Today’s guest is a combat veteran that now runs a digital marketing agency and is in it to build a legacy not only for his kids, but to impact the future even for his great-great-grandkids.
He talks about how his career started when he broke his leg in Ranger School… and poop… we talk about burning poop.
- 0:57 – The Q and A with TC
- 7:20 – Military life to Digital Marketing
- 11:43 – The True about Paid ads
- 14:15 – Platform Issue
- 33:14 – Digital Marketing Journey
Learn more about this guest:
Podcast Episode Transcripts:
Disclaimer: Transcripts were generated automatically and may contain inaccuracies and errors.
TC Jennings is jumping on today with us. He’s an entrepreneur seasoned, digital marketing, professional McLaughlin leadership fellow, and combat veteran. He lives at the intersection of business strategy, paid media execution, and deep analytical insights in order to make more money for his clients.
What’s up. Do you see what is up Damon? Happy to be here, man. I appreciate you letting me on the show. Yeah, you bet. This is, um, I’m really looking for this conversation because I like the more behind the scenes, random, um, you know, personal insights kind of thing. And, and before we hit the record button, we got, we got into some good stuff.
So, but before we, we revisit these things, um, I want to try a new thing here, and we’re going to start off with some rapid fire questions. Uh, I’m going to give you the choice of. Choosing the first half of the list or the last half, but I’m not going to give you any insights. So it doesn’t really matter.
Um, I’m I’m first come first serve. Give me the first task. All right. First off you got four questions. Uh, number one is, are you a morning person or a night owl? Morning person for sure. My day starts at zero four with PT and ideally my, uh, technical implementation implementation work is done before the rest of y’all get up.
Yeah, yeah. Right there with you. All right. Besides the obvious things like family or pets, if your house was on fire, what is the first thing you’d run back in to get. Oh man, that’s a good one. Besides family pets, like pictures, that sort of stuff. I’m a, uh, an avid Hunter and marksman. So I would definitely go grab the gap pieces and ammo.
Cause that would be bad if that stuff was going on. Uh, all Willy nilly. I also, um, had a, uh, concert paste, your collection that is very near and dear to my, uh, to my heart. So I would go grab it. Grab those for sure. That’s what I want to hear. I want to hear those things. Alright. Okay. Last one. What’s the most useless talent you have, meaning the most useless talent I have.
I’ve got a lot of them, right? The army definitely hooked me up with that. Uh, no, I’d probably say high plate eight. Kind of chess, like way more chess than any curse and shit have, um, a, um, 2000 rated chess player and that has done nothing, but really take up a lot of time and, uh, and, uh, has brought some, brought some angst from, uh, from my wife, uh, at certain times.
Yeah. That’s hard to make a sexy transition to claim, to make executive claim on that one. Okay. Yeah, it’s a, it’s a, it’s one of those things. I can’t put it down though. I love it. I also also play a ton of Pokemon too. So like mint, I’ve just got a bunch of nerd nerd skills that I have cultivated that I thought would be really valuable and really are just, you really can’t chalk them up to much more than like a stress relief.
And really it’s, it’s not the more that time-waster. All right, hold on. I’m going to call you out on that and I can go with the chest, but you, you thought the pokey mind would be a life skill. So the, the Pokemon cards, Yemen and things were hot, like Charles ARDS were selling for 500 bucks a card back in the day, I was like, all right, I’m going to cultivate a coconut collection akin to like the star Wars.
People are like baseball cards or something like that. And it was going to sin. You know, me and my kids and my kids’ kids to college and those things are worth nothing. Now they’re worth absolutely nothing. Uh, so yeah. Uh, I have an absurd amount of knowledge about Pokemon that I’ve known nothing to do with I’m laughing.
Cause that’s what my eight year old, like that’s every day, it’s like, it’s like first thing when he wakes up well it’s between that and Beyblades, but, uh, he cycles back and forth cautionary tale right there. Uh, I’m living proof that. I mean, I would say I, because I traveled a lot for sports growing up, so I always had a game boy with me and I would say I’ve easily put over a thousand hours of gameplay into Pokemon and really not much to show for it other than like, I can talk Pokemon, like in your eight year old would have a thrilling conversation about the evolutionary history of come on.
Yeah, here, here. Here’s how you monetize that. You are now like for hire for birthdays. Like you go in and like you just go into the eight year olds and you’re like, all right, guys, you guys have been on your sugar high all day. We need to chill you out. Let’s go talk Pokemon for three hours, like for real.
And then I may need to, you know, I think I, I could probably get some sort of, sort of book deal going about the history of a Pokemon collecting. And it’s many, many non merits that would probably really go over well on Metairie value in that. I appreciate that. I’ll look into that. Yeah. All right. Okay. So let’s let’s talk shop.
All right. So clearly you’ve had combat experience and now, now your, your day to day is doing paid media. So give us the crash course on, um, a day in the life of TC Jennings. Yeah, man. It’s pretty much the opposite as it was in the army. And that’s the intention I wake up, like I said, the zero four zero five.
I do some PT. So we’ll run a pushups to this little old army style PT, and then I’m going to go down and check the garden, uh, which is my paid media accounts. That I’ll be, uh, you’re seeing it any given time. I’ll uh, make any necessary optimizations, fire off some emails. I, uh, I participate in a few channels and, uh, Facebook groups that I like to stay at a few students and consulting clients that I like to talk to.
Um, so I’ll answer any of those questions or sort of jump into any of those conversations. Then I’m going to head back up the stairs and, uh, kiss my daughter. Good morning. She’s usually the next up bouncing around. Get her. Some breakfast and then a mama bear and yeah, uh, the new, the new, uh, new addiction to our family and my son’s just now two months old.
So, um, they’ll be coming in. We’ll get them all, get everybody breakfast up, um, have some family time for a couple hours then it’s, uh, it it’s back down to the salt mine. Um, and usually the latter half of my day is. Is more of the business stuff, you know, sending out proposals or, um, you know, looking at, uh, potential opportunities partnerships.
So what, what type of, uh, uh, paid media specifically, do you try and focus on? It’s usually like the, the, um, performance marketing is what I call it. So Google ads, you know, fake social and Facebook, um, YouTube, all that, uh, all those, uh, traditional paper click. Channels. Um, that’s, that’s where I live. Okay. Now let’s, let’s close the gap on how you went from, uh, you know, military life and to digital marketing.
And so it started when you broke your leg, is that where we, where we begin? Yeah, it begins with the, with a sharp snap of the, of the left fibula in the mountains of Georgia, uh, 2000. 16, uh, ranger school broke my leg, uh, which for an infantry man is pretty much like, I mean, you can’t really do much as an infantryman with a broken leg
So they stuck me down in the arms room in the 82nd airborne division. And, uh, you know, I, I had a long, long road to recovery. I was looking at like eight months before I was fit for duty. And so I was like, man, what am I doing? You know, I’ve got, I’ve got this computer here. I’ve um, No one thing that’s not on my resume or a lot of people don’t know about me as I have written over time, 10,000 pieces of content in my, in my life as a ghost writer and as a blogger and as an affiliate marketer, that’s how I got into digital marketing was kind of back in the old days of SEO.
You’ll like this, when it was all about the number of key words you could get into, into a blog, especially as it relates to like affiliate marketing, right? Like real, uh, Real real JV stuff, but, um, gradually, you know, I’ve gotten to where I write for, for people like Samsung and, uh, West rock, like big companies.
So I was like, okay, I know that there’s an incredible need for digital marketing services. I know that my, uh, I’m about to get out of the army here in a little, under two years. Like what can I do, uh, to, cause I wanted to. Basically working in an environment that was the exact opposite of what I was doing at the time.
Um, so yeah, so I had a, a friend had two friends, one that, um, went to a UNC. And a university of North Carolina, super smart guy. Another one was a former graphic designer at Nike. Uh, the army brings incredibly smart people from all walks of life. So I grabbed them. I was like, yo, like, let’s go around. Uh, two people in the Fayetteville Fort Bragg area and see if they need help getting the soldiers to spend their paychecks at there, know no other places of business.
So, and it started out with one computer in a, in the 82nd airborne arms room. It grew, right. So a book of, uh, 15 clients at it’s Vegas and, uh, you know, we were. Managing ad budgets to, you know, half a million to a million bucks, which, uh, you know, for some airborne paratroopers was a pretty big, a pretty big deal.
Um, so yeah, I, when that, that was quick CEO, when. When my, uh, when my time in the army came, my family was looking to get out of the military to a more major market. And so we sold our stake in quick CEO and went down to work at a, at an agency in Atlanta. Um, and from there, it’s just been, it’s just been off to the races as far as, you know, getting more and more, uh, Deep into the end of the woods about not only do digital marketing that paid media.
I mean, that was gosh, like three years ago and paid media now, compared to where it was three years ago, it was almost like a completely different. A different atmosphere and scene. So it’s been a, it’s been a journey of constant learning and, uh, you know, always being prepared to utilize the next thing and knowing what’s coming down the road.
But, um, yeah, it’s been great. You know, it’s funny for me. And like you saying that how digital digital pay, you know, paid media has changed dramatically in the last couple of years. Is comparing that to SEO. A lot of people will come to me and say, there’s so many things in SEO. It’s gotta be hard to stay on top of it.
And I almost think it’s the opposite because with SEO, sure. Any industry is going to evolve, but with SEO, it’s kind of like, you got your core things that you work on. Um, and I get where people say that paid ads are, are in certain mindsets are easier because. Like you have very clear charts and very clear checkboxes and fields that you populate at the same time.
Those builds checkboxes and metrics are always changing. And so to me, I think paid ads, it’s way more dynamic. Yeah. I mean, I would say that, um, you know, that’s probably from my perspective, like I’m not trying to get them get involved in the technical SEO stuff that you do, you know, like that stuff is, um, You know, you gotta be spot on with that.
And really, you know, I think from both of our perspectives, like the fundamental state of same, right. You know, kind of how the tech that you have available to leverage those fundamentals or, um, sort of obviously the algorithms for the search engines. And the social platforms get tweaked and changed.
What’s makes you have to adjust how you impact, uh, those fundamentals in sound strategies. But yeah, I mean, really the paid stuff is just like every channel. The panel is just in a race to offer, you know, higher, um, degrees of transparency and targeting and, um, effectiveness. And so while the fundamentals don’t change, there’s always a new capability that’s in beta or a new channel that is, um, You know, really seeing a lot of value because very quickly, you know, there’s those paid channels.
They’re there to make money, their business follows. They’re not there to help us make money. They’re not there to, I mean, they are, but first is for them to make money. And so if you. If you’re using a channel, um, like LinkedIn, for example, like LinkedIn paid to me right now is a channel to being, cause it’s not very crowded.
It’s slowly gets more and more expensive and harder and harder to compete. And so you always have to be ready to shift, um, you know, strategies to meet like ROI. And that’s usually looking into the newer capabilities and the newer channels that, uh, you know, give you sort of those opportunities, uh, to, to be first, first to the touch.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So when is it, you bring it up a valid point about how, um, the, the more, uh, characteristics that a platform can offer an advertiser to identify their target audience, the more effective that that platform is going to be, the more money they make. Um, but obviously also to the opposite effect with Facebook’s problems, uh, you know, like a year ago, Cambridge Analytica is probably one of the more well known one for the listeners and the little things since then.
Um, you, you’re probably also running into the opposite problem where you want more insights and targetable metrics, but. You’re losing some because people are, are fighting for privacy or there’s issues with the platform. Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that’s what makes the internet run right? Is, is users exchange their data and a willingness to be advertised to in order to utilize the free market service of, of the internet.
And, you know, there’s. The data exhaust that people are leaving these days is only growing larger by the second as the technology gets better and better, um, to record it, which, which, yes, it leaves a even greater responsibility. Uh, not only on the ad platforms, um, or the ad networks, but also on, um, implementers like myself, like you mentioned, you mentioned Cambridge, um, you know, Uber just sued their, their agency that was servicing their paid media to the tune of $50 million because the agency was not being transferred, hearing in the metrics of it, of the campaigns.
Right. It was. And so, so you’re talking now, you’re talking about attribution. Um, you know, at the end of the day, there’s, there’s still a wide gap between, uh, the trust between advertisers and the advertising networks. And it’s up to people like me and, and really those, those bigger agencies, uh, that, that are, that have so much media attention to be good stewards of people’s data, because the data is not getting smaller.
It’s, you’re not, your data is not getting more. And more sheltered, right? Like you’re just, you know, that’s, that’s just the unfortunate reality that we live in is that your data is available to advertisers, whether you like it or not. And it’s, it’s up to the, the advertisers and the, the people, um, you know, waltzing around the internet to be good stewards of it.
If you don’t want your data, uh, being used, you know, you need to tell that. And then if you’re advertising, like I’m talking to agencies here, if you’re advertising. Uh, for clients using, um, a DMP, a data management platform or provider, or, um, any other sort of audience layering technology, you need to be very transparent and very clear with, uh, the agency, as far as how, uh, with the clients, how you’re using data to better service their ads so that they can be aware and see if that, um, you know, data management practice lines up with their values.
Yeah. There’s, there’s a quote. I can’t, yeah. Remember who it’s by, but it’s something along the lines of, if you’re not paying for a product. You are the product. And so, you know, that goes into what you were saying about just when you’re online, your, your data is out there. So that’s why Gmail is for you because they’re going to be pulling data.
That’s why Facebook and spree, they’re gonna be pulling data like Facebook doesn’t care. They don’t think it’s cute that you can like something when you like something like, Hey, now we can sell information. This many users like that thing. Yeah, exactly. And you know, that, and that goes for any, you know, the internet H T you know, the hypertext transfer protocol itself.
I mean, it’s free, right? It’s an open source. Like you don’t, you may pay for an internet service provider to give you wireless, you know, signal, uh, but, you know, type in www.google.com doesn’t cost you anything, except your, your, your data, right. In, in the history of your movements. And so. Yeah, it’s um, it’s, it’s a crazy time to be in.
I think it’s one of, you know, when, when people look back and the history books are written, um, you know, whatever industrial number of industrial revolutions you want to call it right now, it’ll definitely be an age where, um, you know, the, the, the good stewards of people’s data and money will be recognized for having done such.
Yeah, it’s funny you say that, that you give that analogy about the future. Cause I Al I, I often wonder about that too, because I think it’s going to go one way or the other, like to the total extremes, it’s either going to be data is going to be more and more harvested and abused, or I think Europe’s a little further ahead in the U S in respect to protecting data.
And so I think that’s the alternative is. They’re just going to lock it down and be like, we have that technology, but no, you can’t do it. Yeah. I mean, there’s, it’s really a fundamental choice. Right? Do you want it, do you want free internet? Okay, then your data is for sale. Like that’s the simple, that’s the simple truth, because that’s what makes the internet run is advertisers getting on the internet to serve people ads without that the internet, as we know it, ceases to exist.
So yeah, you either let the data wide open and put some laws around it to make sure people aren’t using it, uh, to, you know, to, to spy on you. Like physically. Um, or you shut the whole data down completely and tell the world to go find their own internet, you know, build it all over again. Right. Neither one is really a and attracted a prospect.
But, um, man, from an ad tech, uh, perspective, like it is just incredible. Um, what that the advertising technology available to businesses and advertisers today can do. And if you can do it in a way. That earns trust. Those are the people that are, that are making serious money in paid advertising. Do you think you’re going to look back, so I’m going to compare this to SEO.
Um, so you know, 10 years ago in SEO, if, if, if I knew now what I knew than, um, as anybody would say in any industry. Right, right. But just like you said before, about stuffing key words, Um, there were so many ways to automate things back then. And now, now you can’t or, I mean, technically you can, but it just doesn’t work anymore.
It doesn’t drive the returns. So with that being said where it’s like, I could take all this advanced knowledge now and perform infinitely better back then. Do you think that you’re going to have that in in 10 years is paid ads going to be something like it’s it’s way better or worse for you as an advertiser?
Yeah, I think it’s definitely gonna be way better for me as a practitioner. Um, man, if I could go ahead 10 years now and know then you know, I’m bringing it back here. I would do it in a heartbeat. I think. You know, when you look at the future of paid advertising, you’re really talking about protests and programmatic and real time bidding and all that, all that it’s really a fancy way of saying is that paid advertising is going to get larger at scale, and it’s going to be faster.
Um, you know, right now, if you were to log onto it, Google ads and start running a campaign, your data. Um, would probably be accurate, uh, to, uh, you know, plus, or minus 10%, I would say like, realistically, Google’s going to say it’s plus or minus 1%, but they’re full of it. And, um, it’s gonna take you a day unless you’re a, an enterprise client, then, you know, you’re going to get that, get that within, uh, within an hour.
And I think when you look at the future, what the enterprise companies can do right now, they can utilize. Private data clouds to layer on top of their paid advertising to serve more effective ads, they can serve ads. Um, that makes sense for their budgets in real time. And, uh, you know, that, that those capabilities don’t really make sense for the smaller to medium sized businesses.
But, you know, just like, I mean, think about TVs, right? Like the flat screen TV, it was like 5,000. You remember how expensive TVs were like, they were so expensive. Right. And, uh, you know, now you can go in there and you can get a 50 inch curve, four K TV for what it costs to get it. Nice. All right. So, um, you know, I think paid fate technology, it be like that way as the technology matures, more capabilities will open up, uh, to the, to the smaller, medium sized businesses.
That’s so funny you say that about TVs. Cause I just said it two days ago, my, my, I take my wife, my kids were going to like Sam’s club, which is, which is like, you know, Costco and, and they had all these TVs and, and um, I, I gave almost the exact same thing you just said. I was like, I remember, I remember 20 years ago when, when a TV, half that size a cheap crappy one was five grand.
And it weighed like 10 times as much too. Right. You had to set it on the floor and it was the size of cinder cinder block. Um, you know, yeah. It’s just a check. The technology is just moving at such a fast pace that you really have to know what the fundamentals of how that technology works, but, but the strategies really don’t change.
Right. You know, like what worked back in 98. Still works today. It’s just, you have to implement it faster and make changes faster because you’re doing it at such a larger scale. I think that’s really important for us new marketers to understand, because I say the same thing about SEL. Um, you can’t get caught up in the new shiny things, like look at ‘em and if you can implement them and it makes sense, and then obviously do it, but the core of what you do.
If you want to last a long time in this industry, build out a process and identify your fundamentals and double down on those instead of taking risks on the new random things. Yeah. I couldn’t agree more like that. I could call that shiny penny syndrome, right? Like that’s everywhere. In marketing and no, no, no more place.
More so than, than the paid media space. Yeah. We, when, when so many, the new capabilities are opening up in so many new channels are opening up. It very quickly kind become confusing. Um, and you can just start throwing darts and seeing what sticks. Uh, you know, you need to know the fundamentals and you need to know the fundamentals of your industry, right?
Like if you’re an SEO, you need to know the fundamentals of it, how it got here, how it’s evolved and you know, really what makes SCO go. Same thing in paid media. Like you need to understand. What happens when you put money into Google ads and select a key word and serve an ad, you need to understand how that technology works and, um, and, and how it works in a business model and how you need to, you know, shift those for each business case.
So, yeah, the fundamentals that they’ve been the same since Don Draper was sitting in his office, you know, trying to figure out how to sell a, you know, deodorant or, or cigarettes or whatever, like it’s at the end of the day, you’re still trying to reach. People. And I guess that’s the one thing that it gets lost so much in digital marketing.
There’s so much tech and there’s so many incredible capabilities that. It’s very easy to lose sight of it. You’re trying to make a person’s day better in some shape form. Right? Gotcha. You’re trying to bring value to whoever whoever’s ad you’re serving or the SEO, like whoever’s doing that, that search for those keywords.
Like you’re, you’re, you’re hoping to give them value and answer a question or provide a service that meets some need. So, you know, no technology is going to change. What your value is to that person? That that is just a mechanism to bring your value. To the user. Yeah, that’s right. That’s really important.
Especially with, you know, social media, social media is bringing up these newer marketers with, with the thought that they need to be an influencer and provide instant gratification and, and behind the scenes that there’s so much fakeness that’s being presented, that you, you may accelerate whatever you’re trying to accomplish.
But it’s not going to last, like you have to, you have to have those fundamentals, you have to provide authentic value. You have to build credibility and a reputation around either you or your clients. And, and unless you’re in it for just a quick money run, you know, that’s how you’re going to make things last.
Yeah, for sure. And I mean, you can make money really fast. You can do that. Um, but the way you’re going to do that, Is by bringing value to a lot of people really fast, right. You’re not going to, um, you know, just start posting these videos. And
can you still hear me?
Yeah, you’re, you’re definitely right. Um, you know, there there’s a ton of social media, marketers, or new marketers coming in. Nope. In the game today that want to get rich quick. And I don’t have a problem with that. Um, but you don’t get rich quick by utilizing technology better than someone else or buy out advertising or out SEO and someone that’s part of it.
But the way you get rich quick is by bringing a ton of value to a ton of people in a short amount of time. And so no, no technology, no advertiser, no strategy or tactic is gonna, it’s going to take the place of value. That’s that’s what makes business go. That’s what makes people. Put pull money out of their wallet and give it to you, is that you’re bringing value in some shape form or fashion products service.
It can be intrinsically with a joke or a video or whatever. There’s a tons of tons of ways to bring value. Um, but for new marketers out there, you have to know what your value proposition is. And then you use tech and strategies and tactics SEO, all that stuff goes into putting your value proposition in front of the people who are most likely to be responsive to it.
Uh, speaking of value, I want to talk about poop.
Oh, man, boy, I’ll tell you. That’s what makes life go around, you know? Okay. So before we started recording, we were talking a little bit more about your days in the military. And, uh, I made a joke about, um, some movie I had seen in there and in, in one of the scenes they’re like burning poop and you’re like, yeah, that’s that’s for real.
And I knew it was real, but I didn’t understand like the entirety of the context of it. And so, um, what I thought was interesting where we kind of left off and I said, well, hold on, let’s time out. Let’s actually talk about this on the show is you’re talking about, um, that in the military you actually kind of have this op I don’t even know if you’d call it an opportunity or an option, or if there’s incentives or, or if it’s just like one of those things you get stuck with.
It’s a, it’s a, it’s an option. It’s an option option. Airy. Yeah. Okay. So, so yeah. Give me the context of what these options are. Are they all just like pretty crappy options and like, do they incentivize you or is it just like, like why would you want to opt in for, well, explain what the choices are and why do you get a list I was talking about.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Okay. So, um, yeah, in, in the military and, um, in, in, in any. In any branch, uh, there’s you know, uncle Sam’s gonna do do his level best take care of you, right? Cause you’re, cause you’re out there and doing a tough job and you’re away from your families and stuff. There’s tons of tons of different programs and options that, uh, soldiers, sailors, airmen, uh, you name it can elect to participate in, in order to, uh, you know, help them cope with some sort of hardship that they faced during their service.
So one of the lesser known, uh, of these options. Is, uh, is this it’s called the burn, the burn pit registry, I think, is what it’s called or something like that. And, um, you know, the previous generation, the Vietnam vet, they had to register for, uh, you know, being in a war zone where agent orange, AKA napalm was being used.
And so those, those men and women, they, they registered as being in service when agent orange was being used. And. As, um, medical experts studied the effects of agent orange, which takes sometimes decades. Um, they didn’t find fact that wow, you know, napalm messes people up. So anybody who is near napalm, uh, can get, you know, free medical attention for any sort of side effects caused, uh, with agent orange and probably some compensation too.
And so those people that were on that list, um, and if you’re a Vietnam vet, listen to this, you can still get on that list and get all that figured out. Um, you know, they were, they were able to be taken care of. And so for the current generation, uh, agent orange, thank goodness is no longer part of, of modern warfare, but, uh, the burn registry is, and what that basically says is that if you were in a, a war time or training scenario where you were living in an area, uh, in close proximity to a burn pit, That was burning human SQL matter
Then you should put yourself on this list because, uh, when those, when those pits burn, uh, you know, the smoke goes in the air and you breathe it, my man, you like breathe it. And so one of the effects of breathing air, uh, that is mixed with, uh, you know, a burn pit full of hundreds of people’s fecal matter of food waste.
And, uh, you know, weapons, disposal and all that stuff. Like what happens to a person when they breathe? Uh, that type of air, the answer is no one knows. So the studies are still out. Uh, but if you have done that present generation of military video, or listen to this, you’ve been near a burn pit, go put your name on that list.
So in 20 years, when they find out that it said that toe, that you grew, or that a third year, that popped out of your, uh, your shoulder, You know, as a result of having free, that grease, that crazy air you’ll uncle Sam take care of you. Well, that’s exactly what I was going to say is like, as, I don’t imagine that when they find out the answer and whatever the answer is, the chances of it being anything positive are pretty minimal.
Yeah. Yeah. I don’t think that they’re going to find that it’s the, uh, it’s the elixir of life. Um, but you know, I’m not a medical expert. There may be some benefits at the very least a what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Right? Uh, I don’t know about this guy. I’ve got a spit. It got it. I’m a marketer.
Right? You gotta spin it. You gotta spin it. Okay. We’ll say yes. Yes. Yes. All right. Okay. So now, now speaking to marketing back into segwaying, uh, out of military, and so obviously you’ve explained your in, into pay dad’s now. So how, how did you get to where you are, as you talked about how you had the downtime as you’re recovering from your broken leg and you had the computer.
So it was this all self-taught to get to where you’re at now. Yeah, I wouldn’t say it’s all self taught. It started out that way. Um, for, for any, for any, uh, new marketers that are specifically looking to get into this paid space, there is no better a teacher than using your own. Pardon greenbacks and shekels, right?
Because if you think, think about it this way. If I were to have started as an intern at a major agency and, um, you know, learned, uh, watching someone else and then had gotten some accounts, uh, with smaller clients worked my way up that way, right? The whole time you’re learning with someone else’s money, um, which is a safe way to do it.
But you, you miss out on developing a lot of pain signals. That you should develop, right? As a, as a paid media manager, you should be very sensitive to the fluctuations, um, in the account, um, because your client is going to be very sensitive to it. Right. And so, um, yeah, I started out, um, in the paid space, running my own Facebook ads.
Uh, man, I don’t know if anyone’s burned up $500 quicker than that. My wife always cringes when she hears me talking about my origin story because, uh, you know, I was, uh, I was a lower enlisted, you know, soldier. I was not some high ranking officer or anything like that. Like my paychecks were not big. And, um, you know, it was just, I think with anything like you, you pay the.
The knowledge you get, uh, that serves you the best. It’s usually the ones you had to pay the most to get. Right. And so, um, yup. I learned, I learned the hard way. Um, but man, you quickly get better. You quickly get better. And so, uh, yeah, I, I learned with my own money at first and then after once we started, um, The, uh, the agency there and got, and got rolling there.
Um, you know, I felt comfortable enough to be like, look like I’ve used my own money. I know what works for me. Like, let me do it for you. And so after, um, after we left, we left Fayetteville, went down to Atlanta. Um, I had an experience, uh, both from an entrepreneurial side of and, um, servicing, servicing clients.
And so, um, I’m in a, um, you know, I have a, a good, a good perspective. Um, You know, from both of the agency side and the client side. And I think, man, in today’s world, like there’s, there’s so many agencies that they optimize the client account, uh, to the retainer, right? Like they’re they do what they need to do to meet the sow or to do the work that they said they would do.
And they do it just enough to ensure that the next month retainer will be paid and that’s, and that to me is a flawed model. Uh, for the agencies specifically, but really for digital marketing as an industry, I think it’s one of the biggest problems in the industry is that, um, people are optimizing, uh, their efforts towards, uh, you know, kind of this value curve where your work put in meets the highest dollar earned for that month in my proposition.
But the alternative that I offer to that thinking is that if you do what’s best for your client, No matter what, right? Like sometimes you may need to put more time in. Sometimes it may be like, tell them straight up. This is not, you don’t want to spend it. Like don’t sell your clients something they don’t need, just so that you can, you know, increase your retainers or something like that that will do is it will build trust.
And that trust is going to pay dividends. It’s going to 10 X, anything you would have got from that retainer because that client is going to go to their friend and go to their network about, look, this agency, this person is different. Like they are not just, you know, doing okay. They’re not on autopilot. I hear that so much from people I talk to they’re like, man, I was working with an agency and it just put me on autopilot.
And, um, you know, I saw, I saw initial gains and then I just flatlined. And I was like, yeah, that’s because your retainer flat line, right? Like you got it. You know, that’s a lot of the times, like they’re not going to do any more work. Um, you know, then, then what’s your retainer. And so what I’m saying is those agencies continue to drive performance.
Even if the retainer does not increase, what will happen is. The, the word of mouth marketing that your clients will provide for you. We’ll bring you instead of this one, retainer that you’re worried is not going to go over, you know, 20,000 bucks a month. You’re going to get 10 new clients that are bringing in $20,000 retainers because they know that you’re doing the right thing.
Yeah. I agree with everything you just said. I mean, I could, I could probably draw a line from. You know, my company’s clients now, uh, back to very first clients, 12 years ago, and there’s probably 90% connection rate from start to finish where somebody referred somebody that referred somebody that in some capacity referred somebody else.
And, you know, we’ve, we’ve accomplished. Huge international success with without ever really paying a single dollar in marketing, just because of what will right now is a perfect example of what you just said. We’re spending hundreds to thousands of dollars a month on testing, a couple new paid things that we want to incorporate.
And so we’re paying out of pocket, uh, to bring that extra value, to decide. Will this provide more value in the future? Is this worth pursuing? And I don’t think it’s fair to have the clients take that risk and pay out of pocket. So we’re just eating it all up front and in order to provide a better product in the future.
Yeah. Yeah. And you know, that trust, it just can’t, it can’t be understated. And when you prove yourself as, um, you know, as an agency or a person, like, like for me, As a consultant. What I, what I want to do is train myself out of a job, you know, like a lot. And that’s another problem that agencies have is like agencies should always be working.
Um, with their clients to make the clients better. So they should be teaching their clients how to fish instead of feeding them fish. And a lot of agents, they say, Oh, well, if I teach them how to do what I do, then they won’t need me anymore. That’s not true because that’s going to leave you time to go do the way more technical, higher level, well stuff that you’re in a position to do, because you’re an agency, right?
Like you should be doing the, the top of the funnel. Top of the level of skillsets that not everybody can do, and you should be teaching your clients how to better service themselves. And so that’ll leave you more room, you know, to, to, to be a true practitioner of the art. And you know, some, some clients, I say that and they’re like, that sounds that’s great, man.
I appreciate you said that, but I got, I don’t want, I got no time to be learning how to do paid media. Like I want you to do it. And, um, you know, that there’s, there’s both clients, but. I’m doing what’s best for the client is going to always, I’m always going to pay more than doing what’s best for the retainer.
Yeah. Yeah. I agree. All right. So as, as we’re getting kind of closer to, to wrapping things up, um, you know, we’ve talked about your background, we’ve got, uh, we’ve obviously covered your, um, You know, your, your career side of things, a little bit of your personal side. Uh, but, but I like to give our guests the opportunity to, to answer the question just straight up, who is the real you beyond what most people know about you?
Yeah. I mean, I think if you, if you get on my LinkedIn, you’ll, you’ll see that I’m a, you know, a marketer and, um, you know, I like to learn a lot of stuff and talk about paid media. Uh, but really the real me. Um, it really it’s, it can really be summed up in one, two, three, four or five words, right? It’s it’s it’s husband first father second, um, son, brother, and friend like that.
There’s me. And really, um, No, that is literally me, right? Those are literally my relationships to people in my life, but in the order of priority that I want them to be. Um, but more importantly, like everything about me and everything, the way that I view business or do paid media or view life in general, it’s all about people.
And it’s all about relationships, the most effective businessmen, most effective husband, the most effective friend, um, the most effective, the happiest people I know. Are the ones that had the healthiest relationships and that’s not the ones that have the most relationships, um, or, uh, you know, the most high profile relationships are the, you know, it’s, it’s about people.
Life is about people and the more that you can interact with people and enrich the lives of others, you, in my opinion, that’s kind of the key, not only to success, but also to happiness is that, you know, live your life in a manner. Um, that will service others, not only in the short term, but in the longterm, you know, sometimes you got to do, uh, the people you love, uh, you know, or care about that may not seem so hot at the short end and that’s okay.
But it’s lifestyle people. I’m all about people. Um, I love talking. I’m a big nerd. Uh, yeah. Uh, I love, um, I’m a, I’m a people nerd person who tries to, uh, position Howard resume as a, uh, Heart heart hard, dude. Right. Are, you know, infantry. And, uh, you know, I’m, I’m slinging a bunch of money here in the paid media game.
And I love, you know, I love football and I love sports and love exercise. Um, but really when you get down to it, I’m a, I’m a big old nerd who loves his family. Now, how much did the military play in you adopting that perspective? Is, is, is that something, is that a way you’ve always been, or did seeing some of the experiences that I imagine you experienced, um, give you a different perspective that made you adopt that mindset a little more?
Yeah, I think, um, you know, the military, no one, no one goes into the military and comes out, um, unchanged. But what, what I would like to think about the military is that. Um, it really just magnifies who you are as a person. Cause the military is one great crucible of, of pressure, right? It’s, it’s a, it’s a stress exercise in order to prepare you for war.
That’s what the military is. That’s the military job is to, is to protect our, our nation from the bad guys. And, um, when you’re under, when you’re under stress, um, you find out a lot about yourself that you may not have known. Because it’s your personality traits become truly magnified. And so when I went in, um, man, I really did not know how much I appreciated, you know, being able to sit down and watch college football.
I had no, no clue how, how much I love doing it. I had no, no idea how much I loved like packing up my family. And all the hectic, crazy stuff that involves a young bustling family, packing them up and going anywhere. Um, I had no idea how much I love that until, um, you know, the military sort of framed that, uh, perspective for me.
And so, um, really all that kind of came to a head when I was in Afghanistan. Like, um, you know, some, some people are really. Uh, you know, they love, they love deploying and they love going out there. And, uh, man, I’m so glad there’s people like that. Cause I’m not one of them, you know, like I went out there and I was like, this is, um, I’m so glad I got this experience.
Like this has been great. Uh, thanks for all the opportunities on come sugar, but you know, I am out, I’m gone, I’m gone. I’m going to the house. And I’m going to figure out a way to enrich people’s lives.
Well, TC, I appreciate you sharing some of those stories and being vulnerable and, and giving us some insights on your personal and your business life. Um, I want to give you the last opportunity to, to. Give out your contact information, your website help, help people can get in touch with you if they want to reach out.
Yeah, anybody that wants to just, uh, to the fat hit me up on LinkedIn backslash, TC Jennings, official, uh, business inquiries, TC Jenningsconsulting.com. You guys want to talk about paid media, military? Uh, really anything I would love just to hear from, from anybody in any shape, form or fashion, like hit me up.
Um, and, uh, you know, at the very least I can clarify maybe some of these poop stories all the way. Okay. I’m going to, I’m going to edit these and I’m going to make them really awkward and I’m gonna make it chopped up in some sort of YouTube montage that can live in for me. Yeah, man, I plugged in, I really, uh, I really appreciate you letting me get on here, man.
It’s been so cool. And I’ve gotten to, I’m done. I’ve been kind of. A silent fan of yours for, for a couple of years now. Um, and I was kind of there when you were really just picking up steam on you on your LinkedIn game. And I was working at a, at an agency at the time and I was like modeling. I was doing a lot of social calendars and I was like, yeah, if guy is doing it right, like, look at, look at these emoji in the game right now and stuff.
Um, I know that you have been at an AB test, sir, and a practitioner. Not only your SEO crap, but also you got some marketing chops as well in band. So, um, and it’s been a good time. I appreciate it. Oh, no, I appreciate, I appreciate you saying something that, you know, the whole LinkedIn, thing’s kind of funny.
Um, because it’s, you know, like most people what they do, their LinkedIn and they, they put their bio and let, let dust gather on it and. And, uh, I, I let’s see if we can, we can engage with some people and gain some traction and it’s been a really good experience getting to meet, um, you know, people like yourself on there.
Um, but, but I appreciate you saying something cause you never know who you, who you impact. And I think that’s a good opportunity for a closing remark is just, just do your thing, put your stories out there because you know, if you have one person comment or like there’s probably a hundred more that you’ve impacted that just didn’t say anything.
Yeah, it’s so true. There’s always, there’s always someone watching, even if it’s, uh, you know, your kid or your spouse, right. Or just on the internet, just because they didn’t like your shared comment. Um, doesn’t mean they, they’re not watching you and you know, you’re always a steward, uh, for your values and your brand.
So yeah, I couldn’t agree more. Yeah. TC Jennings. I appreciate it. TCJennings consulting.com. Thanks for your time, man. I appreciated Damon. Let’s do it again sometime.