The Founder of The Idea Integration Co. Saul Colt recently had an interview with us. It was very informative as he shared many things regarding his company and his life as a businessman. He explained how The Idea Integration Co. has served for 14 years as a non-traditional marketing and advertising agency specializing in marketing stunts, branding projects, and marketing and advertising campaigns that get a lot of attention and grow revenue with a medium or small budget. He didn’t forget to mention their creative team which is led by Bill Morrison. It was interesting to hear from him how Idea Integration takes a client to the next level.
As the conversation continued, Saul talked about his podcast. He started to have long-form conversations with people he admires and try to understand what makes them great through his podcast. He has already recorded 55 shows and hopes to relaunch it soon. Apart from the podcasts, he enjoys speaking at conferences. According to Saul, he believes it is an honor and a gift to be able to share what he knows with others in his field.
Saul explained how difficult was it for businesses to market themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic and how has the world of marketing changed since the start of the pandemic in 2020. It was amazing to hear how he was able to continue his business with digital transformation according to the needs of the companies and clients they worked with during the pandemic.
When we asked about the importance of adding humor and creativity to a brand’s marketing campaign, he agreed and spoke about how people globally prefer brands to be funny. Later in the conversation, he shared his personal preferences and how he spends a normal day of his life. He loves his friends, 7-11 Slurpee’s, and to get the love of a good woman. It was clear throughout the interview that Saul is a well-organized person and it is one of the many reasons behind his success. He believes that brand and product decision makers would think more about what their target audience wants over what they want.
Saul, start off by telling us about Idea Integration and the services it provides?
The Idea Integration Co. is a 14 year old non-traditional marketing and advertising agency specializing in marketing stunts, branding projects and marketing and advertising campaigns that get a lot of attention and grow revenue with a medium or small budgets.
The company has a creative team with members that previously worked for Mad Magazine and the Simpsons. How does having a diverse team such as this help Idea Integration deliver top-notch content?
Our creative team is led by Bill Morrison. Bill worked at The Simpsons for two decades and was the last E-I-C at Mad. He has assembled a team of the best and most talented writers, illustrators, and creative generalists. Our team is one of our biggest differentiators and it is all rounded out with our executive team made up of myself and former Sr. people from Facebook, WSJ and Advertising holding companies. Our creative team gives us an entertainment focus and our executive team makes sure the ideas will grow revenue for our clients. Our 29-person team has 40 years of experience holding a mirror up to society through parody and satire. Great marketing and advertising are about finding the humanity and nuance of an idea, finding that thing that people will connect to. Mad Magazine and The Simpsons have done that for decades and I feel very fortunate to get to work with such amazing and talented people.
How can Idea Integration take a client to the next level?
In our 14 years of business, we have generated hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients and how we accomplished this is by treating every project as a custom engagement. We don’t sell “packages” or repeat ideas very often. Our process it to come up with something completely custom to solve our clients’ needs. How we do this is start with a discovery call or meeting, find out what their goals are, learn about their customers and brand and brand personality and from there our team builds a solution. We were the first agency to use clouds to promote a cloud-based software company, we have created web based tv shows for brands and some cutting-edge advertising. This is only possible form knowing what the client wants and what their customer expects and will let you get away with.
You have been called “the Smartest Man in the World”. Saul, what is it like to receive this label as a content creator? How do you keep your feet on the ground?
My designation of “Smartest Man in the World” gets me some attention and I love attention, but it doesn’t really change me in anyway. It doesn’t get in my head because I am too focused on making amazing things for our clients and making sure my team is happy and looked after. I am a team first leader and my own recognition is nice and earned but I am nothing without the great people I work with.
Saul, can you tell us about your podcast, We Now Join the Program Already in Progress?
I get inspired by people and conversations. My podcast originally started to have long form conversations with people I admire and try to understand what makes them great. Originally it started with me interviewing friends but grew into an opportunity to speak to people I have been a fan of or even idolized in the world of business, entertainment or art and design. I recorded 55 shows and took a break but am relaunching it in the fall and am looking forward to it.
What inspired you to create a podcast and what is the benefit to an entrepreneur to produce a podcast on a regular basis?
The main reason an entrepreneur should consider a podcast is to build relationships with people you may not get a chance to speak to otherwise. Yes, there are promotional benefits and awareness but all successful entrepreneurs know the value of relationships.
You wear a variety of hats as an entrepreneur. You often give presentations and speeches to groups. What are some of the topics you cover in your presentations?
Speaking at conferences is one of my favorite activities of all time. It is an honor and a gift to be able to share what I know with others in my own way. I like to take complicated ideas and make them actionable and easy to digest through humor. The topics I speak on are Creative Marketing, Human Advertising, Finding Your First 1000 Clients, and Business Courage.
Idea Integration is different than other content creation companies in a variety of ways. One of those ways is that it sells merchandise. Tell us about the company’s online store and the products people can buy.
I started my online store part as a joke and part to learn the backend of e-commerce stores. I never really promote it and don’t sell a lot of shirts, maybe 7-10 a month and it loses money, but it is funny to me, and nothing makes me happier than to see someone wearing one of my shirts at a conference I am speaking at.
Saul, how important is it to add humor and creativity to a brand’s marketing campaign?
In a 2022 report conducted by Oracle it was found that ninety-one percent of people globally prefer brands to be funny. It also showed that 95% of business leaders fear using humor in consumer interactions because of their own fears of subjectiveness and unsure what is funny. Humor is key to connecting with people and the quickest way to doing this successfully to work with a team like mine who are “professionally funny” and have been for 40 years. The final nuggets from the report that were interesting to me is that 90% of people are more likely to remember ads that are funny and 72% of people would choose a humorous brand over the competition and the most surprising insight in the report to me was that 45% of people globally have not felt true happiness for more than two years. Wouldn’t you want to be the brand that makes people happy?
How difficult was it for businesses to market themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic? How has the world of marketing changed since the start of the pandemic in 2020?
It wasn’t more or less difficult and this is why everything we do is custom to a specific situation. The key thing was and still is to be sensitive to what your audience was/is experiencing. Knowing your target audience is the key to any campaign. One thing that became very commonplace through the pandemic was “digital transformation”. Basically, that means every company who ever captured an email address at any time felt the need to start to use them. I was getting email from companies I hadn’t had any contact within a decade, and it didn’t feel honest or well thought out. Brands need to form real relationships with their customers. Think of them as fans and not dollars. Human brands always win in the long run.
Saul, how is a day in your life?
Every day is a little different but I start at 8am and organize my day. First meeting starts at 8:30 and I will work through to lunch with whatever is in front of me. Internal meetings, reviewing client work and client touch points. After lunch is about creative work and developing new client pitches. I like to take a 45 min nap at 6pm or a hot bath and will eat dinner and usually do a few more hours of work if needed at night to make sure nothing is late or blocked.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I have worked in 6 different countries; my work has been featured in 5 NYT best-selling business books and but the most impressive thing about me is that I have seen every episode (many times) of the ’66 Adam West Batman show and Knight Rider.
What makes you smile?
My friends, 7-11 Slurpee’s and love of a good woman.
What scares you?
Very little scares me but I have a large team and I worry that they are always being looked after the way I want them to be. A happy team makes all the difference in the culture of your business and the quality of the work.
If you had the power to change just one thing in the world, what would it be?
The obvious answer is no more wars and eliminate poverty, but a more self-serving answer would be that I wish brand and product decision makers would think more about what their target audience wants over what they want, if they are not part of the target audience. Our agency are experts at pushing the envelope without crossing the line of bad taste. There is a CYA attitude growing within some boardrooms that prevent their brands from taking chances, using humor or working with agencies like ours. What I am saying is that if I could change one thing, I would want more people working with us.
Anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
I am handsome and women love me.
To know more about Saul Colt and The Idea Integration Co., please visit https://www.theideaintegration.com