Marketing Optimization: Harnessing Data and Experience

In today’s Ecom Experiences episode, Samir Balwani chats with Nick Hernandez, the Director of Ecommerce at Felina, about marketing leadership and growth.

Marketing Optimization: Harnessing Data and Experience

In today’s Ecom Experiences episode, Samir Balwani chats with Nick Hernandez, the Director of Ecommerce at Felina, about marketing leadership and growth.

Nick Hernandez is the Director of Ecommerce at Felina, a women's apparel and intimates company. In his role, he drives the brand's recent pivot toward ecommerce and direct customer relationships. Nick is also a Founding Member of CartStars, a peer group of the most recognized leaders in ecommerce and retail. With nearly a decade of experience in health and beauty marketing, Nick has honed his expertise in brand storytelling and audience engagement.

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

  • [1:08] How Felina pivoted from wholesale to a customer-focused ecommerce model
  • [3:49] The role of storytelling in brand building and customer engagement
  • [7:50] Strategies for leveraging existing customer data to improve marketing efforts
  • [9:39] Redefining the subscription model based on customer purchasing patterns
  • [22:49] How Average Order Value (AOV) and conversion rates impact marketing campaign performance
  • [27:35] Nick Hernandez shares future marketing trends and the role of AI
  • [33:26] Advice for stepping into a new marketing leadership role and making an immediate impact

In this episode…

In the fast-paced ecommerce landscape, leveraging storytelling to understand customers’ motives can transform a brand's trajectory. Yet what happens when a company needs a fresh strategic direction? How can you sift through layers of established practices to carve out a new path? 

Seasoned marketer Nick Hernandez approached his new role as an ecommerce director in a niche retail space by conducting a thorough audit to identify inefficiencies and optimize the brand’s marketing strategy. While storytelling connects with customers and drives brand engagement, you can enhance your approach by leveraging customer data, key behaviors, and purchasing patterns. This allows you to create customized subscription models that cater to these specific insights. 

In today’s Ecom Experiences episode, Samir Balwani chats with Nick Hernandez, the Director of Ecommerce at Felina, about marketing leadership and growth. Nick shares insights on optimizing tech stacks, identifying customer buying habits, and AI’s role in the future of marketing.

Where to listen:

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Quotable Moments:

  • "You always have that fever dream as a marketer that you're going to look at a data set and be like, I don't know."
  • "It's the fundamentals day in and day out that are moving the needle, not just the big PR moment."
  • "If everything's running at 100, so that there is no variation in performance, then how you train the model becomes crucial."
  • "That's more like an irrational fear than anything else — to think the data just won’t speak to you."
  • "You need to make sure that [the financial numbers] understand what you are doing."

Action Steps:

  1. Perform a comprehensive audit of your company’s marketing strategies and tools: Assessing what's already in place helps identify cost-saving opportunities and optimizes resource allocation.
  2. Leverage past experience to create a playbook for your brand: This enables the avoidance of previously made mistakes and streamlines the path to success.
  3. Balance performance marketing and brand awareness effectively: This dual approach ensures steady growth while also creating impactful moments to engage customers.
  4. Utilize data to inform and drive decision-making in marketing: Data-driven strategies ensure actions are grounded in reality rather than assumptions, leading to better outcomes.
  5. Prioritize storytelling within your marketing framework: Engaging narratives resonate with audiences, fostering a strong connection to the brand and its values.

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:00

Hey welcome to another episode of Ecom Experiences a podcast where ecommerce marketing leaders who want to grow and scale their brands faster. Join us as we interview some of the smartest brand founders and marketing leaders in the industry. Explore the lessons they learned discover the keys to their success, discuss what excites them most about the future.

Samir Balwani 0:28

I had Samir Balwani here, host of Ecom Experiences where we talk to brand founders and marketing leaders about their experiences growing brands. This episode is brought to you by QRY QRY's a paid media agency that helps brands balance brand awareness and performance marketing to drive predictable and profitable growth. To learn more about how we can help you visit, I'm really excited about our guest today, I have Nick Hernandez, the Director of Economic Felina USA. He's awesome, has so much to tell us. Thank you so much for joining us. Thanks for having me. Let's get started. Just explain, you know who you are the brand new work for him. What's your role? Yeah,

Nick Hernandez 1:08

sure. So Felina group, or Felina, USA, it has some sub brands on it. And sometimes we call it the clinic group, it's been around for about 40 years, it's a women's apparel and intimate company that historically has been in the wholesale space. So to you know, large retailers, and just kind of in store only last five years or so they decided to start getting into E commerce. And then I'd say within the last two years, is really when direct to consumer became a serious conversation, building a strong brand that, you know, really was all predicated on owning the customer relationship kind of became the top of their pyramid, and, you know, moving things around to support under that top kind of initiative. I, I've been there since December. So it's a relatively new, relatively new role. And I guess a little bit about myself, I have been in health and beauty for the last, geez, probably coming up on 10 years now. I spent the good good part of that at a high growth, beauty startup color cosmetics called decimate cosmetics. And yeah, happy to jump in or dive in anywhere. That is a you know, very, very simple, over oversimplification of it all. I guess before that I used to work in TV too, which is kind of a very strange aside, it might not be relevant to your audience. But I have those stories as well.

Samir Balwani 2:48

Oh, I know, I think you and I were chatting about that. And those are stories that we are absolutely going to talk about it. I will. So I love that you have so much experience physically in this industry, like you and I talked about this before. That's, that's like my sweet spot to I love it. And it is. So it's fast moving. It's really interesting. It's super competitive. And I think you get some of the most interesting lifestyle marketing out of beauty, fashion apparel, and accessories as well. So that's kind of why I like it. But I'd love to know, like, what do you love about your role like director of decom at women's intimates. You're not a user of the product or buyer of the product. So that's got to be a challenge. But how do you what do you love about the role? And how do you kind of put yourself in the mindset of a customer when you're not a customer itself? Yeah.

Nick Hernandez 3:49

So what I love about the role, the role and love that I can take in this specific role that I am taking that seven year span at a previous company, and being able to condense my learnings down into essentially like a playbook that I have all the mistakes I've made. And we're not to make them again, and coming in and seeing that that was not was not a unique experience for a company of that size, around that scale, looking to be in certain markets. So you know, from the first time from the first job description it did the first day there, I immediately saw, Oh, like I saw about color cosmetics for like women's women's apparel and intimates and like within health and beauty, just shift a little bit more into beauty so that it overlaps into fashion. And it's you're essentially there. So what I love is that in a way, I'm able to kind of hopscotch all these pain points to getting the A brand where it needs to be because of that previous experience. So it's not like it was, you know, when you when I was a third employee at a previous at that previous company where we, you know, we were kind of being like, let me Google that real quick, I think we can figure that out. Like, we don't need somebody to review a contract, we'll be fine. And so that's been really great. And, you know, it's the same thing with color cosmetics, I didn't, I didn't use the product. But funnily enough book from way, way back before even working in TV, when I was still in school, I wanted to be a writer, and I really wanted to tell stories, and that was kind of like, my big thing was, I feel like I can tell stories very well, it's part of why I'm very good at like selling in the room. Because that is, in a way, like a story you are telling, you're getting somebody to buy in, you know, in a very short amount of time. And with Color Cosmetics, and especially with licensed collection, I got to tell stories, they just were stories told through physical products instead of, you know, words or like anything on the screen. And in the very same way, with, like you said, it's such an interesting marketing and branding opportunities when it comes to these categories. I, it to me, it's more about telling a really good story. And like, obviously, product knowledge sessions were like first step with the product team when I started to get as, as well acquainted with the product as I could be. But like, above and beyond that, all things the thing. It's really more about, like at your core, being a good storyteller, and it's just like, You're just swapping out what you're telling the story around. And that is that it's like the same across industries. That's awesome.

Samir Balwani 6:54

Yeah, I mean, it's such an interesting world. And I've been in fashion apparel, like women's apparel, and women's beauty for 18 years, at this point, seniors have this point and never been a customer either. And yet, you start to understand and have this empathy for what that customer wants. Because you're right, like the story and that sense and feel in that community is consistent. And you can kind of identify who that's going to be and help build, like a program around it. I think you also have this really interesting superpower now, or you have seven years at a brand where you get to come back. And I think that playbook is really it's such a valuable experience. So, you know, we talked about hopscotching over some challenges, what are the challenges that you're kind of hopscotching over? How are you overcoming them?

Nick Hernandez 7:50

You know, when you have, when you have, like more well established companies that try to go into a new space, inevitably, you're gonna have people that are not kind of centered in that new space building, you know, those, building that infrastructure. And that's, that's kind of, you know, the space we're in right now, everything was there, everything was set up. But when you look at the tech stack, you look at customer journeys, you look at, you know, the full funnel. It was set up by somebody that is not looking at it from, you know, kind of taking this, like architecture perspective, and thinking like, Okay, this is one big customer journey, let's walk through it. Let's look for cracks, like where are we supporting these things? What applications are we using? Are we you know, also, you know, as it pertains to the p&l? Are we double paying on stop? Are we using two solutions that effectively do the same thing, but we're using solution one for one piece, and Solution B. And there's like this tiny little bit of overlap, but in essence, you could just get rid of one and, and you know, it's just about like, knowing how to how to build that I keep going back to the art architecture, because I do really think it's, like silly enough, like I you know, when I started, I not on the paper, I drew it on the freeform board on my iPad. But I was basically like, like, I basically started as simple as like drawing a funnel, and then looking at our p&l. And then I would write down every application that we were paying for. And that's where I first started when I was trying to get a sense of like, where we were cetera because like you have a, you have like, you've been like you said, You've been in the space long enough. Like, I know what all these companies do. I just need to know their name. And I'm like, Ah, okay, I know you guys and these guys. These are nice guys. And I would just put them on the funnel. And then from there, you're like, Huh, okay, we have serious gaps here. This is taking care of this issue much immediately you're able to read line stuff. And kind of like get your your kind of initial game plan on easy wins. It's not even kind of like changing anything materially to the customer journey. It's just let's stop double paying for stuff or like using broken applications or things of that nature. But yeah, that's, that's, you know how I first jumped in with that past experience.

Samir Balwani 10:20

It's so interesting because I think that a lot of marketers forget that before good marketing, comms good resource management. And like, it's just like really understanding where your dollars are going and how they're being set up. And it's, it's all the non sexy parts of marketing, right? It's all the organizational stuff, and financial planning and bandwidth management, all of that that needs to get done first, and be put in a good place before you can come up with, oh, you know, I now have budget or a big brand idea. And let's go do this big engagement and this activation, but if you can't get the basics done, why would you even go up there?

Nick Hernandez 10:57

I yeah, those are the ones that everybody likes to talk about, is, you know, those big moments where they're like, we had Coca Cola, and we were on Time Square, and you know, we had a 50 foot machine. But like, at the end of the day, it's like, you know, what are your abandoned cart emails look like? And like in, you know, what's your return on prospecting campaign.

Samir Balwani 11:21

So we talked about the concept of like, the leaky bucket, right, you don't want to pour water into a leaky bucket. And the reality of the situation is, you will always have a leaky bucket, your bucket will never be perfect. And it's just you just want to be in a situation where it's not so leaky, that everything you're dumping in the bucket is just like flowing out, right? So it's really just like, when are you ready to do brand awareness campaigns like those big national placements? And when are you supposed to be focusing on the abandoned cart emails and remarketing campaigns and things like that? So I do think that there's this it's a

Nick Hernandez 11:59

smaller team. It's definitely a bandwidth thing. And the fundamentals day in and day out are sorry, my air pods. were acting funny on me. No, you're good. Yeah. Like the fundamentals day in and day out? I think, while like you said, they're not as exciting. They're the foundation so that when you have those brand moments that there is maximized to their full potential, because they're usually expensive. They're very fast. And unless you're doing something past that moment, it's a, you know, it, it's essentially a huge waste of money. Right. But they're fun to work on. They're like, they're internally fun. Yeah. And I think

Samir Balwani 12:44

if done, well, can help. So we always talk about, you have to grow brands in two stages, right? The you do the performance stuff that you're, you know, slow linear growth over time. And those brand moments give you that step change. So you have you have that kind of step. So you have to do both. So but where do you start, we always start on the performance side, make sure you got the performance side, because you won't get the step, if you don't do the brand side, if you don't have good performance, right?

Nick Hernandez 13:17

We, you know, it's so funny is that, at best May, the way that we work that out is that we didn't since it was a tiny startup, we didn't have budget for large brand moments. So those license collections that we did with Disney, were were the big step ups. And unfortunately, we put the cart before the horse because you had to action on opportunity. Very, very small Disney approaches says, Hey, you want to do something? You know, you don't necessarily have fundamentals in place, but you know, that that opportunity doesn't, you know,

Samir Balwani 13:52

what's gonna happen? Yeah,

Nick Hernandez 13:53

it's gonna happen. So like, you go all in and we did a big collection. And we debuted it at their, their, at their big trade show, the 23 Expo. And, and then we like, again, it was a it was a learning opportunity for everybody. But very quickly realized, oh, I need I need something to carry this momentum. Because this show is amazing. It was so much fun. You know, you shake people's hands and you're talking one to one with customers. But then it's over, and they're gone. And I and nobody keeps showing up to my website like they did in person there. You know, the first one was a learning curve. But you know, very quickly, you know, at the height, we were doing three a year, because essentially, we could run the core brand as the kind of the fundamental side. And then every license collection would net us, you know, a couple 100,000 new customers and the whole collection from its inception, to the merchandising to the marketing All of it was really meant as like this long roundabout to land you back at the core brand. Yeah, yeah. So, in that sense, you know, we were able to kind of pull off this neat trick where it was a lot of fun to work on, internally as well. But it was, without too much effort, it was serving the greater purpose of like building the brand long term. And that was, it was just yeah, that was such a neat trick to pull off, because usually those big moments are like a marketing stunt or a large campaign or something like that. And we were to kind of were able to make them a cash positive. Yeah, marketing expense, in a sense.

Samir Balwani 15:41

I mean, that's like a dream come true for a lot of brands, right to not have to look at a brand campaign as a loss or a future investment in future return. So storytelling

Nick Hernandez 15:53

that came from a, like recive storytelling and knowing a property, as well as the fans do, I think that was really like our secret sauce that you know, Mac, or anybody else couldn't really copy is that we had, we had the, like, the best creative when it came to doing something like off the wall, and something that would make it we were speaking their language and a time where a lot of people were just phoning it in, and trying to get that same magic, but just taking the style guide from the brand, putting it on their product. And, you know, just putting it out there, regardless of what the fans felt.

Samir Balwani 16:32

Yeah, it's interesting, because I think that that's, that's where on the brand to on the performance side, you get so much data, and it's really easy to pivot, and you can decide and you can engage, and you can figure out what levers you want to pull on the brand side. It's such a larger investment. And it's such a longer lead time that you only get to really tell a brand story or do that story in one or two ways, Max, right. And you're like a be testing that. And so you really got to understand what your customer wants, what they're engaging with, what matters to them, when you're doing that brand storytelling, so that way it flows through and I love brand campaigns that then influence performance campaigns, because it's nice to see like one thorough message going back to your your holistic customer journey, I think that that that is staying consistent is really valuable and important.

Nick Hernandez 17:27

Yet, because a lot of times brands will silo those types of initiatives, when on the customer side, they're never siloed. It's messy. They see a little bit of this a little bit of that. Why? Why are you assuming that they're going to see it in the perfect way that you had envisioned that it's like separate like that, it's, you know, I have similar kind of ideas around like those, those kind of like IP integrations, where a lot of times they're very siloed in the way, cuz the way people are consuming media more and more is very messy. So like, there needs to be updated, kind of storytelling in that product integration route that reflects how people consume a little bit on their phone, a little bit on tick tock, they watch something on their iPad, maybe they're sitting down to something to TV at the end of the night, but it's not this, like, I'm gonna sit down, and I'm gonna watch my one thing. And then that was the one thing and that's like top of mind for the rest of the night. Like, it's not how people consume media anymore. Well, and

Samir Balwani 18:30

the order in which they see things may not be the way you think they're gonna see it. They may not see the brand campaign first, and then your performance campaign after they may see your performance campaign first, and then your brand campaign and then your performance campaign. And if they don't all look good, then

Nick Hernandez 18:47

they all better, like have compatibility between one another because if not, they're gonna be very confused. Oh, yeah.

Samir Balwani 18:53

And then as we know, confusion causes a lot of angst and leads to all kinds of cart abandonment, brand abandonment, all kinds of stuff. So yeah, I think that that, again, going back to the unsexy part of marketing is it's organization and resource management. I mean, it's just like, if you talk to a marketer, and they get excited about a marketing calendar, you know, you found a good that's amazing. So I have questions for you. So we talked a little bit about challenges. But what are you excited about for the year like as you're kind of working on this new role and getting everything in order? What are the things that you're like really looking forward to? So

Nick Hernandez 19:39

some new kit, I know the product team, as soon as I landed there, the product team for spring summer next year was working on some very interesting categories. So that's going to be fun to kind of conceptualize kind of being at the beginning of that dev cycle, being able to market around it in the short term. Seeing like it There's just so much potential with the column like the, like organic streams that have formed within our customer base, and be able to kind of like, firm those up and like will help to have them be well defined channels. It it's not only like, it's not just that it's like an easy win or anything, it's like, as a marketer, it's very satisfying to see like, you come in and you're like, Okay, I can see this data. I know, I know, from experience exactly what this means I'm going to firm it up. And you're and to be able to realize that very satisfying, you know, they kicked around subscriptions for a while. But, you know, the conversation never really landed on what type of subscriptions? How does that model work out? There was some kind of, you know, talk that subscription had been like an over leveraged tool in the direct consumer space, and people were souring on it. So like, how do you approach it in a new way? And, you know, we saw, we had customer data that showed that 50% of our customers every single month are brand new, and 50% of those 50% repurchase, every 28 days. Oh, wow. So, you know, immediately you see the writing on the wall, and you go, Okay, this is, this requires some attention, because I think we're going to see unusually high buy in on this kind of a, on this kind of, like standardized purchasing plan, not because we're gonna have to, like do this whole big educational campaign to really get people to come around, do it. But it seems that we have a fairly large segment of customers that do this already. So like being able to come in with that experience to parse through data and, and say, like, here are the initiatives backed by data, and here are the things that I promise you are already happening, we're just gonna, like help define them out so that we can measure them and help kind of move the needle. That's, you know, that's the best, because it really, I don't know, I feel like in every role people, you know, people get founder or founder syndrome, a different conversation. Imposter syndrome. And, you know, you're always trying to learn, you know, whatever the newest technologies, what the trends are, but you always have that fever dream as a marketer, that you're going to look at it at a data set and be like, I don't know, if I don't I don't know. Beats me. So it's, it's, that's more like, irrational fear than anything else. But it's like very comforting to come in and just like, have the data speak to you from your experience, and know exactly like where your priority lists are going to be sitting.

Samir Balwani 22:49

That's really interesting. I love that you're taking a look at the data in that perspective, and, and using it to kind of gauge where to go next. Because I do I agree, I don't think enough people do that. And the fever dream is real, just like that all this data doesn't make any sense whatsoever. Like, why is this happening? And we've been in that situation before, too. And you just, it's always like, Oh, he keeps dropping? I don't understand why it's something like that, then. And so I love that it gives you an understanding, because, you know, I'll tell you, one of the things that we do with all of our clients when we're working with them is we monitor AOP and conversion rate, like a hawk, right? To us on the media side, those are probably two of the most important numbers, because there is a cost to acquire. There's a CAC, there's always a CAC, we can change the CAC a little bit, and 20% up and down whatever it may be. But if a Ovie and conversion rates start to fall out of those bounds, and you're going to quickly fall into this untenable situation, right? Like, there are CPN, and there's click through rates that you can have some control over and optimize as much as you can. But you also need your brand, being a partner and optimizing their ao V and conversion rates. So we're kind of monitoring those two. So it's awesome that you're looking at the data set to really understand, okay, subscription is an opportunity, I feel good about a Ovie, I feel good about conversion rate and feel good about this stuff, helps you prioritize, especially when bandwidth is short. You can't do everything

Nick Hernandez 24:27

in that, yeah, that's another that's another like we're a tight team within this boardroom. You shouldn't because ecommerce is relatively new. So six people. And you can't action on every initiative that you want to especially even with the scale that the company has, where we could theoretically be running a lot of things parallel. At a certain point. You're just there's going to be a point of diminishing returns. You're not You're not running them well, because you're trying to run too many things.

Samir Balwani 24:55

Yeah, yeah. It's all it's funny because it's like, physical bandwidth and then mental band Want to like you can't monitor and pay attention to so many things, even if you like, had all the resources available, you just like, can't come together as quickly as you wanted to

Nick Hernandez 25:11

know at assemble at assembling much data. And I do think that's an interesting space where I've yet to see a lot of innovation with like large language models come in and be able to like sift through data. I know that triple whale has like a shortlist now for their new kind of like aI tool where you can talk to your data set. But somebody's gonna come in and basically, like consolidate every single data point across your entire network. And not only interpret it, but just like pull best practices and give you like baseline recommendations. For when for those tight teams that are that are running, really lean, I do think that's, it's already happening in the startup space, we're seeing a lot of like, the expectation is now a tight team with some kind of AI language model, helping them scale way past their size, it's going to eventually trickle down to, you know, marketers and other like data, heavy roles.

Samir Balwani 26:13

We're pretty close to that we're actually piloting internally. So we have a data tool called Athena, which is our data warehouse, and everything gets pulled into there. And we have a team member that has large language model hooked up to the data set. And so you can ask questions, like, When did my conversion rate drop? Or what happened to my conversion rate, what happened to my movie, what creative was launched on X date on y time, so like, yeah, all those kinds of things are starting to get pulled.

Nick Hernandez 26:40

I think the like the unlock, though, will be then scraping the internet, and being able to take, like, overall trends within the category. But then also, you know, read every marketing textbook that's ever been written ever, and like build that as the foundation. So then they can take the data, take the trends, take the foundational knowledge, and then say, as a marketer, this is what you should do next. And like, even if it's, you know, only 10%, they're, like you said, at a certain point, I just physically can't be monitoring everything. This is like an assistant that's always pulling you like the most relevant information for you to like, Yea, or nay or tweak and send back. But, you know, you could it could parse through that information in seconds, it would take you, you know, a team or days to go through. Yeah,

Samir Balwani 27:35

I would say we're maybe a year away from that, not even, I don't think we're that far off from being able to have that I think the here is where it will be really interesting. And here's what will differentiate people, different tools, from different tools, is if you pull every marketing book out there, you will get every variation of an answer, but you will just be so confused. So I think it'll be the training of that module of that that language model that will be really valuable. So I can tell you what we're doing on our end, we are training with our philosophy and our ethos on how we buy media and what we do and what we've learned over the years. And so we're teaching it from our research set versus the broad research set. And so that way, when you talk to our AI tool, it is a query trained AI tool trained on our processes and our thinking versus broad thinking. And then it's up to us now to make sure that we're feeding it the right research and then you and it's like, it's almost like a lnd program for a year old language model at one point where you're like constantly training it. So I think that that's, that's where I think AI becomes really interesting is like AI is definitely going to revolutionize the way we do marketing. There's no doubt about that. But I think the underlying is how you train that AI to on what information you give it is what's going to make it either really valuable or not.

Nick Hernandez 29:10

I think that's going to be the differentiators in a you know, in a world where everybody has some kind of to access to a tool like this and everything is the most optimized, like if everything's running at 100 so that there is no variation in the performance, like what do you what are the differentiators next, and it becomes kind of like, yeah, how you train the model, the creative you're putting in, I think that's where, you know, creative becomes even more important because those are the pieces that like I think that's the human touch. Because you could say like, right you know, right ad copy that's in my brand voice that's optimized for this. But you know, you have the wherewithal to go, ah, you know, this is going to work. This is not going to work. It's like that that piece, at least you know knock on wood for now. is not going to get replaced. But I do think that we're going to everything's gonna get faster.

Samir Balwani 30:06

So I'm gonna challenge you on that I think 80% of that is gonna get replaced, because the number of times you've talked to somebody and said, I don't think that's going to work, and then that creative blows it out of the water, like, so I think 80% of it, I think you're right, I think the 20% that AI is going to have trouble with is the new ideas, it's those brand concept things, those big moments those truly, like, innovative out of the box thinking that AI doesn't have anything to look back on it. i My mindset is always like, yeah, everyone's really frustrated with movies right now being remakes, and there's like, no new movies coming out. That's what AI creative is gonna feel like, at one point, everything's just gonna be a remake. And then there's gonna be the subset of people that are truly creating new things. And that's what's gonna become really valuable. That's

Nick Hernandez 31:02

cool. So you think that like, I'm inside of the like, of a marketing, like role will essentially just get automated. So all that's left is the creative side.

Samir Balwani 31:13

I, to an extent, I think the hard part about it is that people are still people. And so we are irrational, unpredictable, and you never really understand what's going to really drive you at a given day. So, you know, we'll use AI. So I'll speak on the media side. So we'll use AI to help us identify, you know, anomalies in our campaigns help us make recommendations on what a medium it should be, and help us make recommendations on how to actually adjust bids and manage our campaigns. But do I think it's going to actually do the full decisioning? No, because unless I spend a ton of time and put a ton of safeguards in AI can just go off the rails and not realize what it's doing. And it just doesn't have the risk adversity, to stop something, when it needs to stop something, or to pivot when it feels wrong. It's that sense of like, feeling wrong, that gives us it's that sense of intuition, that breaks a good media planner from a great media planner. And I think that that's what's going to be the differentiator between AI and not same thing on the creative side. That sense of intuition is what sets apart a great creative director from a good creative director. And I don't until I can fulfill on that. I think it's going to there's going to be a moat around certain elements of advertising, is it going to change how efficient we are? Sure. Am I going to need, you know, more media buyers for to run a campaign now I have one and AI will take care of the other three, because intuition can then be spread across all right. So like that's, that's where I think it's going to shift a lot of the work that we do.

Nick Hernandez 33:08

Yeah, I see that too. I exciting times.

Samir Balwani 33:13

Yeah. So I have one last question for you. So you do leader in your role. So you are currently going through this? What advice would you give someone as they step into a new marketing leadership role?

Nick Hernandez 33:26

I would audit, audit audit, I like to say that there are no sacred cows. So you come into an organization, and if you're not there, at the inception of the organization, there's going to be things that were done, because, you know, it was somebody knew somebody on a favor, and you got to service, their stuff that they know, somebody just met them at a trade show, and you seemed really great and they got it, there's going to be stuff that you know, they got a you know, installation for free. So that's why they went with it. Start with like a really good audit where there's no assumptions made. Alright, my my little trick, you know, it's very, very simple, but you know, draw a funnel, look at the p&l, because, you know, at the end of the day, anybody outside of your department, that is monitoring the success or failure of any, any initiatives that you do, inevitably ends up looking at the p&l and you know, that does all the talking for them, or at least it starts to the station and just plot things on the p&l to see where you're at, like taking stock is is really, I think the first bit you can't make informed decisions without that information. So you know, looking for cracks in the funnel, looking for cost savings. I know that it's, you know, I don't think it matters where you are, if you can come in and immediately show savings on the p&l that's when that's like yeah, it's gonna save enough money. Yeah,

Samir Balwani 34:58

yeah, I mean it cuz that's also the Bottom line, right? Like, that's all

Nick Hernandez 35:02

right, anybody outside of your department that doesn't understand, you know what a remarketing campaign is, nor do they care to take the time to learn, it looks at the look at like those hard numbers and go, Oh, he's doing something like somebody has something is happening, which, unfortunately, I think at any organization, you're running into people that just aren't, they're not in that space, they're not in E commerce, they're not in marketing, but the numbers have to flow through them. So you need to make sure that they understand what you are doing, or they get a sense of it. So I always like to, you know, I like to have the numbers talk for me. Same thing with like nominations, if I can say, hey, we need to get rid of this thing, consolidate these two things, and turn this thing on his head, I show and we're gonna say 200 grand a month, and all of a sudden, they're like, oh, yeah, go do it. That's a no brainer. Right? Exactly. As opposed to being like, I think we could be in a really good place. If we did all this stuff. That just seems like a lot of work. And you're like, what is the Good Place mean? So I think taking stock in seeing where we're where you truly are now, where you're being told that you are, is, is the best one. Another little side trick I've done before is that I will have like 10 questions. And usually when you usually when you get to accompany you initially do like a little walk around, or a meet and greet, or you talk with everybody, I will ask everybody the exact same 10 questions, and I look for more for the differentiations between their answers, to get to get a better sense of where the company's at more so than what the actual answer is that they give me. So that's a really, that's a neat little one, where you're just like, tell me about the brand? Or what does that mean to the average customer? Or where are we headed in the next couple years? Or, you know, it doesn't really matter? Like the questions are not as important as understanding the differences between answers. Because everybody has a slightly different viewpoint of the organization. And you get a really good sense of it all, if you just, you know, keep the eight questions as the control and the differentiations in their answer is your real answer.

Samir Balwani 37:09

Oh, that's so smart. I love that I'm gonna probably steal that one. So thank you so much for that. Nick, thank you so much for joining us today. I really had such a great conversation. If someone wants to find you online. Where can people go to learn more about you? LinkedIn?

Nick Hernandez 37:24

ammonoid personnel at this point? I'm not. I'm super active on LinkedIn. No. Honestly, LinkedIn and then that usually leads to email and that's, you know, at this at this point, that's where I'm having most of my honest communication, genuine conversations with people in LinkedIn leading to either a text or you know, a conversation that way.

Samir Balwani 37:49

But it's also Nick, thank you so much again for coming on. This

Nick Hernandez 37:51

was such so much fun. Yeah. Thanks for having me.

Outro 37:59

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