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Creative Series: Sam Baier, Elevate: Show Notes & Transcript

Post | Jun 04, 2024

Welcome back to Marketing Smarts! From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini (that’s us) comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. We deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from our combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. We tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

In this episode, we continue our Creative Series with Sam Baier. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and your other favorite podcast spots – follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re exercising your Marketing Smarts!

  • Episode Summary & Player
  • Show Notes
  • Marketing Smarts Summary
  • Transcript

Marketing Smarts: Creative Series: Sam Baier, Elevate

In this episode, we continue our Creative Series, focused on the issues facing creative agencies today and how they need to evolve to stay relevant. Our 9th special guest is Sam Baier, Senior Director, Brand at Elevate. They’re a full-service consulting firm that inspires high-performing organizations to find their limits and push past them. Hear how to create a fantastic partnership between brands and agencies, how expectations have changed over the years, why the sports industry is behind in the marketing space, why agencies need to be the strategic advisor, and how AI and new technology open the playing field for creatives. This episode covers everything from sports marketing to marketing agencies. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • How has sports marketing changed over the years?
  • Why do agencies need to be the strategic advisor?
  • How do you get brands to work together?
  • What is the role of AI in the partner experience?
  • How do sports sponsorships work?
  • What advice does Sam have for young professionals entering the creative industry?
  • How do you win in the brand partnerships space?
  • Quick-Fire: What’s Sam’s favorite thing to do on Sunday?

And as always, if you need help in building your Marketing Smarts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at:

Check out the episode, show notes, and transcript below:

Show Notes

What is Marketing Smarts?

From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. They deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from their combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. They tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

How do I exercise my Marketing Smarts?

Thanks for listening to Marketing Smarts. Get in touch here to become a savvier marketer. 


Please note: this transcript is not 100% accurate.

April Martini 0:00
If you’re trying to solve a problem, you can’t keep doing things the old way. This is Marketing Smarts – a podcast committed to helping you become a savvier marketing leader, no matter your level. And each episode will dive into a relevant topic or challenge that marketing leaders are currently facing will also give you practical tools and applications that will help you put what you learn into practice today. Now, let’s get to it. Welcome to Marketing Smarts. I am Anne Candido, and I am April Martini. And today we’re continuing our Marketing Smarts miniseries all around the topic of the issues facing creative agencies today, and how they need to evolve to stay relevant. The series brings together folks from both agency and corporate that all have different POVs on this topic, but are all experienced practitioners and thought leaders with decades of experience. And today we welcome our very special guests, Sam Baier, she’s a senior director of brand at Elevate, but before that she was with the Panthers and Charlotte FC doing marketing and digital marketing for them, as well as getting her start at Taylor, which we heard from made earlier in this series, communications agency. So in this episode, specifically, we talk about partnerships. And we talked about partnerships as a way to really elevate creative execution. And we talk a lot about sports partnerships here. But this philosophy of partnership extends to whatever partnership that you actually are having, whether you’re a small business, doing just smaller partnerships with local entities, or if you’re a bigger company doing more of these brand lead sponsorships with bigger entities, or your nonprofit, and you have your suite of partners that you’re leveraging in order to build your nonprofit. So within that there are several points that we focused on. One was the continued importance of the agency really bringing the big idea to the table. That is something that we’ve heard continually throughout, we’ve talked about the fact that there’s a value exchange between entities that really need to be focused on and this is where the agency is conserved as a really huge and important strategic partner. And we talk about how the intersection of consumer in this case fan really creates a unique way in and helps to elevate campaigns, content, whatever that marketing execution looks like. And finally, we talk about the importance of localization for those brands and businesses and agencies who actually operate within a geographical area, how important it is to actually localize and become part of the community. And with that, we’ll get into the issues facing creative agencies today and how they need to evolve to stay relevant.

Sam, welcome. We’re so glad to have you. Please introduce yourself.

Sam Baier 2:43
Awesome. Thank you so much for having me back. Right. So very excited to be here today. So a little bit about me is, I have been in the communications, marketing space for you know, 12 or so years, mostly in sports. So which has been really fun journey, I started out at a PR agency called Taylor. And then I went to the team side here in Charlotte worked for both the American football team, the Carolina Panthers, working as a digital partnerships, manager. So that was really managing everything digital that happened between the brands and the team. And then I moved over to Charlotte FC, which is the other football, as we like to call it. And I was the head of marketing, a little bit different number roll, really learned about the ins and outs of marketing for a brand new sports franchise. So that was really exciting. And then recently, I joined the team at Elevate. So I went back to my agency roots, really excited to be part of Elevate, which is a sports agency that basically does everything that a sports team is supposed to do and just does it on a bigger and better scale. And really is that helpful arm for teams that don’t have the resources to really, you know, do those big moments like naming rights, or you know, the big measurement things that you know, that marketing that brands are demanding these days. So, really exciting to be part of the Elevate team. And that’s what brings me here today. Awesome.

April Martini 4:20
Well, I mean, I know that a lot of our conversation today we want to focus around those partnerships. And I think the breadth of your experience on kind of both sides of the fence right? So oftentimes, we talk about it client agency, because as you know, my friend and very well here she was client and I’m agency but your purview will be interesting because you have the quote unquote, client and agency side and have gone back and forth, which I think will make it really interesting. So I would love if you could start out you gave your roles and your responsibilities. But one of the big things we’ve been talking about is how the quote, you know, creative agency has changed over the years. So I would love for you We’re to talk about through your purview. You know, you were in agency A while back, now you’re back in the middle, you know, kind of what are you seeing that’s different? What’s evolved? And what are maybe challenges and opportunities?

Sam Baier 5:13
Yeah, absolutely. I think, you know, every agency in some way has to be creative, right? Whether you’re actually, you know, creating content or coming up with a creative way to get your message out there, you know, actual visualizing and that creative. So I think, in general, creative is such a general word that, and if you’re not doing creative, you’re, you know, you’re going to be left behind. Right. So I think that’s, that’s the number one thing is that just realizing that that creative doesn’t just come from a creative agency. I know, I listened to the episode with Maeve. And she kind of said the same thing as we’ve had to, we’ve had to kind of expand our services and really fulfill that full campaign level. Strategy. Right. So I think, for me, starting out in the agency world, everyone kind of had their lanes a little bit more. And you I mean, you definitely tried to pull pieces of the pie and knows this. We were we were a little aggressive about that. But I think, you know, the biggest thing that I’ve seen as shifted is the demand for just the best idea from anywhere. And really understanding that collaboration is huge, between, you know, the insights team, the technology side, the strategy side, the, you know, the media side, and really understanding the full 360 campaign and just the demand that brands have for that 360 per view versus okay, you’re doing this, you’re doing this, you’re doing this, and you might talk a little bit, but just not be as integrated, as you know, as the demand is now. So I think that’s, that’s one of the biggest things that I’ve seen shifted is a good idea can come from anywhere, and that collaboration between all the different disciplines has just gotten closer, and, you know, more important to integrate.

April Martini 7:14
And speaking to that point to when we think about partnerships and integrations like this, it’s definitely something that has evolved as well, right. And initially, like you had mentioned, like naming rights and names on jerseys. And those sorts of things were the initial way that people would talk about partnerships or sponsorships, especially with sports, or signs in the indie arenas and stuff like that, too, is still a big one. And those things still exist. But this world has really grown, it’s become very sophisticated. And it’s become a creative execution for a lot of brands, and not just big brands anymore, but small brands. So can you speak a little bit more to how that is evolved? And how people are starting to engage in different ways?

Sam Baier 7:59
Absolutely, I think sports, I feel like people are a little surprised by this. But I feel like they’ve always been behind kind of the marketing curve. They’ve been, they’ve been slow to evolve, they’ve been slow to kind of adapt, that marketers mindset, really kind of stuck in that media value piece of just having your brand, like you said, on the building in the background, maybe it’s the CEOs favorite team. And that’s why you do a partnership, you know, all of those kinds of reasons that, you know, that didn’t demand that ROI, like there is today that, you know, tangible ROI. Right. So, I think, you know, I think what we’ve seen is that brands that are upping their expectations for the performance of their partnerships, and teams have been slow to adapt to that changing environment. And so I think one of the great things about Elevate is we help fill that gap, and we help get the teams and properties, you know, back into that mindset of okay, being a marketer and marketers mindset, because they literally are marketing platforms, these, you know, teams and leagues and, you know, partners in general, really understanding that, that, that if you were selling a marketing platform, and brands are hoping to come together, collaborate on that magic that then create something bigger than, you know, than the two separate entities. So I think it’s really about, you know, the upping of the expectations of both the brands to demand ROI and also the expectations from consumers. Right, you know, they don’t want to just see a name on a building, they want to see what impact is that having on me as a fan? Are they providing value to my fan experience in the building? Are they providing value to the community outside of outside of the building, and all of those things that influence their, you know, their purchase decisions? So I think, really, it’s all about upping the the you know, the exit rotations have gone up substantially as there’s the expectations of consumers. And then also, you know, the limited budgets and demanding that ROI from that those partnerships.

April Martini 10:12
So me being less versed in this world, I hate admitting being less versed in anything in front of and but I will do it. Yeah,

I mean, you gotta call a spade a spade.

But Sam, I, I obviously tracking with the overview of you know, okay, it used to be just a name on a billboard or a sign in the stadium or whatever. But can you talk through for the listeners kind of what is the expectation now, like, in my head, I go to like, is it more full package or campaign base? Like we were talking at the beginning, you kind of started to go there with? Will the fans expect stuff outside the stadium or value for them? Like, is there an example. And obviously, you don’t have to give names or anything like that, but kind of walking through the journey as it exists now versus when it was just, oh, it’s the CEOs favorite team. So of course, they’re going to sponsor them. And just give us an example of that, if you could.

Sam Baier 11:02
Yeah, I think the way, you know, when I was on the team side, and we were thinking about our big assets, or, you know, bigger partnerships that we were hoping to bring into the fold, you know, we really started to evolve from, here’s the list of assets that you get to, here’s the overall kind of campaign and here are all the assets that help you bring it to life. So, you know, we would come up with a creative platform, or you know, is specific to the brand’s objectives, whether it’s a specific audience they want to reach, whether you know, they need, they’re looking for brand awareness, whether they’re looking for full sales, funnel, activation, etc, and designing a custom program, and bring it to life for them. And I think that that’s, that’s kind of the biggest differences. I’ve seen sales decks from years ago. And it was just, here’s what you get. And here’s the dollar amount, versus, hey, we thought about this. And here’s how, you know, here’s an insight about our fan base, and in the end about who you want to reach, that you can build a platform around. And here are the assets that you’re going to need to activate it. And so I think the more that we can move toward that, and the brands can see it coming to life, and that it’s a custom, you know, personalized to them and their business objectives. I think that’s, that’s really where the industry, I would say some, some are doing it well, so I’m not gonna say it’s heading because there, it’s still it does exist. But I also feel like there’s more work to be done to, to kind of shift that mindset to really deliver on the brand’s expectations there. Yeah, I

April Martini 12:40
think this is a really important point, because it’s really the art of influencer marketing. And a lot of people are very scared of doing this for several reasons. One, they’re afraid that they’ll get lost in the actually the brand. Yep, some are worried about how much it’s going to cost. Some are worried about em, I am gonna even get that ROI. And I think that no matter if you’re talking about a sports partnership, or in for our nonprofit, you’re talking about bringing on other supportive partners that are going to help you be able to make your nonprofit thrive, or other businesses who are doing other partnerships, or showing up in different places, like all of it is, comes down to like a core principle based, how do you show up in this space and actually win? So I was hoping that maybe you could talk a little bit about when we’re saying like, these expectations and or expectations on both sides. But how does somebody show up in this space? And really, when I

Sam Baier 13:37
think there has to be an authentic connection for the partnership to happen. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be obvious. I feel like sometimes partnerships are, you know, at the surface there like that’s, that’s a little surprising, but the more you dig into it, and you see this with collabs all the time, right, you know, whether I feel like there was one between Crayola and another brand, that it just on the surface, like just didn’t make sense. But then the more you dug into it, and you understood that, and you got to a little bit more of the why and the storytelling around it, it was like Oh, da and so I feel like the best partnerships are kind of like that. And then there’s also the, the kind of hometown feel as well that I think committing to where your brand has either started or has major offices or have their commute their, you know, their workforce. So for instance, Ally, you know, they are committed in Charlotte and Detroit to a lot of to a lot of the local teams, right, because that’s where, you know, their workforce works in place and and, you know, feel they feel indebted to that community to really, you know, or not indebted, but they feel a responsibility to help the community there. So I think there’s two ways then I think that’s it’s the, a little bit surprising, but on the surface, but under underneath really makes sense. And then there’s also the authentic connect Shouldn’t have committing to where you are, and something that’s really true to your brand. But I mean, there’s so many examples of that of that happening. And I think those are the fun partnerships that I like to that I draw inspiration from. Because I think, from a sports marketing perspective, sometimes it’s like, okay, you know, we want to be in New York and LA and Chicago, and just like the biggest cities in the country, because they’re perceived as the, you know, the largest reach, right? And he loved that word reach.

A better reach, yeah, love that. Love that.

But sometimes, it’s really not those big ones that make sense, you know, and trying to dig into the actual data and insights behind it and really understand who you’re trying to go after, and what properties really help you do that in a more efficient way than you can do by yourself.

April Martini 15:50
Hmm. Well, and I hope so coming off that I have kind of a two part question. The first part is one, and I haven’t hypothesis, but why do we think the sports industry is behind part one? And then part two, you know, the My last question was kind of more like to talk us through from the inside of the sports out in your role, and you covered some of this, but how do you bring the properties along? You know, how do you get them maybe out of because to Anne’s point, this is not specific to the industry of sports, we see this a lot. And so our job often is how do I convince them? That influencers and partnerships are the way that I should do it? So two part question.

Sam Baier 16:30
So first, I think there’s a couple reasons why teams and properties might be a little bit behind, I think, number one, how they’re staffed. And the resources, they I think people are really surprised to learn that most of them operate like small businesses, and have less than, you know, 50 people putting on, you know, 20 plus events a year, and selling tickets, and marketing and sales and all of that. So I think, I think the resources and how they’re currently staffed is an issue as far as related as far as being able to rise to those, those increasing expectations. And I also think that, you know, a lot of sports have relied on TV viewership as their number one source of revenue, and just a lot of their assets are all geared toward that, right. So think about all the signage that we talked about, in a building the jersey, what’s what’s on the Jersey, and the, you know, all the patches, I mean, you see constantly, they’re trying to innovate, getting brands into, you know, the TV visible, different ways, whether it’s the pitching mound in baseball, whether it’s the the new and the hockey boards, that are all digital and kind of placed in versus in venue, I think a lot of the assets, the big assets that they have to sell are, you know, traditional assets. So I think there’s, so they don’t want to let go of those, right, and they, and they still see large investment to those. And so a lot of them are, you know, staffed to create more of those and, and to really kind of highlight that. However, I also think that the teams really, and this was what I found, when I when I went to the Panthers on the digital side is, yeah, huge digital platforms, and they need to be treating them like, influence, like social influencers are right, and by monetizing their channels in the right ways. And really having being strategic about it. And I think brands are really looking to, to find ways to use them very similar to the way that they use social influencers and in storytelling and getting their brand out in the world and their content creators as well. So I think that that’s also a big part of it, too, is that they have creative teams that are coming up with all this content and pumping out so much content week after week after week, how do they monetize that in a way that in a way that is still authentic to the fanbase and really, you know, helps tell the story of the team? And how can brands be part of that storytelling versus trying to just push their message? So I think your question around, you know, why are they so behind, it’s really the resources and where they’re putting those resources currently, instead of really investing in these emerging revenue streams through their digital channels.

April Martini 19:33
I think that range true for what you experienced as well. And I’ll take it one step further because I feel like the behind thing is a perception I think the brand side has based on different expectations. So if you’re looking at it from the team out there trying to sell as you point you pointed out real estate and brand marks. Yep. Like the NFL has a book that’s about five I’ve inches that that’s basically your whatever you’re going to be the official sponsor of from the iPhone, to all that. So the mindset is like, you’re buying our property, you get to use our property, and therefore that makes you more popular. So that’s kind of, and you can definitely correct me if I’m wrong here, Sam, but like, that’s always been like a team mindset, right? Yeah, yep. And then you have like, the brand mindset, which is like, well, I need to make money from this, this is just not a fun thing for us as a brand to go do goes back to the comment, which is, how do I make money from this, which then brings that intersection, as you said, Okay, where’s my consumer, my customer intersecting with that fan base, so that I can create a compelling, clever connection, that may be a bit unexpected, but grabs people’s attention, and gives them another reason to one to try my brand outside of the fact that I’m just borrowing the popularity. And then you have the third little bucket up here, which is the agency bucket, which is supposed to unite those two together. But the agency traditionally has been okay, how do I get these and negotiate these brand marks? Or how do I do a stunt that drives eyeballs? Or how do I negotiate media so that I can get airtime from my TV commercials? So I feel like the expectations and what everybody wants, hasn’t necessarily all intersected? Is that a fair statement to make?

Sam Baier 21:31
I think you said it more eloquently than I could for sure.

April Martini 21:35
Don’t compliment her come on.

Sam Baier 21:39
You know, she’s still I still think of her with my clients. So I always have to compliment her. And I think that that’s where agencies really need to step in and be that strategic adviser on both sides of the house, and really be that go between that that forces that intersection and forces that collab, that collaboration, right? It’s not just, I’m you know, you’re selling, I’m buying, right, it’s a how do we create a platform together, utilizing the assets that you know, through the partnership? And also, you know, what is the brand bringing to the table as well? How is the brands going to help the team and property? That’s a lot of what we talked about. When I was working at Charlotte FC, right? We, we were the new kid on the block, no one knew who we were, we were a brand from scratch. So you know, working with partners like Coca-Cola and ally, you know, to Hey, can you help us get our like, get our name out there? Like, what can you how can you help us with our goals? Right? So a lot of it was selling tickets, a lot of it was brand awareness, like, Could we do an out of home campaign together ally put this huge as huge out of home, on the side of their parking deck that you see on the highway around the city, they branded Charlotte FC and re before every season, that’s hugely valid, valuable, 14, right, because, number one, they can’t afford it themselves. And number two, like the brand is helping bring that to life and in a meaningful way, that’s beneficial to both. So I think that’s where an agency can come in, and really advise on the value exchange that’s happening, right? We want, we want these partners to we want it to be mutually beneficial. I’m not saying that it always happens that way. Because sometimes, as we know, sometimes brands are, you know, want to check a box or their stills the old school way, like, Oh, my CEO really wants to do this partnership. So let’s just do it. But I think where we really try to come in is, is really understand that intersection of value exchange, and how can we how can we make it, you know, really meaningful for both parties?

April Martini 23:44
So I’m going to ask sort of an obvious question, because it just dawned on me which because you don’t understand sports, because

Sam Baier 23:51
that makes it easy for me to answer.

April Martini 23:55
I may not love sports like you, but I know enough to be dangerous. I’m not going to profess on all. But I think you did say something really interesting there. Because in my head, it was my word would be transactional, right? Like historically, it would be like brand once. You know, team has this package, like you said, and the five inch book of here’s the things you can buy. But what I’m hearing you say is actually your clients are both sides. Yes. And so I would love to hear some insight and you don’t have to, you know, share the secret sauce or anything like that. But how do you service both because I’m assuming now as I’m hearing you talk that it’s like, you may have a book of teams and a book of brands. And it’s like you’re you know, marrying them together. But also I heard you talking about like the creative big idea.

So talk about the process of doing that because another piece that we want to talk about here is digital and our big thing is digital will never replace our jobs, but I’m going to that train of thought of like there would be no way to do what you do. So I would love to just hear some, some conversation around that.

Sam Baier 25:05
I think what we try to do is so in my role, so in my vertical, I work specifically on behalf of brands. But as the agency as a whole, the bulk of the business is actually working with teams and property. So there is relationships across the board. So I think what we what we really try to do is collaborate when it makes sense and appropriate, of course, right. I think it’s really important to understand the other side of the house, whether on the agency side, and I think that that’s something that I didn’t understand early in my career, how beneficial it is having having been in that other seat. So I think one thing that we really tried to do is, you know, obviously relationship standpoint, with teams and properties, but also drawing on experience and understanding what they’re dealing with and, and what that value could be that the brand can bring to the table. So that is through, you know, the discovery process around understanding. Okay, we want to do this partnership with Austin FC, they don’t have a problem selling tickets, they’re sold out every game, what do they need help with? And what kind of brands like Crest toothpaste do to help them not to shout out p&g brands? But you know, boop, boop.

April Martini 26:22
So out number.

Sam Baier 26:25
I think it’s really kind of digging into and understanding what each brand or property has a problem and how do we help solve it together, and being that middle person that can that can bring together those two problems and find a mutual solution. You know, whether it is you know, hey, we want to reach us, Hispanics who love soccer are really into it, you know, that family dynamic? And then oh, yeah, this, this team has that audience, but you know, what, they don’t engage properly with them. Right? So they might have some Spanglish content, but they don’t have the resources to really invest in engaging that audience. How can a brand come in and help do that together? So that would just be an example of that. And

April Martini 27:09
you said in the first time, you’re on our caucus, are you she the only repeat we’ve had? She’s the only repeat we’ve had,

Sam Baier 27:16
oh, my gosh, are you kidding?

April Martini 27:19
You’re the star on the Marketing Smart podcast.

Sam Baier 27:23
I love it.

April Martini 27:24
So you said before and I don’t know if you still believe this? So I’ll ask you. But we you said before was when we asked, How do you know you have the best solution or the right solution? You said when both sides are a little bit uncomfortable. And that’s always stuck with me, because it always stuck with me, because I thought it was so brilliantly said, because I think sometimes when we are trying to do these things, we’re trying to make it very easy for everybody to be happy. And sometimes it then becomes a very traditional or very transactional solution. Yeah. And instead of like really trying to go for it, and really try to make the properties and the brand, basically have this combination that works the hardest for both. So is that something you still believe? Is that still true? Or do you think differently now?

Sam Baier 28:15
I definitely still think that that’s true. I think it’s gotten harder, though. I think it’s gotten harder to push brands in teams out of their out of their comfort zone, I think the demand for ROI, the low risk, you know, the low threshold for risk that they’re willing to take. I think that that’s gotten harder, but I still firmly believe that that’s really where the magic happens when everyone gives a little bit, you know, you try something that’s a little bit different than what you’ve always done, right? If you’re trying to solve a problem, you can’t keep doing things the old way, clearly, it’s probably created the problem or exacerbated the problem. So how are you going to solve it by doing something different. And so I think continuing to push our clients continue to push the change and property to innovate and in their offerings, and what they’re willing what they’re willing to, you know, to do for brands in this new environment. That’s where an agency is supposed to come in and be that strategic adviser on both sides of the house. But I think it’s been increasingly difficult from the demand for ROI, and the demand and the limited budgets and also on the agency side, like, you want to keep the clients you want to keep them happy, right? And so knowing how much you can push and which brands and which relationships you have that can really push out of that comfort zone to create that. So I think I firmly believe that that is still the way to make partnerships, really effective, but I think it’s definitely gotten harder.

April Martini 29:51
Let’s go at the Digital angle of things. We’ve talked around it and about it directly throughout this but and I preempted this before Right, so one of the big questions we get is the AI angle. Yep. And what this is going to mean for all of our worlds, and we’ve talked about the need to have a more unified experience and campaign and your point is well taken of these sports teams have major platforms on the digital side that they’re not leveraging the way they could. So what is the current role of digital in the situation? And what do you see it being able to help with in the future? How will it change? Right? So I’ll give you an example. One of the examples we’ve talked about is like, we say, don’t never take our job, right? Because you ask AI to write or ChatGPT to write a brand story. And it comes out like gibberish.

But are generic or very

generic? Yeah, very generic. Yep. But there are cases where we know that some of our creative partners even to get started on copywriting will say, you know, give me some thought starters. Oh, yeah,

Sam Baier 30:55

April Martini 30:57
So we’ve talked about it being a tool. So just Yeah, talk about, from whatever angle you want the digital role in the partnership experience, and where you see it potentially going.

Sam Baier 31:09
For me, it absolutely is a tool in the toolbox. And I don’t think it’s necessarily the strategy around you know, it will never replace the strategy of which partner is the right fit, understanding the nuances of that, and whether it’s part data part gut, you know, the heart and science of it, I think that there’s definitely, there’s always going to be a role for that. And I think, seeing that strategy, and consultancy, I think is always going to be something that it cannot replace, however, the actual doing of the work, I think that there’s a huge opportunity to be more efficient around the execution or, and utilizing it as a tool to help in the execution of how that of just the what, right, so you, you determine the how and the why, and use tools like AI to really bring it to life. Everything from copywriting to even, you know, video pieces, I think video is is a huge is a you know, AI is, is replacing some bit, you know, no more stock video, right, it’s being able to pull it all together for you. So I think that there’s definitely the implementation pieces, I think that their AI can really be a huge tool and find a lot of efficiencies in a creative workflow to get there,

April Martini 32:32
I find this extremely fascinating and think about the video angle. So in that case, how does that work? So is it basically pulling snippets that then you can kind of fuse together? Or was it look like?

Sam Baier 32:47
Yeah, I mean, I think it’s still evolving. I haven’t used it firsthand. My husband owns a video production agency. So he is always trying to understand what what’s possible there. I think there’s still a lot to figure out with it. But there’s definitely, you know, you don’t need to go on site into the desert to shoot, you know, to shoot B roll of a that you need anymore. You can you can pull it straight from straight from AI. I think where it gets a little bit dicey, and they haven’t figured it out is people. I was gonna say that. Yep. I think that’s that’s going to be a huge piece that needs to get figured out. But I think helping tell the story and pulling in elements that maybe the you don’t have the resources for, or can kind of limit your resources and you to use it that way. But yeah, it’s really it’s, it’s kind of creepy. I mean, all of AI, it’s cool and kind of creepy, right? So especially the new updates that they made, where they can actually, like have a motion, which I don’t know why we need that. But I watched a video video of them telling a story like tell my daughter bedroom of a bedtime story. And then then they say no, make it more emotional, make it more dramatic, and it’s able to do that. And I’m like, I don’t know why we need that. I really don’t understand why we need that. But that exists, which is again, creepy, but kind of cool. Yeah,

April Martini 34:13
I was talking to someone that also owns a he does more like renderings, okay, and he was saying something similar about the stock video that for the first time the other day they were able to create like put inputs of I want this type of person and an actual, like an actual person that does not look

so imagine like the actors and actresses that are in Yeah,

Sam Baier 34:36
that’s why all the sag stuff was when that was a huge part of of that as well. Yeah. To protect actual people acting in this in this industry.

April Martini 34:49
Are they think that’s going to be the case for all of this footage too, which is generally copyrighted. And you have to get approvals from and all that stuff for life. Then they weren’t license. And I mean, that is a whole nother Pandora’s box to open, and how they’re going to control that I do not know. But it does create an interesting opportunity for smaller agencies who want to niche down and be able to do something very specific and do something very specific very well, which is what a lot of people have been talking about during the series, is the opportunity for smaller, more boutique agencies to really use skill in a different way to create highly compelling content, where before you would need people and you would need expensive cameras, and you would need all these things, and maybe small agencies couldn’t afford on the front end. But now, if you don’t need that, and you can still produce high quality content, it kind of like opens the play field. And I think

Sam Baier 35:57
I 100% agree. And I think I think that that’s a really exciting update in the industry, really, because I think it opens up the opportunity. You know, we see content creators everywhere, right? And so anyone with an iPhone, my, you know, six year old child can shoot a video, and it looks pretty good on an iPhone, you know, so it’s, I think it’s really, it’s democratized, you know, the ability to create content for a brand property, partnership, whatever. And, you know, like, to your point, you don’t need to spend $300,000, on a video production shoot, all you need is, you know, one person with a camera, maybe audio, a device that connects to the camera, and, you know, that’s it, or you know, and then and you use AI to fill in the fill in the gaps. So I think it’s really exciting, I think there will still be a demand for the really, really high end stuff, like think about movies, and all that all that stuff. But I think, where I think the advertising piece, because so much of it is moving to digital and social, that they want it to look like somebody created it in their backyard vs. it being a full on high production shoot, because it’s going on these platforms, where there’s content creators every day creating hundreds 1000s millions of pieces of content, it would look out of place, if it was this super, super high end cinematic, you know, cinematic video. And so I think there’s that demand for you know, do we need that? Do we need to spend all the money on that? How can we do this in a way that’s more authentic to the platforms that where people are consuming it?

April Martini 37:40
Since you’re sitting well, and I think it’s, in so many ways, the questions we get from our clients, and I’m sure you hear this are fear based? Yeah, no, like, is it going to take my job, but I think your approach and the excitement that you express about it, it goes back to the point of if you’re using it in the right way, and you’re evolving appropriately to put the tools in your toolbox, then that’s where the opportunity lives. Yeah,

Sam Baier 38:06
absolutely. I mean, we talk about this all the time with even just our kids, what skills are they going to need in you know, the New World, and it’s going to be being able to prompt AI effectively. And so to really have the strategy and the how and the why, and then you know, be able to use these tools in the most effective way to make it happen. And so what how is education How is like how we live supporting that, you know, that potential that you know, those potential skills so I think that that’s a lot we talk about that a lot is like how can we adapt to the way that we are, you know, the way that we live or the way that you know what, how they’re learning in school, but yeah, I think that that’s a huge piece of just education today is just understanding embracing the technology and understanding how to use it and how to use it the most effectively you can

April Martini 39:00
I did have my son tell me the other day Why

do I need to practice reading mom because the computer can read it to me. Oh, okay.

Sam Baier 39:06
Reading that’s a little bit that’s a little bit much but you know, think about it when we were in school you had to memorize flashcards, right? You memorize flashcards, you needed to memorize everything. Yep. And maybe you had a set of encyclopedias like I did in my house, but like, we didn’t know. Yeah, but then but then it evolved. I mean, Dora the Explorer is like, what do you do when you don’t know it? We look it up like and that’s you always, literally can ask theory, ask Google as whatever, and it tells them the answer or tells them you know more about a subject that they’re interested in. So I think it’s just a little bit different. Like we don’t need to memorize let’s use our brains in a different way instead of memorizing facts, like how can we kind of reframe how we use our brains and you know, understand the world a little bit differently? All

April Martini 39:53
right, so we’re rounding out our conversation and you brought up the youngsters so I would love for Are you to provide some advice to the younger generation? And obviously, we’re talking about our little kids now, but it applies, right?

So, you know, we just had the conversation about having to like, memorize and read and whatever, we get asked all the time to like young professionals entering what should they do? What what should they be after? What should they be learning? How do they get the jobs, they want? All of that kind of stuff? What is your perspective for folks just entering the creative industry, and again, the definition is broad. But

Sam Baier 40:28
one thing that I will say that is just helps me in my career immensely, and it it’s kind of old school, but it’s, it’s really learning how to build relationships. I think I ever cheated. The early underestimated that early in my career. And not that I didn’t, you know, not that I tried that I burned bridges, but I just didn’t invest the time into into really building the relationships and maintaining the relationships as well, as you move around in your career, you never know where the next opportunity is going to come from. So I think that one is a little old school, but I think just really investing the time whether it’s, you know, follow up Friday, and so every Friday, you’re sending five notes out or, you know, little things like reaching out on LinkedIn, and not just blindly, you know, requesting, which I get a ton of, and I’m still surprised by that. But give me a reason to accept your LinkedIn requests come on, I think really investing the time and building relationships, even early on, I think is hugely important. I think the other thing is, learning how to adapt your communication, I think we talked about we talked about this a lot is if you can’t communicate a message, whether you’re in a room through an email, you’re not going to go anywhere. So you could be the smartest person in the room. But if you can’t effectively communicate your idea or your point of view, you’re not going to be successful. And then I think the third thing that I recently had about six months off between roles. And I think one thing that I realized that I was so busy doing my job, that I forgot that I needed to keep learning. And so and to really, again, invest the time and not just doing constantly doing doing doing doing doing, but taking a step back and being like, Okay, this is a problem that we have to solve. What what new skill can I develop to help with that? And how can I continue the Meet the evolution of the industry. And I think that that’s something that maybe not young professionals, but I think a lot of people in my kind of mid career, we forget, because we’re so busy doing the job, and then all the responsibilities at home and the space of life, etc, I think the taking the time to actually learn and develop new skills or build on build on a skill that you already have, I think is something that’s hugely important. And just something to keep in mind throughout your career is to never stop learning.

April Martini 42:52
Yeah, I mean, I think that’s all great advice. And those are the human pieces right to the tech guy.

Sam Baier 42:57
And those are the things that AI is never going to be able to replace. So I think if you continually to invest in relationships, your communication, and developing new skills and understanding the changing world around you and how it relates to your industry or just the world as a whole. I think those are those are things that will make you successful no matter what.

April Martini 43:20
Awesome. All right, well, this is going to be new to Sam, because we didn’t do this last time you were on. But we switch gears a little bit. And I guess you did listen to one of the episodes. So maybe you know, but we want to ask just a couple rapid fire questions. So the people listening get to know you personally. They likely have nothing to do with anything we talked about today. Although this first one does because of your industry, but favorite sport to play or watch and you can get one of each.

Sam Baier 43:47
So I have recently become a huge golfer. Oh, I love to play golf. I love to watch golf. I love to attend attend tournaments. Women’s Golf has been a huge thing that’s always on in our house. Whoo Nelly Korda big fan? Yeah. So I would say golf, which I dabbled a little bit in from a business side when I was in my first agency role and I’m hoping, hoping soon I get to do something in my current role so that the passionate and work collide. All

April Martini 44:19
right. I know you don’t have a lot of time because you have little kids like me, but favorite series to binge watch if you do get the time.

Sam Baier 44:26
So my husband and I are actually big TV watchers, the kids go to bed and it’s like okay, what are we watching tonight? So we recently rewatched all of suits. It’s a really fun one. We we watched it when it was first came out. And then I feel like the last year came back in popularity. And so we watched it again and it still holds up. We loved it. But then I also have a guilty pleasure of bridgerton. Now the new season last night, I don’t know my husband was watching something downstairs and I’m like I’m going upstairs. I’m gonna go watch my bridgerton do my nails, you know, little self care, the

April Martini 45:05
favorite thing to do on a Sunday?

Sam Baier 45:07
I love to cook. So I put on. So I grew up in a big New York Italian family. And every night every Sunday was kind of pasta and gravy and meatballs and the whole Shindig. So I love and I don’t have a lot of time to make an elaborate meal these days. So Sunday’s are kind of my day to put on Frank Sinatra and pour myself a glass of red wine and and make a really, you know, delicious meal that my kids may or may not eat, which is always fun. But that’s that’s my favorite thing to do. Honestly, I feel Yeah,

April Martini 45:42
on that one. All experience. Yeah, Frank Sinatra to the wine to the cookie to like, that’s all it. Alright, so my question knowing that we’ve had a lot of sporting moments together, but then you’ve also had a lot of sporting moments. Without me. What was your favorite sport moment either to watch or be participate in? Or me you are an excellent content creator as well. So content you’ve created, what was your favorite? Or were some that just stuck in your mind?

Sam Baier 46:12
I’m going to do one for work. And that was our Brett Favre Tide campaign. That was pretty magical. I mean, just seeing the reactions, I think, you know, and we used to. So for context, I don’t know if everyone knows this, but and was my client on tide. And we worked on their NFL partnership together. And we had an our colors, hashtag our colors campaign where we talked about just the importance of colors and the passion for the fan. And obviously, tide is supporting your colors by keeping them bright and clean, etc. Like the best laundry detergent out there does. Yep, just his that, that jersey retirement was just a magical moment that we maximized. The content was super simple, like so unbelievably simple, but effective. And I think that that’s I’ve had so much learn so many learnings. So many times I like to go back in time to my time in Louisiana, sitting in his his agents office, shooting that content, we tried all this stuff. And at the end of the day, what worked was just the simplest thing that we that we could do. And so really maximizing that moment and seeing the comments roll in, around and the reaction from the fans was like so incredibly satisfying and exciting to see that tide was coming through the moment. You know, the brand rose to the moment provided that value to the fan that they were craving in that moment. That was kind of the most magical sports campaign that I think I’ve worked on. The other one is on a personal level, I got a hole in one couple years ago, I guess a year and a half ago, it was a random 70 degree day in December, which we get in the Carolinas which is why I live here and snuck out of work. I was working at the Panthers at the time sorry Panthers blade with actually one of the partnership sales guys that is a dear friend of mine. And we got we were gonna play nine holes got to the ninth hole 133 yards, hit the pure six iron I’ve ever hit. And it just bounced, like I think a couple times and we’re right in the hole. And it was amazing. Really, they went experience thrilling. It was really thrilling. So I cheated into two because those were one work one personal.

April Martini 48:30
I think that worked for me. I haven’t come close, I haven’t gotten a homerun. But I also want to say back to the breath bar thing on Sam’s behalf. If you guys are looking for somebody who’s gonna go all in for their clients, Sam is because she, but she didn’t say that she had to find Brett Favre. It was off the grid hunting or doing something somewhere in like Mississippi, and we could not find him anywhere. And so she was like, I think you were kind of going through the swamp trying to find him and like, you know, whatever. But I mean, if you’re looking for somebody who’s gonna go all in for their client, Sam bear is that person? All

right. Well, I think that’s true. That’s true, amazing note for us to end on and really good examples. But before we finish up, Sam, just bring us home, round out the conversation. Let people know where they can find you to continue the conversation. You know, just just wrap us up. Yeah,

Sam Baier 49:24
absolutely. Well, thank you all so much for having me. I cannot I still can’t believe I’m the first repeat guest I’m so I’m incredibly honored for that. And you know, I think so where you can find me, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. Samantha bear, and my email I would love to continue conversations around how agencies can really continue to start and continue to be that those strategic advisors in this changing world and how important that role is, and to really take that responsibility to heart and really understand that that’s where you know, the magic happens and agencies are such a huge, huge part of it. And I’m excited to be back home as I, as I like to say in that in that role. So thank you all so much. This was awesome and so great to be with you.

April Martini 50:18
This has been an exceptionally insightful conversation. I want to thank Sam for being one of the experts in this Marketing Smarts: Creative Series, the issues facing creative agencies today and how they need to evolve to stay relevant.

We hope that coming out of this conversation all of you listeners take action on the insights we’ve discussed today to make your agency client partnerships stronger and more meaningful, as well as be honest with yourselves and clean up work cleanup as needed. We can all change the industry for the better this way. Be on the lookout or listen for other episodes in this series. And if you have particular thoughts or feedback, we’d love to hear from you as always. And with that, we will say go and exercise your Marketing Smarts! Still need help in growing your Marketing Smarts? Contact us through our website: We can help you become a savvier marketer through coaching or training you and your team or doing the work on your behalf. Please also help us grow the podcast by rating and reviewing on your player of choice and sharing with at least one person. Now, go show off your Marketing Smarts!