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Marketing is Clueless

Too often, marketing and Human Resources seem to speak different languages, which is a shame, because they have so much in common. The message that happy employees equals happy customers is ignored by too many companies. That’s we brought Brett Marz, co-founder at BAMKO (not to be mistaken for Ronco). Haven’t heard of BAMKO? They’re a more than $200 million company that designs, manufactures, and delivers award-winning branded merchandise for some of the world’s biggest brands, typically supporting employee engagement items. Needless to say, he has a lot to say on the disconnect between marketing and talent acquisition, and you’re going to hear about it.



Intro: Hide your kids. Lock the doors. You're listening to HR's Most Dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, brash opinion, and loads of snark. Buckle up boys and girls. It's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.

Joel: Oh, yeah. If you don't know us, ask your mother. This is the Chad and Cheese podcast. I'm your co-host, Joel Cheesman. Joined as always, the Bonnie to my Clyde, Chad Sowash. And today, welcome co-founder at BAMKO Brett Marz. Welcome to the show, my man.

Chad: What's going on, dude?

Brett Marz: Thank you, guys.

Joel: BAMKO, not to be mistaken for Ronco.

Brett Marz: We are not Ronco, and thank you for having me. I am excited to be here.

Joel: Some of our listeners may not even know what Ronco is. What did he make? He made a sandwich maker or the turkey rotisserie thing?

Chad: Was it all food? I think it was Ronco.

Joel: Mostly it was food, Ronco.

Chad: I think it was. Before the Home Shopping Network, these were the commercials that you receive, right?

Joel: Yes. And the guy's name was Ron, which was really creative.

Chad: Ronco, yeah.

Joel: Yes. It was all rotisserie chicken makers [laughter] and dehydrators. He had a dehydrator. [laughter] And the pocket fisherman. Yes.


Chad: Pocket fisherman. Okay so Brett, that's not you. So, we know who you're not. Tell us who BAMKO is.

Brett Marz: That is not who we are. But now I'm gonna do some research and try and dive into that situation. BAMKO is a company I co-founded with Phil Koosed my elementary school best friend in college, we went to USC. We started selling promotional items to sororities and fraternities. We quickly realized that there was a lot of opportunity for growth. And so we started getting into the merchandise category. And today the business is publicly traded, company called SGC bought us. We are 8800 people working with 4000 brands and outfitting 10 million plus people a day, from Walmart to Target, to CVS, to JetBlue, Frontier, Applebees, IHOP, Denny's, and working with the world's biggest companies out there on their merchandise strategy and also their customer retention strategy and their employee retention strategy. So we do a lot here. Nobody probably even knows who we are, but you walk into your house and you would find product that we make on behalf of brands out there in the world.

Joel: Is the college campus custom t-shirt business dead? Has the internet officially killed that business?

Brett Marz: It is not. When we got into that business, everything was sold through a catalog and so our whole thing was like, well, maybe we could be better by being in person. You can touch and feel the shirts. It was a fun business, I'll tell you that much. But sororities, there were a lot of incredible opinions, and fraternities when we used to go and collect our money would tell us that they just blew it on their last party on alcohol and whatever else. And so they never could pay their bills.

Chad: Sounds enjoyable.

Brett Marz: A fun business, a fun business.

Joel: Sounds fun. Sounds like a blast.

Brett Marz: Yeah. But one that wasn't always easy to deal with.


Chad: So you deal with brand leaders, from major, major brands on a daily basis, and there's no way in hell that you started off with retention, employee retention and attraction or experience or any of that. How did that even come into the part of the consultation or a part of what you guys did for companies?

Brett Marz: Yeah, great question. So I'm an entrepreneur at heart. I started selling Pogs, if any of you remember what those were. At the age of 12 on the Santa Monica Pier here in...

Joel: Sorry, you gotta let us... Define Pog. I feel like if you tell me, I'll remember.

Brett Marz: You don't know a Pog? It's like these little disks that you would trade and there were slammers.

Chad: Oh, yes.

Brett Marz: Oh, man. Okay. All right. Well, look 'em up. They're like, garbage pill kids or baseball cards.

Joel: Beanie Babies was my passion.

Brett Marz: Or Beanie Babies, there you go. [laughter] That's awkward. But that's cute. No, that's awesome.

Joel: Don't judge me.

Brett Marz: So, that's where I was at the age of 12 getting arrested on the Santa Monica Pier.

Joel: That escalated quickly.

Brett Marz: And so I've always been coming up with businesses. And so when we sold the company in 2016, one of the things that I was really passionate about was taking the knowledge of working with all these companies and all these brands and doing something more with it. Merch is a great category. Displays, promo, all fun categories. But at the end of the day, if you could take these products and do something more meaningful for a brand with them, that would be really cool. So we had all these resources, we had all these people, we had all this ability to do more with brands. And I told my partner and our team, I said, "I think I'm gonna go be an entrepreneur in residence on behalf of big brands and I'm gonna go start working with these chief people officers, chief human resource officers, chief brand officers, chief marketing officers, chief membership officers. And I'm gonna help them with, I think an area that a lot of companies struggle, which is how to retain talent and how to retain customers." There's a lot of similarities. You do nice things for people, you treat them well and they're pretty happy to spend money at the brand. And they're pretty happy to work for the brand.

Chad: Well, yeah. But they, generally companies just care about the customer part. They don't care about the employee part.

Brett Marz: You're right.

Chad: They're spending more of their time on trying to attract customers, but they're not really worried about the "experience." So you were just telling us before we hit record about a conversation that you just had with a brand leader. Tell us a little bit more about that conversation.

Brett Marz: We work with a lot of really large companies. Your Fortune 100. And of 'em recently brought us in and said, "We've got a customer retention issue. Our NPS scores are very low. Our customers basically hate us." And I said, "That's terrible. [laughter] That's really not good."

Chad: That sucks.

Brett Marz: That's really bad. And they said, "We'd like to do a really nice gift for these customers that hate us."

Joel: A nice beefy tea will cure what ails.

Brett Marz: Yeah, that's it. Like, let's get 'em a koozie and a frisbee and that'll solve it. [laughter] And I basically said, "I don't know if that's gonna be the route. Talk to me about why they hate your brand so much." "Well, when they come into our stores, our employees aren't really always nice to them. Don't treat 'em that well." I said, "Great. So let's pause for one second. What are you doing for your employees to make them feel appreciated by your own brand?" "I don't see how that's related." "Well, I'll tell you, it's really related. Your employees are miserable and therefore they're making your customers miserable. Do you see this? Do you see the... You see where I'm going?" "No." "Well, okay, let me back up."


Chad: These people are in charge of experience.

Joel: Yeah. Let's underscore that these are Fortune 500 companies.

Brett Marz: Oh yeah. This isn't Joe's Hardware.

Joel: Yeah. This isn't the college campus t-shirt shop.


Brett Marz: Nope, not at all. We're talking to big, big, big companies and I said, "Well look, one of the things that we talk to brands about is making their employees feel appreciated, feel special. And in turn what will often happen is those employees will tell their friends how great the brand is, tell their family how amazing their employer is and they'll actually become a walking billboard for you." And this concept is like, I'm not... Am I talking in a foreign language? This is simple, right? Do nice things for people. They will in turn do nice things. And I think one of the brands that I always actually look at is In-N-Out Burger. So we work with a lot of quick service restaurant companies out there in the world. You name one of 'em and they're probably someone we've worked with or are working with.

Brett Marz: And their biggest challenge is retention and turnover. And the employees feel like the brand doesn't care about them. If you've ever walked into an In-N-Out Burger, and I know it's a West Coast thing, although they did just announce Nashville, their employees are really happy. Their employees don't wanna typically leave the brand. And it's because their founder and their entire team takes so much pride in how they treat these people. And they do picnics and they do incredible things. They have all these safety programs and they have awards and recognitions and they take them on amazing trips. Now you might say, well what does that lead to? It leads to a customer walking into In-N-Out feeling really good because the employees are happy and they're smiling.

Joel: I will say you feel better after you leave In-N-Out because you've just eaten in and out, but you are happy going in. I agree.

Brett Marz: That's true.

Joel: Feels like you're going back in time to the '50s when you go to In-N-Out.

Brett Marz: It's an incredible brand. It's privately owned, they've done a fantastic job, but they've created a culture where people wanna work there and they're happy to work there. And I think that that is something that is so missed by so many brands that are so focused, we just need more customers. That's it. We just need more customers.

Joel: And guess what, right Brett? They have friends who are looking for jobs that wanna go work for In-N-Out. So it becomes this self-fulfilling recruitment machine where your employees are happy, they tell their friends about it and their friends go, "Well I wanna go work at In-N-Out too. Can you get me a job there?" The money they save in recruiting dollars and retention must be amazing in the service sector.

Brett Marz: Their retention is not even a fair comparison to any of their competitors in their space. It's just not even close. And people say, "Oh, because they pay so much more per hour." They actually don't anymore. They pay well. But look at Target, look at Amazon, look at Starbucks. They're paying plenty per hour and they don't have any comparison in terms of the turnover that they're having. And I think that brands historically have always said, we'll just pay more and that'll be the solve. But if you look at today's demographic of who's working in these hourly jobs or just in general, people want more. And if you play that well, that's a walking billboard. You think of these companies that have hundreds of thousands of employees out there. We trust people that we know. We trust our family. We trust our friends. Not to say you don't trust the Kardashians.

Brett Marz: I'm sure many people do when they post, people go, but there's a lot of people out there that no longer trust as many of the influencers out there. They go to their friends and family for trust. So play that out. I'm an employee at a company and I start telling my friends and family shop at this brand, buy from this brand. They are an incredible company. What does that cost the brand? No extra money. These are employees. They're being paid anyway. So this is the bleed into marketing that I'm seeing that is often being missed, marketing saying, let's just get more customers. Right? I am the chief marketing officer, I'm the chief membership officer. We just need more customers. But why is HR and marketing, why aren't there more conversations with those two departments strategizing on, well, look, we got 500,000 walking billboards.

Chad: I think from a marketing standpoint, marketing already has a blind spot with HR and they don't think that they have any connection to HR, to be quite frank. And I think that's demonstrated through the conversations that you've had. And then I think HR is just, in most cases they're too afraid to go to marketing, to be able to ask to combine forces and or prospectively get some budget to be able to do some things to fill in some of those slots. 'Cause I think here's the biggest issue from marketing standpoint and sales and the entire business is that if you don't have the people, the product's not gonna get made.

Chad: It can't get sold. You can't be serviced. There's nothing that can happen without the actual people in place. And then if you don't have enough people in place because of attrition, then the people that you do have, you spread too thin. So you might have somebody who really eagerly wants to do a great job, but they can't because they're spread too thin because you can't fill all the positions. So, from our standpoint, we've been trying now for, hell, years with marketing and going to the Gathering and working with a cult brand to be able to talk about marketing and their blind spot and how they don't realize that, again, this is something that doesn't just impact the employees. This impacts the entire business.

Brett Marz: I talked to a top five airline recently and we were talking to their HR team and I said, "I called you airline recently, and I was put on hold for two hours to add my baby, a lap child." And by the way, I am very high in the status of this wonderful airline. And they said, "Oh yeah, we've got a big, big problem on the hiring side and keeping these these employees happy." I said, "Well, what if we did something for them? What if we put together a really cool program and started doing nice things?" At some of the brands we work with, they do birthday gifts, they do anniversary gifts, they do all these wonderful things, new parent gifts. And their answer was, oh yeah, we can't spend the money on that.

Brett Marz: And I'm sitting here saying, you can't spend the money on your employees, but yet as a customer who's very high on the status tier, I'm done with your airline because I don't wanna sit for two hours to add a lap child. And I don't want to be treated the way you treat me on the airplane anymore. So my loyalty, despite all my points with you, it's out the door. But yet you're sitting here telling me you're gonna put new colors on the airplane and you're gonna make pretty lounges and you're gonna do these things, but you're still going to put me on hold for two hours. You're still not going to invest into your employees. And I'm still, as a customer going to be treated pretty poorly. Is something missing there, am I not following here?

Chad: It's the correlation to gaining business or losing business. Now, there was reportedly $8 billion of loss from attrition for Amazon, they actually, somebody put that into a dollar figure, right? 8 billion from an attrition standpoint, that means something to Amazon. They know they have a problem. How they fix it is an entirely different discussion. If we don't make the connection between you being on hold for two hours and losing a platinum diamond, one world star kind of guy, if you don't make that connection, then they don't care. It just seems like they don't care and talent acquisition and HR, it is upon us to make that connection. And we have not been doing it.

Brett Marz: I go to these conferences from marketing that are out there in the world and everything is about the customer and the advertising and the commercials and that's great. But if you don't keep those customers, you're done. If you don't treat them well, you're done. Look, venture capital, as you guys have seen, have had a few years of fun, spending money frivolously to gain customers.

Chad: Yes.

Brett Marz: I work with one of these on-demand companies and many years ago I said, "You're all gonna be fighting for talent in this on-demand space." And they said, "What do you mean?" I said, "Well, you're all fighting for the same person that's either gonna pick up a person in their car or pick up groceries or deliver food or you're all fighting for talent. Do you think it makes sense that we build a program to help you differentiate yourself so that these people that are contractors working for your brand, feel loved, feel appreciated, want to work with your brand more than the next?" "I don't get it. Why would that be good for us?" What do you mean you don't get it? And guess what, we all saw this. Everyone's fighting for the same pool of talent and that's okay because we have venture capital money and we can just keep giving 'em $5, $10 coupons to keep shopping or buying or spending at our brand. And that'll last forever. And it's okay. We don't need to make money ever. We just won't make money as a company.

Joel: Brett, you touched on something there, which was the gig economy. When there used to be a cartel of local jobs that all paid about the same, right? McDonald's, Applebee's, Chili's, Walmart, there wasn't a whole lot of delineation from the opportunities in a local market. Now you have a position where freedom is the number one value that most people want and they can live modestly enough. But the freedom to drive when I want, deliver food when I want, deliver groceries when I want, that seems like a really hard thing to fight against if you're not in and out. Or I would put Chick-fil-A maybe in that same breath, or Starbucks for some people. For the local, long John Silvers that wants to lure the Uber driver to their opportunity, can they do it? What advice would you give them?

Brett Marz: One of my favorite stories was I got in an Uber recently and the driver's wearing a Lyft jacket.


Brett Marz: And I said...

Joel: And a DoorDash hat.

Brett Marz: No, he had that in the trunk. He had the DoorDash shopping bags. [laughter] And I said to the guy said, I said, "Hey, I know I clicked Uber, but I see you wearing a Lyft jacket." And his response is, "Yeah, Lyft actually cares about me and I wish you would've clicked the Lyft button."

Joel: Wow.

Brett Marz: "But you clicked the Uber button and I'm on both. So I responded." I said, "Well, what do you mean they care about you?" He is like, "They just do, look, they gave me this awesome jacket, they gave me this nice swag, they care about me." And I'm thinking, my God, if Uber knew that I'm in their car with the guy wearing the Lyft jacket, promoting Lyft, would they care? I don't know, maybe they wouldn't. But that is really powerful. You don't walk into, I don't know, pick a store, Macy's, Target and them sitting there, the guy's wearing the Walmart shirt saying, "Go to Walmart. [laughter] You gotta go to Walmart. This place sucks. They suck here. You don't wanna... WE don't wanna shop here." In what world? And I think we've...

Brett Marz: Look, we went through COVID and it was like, some things were acceptable and it's okay. It's COVID, we're dealing with it. Okay, well, we're past that now. Now we have to go back to remembering what it was like to care for people. Now, during COVID, I don't know if you realize how many companies sent all these gifts to their employees. We love you. We care about you. Here's a gift, here's a workout kit.


Brett Marz: Here's a S'mores kit. The amount of gifts we sent, it was hundreds and hundreds of thousands of kits sent to people's homes. And then it just like, it was it, that's it. We don't care about you anymore.


Brett Marz: That's over. Go back to work and yeah, keep going.

Joel: And get back in the office while you're at it.

Brett Marz: What happened? Look, you obviously are watching the layoffs. There's clearly a way to do that well, and there's clearly a way that will end you in...


Brett Marz: Quite a few lawsuits if you read what's going on with some brands out there. And I think that those people, the 10,000, the 20,000 that were just laid off, either it was a good experience or it was something out of a horrible movie. And those people now become wonderful walking billboards, or they become the CMO's worst nightmare because they will go and destroy the brand every day. That's all they're gonna do day in and day out. They're gonna tell people this story. Anyone that will listen, "You wouldn't believe how they laid me off. I showed up and my key card was either red or green when I swiped it. It was like a game show but this was my life. This was my job, and I'm out. Don't shop here, don't buy here, don't use this tech company. They're the worst. They don't care about people."

Chad: And these aren't just front line either. This is all the way up and down the hierarchy. We're not just talking about the guy at In-N-Out Burger that's delivering your sandwich. We're talking about every position that is being treated like this right now, other than, maybe in the C-suite.


Joel: And by the way, Brett, with social media, their ability to extend the reach of that commentary is exponential to what it was 10, 20, 30 years ago.

Brett Marz: I'm not sure if you're following some of the stuff that's on the employees at Google on social media talking about, "And I started my day at the coffee shop, and then I went and had a snack at the snack bar where I could choose 25 different kinds of nuts. And then... "


Brett Marz: "I went in the pod and took a nap. And then I got laid off." So you can't treat people so well and give them pods to nap in and unlimited snacks and Michelin three star chefs, and then be like, "And get the hell outta here." This is their life. This is... People dedicate 10, 20, 40, 50 hours plus a week to these brands. That's a lot. It's a third of their day is spent at these companies and we're missing it. We're missing the mark so badly. You go to a hotel... I was just on with a big hotel chain. You go to a hotel today and I don't know, you'd pick a brand, whether it's the Courtyard by Marriott or it's the Waldorf by Hilton, or it's whoever, you're paying more than you've ever paid in your life for that hotel. It's just a fact. And then you're gonna go to that hotel and tell me how that experience is. They're short housekeeping. They're short staffed in the kitchen. They're short staffed, the bellman, luggage, they're short, but you're paying more. And now you're gonna leave that brand and be like, "What just happened? I just spent all this money."

Chad: Why go back?

Brett Marz: And why am I going back? I went to a hotel recently and I checked in and they said, "We're short on housekeepers." I was like, "Oh. So no one coming into the room?" "Well, there's a towel in there, and if you need more, come down to the front desk and we'll give you more." I said, "Okay, great. Is the gym still open?" "No, the the gym is not open." "Okay. But COVID is over." "Yeah. Well, the machines, some of them just aren't working anymore, so we're just on... It's not gonna work." "Okay. By the way, anywhere I can get a bite to eat?" "No, sorry, the restaurants are closed." I was like, "So room service available?" She like, looked at me and laughed.


Brett Marz: No, we have no food. There's no water. You're getting one towel and good luck.

Chad: Why are you open?


Chad: Why are you open?

Brett Marz: It's a massive hotel in New York. And I was like, "Where am I right now? Is this a do-it-yourself facility? Am I in an Airbnb? I'm confused. What's going on right now?" So we have a choice as employers, we can treat people right, do right by them, or we can just keep spending on marketing and get more people in the door and hope that that's the end all.

Joel: Brett, where are you on automization? I think a lot of employers are hoping the clock winds down on having to hire people to do jobs. We know Amazon is implementing thousands of robots every month in their warehouses. But you also lose the human touch. Could you ever imagine In-N-Out being a kiosk and one person bringing you food? So where are you on automation and all this?

Brett Marz: This is a perfect topic right now. So I went into Starbucks yesterday and grabbed a coffee. Now, we have taken the human element out of Starbucks. You mobile order. It used to be you'd walk into a Starbucks, "Brett, Brett, is Brett here?" "Hey, I'm Brett." "Hey, how are you? Here's your coffee." There's not that anymore. That's done. So I walk up to the counter because mobile ordering is shut down. And I said, "Hey, I notice the mobile ordering is shut down." "Oh yeah, we just turned it off." "Oh, any reason?" "It was just annoying us. We just turned it off."


Chad: Not paying me enough to take mobile orders, Brett.

Brett Marz: Apparently they have the ability to just turn it off, and that's the end. You get what you get. So I said, "I'd like a Venti coffee whatever." And I noticed next to the register, they had a joke of the day, a riddle of the day. I said, "That's neat. You have a riddle." They said, "We're trying something to try and interact with our customers in a better way." And I said, "That's fantastic. So you have a riddle of the day. And we tried to solve it and I didn't solve it." And I said, "But your mobile ordering is down." "Yeah, we don't want to... It's just annoying." "Okay, so you wanna do riddles, but you don't wanna do mobile ordering, which made our life very easy because you wanna make this experience more interactive for everyone."

Brett Marz: "That's right." "Okay, I just wanted to make sure I got that all right. I'm just trying to take notes for when I launch a coffee shop in the future." Later on that day, I went to Westfield, which is a large shopping mall. And I go in and you get the ticket from the automation machine. And as I'm on the way out, the line is 20 deep and it's only machines. However, every machine now has a human standing there. And so as I'm on my way out, I hand the ticket to the lady and I said, "Aren't these automated machines?" "Yeah, nobody can figure 'em out. And so we have to stand here." So instead of the booth that was one person, you now have six people standing in front of six automated machines. What happened? Where'd you go wrong? So we wanted to automate that, right?

Brett Marz: And instead of automation, they now have six people doing what one person used to be doing. And God knows how much they spent on these machines. And I can keep going through this. I was at Target last week with my kids. I pull up with a cart. I don't know if you guys have three kids. When you go through Target, you got a full cart. And that's just how it's gonna be with my three kids. As at the ages they are nine, six, and two, and I go to the checkout and there's no more person at a register, they're all closed. There's only self checkout. Now, let me tell you what that's like with the kid, the baby screaming and the other two wanting to run around as I'm trying to scan my groceries out of the thing.


Brett Marz: They're not working. They have a code. You need to enter the password. It's locked. There's a sensor. I need the sensor person to come undo it. And I'm like, "Wow, you've really created a wonderful experience for me as a customer that is just about to spend $500 on your wonderful self-checkout system." So while we are trying to use automation to make it easier, it's also not working in some cases. Now, you might argue, but it's better because they don't have to have employees. No, they're just pissing me off more as the customer.


Brett Marz: Because I'm now the employee. I now work for Target when I go to Target, because I now do my self-checkout.

Chad: Where's my W2?

Brett Marz: I'd like a discount.


Brett Marz: I'm sitting here for 30 minutes, scanning my groceries out of your place of business, and I'm paying you for that experience.

Joel: Devil's advocate here. There are some serious issues to think about. Like a million people died from COVID in this country, 77 million baby boomers are retiring or are getting to retirement age. We've more or less shut off the border, or we've said to immigrants, "We don't really want you here anyway." You can keep paying people more, but you have the gig... It's a very complex issue. So if it's not automation, certainly everyone can't treat every employee like the best employers do. Realistically, what's your solution?

Brett Marz: Okay. So they can't treat everyone the best that they can do. But you gotta improve it a little. I talk to so many chief people officers on a daily basis, and my question is simple, what are you doing for your people? What are you doing for your employees? And again, we're in the uniform business. So we outfit all these people every day when they start work. It's simple things. I'm not saying you have to spend a lot of time or money, but Joel, if I start working at your retailer, restaurant and I'm working five days a week and you give me two t-shirts, what are you saying to me? "Wear your shirt multiple times in the restaurant." It's okay. It's gonna smell, it's gonna be disgusting and dirty. Or go home and do laundry every night because we're not gonna give you five t-shirts because that would cost us another $7.

Brett Marz: These aren't... I'm not asking you to spend a fortune, maybe a handwritten note. "Hey, welcome to the brand. You just committed eight hours a day, 40 hours a week to working at our company. Thank you. Here are some things to know about our brand." I don't think this is rocket science. I'm not saying you have to revamp and spend tens of thousands of dollars. There are the extremes. I don't know if you follow this company, Chewy. They send out millions of handwritten cards. They send out flowers when your pet passes away, they do portraits of your pet. They do all these wonderful things. They're a dog food company. That's what they do. They sell dog food. How come people don't leave the brand? Because they show that they care about you as a customer. And guess what? They do the same thing for the employees.

Brett Marz: They do nice things, they treat them well. I'm not expecting that. I think that's the extreme. But I also think that they're simple things you can do as a brand to show your appreciation. I talked to someone the other day and she was hitting her 15 year anniversary. I said, "Oh, what'd they do for you?" She goes, "What'd they do for me?" I said...


Brett Marz: "Yeah, what'd they do? It's your 15 years." She goes, "Nothing." I said, "Oh, they gotta do something." She's like, "No, zero." I'm like, "God damn, that's a miss."

Chad: How do we get marketing to understand that this is actually part of the experience? Because what they're doing is they're looking back at HR saying, "No, it's just those guys." Or it's the rest of the business. It has nothing to do with us when in fact it does because it impacts the experience. It impacts revenue, it impacts being able to even open more wallet share up for more of these. So, what do we have to do to shake marketing enough to get them to fucking listen?

Brett Marz: Marketing needs to start going to the HR conferences and or the HR conferences need to be part of marketing or HR and marketing need to start coming to say, look, every time you talk to someone in HR we're the stepchild, we were really exciting during COVID because people were like, "Holy shit, where's HR? We need HR. This is a disaster. Our people, our people, our people." What happened? Where'd that go? Why don't we... Why aren't we still caring about the people? So you have Chief Human resource Officer, Chief People Officer. We'd like to introduce you to the Chief Marketing Officer. Y'all work for the same company. How often do you talk? Not enough. Not enough. Marketing has all the money. They have all the money. They're gonna just keep running commercials and spending on ads and doing wonderful things. Give some of that money to HR.

Brett Marz: This is mind blowing to me that HR is back to being the no, no, no. That's HR. We can't... We don't have money for that. We gotta put it into marketing. No, HR is marketing. Marketing is HR. Your people are marketing for the brand. You just don't realize it. They are... We had a company the other day call us and say, "We really gotta step up our swag game." And I said, "Oh...


Brett Marz: What's that mean?"

Joel: Yes, you did.

Brett Marz: "Oh my God, our competitors are sending out these really nice welcome kits to their new employees. And we don't really do that." And I'm like, "Oh, okay. So what does that look like to you?" "I don't know. We just gotta have better swag so that when they post about it on LinkedIn and social media, people will see that we too care about our people." "Okay, well we'll give 'em a Frisbee and we'll call it a day." "Okay. That's it. That's the solve?"

Joel: Marketing sees their brand on LinkedIn and they see we need to advertise more via our employees. They don't think we need to make our employees feel better and they're part of the brand. They're hoping to get more brand awareness through social media. I think they look at it...

Chad: When they can do both.

Joel: Probably differently.

Brett Marz: Yes, they can do both. They can do both.

Joel: I agree.

Brett Marz: It's one and the same. If I sent you out today despite poor Southwest Airlines, they've had a rough go for the last couple months. They're the only company that sends me a birthday card every year. They remember my birthday like clockwork. It's so nice of them. I spend the least amount with that company. But Joel, if I sent you a gift today from your current employer, which would be awkward 'cause you're kind of the employer, but if I sent you this wonderful gift that said, "Happy birthday, Joel, I hope you're having an incredible day. You're friends at Tan Cheese." What would you do? You'd be like, "Wow. It was really nice." They remembered my birthday. And by the way, I could send something simple.

Brett Marz: I could send you a postcard, but now you're gonna go be... You're gonna go tell your friends and family all day. You wouldn't believe my company sent my wife a gift for her birthday. And it was yesterday. It was Valentine's Day. So you don't screw that one up. Just no, don't screw up your wife's birthday that is on Valentine's Day. So my company sends her a gift and it's signed by the president. Now, do you really think our president's sitting there picking the gift for my wife? No. She ran into my office. "You wouldn't believe it. Your president just sent me a birthday gift." Guess what? Five of her friends texted me, your president actually sent your wife a birthday gift? I was like, "What is she talking? How do her friends know that my president sent her a birthday gift when he didn't even send it."

Chad: But in her mind, president did. And that's all that mattered.

Brett Marz: That is all that mattered.

Joel: Take a tip from Chad and Cheese, free liquor and t-shirts are some of the best marketing you'll ever buy.


Chad: Brett, if our listeners wanna find out more and maybe even connect with you, where would you send them?

Brett Marz: I am B-R-E-T-T at We couldn't when we started 23 years ago. So it's And I am passionate about this topic. I need more marketers to understand that they need to connect with the HR side of things within their company.

Joel: Chad, we're done. I'm gonna go buy a pocket fisherman at Ronco.


Joel: We out.

Chad: We out.

Outro: Wow. Look at you. You made it through an entire episode of the Chad and Cheese podcast. Or maybe you cheated and fast forwarded to the end. Either way, there's no doubt you wish you had that time back. Valuable time you could have used to buy a nutritious meal at Taco Bell. Enjoy a pour of your favorite whiskey. Or just watch big booty Latinas and bug fights on TikTok. No, you hung out with these two chuckle heads instead. Now, go take a shower and wash off all the guilt but save some soap because you'll be back like an awful train wreck. You can't look away. And like Chad's favorite Western, you can't quit them either. We out.


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