7 min read
Take a seat and get ready ‘cause this episode is so inspiring. Today’s guest is Brad Jakeman, the former president of PepsiCo Global Beverage Group. He led category strategy, brand-building, design, advertising, marketing, innovation, and branded content. Before PepsiCo, Brad was in various high profile executive and marketing positions at Activision Blizzard, Macy’s, and Citibank. He left PepsiCo to start his own Consulting firm and Venture Fund to help other businesses and causes grow.
Brad is one of those guests who gives you an AHA moment with every phrase. His views on our industry and life are an inspiration so make sure you tune in:
Anybody who has gained any sort of success in their career should make sure they have at least one mentee in their life
Mentor-mentee relationships are so valuable throughout our careers. We tend to think we know better, we have fresh eyes and vision, but there’s something about a lifetime of experience you simply can’t put a price on.
“You would be shocked. If you were to call people — who you think are way too busy and who don’t even know your name — and ask them to be your mentor, it’s one of the greatest compliments somebody can give you. I’m speaking from my experience when this has happened to me. In most cases, those people will say yes. And if they say no, that’s probably a good indication that you haven’t chosen the right person to mentor you anyway.
One of the greatest joys that I have now in my career and one of the most fulfilling experiences is when people ask me to be a mentor.
You get to a point in your career where you want to lift people up, help the next generation come through the ranks.
Those one-hour mentorship calls always get me inspired and invigorated by the questions asked and by what younger people in the industry are thinking about these days. I encourage anybody who has gained any sort of success in their career to make sure that you have at least one mentee in your life.”
I feel like picking up the phone. Also, faith in humanity restored. The thing is that I’ve loved to have mentors across my career. I’ve also loved to have talks with younger people as well. I think the type of knowledge and advice people with experience share in a conversations is priceless. And hard to replace with the internet.
The term “performance marketing” drives me batshit crazy
Juicy headline, I know. I love hearing people’s beefs with the world or the industry. It makes them so human and in this case, so right.
“People call me and ask me if I know any great people who could fill this role they have open. I say ‘yeah, I know a lot of great people. What type of marketer do you want?’
And I hate it when they use that phrase ‘I want somebody who knows about performance marketing’. On the tip of my tongue, every time somebody says that, is ‘Oh, I’m sorry. I only know people who know marketing that doesn’t perform’. I hate that term.
Performance marketing is a term that has been created at some point to replace ‘direct response marketing’. I sound kind of old fashioned but yes, we used to call that stuff direct response marketing.
To call it performance marketing now indicates that marketing that is specifically designed around building and deepening equity and communicating values of the company, is stuff that’s more fluffy than dry performance.
While I have no issue with the concept the term performance marketing is trying to explain, I hate the fact that by definition it relegates all other forms of marketing to those that do not drive performance.
And that drives me batshit crazy.”
The term performance marketing should apply to absolutely all parts of marketing. It makes total sense after hearing it from Brad. If we’re not driving performance, what are we doing?
Never be afraid of losing your job
I feel like losing one’s job is an even bigger deal in our generation. We’re so brainwashed into thinking life is this lean climb with no bumps along the way, losing our job feels like the end of the line.
“I can look literally at every job I’ve had and say its very low points. Starting with my very first job when the agency would hit harder economic times and I was part of a group of people who ended up getting laid off.
All the way through to various major restructures that happened in companies where my role changed or my influence became less. Or through Macy’s where I didn’t end up staying at Macy’s for as long as I thought I might. There’s a ton of them.
Here’s the most important thing when I think about those things — I don’t think about them as low points anymore. I am super grateful for what they taught me. When I was part of a group of people who got laid off, I actually went from there to an even better job that taught me to never be afraid of losing your job.
If you come into work every day being fearful of losing your job, you’re never going to innovate. Which is what marketing people should be doing. You’re not going to end up being a very good marketing person if you’re not taking risks because you’re afraid of losing your job.
The reason I didn’t end up staying at Macy’s for too long was because I was trying to bring about too much change too quickly. So that taught me that when you come into a company and you have a change mandate, really make sure that you’re doing it at the right pace, that you’re not leaving people behind. That you’re not creating cognitive dissonance in the organization by asking too many people to do too many things that they don’t know how to do too quickly.
I can look at every single low I’ve had in my career and say it’s correlated by a major piece of learning that’s made me a better executive.”
I believe that generally, fears have this way of crippling our critical mind, our ideas, and creativity. But especially at our job. Aiming to please shouldn’t be a goal. Performance should.
*Sighsigh*, what an inspiring episode it’s been. Brad is an icon and his career is such an amazing path. Listen to the whole story here: