Connor Smolensky of Cox Media on the Shift to Programmatic TV Advertising | Rise Grind Repeat 108


Connor Smolensky of Cox Media is excited about the future of TV advertising. As technology evolves, traditional television advertising is making a big shift to programmatic TV advertising. By maximizing budgets through customized targeting, programmatic TV advertising is making television ad budgets stretch much further.


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programmatic tv advertising
Connor Smolensky, Cox Media Group

| Rise Grind Repeat 108 |


On today’s episode of Rise, Grind, Repeat we talked to Connor from Cox Media Group, we discuss how the landscape of TV advertising is changing. Let’s dive right in. Connor thank you so much for joining another episode of Rise Grind, Repeat I’m I’m pumped because it’s always fun to have, you know someone else in the industry, not so much on the agency side but someone that we would work with from a media perspective and really run our our clients ads through what you do. But before we get too much into TV advertising and all that would love for you to introduce who you are the audience kind of what’s your background?


Yeah, absolutely. Well, thanks for having me. So yeah, my name is Connor Smolensky. I’m a media consultant at Cox media. So I’m entering my third year with Cox media. So a little background on me, I grew up in New Jersey, so I’m not I’m not native to the southwest, first 18 years in New Jersey, and then I ended up going down to University of Georgia for college for four years. So this was never This was never my path. Like I wanted to do journalism, sports journalism. So that’s what I studied in college and cover like the football team basketball team, a bunch of sports down there, and then got my degree in journalism. And right after school, I ended up interning with in Baltimore. So I was like, Yeah, no, it was a it was really cool. So I was covering the Orioles like a beat writer, day to day. So when they were in the stadium, you know, I was there doing interviews, right. And stories, when they were away. You know, the main beat writer covered it, but I still had certain responsibilities, and then ended up getting involved with Cox Media Group. So Cox is a big company. Yeah, they’re headquartered out of Atlanta. And so I got involved with them in a journalism perspective in 2015, right after my internship, and we were covering a college board, so Georgia football, sec football, it’s huge down there. And we had all these college football websites. And it was like kind of a startup environment within Cox. And so I did the journalism side of things for like, a year and a half wasn’t necessarily loving it. You know, the hours are crazy. I was young, all my friends were out having a good time. And I’m working on Saturdays Sunday. Yeah, just working hard. So I wanted something you know, a little bit more stable, a little bit more, better pay. So I ended up transitioning into like, the sales side of things in a support role. So kind of like was introduced to sales there, I was, essentially, you know, I was putting together media plans, putting together decks working in Photoshop for some design a little bit, it was really cool. And then loving it loved it, they ended up shutting down the operation. And my girlfriend, I moved out to Phoenix at the time, we were doing long distance for a little bit. And I ended up just checking out you know, as Cox out here, turns out this is huge market forum had no idea. So I was able to transition out here to become a sales associate within Cox media. So it was like an entry level sales position, kind of learning the ropes of being a frontline seller. And since then, I’ve been promoted to a media consultant. So last year was my first year as a media consultant. And now I’m in year two. So kind of a kind of a crazy path to get here. But now it’s been treat me well ever since.


Now. That’s awesome. And do you ever especially I guess, right now ever regret, you know, moving out here going? Why did I move to 118? I can literally bake cookies in my car.


Do you ever know? Yeah, it’s so funny, because like, we were just in Atlanta last week back on the East Coast visiting some family and I came back and it’s like, 110 degrees. I’m like, it’s not worth. It’s not worth. But then in January and February when I’m out on the golf course, and it’s like 65 degrees. I’m just like, this is amazing. Like, why would I live anywhere else? Yeah, so no, not really like it. You know, there’s some ups and downs for sure. But I’ve been loving the Southwest, I’ve been loving Phoenix, it’s totally different than anywhere else I’ve ever lived.


Exactly. That’s awesome. So I mean, when it comes to media planning, I love working with, you know, someone like yourself, where it’s, hey, I have a client, here’s what we’re trying to accomplish. This is, you know, who we’re trying to reach. I mean, you know, most people when you are clients, when you talk to him about TV, it’s, it’s, well, I’m just gonna have one message, it’s gonna reach everywhere there. How can I target? There’s no capability. So I’d love to kind of learn and understand what is that process? And what are some of the, I guess the educational or Aha, things that I guess most people don’t understand when it comes to programmatic TV advertising?


Yeah, for sure. Well, the first thing is that like, whenever I talk to TV about something, they immediately like think Superbowl ads, like, I can’t afford that. Those are like millions of dollars. And the reality is once you know, you kind of sit down with somebody and just take it through them. Like right there. their expectations of TV are pretty enormous to begin with, like in terms of price and typically they’re pretty surprised by by how affordable it can be. But it needs to be the right fit. Like I’m not going out just selling TV to everybody. You know, maybe when I first started I thought TV was was great for everybody. But the reality is, you know, it’s got to fit your your KPIs and what you’re trying to accomplish. So if you’re trying to, you know, drive leads, and you’re trying to drive phone calls, and you expect that to come from TV, it could happen, right? Like it could happen, especially like with some longevity and, you know, being on for for several months, and people start to really, you know, resonate with your commercial. But the reality is like there’s other tactics out there that are more effective for driving leads, and more effective for driving conversions. So really, we just we try to sit down with them and say, Listen, this first meeting, I’m having to share anything you want to know about Cox, but I really want to make this all about you because like, I’m not in a position to sell you anything right now. Because I don’t know enough about your business. So let’s sit down, I want to understand, you know, who you’re trying to reach? what your goals are, do people know who you are in the market? Do you need branding and awareness, because I TV is great for that, right? Getting you getting that recognition. And, you know, kind of makes you seem bigger than you are too. So like, if you’re, you know, a small mom and pop shop and you’re on TV, you’ve got this alert of being way bigger than you actually are. And you’re the only one that knows that, you know, other people, you know, think you’re on TV, you’re a big deal. And, you know, roll with it.


Right? So to answer your question, it’s really just all about kind of understanding what the clients looking for expectations at Cox, you know, we have TV that’s like always been our bread and butter. But now we have a whole digital suite. That is, I think is great. And the combination of you know, utilizing TV and digital is typically where we’re seeing like a lot of that the most success.


I think he said it best. I mean, it’s clearly understanding what are your goals? Because I think far too often people go, Oh, that’s a cool channel. I want to go do I whether it’s Facebook, when it first came out Google search, I mean TV, but it’s what are you trying to accomplish? And it’s it’s tough to choose that channel, if you don’t know what you’re looking to accomplish. If no one knows about, you need more people to understand that brand awareness. Great, great channel to be on if it’s, I need leads right now. And and my business gonna shut down in 30 days, if I don’t, it might not be the best channel for you. So that being said, I mean, what are some goals? And we’d love to hear more about the brand awareness side? What are some goals that people would have to where TV does make sense?


Yeah, you know, like driving, driving more people to your website is typically, like we see, you know, if you’re running TV campaigns, you know, we always like to keep an eye on your Google Analytics, there’s typically a correlation where you’re running on TV, you’re getting a lot more eyeballs to your site. And then you know, from there, you know, website, like, that’s where you add in a website retargeting where, you know, they get to your site, and then you start following them around online, and they’re kind of like, within this web. But yeah, man, you know, I think it’s, I think it’s branding and awareness, you know, getting people to your website, I also just think, you know, just you’re reaching a lot of people with your message, like, if you have, you know, a sale going on, you want a lot of people to know about it, like, that’s great. Anytime that you can put an offer in front of somebody, you know, like on TV, like, a free year of this, or six months of this, or any type of discount. You know, I just think getting that message, you’re, you’re reaching a lot of people yeah, and it might not be, you know, like I live in apartment, if you, if you’re wanting to reach homeowners, like you’re going to be reaching a mix of people. But that’s where I say, you know, alright, let’s reach a lot of people on TV, but also, let’s add another layer and really target your audience on like an Ott or like a streaming platform where, you know, you’re kind of hitting both of those buckets.


I literally loving the way this conversation is gonna get into omni channel and Ott. And before we get there, I think, again, you hit the nail on the head, where it’s understanding what to look for, or what KPIs to look at to understand something’s working or not where I mean, if you want to Google Analytics, it’s not gonna say, TV, here’s how many leads it got. But understand, okay, if someone sees a TV ad, they’re probably gonna hear the brand name and their prime, go to Google and search the brand name. So organic traffic should probably start going. Yeah. And it’s it’s finding the correlations between what are driving the sales is never going to be they solve this and then did this. I mean, there’s some tools you invest in or whatever, but you hit it on the head to where knowing what it is to look at. But I think more importantly, it’s an omni channel approach. And I think, again, more more advertisers or brands look to 100%, Facebook or 100%, Google where it’s no, you need both, and TV and radio and this. So love to kind of hear what are some of the offerings that Cox offers to create kind of the integrated approach.


Yeah, so I mean, I like to think that we’ve got we’ve got a little bit of something for everybody. I mean, you know, we have the TV. We have the Ott side of things. One thing that’s like exclusive to Cox within that realm is advertising within the VOD platform, which is video video on demand platform. So it’s really like a point in watching right, people are going there and they’re watching their content when they want to watch it. We’re the only ones that can offer that so you know, that’s something that we really like to tout, but from there, you know, we have the we have the PPC ads. We have Google first party display which is been really effective in terms of, you know, when you mirror that with with Google, you know, you’re in those top four search results, but then you start layering on display as well. You’re able to catch them outside of that Google atmosphere. Right. So now you’re seeing it in Google, you’re seeing them elsewhere online. You know, we you to pre roll, native advertising, that we there’s a lot that


we offer you guys offer all that. Yeah. And so is it. Is it like a Cox platform that all the ads are served from? Or do you guys have a team in house that Alright, we here we want to do native ads, we’ll go to Tableau or a DSP and serving there, essentially, you can do it. But does Cox have the native platform to serve the ads? Yeah,


so we have both. So you know, we work we work with other vendors, for some of the access, but we also have like a full digital team, both in Phoenix, and then as well, supporting in Atlanta, the headquarters, and they’re the ones that are constantly keeping an eye on campaigns, in terms of pacing optimization, are we, you know, reaching the right audience, kind of just digging into that data, keeping an eye on campaigns and making sure everything’s running smoothly? You know, if they see something that is, you know, it looks a little wonky or something like that, you know, they reach out to me, we’ll have a brainstorm, come up with a solution discuss with the client. We’re just constantly working with the client to like, you know, keep them in the loop. One. Like, I feel like that’s not as hard, right,


Like, sometimes, you know, the work with somebody and you run it, and you kind of just don’t really have a gauge on what’s going on, maybe you see a monthly report or something like that. But, you know, cockspur really, like we try to just keep the client in the loop on on everything. And that transparency. And when you know, you couple the results with transparency, it’s typically a pretty good experience.


Oh, yeah. Yeah. And I think that’s, that’s the biggest thing that people are so turned off by when it comes to digital marketing is the smoke and mirrors the, you promised all this, and I only got this, I didn’t need like, I don’t even know if I got that because what you’re showing me is, is I don’t even know what I’m looking at. And so the fact that you guys provide the the in house team, the analytics, all bad, I think that’s, that’s, that’s what it’s about. I mean, that’s basically what we’re trying to replicate here. And so that being said, I mean, you guys are almost like a digital marketing agency. Yeah, top of being a publisher. Right.


Right. Essentially, we’re, we’re like the marketing agency of Cox Communications. Gotcha. So, you know, it’s not like we have a team in Phoenix, we’re in San Diego Vegas, all of our markets have kind of this, like full service agency. We’ve like, we have a full service production team that’s, you know, an Emmy Award winning team, they do awesome work. It’s really like a, like, one stop shop, we kind of, you know, want to be able to provide everything. And another reason is like, you know, a lot of people will work with different vendors. So they’ll work with us on, you know, Ott, the work or somebody else on display, you know, it’s kind of like all segmented. But when you’re running all in one place, it just makes optimizations a lot easier. So we have insight into, you know, everything that’s going on with your campaign. So it’s easier to make those optimizations more effective. That’s not always like, right, we can’t always get the whole piece of the pie. Yeah. But in a perfect world, I mean, you know, everything set up in place to make that experience out.


Well, there’s a podcast, listen to where they talk about just agency trends, and they pull brands and stuff like that. But that is one a lot before the pandemic, on average, most brands had six different agencies. And the goal is trying to reduce that because of the on I got six different meetings with six different people. They’re all running differently. So they aren’t communicating internally on while someone sees the video over here. How is it showing up on Google? And it’s just, there’s a lot, I think, opportunity left on the table a lot more efficiency that can be found by reducing, but it’s tough to find an all in one vendor that that can really, really do it all. And I think that’s the hardest thing.


Yeah, no, it’s, it’s, it’s been great. And you know, like, if I’m on vacation, they’re they’ve they also have a relationship with like our digital team or my manager where, you know, they need to get ahold of somebody, and I’m out of pocket. They’ve got two or three other people that they can turn to know what’s got what’s going on with their campaigns right.


Now, that’s cool. And one thing, you know, you brought up a couple times the Ott stuff, and I think this is something that that’s so new, and I I get super excited about it, because I think it’s a very efficient channel in terms of the cost to reach people and what can be communicated, and the intention and all that type of stuff. Can you kind of go into what is the difference between traditional cable television verse Ott, versus even addressable? Yeah, you know, because I know that you have the set top box, and they’re all different ecosystem. Yeah. Could you kind of dive into what are the differences between them? And I guess which one would be ideal to use for your use case?


Yeah, for sure. So I mean, on the TV side of things, the way that I always describe it is, you know, you’re reaching a lot of people like I said earlier, you know, it’s gonna be a MC it’s gonna be a mix of people. But we have like, we have a whole research team also that we rely on that said, you know, if you want to reach homeowners with a household income of 100,000 plus With one child in the household, you know, like, just as a hypothetical, you know, I relay that that information to our research team, and then they got to lead the direction in terms of data, okay? Like, we offer over 80 TV networks. So they’ll give me a ranking and say, Okay, here’s, here’s great, you know, top 20 channels for for reach to reach this audience. Here’s top 20 channels for index or I was just calling like, hidden gems, right? Like, yeah, there’s a lot of people within that group that are watching maybe not like an exorbitant amount, but it’s a high concentration. So you know, we kind of lead the charge there. But the reality is, you’re you’re reaching a mix of different people. Now, it is coming more becoming more and more effective with the set top boxes that you mentioned, like, we’re really able to tap into, like 600,000, set top boxes within the market now and see, get some like real, like hardcore data in terms of like, here’s who’s watching this channel, here’s when they’re watching it time of day, and some more insights into in terms of just to make your your TV campaign more effective. Now, when you go into the Ott realm, you’re really serving your commercials to the audience, you want to be front. Yeah, so you can take a broad approach and just say adults 2554 within the zip codes, or, you know, you can really hone in like, you know, solar has been like a niche of mine. So, you know, we’re able to tap into what people are reading online, what they’re watching online, you know, what they’re searching, and kind of take all that information and say, Okay, here’s the bucket of solar intenders. Within these zip codes, we’re gonna send those, this commercial solely to that group of individuals, and really maximize your your ad budget. So, I’m a big fan of Ott, like, I kind of think that’s where things are heading. as a marketer, you know, I see I see value in both TV and Ott, Ott seems a little bit like a shiner tool to me at this point where you can really like, you know, send your ads to exactly who you want to be in front of. Not only that, but I’m also to see able to see tangible evidence in terms of here’s how long they’re watching to 100% completion. In some cases, maybe not in like Ott, but if you go into like pre roll or YouTube where they can click through, you know, you’re able to track conversions that are coming from those which you can’t do through TV. So you know, that’s TV that’s Ott, when it comes to addressable, I think it’s, it’s super cool as well, especially when somebody has like a CRM list of, here’s my audience base, I want to get a consistent message to them. You know, a lot of people use email blasts, but the reality is, you can just, you know, click click the trashcan and delete it right away. So addressable is really another opportunity for you to get into that household in a way where, whether it’s through video or display, there’s no you know, a mailer you toss it out and email your you can delete it, but through addressable, it’s really, you know, they’re gonna, they’re gonna be seeing it, they can delete it. So it’s really like a surefire way to be reaching those individuals as well.


Absolutely. And I mean, I haven’t done too much traditional TV. I mean, it’s my most of my past is all digital. And that’s why the Ott excites me, just from the targeting and reporting perspective. But where I’m going with this is I don’t have too much history and looking at analytics between when Ott is running verse, When only traditional, or when both are, do you have any insights into what’s a better channel? Or what are the use cases when someone should use Ott and when someone should use traditional


honestly, like, from my perspective, a lot of it comes from from budget, like TVs can can get pretty expensive. Yeah, no doubt about it. Ott is more affordable than TV. So if you want branding and awareness, and you want to be reaching people through video, which is just another medium, right, it’s like you get 30 seconds to tell your story versus a display ad, which you know, there’s a little box with some tags, Google, you know, there’s only so much text, so you can put in there. And then you’re reaching people with their sight, their sound, their motion, kind of reaching them in some different ways. You know, video is, is effective. So if a budget lends to both TV and to Ott, I think the combination is is fantastic. If your budget is a little bit limited by you know, you want that brand awareness, you want a presence on video, then I’ll I’ll lead more toward like Ott or pre roll, or like some online video.


Do you have any insights into the different demographics of who’s consuming because to me, it would be more maybe of an older demographic that would be on traditional whereas maybe younger millennials or younger would be on Ott. So is there any differentiation? Maybe who I’m trying to reach that would then dictate which one you would use? Yeah.


100% I mean, I think you’re spot on like programmtic TV advertising is definitely skewing older than, you know, Millennials not to say Millennials are watching cable, you know, I think a big driver for TV is that, at least like for me is live sports. Like I’m a big I’m a big sports guy. Now that you know, I don’t know the whole streaming platform in terms of like, Who am I What live sports and what not. But I’m calling it a habit hesitant just because like, I don’t want any like buffering or like, you know, like a pause for like a couple seconds in the game, and then it resumes action. I’m like, I’m like, really into sports. And I kind of want that live action right there. So, you know, not to say that, like a younger audiences isn’t watching TV. But yeah, I could, I would certainly say that, you know, I think within the Ott space, you know, you’re reaching a younger audience. But to that same note, like we can, if you are interested in reaching 5050 year olds through Ott, we can pull the veils and see how many are there to be hitting. So like, there, you can still absolutely hit an older audience. It’s it’s just probably, if you would ask me, what are they watching more probably two, and younger audiences probably watching more Ott. But there’s,


there’s definitely mix. And that’s where it goes into me, like you said before, it might be highly indexed, or you might not have a huge volume or a ton of people that are older on Ott, but you have a small group, and so you can be more effective with your creative by speaking to them, because it’s a smaller group, you know, exactly who you’re talking to. Yeah, maybe ahead of the game of compare their friends, you know, stuck on traditional. So I think there’s a lot that you can do from a creative perspective. I’m a big fan of how can we do little this audience down to as much as possible so that we know exactly who they are. And let’s get very strategic on the creative because I think that’s what wins, I think, Gone are the days were gonna make just some generic commercial, and it’s gonna speak to Yeah, I mean, you’ll get noticed and you’ll get reached, but in terms of the business results, it drives, I think that it’s more ROI positive to get super segment and customer, the commercial and all that,


at the end of the day, creative is what matters most. It’s like, you know, the message that you’re putting in front of them, like, we could be reaching, you know, millions and millions of people. But if your commercial sucks, like, you know, it’s probably not gonna be very effective. So yeah, I mean, I think and that’s something that I always discussed on the front end, too, is like creative, because if you don’t have creative, or there’s no creative direction, then there’s really no point in us even even having a conversation.


Yeah. Because it’s just gonna lead to things not being successful, and it’s gonna put a bad taste in your mouth. And it’s not going to do good for anyone. And, I mean, it’s the planning, it’s amazing. It’s amazing, the lack of planning that there really is, I mean, there’s a lot of companies that do well at it, but it’s tough to put a successful plan together, if there’s no plan in place on how we’re going to accomplish that. I mean, I just, I think, you know, goal setting, 101,


no, 100% the creative, so important. And, and honestly, like a bad commercial just leads to everybody being unhappy, I sell you this campaign. I’m excited about it, you’re excited about it. But the commercial is a dud. And then two weeks, and you’re telling me, this is a work. And I’m telling you, let’s say I told you, this is going to take time, and it just leads to you know, you keep hitting me up, you’re unhappy, I become unhappy. And at the end, like, you know, you cancel on pissed off, you’re pissed off, like, it’s not a good experience for anybody. So actly Yeah, that’s just like, it makes the intro conversations and like everything prior to that actual sale. so important. And it’s like, you know, sometimes I’ll, you know, be sending out emails, sending out packages, and somebody’s like, Okay, let’s do it. And I’m like, Alright, like, I’m pumped that you want to do this. But like, let’s just slow down for a second and make sure that like, you understand the expectation. Yeah, I kind of tell you what to expect, you know, my experience before we actually go through with this, because there’s been times where I’m just like, yes, my ads go, I made the sale. Yeah. And then it just falls flat. Yes.


It’s tough balancing those things. I mean, sales people usually have, you know, the amount of sales dictate the the, you know, amount of money they make and stuff like that. So it’s weighing that balance of, you know, want to get the sale, but also want success. And I think, you know, the better salespeople, which it sounds like you do a very consultative, and what are your goals, let’s set these expectations. Let’s delay this maybe sale being a week a month out, but we know that we’re gonna have six months of fun rather than sweet. I got the sale and then six months of this is not fun.


Yeah, no. 100% I mean, that’s, that’s the worst. does not go well, like, nobody’s happy. And it’s not something that like, this is something that I’m still working on and still, like, you know, slowing down to speed up type of thing. Because sometimes it’s like, you know, where you’re at, in your numbers. You’re like, I need I need this sale. Right? And it’s tough to be disciplined and to say, Okay, I need the sale, but the sale could be gone tomorrow, if I don’t get it correct steps leading up to it. Yeah.


And I love what you said, gotta slow down to speed up. I think that’s coming in sport. That’s the hardest thing to wrap your head around where it’s like, I mean, I grew up playing baseball, where it’s like, if you don’t throw as hard, you’re gonna throw harder. playing golf. If you if you don’t swing as hard. You’re gonna hit the ball farther. Yeah, it’s it’s tough. I mean, whether it’s sales, sports, whatever it is, if you’re feeling the crunch, it’s tough not to how can I go? 150% and go full speed ahead. Yeah, it’s like, let’s take a step back and really plan things out and be methodical about it. And that’s what’s gonna allow you to accomplish those goals that you’re seeking out to accomplish. Right


well What is your what’s your take on TV? You know, I know you have a digital background and you said you don’t have too much experience with it like, what are your thoughts?


I mean, I from I’ve never led it, I’ve worked with traditional agencies, and based off the analytics, that’s what we really look at is the organic and direct traffic. And it does well, TV does well. And I think really, where it shines, is that creative, it’s a, there are correlations, you’re gonna see a bump in traffic. And organic traffic is typically the best type of traffic you can get, it converts the best, so it drives the right traffic, but the amount of traffic it drives really is dictated on, is the commercial good? Is it going to spark that curiosity connect with them? It’s going to get them to actually go search for your brand. And so I think it’s an awesome channel. But I think it all comes down to what is the we’re trying to say, Who are we? Who are we trying to say? What are we saying to them? What do we want them to do, and if all that is there, that’s where you see success. And I’ve I what I’ve loved working on some of these traditional agencies where we’ll run the Ott and stuff like that is when they’re both running. And that’s where you see tons of impact. Yeah, having both.


Now anytime that I have the opportunity to work with somebody that’s open to, you know, a multi product approach, those are the best campaigns 100%, or you’re on programmatic TV advertising or on Ott, you know, online, digital realm, and it all works together. And it’s tough, it’s a tough message to convey, right? Because a lot of the times people just think that I’m trying to take their money, right, like, I’m a sales guy, right, I’m, I’m cold, calling them out of the blue, they already like don’t want to talk to me, I’m trying to give them a reason to, to talk with me, and then trying to convince them that, you know, in order to have the most effective approach, you know, you’re gonna want to be in all these channels that comes with a bigger investment. Like it’s, it’s a hard message to convey. But when people trust the process and trust, were the right people to work with and going to trust our expertise that typically turns out pretty pretty well for him.

Absolutely. I mean, I I’m big on the omni channel on the, let’s be everywhere, I mean, not to where we’re stretching our budget. So yeah, and but and that’s why I love Ott is, I’ve seen some vendors where what we can do is after they seen the the video or the commercial, we can then retarget them with banners or audio ads, that and I’m big on the storytelling, I’m not big on a certain channel, or, or a certain metric, or whatever the metric is ROI is what I love. But to me, it’s it’s how are we introducing ourselves as a brand to get someone to actually notice and take take, you know, get their attention from there. And I basically, I think people try and sell everything within the one piece of creative, where it’s how can I introduce the brand? Once we do that? How can retarget them and say, Hey, this is there’s other things that we offer, like we’re a local digital agency, now that you know that we offer this, now that you know that here’s a little bit about video, here’s a look through the data, you can kind of see where they’re engaging. Yeah, and continue to tell that story where you get down to the actual services, they might not watch anything but the paid ads video, and now it’s okay, well, they’re interested in that, how can now we then start serving banner ads that are geared towards, you know, the paid media showing some testimonials are case studies and stuff like that. And so I love the omni channel approach, and really not just, hey, let’s be everywhere, but how can we tell that story that goes from awareness to revenue across the different channels and use data to do that?


Yeah, the data is so important. So that’s like, I don’t want to leave this lead the podcast, but I had a question because like, this is something we deal with as a lot is like, how long should you be running? To see success and like something we’re always like, please run for like a minimum of three months, because like, this takes time. And like you said, we’re learning from that data, like, you know, that first month is really like you’re gathering data, you know, thing and things are slowly improving. But then you’re kind of, you know, you look at the data, you make some adjustments, like, what do you guys typically recommend in terms of like a timeline of a marketing campaign?


That’s, I mean, that that three months is kind of that sweet spot. And really, I kind of prefaced with, you know, how long have you guys been running, if it’s something brand new, we have nothing to work from. And so really, this first month, half of your spend might be completely wasted. But this first month, we’re gonna learn that, and then the next month, maybe only 10% of your spend is wasted. We’re gonna learn that and now we get to oversee an ROI. We’re seeing, you know, sales coming in and all that after three months. Now we can actually have a data driven discussion around it. Are we seeing success? Are we not? Where do we want to grow from here? What are what are things that we can do differently? And so trying to stay away from six to 12 months right out the gate? Because Yeah, it’s kind of, I like to have that three months, because then you can really have that. That growing relationship. I mean, even one month together, you guys are still learning? What days do you guys communicate better, what time of the day and all that so even from a partnership perspective, that’s barely growing month one. And so to really six success, recommend no less than three months because we’ve been working together we’re communicating. I’ve seen some numbers, we’ve made some pivots with the strategy. Now we have enough data to really Say, is this Bible or not? Yeah, we should clip that. I Oh, what do you guys recommend? Or how do you guys handle it. So that’s the toughest thing, you deal with the all you guys just want to lock me into a long term contract, but it’s like, well, I hear that, but also, Rome wasn’t built in a day or a month. And so we’re not going to sit here and triple your business in 30 days,


no 100%. So we typically recommend at least three months, you know, we don’t lock them in any contracts or anything, though. So, you know, if they are not happy with things, and they want to cancel, all we require is two weeks written notice, and then we can shut everything down. So I’ll typically, you know, I’ll say let’s book it for three months, six months, you guys have that out, like, if you’re not happy, you have that out. But really, it takes time. And like, like you said, month one, you’re learning how to work with each other, you’re you’re gathering information, month two, you’re making some changes, seeing how that works. month three, you have a pretty good baseline in terms of Okay, like, here’s what we’re seeing, here’s where we can go from there. But yeah, but it’s, it’s also tough, because like, right, people don’t like to spend money and waste money. So Exactly.


That’s where it’s like, you know, you have those lower funnel tactics that you know, are going to be successful, you know, we’re going to drive conversions, you’re going to drive calls the paid searches of the world, you know, CPA campaigns. So, you know, I typically like to couple couple that in with, you know, more of like a high funnel video approach, where, you know, they’re getting that awareness, they’re seeing that increase in traffic, but they’re also seeing some conversions, you know, you know, month two is likely going to be better than month one, month three is going to be better than than month two. So, you know, if you can start in a perfect world, you know, showing at least some conversions and like giving them some sort of hope that that things are working and things are improving, that always helps. The reality of the, you know, some people understand it takes time, some people want to see results from month one. And that’s just kind of just goes back into making sure expectations are in line ahead of time. At first, I was scared to have those conversations, it’s in this like, might not be as good as you want it month one. But now I’m just like, it’s so important to set those proper expectations and make sure people understand what they’re getting themselves into. And like people are spending a lot of money. So like, it’s important that, and I think about this all the time that like I really set the precedent for how things are going to go at the beginning, and then follow through on it. Because like if I’m telling them all this stuff, and then I’m just like, aloof, I’m not being in contact or like not keeping them in the loop, then like they’re gonna be pissed off, and things aren’t going to be going well. So yeah, the more and more that I do this, the more I realized that initial conversation just like how incredibly important it is.


Yeah, yeah. No, you get you get tired of promise in the world and getting the sale. And then having three, four months of just this isn’t happy to where it’s like, you know, I’m tired of doing that. I’m gonna Yeah, set of expectations, and it’s not a good fit. It’s not a good fit, but this is what we need. And if you like it great. If not, yeah, that’s, that’s not a problem. We’re always here, whenever you are ready, and stuff like that. And I think that that just discovery and expectations is so crucial. And, and, I mean, not so much the sale, but the long term relationship that gets that I mean, totally. And I going back to the length of time, I mean, another another factor that I think people don’t think about is the frequency. Yeah, today’s world, I mean, it used to be the only need to see a brand seven times before you make a decision. And that was right, less than five, six years ago. And now it’s I mean, they’re saying 1617 times, you want to reach a large audience of people, but you also want to hit them, you know, consistently and so you’re not going to get in front of people 10 1213 times on month one, it’s going to take time, nor do we want to because we don’t want to sit there and be showing your commercial, you know, this audience every hour, and then they get tired of it. So there’s a balance between the quantity of people we’re reaching and how many times we continue to hit them. And in order to you know, spread that out. So you’re not annoying them. It just takes time. And that’s where the two three months comes in. Yeah, we need to hit the, you know, enough people enough amount of times for this to actually happen. And not Unfortunately, it just takes time. Yeah. And really three months is not that. That’s the minimum, minimum. I mean, you get some people that man so long, but it’s like, three months is not that that. I mean, it’s a quarter, it’s not that long, to really, I mean, this could be something that generates Yeah, an extra 30-40% in revenue. And I mean, three months is not a long time to really test and figure that out. And so yeah,


and I also try to just kind of like relate it to their business. And you know, like I mentioned that solar has become like a pretty nice niche. Like solar, you’re not turning on those panels and seeing a saving month one that’s you know, you got to the I don’t know exactly how it works. Yeah, like I know that it collects essentially, essentially credit from the sun and like you’re kind of just banking, that, that energy and then you know, after a month or two, three months, you start seeing that savings. Yeah, and I feel like anytime that you can equate it back to their business, it kind of just resonates a little bit more


100% it’s like, you know, there’s questions that, you know, aren’t fun to get from your potential clients every time or it’s like, you know, you’re not gonna it’s not gonna pay it. It’s $40,000 system off month one. Yeah, it takes a lot of time and all sudden the light bulb goes off like, okay, yeah, I see. You make it relatable. Yeah. And that’s, that’s what people can appreciate it. Very, very good tactic. Yeah. Yeah, credit to credit to my manager. I mean, it sounds like you’ve been, you know, in the thick of it, when it comes to, this is my industry, this is what I’m trying to reach. This is my goal. And then you come back with not just TV, but here’s all the ways that we can reach them. here’s, here’s what all this looks like. What’s been the most exciting, I guess, media plan that you put together? I mean, without giving any specific details. What’s what was that that campaign? What were all the channels, What did it look like?


Now for sure. I like it just comes back to like, you know, you have TV, you have Ott you’re hitting both people that are paying for cable, people that aren’t, a lot of people are doing both right, they pay for cable, they have the streaming device, and then you can add in paid search. So you know, you run them on programmatic TV advertising, they go to Google, all of a sudden, you’re showing up, you add in website retargeting, and, you know, first party display. And they’re just in this web of like, always seeing you whether it’s through video, whether it’s on Google, you know, they go to, to check out the scores from last night, and all of a sudden, they’re seeing they’re seeing your ads. That’s probably the most exciting campaign is like having all those different elements involved Where? Yeah, and when you do it, you’re able to show the success. And when you have, you know, that also leads to a bunch of metrics, you have your metrics from PPC, and then you have you know, the display metrics of here’s how many people are clicking on your ads, you’re tracking conversions on the site, all of a sudden, you start seeing organic and paid traffic come up from Google. Yeah, it’s it’s just exciting to see it work. Yeah, it’s like, really,


it’s a lot. It’s a tremendous amount of work to get everything synced together to get the creative run in the right spots. All of that is so hard to do, and then tying it all together. I mean, it’s because even then, it’s you’re talking about display and video, well, you’re not going to be looking at conversions or cost per conversion there. I mean, you’re trying to introduce I mean, CPM cost per click Yeah, is this the cheapest way to reach the most amount of people that are going to then lead to a buy. So it’s like, throughout the whole, the different channels and the buyers journey, there’s I mean, different metrics, that you’re looking at different KPIs. And it’s tough to put it all together. I mean, especially if you’re not in marketing, like you’re a business owner, or a business that you’re trying to run your business. I mean, it’s a lot to try and piece together, you’re just like, I’m doing


like 15 different things. Like, can you explain this to me again? Yeah. And it’s Yeah, it’s when we really just like, have these conversations. It’s like, you realize how much goes into it? And like, how difficult it can be to run a successful marketing campaign?


Oh, yeah. I mean, we’re, we’re trying to get more aggressive on how can we be more refined in our project management tool to to lay everything out for as bulletproof as possible. And as you’re going through the discussions, it’s like, holy cow, there are in this one project that are at two different subtasks are tasked to get this done. And even within each one of those, there’s like checklists. And it’s don’t realize how much we’re doing in the digital marketing world, because it’s so fast paced, but it’s, it is pretty eye opening, when you start talking about SEO and the different channels and got some looks at reporting someone does the creative. I mean, yeah, it takes a team to make a successful thing. And that’s what’s so cool is you’re offering businesses a team to allow them to be successful


right? Now, I love having that support. And even like, you know, some meeting, there’s like some big meetings where you’re like, like, I gotta be really put together here. But like, just knowing that my manager can hop on the call with me and the digital team can hop on the creative team. It’s like, all the tools are there for me to be successful, but also, for more importantly, you know, the clients to be successful and feel like, they’ve got everything handled with a strong team of experts.


Yeah. Yeah. And one thing that we’ve talked about a lot is, is the creative and really, it’s the variable to success. And I agree, I think reaching people is such a commodity. Now, with all the tools that we have at our disposal. Do you have any insights into what makes a good commercial? What makes a good piece of creative is it? Is it the script? Is it the visuals? Is it the Color Overlay? Is it everything? Do you have any insight into what might guide people is, you know, I wanted to TV, but hearing that creative is the most important thing? How should I start thinking about this?


Yeah, I just always set up a meeting with our creative team. Let them


do their thing. But for my experience, I mean, I always like something different. Like, you know, you see a lot of the same commercials out there of, you know, kind of here’s what we’re about, you know, that similar music similar, you know, just like verbiage maybe there’s an offer at the end, I mean, anytime that you can entice somebody to take a sense of urgency of Call now for x like I feel like that’s effective. But also I like just like a quirky like off the cuff kind of like Wow, that’s different. Like, I haven’t really seen something like that.


So you have any examples cuz I mean, I think one thing that we’re getting a lot of is like we want to Dollar Shave Club type of commercial wedges, witty, humorous. And all that is that is that does that seem to lead to a lot more?


That’s kind of what I’m talking about is like something quirky, something funny, just like different. I also just think like, loud or like, exciting to like, background music or something that like, you know, maybe you’re in the kitchen cooking dinner, and all of a sudden you see this, or you hear the sound? And then like, you look over and and, you know, the the sound got your attention from the, from the, from the open light from the intro scene? I don’t have any, like concrete examples right now. But


those are good. That’s great.


Yeah, concrete examples. Just anything like that. I mean, and that’s my style. Like, I’m sure somebody else has a way different style. Right. But like, I like just something that something a little bit different that you’re not seeing often that makes you stand out a little bit.


Yeah, I think comes down to who you’re trying to reach. Because I’m sure what you like, if you were to serve that to a 65 year old, they might not have Yeah, radiation and stuff like that. And so I think it always comes down to again, who are you trying to reach? What do you want to say to them? What do you want them to do? I think that kind of helps dictate but always, especially me, after starting this, I’m always looking Wait, did that sound catch my attention was a word that was said? And what what is capturing my attention? And how can we kind of feel that into you know, our clients and stuff like that, but always looking for tips on? What’s Wow, definitely better?


Definitely. And I think I think I like they’re, like creative from TV and creative in the Ott or pre roll space is very, like becoming very different. Because, right, you’re serving to exactly the audience you want to be in front of. So like, you can probably speak to them a little bit differently than you would putting it on TV where you’re like, I don’t know if this will fly with this audience or like if they’ll even get the lingo. So yeah, that’s something like, when we’re doing our creative approaches, first question is like, is this TV is this in the digital space? Because we’re starting to see, like, just different approaches. With with each.


Absolutely. And then one that has come up quite a bit, as we’ve been discussing, you know, TV, just advertising, everything in general is really, you know, you have to have goals in order to know where you want to go if you’re even accomplishing them to really determine is all of this successful or not? That being said, I mean, what are you doing personally, and I guess you guys is an organization that Cox two really, what goals do you guys have set? What do you guys really trying to accomplish in the next six to 12? months?


Yeah, so I mean, you know, the TV side of things is, you know, that’s, you know, we right now we view it as like a TV bucket and a digital bucket, but it’s very much becoming just one overall, it’s more becoming what’s best for the client, like, we understand we have our different budgets through TV and digital, but like, at the end of the day, it’s not about us, it’s what’s what’s best for the client. So I know some metrics that we’re trying to push is just like, increasing our digital, you know, that’s becoming ever more important. And it’s tough, because everybody, like a lot of people are selling digital, right? There’s a there’s a lot of people out of like, even like mom and pop shops, and they they do a great job. Yeah. So it’s, that’s a competitive, competitive atmosphere, but also just increasing like, the multi product approach. To metrics we’re really keeping an eye on, just because like, that’s where we’re seeing the most success is when people are buying both linear and digital in whatever capacity. So those, those have been two big focuses, but also just like always trying to improve customer experience. Yeah. You know, our mantra that we kind of live by is like serving our clients supporting each other. And it’s really something that we take to heart every sales meeting, we have dedicated for five minutes just to call out, you know, how, how, what are some examples of people living the mantra this week, that’s cool. So it’s something that, you know, we, you know, we don’t just preach it, we really do, like focus on it. And that client experience is like, nobody wants to work with somebody that makes it difficult to work with, like, the, you’re a business owner, you have enough on your plate, like let us handle the marketing seamlessly. I’m sure there’s gonna be hiccups here and there, like there always are. But we’re gonna work with you to to fix those and we don’t want to be a bother, right? We like we want to make your life easier and like show you successful results. We don’t want to be something that you know, you’re you’re thinking about or adding any more stress to your day, like we really are improving to make the client experience as seamless as possible.


That’s, that’s everything. I think that’s gonna be the biggest differentiator moving forward is just the experience. And I think more and more people want better experiences, and how can we optimize it’s more tailored to you and stuff like that. And I think everyone’s trying to try to figure that out. But those are definitely some good goals to have. This has been great. And as we kind of wrap things up, I would love to love to kind of hear I mean, our audience is is you know, small business owners, entrepreneurs. You know, for those out there that are, you know, thinking of toeing the line of TV or even just an omni channel approach. I mean, what’s what’s the biggest piece Some advice you’d have for them.


Yeah, just, you know, know, like, have some goals. And if you don’t have goals, like work with your media consultant like you or me to kind of figure out where what should we be doing, right, we’ve been working in it in the industry for long enough where we have experience in terms of, you know, seeing what works, seeing what doesn’t, how businesses handle their budgets, you know, where we really just try to be helpful. And even if you like, you’re just like, I want to know what’s out there, or like, I really have no intention of spending any money right now. But like, I just kind of want to get a lay lay of the land and what’s out there what’s working, like, we are more than helpful to have a conversation with you, you know, help out. I can’t tell you how many meetings I have that don’t lead to sales, but it’s like I don’t, I my my goal is, you know, to help out these businesses in whatever capacity so whether there’s a sale coming out of it or not, you know, if I can walk away and kind of, they didn’t know about geo fencing, and that you could, you know, target these individual locations and track whether they come into your store or not, like, if you can walk away knowing that’s a possibility and kind of knowing what it takes to make happen, then like, that’s, that’s great. Yeah. So I think just, you know, knowing those goals, you know, making sure that your MIDI consultant is not just, they’re hearing you, right, like they’re hearing you, and they’re listening to you. And they’re not just going out saying, you know, they, regardless of what you say, they have their package in mind and the right in front of them, like really working with somebody that is working to understand your goals and expectations. If they’re not asking about your expectations ahead of time, and like I don’t think they’re hard or is in the right place to be making that sale.


Absolutely. I think I think you said it best. And I think the biggest thing is really that education sides that when it comes to digital, most people don’t know, I don’t know, a budget I have I don’t know what it is, and just getting some of that preliminary, what does it cost to reach someone are their minimums, I think that’s huge. And it’s awesome that you’re doing and it might not all of them lead to a sale today. But because you gave them the information, when they’re ready, they’re gonna come back and lead to a sale. Just that sell hasn’t caught up in terms of time. And so, no, I love what you’re doing. And if there’s anyone that’s out there that wants to, you know, ask those questions, kind of get that preliminary, what are some expectations? What kind of budget should I be looking at and all that? I mean, how can they reach out to you to ask them those questions? Yeah.


So you go to Cox media calm? or? Yeah, my email is Connor and co nn o r dot smolensky. Which is SM o l e n s ky at Cox Feel free to shoot me an email and yeah, answer whatever questions you know, we can set up some time to chat over video phone we can meet up cool.


Now Yeah, right.


Yeah, having said that too much lately. But ya know, I’m more than happy to help in any capacity and would love to talk with


Conrad. This has been great. I appreciate your time. I love what you’re doing. I love how you, you know your approach and really taking the consultative approach and understanding goals and putting something in front of them that here’s how you can accomplish them. So I’m excited to see your growth and what you continue to do and what you guys are doing over at Cox I think you guys have something great going on. I think that’s what brands are looking for. a one stop shop that can produce the creative get it out there track and everything. So, guys, you’re setting yourself up well, so appreciate the time.


No, I appreciate you having me on giving us a platform to chop it up a little bit. And yeah, it was fun. Thanks, man.

Where To Find Connor Smolensky

LinkedIn: Connor Smolensky


On the previous episode of RGR, Dustin talked to Christina Erlandson who speaks more about how the nonprofit Military Assistance Mission steps in to help service members have one less worry.

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