Search Interviews:

Edwin Choi is the Founder and CEO of Jetfuel Agency, a performance marketing firm specializing in direct-to-consumer brands in the CPG space. Beginning his digital marketing journey in 2009, he has helped grow eight-figure companies and started Jetfuel to build the agency he dreamed of while working in-house. Through a focus on paid social, paid search, and retention marketing, Edwin’s agency has worked with major brands like Perfect Bar and Drunk Elephant. An advocate for sustainable brand growth, he ensures Jetfuel delivers amidst evolving economic and marketing landscapes.

tune in

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [3:39] Edwin Choi talks about Jetfuel Agency’s rapid growth and its specialization in direct-to-consumer brand marketing 
  • [4:04] Jetfuel’s three main pillars: paid social, paid search, and retention marketing
  • [6:41] Insights into the crucial elements of a successful paid search and social campaign
  • [10:15] The incremental approach to growth and how it can yield a 300% increase in a year
  • [13:26] The common mistakes brands make with paid search ads and how to fix them
  • [17:58] How Jetfuel helped Perfect Bar grow by tackling all aspects of digital marketing
  • [21:04] Edwin shares his revamped recruiting process focusing on potential, background, and personality
  • [30:56] Jetfuel’s techstack for project management and time tracking
  • [32:17] The importance of mentors and leaders for professional growth
  • [34:10] The value of allowing teams to experience failure

In this episode…

Have you ever wondered how direct-to-consumer brands rapidly grow in today’s competitive market? Is there a secret recipe for driving customer acquisition and retention effectively, and more importantly, could the right tactics and strategies make a brand go from good to great? How can data-driven marketing unlock potential growth that even exceeds aggressive venture capital goals?

Performance marketing expert Edwin Choi dives into the mechanisms behind successful e-commerce brands and dissects the practices that lead to sustainable growth. He shares how Jetfuel Agency started with core capabilities in paid search and paid social before expanding into retention marketing to enhance customer lifecycle management. The agency’s focus on hiring for potential and fostering a culture of long-term thinking underscores its commitment to excellence, leading to high-quality results and strong venture capital relationships.

In this episode of Inspired Insider Podcast, Dr. Jeremy Weisz interviews Edwin Choi, Founder and CEO of Jetfuel Agency, about performance marketing and e-commerce brand strategies. Edwin talks about Jetfuel, insights into team dynamics, the importance of post-mortem analyses, and the navigation of growing pains, reiterating the power of strategic thinking and adaptability in a constantly evolving industry.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Special Mention(s):

Related episode(s):

Quotable Moments:

  • “You could probably count the days when everything goes as planned on both hands.”
  • “Success is not an overnight story; it’s lots of blood and sweat to build momentum.”
  • “We’re like day traders, knowing exactly where every penny goes in our campaigns.”
  • “Your team members have to build the muscle memory to get off the mat when they get knocked down.”
  • “If you perform consistently at a high bar, word of mouth becomes a very powerful tool.”
  • “You can almost make anything a good thing if you see it through.”

Action Steps:

  1. Rigorously test ad creatives to fully understand customer preferences: This approach ensures that campaigns resonate with the audience despite diminished targeting options due to privacy concerns.
  2. Implement post-purchase surveys to gather actionable customer insights: Direct feedback can inform strategies far better in an age with limited data from traditional sources.
  3. Build a custom dashboard for real-time financial and operational reporting: This level of visibility supports proactive management and maximizes margins and efficiency.
  4. Develop an environment where team members can stretch, grow, and learn from failures: Embracing failures as learning opportunities can lead to more resilient and capable teams.
  5. Foster a single-platform mindset for agency project and personnel management: Using tools like ClickUp for various functions streamlines processes, reduces learning curves, and consolidates data, leading to better team coordination.

Sponsor for this episode

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The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:01 

You are listening to Inspired Insider with your host, Dr Jeremy Weisz.

Jeremy Weisz 0:22 

Dr Jeremy Weisz here, founder of, where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders today, is no different. I have Edwin Choi of Jetfuel, Edwin, before I formally introduce you, I always like to point out other episodes. People should check out other podcasts. Since we’re gonna go deep in e-commerce and brands, brands I love, actually, that Edwin and his company has worked with. You can check out the interview I did with one of the founders of RXBar. That was a really good one, also one of the founders of Quest Nutrition. We’ll talk about a bar company on here. I won’t reveal it yet. Actually, one of my favorite bar companies of all time. But check those out. Also, since this is part of the top agency series, there’s a few that are interesting.

You could check out Kevin Hourigan of Spinutech, actually an agency since 1995. So we talked about the landscape of business the internet agency life. So that’s a really good one to check out. Also, Todd Taskey, he also has the Second Bite Podcast, and Todd helps pair private equity with agencies. So he helps sell agencies, and he calls a second byte, because sometimes when those agencies sell, they make more on the second bite than they do on the first. So he actually has people on there telling their story after they’ve sold. So really fascinating stuff there. Check out more on This episode is brought to you by Rise25.

At Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their dream relationships and partnerships. How do we do that? We actually do that by helping you run your podcast. We’re an easy button for a company to launch and run a podcast. We do the strategy, the accountability and the full execution. Edwin we call ourselves the magic elves that run in the background and make it look easy for the host and the company so they can create amazing content, develop amazing relationships, and, most importantly, run their business. The number one thing in my life is relationships. I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships, and I found no better way, over the past decade to profile the people and companies I most admire and share with the world what they’re working on. So if you’ve thought about podcasting, you should if you have questions, you can go to, or email us at [email protected], happy to answer any questions you have.

I am excited to introduce Edwin Choi. He’s the founder and CEO at Jetfuel., you could find them there. They’re a rapidly growing agency, and they specialize in performance marketing for direct-to-consumer brands. They’ve worked with some of the biggest brands in e-commerce, some of my favorites, including Perfect Bar. I am regularly on a weekly basis, buying Perfect Bars. Love them. My kids love them also. They’ve worked with Drunk Elephant. When Edwin, when your email came in and we were corresponding, I mentioned, should I have Edwin on the podcast? And my daughters are like, if you work with Drunk Elephant, they are begging me to have you on. Okay, so, and if I didn’t have two daughters, I probably wouldn’t know what Drunk Elephant is but I do, and they work with Goop, and they help drive revenue growth and brand recognition. And Edwin has been involved in directed consumer e-commerce marketing since 2009 and he’s helped lead growth at eight-figure companies in-house until he started Jetfuel. So Edwin, thanks for joining me.

Edwin Choi 3:39 

Yeah, thanks for having me — happy to be here.

Jeremy Weisz 3:41 

You have a huge fan club at my house.

Edwin Choi 3:45 

I didn’t know that, but I could take all the fans I can get, so I guess I have at least two now.

Jeremy Weisz 3:51 

Talk about Jetfuel Agency and what you do? And if someone’s listening to the audio, there will be a video piece, and you’ll see, I’m going to pull his website up as he’s talking so we can take a look.

Edwin Choi 4:04 

Yeah, absolutely. So Jetfuel Agency. I started the agency in 2017 so this is really an extension of myself as a digital marketer. What was the agency that I wanted to work with when I was in-house? So we’re a performance digital marketing agency. We specialize in direct consumer brands, mostly in CPG, consumer food and beverage. And what we do is that we focus on our three main pillars, which is paid social, paid search, as well as retention marketing, email, SMS, direct mail. And we help sustainably grow our brands and our partners through economies, good and bad, and that is what we do.

Jeremy Weisz 4:49 

Talk about the niche for a second. Why these type of companies like when I’m looking at this, I mean, these are some of my favorite companies, actually. Perfect Snacks or Perfect Bar I consume on a daily, weekly basis. Hip Pies also consumes on a weekly basis. I’m not sure how you pronounce the hydration, but that also I consume, and I’ve had the chocolate chip cookies from Tate’s Bake Shop. So But why did you choose this as a niche, because there’s a lot of options out there. you

Edwin Choi 5:25 

Well, they always say you should choose brands that you consume. So I am a consumer of better-for-you brands. I am what you call, I guess, a foodie. I love eating. I love trying out new brands. I love brands that have a great label and a great mission and a great reason to exist and as a consumer, right, if you’re marketing for these brands and you’re consuming them yourself, then you obviously understand the customer a little better. You understand the persona a little better. And most importantly of all, is fun to market in this space, right? It’s fun to see brands on shelf doing well, and then help them do equally as well online.

Jeremy Weisz 6:11 

Here’s Hip Pies. By the way, their rock and ranch are amazing. By the way, yes, I sometimes can’t find them in the store. Same thing with the it’s because I’m lactose intolerant, so the healthier for you Doritos. I don’t want to mention, but the nacho vibes and the rocket ranch are killer.

Edwin Choi 6:34 

So yes, my son loves the chickpea puffs himself, the nacho vibes.

Jeremy Weisz 6:41 

What about services wise, when you first started the agency, what were the services you offered then compared to now?

Edwin Choi 6:50 

Yes, so back then, we primarily focus on paid search and paid social, right? We were very much an acquisition shop, right? If you wanted customers coming through the door, you want a great customer acquisition cost for those customers, we were your agency. But obviously that’s only one piece of building and growing a brand. You also need those customers to stay and you need them to buy a second time and a third time. And that’s when we really introduce the email and SMS services, right? Because we wanted to make sure that, hey, we did all this work to bring in those customers right, and to convince them to try the brand.

We’re not just going to let them fall by the wayside. We need to get them to purchase again and again, because that’s where brands are really going to get their margin. That’s where they’re going to get the profit right. And then now, as we head into 2024 we finally have our SEO services done in such a way where we’re getting great results. We did a lot of experimentation 23 so now we’re going to add that to the mix of services. And we have a lot of intent behind the services we offer. We want to make sure that we’re world-class at something before we offer it. So we’re very much a highly specialized agency, and we always wanted to avoid the jack of all trades, master of none phenomenon.

Jeremy Weisz 8:14 

And that kind of brings me the next question, which is team hiring? So obviously start off as just you, what does the evolution of the team look like?

Edwin Choi 8:25 

Yeah, over the years, we’ve been very fortunate to have some amazing leaders come in. Right, our head of operations and our head of design work very closely together to make sure that our creatives and our deliverables are on time, on brand, and they perform. We also have our client strategy supervisor, and she leads our Account Services team, because it’s only half the equation, right? You can get amazing performance, but you also need to have killer communication and then killer deliverables in terms of reporting and insights.

I also want to give a big shout-out to our senior media manager as well, and she leads both paid social and paid search and a lot of what was built here over the last couple of years. Definitely hats off to her and all the other leaders at the company and under them, you have your traditional media buyers, media planners, creative strategists, and all of the important crew that makes everything work.

Jeremy Weisz 9:27 

When you first started your agency, Edwin, what was the first position you hired for?

Edwin Choi 9:34 

That is a great question. I’m thinking back. I think the first position I hired for was a paid social media buyer, right? Because I was doing all the media buying myself. I was going into the it was called Facebook back then, interface buying and selling the products myself and the workload was just growing tremendously, and I worked pretty hard, but there wasn’t enough hours in the day to do things at the bar of quality that I wanted. So that was the very first position that I hired for.

Jeremy Weisz 10:03 

What about from a client perspective? When, when someone starts out on their own, it’s not easy, like you put up your shingle, you go out there, what was the first milestone of a client for you?

Edwin Choi 10:15 

The first milestone of a client was, I remember quite vividly that we had a client that had just tremendous growth goals, right? They had a bunch of VCs that back them, and their goals were highly aggressive. I think they wanted to triple every year, right? And they were in a stage of infancy. And I remember this way back then, but the founder called me late at night and was saying, I don’t know how to get here, like, I just don’t know how to hit these numbers. And I said, you know what? Like, I’m never going to guarantee, but we’re going to go down swinging, right? We’re going to go down swinging. And lo and behold, that year, we did grow 300% and it was a slog.

It was very difficult to hit it, but through the tenacity and grit of the team, we’re able to do it. Next year, we hit 250% growth. They wanted to repeat 300% but they were happy with the 250 and that, that was a huge milestone, because I was always, you know, you have a little bit of imposter syndrome, right? You were in-house, you were doing well. But was that a fluke? Was that something that you could replicate again in your career, again and again and again? And honestly, I didn’t know if I could. So that was a big milestone for us.

Jeremy Weisz 10:32 

What were some of the channels and levers you pulled for the 300%?

Edwin Choi 11:47 

Absolutely, it was paid search and paid social. On the paid social side, and mind you, this was back in 2017 so an environment is much different. But I remember taking that account and really flushing out the campaign structure, I think we 11x the amount of creative testing that they had. So when they were testing two ads, before we were testing 22 ads, we like to call ourselves at least back in the day traders, right? We wanted to make sure that we always knew where every dollar was going where every penny was going, because we couldn’t waste, we couldn’t afford to waste a single penny, right? And then on the paid search side, same thing, they had just a tremendous SKU catalog, but we weren’t hitting on the right SKUs that were bringing people in through the door, right?

So we had to restructure their entire campaign to make sure that, hey, if this particular SKU is the one that’s bringing in customers to try the brand and have them stick with the brand, that needs to be a VIP SKU, that has to have a significant amount of campaigns, keywords, we have to be ad testing the copy nonstop. And we were just building the house brick by brick. It was not an overnight success story. It was lots of blood and sweat in order to get there. But lo and behold, once you get the snowball rolling, it builds momentum, and it picks up.

Jeremy Weisz 13:14 

When you’re doing searches online, I’m sure you get a bunch of things — ads that come across your desk, what are some of the mistakes you see brands and companies making?

Edwin Choi 13:26 

Oh, where do I start? I think I’ll start with a couple of them, right? So the first one is, where are you landing your customer after they click on the ad? That’s one of the biggest mistakes I see. If they see a message on the ad, is where you’re landing them congruent to that message, right? And I always tell this to the team internally, does a scent trail make sense? Are you doing something that throws them off the scent? Right? Everything has to be matching the keyword to the creative, to the landing page to the checkout experience, right?

So that would be the first one. Second one is, are you testing enough creative? Because in this day and age, even paid search, you need to be testing creative at a high enough volume for you to truly understand what makes your customers tick, right? Because back in the day in 2017 there were a lot of targeting options that were available to us. You can get very surgical with targeting that has all been taken away, right because of privacy concerns and other changes in the landscape. So now, how do we make sure that the right people are responding your campaigns? It is through your creative.

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