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November 4, 2020 - By Hawke Media

Episode 2: “Making the Marketer” w/ Hawke Media CEO Erik Huberman & Jeffrey Nicholson, VaynerMedia

“Making the Marketer” is a discussion series where Hawke Media Founder and CEO Erik Huberman interviews other marketing executives making waves in the marketing world. Erik and guests delve into how they got their start, how they grew their businesses, and what advice they have for entrepreneurs just starting out. For our second episode of the series, Erik is interviewing VaynerMedia Chief Media Officer, Jeffrey Nicholson. 

What is VaynerMedia? They’re a full service digital agency that strives to keep their clients at the forefront of “attention and culture” lead by larger-than-life CEO, Gary Vaynerchuck. Vayner focuses on using empathy to tell stories that connect to audiences. They have produced major campaigns for some industry giants—including Pepsi Co, Hulu, Toyota, and Shell. 

Who is Jeffrey Nicholson? A veteran of the digital advertising space, Jeffrey actually started his career in finance before finding his way to running ads on Google and never looking back from there.


He’s hyper-focused on data and analytics while maintaining an appreciation for creative, which together create opportunities to tell compelling stories with measurable returns. His current responsibilities include talent acquisition & retention and revenue generation.

One night on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, NY Jeffrey met Gary Vaynerchuck, immediately forming a bond and from that point on he knew he couldn’t see himself working with anyone else.

Here are 4 Key Takeaways from This Episode of “Making the Marketer”

On What Makes a Good Marketer… 

Jeffrey: “The two things I always try to look for in talent—and I think try to carry myself in the same regard—is, one, work ethic or hunger. I really find that whether you’re poor or you have a chip on your shoulder, or whatever, that motivational tactic is a big facet of success; especially in marketing because there’s a lot of problem-solving in a day-to-day.

And then the other one is just raw talent…having a specific skillset that will be translatable to your workload.” 

On What Marketing Means to VaynerMedia… 

Jeffrey: “I think when you look at us, I think we’re the epitome of marketing because Gary [Vaynerchuck] lives his truths. You know, he publicly documents his entire day and really talks about the successes and the things he’s trying to do, including his failures.

And then [he] really just tries to be a positive motivation in the world and I think that’s very respectable. It’s very difficult. It gets underestimated how difficult it is to document every day and so, from a marketing perspective, we win on the fact that Gary does live that and he’s his own brand. I think that’s really exciting to have that level of pride from your CEO where he’s willing to take that risk on.” 

On What He Wishes He Had as a New Marketer… 

Jeffrey: “I would have loved to have been more curated around why I picked up certain skills at certain times. And I felt almost like I could have been further ahead if I was more curated. I felt a lot of my work was opportunistic as opposed to planned.” 

On What the Next Big Thing in Marketing Will Be Next Year, and in the Next Five Years… 

Jeffrey: “I think a couple trends you’ll see are, in the next ten years, I think you’ll see a shift in the c-suite talent and power dynamic at all sizes of companies. So, if you classically think about the skillset around a chief marketing officer or media officer, even the need for one, is a pretty robust difference. I think it was much more brand-led in the 70s and 80s and now you’re more pushing towards technology and understanding DMP and targeting segmentation and the different platform nuances that you have to play in today’s marketplace. So, I think you’ll see a really big change in dynamic and c-suite talent.” 

Did you enjoy these tidbits of marketing knowledge and the full episode too? Stay tuned for more of “Making the Marketer” soon! If you fill out the free consultation form below, we’ll have plenty more marketing tips to share with you.

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