CMO Insights: George Bailey, Co-Founder & Host of Choose The Nickel

November 6, 2018

This week’s guest on CMO Insights is George Bailey, CMO at Vanguard International Advisory Group and co-founder and host of Choose The Nickel.

In this video, George talks about:

  • The purpose and design of the Choose The Nickel podcast
  • Strategies for monetizing a startup and establishing value
  • The challenges of running a startup business and handling priorities

Learn more about George from his LinkedIn profile and follow George and Choose the Nickel on Twitter.

For more great CMO interviews like this one, please check out our other CMO Insights Videos or our YouTube channel.

Full Transcript

Jeff Pedowitz:

Hi, welcome to Revenue Marketing Television, the CMO Insights Series. I am your host, Jeff Pedowitz, President and CEO of The Pedowitz Group. Today we have as our guest George Bailey, who is Co-Founder and Host of Choose the Nickel. George, welcome to the show.

George Bailey:

Thank you so much, Jeff. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Great to have you. We were talking for a little bit before we started tell our listeners and our viewers that choose the nickel. What is it?

George Bailey:

So Choose the Nickel is really a startup that I envisioned about two years ago, two and a half years ago, maybe with my wife, we have had this great passion about what it takes to teach children about how money and business work and the way that we thought about doing this is, you know, we don’t know a thing. I mean, we’re young parents, we have four kids and we’re novices at this and I’m not going to pretend that we’ve just done this amazing job.

And our kids are all gonna grow up to be CEOs and billionaires and you know, whatnot. So why not ask people who really know, and who are those people? Those people are people who’ve already succeeded. They’ve already accomplished something great. Or they are specialists in this specific field of financial literacy. So we’ll, you know, we’ll talk with a CEO of a company or a CFO. One of the people that we interviewed was the former CFO of Greco Rubbermaid and of Rawlings and his current CFO of the Hager companies, Brian Josephson. And we ask him his childhood story like Brian, what kind of a child were you? Tell us a little bit about how you learned about money. And then we derived from that some lessons about, you know, ways that we can interact with our, our own kids. And that’s really what Choose the Nickel is.

It’s a podcast. I do interviews. We release those on a weekly basis. And then at our website, dub, dub dot, choosethenickel.com. We provide resources and other ideas and blog posts about ways that we can better raise our children to be more confident and frugal thrifty adults. That’s great. My grandfather was an accountant and he would never let me use a calculator when he was teaching me math and I was doing my problems at his house. So this is all about the skills, right? RNA. I don’t even think kids how to balance the checkbook anymore. I, today based high school, I did not. I mean, that was one of the few skills. I think that I graduated from high school and I kind of understood how to balance a checkbook, but that was a very explicitly a lesson that I had with my parents earlier on. I would say that that’s probably, you know, advanced financial learning as a kid. It shouldn’t be a, we should be a lot more on top of it, but I think you’re right. So tell us a little bit more about your marketing.

Jeff Pedowitz:

How are you monetizing this and how are you reaching people?

George Bailey:

So, as I mentioned near the beginning, this is a startup and we are really kind of, kind of discovering what it means to monetize this. You know, people will ask me, you know, so is George, is this a nonprofit? And I tell them, no, no, no, this is a for profit and we’re are establishing it as such. I feel like there’s value to what we’re giving. And so I think that the first step is, you know, as we get out there now, this is not, you know, we’re not making a ton of money right now. We are three months in, but I think the first thing is to establish who are we really providing value for now?

Naturally the temptation is to say, well, you’re providing value for the listeners because the listeners are getting, alerting all these great things about kids and you know, and how they learn about money and the listeners we’re going to make them better parents and whatnot. But I, as a business, that’s not exactly where we’re creating potential value. I think the value is maybe making the listeners accessible for advertisers in our case. And so we’ve been very transparent from the start that we are. As soon as our listenership hits a certain point, we’re going to monetize this by allowing advertising. And so that’s where our money really is. And so our market really is the advertisers and to a certain extent, the people that are being interviewed because they get a lot of positive exposure from the stories we’re telling.

Jeff Pedowitz:

And is your intention then to provide the service free to, to the audience? So to, to the kids?

George Bailey:

Yes, absolutely. We would love for people to be able to watch us much, like they would watch a television show. We would love for people to be able to subscribe to our podcast for free. I intend for that to be the model going forward. And for as long as this thing goes that being said, I do want to make sure that I leave the door open for other opportunities. I think that, you know, if you, if you lock yourself in early, you know, I, I don’t want to make promises that I don’t intend to keep, but if I were ever to charge listeners, it would be kind of like, here’s what we have for free. And here’s what we have for people who are like our gold members or whatever that’s going to be, you know? And I don’t know exactly what that’s going to look like down the line, but I’m starting to think, is there a way that I can provide something extra for those listeners who are really into this and really want, you know, a an added layer of value that, right.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Yeah. I mean, it seems like it, it could lend itself to us some type of subscription model, you know, like a Netflix, but with specific content where you could add different options. You know, I interview hundreds of marketing executives every year and big and small companies. Everybody talks about limited resources and not enough hours. And they know that where I was going with this is so you are wither way too. So it’s you and your wife you have less resources than anybody. So as daunting as a task as that is, and then the how, because you also have a day job, you were telling me, how do you how do you prioritize your tasks? I mean, what are you doing to actually get this thing off the ground? Because for me now, for a lot of people, it’s very intimidating, starting a business. So, so what do you, what are some of the things you’re going to be doing to get traction?

George Bailey:

Well, great question. First of all, second, I would say that it requires a lot of honest conversation and my wife and I, we communicate a lot and she is my partner in everything that I do, even though she’s not an insurance agent, which is my day job. You know, she, she talks with me about those things and I tell her, these are my intentions. These are, this is the way I intend to use my time, because the way in which I use my time has a bearing on our life balance. It has a bearing on the way that we interact with our kids. The kids need to understand that, you know, listen, there are going to be times and both mom and dad are, are not as available as we would like. And that’s part of the sacrifice. I mean, you know, we’re all about being there for our kids as often as possible, but, you know, so the first thing I would say, Jeff, is that we have to recognize that if we’re going to start this new gig, we have to do the math.

How many hours are we willing to devote to this thing every day? And so we broke that down and we have a certain amount of hours that we will definitely commit to building up this new startup. And we do it. We’re steady where we’re actually very disciplined, which is not something I could normally say about other areas of my life. I’m eating too much Ben and Jerry’s, and I’m a total, you know, sugar maniac, but in terms of the time sacrifice, Oh, we’ve got that down. There was a second part to your question though, and I want to make sure that I go all the way through that. Can you repeat that please?

Jeff Pedowitz:

So I’m just curious, what are, what are you prioritizing on to get scale? So to get, to get really, to get lift off.

George Bailey:

So it goes back to that question of the value that we are providing, and if our audience is advertisers, then what is it that they’re really looking for? They’re looking for viewership. And so our first priority then is to provide viewership. Now we’ve had two really strong turnout. We’re, we’re getting hundreds of listeners to our podcast. When you look at, you know, how many people, how many views our podcasts get on Facebook and, you know, we’re on Twitter and on LinkedIn and on iTunes and SoundCloud and YouTube now, which was a new development. You know, that’s really our first priority. So all of our weight, we’re constantly talking with each other, how are we going to increase viewership? One recent idea that we had that was really exciting. I, this one, a lot, I had this idea last week and I thought, Oh my gosh, this is going to be so much fun was to include potential audience members and the actual advertising for this program. 

How do we do that? Let me give you a little bit more context. So the people that I’m trying to get on the show are CEOs and business owners, people who are associated with brands that we all know, you know, for example, Brian Josephson has been the CFO of Rawlings. That’s a company that hopefully most people know or Greco Rubbermaid Betsy Cohen, whom I’ve interviewed before is she’s a former VA VP of Nestle Purina. You know, so again, these are these, these recognizable names and they’ve got these great stories, but here’s the thing, Jeff, all these other people, the people who follow us have great stories too. So how are we going to get them out there? Well, I thought, well, why not Facebook live? So if I’m with someone and I go to a lot of meetings and I’m talking to them and they tell me a story, that’s just hilarious about their childhood and how they learned about money in business, or alternatively, if they’re sharing a story about how they’re teaching their kids about money in business, then I say to them, hold on, hold on just one second.

Would you be willing to do a three minute Facebook live interview and everybody so far, I know I’m going to get rejected one day. You know, I’m running 100% right now, and that feels really good, but one day somebody is going to reject me, but you know, everybody so far has said, yeah, I’ll share that story. So I get out my CA my phone and I’ll introduce this person. I’ll say, you know, this is my friend. So and so, and she does such and such, and she just told me this great story. Now she tells me this story. And then at the end, I say, thank you. And you know what a great story. And if you want to hear more stories like this, now you can go to our podcast that has more extensive interviews, you know, 30, 40 minute interviews on this track.

And that way everybody really gets to be a star of this show, which is really fun. I love, you know, I don’t think that you have to have a lot of money to have a really great story to get out there. And so they get to be a part of the advertising. They want to help build this up because I think that they see what I’m trying to do, and they’re excited about it, and they want to help that next generation. And that then all of a sudden, once they’ve had the interview, I invite them to share the interview with their friends on Facebook. And that draws more people into this and gets them excited about what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to teach kids financial.

Jeff Pedowitz:

No, I love that. What what a great idea to get kind of additional crowdsourcing and momentum. I think in a lot of ways, like services like Khan Academy for example, have really taken off just because people told their friends there’s just, there’s so many services like that that are aimed at children.

George Bailey:

And it’s frustrating to think that word of mouth really is that important because no one wants to have to go that route. Like, you know, you want to have this machine where you put in a quarter and you get a thousand listeners and then you put it in another quarter and then you get another thousand listeners. Now this is the grind of getting people invested in what you’re doing and getting them excited about it. And it is it’s brutal.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Yeah. I mean, look, if you think about it until we even had modern mechanisms that a newspaper or broadcast mediums or the internet, whether people do, they told stories ancient mythology, the Bible guy, just, you know, and then all the great world’s religions, you know, Christianity and it’s missionary, right? It’s getting out and talking to people and spreading the word of with passion, right. Of why you believe in what you believe in.

And then that’s how you develop a natural connection. And then, you know, even today, the best marketing tells a story. You know, it may, it makes an emotional connection because look at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how great your product is. If you can emotionally connect with your audience and get them to see the value of using it, then it is you’re going to have very limited returns. So and of course, everyone cares about their kids. So

George Bailey:

I want to meet the team and who does not, I mean, you know, you have horrible stories out there and whatnot, but, but this is definitely, there are elements of this that sell itself, but don’t make no mistake. Jeff, you know, you, you still, I am far more invested in the success of this than anybody out there who’s listening, you know, to, to my podcast. And that’s something that I think as marketers we have to face is that, you know, this is our job. This is what we do. And we will always be challenged by the fact that we’re so invested in this ad. Other people, you have to really get them. You have to convince, you have to persuade.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Yeah. And well, look, I, I love what you’re doing. A lot of it, you’re doing it with your wife this business together what’s group. I started there with my wife 11 years ago. And we had young children at the time. Our neighbors thought we were nuts cause we had just moved into our house. And this was of course, 2007 and you know, the market was crashing and they thought we were going to be out on our ass. And I remember the phone didn’t ring at all for the first two weeks. And you’re wondering, what the heck are we doing? But you stick with it. Yeah. You stick with it. It’s you know, it’s great when you can have a partner both in life and in business. So that’s good for you man, do it, doing this with your wife. Fantastic story. Please keep in touch with us and, and let us know how you’re making out. I know for one, our kids can definitely use some financial advice. So if you want to stop by or

George Bailey:

Next time I’m in Atlanta, Hey, I can’t say that. I, I need to get down there. So you know, I’ll let you know for sure.

Jeff Pedowitz:

All right. Well, George, thank you again for being on the program. So I really appreciate it.

George Bailey:

Jeff, It was my pleasure.

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