent strategy. I encourage everybody, like food is the universal language and even if you're going to a meeting that you know somebody's gonna be pissed off at, they're gonna be less pissed off with a cupcake in their hand, you know?
[00:13:31] Or, or a muffin, or a bagel, or something. I'm being a hundred percent, I know we're joking, but like, I'm so serious. There are meetings where I'm like, "God, they're gonna, like, be pissed. Or, "We're doing this." It just takes the pressure off of you. Like I've been in situations...
[00:13:41] Kammie Kasten: Everyone in a better mood, they feel appreciated. It just, it eases the tension. Little carbs go a long way.
[00:13:47] Daniel Weiner: I've won pitches in business where people have referenced the food before. They're like, "Oh man, those cupcakes. Oh, yeah, by the way, like, we wanna work with you." I'm like, "Geez, can we lead with that?" Like, "That was the more important part, I think." So, yes, for anybody listening out there, looking for a new sales strategy, it's food first.
[00:14:02] Kammie Kasten: Food first, carbs specifically.
[00:14:04] Daniel Weiner: When we first reconnected, a couple months back, I would say that you, at least in our first meeting, had probably like a little bit, I dunno if it's a preconceived notion or what, but, like, you came in thinking, like, maybe you guys weren't gonna be able to work with agencies or, like, really great agencies due to the size of your business and, like, budgets you were hoping to spend.
[00:14:24] So, I want to talk a little bit about that process and us working together and stuff. So, I'll kick it off from your side. Like, when you first came to me, I believe that first call, you were like, "Oh, like, we're tiny, we're small fries. Like, no one's gonna wanna work with us." Not exactly those words, but talk me through that. Like, when you first reached out, what you were thinking?
[00:14:40] Yeah, I mean, our marketing budget is smaller. Everything's relative, Kammie.
[00:14:44] Kammie Kasten: Everything is relative. You're right. You know, I haven't worked in an agency in four years. Is that right? Um, something like that. So, I wasn't sure what, like we needed a new website. So, if anybody listening this podcast goes and checks FireRock out, it's coming. We needed a new website and I just didn't know what the cost of that would be to get a good quality product. And then, with media and performance media, I just wasn't sure we had enough money for it. I was thinking we would go full service agency because we could get efficiencies if we were able to package several services with one agency.
[00:15:16] And I didn't end up doing that. I also, because I came from full-service agencies and then going to a bank that had, like, 7 to 10 agencies. For, like, every single thing that we did, for whether it was traditional media, digital media, content, email, PR, I mean, we had agencies for everything. I just had a little bit of PTSD from trying to get agencies to collaborate.
[00:15:42] And so, I went in it wanting one agency. And, Danny, you didn't talk me out of it, we talked about it a lot because we ended up going with a specialized media agency that was performance media, basically. Again, which is funny for me to be like, I advocated for brand marketing and I went with a performance media agency, but I do the brand marketing.
[00:16:01] Me and my coordinator manage all of our brand marketing efforts ourselves. And then, a separate digital agency that really impressed us and showed in the process that they were taking the time, even just in pitching for our business, they got to know our business and they did a really good job listening.
[00:16:17] So, I don't even remember what your original question was, but, yeah, I think with like some preconceived notions about, yeah, the quality of what we could get if we had enough money to work with a good agency, and then the type of agency I won and I was proven wrong about the budget and then have been really satisfied with the results.
[00:16:34] Daniel Weiner: Yeah. I think with the budget thing, it's super relative and I find, truthfully, people with your specific experience who've come from a larger agency, who's used to working with, again, everything's relative, but larger budgets just kind of assumes that that's, it's hard to find quality. Which is why, like, when you came to me, even just on this podcast now.
[00:16:53] Like, budgets are all relative. I get people all the time who are like, "Hey, Danny, like, you know, we need X, Y and Z, our budget's tiny." I'm like, "What is it?" They're like, "A paltry million dollars." I'm like, I'm like, "What?" I'm like, "That's huge." And, you know, in my world, like, what are we talking? They're like, "Oh, like is it?"
[00:17:09] I'm like, "Yeah, my agency partners will, like, come mow your lawn and, like, provide childcare for those sorts of budgets." So, I think.
[00:17:16] Kammie Kasten: We're all looking for free childcare care.
[00:17:18] Daniel Weiner: I know, that's why I think it's interesting, like, my biggest feedback that I give to agencies I work with as well is like, "Know your audience as well. Know where they came from, know their experience, know their background, know what they're looking for and, like, what's important to them."
[00:17:32] 'Cause, yeah, a lot of people, I think, assume they can't get certain things. The, the question of, like, full service versus breaking it up. Like, I can't remember how we necessarily arrived to that. But it's so situational. Like, you sometimes get economies of scale by working with one agency. It really just depends, like, on the combination of services and the scenario.
[00:17:50] That's why, like, when people reach out to me and they're like, "Oh, like, I need an agency." If they're not willing to chat, it's really hard for me. Like, I won't make an intro if somebody won't have, like, a discovery call with me 'cause I gotta talk through and, like, see what they're hoping to do, even.
[00:18:02] Kammie Kasten: Yeah, I think we got there just because you, you brought forward a performance agency, strictly media, and just thought I should talk to 'em at the end of the day. They just said the right things, and they had the right concept of our business and that they were really going to spin our budget efficiently.
[00:18:18] And when you only have, or when you feel like you don't have a lot of money, you wanna make sure that it's spent really wisely. And in the digital space, we do need it to be more bottom-of-the-funnel and intentional. And our audiences are smaller, too, right? So, we can do brand marketing in the right spaces, like print and trade shows and things like that.
[00:18:39] But, at the end of the day, I think our digital budget was spent better there. And so, they said the right things, and they understood our business. And then, the same thing was true with the partner we picked for our website development is that they took the time to really get to know our challenges. They introduced us to the whole team.
[00:18:56] One thing that I'm wary of is anybody that has you just working with their new business director or, like, one leader in the agency and not introducing you to their team, that's kind of a red flag. So, for your agencies that are listening, if you're in a pitch process, make sure that you put your talent forward.
[00:19:12] Daniel Weiner: Don't hide behind something because you also wanna feel out that relationship and make sure that it's right. Because sometimes, you just need to have good vibes, especially when you're creative problem-solving. You wanna make sure that you get someone that you're on the same page with and can help you work through problems. So, you definitely wanted good vibes. I believe on the first call, you were like, "Oh, you're like the Tinder for marketing, and we are looking for good vibes." I was like, "I don't know if that's a compliment or not, but I'll take it. Let's go with. That'll be my, that'll be my tagline."
[00:19:42] Kammie Kasten: My geography, too. Right? So, you work with partners all over the country. I would've been more limited to just sort of what I knew because I wasn't gonna do a whole RFP. So, I was sort of just gonna be working with partners and other friends and marketing on the agencies that they knew. Um, and you obviously have, like, a really great database of partners and resources and I think you used that judgment of sort of my energy to put forward partners that you thought would be good collaborators with, with me and our needs.
[00:20:08] Not just our business, but also, like, personalities.
[00:20:11] Daniel Weiner: So much personality driven. I've also seen, truthfully, like, especially since COVID, and it's probably my experience of coming from a smaller agency, is that bigger brands are growing tired of working with bigger agencies and it's not like a capability thing, it's largely process and just how nimble smaller agencies are versus the big machine of a big, oftentimes publicly traded company.
[00:20:36] Have you seen that from either people you know or just in the market?
[00:20:40] Kammie Kasten: I guess so. Are you seeing that across all service lines, from like media to brand and creative and digital?
[00:20:48] Daniel Weiner: I am in general. Yeah. Like the AOR model is going away, but less like that, it's more like, "Hey, we just can't wait, like, three..." You know, a perfect example of a company I talked to recently who works with a very large named agency was like, "Oh, they told us it was gonna be a month to, like, resize some stuff."
[00:21:07] And I'm like, "I don't know what that means." Like, "I could probably resize this today if you sent it to me. I don't even know how to use Photoshop." You know? Like, "I can figure it out in Canva if I had to." You know? Like, "That's just not the norm in my world." But it is, you know, like that's the norm for people who are working oftentimes at big brands.
[00:21:23] Like, that's just what they're used to. And I think in the post-COVID world, like, talent is everywhere and it kind of democratized it. Like, people are like, "Oh." Like, "There's not just talent in New York or LA, or Chicago in big markets." You know? So, it's like the people side. And, truthfully, I think the agencies that are poised for success, which is why I try to work with only independent agencies, is like, "If you're able to be nimble and meet your clients and, like, that inherent level of flexibility is the biggest thing I see folks in your role want." They want to be able to ebb and flow, in and out of a scope, because, again, nothing is binary. It's very difficult to say to you, "Hey, Kam, you're gonna pay us X, and we're only gonna do Y, and we're never gonna change." You want to be able to say, "Well, like our business change, or their seasonality, or economy sucks, and we need to scale back."
[00:22:09] You know, like, you want to able to meander through stuff and not have every time an agency comes to you with an idea, it be associated with a price tag. So, yeah, I've seen across, basically, all service lines that kind of being, like, what I hear at least.
[00:22:22] Kammie Kasten: Yeah, I think agility and personalization, like you're getting a higher touch experience when you're working with a smaller agency. I don't wanna use the word hungry 'cause I think it's kind of stupid, but, you know, they're just more personal. They're gonna handle, especially if you're a bigger client, but in general, like, they just, they're not stuck to those corporate structures that so many agencies are.
[00:22:41] That was surprising for me 'cause you say I work, like, I did come from, I mean, at our largest, we had about 70 employees. So, I mean that's a bigger agency. But we weren't, like, network-owned or anything like that. My first time working with network-owned was when I was working at a bank. And that was really kind of mind-blowing to me because it is very corporate.
[00:22:59] Their timelines move very slow. And, yeah, a lot of times you do need somebody that's gonna be a lot more responsive, especially when you're dealing with sort of like the social issues that we went through over the past couple of years where you're like, "I wanna pull outta this channel because I just..." Brand safety is a huge conversation, again, because of what's going on at Twitter.
[00:23:17] But brand safety was a huge conversation around all the social channels, and we really, we knew their policies, but we really looked a lot further into that and, and being able to access somebody and get things pulled, I mean, our website was down the other day, and I didn't know why and I emailed my media partner in the middle of the night, and he checked it and stopped it. And I don't want him having to check mail after night, but it was nice that he did. You're not gonna get that kind of service. They're gonna say, "Oh, it takes us 72 hours to make actions like that, or, or it takes us six weeks to turn around a strategy for a hundred thousand dollars that.
[00:23:53] Why? And a lot of 'em are offshoring services too, which can impact your quality of service. It's efficient, but you gotta weigh the good and the bad when you make those decisions.
[00:24:06] Daniel Weiner: Yeah, absolutely. Prior to this agency search, can you think of a really positive agency experience that you've had?
[00:24:13] Kammie Kasten: Yeah, I just, I think anytime an agency can kind of, like, get in the boat with you and, like, figure out, like, work together to solve a problem is a great experience. So, I worked with really big network agencies at my last job, but we, after going through a couple of account directors, leaned it on one who was really in it to figure out how to make the relationship work and how to improve our business.
[00:24:41] And really took the time and set aside her very busy schedule to talk to me and to figure out how we needed to move forward. 'Cause I was our, I managed our media and measurement partners at my big bank job, that was one of my roles. So, when a relationship wasn't going right or we weren't, you know, they weren't meeting the needs of the scope that was on me to figure out.
[00:25:02] So, I think, yeah, we really, we worked on the relationship. We tried to diagnose what the problems were, how we could create efficiencies, where we could adjust our scope and make recommendations. So, I think anytime somebody that's willing to treat your business like their own. It makes a really big difference.
[00:25:19] Kammie Kasten: And another reason why I think, yeah, people are going probably towards smaller agencies is that they're just more invested because it's less of a corporate, you know, we're just pulling this lever and making this change and taking orders and more of a personalization. They feel more invested in your business.
[00:25:35] Daniel Weiner: Yeah, it's interesting. Whenever I ask, and we'll talk about negative in a second, like, whenever I ask about positive agency experiences or when I've been complimented, when I was at my former agency or negative agency experiences, everybody in your role, not a single person, positive or negative references the actual work, which you didn't either, you know? Everything is around process, communication, timeliness, not missing deadlines or if deadlines were missed for some reason, communicating why, you know, like, "This is what's going on and this one happened again." And stuff like that, which I find really interesting because in the context of what I do when agencies, at least now, like, I'm in a good spot where I can be super selective of agencies that I work with and put my name behind.
[00:26:16] So many agencies, like, the first words outta their mouth when we talk are like, "We're the best at X." And I immediately, like, shut down. 'Cause I'm like, "No, you're not. And even if you are, you're not necessarily the best, you're, like, more right." Like, I firmly believe there are many agencies who are really good at certain things.
[00:26:33] 80% of those wouldn't be right for you, for example. Like, a very small subset of those are right for a particular situation, a particular budget, a particular client, and stuff like that. So, I just think it's interesting that, even at my old job, like, you know, we would get to the end of these things, and even though super positive ones, it was never like, "Oh, this website is gorgeous."
[00:26:50] It was like, "Man, that was such a long process." Like, "Thanks for bringing food and making it like a light process, you know, and making my life easier during it." Stuff like that.
[00:27:00] Kammie Kasten: Yeah.
[00:27:00] Daniel Weiner: Do you agree with that sentiment?
[00:27:02] Kammie Kasten: A hundred percent, and I think it's what makes you satisfied. I think it's satisfied in any, probably, I guess any professional relationship is the communication, the process, and how well you feel respected by the people that you're working with and you respect them. So, I think that satisfaction at your, like, internal, as well as external partnerships and it's honestly, that's probably great advice, and I like the way you articulated that, is that, like, 80% of the agencies out there maybe be able to do what you did.
[00:27:28] You're not the best at something. But it's how you set yourself apart and finding the right partners. So, making sure that people understand you and your business so that they can work with you. I mean, a lot of people have experience in manufacturing or banking or all these different, they wanna set themselves apart with having experience in your specific industry, but I'm much more interested in how you operate and how you think. Because at the end of the day, I'm hiring you because of your agency's specialization. Like, our job is to manufacture our products. I need to know that you can help us sell 'em.
[00:28:00] Daniel Weiner: The work is so, so subjective, which is why when people evaluate, so, like, I can't, I don't think I did with you either, but when people ask, which is sometimes, you know, sometimes people are like, "Oh, I trust you, make intros." After we chat, and some are like, "Oh, can we see, like, a portfolio, or can you share the name of the agencies in the websites?"
[00:28:17] And I always push back because I think it's such a, I understand that they want to see it, but I'm like, "Have the conversation, then ask them for the portfolio." Because, again, like, I get it all the time, like, "Oh, we saw this on the website, we hated it." I'm like, "That was made for that client. They presumably loved it."
[00:28:34] Like, your point, you want, you wanna know their thinking of how they arrived at that, to arrive at what you want. But, like, somebody saying, "Oh, I love this website. I hate this website." Like, that piece of me died a long time ago, sitting in meetings where we, like, debated the color and shades of, like a yellow, where I'd be like, "What are we doing right now?"
[00:28:50] Kammie Kasten: Right. But do we know that because we were agency people? Because we know that, like, and you know that the changes that you make and the concessions that you make because the client is just putting their foot down and you at some point have to put your creative integrity aside and say, "This is your product, and you're paying for it."
[00:29:09] So, to hold somebody accountable for their portfolio is super challenging because you have no idea what that client wanted.
[00:29:15] Daniel Weiner: A hundred percent. And I also have said it many times to people, I'm like, in the context of design, like, "Do you care what this thing looks like if people click and buy?" And most of the time it's, of course, no within reason, but I'm like, "Then why are we still talking about, like, this button color, let's put out the button color.
[00:29:34] We'll see if people click it, we'll change it if no one clicks the button." You know, like people get so wrapped up in that.
[00:29:41] Daniel Weiner: Yeah. That's how creative people die. Truthfully, like, I've seen the life come out of designers in those conversations of like, "We're still talking about, like, this bar or, like, the thickness of this line. Like, what are we doing?"On the flip side, can you think of a bad agency experience that you've had and what made it negative?
[00:29:59] Yeah. That sounded like a, a heavy, a heavy sigh.
[00:30:04] Kammie Kasten: I told you I'm not gonna trauma dump. I mean, I think just anytime an agency is too stubborn, they're not listening to you in their needs, maybe they're pushing something that is the next big innovation in data and marketing. But if you're not, your company's not ready for it, or it's just not a match for the audience, then it doesn't matter.
[00:30:26] So, I think a lot of times you just get people that are so eager and enthusiastic, and I love that enthusiasm, but you have to, it has to come with limits that you say, "All right, this isn't the right client to match this with." So, you know, everyone wants to talk about account-based marketing, myself included.
[00:30:42] And people-based marketing and the cookie's gonna die according to Google, but then they keep pushing back the deadline for that. So, all those innovations are really important, but at the end of the day, you need to meet your partner where they are or pull them along very gently.
[00:30:58] Daniel Weiner: Yeah, I think that goes back to, like, knowing your audience. I think one of the most difficult parts of agency sales/account management is when to push and when to stop pushing of, like you said, you know, eventually, you have to make a concession, say like, "Look, this is your budget and stuff." You have to know the line of like, "This is, we strongly disagree, but at the end of the day, like, this is your decision."
[00:31:21] But also, like, presenting ideas without it always being associated with a dollar amount. So, like, a strategy we use in my former agency was like, we'd come with ideas that worked within the current scope, like, "Hey, we wanna try this, but like, let's take out these two other things, so we don't have to, like, charge 'em or change like that, which was usually received well.
[00:31:37] But, yeah, there are some brands, truthfully, that just, I talk about it with agencies all the time, like, I don't think they're ready for, quote-unquote, cool, you know? They don't need the big shiny thing. You know, I see all these brands, like, we're gonna talk about in a second, like, jumping into, like, NFT and Metaverse.
[00:31:51] I'm like, "Chill out. Like, you do not have to..." I'm all for testing and stuff, but, like, it's, I think, getting a little ridiculous of, like, every time something new, like I saw, I got asked for somebody who specializes in BeReal, and I was like, "Nobody specializes in BeReal yet. It, it just started. We're a day in. Like, nobody can specialize." You know, like, and, you know, you see that in, like, job descriptions sometimes of like, "Oh, we want somebody with, like, 10 years of TikTok experience." I'm like, "Wow, if you find them, let me know 'cause they're lying." You know, stuff like that. So, I think, to your point, like knowing your client.
[00:32:25] Kammie Kasten: Yeah. On the, on the flip side of that is that I've also worked with agencies that have had really long-term relationships with the brands that I've worked with, and they've reached, I don't know if they're complacent agencies in general, or if they are complacent because it's such a long-term relationship, it's so predictable that they just don't challenge the norm.
[00:32:46] They're just getting it done. So, the relationship is quality. But it has, it's, it's lost its luster. So, I also really and, but I had peers that were like, "I love that I know what to expect from this agency." And I was like, "But..."
[00:33:01] Daniel Weiner: You don't wanna rock the boat if you think things are good. It, it, it's tough. I've been in that situation where we've, I've worked with clients for several years. Yeah. You, you get brand fatigue, truthfully. Like, that's why I can't remember who I just saw recently, one of the big holding companies, agencies has been working with a brand I was reading about for, like, 30 years in some capacity.
[00:33:19] I'm like, "How the hell is that even possible?" Like, that's such, so rates, you know, it's hard for agencies to keep brands for a year these days, you know.
[00:33:27] Kammie Kasten: Yeah, we had a, we had a client, I think our longest client at my last agency was, oh, Gosh. Well, my longest time, my last agency, was 20 years, 25 years, 20 years. And it was the first client, and then they, their CEO retired, a new one came in, and he fired us. Whereas, like, it had been all internal people that had kept the agency on board previous to that.
[00:33:46] And then, my first agency, I mean, they've got clients that they've had for, like, 50 years, to which I hate to say, like, you should get a new agency every three to five years when you're con, if, if you are using a retainer agency for, like, creative services and media and things like that. I don't wanna say you should get a new one every three to five years. But I do think it's important to RFP, if that's not a mandate by your organization too.
[00:34:10] Daniel Weiner: Boo. I hate, I hate RFP. No, no, no, no. I think they should explore. I just hate the RFP process.
[00:34:16] Kammie Kasten: I know, I hate it, and I would absolutely, like, for me in 2017 would, be like, "Stop talking."
[00:34:24] Daniel Weiner: Wouldn't, wasn't my process, not to toot my own horn, wasn't our process significantly easier? And you got to know the agencies better than an RFP process. That's why I think what I do holds merit, 'cause I think the RFP process is cold and it doesn't give you, I'm all for structure.
[00:34:40] And, uh, a level playing field and providing all that stuff.
[00:34:43] But I think it's just like, it's so ridiculous oftentimes and so drawn out and such overkill that, like, you forget, like let's just have a conversation. I can remember pitching Waffle House many, many years ago and we were in the RFP process, and we asked that we could have a call first and they were like, "No, we pitch."
[00:35:02] And we were like, "What do you want us to pitch on? We haven't talked." Like, "We're happy to pitch. We'd love to be in the room. It's a huge opportunity for us." We ultimately won the opportunity. But, yeah, like, it was such a new concept to be like, "You want to talk to us?" We were like, "We don't know how else to do it, you know? Like, we have to talk to know what the presentation's gonna be."
[00:35:21] So, like, I think that dichotomy of structure verse, like, overkill is just wild. I think it's why I'm good at what I do 'cause I haven't had the huge agency experience of, in that world. So, like, that's, I'm like, "That's so foreign to me." You know? So, I'm just like, "Let's have a conversation, like figure out what you want."
[00:35:38] Kammie Kasten: Well, and, like, if they're answering an RFP, they're filling out, you know, form questions. Are you really, to your point, getting to know them and their relationship? When I had some bad relationships, when I was at the Big Bank, with some agencies that just, it just wasn't a match, at the end of the day. Or the person that was assigned to our account once they won the business wasn't a match.
[00:35:57] And then, we also, like, we had an, one of the agencies, a, a very large agency, but not network-owned, sent in their RFP answers with the notes still showing. I know, but it was like, but their, their answers weren't bad, but it was just like, it reflected so poorly on leadership that they were like, "This agency's a mess."
[00:36:18] Kammie Kasten: And I'm like, "This could have been some poor intern and they have no idea they even did this."
[00:36:22] Daniel Weiner: Was there anything, like, bad in there though?
[00:36:25] Kammie Kasten: No, it was just like, they just didn't remove the edits being like, "Change this."
[00:36:29] Daniel Weiner: They were like, "God, Kam, Kammie sucks. Do we even want this account?" Like, "Unbelievable."
[00:36:32] Kammie Kasten: We didn't wanna work with them. Yeah. It just, it reflected so poorly on leadership, and I was like, "That really stinks 'cause we have no idea who submitted this final product."
[00:36:42] It, you know, it might not be the people we work with, but at the end of the day, that was also a huge mistake on their part.
[00:36:48] Daniel Weiner: I had, uh, somebody who was that? I won't, I wouldn't say them regardless 'cause I'm gonna blow up their spot. But somebody told me, this was like last year, I wanna say, one of their agency partners. They were doing, like, a creative refresh of something, and I've heard some agencies do this, so I don't fault the process.
[00:37:03] They went to, like, five or to get, like, 30 concepts as, like a starting point for themselves, you know? And we're, of course, never supposed to, like, send that out. And they sent it. It had, like, the Fiverr logo in the presentation or something like that. They were like, "What is this?" They were like, "Oh my God, you were never supposed to see that.
[00:37:19] Daniel Weiner: We're so mortified." They were like, "Are you using a Fiverr person? Like, for our account?" You know? It was like this whole thing, yeah, was like sheesh.
[00:37:26] Kammie Kasten: Your budget is what? And you used Fiverr?
[00:37:28] Daniel Weiner: Yeah, yeah, yeah. They're making like a 99% margin. It's the most profitable account ever. Once an agency relationship has turned sour or negative, do you think it's salvageable? I take the opinion kind of, but not really. I think once this, the seed of doubt has been planted, it's you can still work together, but it's never gonna be the same, if it's a big enough thing. I think, at the beginning, it's normal to, like, have a couple, like, missteps 'cause you're getting to know each other.
[00:37:55] Yeah. But after, like, three or six months, like, I think it's hard to get back to level footing. What do you think there?
[00:38:01] Kammie Kasten: Yeah. I, I tend to agree with that. If, if somebody's opinion has soured, now, again, like I think I'm different because I've been inside an agency and I know how, you know, these things work and you could just been given the wrong account partner. But in my experience, it's been once the relationship's gone south, there's just, you've lost trust, and so it doesn't really matter who you get assigned, you know, if they change up your team.
[00:38:27] So, yeah.
[00:38:28] Daniel Weiner: Sure.
[00:38:29] What are you?
[00:38:30] Kammie Kasten: With retainers too.
[00:38:32] Daniel Weiner: Yeah, it's hard to break up, especially if you're providing multiple service lines. We talked about it a little bit, but what are you most bullish on in the marketing space? You know, I mentioned NFTs and all that sort of world, they, or in-person events or, I think, for the most part, like back to somewhat normalcy.
[00:38:47] What are you most excited about?
[00:38:49] Kammie Kasten: Oh, I don't know. Not NFTs or the Metaverse, but I'm in such, like right now I'm in such a traditional space, which is not to say that you can't do something interesting in the traditional space. But we do, you know, we're B2B, um, we're working with people in the manufacturing industry, so I don't think they're gonna be like, I'm gonna go to the Metaverse.
[00:39:12] Daniel Weiner: That's where our next podcast is gonna be. We're...
[00:39:15] To find some high-end building materials. Meet your customers where you are, answer. What are you most even, again, I don't think like boring, get the word, boring gets a bad reputation. And I think it's okay to be boring if your customers...
[00:39:27] Kammie Kasten: Sometimes boring is effective. Like we're just trying to be good with our money here.
[00:39:31] So, what are, what are you excited about in your world, though? Are you guys participating in trade shows and stuff like that or?
[00:39:36] Kammie Kasten: Yeah, we did go back to a trade show the first time in several years recently, and it was a great experience. My coordinator went, we have an incredible sales team, um, an incredible customer success team and customer engagement. So, getting them out there like they're our best, you know, the cheesy thing of like, "Your people are your best asset." But it is true, especially in our industry where we provide great support,beyond just the sale for installation and customer service.
[00:40:00] So, getting those faces out there, building those relationships, I think it made a really big difference. My coordinator went and it was great exposure for her in understanding our audiences and understanding their needs. So, getting back out to trade shows I think is gonna be a very exciting thing.
[00:40:16] I still like print, but, again, because we're in a, the building industry and architecture. There's some magazines and some publications that are really great partners that are still very successful if I was just going with, like, People Magazine and, you know, I don't think I'd be talking about that, but if we're talking about Architectural Digest and publications like that, that people really spend time with, I think that it's still really effective for us.
[00:40:39] So, again, I like brand marketing, so.
[00:40:42] Daniel Weiner: I think FireRock should sponsor the YouShouldTalkTo podcast for, like, 25 or 30 grand a month. I think it'd be a really good use of funds, uh, for, for, for you guys. I'll get, I'll give you, I'll give you a discount. We can, we can talk after. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. What keeps you up at night from a marketing or business standpoint?
[00:40:59] Measurement kind of, I mean, you know, we've got CPAs that we can tie to, but figuring out how we're optimizing off of those, you know, is it coming, you know, a lot of it's gonna come from search, but how are we gonna optimize that and make it better? Yeah, measurement stresses me out. Especially, we're, we're private equity-owned, so we do need to be very accountable for our dollars.
[00:41:22] Kammie Kasten: So, I have to advocate for brand marketing, but what do I say? I can say, you know, "This is the income of the circulation or this is the audience." You know, the industries of the audience and things like that. But, it's, you know, finding ways to tie back and validate those investments is super important. So, measurement tends to keep me up.
[00:41:44] Daniel Weiner: Yeah. Well, it's easier for me to say 'cause it's not my money, and I'm not privately or a private equity back. But my answer when people ask me that occasionally is typically like, I would tell them like, "This is something we have to
[00:41:56] do in some capacity, and we're gonna do our best to be efficient." But, like, I do talk to plenty of marketers who try to like tap dance around and try to do, like, attribution models for, like, brand stuff that's just like, you know, one of my, I guess, hot takes is like, "Stop measuring everything." And, of course, I know you have to measure as much as possible, and I'm a firm believer what's measured is managed, but like you just don't get to try enough stuff, I think, if you just have to attribute everything to a dollar in or a dollar out or something like that.
[00:42:26] Kammie Kasten: I completely agree. That was a frustration for me when I was at the bank, was, there are good ideas, like not silly ideas, not, let's just try like, like, influencer, influencer marketing, like that's not new. And a lot of our competitors were in that space already, but because they, we weren't sure how to measure it and measure it specifically to CPA, we kind of dragged our feet on that a little bit. And then, don't even get me started on legal because they hated it.
[00:42:56] But, yeah, that was really frustrating. Because you just sometimes have to get into the space if you're, maybe, validated a little bit by saying, our peers are doing it for a reason, let's just maybe trust that they did the research and that it's worth doing. But.
[00:43:12] Daniel Weiner: Yeah. Well, I will stop triggering you now. We'll finish with a couple fun ones. Um, what was your very first job, either growing up or high school, college?
[00:43:20] Kammie Kasten: I was a lifeguard and a swim coach.
[00:43:23] Daniel Weiner: Do you think...?
[00:43:23] Kammie Kasten: And if I won the lottery, I'd be a swim coach again, probably.
[00:43:26] Daniel Weiner: Do you think that you, uh, that prepared you in any way for what you do today?
[00:43:33] Kammie Kasten: Oh.
[00:43:34] Daniel Weiner: I hope you don't need to rescue.
[00:43:34] Kammie Kasten: Yeah. I mean, listen, learning how to articulate yourself and us being communications majors at Clemson, like learning how to articulate yourself as simply as possible, is very important. Especially when you're dealing with complex concepts like data and digital media that my peers don't need to understand in a most complicated fashion, they need to understand it from a very high level.
[00:43:58] So, that is probably something that I did learn with dealing with children. Like, they don't need to understand exactly how the technicality of why their stroke needs to be this way. I just need to figure out how to communicate to them to get their stroke in the right form.
[00:44:15] So, that's true, but then also, being a communication major at Clemson and thinking through, like why, how people think and how to communicate and how to influence people was a great experience that, I think, has made me a different marker than it would be if I had gone the traditional marketing in the business school direction.
[00:44:33] Daniel Weiner: Did you graduate in 2008, as well? We graduated the same class?
[00:44:36] Kammie Kasten: Yeah.
[00:44:37] Daniel Weiner: It's funny, I remember not knowing what I wanted to, like, be when I grow up, type thing. And sitting in orientation and either, I can't remember who it was, either the president or, you know, somebody high up at Clemson was like, oh, you know, I'm there with my parents,
[00:44:48] they're like, "Oh, if you don't know what you wanna be, you should be a communications major." Like, "You can do anything." And I'm like, "Great. It's perfect."
[00:44:55] I do it. I maintain and, again, Clemson was the best four years of my life, but, like, I don't know that, the, it probably made me a better writer, I think. I think I was, I think you're probably, you know, it, it helped in that department, for sure.
[00:45:06] But, like, all of our tests, if I remember correctly, was like, "If you could prove your opinion, you got an A." You know, like?
[00:45:12] Kammie Kasten: Yeah.
[00:45:12] Daniel Weiner: Did multiple choices.
[00:45:12] Kammie Kasten: You take Mahala's. What was her name? Mahala, is that how you pronounced it? She taught a social media class at Clemson in 2007. And if I recall, she said, at the time, that was one of five classes that were being offered about social media, but she had to call it PR and the Internet.
[00:45:29] Daniel Weiner: Oh, I think I did take that, actually. Yeah.
[00:45:31] Kammie Kasten: She was like, I don't know where she was from, but she was, like, a short woman with, like, short black hair.
[00:45:36] We held class on Twitter. So, I've had Twitter for, since, for 15 years, I guess.
[00:45:41] Daniel Weiner: You've been, you've been in the Metaverse, you were in the Metaverse first.
[00:45:44] Kammie Kasten: No, we held class on Second Life. We were in the Metaverse.
[00:45:48] Daniel Weiner: Oh my God. The only reason I know Second Life is 'cause there's a Law and Order episode where, like, somebody's, like, killing people in Second Life. So, shows my, uh, shows how much I studied in college. I'm like, I think I was watching Law and Order that day.
[00:46:00] People will often remember there was a gag on the Office where Dwight was really depressed because when Angela and Dwight broke up and he went and got really invested in his Second Life character, which was literally just him.
[00:46:11] Kammie Kasten: Like, it was not, he was not fantasizing being anything else. I think it was just Dwight.
[00:46:15] But, um, yeah, we held life, we held class on Second Life one time or maybe several times, and it was during the 2008 primaries. So, we went to, like, Hillary Clinton had an island, so there was islands and they had money called Linden dollars. I had forgotten all this, but recently had a conversation with somebody where it all came back.
[00:46:33] Kammie Kasten: So, I'm.
[00:46:34] Daniel Weiner: Are these, are these short box?
[00:46:36] Kammie Kasten: Kinda, yeah, I guess.
[00:46:38] It was digital money, and we went to Hillary Clinton's Island and Barack Obama's Island and, like, Coca, your Pepsi, like, we went to, like, some big brands had islands and were, like, testing into the space.
[00:46:47] Daniel Weiner: I mean, I had no idea you were such a pioneer of Web3. The, we, we really strayed, all I was gonna say about the communication department was they told me I could do anything. And when we graduated in 2008, and I was interviewing, people would be like, "Well, what can you do?" I'm like, "I have no clue. Go ask Clemson. They told me I can do anything." They're like, "Yeah, like, you know, communication's kind of general." I'm like, "Mm-hmm." Like, "Go chat with them." Like, "I graduated, I did it." And yeah, they.
[00:47:10] Kammie Kasten: I was told if I got a degree you would give me a job.
[00:47:13] Daniel Weiner: Yeah, the biggest lie we were ever, the biggest lie we were all ever told, um.
[00:47:19] Kammie Kasten: But to this class, so I changed my, we, like thesis, do we call 'em thesis? But I ended up writing my, like, thesis after that class on CEOs who were like blogging or on Twitter and how that affected the public perception of their company.
[00:47:36] So, them becoming personalities representing their company, which is so interesting now dealing with like Elon.
[00:47:42] Daniel Weiner: You should have, you should have bought Twitter.
[00:47:44] Daniel Weiner: You should have bought Twitter.
[00:47:45] Kammie Kasten: I wish I could find this paper. It was very good.
[00:47:48] Daniel Weiner: I'm dying to read your senior thesis. Please, please send that over to a later day.
[00:47:52] Kammie Kasten: It's, it's, it was, listen, cutting edge in 2008. But then I ended up getting my, so my first agency job was as a social media planner.
[00:48:01] So, that's sort of how I moved into the agency world because I hadn't really considered agency life. I wanted to sort of work in, like, event marketing, maybe.
[00:48:09] Daniel Weiner: I was in-house social media for an automotive retailer in 2009. So, like, that was when social was not a thing. They were like, "Oh, this guy can do anything on the internet." I'm like, "Mm-hmm." But yeah, I played on Facebook most of the day.
[00:48:20] Kammie Kasten: Yeah. I was like, "Yeah, I can write a, I can write a content calendar and, and Google docs. Sure." So, yeah. And that was my first job because of that class. So, and now, you know, it's, shout out to Clemson, very innovative.
[00:48:36] Daniel Weiner: What would your final meal be if you had to pick?
[00:48:40] Kammie Kasten: It would be seafood.
[00:48:41] Daniel Weiner: Be a little more specific, Kammie.
[00:48:42] I mean, sushi we talking, I mean, what are we talking here?
[00:48:45] Kammie Kasten: Oh, God.
[00:48:46] Daniel Weiner: A big tonka seed. Like a, you can't just say seafood in general.
[00:48:51] Kammie Kasten: I don't know. You're killing me here. Like, I like steak. I just don't think it would be steak, but it would be like really good, maybe like a big potato.
[00:48:59] Daniel Weiner: You just said seafood, and now we're on a twice-baked potato.
[00:49:02] Kammie Kasten: I don't know, like, well, I'm talking size now, maybe like, uh, okay. So, are you familiar with Royal Reds?
[00:49:07] Do you know what those are? One of my clients was a seafood commission.
[00:49:11] Royal Reds are shrimped from very, very, very deep in the Gulf. Very, very cold water, very, very salty water, and they are delicious. It's like the lobster of the Gulf. So, maybe like a good, like grilled royal red shrimp situation. Oh, shrimp and grits, maybe.
[00:49:24] Daniel Weiner: Okay. Totally fair. We're not here to
[00:49:26] Kammie Kasten: Yeah.
[00:49:26] Daniel Weiner: Um.
[00:49:27] Kammie Kasten: You caught me off guard with that one.
[00:49:29] Daniel Weiner: I'm sorry. Uh, that's what we're here for, to catch people off guard.
[00:49:32] Kammie Kasten: Almost always ready to talk about food, so.
[00:49:35] Daniel Weiner: Me too, clearly. Uh, my final question for you is, who is somebody who inspires you, either personally or professionally?
[00:49:43] Oh, Gosh. Don't say somebody from the Clemson University marketing, uh, program.
[00:49:49] Kammie Kasten: No, I'm not gonna say, like, what if I was like, dabo?
[00:49:53] So, like, it would be so lame.
[00:49:55] Daniel Weiner: I would, I would cut that. I wouldn't ask, I wouldn't, uh.
[00:49:58] Kammie Kasten: Um, I don't know. I mean, looks, is it really lame if I say, like, Tina Fay? Like, I love Tina Fay's book. I love her career. She's an incredible writer. Um, she's
[00:50:08] found her way in a space as a woman. She works really well with men. She's earned the respective men, but she's not left women behind, which very often we see women that get to the top sort of do it by just sort of singlehandedly looking out for themselves and not each other.
[00:50:21] She still creates media that appeals to women. So, her mind as well, create a lot of media that appealed to women, but without it feeling like they're playing down or like becoming the joke. So, those are two people that I really respect.
[00:50:36] Daniel Weiner: Love it. Kammie, thank you for joining us today. If anybody does want to send you a mediocre or great pitch, I presume LinkedIn is gonna be the best way to find you. Wouldn't dream of putting your email on the screen or anything like that.
[00:50:49] Kammie Kasten: Please do not.
[00:50:51] But you can reach out, you know, find us at firerock.us if you're interested in reaching out to us or for media or for our products. And then, yeah, find me on LinkedIn. I do check it. I just haven't checked it this morning.
[00:51:03] Daniel Weiner: That's, oh, yeah. Yeah. You have a tag from me about this podcast.
[00:51:07] Kammie Kasten: There you go.
[00:51:07] Daniel Weiner: But I thank you very much.
[00:51:08] Kammie Kasten: Thank you that I’m worthy of your time and of your, of your medium. So.
[00:51:11] Daniel Weiner: Absolutely. We will, uh, talk again soon, I hope.
[00:51:15] Kammie Kasten: Yeah.