In this episode of YouShouldTalkTo, host Daniel Weiner sits down with Jami Horowitz, the VP of Marketing at Surcheros.
Jami emphasizes the importance of prioritizing needs when seeking partnerships and offers insights into the evolving landscape of agencies. She believes that while agencies are abundant, finding the right fit is crucial for brands.
Jami also dives into her role at Surcheros, a growing brand with a unique niche in college towns. She discusses the shift from Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) to the rise of fast-casual dining, emphasizing the value of customization in the latter.
As they navigate the challenges of marketing in a tight-budget environment, Jami underscores the significance of conversion media and the need for agencies that recognize the value of every dollar.
💡 Guest: Jami Horowitz, VP of Marketing at Surcheros
💡Noteworthy: Jami Horowitz: 15+ years in food industry, heavily focused on QSR evolution.
💡Where to find Jami: LinkedIn
The Value of Agency Experience:
Jami Horowitz believes that every brand marketer, regardless of their industry, should start their career at an agency. Being thrown into the deep end at an agency allows individuals to learn every part of the business, understand the intricacies of agency operations, and become better brand partners. This experience equips them to discern when to challenge agencies and ensures effective collaboration.
Relationships Over Tools:
Jami emphasizes the significance of relationships in the agency world. While many agencies might offer similar services and access to the same platforms, what differentiates one from another is the people and the relationships they foster. She believes that people buy people, not just services or access to tools. Building and maintaining strong relationships is paramount for successful collaborations.
Earning the Right to Innovate:
In the realm of marketing, Jami underscores the importance of proving return on investment (ROI) before venturing into more creative and experimental strategies. By demonstrating consistent ROI, marketers earn the trust of their stakeholders, which then grants them the freedom to explore innovative approaches and "have a little bit of fun" with their campaigns.
You Should Talk To - Jami Horowitz
Jami Horowitz: [00:00:00] if you need five things and you really do need them all under one umbrella is rack and stack.
How important each one of them is to you and find the partner who does the top three, two or three things really well. And on the lower priorities, if they can check the box and you can work with them.
Daniel Weiner: Hello and welcome to another episode of the you should talk to podcast. I am [00:01:00] Daniel Wiener, your host, your sponsor, your everything. You should talk to pairs, brands, and marketers for free with vetted agencies and or freelancers because finding an agency is easy, but finding the right agency is hard. I'm so excited to be joined by my dear friend, Jamie Horowitz, who is VP of marketing at Surcheros.
Jamie, you're finally here. We did it.
Jami Horowitz: Today is a day that will forever live in infamy. Um, I need to know how many episodes have you had before this?
Daniel Weiner: you will be episode 36, I think.
Jami Horowitz: So that is 35 episodes that I was not asked to participate in. And finally, lucky number 36 is my big day. What if this is the day you get sponsors?
Daniel Weiner: Could be. No time better than the present for a Maybe search, maybe Surcheros throw some sponsorship dollars.
Jami Horowitz: Well, we could discuss. It depends what the added value
looks like. But, you know, everything's on the table.
Daniel Weiner: We'll [00:02:00] do that after. I meant to actually pull the screenshot of our Facebook interaction when I slid in your DMs to try to win some tropical smoothie business, like, 15 years ago, but
Jami Horowitz: but that was...
Daniel Weiner: that prior to that, so maybe I'll post that on LinkedIn when we post this.
Jami Horowitz: I think that was before a DM slide was even a thing.
Daniel Weiner: It could be. Who
Jami Horowitz: It was before DM It was before Instagram even existed.
Daniel Weiner: I am, I'm a, I'm a pioneer in the sales space, Jamie, but that neither here nor there. Let's dive right in. Uh, what is an unpopular or spicy take you have in the marketing world or in general or just the agency world as well, since you have experience there?
Jami Horowitz: Well, I've got lots of spicy takes, but I was told that this is not the podcast for that This is the podcast where you want to keep it clean and focus on
Daniel Weiner: Yeah, that'd be good to don't, don't get me canceled today. Thank you.
Jami Horowitz: No, no today's goal is to keep us all employed self employed so you whatever you want um I think in a strong opinion that I have in the agency space and something that [00:03:00] keeps you employed and is what you should talk to us all about is that agencies are a dime a dozen. So if you're working with an agency and you're not getting the performance that you need, the communication that you need, maybe the results are fine, but the relationship is not working out, they're replaceable.
We are all replaceable, but agencies especially, they're a dime a dozen right now.
Daniel Weiner: Yeah, I talked to, uh, I did another one of these yesterday, episode 35, with Robert Barris, who is CIO at Brightwell. He has a lot of experience on the agency side as well. Talked about the same, that basically we did it in the context of every agency deck says the exact same thing. That we are a partner, not a client.
Innovative, yeah, we care, all that sort of stuff. Well, You, you don't until you do. Like, it all means nothing and it's hollow and means, you know, nothing until you see it in practice. So
Jami Horowitz: Yeah. You know, I, I think once upon a time, uh, agencies had access to different platforms [00:04:00] and, and different technologies and they could say, we have access to the best data and we have access to the best research. And sure, some of those platforms are expensive, so bigger agencies might have access to more of them.
But the most part, they're all doing the same thing. They're delivering the same thing. So, find people that you like working with. Find people who are responsive. Find people who speak your language. Um, and if your agency doesn't, kick them out the door.
Daniel Weiner: But first come to, you should talk to. We'll kick them out the door together. Uh, you are...
Jami Horowitz: come to You Should Talk To, and You Should Talk To will find you a new partner who speaks your language.
Daniel Weiner: very, uh, this is like a commercial for me. I love it. Uh, you are currently VP of Marketing at Surcheros. Tell us a little bit about them. I hadn't heard of, uh, Surcheros until you took the job.
Jami Horowitz: Yeah, absolutely fair. Um, hopefully if I do my job right, lots of people will have heard of Surcheros a year from now. Um, it was a really interesting opportunity. They are a smaller brand based out of South Georgia. We've got about 26 locations. And in the [00:05:00] past two years, the brand has just completely flipped.
They got private equity funding. They moved their headquarters up to the Atlanta area to be able to tap into the restaurant talent. So for anybody who is listening who doesn't know this insider tip, Atlanta is a restaurant hub. So if you're a restaurant brand, come up here and hire one of us because we've probably worked at 10 other places by now.
Um, so they are ready to grow. So they've got 26 locations. They're building an executive team and we've got about 40 locations that are in the pipeline right now. So building out North Georgia, going into South Carolina, going into Alabama. Um, I think the first, the first time that my friends believed that my job was real.
was this summer when, um, I can't even tell you how many people were going on their summer vacations. So they're driving down 75 South and they said, Oh my God, we saw a billboard for Surcheros. You actually do have a job. [00:06:00] So I think awareness is a problem right now. Um, I think getting locations up in the North Georgia market and then moving out is, is priority right now.
But something that's really interesting about Surcheros. as I start talking to more and more people is they have tapped into this really niche market of opening in college towns. Um, think about, I mean, I know you went to Clemson. I'm
sure there are some
Daniel Weiner: kids love, uh, love burritos.
Jami Horowitz: College kids love burritos, but something that I found really interesting is adults love nostalgia that ties them to their college experience. Um, this, this is not a marketing plan. This is just a personal take that I have, but I keep meeting people and they say, Oh, I went to Valdosta. We had Surcheros all the time. Or I went to Georgia Southern and Statesboro. We had Surcheros all the time. And now that it's coming into these bigger markets, they're the first ones to try it.
And it's just, they have this really nice brand affinity for it.
Daniel Weiner: Yeah, I like that. Uh, [00:07:00] you mentioned working at a number of CPG brands over the course of your career. Uh, what's the biggest change you've seen in consumer behavior over the years? I'll, well... Tie it down even further in a in a post covid world. What do you see as the biggest change in consumer behavior in your world?
Jami Horowitz: So I think the biggest change that I've seen actually isn't even really tied to COVID. Um, if I think back to when I started in this industry about 15 plus years ago, um, I have the sort of unique experience in being heavily, heavily focused in food. And when I first started, I think QSR was king. So quick serve anything with a drive through and you know, as time has gone on, you.
The fast casual space has really expanded. I think about when I first started it was, there was Panera. Panera was fast casual. Maybe you had the one offs, you had the, the schlotzkis of the world, but now fast casual I think is really starting to overtake QSR. Um, and what fast casual does really well is customization. [00:08:00] And it lets, it lets guests pick out what they need to fit what they need in that day. So, whether they're looking to splurge a little bit, whether they're looking to go a little bit healthier, heavier on the protein, heavier on the veggies, Fast Casual's done a really nice job with concepts that are very customizable for the guests.
Daniel Weiner: Now that's great. Uh with that said well, maybe in a postcode we're all giving the current state of affairs where uh, Maybe in a recession, maybe not but I would say in general what I see across marketing Budgets are uh Being asked to be cut or be spent more efficiently, uh, what's your advice to call it a new VP of marketing or marketing leaders in general about how to get the most out of their budget?
Um, how to get the most out of their agencies as well with that spend?
Jami Horowitz: Yeah. Um, I think that's a good question, especially as, as companies are tightened down. Everyone says the first to go is the first places they cut usually are HR and marketing. Um, and I was at a conference recently and someone said [00:09:00] this so perfectly in a way that I have never heard it before. And it's so true that when sales are up, it must have, the weather must have been nice that day.
It must, it must have been nice out. People were out and about. And if sales are down, blame marketing. So when marketing is responsible for things that are sometimes out of their control and you're responsible for showing, you know, return on investment for every dollar spent, um, especially in the franchise space where our budgets are fully funded from our franchisee royalties.
So, so we're beholden to them and, and making, you know, good use on being stewards of their dollars. Um, my advice is spend money on conversion media. And in that sense, find an agency who's really strong with media. Um, traditionally they tell you the, the marketing funnel starts with awareness, right? You start at the top awareness, you move down to consideration, conversion, loyalty, advocacy.
Um, that's great. If you are young brands or someone who has budgets for days where you can throw money [00:10:00] away, but when you have someone with a really small budget, every dollar needs to drive a visit. And we have technology now where you can show where every dollar either did or didn't drive a visit. Um, and I think working with an agency that understands how precious every dollar is, is the most important thing.
Daniel Weiner: I'm curious, I'm curious in that vein, I'll play the devil's advocate here. Do you think that that stifles creativity or innovation if everything is, um, has to be thought of in a conversion sense, potentially?
Jami Horowitz: I don't think it stifles creativity. There's still creativity in the ad unit. Um, there's creativity in the platforms that you're spending. And listen, you can carve out a little bit of money for the fun stuff, but I think when you have the foundation of showing return on investment, of showing return on investment, um, it earns you the right to get to have a little bit of fun. So you have to earn the right to be there. You have to earn your franchisee's trust. You have to earn your board's trust. [00:11:00] And then they let you go play with NIL deals or play with social partnerships. Um, those are the
Daniel Weiner: that's a good quote, Jamie. I like that soundbite. You have to earn the right to have a little bit of fun. If I had a producer, I would say clip that. And they would just like clip it real quick, like for TikTok and stuff. Well, sadly we do not until we get a sponsor. So
Jami Horowitz: But this could be the episode
Daniel Weiner: this is it.
Jami Horowitz: that gets the producer.
Daniel Weiner: This is it for sure. Um, I know you have a sweet spot for agencies having worked at agencies for a while. Uh. Uh, what do you think of agencies in general? What's the future of agencies and how do they fit into the ecosystem at Surcheros?
Jami Horowitz: Well, I want to hold on that question. I want to, I want to give you a different answer because,
Daniel Weiner: Okay,
Jami Horowitz: because I don't to play by the rules
Daniel Weiner: podcast? Who's podcast is this?
Jami Horowitz: Daniel, thank you to the Jamie Horowitz, Let's Talk Now podcast.
Um, with Jamie. This is a hot take. Are you ready for a hot
Daniel Weiner: I've got a flight in like three hours and I haven't packed. So as long as it's under, you know, two hours, we're good to, yeah. Give me, give me all the
Jami Horowitz: like a, [00:12:00] it's like a 60 second hot take. I think every marketer, every brand marketer, I don't care if you work in food, I don't care if you work in CPG, I don't care where you are. You should work at an agency. Everyone should start out working at an agency. You are thrown in the deep end. You learn every part of the business.
You get your hands on everything. And it makes you a better brand partner, because you know what the agencies are going through, you know how they like to receive information, and you know when it is or is not okay to call out their bullshit.
Daniel Weiner: I
Jami Horowitz: That's my hot take. How long was that?
Daniel Weiner: Like 30 seconds. No, I agree. think if nothing else, you just deal with so many different characters of your client facing, you deal with a million different personalities. And even if you're not, the internal personalities of working on teams with various disciplines and all sorts of stuff just make you, uh, I don't know.
I think it's a good stop for everybody early in their career.
Jami Horowitz: I mean, I, [00:13:00] I've been a good client. I have been a bad client. Uh, hopefully I've been just an average client as well, and I think the, the reason that I knew that I was a bad client is because I knew the things that I was asking for were unreasonable.
Daniel Weiner: Sometimes, uh, awareness is the, uh, knowing you have a problem is the first step that, uh, fixing the So that's good. self awareness, well, not everybody would say that. Everybody thinks they're a great client. And I would argue, uh, most, the majority are not great clients. Most are, to your point, however you phrased it, uh, middle of the road clients.
You know, but everybody should aspire to be a great client.
Jami Horowitz: Yeah, I mean, I think part of being a good client, is understanding if you're being reasonable. Um, asking someone to turn around a 7 million media plan in 24 hours is unreasonable. Um, I
Daniel Weiner: But they'll do it. They keep, but they keep doing it.
Jami Horowitz: they keep, they keep doing it, but it's the marketer's job to manage up.
Right. So, so I was in a situation at a brand where, um, Um, my [00:14:00] leadership team had me ask our agency at six o'clock at night to turn around a million dollar activation plan by four o'clock the next afternoon.
Um, it was, it was unreasonable. Um, I shared it was unreasonable. I needed to put it through anyways. I asked the agency and sure enough, um, shortly after that, the agency resigned our business. So
I don't know how many guests.
Daniel Weiner: cursing your name right now probably.
Jami Horowitz: How many, how many guests have you had who have been fired by their agencies?
Daniel Weiner: Yeah, if you've been working long enough in marketing I'm guessing everybody's been fired by an agency at some
Jami Horowitz: It's a little bit of a badge of honor, maybe, like a terrible badge of honor to have,
Daniel Weiner: I would say getting, getting fired for being like a shithead or a bad person is not a good thing, but I'm guessing at some point most marketers have an agency say, you know what? We don't think this is the right fit anymore. So I don't think that's a to that point. It's 2023. There's a billion agencies out there.
Everybody's got an agency. How you define an agency is, uh, I would say people have differing [00:15:00] opinions. I have my own, which I'll reserve, but what's your recommendation to an agency in 2023 in the vast landscape? How do you stand out?
Jami Horowitz: How do you stand out? So, I think something that I don't like that agencies do, so I'm, again, I'm going to answer this one in a little bit of a different way. I don't like when agencies tell you that they can solve all your problems and anything you need, they'll take care of it for you. Um, Oh, we can do that and we can do this and we can do that.
And Oh, you need social. We can do social. You need grand opening. We can do grand opening. Oh, you need search. We can do search. Um, cause the reality is, is they're probably not good at all of those things. And more importantly, the brand or the marketer, just using myself as an example. I don't have enough hours in the day to give attention to all of those things.
Um, so focus on whatever the original ask is, get the original ask right, gain some trust, gain some traction, and then talk about expanded services or ways you can help their business. But start with the [00:16:00] thing that you were asked for.
Dance with the one that brung you, right?
Daniel Weiner: I think a lot of that I see, uh, I hate to use the word blame, but I put it on the marketer as well because I get, you know, I see it from both sides since I work in between, but I get asked. For, uh, I would say. Non traditional, um, bunching of services often. So, like, you know, if you want, like, SEO and performance marketing, like, those go together.
You know, like, goal is to get people to click stuff and visit pages, right? I get, oftentimes, though, like, a smathering of services that make no sense together. And they're like, yeah, we want one agency that does that. And I'm like, I don't know that that exists. Like, I have somebody who does these four things together, but not those two.
And they're like, well, you think they do it? And I'm like. I don't know. You probably shouldn't even ask. So I mean, why don't we just find somebody different? Because I think I find often with marketers, especially in food, I think it's hard with franchise. I feel for them, they lump, they're like, here's my budget and I got to get all these things done.
And they don't want to work with a million different vendors because there's not enough time in the day to take, you know, three [00:17:00] calls, let alone one sometime. So, uh, I think it's both sides there. If not asking agencies for stuff, you know, is probably not, uh, in anyone's best interest.
Jami Horowitz: Yeah, no, that's, that is fair because I have been the marketer who said, I need to put this all under one umbrella. Um, you know, we need to save money on fee. We need to save money on production and commission. You know, I think my advice there would be if you need five things and you really do need them all under one umbrella is rack and stack.
How important each one of them is to you and find the partner who does the top three, two or three things really well. And on the lower priorities, if they can check the box and you can work with them. Yeah, we're beholden to budgets, so I do get that. That comes up sometimes.
Daniel Weiner: I think I know your answer because you kind of just answered it, but I've seen, especially since Cove it, um, a I hate to use the word the dramatic word of cataclysmic, but just an enormous shift from big agency to independent, smaller agencies that are specialized, and I would. I wouldn't necessarily [00:18:00] say 1 to 2 specific services, but I would say 1 to 2 like buckets of services.
What do you think of that? I think the old school massive Agency model is, uh, I won't say dead, because I don't think anything is dead. But, uh, I think it's losing some steam, and marketers are getting exhausted by that. What do you think of that?
Jami Horowitz: Well, I think there's a couple of a couple of different things that I can take on there. Um, I think the big agency model was a was a function once upon a time of traditional media buying and you needed as many budgets as possible to go to market to get the best price. Um, so that's where the traditional media model started and the bigger agencies came from.
But now smaller agencies, like I already said, they have access to some of the same buying tools. So where I see, or at least in my own experience, where I personally have shifted from bigger agencies to smaller agencies, um, and something I've seen working for what I would call a medium sized agency is bigger agencies charge you [00:19:00] for so many different people to touch every project.
Um, It's wild. You don't need an account manager, an account supervisor, and an account director checking every project. You don't need to pay for a project manager, a copywriter, a graphic designer, and an art director. Um, and that's where I tie it back to having worked at an agency. If you haven't worked at an agency, you might not realize that you're being charged for these things.
Or you might not know how to redline an estimate and push back on it and say, Hey, this is a really simple ask. All I need is a graphic designer and a copywriter and that's it. Um, so I think big agencies have big overhead and they have to pay their bills. And that's the issue with bigger agencies in my opinion.
Daniel Weiner: I agree. Uh, can you think of, since you've been on brand side, a great agency experience you've had, and what made it so great?
Jami Horowitz: I've had a lot of good agency experiences.
Daniel Weiner: thought you were about to say, I have had zero good agency experience.
Jami Horowitz: [00:20:00] No, you know, there is an agency that I have taken with me a lot of places.
Daniel Weiner: Always a good sign.
Jami Horowitz: Which I think your agency partners know if you find a good client, you stick with the client versus the brand and you just go where the client goes. Um, and I think when you find a partner who has your back, um, has your back personally and, and helps, um, they are your partner and they're just not the brand's partner.
I think that also helps to pay off. Um, and also agencies who are willing to say, yep, we'll just get it done. And it's not death by estimates, death by scope. Knowing that you're going to take care of them on the back end and it's all going to come out in the wash. I think that's something that's important too.
Daniel Weiner: Is that what, in the specific example of the agency you've brought with you though, are they doing those things, or is there like something you can tie? Is it one person, which I hear often, like, when I boil that question down, [00:21:00] it's often like, you know, oh, I've agency, and they're like, oh, it's really just this one person.
If they went to another agency, I would hire them.
Jami Horowitz: Yeah, it's, it is uh, this agency I've taken with me, it's the owner. The owner is incredibly knowledgeable. Um, in the space that I'm in and they have helped me break down barriers and especially now being in a smaller company. Um, they've got us some nice media placements that we wouldn't have had otherwise.
And they are taking on some additional responsibilities because they see the potential in our growth. And I don't know if an agency off the street would see potential if it wasn't someone that I had a personal relationship with who I've taken with me everywhere.
Daniel Weiner: No, that's how it works. Uh, people buy on relationships. Um, what
Jami Horowitz: people buy people. I don't think people buy based on your access to media tools or, or data and research. They, people buy people.
That could be, that could be clipped.
Daniel Weiner: Mature marketers don't. I find, uh, this isn't meant to sound like I'm smarter or, uh, but I feel [00:22:00] like my bullshit meter is good and yeah, I mean, a lot of folks are selling that they have something proprietary and that nobody else can do X, Y, and Z and stuff like that, which is unfortunate because more times than not, just at this stage of all of this stuff, there's very few things that, uh, folks can't access or that is actually proprietary and stuff like
Jami Horowitz: Do you, do you find that a lot of your agencies actually believe that they have something special that nobody else does?
Daniel Weiner: No, because I try not to work with agencies who think like truthfully. I find, I tell everybody the truth about my agencies. My agencies are, I like to think they're really good at what they do, but I care about, like, most things outside of the actual work. I trust that they're going to do good work, but I care about their relationship, I care about that they show up on time, I care about that they reply quickly, I care that they generally have the best interest.
I made intros the other day to two agencies and the note to both was like, I don't know if this is an exact opportunity today, but they need help figuring this stuff out. And I know [00:23:00] you two are wildly knowledgeable about this and they were happy to take the calls. Not every agency, Would do that unless it was an actual opportunity, you know They I want agencies that think long term versus short term and that we're all gonna be doing this for a while and we should do what's In the best interest for clients in the long haul and that will serve us well in the long haul versus trying to make some money today so I my hot take but I talk about frequently that makes people freak out until I Say the second line is that the work doesn't matter And what I mean by that is of course the work matters, that's what you're getting paid for at the end of the day.
But you don't, people forget, like, you don't get to do the work until you get hired. You know, like, there's so much stuff before that. You gotta get hired, you gotta build trust, you gotta build rapport. People always laugh that I would bring food to every meeting. I'm like, well, I can tell you people don't remember the shit I said in the meeting, but they remember that I brought those donuts that they liked that they mentioned six weeks ago.
You know, like, there's little nuance like that. Again, if you suck at the work, you'll get fired. But, you still have to get hired to show how wonderful you [00:24:00] are at all of these things that you claim you do on your website. So...
Jami Horowitz: The work, um, I think that's interesting to say the work doesn't matter. I might agree that to some degree that statement has a lot of weight.
Daniel Weiner: It doesn't matter until it does. Like, you, you don't do it right away, is like the hot take, I guess.
Jami Horowitz: well, I think there's a lot of agencies out there that can do the same work.
Right? Um, you're all buying the same thing through the same platform, so the work is similar. So find people who you want to work with. Um, something that you just said when you were giving off a list of reasons to work with people, one of them is so simple and so basic and something that I feel strongly about that I think a lot of people overlook, uh, is in the communication place is the simple act of acknowledging receipt of a request.
Daniel Weiner: I talk about this all the time. Just
Jami Horowitz: Acknowledge receipt. This isn't a
Daniel Weiner: received Just write received. Move on
Jami Horowitz: Received on it. Um, you know, I've, I've got an agency that I work with and I'm constantly having to follow up with them to see if they [00:25:00] received the request. Um, so instead of moving on to the next task, I'm just chasing them around.
Daniel Weiner: Yeah, I've been very fortunate that my, uh, business is very successful now, so I have some leverage, I think, over my partners. But I think new partners, and also at the very beginning of my business, sometimes people think I'm like a maniac with communication expectations. And I joke with them now, because it works, I'm like, yeah, like, until it, like, until it stops working, let's just go with my way.
If it stops working,
Jami Horowitz: We gotta, we gotta pause. Um, can we pause? I gotta get the door.
Daniel Weiner: sure, Jamie.
Jami Horowitz: My cleaning lady is locked out. Hang
Daniel Weiner: my god. Unbelievable.
Jami Horowitz: Okay, go back. Ask it again.
Daniel Weiner: What are we even talking about?
Jami Horowitz: Just ask me. Just pivot. Just
Daniel Weiner: Alright, I'm gonna say I cut it at
2645. Overall, what do you think is something that agencies get wrong? Or what is something that you wish more agencies got?
Jami Horowitz: That's a great question. I
Daniel Weiner: great questions here, Jamie, on the You Should Talk To podcast.
Jami Horowitz: Have I said that about all your questions?
Daniel Weiner: Uh, maybe. Yeah, you've been very complimentary. We appreciated her.
Jami Horowitz: Um, you know why? Because I had to interview someone last week. At a conference. I had to play a Fireside Chat interviewer. So it must be for... Fresh on my mind. Um, well, you know, I'm, I'm reliving my, um, original plan in life, which was to be a news anchor. So hence,
Daniel Weiner: glad we can help. Yeah.
Jami Horowitz: hence it didn't work out and I'm a marketer.
Um, what is, what was the question? Where are what days today?
Daniel Weiner: It was such a great question you forgot. What do you think is something that agencies oftentimes get wrong?
Jami Horowitz: Oh, um, I think agencies throw the razzle dazzle at you. So, they, they throw the shiniest client they have, the biggest example, the flashiest case study, um, and you're like, well that's, that's all well and good, I'm glad that you guys worked on that, but that's not really what I'm asking for, that's not where my budgets are at.
Daniel Weiner: doesn't align with your ask.
Jami Horowitz: it, it doesn't align. Um, I also think agencies make a big mistake. Parading all of the big wigs in the [00:26:00] room during pitches. This is my pet peeve of mine is they parade in the big wigs and the big wigs don't touch your business at all.
Daniel Weiner: Yeah, I generally advise clients when you, if you're doing RFP or something more formal to request a team indicative. It doesn't have to be the exact team because I think that's unrealistic, but like a team indicative of who's going to be working on the project to pitch or be involved. Uh, and the call it executive team or sponsor.
They can be in the room, but they should shut up. They, if they're not working on the project, you want to talk to the people who are gonna touch it or somebody at the level indicative of who is going to be doing it.
Jami Horowitz: yeah, I mean, if your client and you are, whether it's a formal RFP process or you're just, you know, having conversations with one or two agencies, make sure to ask who's my day to day contact. Who am I going to be working with? Um, if you've got the luxury of time, go out to dinner with them, meet them for a drink, sit down and talk to them, because they're the people that you're going to be talking to the most and they're the people who you need to like.
Not the [00:27:00] big wig, not the smartest guy in the room.
Daniel Weiner: Yeah, I agree. What are you most excited about in the marketing space at the moment?
Jami Horowitz: I think in the marketing space right now, this is something that's top of mind for me. I don't know if this is the, the thing that I'm most excited about, but this is just buzzworthy I would say, um, is NIL. And, uh, how,
Daniel Weiner: an, you just want an excuse to go back to Athens more.
Jami Horowitz: I just want an excuse to relive my college days and get free tickets to
Daniel Weiner: I was gonna say, are you getting an N I L deal?
Jami Horowitz: You know, I'm not really here to discuss that.
Um, not really, it's not really in our
Daniel Weiner: Your, name and likeness is not up for grab. Yeah,
Jami Horowitz: Um, if my name and likeness is up for grabs, you should talk to my own it. I'm sure you've made me sign something along the way.
Daniel Weiner: Hundred percent. I'm glad you understand how this works.
Jami Horowitz: Danny is my pimp. Could you cut, could you, could you clip that for the, for the, for the intro?
Um, no, I think NIL is something that I've been getting asked about a lot. And, and the answer that I give is it's the Wild Wild West. Um, a couple of years ago when it first rolled out, I was a [00:28:00] bigger brand and partnering with Coca Cola and we thought surely Coca Cola will be the partner to help us take this on.
And Coca Cola said, we're not touching that with a 10 foot pole. Our legal team says we can't touch it. We don't know enough about it. And that same year, I saw smaller brands rolling out partnerships. So I think smaller brands have a higher risk tolerance sometimes than bigger brands. Um, you ask for forgiveness, not permission.
But, Kind of transitioning away from that about why it was risky at the beginning, you know, it's it's something that is flashy Franchisees like it brands like it and it's hard to put a value on it So it's something that I'm watching from the sidelines. We're dipping our toe in the water At Surcheros, we've got a partnership with a running back at Florida State Florida State's hot right now.
They're undefeated. So we love that we're involved in that conversation But if you ask me, was it a good use of [00:29:00] money? Are you getting a return on investment? As a marketer, I don't know if there's really an answer to that right now.
Daniel Weiner: Yeah, I don't know how you track it.
Jami Horowitz: I don't think you do. I think it's a nice to have, I think it's the icing on the cake, and I think it makes franchisees happy.
Daniel Weiner: I agree. I have no problem with that. I think that goes back to the thing of if you try to tie everything back to attribution, you stifle creativity, you know, try some of the cool stuff.
Jami Horowitz: Well, we're or it goes back to again earn their trust. So put 70 percent of the budget and working media where you can show a return on investment and show trackable traffic and you know how many first time visitors you got. I think first time guest numbers is a really important number for a brand that's growing.
It's a, it's an important metric for any brand, but especially a growing brand where we're trying to draw guests in first time visitors is one of the most important metrics. Um, you know, I like to say this is something very cheesy, but it's something that I've always said as I've been working in the restaurant space [00:30:00] is marketing invites, operations delights.
So we as marketers can be a plus at our job. We can have the smartest media strategies. We can be working with cutting edge technology, but if we drive a visit and they have a poor in restaurant experience, they're not going to come back.
Daniel Weiner: the brands that I helped recently with a very robust agency search and had a very bizarre, uh, first there. And I let them know, and yeah, that was similar to the thing of, yeah, we can get them in the door. We cannot control, uh, or we, that's the worry of folks in that world.
We got them in the door. We did the hard part. And then they have a weird experience. leads me to my next question. I'm curious if that's the answer. What keeps you up at night from a marketing and business standpoint?
Jami Horowitz: What keeps me up at night at Surcheros is the fact that we are essentially a startup. Um, and the fact that I have to build out all these programs, um, and every decision that I make is [00:31:00] mostly on my shoulders. I have an amazing CEO who's a great sounding board, but he'll be the first one to tell you he's not a marketer.
Daniel Weiner: Always good to shout out the boss and the CEO on the podcast. Jamie.
Jami Horowitz: Shout out to the boss. Um, yeah, I think that, um, I've got, you know, great people behind me, but ultimately things are my decision. So, um, it's important to work with the right partners who I can use as a sounding board. Um, and you should talk to can help you find the right partners.
Daniel Weiner: We love, the plug there,
Jami Horowitz: But, but yeah, I mean that I think that's what keeps me up at night is sort of rebuilding some of these marketing basics and finding the right partners to do so and finding the hours in the day to prioritize which project is the most important one.
Daniel Weiner: Yeah, but you know what you're doing. You've worked at mature brands who have hypothetically figured out all this stuff in the past. So you've experienced now you're just on the other side. You got to get there.
Jami Horowitz: Yeah, you know, I think, um, I know what the finished plane looks like and I'm building the plane in my current [00:32:00] job and it's, it's a really amazing opportunity. That, um, I've been given this level of trust to be able to do so. People talk about working at bigger brands versus working at smaller brands, or, or startup brand versus mature brand.
And, um, different people have different personal preferences. Bigger brands, mature brands, you get in the wheel. Your job is really cut and dry. The expectations are really clear. Um, but when you work at a smaller brand, you get to make a bigger difference. You have a little bit more say, um, it's, it's more stressful.
It's much more unpredictable, but for me, that's, that's where it's fun.
Daniel Weiner: I, uh, I can agree with that. I, uh, working for myself is the most stressful, uh, but fun thing that I have ever done in my life. So,
Jami Horowitz: Yeah, you get to try things, you know, bigger brands move slow. Um, they have bigger budgets, but they move slow and they have more layers of approval and smaller brands are more nimble. And to that point, I'll, I'll give agencies a shout out. Smaller agencies tend to be more nimble. Um, when people wear multiple [00:33:00] hats, you can get things done faster and you don't have to wait three weeks for a turnaround or maybe to jump on a social trend that the trend is long coming gone by then.
Daniel Weiner: Sure. Makes total sense. We will finish, uh, with some fun questions rapid fire here. What was your very first job?
Jami Horowitz: Uh, my very first marketing job.
Daniel Weiner: very first, very first job. That's the
Jami Horowitz: Oh, I was a lifeguard. I wanted to be a professional lifeguard when I grew up. So at
the age of
Daniel Weiner: Pe A Wendy Peppercorn.
Jami Horowitz: Wendy peppercorn. Let me tell you, I was. So cute in that red swimsuit, I twirled the whistle all day long, um, if anyone was going to be in trouble, I was probably not going to save them
because I was
Daniel Weiner: you having people's lives in your hands mildly terrifying, but,
Jami Horowitz: well, you know, I sat, I sat up in the stand and when the boys drove by, they would honk at me and I, and I just thought that I just had reached peak life right then and there.
Daniel Weiner: No, no notes, no follow ups to that. Uh, what would your [00:34:00] final meal be?
Jami Horowitz: Chicken parm.
Daniel Weiner: From anywhere specific? Okay. Shout out miss, what
Jami Horowitz: I feel like the sentimental answer would be that my mom would make, but, um, you know, my mom's not going to listen to this. So I would,
Daniel Weiner: do you mean she's not gonna listen to it? You don't know
Jami Horowitz: she's, she's
Daniel Weiner: with that attitude.
Jami Horowitz: She's probably not,
Daniel Weiner: it's, the same answer then, that it's your mom who is somebody who inspires you either personally or professionally. Can't say me, of course.
Jami Horowitz: um, personally, is that, is that the followup question?
Daniel Weiner: That's the final question. Who is, I was saying it could be your mom who inspires you, but who is somebody who inspires you personally or professionally or both? Can't be me.
Jami Horowitz: Well now I'm in, now I'm an asshole if I don't say my mom,
Daniel Weiner: you're not. She could, maybe there's some, there could be multiple people who inspire you. I'm just asking for one.
Jami Horowitz: Yeah, I think, uh, professionally someone that I like and you might roll your eyes and you're going to think, gosh, this is such an, an, an obvious answer, but I'm a big fan of Sarah Blakely and what Sarah Blakely has
Daniel Weiner: would I roll my eyes at that?
Jami Horowitz: I don't know. It seems like the obvious answer,
Daniel Weiner: awesome. I want to party. If Sarah Blakely is listening to this, I [00:35:00] want to party with you and Jesse. And I want to come to a cold plunge and a hot tub and a sauna.
Jami Horowitz: Oh my gosh. You go on those like crazy hikes that they do.
Daniel Weiner: Maybe
Jami Horowitz: on her
Daniel Weiner: I don't know I'm, don't know I'm, I need a nap before I do that. But I do want a sauna and cold plunge with Jesse and Sarah. So
Jami Horowitz: Yeah, I mean,
Daniel Weiner: anybody make that happen, we're in.
Jami Horowitz: Listeners, if anyone has a connection to Sarah Blakely, Dani wants to get in a cold plunge tub with them, and I want to go on the annual surprise friend trip, and I want to wear my Spanx, and I want to live my best life.
Daniel Weiner: There you go. Well, you heard it here first. Uh, thank you, Jamie, for joining. Uh, for everybody who has not heard of it or who wants to check them out, Surcheros. com, I presume. Uh, any specials coming up or anything they need to know before they go?
Jami Horowitz: You don't need to know anything before you go. Come on in, uh, try our over 25 fresh toppings. and order your burrito, your bowl, your quesadilla, your tacos, just how you like it. Sit down and stay a while and wash it down with a margarita.
Daniel Weiner: That's what we love, Jamie. Thank you very [00:36:00] much for joining. We will, uh, chat with you soon.
Jami Horowitz: Okay, thank you for having me.