You Should Talk To

David Manders Jr. -- WaterCraft Advertising Supervisor at Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA

December 06, 2022 You Should Talk To Season 1 Episode 15
You Should Talk To
David Manders Jr. -- WaterCraft Advertising Supervisor at Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA
Show Notes Transcript

Increasingly, businesses are seeing the benefits of partnering with a good marketing agency. But only some are open to suggestions or allow the agency to take the lead. Of course, as a client, you will have the final say, but encouraging open communication will help you take a project/campaign to the next level. 

In this episode of YouShouldTalkTo, David Manders Jr, the WaterCraft Advertising Supervisor at Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA, joins our host Daniel Weiner to discuss the key to a solid and successful client-agency relationship. David shares what it was like working at an agency and how he approaches these partnerships today, considering he’s the client now. David and Daniel discuss open communication as the key to a successful collaboration. In addition, David shares their expectations from when they looked for an agency to work with on a new campaign. ''We weren't looking for someone to help us move the product or grow an e-commerce footprint. We were looking for partners who could help us tell our story a little better and a little differently than we may have done before.''


💡 Name: David Manders Jr., WaterCraft Advertising Supervisor 

💡 Company: Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA

💡 Noteworthy: David has over eight years of experience leading strategic marketing and advertising campaigns for regional and global brands.

💡 Where to find David: LinkedIn

Key Insights

⚡Working with an agency is not mandatory, so make it a worthy investment if you opt for it. David used to work at an agency, and he says that no one forces you to enter such a partnership. But if you do, make the most of their expertise because you hired them for a reason. ''I never want to be the client who's not going to listen to the expertise of that company I've asked to work with me. One of my least favorite things when working at an agency was hearing no a lot and being told no without much explanation. So, one of the things we do is — I'll always listen to a rationale, even if I disagree with it at first. I want to hear your explanation for why you're selling something, fighting for something, or thinking it'll work.''

⚡We had a few things defined that made our work with an agency straightforward. As David and his team decided to partner with an agency for their new campaign, they contacted YouShouldTalkTo and asked for help in that search. Luckily for the agency they picked, David's team had a campaign playbook. It is a valuable guide that enables the agency to deliver what David's team expected. The playbook explained that “the persona we've been looking at is this female with the propensity to become a boater, who she is, what she does, how we can speak to her, and what she wants to hear from a brand like ours. [...]  We also had a lot of the creative ready to go. We've been developing creatives all year. We have this story we're ready to tell, but now we need to figure out how we're going to tell this story. How are we going to distribute this content and get it out to the right people?''

⚡As a client, be open to suggestions and share as much as possible with the agency. It is the only way to ensure that both of you are on the same page with what the campaign should look like and achieve. ''I recommend talking to agencies or prospects on all ends of the spectrum. Because going into this, what you think you might be looking for might not end up being what you need by the end of it. You might be exposed to new concepts and ways of thinking that stick with you and click with you. Or you might be exposed to things you didn't realize you don't want, but then you clearly understand that's something you don't need or don't want. "

[00:00:00] Dave Manders Jr.: Going into this, what you think you might be looking for, might not actually end up being what you need by the end of it. You might be exposed to things that you didn't realize you don't want, but then you clearly understand that's something I, I don't need or don't want at this point, but I'd recommend talking to a range just so you can understand really what's out there, what your options are, and that'll help you really hone in on exactly what you want and find, hopefully, the perfect partner.​

[00:01:02] Daniel Weiner: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the YouShouldTalkTo Podcast. I am Daniel Weiner, and this podcast is brought to you by myself, as well as YouShouldTalkTo until we get a sponsor, maybe that day is today. YouShouldTalkTo pairs brands and marketers for free with vetted agencies and, or freelancers for pretty much any marketing or technique

[00:01:20] because finding great agencies is an enormous pain in the ass. Super excited to be joined today by Dave Manders, who is the WaterCraft Advertising Supervisor at a brand I presume most everybody has heard of, Yamaha Motor Corporation. Dave, thank you so much for joining, this has been a couple weeks in the works, and we finally got it on the books, I think my computer broke last time, and you were relieved to not have to do it, and now we're here.

[00:01:45] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah, yeah. You nailed it. But you got me, you got me eventually. Thanks for having me, super pumped about it.

[00:01:50] Daniel Weiner: Awesome. Well, let's jump right in. Dave, you've been in marketing for a while. What is an unpopular opinion or a hot take of sorts that you have in the marketing world?

[00:01:59] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah. So, um, I don't know how industry applicable this one is, but it's super specific to something we're going through right now, and that is content is king, but distribution is equally as important.

[00:02:12] Daniel Weiner: Ugh, you're speaking, you're, you're preaching to the choir here as somebody with a podcast who gets a ton of content and then is like, "Oh, I forget I also have to distribute this stuff."

[00:02:21] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah, yeah, it's a pain in the ass. We've, uh, at Yamaha in our WaterCraft division, we've spent a lot of time over the past few years just really focusing and investing in the type of content we're creating and, and really how we're telling our story and the shape our messaging is taking, but it, we, we've been struggling a lot with then what to do with that content,

[00:02:42] you know, 'cause you make something beautiful, and you're super proud of it, you're pumped about it, and it's your whole world. But then, it's such a sad realization when you realize the rest of the world has no idea what you've done. So, figuring out really how to get that content out there and in front of the right people is something that we're learning how to do, it's, it's a big reason of why we found you. And so, you know, we're, we're learning just how important that piece of the puzzle is, as well.

[00:03:07] Daniel Weiner: I literally had a call yesterday with my podcast agency, I was like, "Do you guys offer a solution to actually distribute the content?" And they were like, "No, not currently." I was like, "I am dying to pay you more money, like, please take my money if I do not have to handle content distribution." It's, uh, I think everybody deals with that truthfully,

[00:03:22] like, uh, you know, we were all told like, oh, we have to create all this content, and we need to be on all these channels and stuff, and we forget the, uh, the second half of that is, uh, yeah, after you create it, like, what do you actually do with this stuff and who do you target and how do you target and all that sort of good stuff.

[00:03:36] Dave Manders Jr.: Totally, totally, yeah. If you're looking for, uh, distribution agency, I might know a guy.

[00:03:41] Daniel Weiner: Well, that's good to know, I, yeah, gimme his contact after. I feel like Yamaha has its hand in more things than myself, as well as just the general public actually realized. Can you talk a little bit about Yamaha in general and also, like, your particular lane that you focus on?

[00:03:56] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah, yeah. Yamaha is huge,so a lot of people might hear Yamaha and think a piano, some people might hear Yamaha and think a dirt bike.

[00:04:05] Daniel Weiner: I think jet ski, jet ski is my first, uh, if Yamaha comes into play, I think jet ski from, uh, college and having two roommates with lake houses.

[00:04:12] Dave Manders Jr.: Okay, so that's interesting you say that because jet ski is actually such a painful word for me to hear paired with our brand Yamaha because Yamaha, we specifically make the WaveRunner, and jet ski is, they're made by Kawasaki, and it has become this industry term synonymous with personal watercraft, so, um.

[00:04:33] Daniel Weiner: I, truthfully, I, this is a learning moment for all of us, uh, normally I would never, uh, you know, wanna say the, the brand of a competitor and something that I thought jet ski was truthfully the term for the actual watercraft, which is super interesting.

[00:04:47] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah, and it's an interesting thing to think about. I can't speak to exactly why that is. If you look at market share and the number of units that are out there, there are actually the, ourselves and other competitors are leading the market over jet skis, but it's still the term that most people use to equate personal watercraft with any of the brands.

[00:05:08] We see that in our, in our data and research a lot of times, the numbers can be skewed just because of that, too, in terms of understanding, like, brand recognition or how people relate to the brand, so, fascinating. 

[00:05:19] Daniel Weiner: It's, it's, it's a good thing that I've already helped you guys 'cause I don't have to worry as much about putting my foot in my mouth like I just did. That's super, that's super interesting, though, I presume I'm not the only one who has made that faux pa over the years.

[00:05:31] Dave Manders Jr.: Happens all the time, it's one of my favorite things to call out and correct people on in, in conversation, but yeah, yeah. So, Yamaha has, uh, we do everything, even, I mean, in Japan, we sell pre-made lined pools. So, we have a hand in everything, but you can think about our two companies,

[00:05:47] there's a Music Company and there's a Motor Company, and we're kind of sisters, but there's not much overlap there. And then, within the Motor Company, we make tons of products, but my specialty is on anything jet powered on the water. So, jet-powered boats and WaveRunners are what we focus on.

[00:06:03] Daniel Weiner: Awesome. And you've had agency experience in the past, I know you've switched to brand side. Do you think that experience has made you more sympathetic to the woes of agencies or better at being a partner to agencies?

[00:06:15] Dave Manders Jr.: I like to hope so, yeah, I, I think one of my biggest perspectives when working with an agency is that it's an opt-in relationship, you know, no one's forcing that, I have asked for there to be other experts that I get to partner with and work with. So, as a client, I never want to be the client that's not gonna listen to the expertise of that company that I've asked to work with me.

[00:06:38] I think one of my least favorite things when working at an agency was, you know, hearing no a lot, and then being told no without much of an explanation. So, one of the things we try to do is always, I'll always listen to a rationale, even if I disagree with it at first, I want to hear your explanation why, um, you're selling something, or you're fighting for something, or why you think it'll work

[00:06:59] Dave Manders Jr.: because I can't be the expert in everything. So, I want to hear your perspective since you are the expert in something else. And then I try to never just say no without an explanation because if my answer does have to be no, I wanna give you the context of why so that maybe you can help me find a different solution that does work better. And those are really two principles that I'm trying to preach to my team and that we try to live by with our agency work.

[00:07:22] Daniel Weiner: Sure. And do the different divisions of Yamaha interact with each other much, or do you kind of stay on your side of the product line and stuff like that, or is there shared resources, shared knowledge, or is it not necessarily applicable between, say, watercraft and, you know, music?

[00:07:36] Dave Manders Jr.: Music is a pretty totally different business, yeah, we actually lease the name Yamaha from them technically. So, there's not much overlap there, and then within the motor division or the motor company there's some overlaps. So, watercraft is part of the larger marine business, so there's a huge part of our business that sells outboard motors and makes outboard motors.

[00:07:58] We work with a lot of boat manufacturers to put those motors onto, so there is definitely some overlap within the marine business unit, focusing on products on the water as a whole. And then, occasionally, we will work with the motorsports division, so motorcycles and dirt bikes, they're doing some pretty cool, innovative things that we're trying to learn from right now.

[00:08:16] And then, you know, same with other divisions like golf car or even power sports like pressure washers or generators, you know, we have access to so many resources, we, we like to try to work together when we can.

[00:08:28] Daniel Weiner: Sure. How many of your friends hit you up for a discount on any of the, uh, the products? Is that, is that a daily occurrence or, uh, I spent, we're, we're in the holiday season currently.

[00:08:35] Dave Manders Jr.: It, it happens frequently, yeah. I have gotten reached out two, by two friends recently, now that we're approaching the holidays.

[00:08:42] Daniel Weiner: It'd be funny if I had them in my place where I'm like, come on, let's talk about it right now, if I, if that was the surprise of the podcast.

[00:08:48] Dave Manders Jr.: Oh, man, I have another call, I need to go, have fun.

[00:08:52] Daniel Weiner: An, an eight-minute podcast episode would be a new record low, so we don't have to dive into that. I do want to dive into our experience together, though. Uh, when we first got set up together, Yamaha was looking to explore potential agency relationships for a Q4 campaign launch. 

[00:09:07] If you are comfortable sharing some of the details around that for the listeners before we get into, you know, like, your first impression of working with me and all that sort of stuff. What was the actual launch, you know, in your, or the, the campaign in your, uh, in your words?

[00:09:20] Yeah. So, um, I, I love this campaign, it's actually really cool. So, we're doing, we're taking an entire campaign effort, and we're focusing it on growing our female audience, the, you know, the boating industry is really a traditional industry, and frankly, most brands are talking to old white men with money, no one is really investing the time to speak to other audiences.

[00:09:46] Dave Manders Jr.: And, you know, especially through the pandemic, we've actually seen minority audiences grow in terms of who's owning and purchasing boats, who's using boats, who's going out on the water. So, as a brand who plays in that industry so much, it's really a duty to make sure we're speaking to all audiences, not just one.

[00:10:04] So, the campaign we're launching is focused on speaking to women, and really just promoting female boat ownership and supporting female use of boats, getting women out on the water and kind of breaking into that industry and just making sure we're taking the time to intentionally speak to that audience.

[00:10:23] Daniel Weiner: That's great. I'm curious, I, I presume it's not terrible since we're here, but when you first heard of me and YouShouldTalkTo and, like, what I do, what was your first impression even before we spoke? Was there hesitancy? Was it excitement? To some people in marketing, like, the concept of what I do is weird or new or just, you know, since I'm free to the marketing side, you know, it's not, oh, it's too good to be true, or like, there's gotta be some sort of catch. I'm curious, what was your, uh, kind of first impression before we actually spoke?

[00:10:51] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah. Too good to be true, yeah, I, I think the RFP process can be quite cumbersome and overwhelming.

[00:10:58] Daniel Weiner: That's, that's a dirty word in my world. Now, you're gonna give me chest palpitations with, uh, the word RFP. I, I'm not a, not a fan of the, uh, traditional RFP process.

[00:11:08] Dave Manders Jr.: I, I agree. No, I think just never having met you before, I wasn't sure what the process would be, and again, it, it sounded a little too good to be true, but I'm super glad that I found you, for sure.

[00:11:18] Daniel Weiner: Yeah, it's interesting. I, I certainly have a process and took you through a process, but that process is so different for, well, I shouldn't say so different, it's structurally the same, I would say, for like, most everybody that I help, but it's so nuanced just based on the brand that I'm chatting with and, like, what they're actually looking for that, like, I feel like the process meanders differently and, like, you gave me amazing access.

[00:11:43] I think we talked after every round, which we'll get into later, but, um, now, I mean, when you first came to the table, you were more prepared than, you know, 98% of, uh, the folks that I, I help. You had what I would call, like, beyond a brief, a, a mega document, I think it was, uh, a hundred pages, or a hundred slides from another agency partner of yours that had put that together, which made my job easier, at least coming to the table with, like, you know, a baseline starting point. I'm curious, like, if you can kind of put yourself in your own shoes from before the process. What did you think you were looking for from an agency partner at that time?

[00:12:21] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah. So, I guess, first, to speak to that, we call it our campaign playbook. It is a massive document full of data, full of recommendations, full of really just creating this persona that we've been looking at that is this female that has the propensity to become a boater. Really who she is, what she does, how we can speak to her, what does she want to hear from a brand like ours.

[00:12:43] There was a lot of work, multi-year project that went into that. So, we were really happy to have that foundation when we started looking for an agency to work with for this campaign. We also had a lot of the creative ready to go, we've been developing creative all year, so now we got to this point, kind of like I was saying at the beginning of the podcast, where we have this content, we have this story we're ready to tell, but now we needed to figure out, really,

[00:13:07] how are we gonna tell this story? How are we gonna distribute this content and get it out to the right people? So, going into this, I mean, we've, we've usually been very traditional in our media efforts, and there's a huge opportunity for us to be doing more in the digital space, doing more in the paid social space.

[00:13:24] We've dipped our toes in streaming and connected TV, but, you know, are we doing that the smartest way possible? These are all areas of opportunity that we had, and with this campaign, we really wanted to rethink where and how we're talking about ourselves and telling our story because this audience is somewhere totally different than our traditional customer usually is.

[00:13:45] So, that was a really cool opportunity, but because of that we wanted an agency that had the propensity to really tell and share their expertise with us on how we can be doing that better and in different ways than we have done traditionally. So, that was, that was a, a big key for us. I think another thing we were looking for was we needed metrics,

[00:14:08] Dave Manders Jr.: you know, metrics are something we always talk about in marketing, but as someone who focuses on the brand, metrics are one of the hardest things for us to do, it's very hard to measure just brand awareness. So, we wanted to be able to incorporate KPIs and metrics with this campaign. And then, I think we were also just looking for someone that would play well with others and just connected with us,

[00:14:28] you know, I'm a big believer that you have to be able to have a connection with who you're working with. Um, we also have a few other agencies and a few other partners that are huge, huge partners of ours, and we wanted this new agency to come in and, and kind of collaborate well with them and not necessarily compete with them.

[00:14:46] Daniel Weiner: I talk about it a lot, I mean, it, fortunately, or unfortunately, my hot take of sorts is that the work doesn't matter, and what I mean by that is if you don't mesh well, you don't even get to do the work or talk about the work or be involved in the process. So, it is a little bit of a popularity contest on the front end, I find, you know.

[00:15:02] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah. 

[00:15:03] Daniel Weiner: You can still do terrible, there's plenty of people who get hired who then do terrible work, and it ends because of that, however, like, no one really gets hired if, uh, they're not liked or if they are hated by, uh, the brand that they are speaking to. So, I preach that a lot to my agency partners of process and relationship being the most important part because if you don't nail that, you don't get to do anything else,

[00:15:23] which is why, like, when people tell me, "Oh, we're the best at something." I'm like, "Mm, I don't know, like, I don't think anybody's really the best at anything." Like, you're, you're, you're the best for certain situations or certain clients or, like, you're a good option, you know, for the, those situations, but, uh, you know, there's talent everywhere.

[00:15:40] Dave Manders Jr.: 100%. I think a relationship is key, I think that's why, you know, we've, I've been at Yamaha a little over five years, and I think that's why we've worked with the same agencies since I've started because the relationship is there and you just, as you work with someone over the years, you cultivate that relationship,

[00:15:55] they know your pain points, and you know theirs, you learn how to work well with each other, I think that's huge. I was listening to another one of your podcasts recently, and I think the, the prospect was talking about vibes, good vibes, and I was like, "Yes, that's, that's key." Like, you need good vibes,

[00:16:12] you need that connection because at the end of the day, you're having to do work with these people and you're having to hold each other accountable and communicate and trust them, and all of these aspects that go into a relationship, and they need to be present in a working relationship as well.

[00:16:26] Daniel Weiner: Yeah, I'd say even more so for a brand like Yamaha that has name recognition and is a quote, unquote, like, household name brand, it just has bigger ramifications, you know, you're putting more trust into a partner where if in the off chance something goes awry or, or something like that, or they say the dreaded J word that I said that I won't say the rest of the podcast.

[00:16:47] Like, it just has, it just has bigger, you know, it's amplified more because of who you all are versus, again, if you're a small brand that no one's heard of, you still want to trust your agency, of course, but like, a, a mess up or something like that doesn't have the ripple effect that it potentially has for a brand like Yamaha. So, I totally get that as well.

[00:17:04] Dave Manders Jr.: Totally, and especially with a project like this, there's budget at play, and it's budget you're spending with someone new. So, you know, we do whatever we can to filter, to learn, to make sure we're making the right choice, and we're putting our money somewhere that is gonna benefit us at the end.

[00:17:18] Um, part of that is just feeling like we're in a safe place, like, the money we're putting somewhere is going to accomplish what we want. That's a big piece of it, too.

[00:17:29] Daniel Weiner: Sure. So, you and I spoke for roughly, like, 45 minutes, if I remember correctly. There's probably some back and forth over email, and then ultimately made introductions, I believe, per my recommendation for something of this size and stature, we made introductions to five agencies with the goal being to shortlist to three and have those three pitches.

[00:17:47] So, let's talk about the first round a little bit, you know, first impressions. It actually worked out, like, relatively perfect unintentionally, that you all had a, if I remember correctly, a clear three favorites out of the five and stuff like that, but I'm curious, like, even before you spoke, you know, I make intros and you can look at their website.

[00:18:06] Was there any hesitancy of like, oh, I, I believe I also explained, like, my thinking around the five agencies of, like, why I introduced them and stuff. Did you have any first impressions or preconceived notions even going into the calls, or was it like, oh, these all seem like reasonable introductions that Danny has made?

[00:18:23] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah. I tried very, very specifically hard not research these two in depth before they were able to make their pitches or introductions because I, I just wanted to come in with a blank slate. So, I did glance at their websites, but really more for quality level, less for content, just a quick little litmus test, but I tried to keep a blank slate and, um, you know, I think that helped.

[00:18:46] We wanted to see a range, and I think we definitely got that, and I loved being able to speak to such a range of agencies, both in size, geography, offerings, specialty, that's what we wanted, and that's what we got in the first round, for sure.

[00:18:59] Daniel Weiner: Sure. And what ultimately led you, if you can remember back from then, like, the two that you said, eh, probably not gonna be the best fit for this work, do you recall, like, what ultimately led to that decision? Was it the other three just being stronger or were there specifics that kind of stood out of, like, why you didn't wanna move them onto the next round?

[00:19:17] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah. Hmm, you're really testing my memory here.

[00:19:19] Daniel Weiner: I know it's been, it's, I, I, it's my own fault, if my computer didn't break, we could have done this a couple weeks ago, you know?

[00:19:24] Um, no, there were, it was a combination of factors, I think from the start three just stood out very strongly. The two that we kind of decided to not move forward with in the first round, I think they had a kind of a, a range of specialties and focuses that didn't quite align with our needs at the time.

[00:19:41] Dave Manders Jr.: So, one of the things we were looking for was the ability to provide a robust media campaign, and what I mean by that is not just paid digital, but also more traditional if they need a rose. So, with this campaign, we are very much focused on digital, but with every campaign, that's not always the case.

[00:20:00] And we do, do a lot of traditional, I'm not looking to go through this process every time we run a new campaign. So, the hope to do future work with the same agency is definitely there. And one of the agencies just simply didn't really have the capability to provide traditional media support or planning,

[00:20:17] they were very digital focused, also very focused on data and analytics, which is huge, normally that would be something any brand would run towards, but we, we are fortunate enough to have an internal data and research team that did a lot of the work for this campaign, so it's just not something we had a, a really strong need for at the time.

[00:20:35] I think the second of those was they, they had a very strong focus on e-commerce and kind of product movement, building the product channels, and I'll be honest, through the pandemic, we've been very fortunate in demand for our product. When people were told they couldn't spend money to go travel, they quickly realized that they could

[00:20:56] Daniel Weiner: Got every toy, got every toy could.

[00:20:57] Yeah, that they could get their families out on the water as a fun escape from the house, I mean, you saw that spike not only in boating but every outdoor adventure industry, I think. RVs shot up, bikes, mountain bikes shot up. So, you know, people were just dying to get outside and boating was no exception of that.

[00:21:13] So, we really weren't looking for someone to help us move the product or grow an e-commerce footprint, but we were looking for partners that could help us tell our story a little better and a little differently than we maybe have been before.

[00:21:25] Daniel Weiner: Sure. So, after that portion, you moved three agencies to the quote, unquote finals, um, and it was a really close call, and I'm, I'm curious to hear, uh, you know, share, of course, what you're comfortable with, and this isn't, uh, you know, make the agency that lost, who may listen, feel bad, or the agency that won feel better than they presumably do,

[00:21:43] but, like, you mentioned that it was a really close call, and you all, you know, so close that you all left the room and went home and kind of slept on it and stuff like that. So, I'm curious, like, what ultimately led you to pick who you did. And also just tell me as, again, as much as you're comfortable with, what were the conversations like, like, in that room when you were evaluating, if I remember correctly, of the three, two rose to the top pretty quickly of like, these are the two we're picking between. Talk me through those conversations between you and your team, like, after you were pitched to and all that.

[00:22:14] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah, yeah. It was a very hard decision, I think the three that made it to that round, they did a great job of listening, they showed us that they took that campaign playbook and totally dissected it and understood it, inside it down, and really got who we were as a brand and what we were trying to do with this campaign,

[00:22:31] they each provided, you know, potential media plans that totally accomplished what we wanted. They helped us develop KPIs and metrics and showed a propensity to really build out that program a little more. And then, they all came to the table with something extra, a little land app, a little bonus, which I love to see, you know, 'cause it wasn't just taking what we asked for, but it was taking it, understanding it, and running a little further.

[00:22:54] Daniel Weiner: Damn straight, damn straight they did, all my partners should come to the table with something extra for, for getting them in with you guys.

[00:23:01] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah, no, they showed up for sure. So, it was a really hard decision because our, our initial filters were all met, all the boxes were checked in, and we were kind of left in this place where we were having to identify new boxes or new filters to really compare them up against each other, and I think the company that we ended up going with, uh, one of the things that stood out to us is our first call,

[00:23:21] they came on the call with their whole team, from the top to the bottom, and actually took the time to introduce each of them and explain their levels of expertise, and we really got to see behind the curtain a little bit, which was huge, you know, if you're buying a new car, you wanna look at the engine, you want to totally understand what's happening under the hood and make sure that it's what you need, it's gonna, totally understand that it is what you need it to be.

[00:23:43] And we felt like we were able to do that with this agency. I think size also came into play, which we didn't think would be a huge factor from the start, but this agency was just, they were a nice size, um, they weren't too small, they weren't too big, we already worked with a pretty big agency on the creative side,

[00:24:00] so we didn't want someone who was too big and really gonna compete with them, but we like having a, you know, mid-size team because they can be nimble, they can tap in and out as different needs arise. And, and that was something that stood out to us. And then, ultimately, they were local, which, again, we didn't think we cared about from the start,

[00:24:21] Dave Manders Jr.: but when it came down to it, we really liked being able to support both the Atlanta industry, but then also just access, being able to drive down for a meeting or have them come up easily, that's, I love a good in-person meeting, especially now that we can have them again. So, that helped make our decision as well, too.

[00:24:38] Daniel Weiner: And did the going home and sleeping on it change anybody's minds, or it landed the way that, uh, it did the night before?

[00:24:46] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah, no, it, it, uh, it landed the way it did the night before, think

[00:24:50] Daniel Weiner: Just curious if anybody was like, "I had this grand revelation, and now I think this way." Or anything like that after taking some time?

[00:24:57] Dave Manders Jr.: No, I think after duking it out for a little bit internally, we did end up in one place where we were happy, but we all just wanted to take a moment and make sure that was the right move, with a good overnight rest. I think both, both, you know, I, I had one agency I was pushing for, and my supervisor had another that she was leaning towards, and we ended up just making a list of pros and cons and, you know, both were very, very smart teams that we felt would challenge us and push us to evolve and grow, which is, you know, anything I could ask for out of an agency partnership. So, at the end, it did just come down to those few items.

[00:25:34] Daniel Weiner: Sure. Did you have any grand kind of takeaways or learnings from going through this process with me or just talking to some different agencies that you wouldn't have normally presumably found on your own?

[00:25:44] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah, totally. I think it's that range piece, you know, anyone going through this, I recommend talking to agencies or prospects on all ends of the spectrum because going into this, what you think you might be looking for, might not actually end up being what you need by the end of it, or you might be exposed to new concepts and new ways of thinking that, you know, really stick with you and click with you,

[00:26:05] or you might be exposed to things that you didn't realize you don't want, but then you clearly understand that's something I, I don't need or don't want at this point, but I'd recommend talking to a range just so you can understand really what's out there, what your options are, and that'll help you really hone in on exactly what you want and find, hopefully, the perfect partner.

[00:26:23] Daniel Weiner: Yeah, I think that's something I've realized in the last two years that I do that is like an unintentional benefit of me coming from agency side, like, I often talk to brands who have a very specific ask, like, "Hey, we're looking for, you know, A, B, and C, and we want agency to have, like, these three experiences or characteristics." And, like, after talking, I'm like, I think you should really chat with these folks who, like, sometimes it's literally, I'm just like, "Just trust me."

[00:26:46] They're like, "Okay." Other times I have to like, I'm like, "Because of these 10 reasons, like, but just trust me, take the conversation, or take the call." And, like, it gives them different perspective, and oftentimes they hire like that, like, you don't realize until you have some conversations and I think it gives you different perspective, and oftentimes maybe it, it reinforces what you thought you were looking for, but makes you more confident in it, but, yeah, I think it's good to be challenged and talk to somebody who may be coming from a different perspective or different skill set or different experience level.

[00:27:13] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah, if I went into this just totally blind without your help, I would've been talking to one very consistent type of agency, little variation, they all would've been saying very likely the same thing, I might not have found the best option for me, and, you know, the choice could have been harder 'cause they could have been less different.

[00:27:32] So, I think we as a team learned a lot what we, of what we wanted through this process. Even, you know, it was a collaborative effort with myself, I'm on more of the brand and advertising side, and our digital expert who focuses on, you know, all digital efforts, I think we both learned a little bit how to work better with each other, but then each other's needs and priorities through this process, just by talking to a variance of, of prospects.

[00:27:57] Daniel Weiner: Sure. This is the, the shameless plug time for me 'cause you've been very complimentary, I'm, I'm curious, if you had to pick what was the mo, the best or the most helpful part? I mean, it sounds like you've mentioned just the variance and types of agencies you probably wouldn't have spoken with, I presume there was a time-saving effort,

[00:28:13] I think I sent you the five intros, like, the day after we spoke, I'd have to look back, was it just the agencies being relevant? Um, talk me through that, like, what was the most helpful to you and your team of working through me for this? Other than being free, of course, I presume that was nice.

[00:28:28] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah, that did not suck. No, I think there were two aspects, I know you, you shy away from the word RFP, but essentially you did have a template to really just help me organize my thoughts and really vocalize our needs, and I'm not sure we would've been able to organize what we wanted in a way that we did if we started from a blank slate.

[00:28:49] So, I think that was super helpful because, yeah, it just helped us get organized and really understand our priorities. And then, I think the other piece of this was time, and just, and having access and sourcing those prospects, you know, we went through this process during our annual product launch, so it's our biggest project of the year,

[00:29:09] everything we do in marketing is leading up to this annual product launch, and there's no way I would've been able to create an RFP, source potential prospects, have interviews, reviews, all of this happening while also launching our model year 24 lineup. So, I think just the time saving there, and then also access to prospects.

[00:29:29] I'm not sure where I would've found potential agency partners, I'm not sure how I would've gotten them or gotten my RFP in front of them. So, I think you just having access to that network and then bringing options to the table was a huge win for our team as well.

[00:29:44] Daniel Weiner: Awesome, I love to hear it. Is there anything in the process that you would change or that you'd like to see different or, you know, potentially, uh, me update or anything based on our experience working together?

[00:29:55] Dave Manders Jr.: Uh, no. 

[00:29:57] Good to, good to hear, what, that, don't even say anything else, Dave, we'll move on from, no, I mean, I'm, I always ask people that, it's so funny you say that, too, 'cause, like, I, um, I can't remember who the prospect was, but they asked me for three introductions to agencies, and they said that, like, they would've liked to review, like, portfolios,

[00:30:14] Daniel Weiner: I get that often, like, people asking to review, and I, to your point, sounds like we agree, I'm anti that because, which, I don't even share websites prior if I don't have to because I don't want people to get a preconceived notion, it's impossible to tell your story, I mean, I could do an entire podcast series on just that.

[00:30:30] I'm the, the, uh, the connector of saying like, "Hey, based on our conversation, I've worked in an agency for seven years, trust me, this conversation's gonna make sense, and you can yell at me after if not." And 99.9% of the time, I'm right, which is, and, and I don't wanna say in like a cocky way, but I'm like, "You're here,

[00:30:45] we've had this conversation, put one more layer of trust in me, like, it's one conversation outta your life, and I, I presume you're gonna understand why," and they always do, so, I'm anti that, but is there anything you can think of that would've been, like, more helpful or, like, additional, uh, support?

[00:31:00] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah, no, I, I think we talked a lot before we really went into this process to understand where each other were, how this worked, all of those things. But I think had we had this conversation, you know, more closely after the review process, my answer might have been different, hindsight is always 2020.

[00:31:16] I think at first I, you know, I wasn't thrilled that I got a few prospects that really didn't hit some of the key filters we had placed from the start, but now looking back, I mean, that was one of my favorite things about this, and I said that, you know, seeing the range just to understand the capabilities that I did want and that were important to me.

[00:31:33] So, yeah, I, you know, I had to trust you through this process, but it ended up working out, so it really, it really was great, I wish I had been less busy and been more able to focus.

[00:31:44] Daniel Weiner: No, you, you gave me more access than most, truthfully. I believe we talked after every single round of the, at least the first two rounds, and I know after the finals you called to tell me who you chose, but no, I mean, that, that's so important too, and I think a lot of brands don't truthfully take advantage of my willingness to, like, talk as much as I am to make sure that they're, like, feeling good about it and stuff.

[00:32:06] And I presume talking through it with me, like, after having some of the agency conversations made it easier to, like, move through the process and stuff like that, having that soundboard.

[00:32:16] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah, no, I think sound board's a great word for it, you know, you're an expert in this field, it's the same thing I was talking about, and what I want from my other agency partners, like, I want experts in different fields because I can be an expert of nothing, um, if not, you know, definitely not an expert of everything.

[00:32:32] So, I think having access to someone who does play in this field well and just a good sounding board, while you somehow maintained being unbiased and not, you know, shepherding me to one decision over another, respecting your, your prospects, I think was great. So, that's definitely something we appreciated from this, this part of the process, you know, I struggle to find something wrong with it 'cause I, I hate just giving total positive feedback with 

[00:32:56] Daniel Weiner: Perf, the perfect, the perfect process. Cut.

[00:32:59] Dave Manders Jr.: The cynic in me always tries to find some criticism, but I think I just had such a negative perspective of what this process was gonna be doing it on my own that, you know, I hate to say it, the bar was so low, Daniel, you could only win.

[00:33:13] Daniel Weiner: It's an exhausting process, I truthfully feel, like, even, I'm helping a really, I will say a large, uh, engagement currently, it's been going on for about two months now, and it's in the final round right now of pitches, and it's exhausting, I mean, you get to a certain point, it's, it's hard to enjoy it, truthfully.

[00:33:30] I like to think, I, I even, I attempt to keep it light and like, make it fun, 'cause you can only listen to, like, so many pitches, and, again, they're different, but they're the same in the sense that, like, you're talking through the same structure, like, it gets repetitive and occasionally boring and stuff like that,

[00:33:46] and you want to give them all your, your, uh, attention and all of that, but yeah, it's just an exhausting, arduous process. I think my process makes it as fun as possible, outside of the RFP process, like, I just don't think you get a good feel for who people are if you have, like, a very strict RFP, even, like, the RFI, like, request for information process, just like, asking agencies to tell you about themselves,

[00:34:07] like, you just don't get the personality side, and to your point, like, the relationships and, like, meshing together in the quote, unquote vibes have to be there.

[00:34:15] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah, no, you're totally right, you are totally right. I, I could not make this decision through a piece of paper or even a deck. I need to know the people that I'm gonna be working with, so.

[00:34:24] Daniel Weiner: Sure. Do you think an agency, uh, relationship or situation once it has turned mildly negative or something bad has happened, can be salvaged? Or do you think, like, once it's crossed a certain point, whether it contractually ends or not, it's actually over?

[00:34:40] Dave Manders Jr.: That's a tough one. I think there are definitely partnerships that just aren't always right, and, you know, maybe there's a timeline on those, regardless of how much each side tries, but I do think it's just like a normal relationship. If there are issues, if things aren't going perfectly, I think the only way to come back from that would be for both sides to really understand what the issues are, to see that there are issues, first of all,

[00:35:05] and then really to understand what is wrong, what's not going perfectly, and then to communicate, and I think both sides really have to have a willingness to try to fix it, to change things, to shake things up, to make an effort, to rectify whatever issues there might be, you know, I, I've, coming from the agency, there were times where, you know, we did lose a client, and sometimes it seemed out of the blue and, you know, you can only know from that perspective how wrong a relationship might be going from what someone else is saying to you.

[00:35:35] Dave Manders Jr.: So, as a client, if you're not relaying to your agencies that there are issues or that you're having headaches, you're doing them a disservice, and you're doing yourself a disservice. From an agency perspective, if things are feeling sour or off, you should be being proactive in reaching out and really trying to figure out what might be off and how you can be helping your client solve problems differently.

[00:35:57] Daniel Weiner: Yeah, I, think, I think there's a universal answer that I tell to both sides truthfully, and it is four words it is, pick up the phone, and I find it's, it's interesting, another, like, unintended thing, I didn't think that, like, working through me did for brands and agencies, so many times where, like, a brand will say, "Oh, an agency did this."

[00:36:14] I'm like, "Pick up the phone, call 'em." They're like, "Can we do that?" I'm like, "What do you mean? Yeah." And conversely, agency will be like, "Oh, this happened." I'm like, "Call them 10 times and leave a voicemail, talk to it, they're gonna like that." That's also the only opportunity, like, just stuff doesn't get solved over email,

[00:36:32] you can't tell what's going on with tone and voice and all that stuff. The answer to, like, 98% of the stress in the client-agency relationship is pick up the phone, we can make it "pick up the damn phone" if we wanna make it five words. But yeah, I feel like people forget, and one of the questions I encourage agencies to ask every brand that I set them up with is, "Hey, if you're leaving another agency or you're exploring new agencies from a past relationship, what made that go sour?

[00:36:59] Or even if it wasn't that bad, like, what were the pitfalls and negatives there that we want to avoid?" Because oftentimes some of those things of an agency may say, "Hey, that's kind of our process too, but here's what we would do differently knowing that to, like, make sure you're, you know, not getting into those same situations that made you all unhappy and stuff like that." I just feel like there could be significantly more open conversation between agencies and brands.

[00:37:24] Dave Manders Jr.: Totally, totally. And, you know, it's, it's weird because we actually, we had a marketing summit recently where we brought together a handful of our, our vendors, really walk them through what's coming for the next year, we make a, we make a plan, and then we, um, have a happy hour together. And in that, I got to meet some of the team that are remote that I hadn't gotten to meet in person yet,

[00:37:44] and one of them said, they made a comment, and it was like, "Wow, other clients just don't treat us like this." And I, I was mind blown, I was like, "Like what? Like real people, like? I was asking, you know, we were talking about our personal lives and our significant others and, you know, our views on where we live, and we even got a little political, and I was just very confused that, you know,

[00:38:07] Dave Manders Jr.: they could be treated like something other because at the end of the day, we're all just people. We're all just doing work, we're all just trying to solve problems, and if I wanna be respected like a person, I need to respect others like a person, and that, to me, is the only way this can be successful, but 

[00:38:21] Daniel Weiner: Life's too short, life's too short for bad clients or bad agencies, I would say. And COVID, uh, I think I knew that prior to COVID, but COVID, like, I joke, like, I just don't care if somebody doesn't wanna work with me, cool. We don't have to work together, life's short, like, we just got through a two-and-a-half-year pandemic, like, you know, I just don't care. Yeah, most, most, it's because it's transactional for a lot of the time, like, you all are a good example of a true partnership, and so many agencies say, "Oh, like, we're looking for real partnerships." And I'm like, "No, you're not, you're looking for good budgets, like, you want the good partnership after." You know? Which I don't think is necessarily a bad thing, but the partnership has to arrive at, at some point, you know?

[00:38:59] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah, totally. And my boss comes from the agency as well, a person on my team comes from the agency as well, so I think we all kind of have that background and that understanding. But it is, you know, we, we are small, we are nimble, we rely on our partners because there's just way too much work for us to be able to do internally and alone.

[00:39:17] So, I think that's key, but it, it, it also goes back to, you know, one of the filters was I do love having a local team that I can meet with in person that we can, you know, just kind of get a, a vibe check on. I think that's huge, and I don't think you can always get that solely, remotely. So, I think that's important in just maintaining a healthy relationship.

[00:39:34] But then also, God forbid, if we ever got to the place where we, we did need to salvage or rectify or kind of, you know, realign some kind of way. 

[00:39:40] Daniel Weiner: You can go yell at him, you can go yell at them in person, show up.

[00:39:44] Dave Manders Jr.: Yep. Yell at him in person than have a beer after, and I think that's much more likely to result in a positive outcome, for sure.

[00:39:50] Daniel Weiner: Sure. You just mentioned your marketing summit that you had, I'm curious, the, the question I was gonna ask is, what are you most bullish on in the marketing space? And I'm, I'm curious if any of that's incorporated, if there is, you know, on one spectrum we've got like NFTs and Metaverse and all that sort of stuff.

[00:40:04] And then, I'd say on the complete opposite ends, like, in-person events are back and things like that, what are you most pumped about? Does Yamaha have a robust, like, trade show and then watercraft, uh, event type thing? Or like, what are you most excited about?

[00:40:16] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah, we, we definitely have an event segment to our marketing efforts, uh, there's a whole team, they're phenomenal, they do so much work. Even through COVID they were actually finding things to go to, and then now that, you know, we're back, they are just, I, I just looked at the events calendar with them and it is quite robust,

[00:40:32] you know, boat shows are huge, boat shows are back, there's, there's definitely tons there. I think one of the things I'm most excited about is really, through the pandemic, we've had the ability to kind of shift focus and, and focus on the story we're telling, really focus on brand efforts because we were fortunate enough to kind of see high demand for our product, we didn't have to focus so much on selling.

[00:40:55] Dave Manders Jr.: So, as marketers, we were able to step away from the selling aspect and really focus on, like, okay, what is the story we want to tell? We've been making this shift to become more of a lifestyle brand and speak less about the boat and the, and the WaveRunner, and really tell the story of water. What does it mean to have a reverence for the water?

[00:41:13] To really respect the water, to have a desire to explore the water, to see a whole new world via the water that you might not have thought of before, and we're simply just a conduit to access that. So, we've shifted a lot of our storytelling to really that aspect, and we're seeing some pretty cool content come out that revolves around that.

[00:41:32] We recently did, launched a series called the Run the Water video series, where we're highlighting different people in the marine industry in some kind of way. So, one focused on an angler and a spear fisherman and really just told their story, another one focused on a marine bioscientist and her partner who's a marine photographer and how they work together to really track and bring awareness to, um, conservation in the marine industry.

[00:41:57] So, really being able to tell those stories and not just talk about boats and WaveRunners is something that's so fascinating from my perspective, now I'm a nerd for brand, I'm a sucker for being able to tell a good story. So, you know, I, I think that's something I'm very excited about. Now, we just have to figure out really how to distribute that content and get the message out there.

[00:42:16] Brands having another, uh, I'd say its moment, but it's had many moments, but, uh, Airbnb recently put out a study, I don't know if you saw, um, all about brand, and I feel like right after that I was like, "Whoa, if Airbnb's focusing on brand, like, we should focus on brand." 

[00:42:29] Dave Manders Jr.: We can do it, too. 

[00:42:29] Daniel Weiner: Yeah, but no, I think it is truly crucial, like, it's, uh, people, the product doesn't matter until it does, you, you have to tell a cohesive story, and then the product matters. But like, brand certainly matters, and, uh, I think the reason you talked about it at the beginning of the podcast with metrics, like, it's just hard to measure,

[00:42:47] you know, there's seasonality, there's sales cycles all over the place, people are just weird in general, consumers in general, you know, so it's very hard to track the efficacy and stuff like that, but it's something that you have to do, especially for a brand like you all, so, yeah, I think, uh, investing in that, even, I hate to say the word blindly 'cause I know you can track some of it, but I, I think it is something, it is a little bit of a leap of faith and those that do not, who have the ability to, are missing out on a, on a huge opportunity.

[00:43:14] Dave Manders Jr.: No, I totally agree, and I, you know, you say product doesn't matter, but I think, I agree, but funny enough

[00:43:21] Daniel Weiner: Until, until, until it does, I, that's what I mean.

[00:43:24] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah, no, I think another huge opportunity for us, or something I'm super excited about, is connected product. So, we usually trail behind the auto industry by a few years. So, you've already seen it in cars, but, you know, something we're starting to look at is, and, and the industry is focusing on as a whole, is really connected products. So, how can we better connect the user to their boat or WaveRunner? And that allows just so much opportunity 'cause we can, you know, create a better user experience on the product. But then, we can also better cultivate the user experience of the product by allowing them to be more connected to their product, by learning how they use their product,

[00:44:02] you know, by just giving them access to the product other than when they're on it, I think there's so much opportunity there. So, yeah, it's kind of fun dual dynamic of, you know, let's talk about the brand, but then we ultimately do need to have the product to follow up when we get them in.

[00:44:18] Daniel Weiner: I think the, I saw it actually, I wanna say last night, the, uh, founder of Liquid Death, I saw an inter, the water company, I saw with him that said, " In general, everyone hates your marketing, they hate it so much, in fact, that they are willing to pay to not hear it." Meaning, like, to, to, you know, squash ads on different platforms and stuff.

[00:44:36] And there's somebody else I follow on LinkedIn who says, like, "You know, it's just a good reminder that, like, no one is thinking of your marketing as a consumer un, until the need comes, and that's what the time when brand comes." And I thought the Liquid Death thing was cool because, yeah, I had never really thought of it like, man, I pay to not hear the advertisements from other people. So, 

[00:44:54] Dave Manders Jr.: 100% 

[00:44:56] Daniel Weiner: yeah, it makes the brand marketer life, uh, more difficult, but I think truthfully more exciting, like I, I get more excited about brand and storytelling than I do performance, you know, media and marketing and stuff like that, even when it converts to sales and stuff 'cause I think it's just more interesting nowadays.

[00:45:12] Dave Manders Jr.: Totally, totally, and, I mean, you know, we're storytellers. So, to be able to connect to a customer on that level is so fascinating to me, I mean, the part of the shift, too, that I was explaining is, comes from a place of just how do we better connect with customers that we have and customers that are coming.

[00:45:31] So, we saw a huge influx of first-time buyers through the pandemic, and there was a little concern with how do we retain those customers? How do we make sure that we're really connecting with them, giving them a positive user experience from their first time? And part of that was just investing in the brand, investing in the story, and trying to better connect with them so that there is this affinity towards our brand.

[00:45:53] Dave Manders Jr.: And so that, you know, there's almost a badge of honor that comes with owning their boat. They're so proud and happy to finally be part of that brand that they've been engaging with, that they're just more likely to have a positive user experience, and more likely to maintain partnership with that brand, you know, I'm, I'm a sucker for a brand name, I'll admit it.

[00:46:11] And then, there's, there's plenty that I wear proudly, and I'm a huge advocate of, and some of those I had an affinity for long before I actually bought into them. But then, once I did buy into them, anything could go wrong, not that things are gonna go wrong with our products, anything could go wrong and I would be so forgiving because I just, I still love that brand and have a partnership with them, so.

[00:46:31] Daniel Weiner: Yeah, it's interesting. My dad worked in pharmaceutical for 30 years, and I can remember being a kid and him, he worked on the generic side, and I remember him telling me, I was like, "Oh, like, surely the generic version of Tylenol is different than Tylenol. He was like, "No, they're exactly the same." And I can, like, specifically remember, I still think it

[00:46:49] even though I understand it now, I can remember thinking, I'm like, "No, no, no, no, no, like, I get that it's close to it, but, like, surely it's, like, 1% off." He's like, "No, it's literally the exact same thing." I'm like, "I, I don't understand. Why would somebody pay more for the brand name than the generic version?" And, like, that was my fir, I didn't realize it then, but that was, like, my first lesson in brand marketing and stuff.

[00:47:08] And to this day, I still think it's ridiculous to a certain degree, but I do it as well, like it's, you know, you don't even realize, uh, the effect that brand has on you until you're, like, at the checkout line, you're like, "What am I doing right now? Where am I?"

[00:47:19] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah, no, you're totally right, but also, to this day, I still buy the brand-name medication. Don't know why, I can't break the cycle.

[00:47:27] Daniel Weiner: There you are, breaking my dad's heart. My final marketing-related question for you, then we'll do a couple fun ones. What keeps you up at night from a marketing or business standpoint? Heavy sigh, heavy sigh is not a good start.

[00:47:41] Dave Manders Jr.: No, this is a tough one, um, because I, I think we are in an interesting point of potential transition from where we've been over the past few years, and the opportunity we've had through that. So, almost contradicting everything I've said on this podcast, as much

[00:47:59] Daniel Weiner: I can't wait to hear this. Do we have to do this, do we have to do this again, Dave?

[00:48:04] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah. Wait for part two. No, as big a piece as brand can play, what does it look like in a marketplace where we have to start selling again? Where demand isn't as strong as it maybe has been, but we've made all these efforts and shifts to focus on really brand and the storytelling. How do we maintain the integrity of that story that we've been building over the past few years within a market that forces us to really have to sell?

[00:48:30] And I don't have the answer to that, I think that literally does keep me up at night is, you know, I, I want to make sure I'm protecting everything we've built and don't revert back to having to talk about the product, but, you know, we'll see. 

[00:48:41] Daniel Weiner: Take some brand, take some brand name unison, and, uh, put yourself to sleep, maybe I get a pharmaceutical sponsor after this episode.

[00:48:48] Dave Manders Jr.: There you go, there you go, but yeah, we'll see, I think the next year I'll, it'll be super interesting to see what happens.

[00:48:55] Daniel Weiner: Sure. What was your very, very, very first job?

[00:48:58] Dave Manders Jr.: Oh, I was a line cook at a wellness club, so slinging burgers.

[00:49:05] Daniel Weiner: Okay. Do you think that prepared you for what you're doing now in any capacity? I feel everybody should work in restaurant in some capacity in their life.

[00:49:11] Dave Manders Jr.: I totally do, too. How do I say this the right way?

[00:49:15] Daniel Weiner: We'll just bleep it out if it's too bad, Dave, don't worry, we'll get my production team on it.

[00:49:19] Dave Manders Jr.: No, working with, uh, customers at a pretty, a fluent health and wellness club, I think definitely trains you for some customer service, and I think that has carried through my whole career, I think that bleeds into a lot of what I was saying before about just treating people like people, you know, working with the agency like they're real people, not like they're, you know, something there to serve me. I think understanding the other side of that and kind of customer service was huge, um.

[00:49:47] Daniel Weiner: You're also one of the most, like, chill marketers I've ever met in my life, like, you, I'm not, I'm not kidding, you stay even, regarding, like, everybody usually, I just feel, like, has had, like, 75 cups of coffee and we're just mutually, like, bouncing off the walls and you, you remain very even, uh, every time I've spoken with you and very calm and relaxed, so.

[00:50:04] Dave Manders Jr.: Oh, thanks, yeah, my coworkers might say differently, uh, I'm glad that you're 

[00:50:08] Daniel Weiner: You're a, you're, you're a, you're a monster, they're like, "Oh my God, Dave, scares us."

[00:50:14] Dave Manders Jr.: No, that's amazing, but, uh, but yeah, I think also just, like, working in the kitchen, it's fast-paced, you're learning, you always have to anticipate where someone else is gonna move and what they're gonna do, so that what you're doing doesn't inhibit them doing their job. And I think that's something that applies to everything we do as well,

[00:50:31] you know, don't work in a silo, always be considering what your colleagues and coworkers are gonna be doing or needing or what their priorities are. I just came up with that on the spot, but I'm pretty happy with it. 

[00:50:41] Daniel Weiner: Mark, mark, yeah, marketing, market, mark, marketing is a symphony, we'll go with that. Uh, I know you're a foodie in general, you like to cook. What would be your, uh, I've been told calling it a death row meal is too morbid, but would, what would, what, what would your fi, what would your final meal be if you had to pick?

[00:50:57] Oh, I'm a sucker for a good smash burger.

[00:51:01] Daniel Weiner: Your, your own or from somewhere, uh, specific?

[00:51:04] Dave Manders Jr.: Not my own, uh, okay, there's, there's two that I would happily take as my death Romeo. Fred's, I think is pretty close to unbeatable, Fred's smash burger 

[00:51:12] Daniel Weiner: I live, I live, I live across the street from Fred's.

[00:51:14] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah, it's, I used to live very close to it, and it was way too dangerous. So, Fred's in Krog Street Market in Atlanta, for those of you maybe not local. Also, I recently found the Chastain Burger, have you

[00:51:27] Daniel Weiner: I Have, I have only had, I'm going to have coffee there Friday morning, maybe I'll get a burger on the way out.

[00:51:33] Dave Manders Jr.: I will go as far as to say it, it might be my favorite burger I've ever had, it is.

[00:51:38] Daniel Weiner: Interesting. I put burgers in the category of when I'm in the mood for a burger, even a mediocre burger will satisfy my burger craving, and for me, I live next to Shake Shack, and I live for a Shake Shack burger.

[00:51:52] Dave Manders Jr.: You can't go wrong, I respect that. Do yourself a favor and try the burger at the Chastain.

[00:51:57] Daniel Weiner: What do I get on it, the full way? Lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, okay.

[00:52:01] Dave Manders Jr.: Straight up, it, it comes with everything you'll need, it's cheesy, melty.

[00:52:04] Daniel Weiner: I will report, I will, I will report back on, uh, on Friday, hopefully, uh, and then the final question I have for you, who is somebody who inspires you either personally or professionally, or both?

[00:52:15] Dave Manders Jr.: Ooh.

[00:52:17] Daniel Weiner: Good opportunity to, uh, earn some brownie points and shout out your wife here

[00:52:20] Dave Manders Jr.: I literally... 

[00:52:21] Daniel Weiner: I was gonna say your new, your new wife, to earn some points here.

[00:52:25] Dave Manders Jr.: For the record, I was going to say that before you prompted me to.

[00:52:29] Daniel Weiner: That's good, that, that's good.

[00:52:30] Dave Manders Jr.: No, definitely my wife. I mean, she's amazing. She is so creative and talented, um, she also works in marketing, so I think part of the reason our relationship is as strong as it is, is because when we talk about work or challenges we're facing, you know, we actually understand what each other are talking about.

[00:52:47] There have been so many instances where I've presented a challenge or an issue, and she's just really brought a new and interesting perspective beyond my capabilities of arriving outta my own. And so, I, I absolutely love and admire that kind of just constant ability to shed light on a situation differently.

[00:53:04] Dave Manders Jr.: She also has a very, very keen eye for a beautiful aesthetic, which I don't think I ever would've thought mattered before meeting her, but it does, it comes into play, I think just in a creative world that we live in, even in the space we live in, I think having a good eye for a good aesthetic really makes a difference.

[00:53:23] Daniel Weiner: You call, is this, is this an underhanded way of calling yourself really good-looking, Dave?

[00:53:27] Dave Manders Jr.: Oh, wow, no, I didn't, I, I was thinking more space and visual, but, I mean, Daniel, if 

[00:53:31] Daniel Weiner: You're, you're like, "Olivia has really good taste."

[00:53:34] Dave Manders Jr.: Uh, no, she does, she does, yeah. No, but I think, I would also, I mean, I would say I, I have a good friend actually, yeah, my friend Sara, who introduced us, shout out Sara Saxner 

[00:53:45] Daniel Weiner: Shout out, Sara.

[00:53:46] She is a phenomenal human being, but she's one of those friends that's just warm and friendly and inviting, but then also every time we have an interaction, I'm challenged,

[00:53:55] and I leave it contemplating something pretty deeply and just rethinking my perception on something, and I think friends like that, in general, are so key to have and surround yourself with, for you to become the best type of person you can be, and she's also the best just connector I know, she, she specializes in bringing people together, again, that's how we found each other, so I definitely admire her and respect her.

[00:54:20] Daniel Weiner: I admire and respect the shit outta Sarah, too.

[00:54:22] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah.

[00:54:22] Daniel Weiner: Well, cool, Dave, this was awesome, this was, uh, maybe my favorite episode since I, I'm being serious, yeah, I normally don't get this level of, um, just behind the curtains, truthfully, of the actual process and the thinking. So, I appreciate the openness.

[00:54:36] Uh, where is the best spot for other agency vultures and salespeople to find you? I presume LinkedIn is the best spot to connect with you and, uh, see more of what's going on with you?

[00:54:46] Dave Manders Jr.: Yeah, go check out my LinkedIn, I need to be better at, uh, again, distributing my content there.

[00:54:52] Daniel Weiner: Well, you'll have some content from this, Dave, you can, you can distribute to your heart's content.

[00:54:56] Dave Manders Jr.: Love it. Love it. No, this was great. Thank you so much for taking the time with me, Daniel.

[00:55:00] Daniel Weiner: Yeah, absolutely. I will talk to you soon and I can't wait to see, uh, the campaign and what comes from it.

[00:55:05] Dave Manders Jr.: Awesome.

[00:55:07] Daniel Weiner: Talk to you soon.