BRANDEN GEORGE, 29
Marketing Engagement Manager
Real Sourcing Network (RSN), New York
Real Sourcing Network (RSN) is the little start up that could. In just a couple short years, the company has earned status as a thought leader in marketing services procurement, with a database of 14,000 contacts. RSN’s aggressive marketing efforts are also getting the attention of billion-dollar companies that have large budgets and teams. Much of its success is thanks to Branden George. Described as an “entrepreneur at heart,” he has had a career that almost veered to a different path because he was drawn to aerospace engineering. But, like plenty of new graduates trying to find their way, George quickly found himself back home in Dallas, broke and disenchanted. A family friend introduced him to the owner of a print distributorship, and during his six months there, he met fellow millennial and future mentor Sarah Scudder. After parting ways with the distributor, he “puttered around for a few years looking for some passion in his life.” Luckily, George’s respite was Scudder’s gain, as she was looking for someone special to help her launch her next big project. As George tells it, “What drew me in was the opportunity to build a company with an innovative solution [Sourceit, a print e-sourcing tool] from the ground up.” His initial role concentrated on lead generation and sales; however, when RSN’s goals shifted, so did George’s direction. His responsibilities now include a healthy mix of marketing, data and technology. On a given day, he might be creating an email campaign recruiting attendees for an upcoming network event, analyzing statistics to improve the content of RSN’s marketing newsletter, debugging a plugin on the company website or trying to figure out why the domain’s SPF record isn’t validating. Of all his accomplishments, George’s nominator appreciates his ability to make things happen and work on a “crazy-small start up budget.” “Most importantly,” his nominator said, “George is a super cool person who genuinely cares about making the world a better place.”
Why he loves his job: Our team is small, so we’re often forced to think on our feet and figure out a solution to a problem. It’s very similar to my experiences in engineering school. No one is there to hold your hand and show you exactly how to do something. You have to be a creative problem solver. Working remote is also a big plus. Avoiding a commute frees up so much time in your day to learn a new skill or have a personal life. I can stretch a single tank of gas for a month and a half!
Age roadblocks and advantages: The biggest challenge with youth, in my experience, is patience (or lack thereof). Developing skills and driving results take time. It’s important to fall in love with the process. The advantage of being a young professional is the lack of bias or affinity toward a set way of doing things. Everything is relatively new to me, so I’m not hesitant to do something different to achieve results.
His biggest career influence: Our president, Sarah Scudder, has had a lasting impact not just on my career development, but on my personal growth as well. Together with Sandy Kane, our CEO, she’s put together an incredible team that feels more like a family than it does a registered corporation. If I’m ever struggling with something in life, they’re the first people I’d reach out to for guidance and support. That’s rare in the business world.
His most meaningful business accomplishment: Last year, our marketing efforts began to generate some buzz in the procurement world. Sarah and Sandy Kane, RSN’s CEO, would often receive personal notes on LinkedIn praising our content and the work we’re doing to educate buyers on marketing services procurement. We routinely saw larger, established companies copying our work. Oh, and I co-founded a successful bar consulting and event staffing company. Our claim to fame? We developed the bar program at the largest restaurant by alcohol sales volume in our county. We’ve also done several hundred weddings, including one for an NFL cheerleader and a YouTube influencer.
His differentiating factor: We provide a niche marketing services e-procurement tool that’s built specifically for print, promotional products and other marketing services. We don’t think print is going anywhere, but the way companies purchase print is changing. We plan to be a part of that change.
What he hopes to accomplish in the next year: I’m hoping to spend more time with procurement professionals to better understand how solutions providers, such as RSN, can make their lives easier. I’m young and still have a lot to learn about our potential customers and their needs. Personally, I’d like to spend more time working on my future self. The start up world moves so fast it’s easy to get caught up and forget about taking care of yourself. This year I’d like to read more books, get back in the gym and make a pit stop in Colorado to do some skiing.
Why he believes the future is bright: U.S. 2018 print spend increased 1.7 percent to $81.7 billion, believe it or not. Direct mail response rates are also on the rise, having increased from 5 percent to 9 percent for house lists between 2015 and 2018. New digital marketing technologies, when combined with print, achieve higher campaign response rates than digital or print alone. Print isn’t going anywhere. It’s just changing like every industry.
How the industry can better recruit young talent: Frame recruiting conversations around the innovation and creativity possible in print and promotional products. There are a lot of forward-thinking companies mixing print and promo into creative multichannel campaigns.
What he likes to do for fun: I love cooking. When I was in college, I built a sous-vide cooking device. My roommate and I would throw parties and make a dozen steaks at a time using my homebuilt contraption. Needless to say, we were well-liked. I’m also passionate about technology and automation. In my home office, I can control the lights, outlets, TV and all of my gadgets with my voice. Is it a nerdy hobby? Sure, but it’s also tax-deductible.
Additional thoughts: Can you mail me several copies when this interview hits the press? You know how parents and grandparents are.