Sun, 18 April 2021
Jacque Spitzer is the CEO of Raindrop, the direct-to-consumer marketing agency he founded in 2014. He's committed to bringing fresh, new creative to his agency and their clients. Jacque's been involved in some of the most creative and entertaining videos on the internet. And he's sharing some of the lessons learned and insider secrets on making great videos for your agency brand. Generate more leads when your video ads don't suck!
3 Golden Nuggets
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Jason: [00:00:00] On this episode, I talk with an agency that's been a part of some of the funniest videos on the internet from like Dr. Squash to you, name it. And we talk about how do you not make your video ads suck? How do you really take your videos and make them entertaining? It's a lot of fun in this episode and I hope you enjoy.
Hey, welcome to the show.
Jacque: [00:00:28] Thanks for having me. It's an honor.
Jason: [00:00:29] Yeah. I'm excited to have you on, so tell us who you are and what do you do?
Jacque: [00:00:34] So my name is Jacque Spencer. I'm CEO of Raindrop. I started the agency pretty young, about decade in now and, we are D to C focused, about 80% DTC. We do about 20% B to C. So very consumer brand-focused agency.
And where we really kind of come into being known nationally is for our top of funnel, social creative. So we created ads for brands like Dr. Squatch and. Crossrope, Omigo, Shady Rays.
Jason: [00:01:05] Wait, you did the Dr. Squatch one?
Jacque: [00:01:07] Dr. Squash, yeah. We had been on a tremendous journey with these DTC clients over the last three years or so.
And it's a thrill. It's amazing to see these companies grow by 10 times, 20 times, 30 times their revenues, and being part of a creative engine behind it.
Jason: [00:01:24] That's awesome. Well, let's go back a decade. How'd you get started?
Jacque: [00:01:29] Well, I was working at NBC, as a journalist and, um, one of my colleagues now, my wife, asked me if I would help shoot a video for her personal trainer.
And I started shooting videos for him. And one thing led to the next, I started getting referrals and I didn't have a plan to own an agency. I didn't, I'd never worked at an agency before. I didn't know anything about marketing per se, but I just followed my instincts for storytelling into problem-solving for businesses.
And yeah, I was 24 at the time. I had a bunch of roommates and so I was fortunate to not have a lot of life responsibility and I just went for it and it started slow. To say the least. And, um, you know, this year we're at about 50 employees and I've grown tremendously and have had a lot of fun along the way.
Jason: [00:02:19] Well, take me back to the point when, cause there's a lot of different things that we go through from accidental agency owner, like we are right. To you know, actually bringing on a team to growing, thinking that growing is the better option versus scaling. So walk us through some of the phases that you went back.
If you can remember, like, I know, I remember when, if I was interviewing myself like about like the first agency interview, I'd be like, I don't remember anything.
Jacque: [00:02:49] Yeah. I mean, you know, it's interesting how much, like, just how much self-reflection is involved. Because I think about the fact all the time that I started an agency, well, I started a business, I shouldn't say I started an agency. I started a business. It became an agency.
And I didn't have any direct background in the agency world, or life. And in this type of structure, I've never had managed anyone directly. And now I'm partially responsible in some way for all these people. And so for me, there was different like milestones where I was like I remember the first one was when we started having actual overhead.
So like an office and health insurance, and starting to realize like, Oh, this is why you can't charge $50 an hour for your time all the time.
Jason: [00:03:32] Like what year was that?
Jacque: [00:03:35] For me? That was like year three. Yeah. So, I mean really the first couple of years, and it was enough to feed myself and then, um, you know, a couple of subcontractors and then our first employees were year three and the hockey stick growth has come in the last three years or so.
Jason: [00:03:52] And what was the mindset shift? Because there's a lot of people listening that they go, well, I'm kind of doing everything from three years and below of like, I'm kind of doing everything myself. I'm using contractors, that kind of stuff. What was the shift of going, Hey, let me get an office, let me start hiring people. And then like, how did that go?
Jacque: [00:04:13] I was really fortunate. I have a business partner named Madame Wagner and Adam had worked for two other very large agencies at the time. And so it was kind of a nice mix of my creative storytelling and just passion and hard work and desire. And his ability to see what was missing in terms of structure, even in the way we contracted things. Introducing service lines, that weren't just project-based.
And we still do a lot of video, photo, and web work, but it was just so many project based things. So every year we started at zero. And so that was a big aha. Um, and he was like, I can help you get there if we work together. And so we made an agreement that at a certain revenue number, we would form a partnership and we were able to do that.
And so once we had some annual contracts in place that were a little bit more steady, we felt better about making the leap to taking on some of the overhead.
Jason: [00:05:06] Awesome. Let's talk about video, you know, many years ago even before I started this podcast, I wanted to do video because there were so many people out there just putting out blog posts.
Right. You remember years ago? Yeah. There are so many people outsourcing it. Like you never knew what, like, what were their tone? What was their personality? And I was like, look, I just, I don't care how bad I look on camera, whatever it is. I think my first video I was trying to be serious at first.
And, we'll link up in the show notes or you go on YouTube. It's like one of the first videos. I remember seeing, cause this was in '14. So you remember, like, the Dollar Shave Club video?
Jacque: [00:05:47] Of course.
Jason: [00:05:48] You guys didn't do that, did you?
Jacque: [00:05:50] No, but like, if we were creating our own barbecue sauce, that was like a main ingredient of the barbecue sauce. Like, no, you need what they have.
Jason: [00:05:57] Yeah. So I was recording this video, trying to be serious about like, hey, you know, my strategies work and that kind of stuff, but my cat kept coming up and bugging me. So finally I was just, I picked up my cat. I was like, my tips are effing. Awesome.
And, and literally it was like a parody off this one and it was got really successful. So let's talk about how agencies listening. How they can use video. And then I also definitely want to get into the Dr. Squatch video. Cause I watched that all the time. Cause I just, I think it's hilarious.
Jacque: [00:06:29] No, I appreciate your enjoyment of it.
We enjoy making them just as much as people enjoy watching them. So the question is more so the idea around video for agencies?
Jason: [00:06:39] How can agencies really use video and really get to the next level. Right. So yeah, people are just using video and whatever it is, or just putting like these awful ads together. So like how can we step it up?
Yeah, I think
Jacque: [00:06:53] one of the kind of secret starting point tips that I would give to people when it comes to video storytelling is to, and you mentioned earlier, like, not to take themselves too seriously, because when you think about the different mediums where you're consuming the video, cause you can't just think about video in a vacuum. It's like, where are you actually watching it? You're probably watching it on either Facebook, LinkedIn, maybe even Tik Tok these days, Instagram.
And so it's like the other competing videos in that space that you're watching are usually a dog that is really well-trained and bouncing a bone on its nose, or some girl talking about her political affiliations while she does her makeup, or, you know, it's like the, the world that you are swimming in is a world of entertainment.
It's not a world of information. And so when I think about making video, it's truly table stakes to be entertaining when you tell your story via video, then that's what you were talking about with your cat. I mean, you experienced it firsthand and you're like, oh my gosh, of course like, cause this is what I would want to watch if I were on the other end.
As much as we all want to sound like we have some kind of PhD in brand or something. People want to see the guy with the cat that says, you know what, or in some cases, the guy with the Tesla or whatever it is on YouTube where these videos start and people have these fancy cars.
Bottom line is when it comes to video storytelling, uh, for anyone, but particularly for service line businesses like an agency or anything else is you have to be entertaining and otherwise it's like, why exist on the internet?
If you want them to have your own coursework or something, that's like, you know then, okay. Be serious all day. But if you want to keep people's attention and grab people's attention, you have to be interesting.
Jason: [00:08:32] So it's easier said than done. So let's say you're an agency. Cause I always tell agency as I'm like, look, just start off doing it.
Like you're going to suck in the very beginning at video. And if it's just like telling someone how to do something, do that. And then like, how can they go from just educational content to more entertaining content? Like what's that process that you walk your clients through in order to create the Dr. Squatch video?
Jacque: [00:09:05] great question. I will, here's what I will do. I will go macro to the micro. So the macro is that certain people think in a way where they understand attention and entertainment and what will connect. So our business, we work with five full-time comedians and we pair them with our writers internally as well.
And the reason is, is that we see people who are on one extreme or the other. So sometimes people make something really, really funny that doesn't sell. Right. And like people will watch, but it's like at the end of the day, maybe the product seems like a joke or the service seems like a joke. It doesn't, it's not structured right.
But then if you have all these people that understand the structure of how to tell a story, but not how to hold people's attention. So we pair our comedian with our internal writers. Our internal writers are fantastic. Like, I don't know that they could probably write one of these types of scripts on their own, but that added spice of having someone who's professionally entertaining, it does make a difference.
And we learned that. We learned at firsthand by what happened was we watched the Dollar Shave Club video and studied it, some of the very early Harmon brothers stuff. And, you know, I literally made a recipe out of it. I was like, what is going into this? That seems to work. And we'll tweak it from there.
The first video we did, did not do well. It was a dud and we tried to write it all internally. It was like half my jokes. Like it just wasn't that good. And when I went back, I learned that the owner of the Dollar Shave Club, who, the guy who stars in the video. He was an improv comedian. And he talks about in one of his articles, he talks about that being like the most underrated component, but like people are like, you have to understand comedy in order to pull off the timing, in order to make a video work.
And that's what led us to, uh, finding James Schrader, who is a star of the Dr. Squatch videos, that he was a local comedian. And he was doing all right, but we saw him and we were like, that guy is perfect. It was actually our senior videographers bachelor party that we were at. And so we tracked him down and the rest is history in terms of that.
But that's, that's where it all started, where we realized if you want to make professionally entertaining content, you should probably talk to professionally entertaining people and not just try to be something that you're not. And to your point earlier, when we were talking offline about putting people who are smarter and more creative around you.
Well, that's a great example. People that are in front of people every night, they know the pulse of America. What people are laughing at, they're touring America. They're great. So our comedians are definitely a big part of what we do.
Jason: [00:11:44] What other ingredients, like when you were deconstructing the Dollar Shave Club video, which is so instrumental to so many different things, what other ingredients did you find? You know, obviously one of them's use a freaking professional comedian that will help. So what were some of them?
Jacque: [00:12:01] I think one of the things that, um, what's fascinating to me about like, again, going back to the micro is. I actually don't see Dollar Shave Club as the beginning of this. What I see Dollar Shave Club is the first to do on the internet. But what I went back and we've really realized, especially in working with a company like Worx power tools, we've made like eight or 10 videos this year just for works.
They got their start in direct to consumer power tools through infomercials. And what I realized is that, you know, Jason, you and I grew up watching infomercials and they keep our attention for 30 minutes on television. Even though we didn't want the ad, we knew it was an ad. And we're like, well, why? Why are we spending 30 minutes of our life watching an ad for something we'd probably never buy, especially as like a 14 year old? Like, why am I watching this like toaster oven that can do it all or Oxiclean, like why am I watching this? And so for me, I look at it like the attention has shifted online, but the overarching human interest in something like an infomercial always existed and it exists now. And these three minute type videos that we make is the infomercial of the internet age. I mean, so for me, it's like, when you talk about those specific ingredients, it's like the numbers of call to actions.
The ability to remain entertaining, but not make a joke of the actual product. But I think is the biggest rookie mistake we see, is that people, you can make jokes around the product, but the product itself is not a joke. Right? You want people to buy it and you want them to take it seriously in some capacity.
And so I would say that's, if you were to look at infomercials, they are the predecessor of the online, they call them, uh, you know, anchor videos or, or hero videos. And then from there, I mean, like, I would say that like anything, the structure's there and then the rest of it is freestyle. And sometimes something just really resonates with people.
Jason: [00:13:56] How many call to actions? You mentioned like how many call to actions. So what have you seen works the best?
Jacque: [00:14:02] You know,, we do about three to four throughout. And then we usually end out with making sure that we're like, okay, you've spent three minutes with us, you gotta click the, like, you gotta go. Like you gotta check out the site. And the beauty of these longer videos, like I think about.
You know, if you're paying for an impression, I'm gonna get a little, little, little agency meta on you here. But if you're paying for an impression, it's like, okay, I'm paying a couple cents for an impression. And let's say someone watches your video and they watch 90 seconds or two minutes of it. They go from, I've never heard of this product or service to I now I'm pretty educated on it.
And not only am I do I know about it. I know enough to potentially refer someone else who might actually need it. Like maybe I'm not the target audience. So in other words, I watch a video on a gasless leaf blower, and maybe I have a gardener and I don't need it. But I see my neighbor with the gas leaf blower and they're like, oh there's an ordinance and you have to have electric leaf blowers now, which is really happening in my city. I can be like, oh, you should check out the Worx leaf jet, it's I saw a commercial for. It's it's electric. Oh, Hey, thanks neighbor. I mean, that's the power of actually understanding the product or service and spending time with it.
And it costs the same to reach someone for three minutes as it does for 15 seconds. And so at scale, it really works well.
Jason: [00:15:25] What's the best way to start off these videos to capture their attention. Right? Like I, I look at it as the first couple of seconds are literally going to engage you. You're going to be like skip next or whatever it is. So what have you seen works the best?
Jacque: [00:15:43] Yes. Great question. So, the answer to that is partially, you don't know, which is why we create multiple openings and we test them on YouTube unlisted to find the winner. Because statistically, they can be very, very different. Um, in terms of the openings, typically we're doing something that grabs people visually and, or challenges their own perception of the reality. Like I love the original Dr. Squatch where we say the soap you're showering with is shit and then we go into, you're probably using the same bar your mommy bought for you.
Well, if you are, in fact, someone who's using the same bar soap you've been using for 10 to 15 years, like you have my attention because you're like you called me out about something I didn't even know I was doing.
And so we try to create those types of moments where like for instance, we made a video for, We Ship Floors and I didn't realize until we started getting into their video, like how gross carpeting is like, it's disgusting. Like when you realize like how much stuff gets trapped in carpet, like you'll never, you'll never enjoy carpet the same way ever again.
Jason: [00:16:50] That's why my wife, uh, when we built our house, she was like, no carpet, all hardwoods.
Jacque: [00:16:55] I know it's the way to go. So, and specifically We Ship Floors because they're water resistant, no just kidding, but a little random plug. But yeah, no, I mean, that's, that's what we see.
It's like challenging people's perception of the reality and giving them something entertaining. I mean, look, if you can make a video better than the video that we're about to watch. They'll stick around.
Jason: [00:17:15] Yeah. You know, I like calling them out on something. I know one of the videos that was really popular for us is like, Hey, are you, do you constantly keep sending proposals only to have people go completely silent on you?
And they're like, yeah. Or like you think of that guy on Instagram. I think it's like, I think he's in New York, but like he never says anything. He just holds up signs. Signs of shit we think of but never say. And I think those always work, you know, the best because it's like, Oh, finally someone said it, but you had the freedom to call it out.
Jacque: [00:17:50] What's funny is I remember your ad. Like, I didn't realize it was your ad, but when you just said that, I was like, Oh my gosh, I've seen this guy before. Was that on YouTube? Where'd you run those?
Jason: [00:18:00] On Facebook. Yeah. But you got to call someone out on it and then, you know, and then I think too, it's what suspense, so it's kind of, what, what are some other other elements I see is, is like going well, here's probably what you're doing now.
And then here's what you could be doing. And it's a little suspense about like, Oh man. Like you were saying, it's a story. It's like, they want a happy ending to all kinds of funny stuff on that one. They want a happy ending, but they don't know how to get there. So they're going to keep watching or listening to what's going on.
Jacque: [00:18:37] So I think. We use them as like, we call it like problem solution statements and going all the way back to our predecessor, the infomercial. One of the things that they do so well is they'll say, Oh, like you can do these three obvious things. Right. But then here's 10 things you've never thought to do with this thing.
And all of a sudden you're like, Okay. Like, I can see myself getting some Oxiclean because I could, I don't own a boat, but like I could wash it if I had one. Like, you know, it's like, you're just, it's crazy. But like, if they do it and it's like, Oh, you can cut through this and that. And like, watch me cut through a shoe when you're like, why are you cutting through a shoe? But if I needed to, I can cut through a shoe.
And so it's like a, to your point that suspense and that like, It's an art and think about like, when you go to a fair and there's someone doing a live demonstration, same idea, right? Like they just suck you in. They're just so good. I feel like I should go to the local fair and get some of those people, man. That can make some great videos.
Jason: [00:19:30] Oh yeah. I mean, like this summer I got a boat for the family and I was going to buy a Boston Whaler and I was talking to the salesperson and he goes, well, you could cut the boat in half and it's still gonna float. I'm like, that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. And they literally have a video of them cutting a boat in half and still working.
And I'm like, all right. As I started watching, I'm like, wow, they're going to cut this boat in half? Like, I want to know what happens, but it's just talking about like, you know, no one's ever going to do it. Well, I'm sure people like you will do it demonstrating this.
Jacque: [00:20:08] I think that's brilliant because it's like taking safety to an extremity and you're like, you're not going to sink in this boat. It's like, let me prove it. And I've had it in half. It's pretty good.
Jason: [00:20:18] Yeah. Or, calling out something that really gets their attention. Like I love if I can remember right on the Dr. Squatch video, it's like you're using the same ingredients as like dishwasher or something like that. Like I'm like, oh, that's gross.
Jacque: [00:20:33] Yeah, no, I mean, it's, uh, we've played with so many different like intros and hooks and what matters to people and to your point, those, like, I never thought of that type of moment where it's like, it's, it's the same ingredients inside your dish soap. And you're like, oh, yeah, you're right. Like it happens to be Old Spice and it's called like tropical breezes or something, but it is the same type of formulation.
Again, it's like challenging people's perception of their own reality. And you can't unhear that. Right? It's like, I never knew that, but then I can't unhear it.
Jason: [00:21:07] Yeah. I'm just trying to think, like how could we help people really kind of position this more like, like when I'm working with someone and I asked them, I'm like, hey, walk me through the process of how you're pitching to people.
And then I kind of go, well, this is how we did it. Like, we did a lot of web design back in the day and I would say, just to get the person to really compare everyone else to us, I would say, well, you probably get asked the question all the time. What websites do you like? And they're like, yeah, it'd be like, do you want to know why? They're like, yeah, this is because they're going to copy someone else's work because they're freaking unoriginal.
And that's probably why your whole industry looks the same. And then they're like, Oh, that makes sense. I'm just trying to like break down a little bit more of what we can give everyone listening. Like how can they come up with moments like that to really kind of stop someone in the tracks. And then they can kind of go or, or what do you see like, I don't want to obviously stop the creator in these people too. Right? Like they think I have to start off with the dollar shave club video, or I can't release it, or I can't start off with, you know, the Dr. Squatch video. Like I need to come up with something that good and then they never release anything.
Jacque: [00:22:24] That's a great point because with all of these brands, I would say with half the brands we work with, we don't start with an anchor video because what we're trying to figure out is, what kind of messaging are people resonating with? So I call them doors to knock on, like, we're trying to figure out like these four to five doors even early on, we talked about when you said, well, what openings work?
And I'm like, honestly, I have my guesses. And then I'm always surprised by what does and doesn't work and we call them doors. And so those doors are usually created by really looking at those problems, solution statements. So some of those best statements can come from people's either their salespeople or their customer service team, or even just combing through reviews and seeing how people talk about the product. Because people will give you like, oh, I expected this, but this is what I got. And that was even better.
Or, you know, it's right there. Right. And so. We find it more challenging for people that are more startups because they don't, they haven't narrowed their number of doors. They haven't gotten that feedback. So people have been doing this it's more so they just take it for granted, like the thing that makes them give them that moment.
It's just so obvious to them or they don't even see it anymore. Right. It's like, Oh yeah, of course. People know that. And I was like, no, they don't, you know, like if you're a, a do it yourself installation thing, and you're like, oh, we've already made 15 videos about how to install it. Why do I need to show it in this one?
It's like, because fundamentally your brand. Like you'd have to show people that easy to install and they're like, Oh, I see what you mean. Because like, we're assuming that people saw our ad before. I'm like, correct. And so it's like creating those problem statements, like for instance, for, soap. It's not the fact that like, the reason that Dr Squatch is reaching the scale and the meteoric levels that they are isn't because it's an all natural soap. It is all-natural soap, but like if we had gone into this like it can cure psoriasis and in all seriousness, like some of the early messaging was posed that way, you know, it was very like almost clinical and like it's going to cause you cancer if you don't. Like that kind of stuff, it's like, okay, look like, I think we can all appreciate that.
Like we deserve better than laundry detergent out of our bodies. And so just trying to find a way to really like take this more clinical thing, but put it in a way that people can appreciate. But ultimately I hope I've answered the question, but it's really to create these doors and you never know which one's going to open.
And I think that's important. Cause I feel like people are trying to like their mindset sometimes is, I have to pick the perfect door and then, then they get stuck to your point. It's like, no pick five and like, see which one's open. And if none of them open, then figure out why didn't they open? Like, why are people not resonating with this?
Jason: [00:25:12] So let's use me as an example to kind of wrap up. So. I agree with the multiple doors, but like a lot of times, like we're just having a challenge. And I think you're talking about with doors for maybe the opening of the video. So how do you guys test it out? Like a lot of times, like how I test out and just put it out there, but how can I put the same kind of five of the same videos out in order to see how it works at the same time? Or like, how are you guys testing that?
Jacque: [00:25:43] Well, okay, so. I'll give the more complicated answer and the more simple answers. So the more complicated answer is most of the brands we're working with are spending tens of thousands, if not millions of dollars a month on social ads. And so they're very, very savvy.
And so they can, they can find out in 48 hours, which one of these are going to be statistically relevant or different. And so we're talking about like, at that scale, at that production level, like. It's kinda like they say ball don't lie. Like the numbers don't lie, but for more, what you're kind of, I think where you're coming from, which is like, look, someone's just trying to get started.
And they're just trying to put content out there. There's an interesting, I don't know if you've ever seen this show. Uh, what is it? It's like Master Chef or something.
Jason: [00:26:27] Yeah. And you know you're old when you start watching the home and garden, right?
Jacque: [00:26:31] Yeah. I know they have, um, the food network. They have this show well, the whole time what's my POV? What's my POV? What's my POV? Because I realize that like, at the end of the day, you can't be everything to everyone. So like, what's the thing that you're going to like to hang your hat on and not give up after like one or two, but like, to your point, like plug away and have like, chart a course on what it is that you think you can provide the most value on, of course.
And when it comes to capturing people's attention, being like, what is authentically me, but I think also don't be afraid to take some risks. What I mean by that is it's like, I think people feel goofy or silly or, dumb, like being animated and like being like to your point, grabbing their cat and saying something they wouldn't normally say.
And it's like, that's okay, because people are expecting to see something extraordinary, not something ordinary like they're expecting to see something that is different than what everyone would do with the same energy. And so don't feel bad about getting deep about performing, because I think people are like, oh, it's inauthentic.
And it's like, you can be authentic all day, but if people don't want to watch like you're not helping them. So, you know, it's okay to ramp up your energy a little bit and give yourself permission to do that. But I learned that back to my news days because they say that the camera adds 10 pounds and it takes, takes away about 20% of your energy it's lost, in the vapor.
So it's like you have to ramp yourself up at least 25%. And that would be something that would, I would pass on to anyone making a video.
Jason: [00:28:06] Yeah. I heard that about the camera adds 10 pounds and then I would go to people. I'm like, how many cameras are on me? Take them off. Give me half a camera, so I look half as fat.
Oh, awesome. Well, this has all been great. Is there anything I did not ask you that you think would help out the listeners?
Jacque: [00:28:24] Oh man. I could talk about it for hours, but also I'm like, I don't know.
No, no problem. You already put a bunch of bombs on them. So the biggest thing everybody is is you got to go do it.
You got to start somewhere. Remember everything big starts off small. So go back to some of our original videos and, you know, we look like a hostage from Iran. You know, it was really, really bad, but. They worked. They, they did what they needed to do in order to get us to the level we are now, which is still very low, but it will keep going up.
Jason: [00:28:56] What's the agency website, people go and check you guys out? Raindropmarketing.com and you can also find me on LinkedIn, pretty active there.
Jacque: [00:29:05] Awesome. Well, everybody go check that out. And if you enjoyed this episode and you want to be surrounded by amazing agency owners that can really push you along, see the stuff that you might not be able to see, really understand what you're going through.
Jason: [00:29:19] I want to invite all of you to go to DigitalAgencyElite.com. This is our exclusive mastermind where we get together on a regular basis, have a lot of fun. Grow and scale our agencies and just not have to go through all the pain, even though you will go through pain. That's inevitable. There's no silver bullet, but go to DigitalAgencyElite.com and until next time have a Swenk day.