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Jason Cormier, Cofounder of Room 214, with co-host Jaime Zawmon, Founder and President of TitanCEO

BLP Cormier | Room 214

BLP Cormier | Room 214

 

Marketing is a vital part of the business. As such, there are so many subject matter experts that claim they have the best practices. However, when everybody’s doing best practices, they all end up doing basic practices. Working his way around that by understanding how things fit holistically, Jason Cormier co-founded Room 214—a growth studio that helps bring coherence across an organization’s brand marketing and sales efforts. In this episode, he joins Jaime Zawmon, Founder and President of Titan CEO, to share how he is helping businesses achieve that while taking us across their shift from digital marketing to growth and coherence. He also talks about the role of human intelligence, the iterative growth in digital, and the value of data gathered from customer conversation. Plus, Jason also shares some of his best leadership lessons, emphasizing how, at the end of it all, it is the people that leaders should take care of.

Watch the episode here:

https://youtu.be/FgDaQWYUeKk

Jason Cormier, Cofounder of Room 214, with co-host Jaime Zawmon, Founder and President of TitanCEO

We are joined by Jason Cormier. He’s the Cofounder of Room 214 and my co-host, Jaime Zawmon. She’s the Founder and President of Titan CEO. Jaime and Jason, welcome.

Thanks a lot, Bob. I appreciate it.

We talked a little bit before the show. I am fascinated by what you do. If he could tell us a little bit about your business and who you serve.

The name of company is Room 214. We are what is called a growth studio. We help bring coherence across an organization’s brand marketing and sales efforts. We have a digital marketing agency background. A lot of folks come to us for those kinds of services. We’ve migrated a bit outside of what you would probably consider as traditional digital marketing and social media. Real quick to finish the answer to the question, the clients that we serve vary quite a bit. From funded startups to Fortune 100, across multiple industries over the last several years.

The question that comes to my mind is you’ve migrated a bit from digital marketing to growth and coherence. Paint me a picture of what that looks like.

When you look at digital marketing, in particular, and what you understand about marketing in general is that when everybody’s doing best practices, what they’re doing is basic practices. What you learn pretty quickly is what worked last season doesn’t necessarily work this season, or what works for your competitor doesn’t necessarily work for you. What happens is you get a bunch of people in marketing that are frustrated over time. They’re working their butts off. The chief marketing officer and the chief revenue officer, these two roles these days, there’s so much responsibility on their shoulders to increase leads, increase sales, whatever the case may be.

The problem is they keep running up against the same walls. There are a lot of great subject matter experts in digital marketing and a lot of great marketing agencies out there, but what we found over time, and this is the migration, is that understanding how things holistically fit is where that’s going to be most helpful to people. For example, this concept of coherence. If you look at a CEO or even ask a CEO, “Where’s there coherence in your business?” You might get a deer in the headlights look from them. If you say, “Where is the incoherence in your business?” You’re never going to hear the end of it. A lot of what we’ve done with this migration from a marketing agency to a growth studio is we’ve recognized that if we can bring coherence across an organization’s brand marketing and sales, this is something that is missing. This is something that will make a tremendous difference in terms of their growth.

The term I always hear is alignment. It’s pretty hard to be aligned if you don’t even know that you’re misaligned.

When everybody's doing best practices, what they're doing is basic practices. Click To Tweet

In order to act quickly, you have to be aligned deeply. In order to adjust often, you have to be aligned deeply.

I would imagine that message resonates well. You’re a combat information center, former Navy guy, and the difference between data and an actionable intel, there’s a wide gulf between the two. It sounds like this is an iterative event of what you did in the Navy.

There are some interesting connections for sure. The interesting thing about data is companies have invested so much in data. It’s almost like there are good reasons for it, but quite ironically, as a company that comes from this digital marketing background, what we’ve found is that the data is always flawed. What happens is organizations have first come up with data initiatives, investing in a lot of this data. They’ve hired expensive data scientists who ended up spending all their time fixing the data and making the data make sense. It’s funny, we say that the data is always flawed. What’s ironic is that the most important data we’ve been able to collect comes directly from customer conversations, not from web analytics. I’m not saying web analytics aren’t important or advertising data sets and all that. That’s important, but more people stake their reputation on that. They’ve rolled the dice and I’m afraid that they’ve lost in a lot of cases.

To finish up the thought, in the military world, there was a focus on human years and years ago, where you had actual human intelligence on ground in country. The human intelligence world thought the simple fix was data. They spent a great deal of time, effort and money on trying to do the data capture, whether it’s signals, intelligence and others. The reality is without the human side of the intelligence, the rest can lead you astray. I’m an old intel guy. It’s an interesting parallel.

When I was in the Navy, my ship was a taxicab for Marines. We had Navy SEALs onboard. We would be cruising about a mile from the beach. We knew what the weather was, yet these SEALs would depart our ship a mile to the beach. They would be hanging out on the beach, getting beat up in the surf for hours. The whole idea was you needed someone to be there. You needed human intelligence in the trenches or on the beaches. You couldn’t say, “The weather forecast is this. We know everything we need to know.”

The interpretation of the data by a human, he says, “Yes, I appreciate that.” Maybe it challenges my thought process, but it matters to crank it through a human or two to find out. I was reading some of your work. That’s what struck me as I was reading that earlier. Jaime, I’m sorry. I’m back down the rabbit hole again.

Congratulations again, Jason, for being recognized as a 2020 Titan 100. I’m holding up a copy of the Titan 100 book in which Jason was recognized and profiled. This platform recognizes Colorado’s Top 100 CEOs and C-Level executives. Jason, as part of the series, I always like to ask our Titans, what characteristics do they believe it takes to be considered a Titan of industry?

BLP Cormier | Room 214

Room 214: In order to act quickly and adjust often, you have to be aligned deeply.

 

A Titan of industry, thanks. It’s an honor. I love being part of the whole Titan community. It’s awesome. I’ve learned a lot as a result too. For me, it’s been a lot of leading with humility, understanding that I don’t have all the answers as someone who leads a company. That was a huge part of why we adopted open-book management and have done a lot in that area, getting more minds on the problems. Curiosity, I can’t say enough about that. If you think you’ve arrived, you are wrong. Especially with my industry, things change so quickly. I have to rely on curiosity to make it so that I’m spending time looking at the right things on behalf of my clients.

Those are two huge things. Generally speaking as well, from a values perspective, acting out of love instead of fear. It’s easy to get into a mode of cover your ass with marketing in particular. People want to know, “What’s the return on this? Did this thing that we did, did that actually work?” Sometimes it works great and sometimes it doesn’t. Being very upfront and honest about that in an industry that’s probably full of a lot of snake oil too. Our mantra is creating valuable relationships. There’s no substitute for that. People want to buy from who they know, like and trust. You can’t fake that. That’s probably it and all those things.

It’s a profound thought. As I know you, because I’ve known you for some time, you lead with humility. Your whole statement around acting out of love and not fear is something that is painted on your office walls because I have been to your offices before. I love that statement. I wish more people would act out of love and not out of fear.

To think about that point though, it takes an extraordinary amount of courage to function from that place because there’s risks there.

There is a risk. The idea of open-book management, for example, is part of that risk that we take on. There’s transparency with the numbers. It’s not a report that’s given out in terms of the way we do it. Every other week, people see all the numbers. What are the labor costs? What are the revenues? What are the profits? When things are going great in your business, it’s great. When things aren’t, people tend to have more questions. To your point, that’s a risk that we’ve taken. Over the years, we’ve had open-book management over the last few years. There’s been a lot of uncomfortable situations. At the end of the day, it’s worth it because it’s always about people. The appreciation there is that there’s an honest discussion about all those things. People would rather have that even if it’s uncomfortable, than just given some glossy view of how things are good when maybe they’re not so good. At least that’s my experience.

Circling back a little bit, we talked a bit about your Navy exposure. What’s your path from there to where we are now with your company on Room 214? People would be interested on how you got from there to here.

Before the Navy, I was at Colorado State University with my business partner, James, at Room 214. Unfortunately, Room 214 happened to be in a party dorm. It was a party room. Nothing good happened at the original Room 214. After a year of that, I somehow concluded that I needed discipline and to my parents’ chagrin at the time, it was like, “I’m enlisting in the Navy.” I had no money. It seemed like I need to get as far away from this place as possible. I enlisted and I got my GI bill, which meant that going back to school was going to be paid for.

My lovely wife and I got married about six months prior to getting out of the Navy. She was my high school sweetheart. We could live anywhere we wanted to live. She graduated from college and it was like, “Take your pick.” We chose Santa Barbara, California and Santa Barbara City College. I decided I was going to be a computer science major because that’s where the money was at. It’s so happens, I was terrible at computer science. I was not a good coder. I was struggling and suffering. It was 1995.

More people should act out of love and not out of fear. Click To Tweet

A friend of mine said, “There’s this thing called Netscape that allows you to get on the World Wide Web and have this visual interface of it. It’s not just words. Here’s a copy of Photoshop.” He handed me a few disks and, “Here’s a one pager on this thing called HTML.” It’s easy compared to the type of programming that we do. In a very short period of time, I taught myself how to build web pages. I decided, “Maybe this could be a business.” A real estate agent approached me and said, “Would you build a website for me? If you did, how much would you charge?”

I said, “I don’t know, $350?” He’s like, “Let’s do it.” The next thing I knew, I was like, “This could be a business.” I had a one-pager called, “Why do you need a website?” I walked the streets of Santa Barbara passing this thing out and most people were like, “Get out of here, kid. What is this? We’ll never need a website.” One thing led to another and I ended up growing a web development firm and selling that firm to a competitor after about 2.5 years. I was a VP in that company that bought mine and ran a web development organization that was nationwide at that point. It was a series of different businesses that followed after that.

I connected with my old-time friend, James, who had gone into public relations. There was a pretty big disconnect between PR and what was happening in the digital world, websites and things of that nature. James had interestingly coined a term that he called the placement crash. What that was in PR was that a company would work with the PR firm. They would get a big hit in USA Today or Wall Street Journal or whatever. Their web traffic would spike. It would be incredible. Everybody would be slapping high fives. It’s a major win. Within 48 hours, it was as if nothing happened. The web traffic flattened out and that was the placement crash.

James and I were talking about that back in the day. It was like, “What would happen if there was preparation and content was produced on the web? There was a way to capture that traffic so that a company that experienced a big PR hit didn’t have a placement crash?” Those were the conversations that we had. By 2003, Google AdWords was pretty much a brand-new platform. We started to tinker with it together. We saw that there were a bunch of bads out there on like, “Buy this, buy that.” We thought, “What if we produced an ad that said, ‘The top five things you need to know about,’ and fill in the blank?”

We were working with a China manufacturing company at that point called Vital Sourcing. We created this white paper called Top Five Things You Need to Know About Manufacturing in China. We thought, “What if we placed an ad around that?” At this point, ads were $0.05 a click, which is ridiculously cheap. That ad started getting clicked on left and right. It drove them to a page where we asked them for their name and email address in exchange to download this white paper. That’s the most basic Content 101 marketing there is now. At the time, there were very few people doing that. We were flooded with leads from all across the world. It was this massive success story.

We were optimizing a website to make sure that we were showing up. To fast forward this story, what we realized was that there was a business in helping companies use this new thing called Google AdWords and WordPress. We started Room 214. We got lucky too. Three years after we started, Facebook wasn’t just for college kids anymore. We got a call one day from a PR firm in New York and they said, “We’ve got this client in the Travel Channel. Travel Channel is asking us questions about Facebook and YouTube. There’s this new Twitter thing out there. We don’t know how to answer these freaking questions, but we heard about you clowns in Boulder, Colorado that had been playing with this. Maybe you can talk to Travel Channel.”

The next thing you know, we’re managing Anthony Bourdain’s Facebook page. We’re setting up Facebook pages for all Travel Channel TV shows and Twitter accounts. That led to this two-year engagement, $1 million client. We faked it until we made it. We’ve learned on the job, but the timing was such that if you did a search for social media agency on Google for years, we were in the number one or number two spot. Companies from all over the place came to us like Sanrio, Hello Kitty, “Can you help us with Facebook?” We built our business and we rode that wave for many years. It’s been an interesting journey. There were some other businesses in between. Some did okay and others failed. This is when we’ve been at it for a while.

BLP Cormier | Room 214

Room 214: There is far more value that comes from the data that can be taken out of a customer conversation, applied to content and advertising strategy.

 

I love listening to the history. There’s so much that’s very rich. You were on the forefront of a lot of new age market adoption. I still think it’s hysterical that you were walking around asking people if they wanted websites and people were laughing like, “What do I need a website for?” It’s mind blowing in 2020.

The thing is I was discouraged by a lot of people, even though it was obvious with this internet thing, a visual, and a web browser. To me, this is clearly the future, but a lot of people were like, “You can’t create a business selling websites. You’re going to have to go figure out how to do something else.” I’ll tell you, the epiphany came up with Kinko’s. People out there remember Kinko’s, it’s FedEx now. Kinko’s corporate was 30 minutes down the road from me. I knew a woman there named Mary Hamilton, who was a friend of my wife, who worked in the marketing department.

They had paid big money to some San Francisco firm to build their website. They didn’t want to do that anymore. She had heard I’d been doing some website development. She called me up and she said, “Jason, we’ve got some website maintenance, some pages we need developed. I heard you could do this. Would you please give us a bit for this?” I looked at the work and I thought, “I’m going to charge a $1,000.” I was nervous about this. I put the bid out there. I sent it over the fence, $1,000. She got back to me and she said, “I don’t know how to tell you this, but I’m going to be honest with you. Let’s consider this a confidential call. In order for my company to take this bid seriously, we need to add another zero.” It took me aback. I was like, “Can you give me 30 minutes? I’ll revise that and get it back to you.” Anyway, it was less than a day of work for $10,000. She signed it that day. It was at that day, I realized, “The naysayers are wrong. This is something that’s real.”

I think about the journey you’re talking about. For me, first assignment, Fort Carson, Colorado, they had a computer on post and it was punch card. My college had one computer punch card. My kids grew up in the age of computers and the iterative event. I can remember in the day I was with Merrill way back when. The head of that whole division said, “The Internet’s a fad. It will never amount to anything.” He said it in front of hundreds of guys. It’s an interesting progression though. There’s a lot of disbelief at that day.

In 2.5 years from that time, I sat across from a CEO who was interested in buying my company. It was a scene right out of a movie. He took me to breakfast. It was this amazing hotel overlooking the ocean. I kid you not, this is going to sound cheesy, but this happened. I’m sitting across from him and he’s scribbling on a napkin. He says to me, “Jason, this is the day I’ll make you a millionaire.” He slides the napkin across the table. I looked at the napkin was, this was in 2000. This was right before the dot bomb. The offer is a base salary of $100,000, plus a guaranteed bonus structure of $40,000, plus $1 million in stock, plus he’s going to give me $25,000 in cash if I agree to it over the weekend. I’m looking at this. By the way, I was a two-man operation. It was my wife and I, and she was pregnant with our first kid. I was about to lose half my workforce. Anyway, I take the offer. In the end, it was amazing experience. I’m so glad I did it, but the dot bomb happened, which meant that he did not make me a millionaire. I sold my stock for $600.

One of the things in the very beginning, you’re talking about iterative work. As you’ve come through this journey or history of the progression of technology, and you’re looking at the client experience, like I can remember getting fax marketing, or there was a dial up service. You’d go and dial the phone and go, “We’re going to give you an update.” We recorded it. That was technology in the day. You’re where you are now with AI machine learning. The consumer has been bombarded every day with lots of input and trying to iterate and advance in that environment compared to where you started. Your roots are unchanged. You don’t have a choice.

The iterative growth in digital, we refer to that as optimization, that is an ongoing process that you should never walk away from. However, a lot of companies are so focused on that iterative growth and that is a conversation about being better than the competitor. What it’s not is a conversation about being truly different than the competitor because being truly different is what leads to exponential growth, not iterative growth. If you look at this from a category leadership perspective, for example, you’ll see that most category leaders, regardless of industry, they’re very much focused on how are we different, not better. A huge key ingredient to that is how they go about marketing the problem that they’re solving for their customers. Whereas most companies are focused on marketing the features and the benefits, they’re focused on marketing the problem. If you’re talking about a problem I have more than anybody else, you’re empathizing with me. If you’re talking about this problem so much, you must have a solution. Therefore, I’m more interested in you.

That’s a very interesting thing that we see in our business. A way that we’ve pivoted pretty substantially over the last couple of years is by getting into these deep conversations with our clients’ customers. This goes beyond any survey and any focus group. Those things have their places, but it’s nothing compared to a deep 45-minute conversation that’s unscripted with a customer to determine what has pushed them to a certain set of circumstances that they’re in. What has pulled them further into that discussion? What habits do they have to overcome? What anxieties do they have to overcome, understanding the customers, and then recognizing that this is the most valuable data that you can have. Anything that you’re doing in digital marketing has to start with that customer conversation. All the analytics, the data, the AI, and all the other stuff is noise compared to that.

Anything that you're doing in digital marketing has to start with that customer conversation. Click To Tweet

It speaks a lot to the quality of your question when you’re talking to that customer. Many talk show hosts, Oprah, Johnny Carson, and the rest of them, the quality of the question you ask drives that conversation.

What’s interesting about being in conversation with people too is people have memories that they don’t know they have. The more that you get them talking, the more that those start to bubble up. Those memories can be harnessed in a very strategic way. That’s more interesting to me than trying to find some sort of pattern in a dataset. It’s not that I’m ignoring data. I’m a data geek at heart. I’ve seen far more value that comes from the data that can be taken out of a customer conversation, apply to content strategy, advertising strategy, even how a brand’s positioning and messaging comes out.

I love listening to you talk, Jason, about all of these experiences over the course of your lifetime and the things that have driven you to develop your own methodologies and thought processes as you have been an incredible leader. I’d be curious to know for our readers, what’s the best leadership lesson that you’ve learned along the way?

The best leadership lesson is you are going to make mistakes along the way. I don’t know if this is the best lesson, but what I will say is contrary to a lot of popular belief, learning from your mistakes is not where it’s at. We live in this culture now that loves to talk about failing fast. It’s okay for you to fail because you learn from your mistakes. I’m not arguing against that, but when you learn from your mistakes, you learn what not to do. I would say you learn far more from your successes. Even in marketing, a lot of what you’re doing is you’re trying to find the bright spots and that’s what you pour into.

As the leader, that applies to everything. As a leader, the most difficult thing you’ll ever deal with, yet the most valuable thing is people. Very few people start a business because they want to lead people. They start a business because they take an interest in a certain topic or subject matter. As they’re successful and they’re adding people, they recognize, “I now suddenly have to be a student of leadership, not just good at my job.” That concept of failing fast and learning from failures and mistakes, it also applies to people. You certainly learn from mistakes, but when you’re successful with people, you learn from that even more. Anytime you can take that success, find that bright spot and reproduce it, go and do likewise somewhere else. For me, that’s been the most helpful.

I like the different thought process there, spoken like a true Titan.

Thank you, Jaime.

BLP Cormier | Room 214

Room 214: You certainly learn from mistakes, but you learn from that, even more, when you’re successful with people.

 

I have this vision of a Roman soldier hitting his breast plate with his hand. For the people that are reading, that’s the image that we’re chuckling about. To expand on your comment, focusing on your successes, is there a formalized process or look back period when you see a success that you say, “I want to expand, understand, and pass the key tenets of success forward to transmit that culture?” Is there a thing that you do like an after-action report that you look at your successes to evaluate?

It comes in a few flavors. We’re big fans of visioning or creating a vision, which I know means different things to different people. We’ll do an annual visioning exercise where it’s not just me, it’s my cofounder, James and other people on the leadership team as well. We’ll say, “Sit down, imagine yourself a year from now.” Let’s say it’s February 5th, 2022. We’re sitting on the back porch. There are burgers being grilled. We’re all taking a lunch break and we’re reflecting on the fact that we’re realizing net operating profits of 15%, which is far more than we expected at this point.

The mood is such that people are happy. There’s freedom in the air. This is the kind of thing that we’re writing on paper. As you can tell, a lot of this is about the feeling. It’s not about, “My vision is to make $10 million.” The vision has to be strategically sound and it has to be inspiring. If it’s not both of those things, it’s not a very effective vision. That’s an example of us going through a process that’s pretty formalized. At the end looking back and saying, “Did we do this?” It’s not just at the end, but as we go looking and saying, “Are we still on path to this vision?”

Another thing that we’ve developed that we’ve built our entire business around is called the coherence method. That is a process by which there are six different elements. It starts with discovery. It goes into customer insights, understanding your brand, creating a coherent statement, channel strategy and marketing strategy, executing all of these things, and ultimately there’s measurement that’s attached to it. You have to know are we successful or not. From visioning big picture type stuff to getting into the trenches with the coherence method, these are two things that I’m thinking of. I don’t know if that’s doing a great job of answering your question or not.

Jaime and I have gone off the rails and we’ve gone along. I was thinking about formal process to take and try to replicate further success paths and markers of success. It’s fascinating to me to try to look at repetitive success stories and it’s not luck. How do you institute it?

To your point, it’s not luck. Hope is not a strategy. There’s that. One of the things I love about being in Jaime’s Titan group is that she’s always coming to the table with resources. For example, I’m sure a lot of your readers are familiar with Traction. It’s a great book and very formulaic. There’s this massive consulting network of how do you implement traction to grow your business. You’ve got Zingerman’s Open Book Management and Jack Stack. You’ve got structures like The Challenger Sale. There are all these things.

What we have found is that we’ve been successful because we’ve been able to bend, blend and break what’s been proven from frameworks that are not our own. When we try to follow things perfectly like militantly step-by-step, we start to get into trouble. Some organizations culturally are better off dotting their I’s and crossing their T’s, and following the step-by-step things that have been laid out. For us, for whatever reason, we’ve got to bend, blend and break. That’s how we’ve been able to iterate, grow and stay relevant.

Jaime, we didn’t even make it remotely through some of the questions we were going to ask. To circle back to the bend, blend and break, which I love. For me, in thinking about the environment that you operate in, you don’t have a stable environment because you’re working with the people that are consuming media and they change and adapt and differentiate. For you guys, the notion that what you put in place in January may in fact be 100% spot on by July. It would be a gift because things iterate and things change. Think about your January 1 plan versus the end of March plan for 2020. They’re not on the same planet.

As a leader, the most difficult thing you'll ever deal with, yet the most valuable thing, is people. Click To Tweet

To think that you’re going to have a formalized marketing plan over the course of a year, that’s realistic to a point in terms of budgeting and overarching themes and activities, but spelled out in details like you would have several years ago, forget about it. That’s going to be a book that sits on a shelf. We’re huge fans of 30 and 60-day planning cycles because we recognize things are going to change. We’re fans of interviewing our clients’ customers at least once a year. If you think that’s a one and done project that you did 2 or 3 years ago, you’re sadly mistaken. Culture changes.

The reason people want to buy something changes. It might be a subtle nuance, but if you start to recognize what that nuance is, then that gives you clues into not just what your core customer wants, but what’s your potential growth cluster or what’s your potential growth audience? You’ve got core customers, your core audience that you market to, but along the edges of that core audience are what we call growth clusters. That’s where you recognize new audiences to market to. There’s no better way to figure that out than customer conversations.

Jaime, you asked at the beginning of the show, how long do we have and go like, “Longer than we initially budgeted, but nonetheless.” For the people out there fascinated and want to reach out to you, how do they find you on social media?

It’s Linkedin.com/in/Room214Guy. Jason@Room214.com is my email address. My inbox is a disaster but that’s okay. I’m the guy who answers all the forms that are filled out on Room214.com too. If anybody goes there and does that, they’ll hear from me.

Jaime, do you think there’s a move of foot to retire the Room214 number at the dorm?

That’s an awesome thought. It’s always amazing to me how people come up with their names. It’s an incredible story. Listening to you speak throughout this show, Jason, I feel like I could listen to you all day, your life lessons learned, your experiences, the incredible coolness that’s attached to what you do and who you serve. It’s been all inspiring. For those of you that are reading and would love to learn more about Jason and the Titan 100, you can visit www.Titan100.biz. You can read Jason’s story. You can read the stories of all of our 100 Titans here recognized in Colorado. Thanks so much for being with us, Jason.

I appreciate it. Thank you so much. Thanks to you and Bob and for making all this happen. I hope I wasn’t too long winded. People love to talk about themselves.

We kept asking questions. We had something to do with that. I appreciate it. Jaime, thank you so much again. Jason, thank you for your time. Thank you for your service. I had a great time.

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About Jason Cormier

BLP Cormier | Room 214Jason helps businesses become leaders in their category and understand their customers like never before. He do this using Room 214’s Growth Studio Model – combining elements of Category Design and Jobs Theory to grow businesses with the coherent brand, marketing and sales efforts.

Most of his focus is helping organizations discover new opportunities, adapt wise decision-making methods, and expand their capacity to get brand communications, marketing channel and sales enablement work done.

Since Room 214 was first co-founded as a digital marketing agency 15 years ago – he still often share (consulting / speaking) on a wide range of best practices collected from working with hundreds of direct to consumer and B2B companies of all sizes in nearly all industries. While many of these can be found in my first book, Transformative Digital Marketing, the irony is that when everyone pursues the same “best practices” – they actually end up pursuing the same basic practices.

That reality has been central to Room 214’s evolution over the last three years, from marketing agency to growth studio. At its essence, they’ve learned that people and organizations courageous enough to pursue being different (not just better) are the ones best positioned to exponentially grow.

He has also learned the value of being a servant leader – and have been honored to serve on HubSpot’s Global Partner Advisory Council, as a mentor for social entrepreneurs at Watson University, and as an advisor and dedicated sponsor for organizations including the Emergency Family Assistance Association and Give Hope Global.

Beyond just work – he is a steward of faith, hope and love. With trust and optimism, he looks to discover with others what makes life worth living. He is: a grateful husband, an entertained dad to two sons, a college dropout, a Navy vet, and a wannabe music producer. He enjoys skiing, surfing, biking, fly fishing, playing guitar, reading, writing, the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies.

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