Season 02 / Episode 017

From Affiliate Manager to C-Level Executive with Jared LaMantia

With Jared LaMantia - CMO, Momentous

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Summary

Today I got the chance to sit down and have a conversation with Jared LaMantia. Jared and I met when the team at JEBCommerce managed the Bodybuilding.com affiliate program and at subsequent organizations he has run during his career.

Jared started his career as an affiliate manager and through hard work, curiosity, and a dash of self awareness grew himself into a C-Level executive at one of the most vibrant and impactful fitness companies that I know of. Today's conversation is one of those that got me thinking of how I could spend more time and learn more about his story and how he achieves so much success. It really was my favorite hour and change this week.

We dive into his career and exactly how he made the transformation from affiliate manager to C-Level exec. Not a typical path! We talk about data and how important it is, but also how sometimes you just have to use your gut in decision making, and then round things out with one of the biggest mistakes marketers make when it comes to data. Sorry, no spoilers here!

We wrap up the conversation with a discussion on project management, a topic that Jared has found to be one of the most impactful in his career and his company's successes. It's something that is all too often left out of the marketing discussion.

Jared, thank you so much for a really intriguing and enlightening discussion today! If you'd like to continue the conversation with Jared, find him on LinkedIn.

And, here is the link to our article "The Rise of the Affluencer", written by our Director of Affiliate Marketing, Blagica Bottigliero.

About Our Guest

Name

Jared LaMantia

Achievements

Experienced CMO, GM/VP, and digital & data expert with a passion for business and brand strategy. Strong experience in customer acquisition & retention, user experience, data science, and customer journeys. Extensive knowledge of eCommerce and multi-channel strategy blended with years of entrepreneurial leadership.

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Transcript

[00:00:48] JB: Hey, this is Jamie, your host of The Profitable Performance Marketing podcast. Welcome to today's episode. I have been super excited to talk to our guest today for a while, and today does not disappoint. Before we get into that, I just want to talk to you guys about some content we released on our website. Our Director of Affiliate Marketing, Blagica Bottigliero, has recently put out a few articles. One of them is “The Rise of the Affluencer”. So for a number of years, influencers have been the topic du jour of affiliate marketing, and frankly, digital marketing. But a lot has changed. And we really divide them into two groups, affluencers and influencers. So you’ll definitely want to go check that out. You can go to jebcommerce.com/blog. Or you can go to jebcommerce.com/the-rise-of-the-affluencer to check that out. We will include a link to that in our show notes as well. Blagica goes into great detail about the history of influencers and kind of what's going on right now. So if you want to get access to influencers and affluencers and you want to dive in, or just figure out what's going on in that world, that's definitely a great article for you to go to.

So today's guest is Jared LaMantia. We met many, many years ago while he was the VP and GM at bodybuilding.com, a former client of JEBCommerce. And Jared and JEB have worked together a number of times at different companies. And I really wanted to get Jared on the podcast to just talk about his career path. So today doesn't disappoint. It's a great conversation, and it's one of those conversations that I get to have and think, “Man, I wish I had been able to spend more time with this individual before.” And I just get to thinking, “How can I spend more time with this person in the future and just learn from them and hear their stories?”

So we talk a lot about career path. What you're going to love is how Jared made the progression from affiliate marketing to VP and GM, and the C-Level of a very, very successful company, and what it was about him and what he did to take advantage of opportunities that were present, but also craft his career path as well. And we dive into project management and a bunch of other issues that I think you're going to learn a ton from. I know I did. And there's my dog in the background. She does make an appearance once or two in the podcast. But I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of my conversation with Jared. I know you will, too. So I'm just going to just be quiet, get out of the way so you can listen to my conversation with Jared LaMantia.

[INTERVIEW]

[00:03:43] Jamie Birch: All right, here we are. Jared LaMantia. Thank you so much for joining. I've been excited to chat with you for a long time. But welcome to the Profitable Performance Marketing podcast.

[00:03:52] Jared LaMantia: Thanks, Jamie, for having me.

[00:03:54] JB: Yeah, very excited. Now, in preparation for our time together today, I was looking through your LinkedIn profile. And we've known each other for quite a long time. But sometimes you don't go through a resume before you start to chat. And I noticed that not only are I think we're in the same state as each other right now, but were you born and raised in Pennsylvania?

[00:04:19] JL: I was, yeah. Yeah, I grew up about an hour, and hour and a half, outside of Pittsburgh. Lived there until I was in my late 20s. Attended a pretty small high school. I think my graduating class was around was – We’re around like 80 people, 85 people. Lived in Pittsburgh for a good portion of my early 20s. Miss it. Enjoy it. All my family is back there still. They haven't relocated anywhere else except for me. I'm the lone person that got out so to speak. But yeah, I loved growing up there. Lots of fond memories back there.

[00:04:53] JB: That's awesome. And the reason I mentioned it is I'm from the other Steel City in Pennsylvania. That’s why I’m in Pennsylvania. That's where I was born and raised around Allentown area, on the other side of the state. And I saw that and I thought, “Okay, well, this is fantastic.” What do you miss most about PA? It's got to be the food. I miss the food.

[00:05:12] JL: I miss the sports. I really miss the sports. I mean, I was in Boise for seven years. And so the only thing in Boise that people get excited about is the football team. Now I’m in Austin. And now, at least in Austin, we have soccer at least. I'm not a big soccer person. My son is. But I really missed that sports. And any chance I get to go back and watch a Steelers game or just be around that, they've just done such a phenomenal job in that city of not just building up like that area, but really creating an experience. That would be the biggest thing I miss. I mean, because I have great food in Austin.

[00:05:52] JB: Yeah, you do. I forgot that you had relocated to Austin. Yeah, same here, North Idaho. We don't have a lot of sports teams. We have Seattle. And so I miss – Oddly enough, I was never an Eagles fan. But definitely Flyers and Phillies fan. But I was a Redskins fan. So did you retain the loyalty to Pittsburgh, the Penguins, to Pirates, the Steelers?

[00:06:19] JL: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, there was no doubt about that. And the great thing about being a Steelers fan is you can pretty much find a Steelers bar in any city that you go to. So even when I was living in Boise, there was still a Steelers bar in Boise that you were able to get out and find some like-minded individuals from your sport of choice and your team of choice.

[00:06:43] JB: See, I was genetically predisposed to hating everything on that side of the state, even though we were all Pennsylvanians. I don't know if the Pittsburgh area felt that way about the Phillies’ Flyers and the Eagles. And then when I moved out to Seattle, it was the Super Bowl where we lost to the Steelers.

[00:07:01] JL: Jamie, I feel like there were a little bit of that, but it was more so – I mean, anyone, any Ohio team – I mean, really, at this point, it doesn't matter if it's the Bengals, or the Browns, or whatever. I mean, I don't think there's any love between those cities. But yeah, it wasn’t as bad as I think the eastern side of the state looked at the western side of the state.

[00:07:28] JB: Yeah, yeah. Well, awesome. Well, thanks for joining. And interesting – Love to hear similar backgrounds. Tell me like your origin story of we're here to talk about digital marketing, affiliate market. We have a lot of topics that we want to talk about. But how did you find affiliate marketing?

[00:07:47] JL: Yes. So I was in college. And college was never my strongest area. Like I really struggled through most of my time when I was there. I originally went in for information technology, and I thought that I would head down the path of being more of a developer. And then when I was in school, I applied for a job that I was not qualified for, at a company that was creating a subprime catalog company, trying to help people get – Of people who couldn't get credit cards. Try to help them find ways that they could finance items and stop living paycheck to paycheck. And I was really fascinated by the business, but was still pretty young. I was in my very, very early 20s, very naïve, and thought I could just walk in and say, “Hey, I'm in school. You should give me a job.” And unfortunately, that didn't happen. But about two days later, I got a call from the CEO and asked me to come back in. And they were really interested in expanding their email marketing.

And what I found that just absolutely fascinating was I eventually got the role. And I realized – It was my first exposure to digital marketing. And I realized that I could just click a button and instantly make a company money. And I just became fascinated by that ability, by that ability to just turn something on, or to flip a switch, or whatever it was, and just instantly seeing revenue. And I just started to fall in love with it.

And we were putting our offers up on other networks. We were running a CPA-type offer. So I was running email at the time, which was the largest acquisition engine for them. And a lot of it was list procurement, and buying leads, and trying to filter these leads through an email system that didn't bounce back because you were not buying the highest quality of leads.

And then it became, “Well, how do we start generating our own leads versus constantly going out and buying? How do we start getting that?” So we started creating CPL offers, and CPA offers. And really, that's when I kind of got my first ditch of the affiliate side of marketing.

I spent about two years there. And then I left for a little while because, again, like, I'm very honest with people. Like, I was young, and I had no idea what I was doing. I was still just trying to figure everything out. And I left for a brief stint, and then came back for a while again. And then ultimately, I moved on to more of the affiliate network side, and I went to Digital River, which was a direct response at the time.

And from there, I got to understand the differences in traffic, because I was only an email person, and I was a little naive to the different traffic sources that were available to me at that time. So that was really, really beneficial, not just for my experience in just general affiliate marketing, but I think in digital, because you're exposed to all of these different traffic sources that you need to understand the ins and outs of. You need to understand the difference in your branded, and your non-branded. And what is what's going to be something that is a term you can't bid against. And then you learn about incentivized traffic, and the ups and downs of that type of traffic. So it was just that wild ride for about a year or so of my career of just absorbing as much of that affiliate space. But what I didn't realize was I was absorbing it more for a broader digital marketing footprint than I was just to be an affiliate marketer.

[00:11:35] JB: Thank you for that rundown of how you got started. It's always interesting to see how people come to the channel, because it's never in a traditional, like, I went to school, I learned about affiliate marketing, and this is frankly what I wanted to do for my – I always wanted to be an affiliate marketer isn't an answer that I ever get. What was the most intriguing part as you kind of moved into affiliate marketing and learned about the CPL stuff? Was it the fact that you could do something and see a result right away? Was that the part that really hooked you?

[00:12:09] JL: Yeah, I think it was – There were two things I think that really hooked me. I think the first was, like you said, that initial result. That ability to get an offer up, or whatever you're sending an email, whether you're capturing an email. You can immediately start to see activity. But what really pushed me, I would say, beyond just the affiliate space was what I could do after I had the information. And what I mean by that is being able to take consumers – And this is why like email was always – Email was where I got started. And then 18, or whatever so years later, like, email is probably still, and database marketing is still my strongest area. But it's that ability to think about taking a consumer, or a lead in some instances, and journeying them out. Like, what does that look like? How are the touchpoints that you can affect them? Whether it's scarcity. Whether it's the connection to an emotion. Whether it's other urgency type tactics. And I really fell in love, again, with that idea of being almost like a little bit of a puppet master.

And as funny it is to think about that, but being able to pull those strings, and pull those levers, and push people down certain pathways to ultimately lead to the main goal that you're looking to accomplish. And then most of the time, it's always in conversion and sales and things like that. But there's been other experiences where it's been we just need people to sign up for things, or we need people to – When we get into bodybuilding, like people would need to complete a challenge. Like, how do you keep people motivated? How do you keep them in your loop? And so it was those two things. It was that, and that immediate result of, “Wow! You click send, or you launch a campaign.” And then it was that backend of, “I have all this information and all these consumers. Now, what do I do with them?”

[00:14:00] JB: Yeah, that's awesome. Have you ever done one of those personality tests? I did one at Coldwater Creek. And one of the things – Because I'm really similar. Both that strategy perspective is a huge part of my personality, and the need to see results. Like there are a couple of things that if I have to do and I'll find results like a year from now, or I may never know how it works, that drives me nuts. And I remember doing a personality test that Coldwater and my boss came back and said, like, “This is exactly what we need for someone to run this.”

[00:14:32] JL: Yeah, I haven't done – I mean, I've done similar things. But it's been so long since I've even looked at that. But yeah, it's very similar. And it's personality traits.

[00:14:41] JB: Yeah. So one of the things, the reasons I wanted to talk with you, is you've made the transition from affiliate manager to C-Level. So at bodybuilding.com where we met, VP and CMO, like you've made that transition. What were some of the key things? I don't hear that all too often. And maybe it's because the industry is still relatively new. But most of the C-Level come from different areas. So what were the key traits? How did you make that transition?

[00:15:12] JL: Yeah, yeah, I’m glad we can jump into that. So before we jump into that, I'll share how I ended up at Bodybuilding, because I think it shows a different side of my personality, and it probably explains a lot of how I did end up as a C-Level. We talked about where I grew up. I grew up in Pennsylvania, Western Pennsylvania. At that time, in my career, ecommerce wasn't thriving. It wasn't like it is now or even like it was five or six years ago, where you had all of these new startups happening. And people really got the ecommerce engine and the ecommerce world. And really, my back was a kind of against the wall living where I was living.

And so I used my affiliate marketing skills, and I looked for leads, and I went and found the email address for every CEO that I wanted, or potentially whatever I wanted to work with. And I went after – I went after brands that I had a passion for. Like, that was the one thing that I hadn't really done yet. Like, I love the areas that I had worked, but I wasn't necessarily passionate about them. And so I emailed the CEO of bodybuilding.com, Under Armour, Nike, like any brand that I just had a strong passion for. And lo and behold, bodybuilding.com needed someone to run email.

They flew me out to Boise, Idaho. My wife had never even seen Boise. And I just accepted the job basically within two days of flying out and asked her, she was my fiancé at the time, to make that trip from Western Pennsylvania, where our families are, to the middle of Idaho. Never seeing it. Having no idea what it was like.

And so I got to bodybuilding.com and I came in as kind of a lone individual in the email retention world. And I just decided at that time that – Honestly, Jamie, I had moved my family across the country. And I said, “Well, this is –” I kind of looked at it as my one shot. I was like, “If I don't make it work here at a company that I have a strong passion for fitness, and sports,” and grew up playing sports, I was like, “If I don't make it work here, I'm probably never going to make it work.”

And so I put a lot, a lot of pressure on myself. Yeah, I mean, it was just the mindset that I had. I mean, I just had my son. And it was just a crossroads of my life where I didn't want to end up in a loop that I had seen other people from where I grew up in. And I made that decision very early. And so I worked countless hours. I was the first one in. I was the last one out. There were no early Fridays at that point in my career. It was 7am in, 7pm out, regardless of the day of the week.

I also had to get over some of my own personality traits and hiccups and things like that, where I had to be willing to be the dumbest person in the room, ask the stupid question. Funny, I was like seven years into my career, eight years into my career, and I really had never had to deal with AOV before. And it wasn't really a term that had ever been thrown around in the affiliate space. Like CPA, CPL. And even when I was doing email, I didn't have to worry about average order value.

And I remember just walking into my boss's office, and without a worry, like, “Hey, what's AOV stand for?” right? And him kind of looking at me for a second and being like, “Wait, we just hired you to run this, but you don't know what AOV is.” But, ultimately, like he learned to appreciate the fact that I wasn't afraid to ask that question.

And so what ended up happening was, as I began to ask all the questions, more people allowed me into their world. And there was more of an invitation because there was never a hesitancy, again, for me to ask questions, which meant I was never going to judge. Or I was never going to be the person in the room who always had the answer or thought they knew the answer. And so that really, really helped me become – Not want to say liked. I was always liked. My personality was always well-received. But from a business standpoint, you know that there are certain people that you want in the room and there's certain people that are going to make the room a little bit more difficult.

And because of how I opened up, I just was received really well. I had great mentors. That was the other thing. Like I had great, great people ahead of me who I always looked at and said, “How do I become that person?” And so great mentors is something that – Now, for me, that's what I thrive off of. I know we've talked, we're going to get into that a little bit more later. But having those mentors and having that willingness to work really, really hard and ask all the really stupid questions, it just allowed me to progress. And so it just became like a really natural progression where a lot of people, they'll spend two years in a job, and they instantly think that they're ready to move on to whatever is next.

And I was just fortunate enough where things fell in the right order. One person would leave. I just happen to be next up for it. And I would ask for it. I remember when my Director of Marketing left, I wasn't afraid to walk into my VPS office and say, “Hey, I know I've only been doing this for 24 months, or whatever it was, 20 months, but I can do this job if you let me." “If you give me a chance, I will do it. Or you can see me out the door after nine months.” I was so willing to bet on myself at that time. And even to this day, I mean, I still am. But that was a big mental shift that I had to have personally.

And so it was a combination of all of that. And then I just wanted to keep learning. I just wanted to keep growing, because like I said at the beginning, I really do well in college. And I think I'm just such a hands-on person. Like that ability for someone to say, “Hey, we have this data, and we don't know what to do with it.” Like, I would be the person who would just – It would be five o'clock, everyone else would leave. And I'm like, “Well, I'm going to get in this database and see what this data is about.” Right?
I used to be just cowboy coding. Like whatever it took to try to get better at something at that time, that was really my mindset. At that point in my career was just to continue to ask questions, was continue to try new things. And so it just became, Jamie, just by progression. And so as I moved into a director level, and then eventually a VP level, and then eventually a GM level, it was just a progression that was every 18 months or so good things happen from the hard work. As cliche as it is, there wasn't some magic methodology to it, and there wasn't any – And I never went in with that mindset either. That's the other thing. Like, I never went in and said, “Oh, in four years, I'm going to be – Or five years, I'm going to be a CMO when I'm coming in at a mid-level manager role.” But I always said like, “Oh, I could be a director.” Like, I always thought like, “I could probably be a director and then have reports.” And then you become a director and you're like, “Well, I can become a VP.” And you become a VP and you're like, “Well, I can do the next step.” That was just always my mindset.”

[00:22:57] JB: That's incredible. I have so many questions about that, if we can dive into. One is where did the idea to email the CEOs of companies who want to work for? I have a really good support system in my family. Like, I remember my dad when he was in between jobs, it was his job to find another job. And we did stuff like that. But it's so unique. Like, how did you – Does that come from mentors or family? Or where did that come from?

[00:23:24] JL: You know, I think it came from back against the wall, honestly. I think it came from that – I looked at the world that was around me. And I did it. I just didn't see a path. I couldn't visualize what was going to happen next. I knew that the role that I was at when I was back in Pittsburgh, I was like, “This is not going to last.” I was at a small startup, burning cash, not doing the things that the founder had thought was going to happen. And I was like, “Look, my backs against the wall here. I just had my son. I don't know where my career is headed. I don't know where I'm headed.” And I just kept thinking like, “How can I get recognized by someone? How can someone find me in this world of feeling a little bit like you're hidden?”

Like, remember, social media didn't exist. I mean, this is 2009, 2010-ish. Like, the world was vastly different at that point. And so it came down to me just thinking about the same tactics that you would use if you wanted someone to recognize your offer online. And that was the mentality I had. It was actually some of the affiliate stuff. Because you think back about being an affiliate manager and you're trying to recruit affiliates, you sometimes have to go and find email addresses, or phone numbers, or whatever it is to contact people. And that was how I had the skill to do it. But the mindset to do it more so just came from being kind of back against the wall and I need I need to find what's next for me. Always, I tell people, like it was my one shot, bodybuilding.com and that whole 20 – Call it 24 months. I mean, that was my shot to prove to myself that I belong.

[00:25:14] JB: Wow! That's amazing. And to take the family across the country. And you mentioned earlier, like you're the only one that got out. And I kind of feel that way with our family. We're maybe a generation removed from your trip. My dad did the same thing. And looking back and thinking, “There was no path there. We got to move.” He moved out to Seattle. He moved to Boise.

[00:25:38] JL: Yeah. And not to cut you off, Jamie. But it wasn’t – The leaving part was relatively easy. The staying part and dealing with – And I say backlash. And I don't mean like my family really had a backlash, or my wife's family had a backlash, but like we simply – Like, we made that decision. And we were like we're going to live with the results. If that means that Christmases are just the three of us, Christmases are going to be just the three of us.

And I think it took a while. Like it took family and close friends a long time to understand that like we were doing this for ourselves and not for anyone else. Now it's, whatever, 10 years later, or whatever, 11 years later, no one even thinks about it anymore. But during that time, it's definitely a little trying and difficult to leave everything you know and not the running back at the drop of a dime, drop of a hat kind of statement. So yeah, it was interesting. Difficult.

[00:26:44] JB: Yeah. And moving across the country and away from Pennsylvania. I know, I was 16 when that happened. So vastly different experience for me. But I pulled so much out of what you said that I want to highlight for our listeners. So if there's someone in affiliate marketing and they're looking to grow, and it's tough for them to see their path, the work ethic that you brought to it, and the curiosity, and how hard was it for you to be the dumb person in the room and ask the questions? I've experienced this. I probably have an example of something you and I were working on at Bodybuilding. And I didn't know. And I didn't ask. But I remember with another client, and I was talking to the team today about it, they used an acronym, like AOV. And I forget what it was. But they use a different way to measure profitability, like so many advertisers do. We didn't know what it was. And for six months, I didn't have the courage to ask because I didn't want to look stupid. And finally, got to a point where I had to. I had to manipulate this equation, and I didn't know what it was. And I finally asked. And their answer was simply, “Oh, well, I made that up. It's mine. And you shouldn't know what it is, because it's mine. Let me tell you what it is. And you should have asked earlier. It seems like curiosity and then sort of some people call it being the empty cup. Like being okay with like, “I don't know.” How hard was that?

[00:28:09] JL: I mean, it was difficult until – I guess the impetus behind it all is I had a little bit of one of those – What's the best term I could – I went into a meeting thinking I knew everything at one point in my career, the young hot gun. I know everything. I've been doing this for four years. Right? Right? And I got burned really good. And not in a malice or any way. It was really telling that I wasn't ready to be that voice in the room at that time. And yeah, that was pretty humbling.

And I think getting that little bit of humbling really allowed me to reflect internally on myself and what I needed to work on personally. Like, I think one of the hardest things to do is all the things that are wrong with you. Like, “What's wrong with me?” And, “What am I not doing right?” And I think that was – When I started to do that at that point in my career, it was a lot easier to do it. But it took some time. It took some patience. It took learning techniques of slowing down as well. You hear – And sometimes nowadays, as I've grown into an executive, I have to remind myself to do it, because you instantly hear something and you want to react to it. But the best thing you can do in most cases is actually slow down for a second, spend 10 seconds in thought, and you find ways to buffer that. Where it's like, “Well, that's an interesting question. Let me think on that.” And you find those kinds of mechanics and mechanisms to allow yourself to deflect so that you don't just immediately react. You just fly off the hinges on, “I know the answer to this. I've been doing this,” blah, blah, blah, or whatever. Like you learn how to slow down. And so once I got really dialed in on that, Jamie, it was quite a bit easier to slow down and ask those questions.

[00:30:18] JB: Yeah. And I love the idea of buffering questions. And it's almost like, “I mean, you should have been in this meeting with our team earlier. We were talking about that exact skill set or technique of creating the space.” We use a system called CLEAR the Issue. It's an acronym, and it's entirely to create space and some time so you don't jump to, “If I'm a framer, every problem is a nail, and I have a hammer. And that's what we're going to do.” So creating that space. But I love that idea of buffering questions.

And it seems like we have this work ethic, curiosity, the ability to ask, and willingness to ask these questions. And even if you’re think they're going to be a stupid question, but also a level of self-awareness of inward looking and saying, “Okay, how can I get better?” That aspect, was that a result of that sort of humbling educational experience? Or how else did that – Was there something –

[00:31:15] JL: Yeah, very much so. I mean, very, very, very, very much so. And my first job, the one that I was talking about earlier, working in that sub-credit card space, I had – I can say this now, because him and I are in a great, great terms. But I had one of the hardest first bosses you'd probably ever have. I had to wake up on Saturday mornings and have a report in his inbox by 8am that he could have easily ran himself that would have taken 30 seconds to run, but it took me getting up every Saturday morning and doing that. And so that's why when I indicated I left, I left because there was friction. And then we then mended, and we had a really, really strong working relationship. But having that type of mentality, that super hard work ethic, and then being humbled on top of it, I mean, it was really just kind of that compounding factor that led to it.

[00:32:13] JB: Yeah. And me as well, I had a performance review at Coldwater Creek, and I recently had a conversation with my old boss about it. And I thought – I don't know why, but I thought I did so great. There'd be a parade. Like it would be amazing. I get a promotion. I'd be making bank. And she started that meeting off with, “I should fire you, but I'm not going to.” And that was probably the most instructive – I've had several of those. But that humbling. And then the ability to – I had a support system, it's like, “Hey, you can run from this. And you can leave this painful thing. Or you can go, “Okay, she may be right. And if she is, what do I need to change.” And that's been a huge aspect of mine. But it sounds like that has been a big part of how you've been able to make such career growth.

And for our listeners, like, really listen to this section. Again, this is a very successful individual that's done a lot of amazing things. And all of those things that he's done, you can do. Sort of the bar to cross is really about you. Like, the things you're doing, not the education you had, the family background you came from, or anything like that. It's like hard work, curiosity, self-awareness, and keep pushing through.

[00:33:33] JL: Yeah, absolutely. I think that another thing that set me up for success, which is completely external of my – I mean, it's external of myself, but, I mean, I lead myself with all of the things you just discussed, Jamie, that to be in the position, but getting recognized. And I applaud people and to recognize their good employees whenever they have the opportunity to. And sometimes, if I talk too many great things about them, they're always going to expect the pay raise. You hear all of these things. I mean, the rationale doesn't make any sense. Like if they're that good and they need extra money, then you should pay them for it.

But there were two times of Bodybuilding where I was directly recognized, but not like by the masses, which doesn't mean anything. In reality, it was that direct one-to-one conversation. And that recognition, it really – At least for me, personally, it really changed my mindset. I knew that I could be a mid-level manager for the rest of my life. Like I was like, “Oh, I'm really good at this. I'm a good button pusher. I can do this.”

And then when you get the recognition or just the acknowledgement of, “Hey, we see you.” You're like, “Oh, well, that's really cool.” Like they see my hard work. But then when people start talking about your future – And, for me, I always think about when my employees are “how far can I push their ceiling. And do they even understand at this point what their ceiling is? Because for me, it was – I thought I always knew what my ceiling was. It's like, “This is as high as I can go.”

But when someone tells you that that's not true, and if you have enough self-belief, and you have a lot of those other tangible things, it's really amazing what I think you can do with yourself. And so I always encourage my teams now and people who have worked with me, or managers now that are underneath me, is to continue to uplift people and continue to figure out what your employees – Where they want to go in their lives and with their careers. And then level set with them. I think that's something that doesn't get talked about enough, in my opinion, is realistic expectations on where you can go. And that was really, really helpful for me.

[BREAK]

[00:36:07] JB: Are you enjoying the show thus far? We cover so many different strategies and stories on the podcast, sometimes it can be difficult to keep up. We get it. It's why my team and I compiled the very best strategies, and we counted 20 of them, in affiliate marketing programs and put them together for you so you can assess the health of your affiliate program and be able to optimize it for the best possible results. You can get that guide at jbcommerce.com/strategies.

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[INTERVIEW CONTINUED]

[00:37:08] JB: Yeah, and I appreciate it. That's a really good segue into a topic I was planning to end our discussion with. But let's talk about culture. And things have changed so much. And the last two years have been difficult. You're now at Momentous, in a hybrid work environment. Like how has culture changed? And recognition being so important, how do you wrap that into – It's just such a good question right now, because all of us are trying to figure this out: how do you keep this structure or the culture strong? How have you addressed that?

[00:37:43] JL: I mean, it is difficult. I will definitely say that it's not an easy to navigate environment. So I think for what I've focused on is being consistent with all-hands meetings. Making sure that those all-hands meetings have a purpose. I think that's extremely important. Make sure they're structured. Make sure there's the topics that you as at the executive level feel is the most relevant, whether that's big wins, new hires, whatever that might be. I mean, I'm blessed to be a bit of a smaller org chart right now. But even prior, it was a little bit of a larger org chart, we had more people. And we created – Or what I like to also create is the ability for people to share their backgrounds. And you never force someone into it. You create an opportunity to talk about yourself, and you encourage people to do it. And some people step up and they're really excited about it. And I've learned more about some people because of those presentations than I probably would have if I was going into office. Because if you think about your hierarchy of an org chart, you have your executive team, and then you have your entry level associate manager or whatever. And associate manager and myself would cross paths, and I would always be very warm and inviting. But the reality is they're straight out of college, and they're probably not as comfortable walking into my office, and nor would I want to put them in a position to be like, “Hey, let me take you to get coffee.” Like they're probably terrified, thinking they're going to get fired.

And so what this has done is it's allowed people to share a lot of their background where they feel comfortable, talk about where they came from. So that's helped to build more person to person connection. Another thing that we're trying to do a little bit more – What I'm trying to do a little more frequently is some fun activities. Like, find time and find activities to get everybody on a Zoom and break out into groups and whatever you can. I mean, there are so many different apps and tools and things that exist out there. We also are in the benefit of being in a very community-driven business. In fitness and in sports nutrition, you basically live vicariously through the people that you're helping. So for us, being able to share stories of consumer or customer success. Being able to share wins of athletes and things like that. That helps tie back into why we're here.

I remember the values at bodybuilding.com and everything, like it's just ingrained in my head. And it was because every time the CEO would start his presentation, it was the why [behind why] we are here. It was like, “Hey, we're here to change people's lives.” And if you have a strong value, strong mission statement, if you can somehow find ways to weave that into your narrative, and you can continue that.

Like, I mean, there wasn't a decision. And I can speak for myself and I think a lot of the team at Bodybuilding, where when we were building campaigns and things like that, we were thinking about marketing. Yeah, there was a conversion on it. But it was how do we tie all of this back into helping people? How do we get people better. How do we improve what they're doing? And I think in this world, you, as executives, have to push that message to the team on a very consistent basis.

[00:41:31] JB: That's fantastic. And I remember how that value even came down to our relationship. And that was filtered down. I remember, one of our day-to-day contacts there, when he found out that I was going through a physical transformation and dropped a ton of weight, that was the entire meeting. He was so excited to hear how I did it. Did I use bodybuilding.com stuff for it?

And so, definitely, I saw that from many perspectives at that company. Well, thank you for sharing that. The vision, and sharing that vision, and using the tools that we have available, we do a lot of those things as well. So we have a few minutes left. Let's dive into – There's two topics I want to dive into. Hopefully, we get to both of them. One is a little bit about digital marketing. And the other is project management. And I know that's something you wanted to chat about.

So when we worked together at bodybuilding, the data was really, really important and how we looked at it and how you guys treated it and what you did with it. Talk to me about how important data is to making those decisions and how you look at that customer data and how you implement it.

[00:42:38] JL: Yeah. Data is – Comically enough, I've come to this a little bit of a new view on data. If you were to talk to me probably five years ago being at bb.com or coming out at that time, like it was the data tells everything. The data tells no lies. And as I've matured and grown and realized that sometimes, as a business operator, you have to make decisions with your gut. And sometimes it goes against what the data says. Now, that's the 1% to 2% of the time. 98% of the time, I love my data, live and breathe in it. But it can be – And the reason I bring that up first is sometimes it can be such a traumatizing and almost paralyzing experience for businesses, too. They live in their data so much that they can't actually take a bigger step back and say to themselves, like, “Where are we going as an organization? Directionally, are we headed in the right direction? Regardless of what our data says, are we involved with the right communities? Are we involved with the right people? Do we have the right people on the field.” I wanted to highlight that because I feel like, in this day and age, people are like, “Oh, we're a data-driven business.” And sometimes I'm like, “Well, that may or may not be a great thing." Because if you're only listening to the data, you're not listening to the rest of the world around you.

Now, when it comes to the data side, like if you directionally have your business pointed where you want it to go and everything – I mean, we did phenomenal things with data at bb.com. And I continue to do really, really strong customer-centric type data. Being in a sports nutrition world and a world of consumable products, understanding usage. like, when you can understand how a consumer is using a product and the frequency that they should be using it, and then you can build – One of the things that we did really well at Bodybuilding was we used that data to continue the conversation with a customer. Because if you can keep that customer using your product or being involved in your product, they're going to be stickier, they're going to have a higher LTV. You're going to have higher retention rates.

Because we had so much data and so many products, we had to get really good at, “Well, how do we do that to scale?” Right? Because having – I mean, we had 8000 SKUs, or some crazy number like that, and it's, “Well, some products are 30 serve, but they're consumed in 40 days. Some products are a 30 serve, but they're consumed in 90 days." And so we just got really sophisticated with, “How do we build this to scale? And then how do we automate getting that information in front of the user so that you can continue to increase your conversation and your relationship?” Right?

And so we were a big believer in using data more so as ways to empower more conversation that, I would say, using it for like some of the – Like the big business decisions. It's like we definitely did that. But like for us it was, it was that customer lens. Like, how do we use more data to get better relationships with our customers?

[00:46:12] JB: That's fantastic. Do you think that that's a mistake made as we look at the data and interpret it without the lens of the broader vision of the company? Because I know, the one thing I love about the industry I'm in is that data is readily available, and you can find out very quickly if you hit your KPI or not. But a lot of times, I think I can tend to get into the weeds of that data and forget what field I'm playing in or where I'm trying to go. Is that something you see a lot of people doing?

[00:46:44] JL: Yeah, yeah, myself included. I was probably one of the biggest contributors to that mindset, especially when I became a VP and P&L was something that was really on my shoulders. It was like numbers, numbers, numbers, KPIs, KPIs, whatever. And you got so wrapped up in it that you wouldn't take a step back to think about all the external influences and everything else that could be affecting your business, and those key metrics, and where you wanted to be positioned in the next year, two years, three years.

And as you think about it, I think it becomes almost like a swing upwards of as your career grows, and as you get a little bit higher going through manager, director, up to a C-Level, the data becomes a different way to action on it. Like, I can probably spend hours and hours and hours inside of my data and find really cool and interesting things. I would rather empower my managers and my directors to go and do that and then teach them and guide them through that experience of what to look for and what not to look for. What is a really driving factor of why certain things are acting a certain way? And help uplift them. Because that's really where I see myself now when I talk to my team, is trying to get them to my level as fast as humanly possible. Like, I'm not afraid of them taking my job. If they can, like that would be phenomenal. And I'd be extremely proud that they were able to do that.

And I think it's all in the lens of what you want to do with the data. That's why I say like, I think data can sometimes paralyze people. Because if you don't go in with like a strong intent, like, you can just go down a rabbit hole, and you can be there for hours, and you can – “Oh, well, this audience base doesn't converge on this. And this doesn't happen. And this doesn't happen.” And you forget the main reason why you got in there, because you'll just uncover a rabbit hole and dark hole and whatever it is after one another if you go in with that mindset. So I just try to go in with “what am I trying to solve?” Like if I'm trying to increase the lifetime value of my customers, like that's the lens I'm going in when I'm looking at data. If I'm trying to just increase retention rates, I'm going – And if I'm just trying to increase AOV. And then it's finding those few tactics that you want to test and make iterations on.

[00:49:27] JB: That's awesome. I remember a time when I went down a rabbit hole, my very first job, and I delivered this presentation. Again, I thought it was going to be amazing. And at the end, the question was, “Why does that matter?” And I didn't have an answer for them.

Awesome. So we're right at time. I want to dive into the project management stuff. While we were prepping for this in our prep call, I asked what are the things that you want to talk about? What are the things that are top of mind to you? You mentioned project management and the importance of it. And so talk to me a little bit about what that is? Where that fits in? And how you see it playing out from your perspective in your organizations?

[00:50:04] JL: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Project management for me is something – Again, Jamie, you said, like it was one of the topics I felt that was important to talk about, because I don't feel as though business operators understand the importance of what it can do for their businesses. I think a lot of times – Think about org charts, “I have a manager who runs email, and I have someone who runs my social, and I have someone who does this.” And you have all of these people. But nine times out of 10, no matter how great of a manager you are, there's still silos happening, and there's still people who are off doing their own thing in their own world, not communicating here and there.

And so when I was at Bodybuilding, this is the other thing, is we talk about what was transformative, like, what changed my trajectory, was no one actually knew that I was working the amount I was working, because they would just see me. Like they would just, “Oh, Jared is here. Oh, Jared is still here.” Like no one really thought about it.

And when we were presented with an opportunity to use the same type of software that our engineering team was using for all of their agile sprints, we were all – But we were all hesitant. Like we were marketers. We’re like, “No, we want freedom, and we want to be able to run and do crazy things."

And I remember it was probably a month, maybe a month, a month and a half into being into the toll and using a traditional agile environment. We meet on Mondays. We all talk about what we're working on. We talk about what didn't happen from the prior week. And I can remember I had my planning. About 30 minutes later, my director calls me in and he's like, “Yeah, we have a problem. You're doing too much work. And we need to hire someone to work underneath you.”

And I just remember looking and just being like, “Well, what do you mean?” And he’s like, “I’ve looked at your workload.” He’s like, “Why didn't you come and ask for help?” And I just remember thinking, like, “This is what I have to do.” It goes back to like my mentality when I got there, was like, “I wasn't not going to succeed.” And so that's like the one element that was really eye opening to me. It was like, “Oh, well, project management – For me, as a manager and as someone who is being looked at, it was able to show all the work that I was putting in and create that visibility.”

And so when I became a director in a VP level, I started to, again, think back to that, and how do I empower my team to just have a ton of freedom to go work on things that they think are important to the business? But how do I have some oversight into that without micromanaging. Like, I don't want to micromanage. But like as a business, we set our goals. Here's where we want to be at the end of this year. Here's our Q1 Goal, Q2 goals. How do you feed into that as an individual?

And so when I eventually brought project management underneath of me, when I was at the VP GM level, and every business that I've gone to, since I left Bodybuilding, I've implemented project management. And I've tried as hard as I can to bring someone in when feasible to be that lead project manager and drive things cross functionally. It seems crazy conceptually when you're like, “I'm going to hire someone just to sit in meetings and take notes and make sure work is getting done.” But you don't realize, people are so in their day to day. The person who's running email, and I’ll use that because that was my example, all I care about is my email metrics. Like, all I care about is my open rate, my click through rate, my revenue. Like that's where I'm focused.

So when I have to go hit numbers, I'm not going to pick up the phone and go call my product team and make sure I have inventory before I click send on this email. Like, I'm just going to go do it because that's where your head is. And having someone – Yeah, and having someone who can sit in between and say, “Okay, well –” Just in my world, like, “Hey, we're starting to run low on this SKU.” But that happens in a non-marketing meeting. Historically, that would probably maybe stay in your product or your ops, or now you have this person who has the ability to go back to marketing and say, “Hey, by the way team, just got in here. This is a big thing that you guys need to be aware of. Make sure your calendar is aligned to it.” And then ensuring that it actually happens. That's been instrumental.

I've also found that project management allows teams to work on what really, really matters and it prevents people like myself from injecting work into their week that isn't planned. Like my goal with my teams for the last probably eight years, Jamie, has always been, “I don't want anyone working past two or three on a Friday. Because the majority of the time they're working 10-hour days, anyways, 11-hour days. The last thing I want is someone having to grind until five, six o'clock on a Friday.

And so over-time with project management, I've been able to get people into this really strong cadence of what they need to work on? How do they need to front load their week? And it comes down to the psychology of it. There's so much psychology around when you're best to be creative, when you're best to be analytical, and trying to help people frame their days and their weeks and everything in that same mindset, and then creating that buffer, that layer in between of the executives or the VPs being able to – But now, I guess, it's send a Slack or whatever, send a message and say, “Hey, I need this report.” “Well, do you need this report today? Or can it go into my backlog?” Right? And then it comes upwards through those individuals to me or to whoever the manager is to say, “Hey, just want to let you know that Jamie messaged me this morning and wants me to do this report. It's going to take me about three hours to do this report. If I do it, I'm not getting to this project this week. Are you good with that? Or do you want to go tell like, “How do you want me to handle this?”

And it created such an environment. And it doesn't come without its negatives. Like, I'm not the – I don't think you implement project management, you get an agile PM and like your life is solved. But I do think that if you – And especially in this world, we just got done talking a little bit about how do people – How do you live in this new remote world? Well, how do I know that my email marketing manager isn't spending four hours at a coffee shop and just answering messages every single day. Well, I don't know that. And I don't actually care about that. What I care about is, on Monday, we said we were going to do these 25 items. If those 25 items get done and they hit the deadlines that we have put in place, go to your coffee shop. I mean, like live your life. But let's focus on what matters and let's focus on what drives the business forward, and let's do it in a very organized, methodical approach where – Like I said, it might be something, “hey, this week, we're doing this campaign.” You have all the freedom in the world to go figure out what that campaign looks like. Just go have fun with it. Come back and tell me what you think it should look like by this date.

[00:57:52] JB: You know, I think you encapsulated right there, like, what's our new normal is? A lot of people are talking about, “Well, are we going back to the office? Should we go back to the way it was?” What you said there was let's focus on the important things, and then provide freedom to get those things done.

[00:58:09] JL: I mean, if I lived in a perfect world, if I could paint the perfect world. Like I'm an executive and CMO, but I don't run the whole show. My recommendation to my boss was I think that what you need is you need – And every six to eight weeks, depending on how your business runs and operates, you need the decision makers to all come into a room for one week. Everybody gets in the room. We talk about everything that needs to happen over the next quarter or however your timeframe is. And that is where you strategically plan all of your meetings, “Hey, for this three-hour block, it's going to be nothing more than what are we doing in email marketing over the next two months. This block is another three hours on what are we doing from a community standpoint.” And that gives you the face-time. That gives you the strategic time. And then how the team goes and executes, like you just have to believe you have the right players on the field. Like you drew up the plays and you did it together as a group. To me, that would be the ideal situation, because I do think there's still a ton of value in having face time, getting people in the same room. That helps so much with what we’re talking about before, the culture. Having that knowing people, knowing your coworkers, but that does it – What's the point in going back to the office if most of the people spend three or four hours at watercooler talk. Or take hour and a half lunches. Or spend a 45-minute commute that just makes their life miserable one way every day? But how can we create environments? And how can we create processes that empower people, but also create that feeling. That feeling that is hard to create in this virtual world?

[01:00:04] JB: Yeah, thank you for elaborating on that. The one thing you said earlier that I haven't heard anyone talk to when they're talking about project management, because there's the obvious pushback of, “Okay, now, there's another tool I have to use, and another thing, and another process.” Like you said, I want the freedom. We're marketers. We want to go do the freedom. We want freedom to go do what we want to do. And the pushback right from the team is going to be, “Great. Another thing I have to do. And this is going to inhibit me."

But you mentioned, and I've really never heard anyone say this, why it's important to them, like that visibility. Because there is an authority dynamic when you or I say, “Hey, I need this report.” Like, immediately, it becomes the most important thing, because we're the boss. But we often don't see how much of that work is getting done and how important those project management and the tools to use, how important it is for the visibility of the person for us to see, “Oh, my Lord, this person is doing a tremendous job and an unbelievable amount of work. We need to help them out.”

[01:01:10] JL: And I think it's only because I experienced it. I think it's unique because it hasn't happened to a lot of people. Like you don't hear about that – I mean, you don't hear about that side of the story. But because I was on that side of the story, like, now, when I present it to my teams, when I come into a new business, or even like as an advisor or a consultant or anything like that to other businesses, it's easy when you can put yourself in that shoe. And you can explain to those individuals the benefit that they are going to see from it. And it's comical.

Also, I've never had an employee, at least a good one, who doesn't, at some point or another in their week, make a list of everything that they're going to do. Like it’s in a notebook, or it's in a spreadsheet, or it's somewhere, and just convincing everyone or convincing people to, “Hey, you can still make your physical, you can still write it down, you can still journal it, you just have to move it here.” Like, you’re already doing it. You just have to put it here for that visibility.

And something else that we didn't talk about on project management is the expectation of peers. Like, I found that to be one of the more interesting outputs of me, especially in bodybuilding, was there was a handful of us on the marketing team who – I mean, we really embraced it. And we really, really – I mean, we were putting everything in there that we could possibly do. We were planning our backlogs for like three or four weeks. Like we were really into it.

What that created was it created peer-to-peer accountability. And you never wanted to be the person in the room who walked in and was like, “Oh, here's my four things I'm working on this week,” when the other four people in the room were like, “Hey, here's my top four priorities. Here's what I have to get done by the middle of the week. And here's what I need to wrap up at the end of the week." All of a sudden there's this level of accountability and not even recognition, just visibility, in interdepartmental, which creates really, really interesting dynamics. And it also creates more conversation about the topics that matter to you as an individual.

And I think that's something else that doesn't get talked about enough. If you're an affiliate manager and you want to run a campaign, and you need banners, and you sit down and you open your sprint, and you're agile planning, and your design team goes and your banners aren't in there, like, there's your chance. Like you have that chance to be like, “Hey, design team, I put this request in two weeks ago. Why is it still in the backlog?” Because you have that narrative in front of, A, project manager and, hopefully, you're your direct boss, now all of a sudden that conversation, it's an open one. And it's not an attack. It’s I just need to understand what the process is, because I put this request in two weeks ago and it's still not being addressed. I really need these banners done.

And I think that is something else that just doesn't get shown a lot to embrace project management. Like to your thing, it's just like, “Oh, it's another list. It's another tool.” But it's like, “Hey, you know all those headaches that you get every week when you don't get your request that you want, or you don't get your assets, or you're not getting web updates? Well, here's your tool to empower you to have that conversation with your coworker.”

[01:04:51] JB: Outstanding. So my last question – And I now have 40 other questions on this topic alone, but we don't have time today. But the last question is if I'm an advertiser listening and I'm running a department, and maybe I'm a CMO or a director, and we've not incorporated, but I want to learn more about this and maybe start implementing it, do you have any direction of like where did you go? How did you dip your toe into it? What was the first steps?

[01:05:18] JL: I mean, I was blessed, because it was already being used in other departments at the business. So we were already using it in our development and our engineering department. So we had project managers on site, but it never touched content, or it never touched marketing. It was an engineering function, which I think is what most people think about when they think about project management. It's like, “Oh, yeah, it's for web dev." It's to launch new things.

But what I've done now is, because I have the background in it, like, I kind of know what to do as I'm looking through tools. I think a great place to start would just be understanding what agile is. I've sent former executives, just, “Here's some YouTube links on what agile means and what it is.” The tools nowadays, oh, my goodness, they have evolved so much from when I got started. The integrations into your Google Calendar, the integrations into your Slack channel. Like, it's so easy now to integrate it into your world.” But the biggest thing that you would need, if you're headed down that path and like you're in a company now and you're like, “I'm really, really disorganized. We're missing deadlines. I just don't feel like where structured is.” You have to have a champion. And it can be yourself. Like it can 100% be yourself. But like, without a champion and without adoption, it'll fail. That's the biggest thing that I've seen people fail on, is the thinking that you can dip your toe in and it'll be successful across your org. You can dip your toe into learn about it. But the moment you pull that cord and you're like, “Hey, I'm going to go pay for a subscription to – Or I'm going to go month to month with this tool." Like the moment you make that investment, you need to be willing to say, “I'm going to champion this. I'm going to push for it. I'm going to be the voice who annoys everyone for the next six months of my life to get this tool to actually be utilized. And to really get it.

And I would also – I mean, I always encourage people, when the time is right, hire someone to do it. Don't try to do it all yourself. Understand the importance of having someone whose sole purpose. Is it how cool something looks? Is it revenue numbers? Is it any of the other BS? Their job is solely, “This project needs done by this date. And these are the four people that need to sign off on it." Taking and empowering that person to not care about the output, not care about the design, not care about the performance. Simply care about the fact that it has to get done, and I need these four people to say yes to it, can really, really change the growth of your business because you're allowed as a business operator, you're no longer worried about deadlines. You're worried about making sure the right thing gets out the door. And it's someone else's responsibility to ensure it goes out at the right time.

[01:08:46] JB: Awesome. Jared, so much in here. I have really enjoyed our time today and learned a ton. Really exciting and great to learn so much about you. But so much about leadership, and your career path, and work ethic, and project management. Thank you so much for joining me today. If any of our listeners want to reach out to you and continue this discussion with you, what's the best way for them to either follow you or reach out?

[01:09:11] JL: Yeah, I mean, I think LinkedIn is obviously the best place. I'm trying to use my social media at this point for only things that can be beneficial to the business, understanding new ads and things like that, and less time getting caught up in some of the other social media that can time suck three hours of my life away. But LinkedIn is a great place. I love networking on LinkedIn. I check it on a regular basis. If anyone wants to reach out, just reference the show. That way it kind of cuts through some of the sales noise also that comes through on LinkedIn. But that would be great.

[01:09:45] JB: Awesome. Well, I will include a link to that in the show notes. And again, I learned a ton. I know our listeners will as well. I really appreciate you for taking now an hour and 20 minutes of your time and rescheduling so many times. We had tried to do this a number of times. So I appreciate your willingness and your availability. But thank you again so much for joining us today.

[01:10:07] JL: Yeah. Thank you for having me, Jamie. It's always great to connect.

[01:10:10] JB: Definitely.

[OUTRO]

[01:10:13] JB: Well, Jared, thank you. First and foremost, thank you so much for spending time today. And thank you for your flexibility and schedule. And we even had some technical errors on my end on this podcast that we were able to get through. So thank you for sticking with us and getting through that. I really appreciate our relationship and friendship and your partnership with my company. And really, this time today, I learned so much. So I really appreciate you. Thank you very much.

For our listeners, man that was jam packed. I got to grab my notebook here. So much things for us to kind of remember. And I really want to speak to those affiliate managers, those assistants, those account managers, the individuals who are maybe in their 20s, 30s in their career and they're wondering, where do they go? What do they do? There were some really big things here that Jared did that I think are amazing.

The first is determining what people you want to work for. What companies you want to work for. And emailing those CEOs. Emailing those people who can make decisions to find your next career path. Have you done that? Have you even thought of that or heard of that before? That is fantastic. But really what I saw Jared’s path, we talked about this a little bit, was this work ethic. Being okay with being the first one in the last one out. Adding to that just a curiosity, and then a willingness to ask any question and being the dumbest person in the room.

I talk about a little bit being the empty cup and being able to come to a situation where you don't know the answer, and you're okay with that. And my cup is empty. I don't know. You may know. I'm going to ask you those questions. I thought it was really interesting that Jared and I had some similar issues or instances of having an acronym and not knowing what it meant and having to go ask. So that work ethic, that curiosity, but also the ability to look at yourself and turn inward. That self-awareness of going, “Okay, well, what could I do better here? Or what can I learn about myself? Or are there things I need to change to become better?”

So if you're looking at your career, you're trying to figure out where you want to go, what you need to do, like remember those things; work ethic, curiosity, and self-awareness, and looking for a new job. Like what a great way to do. That actually reminds me of what my father used to do and what he taught us on how to find jobs.

The other thing you want to bring up in any of your conversations, Jared talked about buffering questions. That was really a great way of slowing down things. Things can happen so fast in what we do in digital marketing, but also, in all the meetings and everyone you're working with, whether you're an affiliate manager and an agency, or you're an affiliate manager in a company, or you're doing anything. You'll be in meetings. You'll have discussions with people and the first responses to answer their question. But you can have buffering questions or buffering a technique of slowing things down.

So definitely, go back, listen to that section. And we just talked about that at work today. That was a great thing. We talked a lot about leadership. I really enjoyed learning how he handles things now in this different environment. And he really said something that I think, when we talk about what this new normal is I really think he hit a nail on the head here, is let's focus on the important things. And then let's not worry about anything else. So can the important things get done if your team is working remote? Then that's fine. If they need to be face to face, then that's – Just focus on those things that are important.

And then we talk and dove into project management. What I loved on this aspect – I've done several implementations of this myself, and there's always pushback from the team that you're asking to use these tools. And frankly, anytime you want to use another tool, or a process, or a system, there's pushback of, “Okay, another system.” A lot of that can happen if you've had systems and processes that you didn't follow through on. And so there can be some fatigue in there.

But what Jared brought up, because of his unique experience, is why it's so important to the people who are going to be using these project management, task management, agile kind of systems, is the visibility into the amount of work that you do to the people above. That is huge. Why would you want to do that? Because you want them to see how much work you have. How much you're doing. How much value you're adding to the organization. And that can be very, very hard to do especially in a remote environment when we're not sitting right next to each other.

So when you're on this thing, “Oh, great, another management tool.” Listening to this podcast, not this call. But you're thinking another management tool. That's the area. I've never heard anyone say it so succinctly. Those tools, project management as a philosophy and then an activity, and using those tools, it provides visibility into the amount and the quality of work that you're doing that is almost impossible to get any other way.

So if you're looking at this and you have a project management initiative going on, and it is frustrating for you, try to look at it through that way. Your superiors, your managers, your directors, they're going to be able to see the overwhelming amount of work that you're doing. You may also see that you have more free time to get other things done that you can as well. But there's so many great things on this call. I really hope that Jared and I get to chat again. Again, not on the call. On the podcast. So many great things on this podcast. Jared, thank you again.

And hey, if you found this episode helpful, and you found it valuable, please share it on your social media. Send it to someone that you think would really benefit from this discussion that Jared and I had today. And please leave us a five-star review at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and whatever podcast player that you use. That goes a long way to help us expose what we're talking about in these conversations to more people so we get to help more individuals.

And, hey, I am always available. You can get a hold of me two ways. If you need help with affiliate marketing, with any of the things we talked about today, you can reach me at gethelp@jebcommerce.com. And there my dog goes again. So gethelp@jebcommerce.com. And you can also go to calendly.com/jamiebirch if you want to put time on my calendar to talk through some of these things. No commitment. No charge. No nothing. I like to make my time available for you, our listeners, to really help you with any digital marketing leadership or career issues and obstacles, challenges you may be having. Definitely take advantage of that.

And if you would like to be on the podcast, we would love to have you. Or if you have an idea for a podcast subject or discussion, you can just email me at gethelp@jebcommerce.com. We'd love to get you slated especially if you know someone who you think would make a great guest. We are planning out season three right now. So email us at gethelp@jebcommerce.com.

Well, I hope you found a couple things that you can learn from and implement from my discussion today. Again, Jared, thank you very much. And thank you guys for listening.

[END]

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