Search Interviews:

Jeremy Weisz 4:47

So walk me through so the goal of that they want to hire more people with paychecks. Yeah, what’s a call to action on a radio ad? For something like that?

Debbie Pontera 5:00

So today when they when they actually put up a cash incentive, so they offered people I think, um, it was up to like $4,500 to take a job. So that was really impactful for them, you know, they, they knew they needed to say something a little different to cut through the clutter, and they if we really worked with them, and that came the offer, and that really resonated with people. So they saw a big uptick quickly with that. We also we also did a little billboard in a couple of markets. And we put that message on there as well, that one we actually strategically put in front of their biggest competitors. So that one was kind of fun to kind of shop out where their competitors were kind of hit that audience for recruitment. Yeah.

Darcy Garbin 5:38

And to Debbie’s point, the message it has to be there doesn’t matter how many times you hear something, if it’s not interesting, or it doesn’t resonate with you, then it’s just white noise.

Jeremy Weisz 5:49

Yeah, I can see how when you have a compelling offer, you get a flood of responses, what are some of the mistakes people make, with or maybe you made early on, like decades ago, in, in radio,

Darcy Garbin 6:04

I think some of the, I will say, as Debbie and I run into this a lot, because we do do so much traditional and digital is you don’t want to tell a client that their baby is ugly. Mm hmm. But most of the time, they’re too close to it, they’re too close to their own messaging in their own creative. They can’t be objective about it. And I think there’s a fine line there where you know, there’s certain things that there has to be a compelling story. And there has to be a call to action, or there has to be a branding message. If people especially more, b2c, they need to know what their objective is, with the creative and the spot and what they want people to do with it when they see it. I think sometimes they get lost in that part of it. We do a lot of lead gen. So for us, it’s really important that you have a significant offer, because all of your competitors have an offer, why is yours different? And I need to know what it is to build that brand in that trust. I need to know it is as soon as I hear it, as soon as I see it, where’s your logo? Where’s your music? That? Where’s your frequency? Where’s this great offer? And what why am I looking for the software? Where’s your website, I don’t see where your website is, I don’t care where your webs, people are always going to go to your website first.

Debbie Pontera 7:19

And I think the mistakes you hear some of the ones I mean, they’re, and I get it clients are trying to prove the ROI. So they want to do like, let’s do a different number on each one of these messages to see which one works. And we all know, they all, you know, it’s everything works together. It’s not just one, or they say, mention this ad and get 10% off, you know, like come on, like, would you I wouldn’t do that. Right. 10%? I mean, right. So we have to challenge our clients sometimes to just say like, you know, let’s let’s think different. Let’s think bigger. There was a great offer we saw around the holiday with, you know, Amazon gift cards and a discount. Yeah, people want instant, instant gratification, right? They want to, they want to, they want you to solve their problem, and they want to make sure that they’re going to get a great deal. Talk about

Jeremy Weisz 8:05

that process for a second. And maybe you have to coach your clients through that process. And so you have paychecks. Was there an original offer, like offer as far as what they were going to offer their call to action on the table that you had to? Did they come with? Oh, yeah, let’s just offer 4500? Or did you have to have this brainstorming session and come to that particular offer?

Debbie Pontera 8:27

Yeah, that one we didn’t have to. I mean, I knew that the challenge was there we talked about and that one was that I felt they stepped up right away. But I would say some other clients, you know, that we work with in the home improvement, we really have to push them. Sometimes they’re so focused on making the ad look great, that they’re forgetting that we need to make the phone ring and that’s got to be an offer. So that’s a lot of coaching there, Jeremy. And we you know, sometimes we just have to be brutally honest with them and Darcy’s usually better than I both New Yorkers, right?

Darcy Garbin 8:59

Branding and the lead gen go hand in hand, right? Because people want to work with brands they trust. So no matter how great the offer is, if I’ve never heard of the company, probably not going to call, right. So they do go hand in hand. And it can be a gray area for some clients because they just, they so want to be branded? Well. That’s great. But your three biggest competitors are doing both.

Debbie Pontera 9:24

And you’d be willing to spend I mean, because you have there’s the message there’s also the budget, you really have to invest in leads we we tell our clients you know, we’re buying leads now for like August, right? We gotta buy them now. We have to invest in them and we push people you know that the budget has to be the right budget. We’re not going to overspend. But we also will walk away if you’re going to understand,

Darcy Garbin 9:44

right because we can’t we just can’t move the needle. I mean, you have to certain reach, you can’t start in May for your biggest season. That’s in May, June and July. That just doesn’t work. So and again to Debbie’s point you have to be willing to spend the money and I I think that’s what makes us different too is because we buy so many different types of media, we can say if a client has three $400,000, we can say, Okay, well, this is where your frequency needs to be. This is where you need to be placed. Maybe you can’t be on radio, TV print billboard, like, you’re not going to be everywhere, because we’re not going to just like, throw it at a wall and hope something sticks to be very strategic about someone’s budget, it’s their money. And maybe you’re in one spot, maybe you’re in two spots, but they want it a lot of clients want to see themselves everywhere. I always laugh and tell Debbie in 2021, I bought more billboards that I have in my whole career. I literally bought more billboards than I have.

Jeremy Weisz 10:42

Why is that?

Darcy Garbin 10:44

I have no idea other than maybe people were driving more people wanted to be see more. And I love I’m a very big fan of static boards, as opposed to digital boards. And all of a sudden, everyone who wanted to do digital now want to do static boards.

Jeremy Weisz 10:59

Why do you like static over digital? I like scissor rotate.

Debbie Pontera 11:03

I don’t like the rotation. Number one. What I what here’s, here’s what I like, that’s easy to say. What I do like is there’s no cost for production, right? It’s super, super easy. You can get on within an hour, right? You can change it out every week. If you want no cost, you have a static vinyl board, it can get costly, right? So you’ve got to do that production, you’ve got to wait for it to put up we just had a big client that was supposed to start there was a windstorm for three days, they were seven days behind their start date. Because any contract has to put you know, inclement weather and whatnot. So for me, I like to keep driving and get the impression I want my clients to only I don’t want them to be fighting anybody up there. You know, there’s eight advertisers with eight seconds, I could drive by there 10 times, how many times am I going to see? You know, your ad?

Jeremy Weisz 11:54

So do you like so? The you like the digital billboards? More? No,

Darcy Garbin 12:00

I like the static, static. Okay. I don’t want to fight for anyone’s attention.

Debbie Pontera 12:05

So she was just saying there’s some benefits to the digital. But at the end of the day, if you’ve got the budget for the creative we would you you command the board. 100% you own that you own that Mark? Yeah, yeah.

Darcy Garbin 12:16

I mean, you’re already fighting for to break through this clutter with everything that you do, whether it’s radio, TV, print, direct mail, struggling, were inundated. I mean, I remember when I first started, you had to touch somebody two or three times for them to retain your message. What is it now like? 10? Right? Do you know how costly that is? And now you’re going to put yourself into a rotation on a board where you’re fighting seven other advertisers on your board. You have the budget on on your board.

Jeremy Weisz 12:46

So with paychecks back to Asia, so radio, and you said that you did other traditional media.

Debbie Pontera 12:54

We’re doing digital right now. Yeah. Yeah. And we’re all growing working with recruitment and yep.

Jeremy Weisz 12:59

So recruitment is big. Right, right now in a lot of different companies. So talk about Monroe for a little bit.

Debbie Pontera 13:10

Yeah, I mean, just like everyone else, their their supply issues.

Jeremy Weisz 13:13

Monroe is like an auto for people don’t know, it’s like a Auto Service.

Darcy Garbin 13:18

Yes, yes. Yes. Monroe Corporation is Monroe muffler, Mr. tire tread quarters, can can Towery it encompasses tire warehouse, it encompasses lots of tires, a lot of lots of tire and an automotive service. And obviously, with COVID, people weren’t driving. So when people aren’t driving, they don’t have to have their car serviced. And then you have shortages on on supplies. And then you have a labor shortage. So we pushed it a recruitment, and we did 100% Radio. Well, and so it’s not a great response. They saw great response in certain markets. Other markets were obviously a little bit lower. But you know, to Debbie’s point earlier, when you have a budget, the difference between being in a market like Rochester and Buffalo versus being in a market like Orlando, Florida, it makes a difference. You know, there’s a there’s a big cost discrepancy there.

Jeremy Weisz 14:16

So as far as the offer for that, so I could see how paychecks you’re gonna pay me $4,500 I’d call I’m not even looking for a job now. What what is the type of offer you have to look at with with something like Monroe?

Debbie Pontera 14:33

So that was that’s a good question. So for them, you know, obviously, it’s usually very entry level. They’re looking for technicians. That’s an easy job to train right. So there’s interviews Saturday and Sunday, one to four. So it’s a designated time for them to come in. They know they’re going to get an interview. If they sign you it’s $1,000 signing bonus, those signup bonuses, they really work. They work on pay training. How Care Benefits. Those are all very important things. And they really touched on that person entering that line of work.

Jeremy Weisz 15:10

What about in I would like to talk about some of the other traditional, you mentioned billboards, what are some mistakes people make? With billboards, especially, let’s say the vinyl like you put it up there, but you better get it right. Because, you know, you don’t want to be taking that thing down.

Darcy Garbin 15:27

Well, people are usually driving by a billboard, somewhere between 45 and 65 miles an hour. So too many words is everyone’s favorite thing. And the color, like we have a client and their board is to want in the winter, in the winter. I mean, it’s just, it’s white, it’s beautiful. The creative is beautiful. But I’m not sure that you actually can really appreciate it, because it’s just, it’s just so murky. Um, I think it’s really important to have a message that if I’m driving by it six times a week, I know exactly what it is. What’s your tag? What’s your phone number? What’s your website? That’s it.

Jeremy Weisz 16:11

Are there any companies you feel like should not be types of companies should not be doing billboards? You know, like, when I drive on a highway, I see lots of law firms. Yes, huge advertising.

Debbie Pontera 16:24

They all have their head up there.

Jeremy Weisz 16:25

Yeah. Um, are there any types of industries? Or maybe let’s talk about the law firm for a second, you probably drive through a lot of billboards you like off they need to do XYZ, what do you see with law firms and how they should improve their billboards?

Darcy Garbin 16:41

I think the first thing is like, get your picture off of there. Because it’s, it’s it’s quirky, right? Like, it’s just, it’s a hard sell. It’s an ambulance chaser kind of thing. I don’t care how attractive you are, the people just don’t like it. And it does seem like that, like make it branded, make that What are you? What’s your value to me? Why should I follow you?

Debbie Pontera 17:04

But you definitely need a catchy number to write. I mean, that’s important in that space, right? So you got to you got to pay for the number that’s going to resignate, because I’m going fast. But I also think that billboard has to work with other mediums, you can’t just buy it specifically. So you know, I think it’s just I definitely think they should get their their heads off there. I think there’s way too many had some billboards,

Jeremy Weisz 17:25

when you say that, though, they should work with other mediums. What do you mean by that? So they have Billboard, and then

Debbie Pontera 17:33

Junior TV, digital, I mean, it shouldn’t work. Digital, I mean, there’s so many things that are big broadcast bands. I mean, I mean, obviously for attorneys broadcast is great. So if you can really buy a very, very heavy broadcast scheduled for the reach, you know, and the frequency, and also have the Billboard, and they’re going to work together like the one two punch. And then obviously, we always allocate money for digital.

Jeremy Weisz 17:58

And then, you know, what about you mentioned the number should someone have or not have a website or something like that on the Billboard? Is it

Darcy Garbin 18:08

is it they absolutely should have their website, they should have their website on everything that’s touched by anyone who could be a potential client agree. And then that goes back to they’re always going to check out your website before they pick up the phone and call. Quickly check out yours. And I’m sure you check that out. Of course, but but that’s the way the world is right now. You want to check them out before you make that phone calls. So years ago, when you’d walk into a place of business need a beautiful reception area, your website should be your beautiful reception area, it is the first thing people will learn about you.

Jeremy Weisz 18:46

And then from a broadcast standpoint, like for some people, that also seems like a black box, like this seems complicated. I’ve never done this before. It seems expensive. What are some things you want to tell people about actual broadcast

Darcy Garbin 19:02

media? Yeah, I mean, I think with broadcast because there is so much clutter, you have to be very efficient, that’s really the most important thing. And you just you can’t be everywhere unless you have a significant budget. You have to you know, not everybody can be on 12 months a year, not everybody can be on every week of the year. I mean, you have to be strategic, you have to know again, know, know what your goals are, what what are you trying to accomplish with this campaign?

Debbie Pontera 19:32

And there’s, you know, obviously, we like 15 Second messages, right? So you’re weakened by 1515 Second messages commercials cheaper than you can 30 Right? So we can go after that way. So we do recommend that they have shorter length commercials, and if they can create some fives and 10s There’s some great sponsorships that broadcast offers with the shorter unit. So that’s impactful with a really good 15 But back to the creative, you got to get your message across very efficiently and 15. And we work really hard on that, because that that really works when you get that right. And the other thing is if you can be flexible, and when you’re going to run, right, I mean, automotive typically buys, the last two weeks of the month, that’s when they’re caught comes out, they own the TV station. So if you can be more flexible, you know, we can get more efficient in the first couple weeks of the month. And that’s been very effective as well. So

Jeremy Weisz 20:20

and then, you know, on the home improvement path, talk about wonder windows.

Debbie Pontera 20:27

This was a client that I think at the beginning, we didn’t know if he even liked us. Right. And he was our first client. No, he was our second client. We’re like, I don’t know if he likes us, but we need the business, we’re gonna make this work. And we have been on one market for a long time. And he was trying to break it into the other market. And so we helped him in Buffalo, New York. And of course, we were excited, we had a great strategy, we laid it out, we went to town, we went to all the managers to get the best program we put for him. And then of course, um, COVID hit. So we’re like, Oh, right. So but we actually, we convinced him to stay on, we went to the stations, and we asked them, you know, if they would give us three for one we stayed on because a lot of advertisers are pulling off very quickly. And we got him an amazing deal to stay on. And he he did it, he listened to us. And he grew his business. In the first part of COVID. You know, before homerun promote was taking off when people were home watching television 24/7. And he grew his market share very quickly with us going out on a limb and offering him a deal to stay on. And it worked. And I think he actually learned to love us, right? He gave us a sweatshirt

Jeremy Weisz 21:40

talk about negotiation because you have buying power, right? Because you go with a lot of clients to these, whether it’s Radio TV, how do you properly negotiate with these people so that, you know, you’re getting your clients good deal, but you have a long lasting relationship with with the company.

Debbie Pontera 22:01

That’s, that’s really important. What you said at the end is, you have to it has to start and end with respect, right? We want an amazing deal. We need it to run, we needed to run in the right day parts. But we also want to give them a lot of money we’re for some broadcasts can sometimes be our biggest partner on our clients. So we really negotiate that I guess we I guess I priced TV and radio stations for many years. So I kind of get patted where they were there. There’s they’re sitting in their seats and how they do it. So we really work with them to get the best deal for the budget, and we partner with them. And I think we treat them with respect. I mean, I think we call them when it’s not working and ask for help. We have more money, we give it to them. So we really work as a team.

Darcy Garbin 22:45

I really believe that our partners are so important to our success and our clients success, we really do work as a team, the difference between maybe a client who has a half a million dollar budget, that I’m sure they’re getting great rates, but Debbie and I spend millions of dollars. So I assure you we’re getting better rates, right? I mean, that’s just that’s the way the world works. And I think that’s one of the reasons that you use us. And also, for anyone who really does try to do their own media, they have multiple reps calling, they have multiple invoices that they have to reconcile every month. And we streamline that we do all of that for them, we do Co Op, we put it in a neat package for them. And we run everything

Debbie Pontera 23:29

we audited, we asked for goods made something runs wrong, or the first one they ask for more, and then we just make sure we’re but to your point, it’s got to work for the client. And it’s got to work for the media companies. Correct?

Jeremy Weisz 23:40

You know, you get a lot of, again, the experts that traditional, you get a lot of people asking, you know, I want digital, I want paid ads, and you made a conscious choice just to stick with traditional, I want to talk about how you choose partners, but started there, you know, you go, Hey, we could build out this team and do digital, what made us decide is to stick with traditional and form partnerships instead of building out yourself.

Debbie Pontera 24:06

Our background is traditional, and it’s something we’re still very passionate about. And it does work. And, but it works even better with digital, right, they complement each other. It’s not one or the other. But as far as how we choose partners, I think we’ve we’ve made a lot of mistakes, especially in the first few months. And then with COVID You know, you really learn who your partners are. And I think that’s super important because we we got even more aggressive for our clients and lean and mean we need partners who are doing the same. So we also I think we we need partners who are relationship driven like we are, we all have to have the same core values to be able to work together as a team, especially the way that our company is set up where we do create a dream team for you. And you’re not on our payroll you are your own set. For a company. So I think that’s really important that we all feel very strongly about our clients and their success. So I think that’s where we learned very quickly that even the most successful companies that we talked to, were not good fits for us.

Jeremy Weisz 25:19

Talk about a red flag because you say relationship driven I, you know, if you ask a company, are you relationship driven? Probably 100%, we’ll probably say yes. But what’s a red flag that you see that like, well, we got to steer away from this type of partnership.

Darcy Garbin 25:34

I think Debbie, and I can both agree wholeheartedly, that when you come to our company, you deal with Debbie and I, we don’t pass you off to anyone. When we work with a radio or TV or anyone, we always go to the manager. When we’ve worked with certain companies. As soon as we start doing business them, they hand us a junior at. It’s not my job to train anyone. And it’s not that I don’t want to help. But I have clients that need the best of the best. And they’re the younger people, they struggle with picking up the phone, they struggle with communication, they struggle with, with understanding how important that relationship really is. If there’s, you can do the best job in the world. But if you’re not communicating, that’s a huge issue. And that’s why we prefer to just use managers, because they’re usually old school like us, we pick up the phone, we talk. Love it.

Debbie Pontera 26:31

Yes. So I guess the point, your point is that we don’t want to be then turned over to the brand new person, so then we have to train them. So that’s it, I cannot train a TV rep or radio rep, right? Or a digital rep. You know, I want somebody who is going to be as good in front of the client as we’re going to be.

Jeremy Weisz 26:49

So I have one last question for you both. But before I ask it, I want to point people towards D two, that’s a number two dash Learn more about what they’re you know, Darcy and Debbie are working on over there. And I think I put you on the spot. But like, I think there’s there’s always different partnerships you guys are forming with companies. So if you are an agent’s digital agency and contact them, because they’re always looking for great partners. My last question for both of you is, you know, you both have a lot of experience. How did you meet, as far as con decided coming together as partners? Because that’s a big decision.

Darcy Garbin 27:31

Well, Debbie, and I worked together for many years, she was you know, the manager of radio and TV stations. And I had my own agency. So we just we started off as I was her client, and we became really good friends. And she had, we both had boys at the same time. And we always just for what, 20 years, we’re like, we should just do something together. Because the one thing that I loved about Debbie was she was so client and relationship driven, which is really what like, I were like magnets to that, right? So we always talked about it, she was corporate America, I have no interest in that. And so we weren’t really sure how that meeting of that mind was gonna go. And then one day, we were just like, do you want to do it, she’s like, I’m gonna do it. And so she quit her job. And she jumped in, and then four months later, COVID and we always say, if we can make it through COVID And actually, in our first year make it successful, then the sky’s the limit for us. I agree. We’re a great team.

Debbie Pontera 28:34

So we started out as friends and business partners, and it’s been a good ride. I think we both know what we’re good at. And we try to just stay in our own lanes. Yeah, it really works.

Darcy Garbin 28:41

Yep, we both bring very different things to the table which is great because we don’t need somebody you know, two people doing the exact same thing.

Jeremy Weisz 28:48

I love it. I want to be the first one to thank you both check out Check out Rise25 check out more episodes on and thanks everyone.

Darcy Garbin 29:00

Thanks for having us on everyone.