An Agency Story

Illustrate - Rogue Marketing

January 15, 2023 Chip Rosales Episode 13
An Agency Story
Illustrate - Rogue Marketing
Show Notes Transcript

Today’s guest on the show is Chip Rosales with Rogue Marketing, a full service marketing company based out of Dallas, TX.

Go rogue.  It’s not just the URL for their website, the name embodies how Chip has approached his role as an agency owner.  I think it’s quite possible it would be the first agency brand someone would get a tattoo for.  Time will tell. 

Hear how the great recession of 2008 caused Chip to go from a place of self doubt to one of a confident agency owner. 

By the end, you may be thinking about going rogue yourself. 

Enjoy the story.  

Rogue Marketing

[00:00:00] Welcome to An Agency Story Podcast, where we share real stories of marketing agency owners from around the world. From the excitement of starting up, the first big sale. Passion, doubt, fear, freedom, and the emotional rollercoaster of growth. Hear it all on An Agency story Podcast. An Agency Story Podcast is hosted by Russel Dubree, successful agency owner with an eight figure exit turned business coach. Enjoy the next agency story.

[00:00:38] Russel: Hello, welcome to another episode of an agency story podcast. I'm your host Russell today's guest on the show is chippers Alice with rogue marketing, a full service marketing company based out of Dallas, Texas. Go rogue. 

[00:00:52] It's not just a URL for their website. The name embodies how chip has approached his role as an agency owner? I think it's quite [00:01:00] possible. It would be the first agency brand. Someone might actually get a tattoo for time, will tell. Here, how the great recession of 2008 caused chip to go from a place of self-doubt to one of a confident agency owner. 

[00:01:13] By the end. You may be thinking about going rogue yourself.

[00:01:16] Enjoy the story. 

[00:01:17] 

[00:01:19] Russel: Welcome everyone to An Agency Story Podcast. I have Chip Rosales here with Rogue Marketing. Thank you so much for being on the show, Chip. 

[00:01:27] Chip: Hey, it's my pleasure. I'm so glad to be here myself. Thank you. 

[00:01:30] Russel: Glad to have you. 

[00:01:31] Kick us off like everyone else. What is Rogue Marketing? Tell us what the company does and what it looks like today.

[00:01:37] Chip: We are a team of eight. We would consider ourselves business builders that just happened to carry a marketing toolbox. We like to work with businesses who have this big outcome that they're trying to achieve, but they may not know exactly how they're going to get there. That's the cool part about what we get to do. Say you want to go somewhere, you've gotta go somewhere big.

[00:01:54] You're trying to move into a new geography. You want to scale, you want to introduce a new product. There's something big you want to do. You're definitely on the [00:02:00] grow, but how you do it, you're a little bit more open on, or maybe you're like, I don't know how I'm gonna get there.

[00:02:05] We as a group, our main objective is to try to simplify and speed up marketing execution. I think that's one of the things that marketing agencies get a bad rap for. It takes too long. Everybody wants strategy until you ask them to wait for it or you ask them to pay for it.

[00:02:20] At the end of the day, I think what we're trying to do is take smart strategies, turn 'em into achieved outcomes. When we set out to build Rogue, we wanted to build the kind of place that we always wanted to work.

[00:02:31] We've thought a lot about what kind of autonomy would we provide? What kind of people do we want? We're looking for lifelong learners. Sometimes you just hire people to go stay in their lane and do their thing. For us we really want people who have a point of view because we think if you have one, then you are going to be committed to the project.

[00:02:47] That's what we're ultimately looking for. We want people who are looking deeper. That idea of having a lane, that's not a very Rogue idea. What we find is the people who like to work at Rogue and the people who like to work with Rogue, [00:03:00] appreciate the idea that we are always thinking about the clients we have.

[00:03:03] You're seeing something, you're connecting a dot. Quite honestly, in our world, you don't fire your accountant, you don't fire your CPA, you don't fire your operations officer just cuz they got something wrong.

[00:03:14] It's so easy for the world to say we don't need any of that marketing stuff, and we can just discard them. We wake up every single morning with just one hope. We want marketing to be considered valuable and we want marketing to be valued inside of a business. 

[00:03:28] Russel: You're the first agency name where I can picture someone getting a tattoo of Rogue Marketing or just Rogue, and that means something, right? You're gonna be the first agency tattoo like Harley Davidson out there. I can feel it. Plot twist, it didn't sound like it was always the plan to start an agency. Tell us how your career started out and what were the early days of your plans at the time.

[00:03:48] Chip: It was absolutely never the idea for me to start my own agency. I was a corporate guy. Actually, I had started off in the journalism realm. I was going to be the next Peter Jennings of the world [00:04:00] back in 1996, 1995. I wanted to be on the evening news.

[00:04:04] I wanted to be in everybody's homes. I wanted to be on television. That was what I wanted to do. I did really well through school. Went to the Walter Cronkite School at the University of Texas. I got some cool opportunities and internships. I was pretty sure that I was gonna land in top 10 market.

[00:04:18] But I also realized when I was getting out of school, how much money I wasn't going to make as a journalist on the evening news. Now, if I had been Peter Jennings, I would've made plenty of money, but I wasn't gonna get to start as Peter Jennings. I was like, how am I gonna actually feed myself on what you're willing to pay? Back in those days, the internet, was just starting. You couldn't go and look up how much people made, and that wasn't something that people talked a lot about.

[00:04:42] It was a big shock for me when I realized what I was not going to make. About that time there were some consulting companies on campus who were like, we are looking for people who know how to communicate, who can speak well, who are articulate.

[00:04:55] We would love to have them join our consulting companies. I gave them a look. The [00:05:00] price was right. They were gonna pay good money, so I thought this is something I should do. That's a little bit how I got into the marketing realm at all.

[00:05:07] I was never intending to be there. As I made my way through, I got a lot of opportunities. I got to rise pretty quickly in the consulting company. I wasn't overly excited by the work I was doing, not the consulting itself, but the actual communications and the creative product I had to do, had to stay very much in a lane.

[00:05:23] I couldn't deviate very much. I had all sorts of creative ideas and things I wanted to do. While they liked me and I liked them, I didn't like the work. I left for another opportunity at a Fortune 100 company that doesn't exist anymore, but was a really big deal back in the day.

[00:05:38] I actually wasn't offered the job there either. I was too young. They wanted to have somebody who had more skill and reputation. I was like, I think I'm pretty good at this. I'd be really great. They said, would it be okay if we kept your resume on file. That sounded like, thanks, but no thanks.

[00:05:54] Within 24 hours they called me back. They did hire the person that had beat me out for the original job, but they [00:06:00] said, we've got this new thing called hosting that we're bringing on. They're like, we could use somebody who's more youthful and we think you'd be a great opportunity. 

[00:06:08] I spent eight years at this company and I worked my way from entry level all the way up to a director. I was managing multi-billion dollars worth of business. From a marketing perspective, I was doing alliance marketing. I had a lot of really cool opportunities. I had a lot of really great mentors who put their wings around me and protected me and let me do a whole bunch of stuff.

[00:06:27] I was able to share a point of view and I was able to try some things that were very different. I left there, I went to go be a Chief Marketing Officer at another company.

[00:06:35] Everything is going great. I thought at those times that I was gonna be a corporate guy. The idea that Rogue would've been its own agency or that I would've started an agency, that was never something that I thought I would be doing. 

[00:06:46] Russel: Rogue wasn't even a twinkle in your eye. Sounds like everything's going great. Then 2008 happens. We all know about the big market crash and how that negatively impacted so many folks, and it sounds like it ended up doing the same to you. Not [00:07:00] only did you lose your job, you questioned, were you in the right career field? What was that like at the time? What was the plan once that all happened to you? . 

[00:07:07] Chip: I was sitting on cloud nine. I'm 27, maybe 28 at the time, the world is my oyster and everything is going really great and I feel like I should be able to do anything. 2008 comes along. I'd never been through anything like that before. We were riding some pretty good highs and I thought, well, I will just land a job somewhere else. This is gonna be no big deal. I'm gonna be just fine and somebody's gonna pick me up. Nobody did. That's when I did start questioning.

[00:07:33] I wasn't getting calls, or I was getting calls and they were like you're overqualified. You wouldn't stay. They were telling me all the reasons why I didn't want the job. I thought to myself, why does nobody want me?

[00:07:42] It led me down that cycle of maybe I'm actually not really that good at this thing that I think I'm pretty good at.

[00:07:47] Maybe I didn't know something and if I was better the world would want me and I would land somewhere. I sent myself under this spiral of I really am no good and I need to find something else to do. I was like, do I need [00:08:00] to go to Home Depot?

[00:08:00] What do I need to do to bring money into the house? I'd already tried the whole marketing thing. I'd gone down the corporate realm. That wasn't gonna happen. Now what do I do?

[00:08:09] Russel: Now, what? Out of a job, doubt. I can certainly understand that, but spark of light, something happens, kind of sets the tone for what eventually does become Rogue Marketing. What was that spark? 

[00:08:20] Chip: I was coaching soccer for my kids, I coached all my kids in soccer. I was coaching my daughter at the time.

[00:08:26] She's probably on six or seven year old soccer. I was with some other dads and there was another assistant coach dad who said, I do this thing, it's mailbox money for me. I've been working with a variety of different companies and I'm working with this one company and you know what?

[00:08:41] I just can't take this person to the next level. He says, but I think you could help him. I said, no, I think you're absolutely wrong. That was my old life. I'm not very good at this marketing thing. I don't think he'd find any value in that.

[00:08:52] He is like, no, I think he would. Ultimately where it landed was he said, I'm picking you up tomorrow. Be dressed cuz I'm picking you up at eight o'clock. We're gonna go [00:09:00] meet this guy. We did. I met with this particular guy and six hours later I left the restaurant where we were meeting and we had completely rebranded him.

[00:09:10] We had completely rethought through his entire business strategy and how he'd set himself up. We were finding new ways to promote him. Coming up with campaigns, we went all in, the ideas were flowing. It was easy. He was over the moon impressed.

[00:09:23] That's the birth of Rogue. I realized at that point in time that I didn't have to go through a corporation in order to do what I did. I'd really never considered it. I never thought about being a solopreneur, let alone being something that would build into an organization or a company.

[00:09:38] I thought I had to go somewhere to make it happen. I guess the one thing I always tell people when I tell this story is, say yes more often. Take those opportunities and say yes. 

[00:09:47] When I did, some pretty incredible things happened. 

[00:09:50] Russel: I love that philosophy. As fires and sparks go, sometimes they take time to turn into a true fire. After you initially got going and starting what essentially was Rogue, [00:10:00] you decided to jump back into the corporate world.

[00:10:01] Tell us why you made that decision, and looking back, do you feel like that was a good decision or do you wish you'd maybe taken the leap back then? 

[00:10:07] Chip: It turns out that owning a business is pretty hard.

[00:10:10] It is not easy. When I first went in, I loved all of the strategy, the thinking, the producing of things, the making of the stuff. I loved it. You have to do taxes, you have to make sure that you've got enough money coming in, you've got to do all of the overhead things, and there's so many other little ankle biters that get you. You also have to find your own work. You have to find a lot and these are not necessarily muscles that you're born with. You have to figure these things out. While I was doing it, there were moments where it was super hard and I thought, my goodness, just because I can do it maybe I shouldn't be doing it and maybe I need to go back into the corporate realm.

[00:10:47] The corporate opportunity finally did come up probably two or three years later. They were like, not only do we want you to come, we want you to be the chief marketing officer here. I became a partner in that particular consulting company. I loved to consult.

[00:10:58] It felt [00:11:00] very good. It allowed me to not have to deal with some of the stuff that was really hard. Let me think about those big areas. That's why I ultimately left. Was it a good decision? It was a great decision from the perspective of, I got the opportunity to get back into consulting and use the muscle there and be somebody that was looked to as, you are the consultant. Whereas in previous lives, I might have been leading the organization or I might have been a part of the team, but I was never the guy you were going to say, consult me through this.

[00:11:30] I really got those opportunities. I built up that portion of my business acumen to make that part of my story. I think in the end that was a really good choice.

[00:11:37] I did ultimately decide to go back, and the reason I did was because I was sitting at the partner table. I'm one of nine people in the room who's making all the decisions. They didn't always see that marketing was that valuable. 

[00:11:48] If you're sitting at the top of the stack, you are at a partner table and you're not being able to move the company or help the company believe what you believe and you're not having that kind of [00:12:00] influence, it can be very defeating. So this is not the place that I need to be investing all my energy and time.

[00:12:05] That was the time I had the opportunity to look back and go, wait, there was this network, there were these people, there was this thing. I didn't have to do it this way. Maybe there's another way to pursue this business. It doesn't have to be all on my shoulders, but at the same time maybe that is more the realm of what I'd like to do.

[00:12:23] That's how I found myself going back to Rogue. 

[00:12:25] Russel: Was there a moment where you were fed up and jumped ship? It wasn't like you were jumping into a good runway or this slowly progressing side hustle. It was literally from corporate job to I'm going back to Rogue and this agency. Did that feel risky? 

[00:12:41] Chip: I've got the reputation of Rogue that, one of the things that was said about me, and one of the reasons they liked me at the partner table was because they called me the 12th angry man.

[00:12:49] I had the ability to come in and say, but why? Let's think about it. I could sway an entire table to another point of view. That's why I got invited to the table.

[00:12:58] Fantastic. [00:13:00] Wonderful, great skillset, and I love that part of my reputation. But when all of a sudden they don't care about what you're actually saying and where it goes, it became very clear that that was a cool thing, at the beginning, but now it's annoying that you're always seeing things in a different way. I don't think that was a bad thing for the company. It was probably the right thing for them to do. I was pretty high up executive there, so there was opportunity for me to walk away and still build runway.

[00:13:23] I didn't necessarily have people lined up outside my door ready to work with me, but I did have time. I did have the ability to say I can do something else. Let me go build something. Even as I was still being taken care of by my former company.

[00:13:37] Russel: One of my favorite quotes from Shawshank Redemption, "all it takes is pressure and time." You're back in the saddle and doing Rogue full-time. You actually decided to partner with another company. Tell us how that partnership evolved and likewise, I'm really curious about any tips you have for someone that's thinking about doing something similar in terms of how you went about that process.

[00:13:56] Chip: My business partner's name is James Loomstein. He had a company called [00:14:00] Digital Space, back in the day. He had his own business. We worked together at this consulting company.

[00:14:04] I hired him to come into the consulting company and we had done a lot of things together. When I left the company and I went back to my own business, he left not too long after probably, three to six months later. I realized that there were opportunities I was being given that I didn't necessarily have the skillset set for, but that he did.

[00:14:23] There became these partnership opportunities. We ended up realizing we were better together. We would bring each other in on different assignments, and we would be able to make a more valuable opportunity for the client that we were speaking with.

[00:14:36] After a while, I think we did this for three or four years, we were literally swapping checks back and forth between each other. I had a lot more of the branding side and what a company should look like, et cetera, so I was helping him with his logos, his looks, how he talked about himself and what his messaging was, while I'm also building mine. We're rowing in the same direction, so our stuff is starting to align, but we're building two separate [00:15:00] things and it became silly.

[00:15:01] After a while we're like, wait, the IRS is the only one winning. I moved backwards and we were like, we should join this thing up. In 2016 we did that. To your question about what do you look for?

[00:15:10] How do you find somebody? I think this is a great strategy for us to grow. I think you need to find someone who believes what you do. If you don't, that's gonna be a hard company to be in.

[00:15:17] If we both did the exact same thing, that would be a really bad thing. Whether it's somebody who's a visionary and someone's an implementer, if it's somebody who's I can do all the strategy and I'm really good with the people. Whatever those things are, you gotta have somebody who really is yin to the yang.

[00:15:31] James and I, we divide our decision making along lines of short and long term. That's one of the ways that we do it. We both have strong points of views, we can both hold our own, and we definitely are believing that marketing should be valued.

[00:15:42] There's a lot of shared belief. We believe that the best ideas generally win and we like to prioritize action. We allow ourselves a little bit of breathing time. We don't necessarily try to force someone into our perspective, but we do try to win them over.

[00:15:56] We do have some rules in place. If it comes down to it [00:16:00] and we can't decide, Chip's got 51% on this one, and James, you've got 51% on that decision. There are some times when we can actually play a trump card, but honestly, we've chosen to always say, if we can't convince one another, maybe we just need to give it a little more time. We found that dual founders, iron sharpens iron. We try to motivate each other and neither one of those sides really allows something to sit too long.

[00:16:22] They're always driving towards action. The reason I think that's been an interesting insight for us is that, when you're a lone CEO or entrepreneur, you're generally trying to get a lot of feedback from a lot of different people. 

[00:16:33] If you've got three or more, now you've got a committee and everybody's got an opinion, you're designing things by committee. That's pretty hard. The two founders has really been a sweet spot for us, just in the motivations, the drive, the ability to achieve that outcome.

[00:16:47] For me in particular, joining up with James, joining our two agencies together was really a catalyst, a spark, if you will, to take us to that next level. Those are the things I would say I'd be looking for if I were to do it again. 

[00:16:59] Russel: What's your big goal with the [00:17:00] business? What do you want Rogue to look like in your wildest dreams? What's the big vision here? 

[00:17:04] Chip: I think at some point people are not gonna wanna listen to me anymore about my marketing ideas.

[00:17:09] I think marketing is gonna continue to move on. There's gonna be these new channels. There's discords, telegrams, TikTok's whatever else somebody's cooking up in their basement right now that we haven't even seen yet. Are you gonna want some middle-aged person advising you on that?

[00:17:23] Maybe not. That being the case, I do think that Rogue has an opportunity to do what it's really good at. We're business builders who just happen to carry the marketing toolbox. We talk about marketing and what you need to do there, but we're really talking about the management and the business consulting side.

[00:17:37] My idea is we turn Rogue into an accelerator of sorts, where there's a marketing arm, there's a business consulting area, and then there's also the investment side. Somebody could theoretically come in, we could find promise and excitement for them, and then give them our business consulting, give them the marketing, and then take a stake of that business and grow them that way.

[00:17:57] I'm thinking something like Rogue [00:18:00] Accelerator, Rogue Acceleration, something along those lines is the big dream. 

[00:18:04] Russel: You mentioned it earlier, and I guess if anyone's actually gonna get a tattoo of Rogue, they need to know what's behind the name. Share how you came up with the name Rogue and what does it mean? 

[00:18:12] Chip: I mentioned I got recruited from the first consulting company to another Fortune 100 company. In the process of doing that, I asked why a lot. Why are we doing these things?

[00:18:22] What is the reasoning on this? There was always these questions that were lingering in the back and I deliberately did things differently. Back in those days, the 2000s, there was a lot about features and functions. They weren't thinking about benefits.

[00:18:34] They weren't thinking about a business to business, was not thinking about things from a consumer perspective. But I would see things and go, why aren't we marketing this? Coca-Cola does such and such, I don't understand. Why aren't we tapping into some of this emotion? Why aren't we doing this?

[00:18:47] This was the constant conversation that people were having if they were talking to me. I got a lot of opportunities to move up in the company. I had a lot of people protecting me, mentoring me and letting me do my thing even though it wasn't the way the [00:19:00] business necessarily always did stuff.

[00:19:02] When it came time for the annual reviews, the appraisals of your job, well done or not well done? I always did really well. We always achieved a bunch of outcomes, we made millions of dollars and there were really good things. Then to kinda get the pat on the back for a good job on that side.

[00:19:19] But as far as an area for you to grow, Chip, you know what? The team doesn't really like you, you don't do the stuff that everybody else does. You're always doing it different. You just don't seem to want to play by the rules. You're just this rogue guy. I'd leave there and I'd done well and maybe even got my raise, all those kinds of things. Year after year, I'd come back and it'd be like, you don't seem to wanna follow what everybody else is doing.

[00:19:43] You're not doing stuff. I thought to myself this is crazy. We're doing so well, we're doing all these things. Why is my way the wrong way? But it was always "you're rogue." It was a negative, it was a terrible, bad thing. You didn't want to be rogue.

[00:19:53] When I left and I was starting a company, I was trying to figure out what was I gonna name it, I was trying to think, what do [00:20:00] I do that's different? Why am I special? I realized that the thing that had been so negative at that company was the very thing that had made me stand out was the thing that made me special.

[00:20:10] In doing that, I was like, it has to be Rogue. We named it Rogue Marketing. I knew that it was the right name when I was working at another big company, they were working with me I'd sent my thing, chip@gorogue.net, and they said, is there any way you could change your email?

[00:20:25] The people here don't want to answer your emails because it says "Go Rogue". And people think it's a malicious bot or whatever. People don't wanna answer that. I was like, no, I'm not gonna go to Rosales Consulting because that's boring.

[00:20:38] At least I got noticed. That was the whole idea. Let's stand out, let's be something. That's how that story happened. It was something that was negative that I hopefully turned into a positive. 12 years later, I'm pretty proud of that name.

[00:20:50] Russel: I love it. Question for you. Are entrepreneurs born or are they made?

[00:20:54] Chip: They're both, I think. I do think that there's a spirit you need to have in you, you might be born with it and not even [00:21:00] exercise it and realize it's there. On the flip side though, this is hard work.

[00:21:03] The world has glorified entrepreneurs. It seems to be like, it's super fun. It's really easy. They write brochures and books about being an entrepreneur and how amazing and awesome it is, and it is. And, there's a lot of work, there's a lot of trying to make things happen on your own, et cetera, et cetera.

[00:21:21] If we're heading into recessions and places are gonna be letting people off and, maybe there's a slight repeat of 2008 that's coming our way I think you're gonna see a lot of people trying to pick up that entrepreneurial banner and are gonna do some of that stuff.

[00:21:34] I think the piece of information is, it is hard work. This is not the easiest thing in the world that you can do, but on the flip side, there are things you can learn. There are coaches that you can get aligned with. There are places you can go. You can become a way better entrepreneur.

[00:21:48] I do think you have to have a little spark. I'm loving that word today. You gotta have a little spark of point of view, sticktuitiveness, stick it to other people. That entrepreneurial [00:22:00] bug has to somewhat be in there. I do think it's both. I think some people are successful just by having an amazingly great idea.

[00:22:06] They can do that, but more of it has to be made than probably born with. 

[00:22:10] Russel: Maybe need a little rogue in you. I love that. Appreciate that your insight to that. 

[00:22:14] If people wanna know more about Chip and Rogue Marketing, tell 'em where they can go.

[00:22:18] Chip: They should head to gorogue.net, g o r o g u e.net. Everything's there at the website.

[00:22:24] I would point you towards two places on the website, we've got a section called Rogue Think that really gives you a sense of the vibe. What do we think? What is our point of view? What do we talk about? You'll find some pretty interesting blogs and articles and things that we've done there.

[00:22:38] Out on our website we've got a section, it's under Testimonials, but you can find Client Speaks and you can find Two Minutes with Rogue and they're simple videos that give you some audio of behind the scenes.

[00:22:49] As far as social is, I would say go to LinkedIn, follow Rogue Marketing Agency. That's where you're gonna get all the freshest, latest thinking. We'll put everything there first. 

[00:22:58] Russel: You heard it there, folks.

[00:22:59] Thank you [00:23:00] so much for being on the show today, Chip. So many great takeaways. Love the story and can't say thank you enough for being on the show.. 

[00:23:07] Chip: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. It's always fun to get to tell the story. 

[00:23:10] We hope you've enjoyed this episode of An Agency Story podcast, where we share real stories of marketing agency owners from around the world. Are you interested in being a guest on the show? Send an email to podcast@performancefaction.com. An Agency Story is brought to you by Performance Faction.

[00:23:33] Performance Faction offers services to help agency owners grow their business to 5 million dollars and more in revenue. To learn more, visit performancefaction.com.

[00:23:47] 

[00:23:48] Chip: In our offices, the walls are writable, all the walls are writable. It's like a beautiful mind in there.

[00:23:53] All the time, people are writing on stuff. One of the walls we have is a place where we put funny things that people said. It's the [00:24:00] funny joke of the day or something like that. When I think about our culture and our vibe, I can think of that, but then one of the things, if I told on myself, one of them that's always up there, it says, make me feel something.

[00:24:09] Apparently, when I'm looking at stuff, I'll be like, I don't feel anything. I don't feel something. Make me feel something. It's been a joke amongst the people, don't bring something to Chip unless you can make him feel something. These are funny and I'll just tell 'em myself.

[00:24:22] Other people have got some other pretty funny things up on the wall, but the make me feel something is I actually think it's pretty awesome. I think it's pretty cool that would be something that people would associate with me.

[00:24:32] Russel: I do love that. I feel like you, you might get to where you need an HR disclaimer in the right or wrong circles, however you wanna phrase that. It's funny the little quirks and quips that you get as the owner people label with and you don't realize it.