Kim Jensen-Pitts On How She Grew McDonald’s, Cracker Barrel, and Taco Mac

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Are you looking to get into a high level marketing role at a big brand? If so, you are going to want to hear from Kim who has done it all for huge restaurant brands. She has been a VP of Marketing for Ted's Montana Grill and owned her own marketing consultancy. Have a listen and ignite your growth!

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[00:00:01] Announcer: Welcome to the Ignite Podcast, where we help marketers and CEOs learn the latest tips and tricks to help ignite growth in their business. This isn’t your typical marketing podcast, we push beyond platitudes to deliver you real-world stories from the trenches. Are you ready to learn? Are you ready to grow? Are you ready to have fun? Well then, buckle up because you are about to enter the Ignite Podcast.

[00:00:32] Alex Membrillo: Hi to all of my marketers and CEOs out there. I’m Alex Membrillo and I’m super popped for an interview we have today. We have a killer marketer, and CEO, entrepreneur, Kim Jensen-Pitts on the line with us today here in the studio, and she has a heck of a story to tell all of you guys. I’m not going to speak too much for her, but she’s super humble so I’m going to give a little bit the background. She’s been a marketing director for Cracker Barrel, worked for MacDonald’s, headed up Atlanta Bread Company’s marketing, Ted’s Montana Grill, and now is working with one of my favorite restaurant brands, Taco Mac.

Today without further ado, let’s welcome Kim to the show. Kim, give us a little background. How did you get in this illustrious career and pitching all yourself in marketing restaurants? Tell us how this all came about? How did we start and how did you get where you are?

[00:01:24] Kim Jensen-Pitts: Well, actually I’m one of the very few people who probably have work and continue to work in my chosen degree of study. I went to school for mass communications and public relations, and I always dreamed of probably being more or so in the advertising side. Interestingly enough, when I was growing up and I had my first job, it happened to be in food service and then in retail and then in food service again. I was studying marketing and also working part-time at the illustrious restaurant called McDonald’s.

It just happened where I then was working at a men’s wear chain in the mall and they were looking for someone in the corporate office, actually in the training department and I randomly applied. Originally was from Chicago and moved to St. Louis to take this job in training and development, and then segued into marketing and then it took off. The good news is, is I parlayed a part time- fun job in my degree and then ended up being in that field, so worked out for me.

[00:02:50] Alex: Pa-pa-pa-pa-pa, I’m loving it. Sorry, I had to throw the McDonald’s jingle.


[00:02:55] Kim: Well, think just to show you that, I worked at McDonald’s and one of my advice to people as far as being an entrepreneur and growing your career is, I had heard through the grapevine that they were looking for someone to do locals for marketing, and stuff like going to local schools and managing the birthday club and doing locals for marketing, and just say, “Hey, I’m studying this in school and maybe I can do this as an intern.” The franchisee had five restaurants at the time. I just talk myself into this part-time marketing coordinator kind of job. It was perfect because I was sitting then school and I was working there part-time and that kind of just happened.

[00:03:42] Alex: I don’t want that to get lost in the shelf of the point you just made there. You found an angle of where you had a unique skill set. You found an opportunity and that they were looking for local store marketing and you put yourself out there, you took a big risk in reaching out to that franchisee of those five locations and you created a value proposition for that franchisee, “Hey, I know about this stuff. You’re looking for this to take yourself forward. I think I’d be a great fit.”

I think that’s a heck of a story. I mean, you brush right through it. To all my marketers looking to get started out there, guys, it’s all about finding an opportunity and providing value to the person you’re trying get hired by. Kim, that’s awesome. That shows a ton of tenacity which I’m sure parlayed into becoming a successful entrepreneur which will get to in a minute. I love Cracker Barrel. I want to hear about Cracker Barrel. Every time we go into that damn store, I end up buying my kid a $5 [unintelligible 00:04:33] which he throws away in three months and we have one of the better meals that we ever have on our road trip. Was that one of the things Cracker Barrel was trying to get away from or they embraced being on every inner state, being a road trip type of restaurants experience?

[00:04:46] Kim: It’s definitely something that’s part of their branch strategy. Even when they’re looking at new markets. When I was in marketing one of the things that we looked at when we would do site evaluations is whether or not there was DOT highway signage for the restaurant signs when you’re driving by available if we put a Cracker Barrel there. That’s how important being on the inner state and having DOT presence was. It was absolutely part of what they do, and then that actually another great story of me saying, “Yes.” Even applying for something I might not be qualified for.

I actually got the job at Cracker Barrel originally as a retail marketing manager. I’ve been working at retail for a men’s wear Company with 1,000 men’s wear units in St. Louis and beyond the country. They were looking for someone who has retail expertise at Cracker Barrels. The [unintelligible 00:05:47] that you mentioned actually translated to a million dollars per location in sales. Each Cracker Barrel is an average [unintelligible 00:05:56] of about 4 million, a million of that is retail. It’s a much bigger portion than people probably imagined.

I was working in the retail side and making really good progress in some of the work I was doing with them. Any time there was an opportunity on the restaurant side to learn something new or try to insert myself into the process- for example, we were shooting TV, and the brand manager on the restaurant side was responsible for all the national marketing, billboards, TV and radio at the time, and I said, “Look, I have never been in TV shoot before. I have been on retail shoots and a lot of food photoshoots and retail photoshoots, but I really like to learn much, you care if I go? Can I just attend the shoot?” Like,” Sure.”

I ended up giving my two cents, and I think adding some value to the shoot. Then just ask for more and more opportunities, and they finally just said, “We think that you would be well suited to be the brand director of our both restaurant and retail.” That’s really where I made my left turn exclusively into the restaurant side. The rest kind of just took off from there. I think it’s a good example of me knowing what the heck I’m doing, but saying, “Hey, I really want to learn. I’d love to go. I’d love to have this opportunity. Can I do this?” Having a mentor who would allow me to learn new things and just grow from there.

[00:07:24] Alex: It’s a part of the mentality of just saying “Yes” and then figuring it out afterwards, something just about every entrepreneur. I think it also has a great trait for marketers out there, guys, just figure it out, say yes and figure it out. I think people get stuck in fear and their fear becomes pessimism, and then they start to not believe they can do things. Guys, nobody knew how to do anything until they got started. I love that.

So, you worked at the men’s retail chain, use that experience to run a retail Cracker Barrel, which is a quarter of their business. Wow. I did not know that. That is so interesting. That’s is a bigger piece of the pie than I thought. Then become the head of both retail restaurant. Okay. Then we went from Cracker Barrel and then we went to Atlanta Bread Company, which is been serving out great, great sandwiches here in town for some time. Talk about that experience and Ted Montana Grill. What was some really cool takeaways, really cool campaigns that we ran at either one of those restaurant groups?

[00:08:21]Kim: Well, the Atlanta Bread Company opportunity was exciting for me because fast-casual at the time, when I joined in 2002 was just booming. They were that fast food niche and then a casual dining niche. The newly created category of fast-casual was a big thing because people wanted to have high quality food in a high quality environment, but get it quick and maybe not so expensive and maybe not have to leave a tip to their servers.

I started with Atlanta Bread when they had about 50 locations in 2002 and then I left in 2005, they had about 175 locations in 25 states. That was really my first job in running the show. I came in as a brand director, within a year they promoted me to vice president of marketing. It was really a great opportunity because it was building a team, building field marketing team, growing the brand, setting all the standards and working with the franchisee. It was really an opportunity where I loved it. It was like the Wild West so to speak, and as far as restaurants goes and how we developed the systems. I was young, hungry.

I really had certain goals of, “Hey, I want to be this job at this age and make this much money.” I was very corporate minded, eventually wanted be vice president of a larger chain. Then I had an opportunity to go to Rare Hospitality, which was always on my top five list. Rare at the time was LongHorn Steakhouse, Capital Grill, Bugaboo Creak Steakhouse. They recruited me and I went to work for them. My whole goal was bigger job, publicly traded, larger company that was also grill-y and kind of running the show in a bigger stage.

I went and did that. Had great success where it was growing. In fact, it’s been so successful that there was an eye on acquisition on them and Darden Restaurant Groups, the group that owns Red Lobster and Olive Garden and Bahamas Breeze decided they wanted to expand their portfolio and get into the stake business. They basically bought the company. During that, it was a great experience again, the whole buying and selling of a company and really positioning yourself to be acquired.

Unfortunately when that happened, I lost my job because they did a consolidation, they had a whole restaurant support center in Orlando, they decided to move anybody who they would be keeping down to Orlando and that was just not unfortunately something that had happened for me. Forced into entrepreneurship quite honestly when 2008 the economy was quite frankly was terrible. I was like, “Gosh. Now I find myself out of a job.”

Again, I’ve never really thought of myself as an entrepreneur, I was very corporate minded, I said, “Well, what I’m going to do in the meantime? Maybe I’ll do some consulting work. I’ll just do it for the time being, see what happens.” I just found this niche. People really needed strategic marketing assistance and a small to midsize change scale where they couldn’t really afford a CMO or a VPO marketing full time but they still needed some help to grow.

I found this niche in emerging restaurant brands in that size. I fell into that and that’s what I’ve been doing now for the past 10 years. I found my niche in working with these smaller restaurant brand, it’s been an awesome experience really to work with some great brands and still have that flexibility and working with several clients and staying relevant. It’s been awesome.

[00:12:44] Alex: I love it.

[00:12:45] Kim: It’s so much to it but I’ll take it.

[00:12:46] Alex: I appreciate the transparency there, that’s a great lesson we go from marketing Texas chili cheese fries, which by the way LongHorn’s one of my favorite restaurant. I actually- for my birthday my family said, “Where do you want to go for dinner?” We went to LongHorn so that I could get Texas chili cheese fries. I am a huge LongHorn fan. I think that was very cool. We went there, they got acquired, we got to see the whole acquisition process and believe me, setting up a business to be acquired is a really neat experience. I imagine it from your side, it was really cool to see how– you just start cutting everything from the bottom trying to get the even the numbers up.

Anyways, you got that position, you did such a great job that you got yourself worked out of the job like giving is required. Okay. We go from marketer, then we’re forced into being an entrepreneur. My story is the same. I got laid off in 2008, my father’s company went under and there were no jobs, I started Cardinal. Looks like we have very similar path there. We start KJP Marketing Services and we start helping startup brands and startup smaller restaurant types but you’re not only are helping smaller restaurants and brand strategy to digital but you’re also helping a few local one- really great local restaurant brand called Taco Mac.

Tell us about your experience working with them. What does a typical engagement look like? I want our restaurant marketers out there to get a feel for what’s relevant in digital advertising and what works?

[00:14:21] Kim: Most of my clients are usually on some retain basis. I generally work almost like a fractional CMO or I work with three or four clients at a time, usually based on let’s say two days a week. My local clients, I’ve worked with Marlow’s Tavern, with J. Christopher’s, with Willy’s Mexicana Grill, which is a cult following here in Atlanta. Then Taco Mac was ironically– because I had a connection with the current CEO who was from a prior company, him and I had connected about a project that never had come to fruition in Ohio, he called me and said, “Hey I’m considering this position Taco Mac, I’m really not familiar.” I’m like,, “Oh my God. They’re like a local icon, you have to explore the position.”

He’s like, “I’m finding any help or whatever at any point. I’ll give you a range.” He ended up taking the CEO position and the marketing director left to take another position back in August, he called me and said, “Hey, I really could use your help now.” It’s an example of making sure you’re networking and keeping in touch because you never know when something might actually come to fruition.

He randomly called me and said, “Hey, now is the time for you to do it.” Luckily I was like, “Of course.” I love Taco Mac and really think there’s a ton of potential for the brand. I’ve been consulting with them since August/September and part of that was putting together the 2018 plan and budget and really looking at their existing resources and making some strategic decisions about how to reallocate or continue doing what they’re doing.

Part of that was just looking at the media stand and trying to think of ways that we could continue to be relevant in that space and continue to get the word out about the brand. Obviously the Taco Mac brand over the years, which– Can you believe that it’s 29 years this year, that they have been around.

[00:16:44] Alex: It makes me feel– because we were going there in the early 2000s the one I call Milne. By the way, guys, Kim said she took the job a Cracker Barrel when she was young. She’s still very young, don’t let her fool you. She’s just been in the industry for a few years. Taco Mac around for 29 years and we looked at the media, what do we find, what are your thoughts?

[00:17:09] Kim: Well, they have put a lot of money into sports sponsorships. They really establish themselves as this local wing beer sports place. As part of that was seeing themselves in close alignment with sports activities. At the time, it made sense to align themselves with the Falcons and the Braves and the Hocks. They spent, I would say 90% of their budget on these sponsorships from the various activations. The challenge was that if not a lot of active marketing in a way, you put your sign up on the building, you’re associated but then what is the call to action to get people to come directly into the restaurant? Let’s face it, we’re about butts on seats.

Over time, we started dissolving some of the partnerships which is in a lot of cases were very long term. We said, “Okay. How can we take that money and take it to the next level with actively pursuing ways to drive more traffic in the restaurants using whatever forms of media made sense?” We did the research and looked at what was available and how trends are changing and where consumers are going and getting their information.

We decided to look for a partner and building the social and digital strategy, that’s how we met Cardinal. Just like a lot of things in my career, one of my big advantages doing what I do is I’m exposed to a lot of really great potential partners. Whether it’s creative partners, public relations, media, I’m inundated with all different kinds of ideas, I make sure that I stay relevant by going to restaurant trade shows and just general marketing trade shows. The advantage that I bring to my clients is that I’m constantly looking in trying different things maybe in different brands.

In one brand I may be launching an app and in other brand I might be exploring new digital and social strategies. I’m really able to bring to the table people that I trust and would recommend when I’m doing and I had come across Cardinal actually working on another client. It wasn’t the right fit but I always had kept my eye on them and wanted to work with them and Alex.

When the opportunity came up at Taco Mac, I gave him a call and we looked at the overall plan and strategy for 2018. They came to the table, one of the solid recommendation and we made the decision to go forward. I love that. If this is successful and works out, which I have every reason to believe that it will be, it’s just it’s another opportunity for you work on other clients together. That’s my bread and butter, is I have the experience and I’m also able to bring to the table good partners for people.

[00:20:20] Alex: I love that. I want to touch more on your ability to stay relevant and stay ahead of the times. It’s not just through great thought leaders and partners, you have actively look for more information and learnings and one of the new trends in restaurant marketing. You proactively got Taco Mac out of a lot of these antiquated partnerships, sports activations and instead of move things to a more active advertising as you mentioned.

Do you see that as a general trend in restaurant marketing as people are going to start moving away from these types of partnerships? It goes beyond just restaurants, we have a number of other clients that have these sports affiliations and we’re seeing some of the same things. Are you seeing that? Do you think it’s going to move more to individual direct advertising?

[00:21:09] Kim: Yes, I do. It’s interesting because the restaurant industry, in general, has seemed to be behind when it comes to technology. I know that’s a sweeping statement but a lot of it is because restaurants are gated by, let’s say outdated systems. Even from a POS perspective which is essentially how the restaurant uses as a cash register or system or system of taking inventory and controlling food costs and things like that.

They’ve all built and built from very antiquated systems and none of them talk to each other. Even transitioning from what we call it Legacy POS system and transitioning to let’s say a POS system with cloud-based, it all relates. It’s everything from your internal systems to the external ways that you look to drive sales to consumer preferences on product development, menu enhancements and things like that. They’ve been a little behind and changing with the times. Which is why you see a lot of what they call legacy brands like Chili’s, Applebee’s, TGIFriday’s really struggling to stay relevant in today’s atmosphere. It’s very difficult to turn the ship around when you’ve really stayed the course for too long and haven’t made those updates. It’s a big part of what I do.

One of the fun things that I get to do also is related to menu product development, what are the new consumer preferences and research trends and letting your customers say, “Hey, this is where we want you to take us.” versus us saying, “Hey, this is where we’re going.” and not being relevant to what the customer wants.

[00:23:08] Alex: Absolutely. Can you clue us– I love that. So you get to work on menu developments based on what the customers are saying they want. Can you let us in? Is there anything Taco Mac is coming down– Does Taco Mac have anything coming down the pipeline we should be aware of? I only need the wings. All I need is wings and fries, blue cheese and some ketchup. But maybe someone else out there would love to know some menu developments Taco Mac is rolling out.

[00:23:33] Kim: Well, the challenge is it is a balance between staying true to who you are. Beer wings sports like you said, you better not be taking the wings but there are things that we can do to enhance maybe other items on the menu and even the wings. One of the big things we did in Taco Mac is make a change to Springer Mountain Farm’s chicken which is very high quality, very much a chef preferred chicken brand.

It is a Georgia-native, Southeast chicken products. No hormones, just a very clean antibiotic-free product and it is amazing. Even during that whole rule out of the Springer Mountain Farm chicken is happening right now, we’re going to be talking about it in a much bigger way in about a month in all restaurants because the test went extremely well. We’re actually looking at the way that the street food phenomenon and food trucks even has influence restaurants and we’re saying, “Okay. We have fajitas, we have quezadillas, we have burritos in the past and it is called Taco Mac. How can we capitalize on that street food trend and maybe do some enhancements on even simple things like tacos?” I mean I find it ironic that even a place called Taco Mac doesn’t have a taco salad.

Really just looking at– salad is important especially to our female guests. Our salad category probably needed some work. There are some obvious holes in salad offerings. Even going back and looking at we’re testing a taco salad, we’re going to be testing a steak salad, we’re testing some of these new Mexican street food type offerings. It’s exciting because it fits within the core brand strategy of who and what we are but yet it takes us maybe in a more modern direction which I’m super excited about.

[00:25:42] Alex: That’s very cool. I think the salads are not just for females, I eat a salad every day for once, too. That’s going to be a big hit. I think Mellow Mushroom did a really great with that here in town. They have the pizza thing but I go there for lunch all time because they have healthy salads. I can’t wait to see what Taco Mac does there. Can we be expecting a kimchi taco?

[00:26:02] Kim: No. You know what’s hilarious is we are experimenting a perfect example where that might be a little out of the wheelhouse. It’s not as much out of the wheelhouse when it comes to a wing sauce or a wing rub, a dry rub. We’re actually looking at some other flavors where we can capitalize on that whole Asian inspired strategy and Koreans hot without taking us too far from where we are. So you won’t see a kimchi salad on the menu but you might see sort of an Asian or Korean or other flavors, spice flavors maybe on the wings. That’s the example that’s riding that balance.

[00:26:46] Alex: That’s a tough skill to go in there and stay true to the brand but innovate within it. I would have a tough time with that. That’s one of the big skills you bring.

[00:26:54] Kim: I have found over the years that the best strategy in doing that is really being the– I think marketing is the voice of the guest. Anytime I’m in a leadership meeting or anytime I’m speaking about new innovations or strategies or where we want to take the marketing plan, I always remember to have that is my hat at the table. When I’m sitting at the table, my job is to represent the guest perspective.

That has served me well in my career because a lot of times they may be looking at the bottom line or they may be looking at something from a support center perspective or maybe just from a cost-cutting or operations or whatever. My job is to make sure the guest perspective is not forgotten in anything we do.

[00:27:50] Alex: I think that’s huge and I think that goes beyond restaurants that goes to be anybody making sure that exactly where your clients are looking for and staying true to their needs is the most important part of being a marketer, its got to be.

[00:28:02] Kim: I think also my early background in training and development has also helped me with understanding. I could have the best marketing idea on the planet but if it can’t be executed at the store or restaurant level or if the staff is not behind it, it’s just as much of an importance to have internal branding and buy-in over what you’re trying to do as it is an external– that’s probably more important so that they can become your brand ambassador.

It’s like doing the marketing from within. It’s an inward versus outward perspective which, again, I think has really helped in building successful strategies and building successful multi-unit restaurants and working with people is that you’ve got to keep that in mind, too. I think a lot of people who come from the marketing side feel like operations and training is very siloed. I like to take a more holistic approach and make sure that those folks are bought in and really part of the overall strategy in moving the brand forward.

[00:29:19] Alex: I’ll see to the executive table got to be talking to each other, right?

[00:29:22] Kim: Right.

[00:29:23] Alex:  All right. Very cool. Learning less, I want to hear the biggest flop, biggest learning lesson you’ve had in your career. You mentioned a bit of a trial and tribulation you had earlier, can you think back to anything we could all learn from? Big flop?

[00:29:38] Kim: I think it’s interesting because I think I’ve–

[00:29:40] Alex: Guys, Kim has only been successful.

[00:29:42] Kim: No, no, no. I wish. I think there’s no silver bullet in what we do. Everybody’s looking for a quick fix. Like, “How can you drive sales 8% next quarter?” Well, it’s not quite that simple otherwise I’d be a millionaire. I think it’s not being afraid to fail. I’ve worked with companies, the most frustrating part is the fear of changing anything, the fear of taking a risk or doing something new or having a failure. I feel like I’ve had a lot of failures. In a way, that’s also helped me be successful because you learn from that, the company learns from that. The worst thing you can do is stay the same, stay the course.

Otherwise, you’ll never evolve and change. I think not being afraid to take a risk. Even as a consultant– which I really hate the word “consultant” but I guess that’s what I am, I really enjoy that role probably even more so than I do because I feel this freedom to really say what I think and for whatever reason they listen to me more. Maybe it’s the combination of me being less afraid or worried about political strappings or whatever, but there’s also this weird perception of, “Hey, they are paying me for my opinions so they better listen to me.” Which is great.

I feel less fettered by the chains of bureaucracy and fear and all that in my role now. I think that would be a big advice as to not be afraid. They’re paying for your opinion and you have an expertise and- to give it. Never be afraid that you are going to fail because you can’t move forward then.

[00:31:32] Alex: I think that is a huge learning lesson right there. We have to, as marketers, entrepreneurs, we happen to be both, but that’s the key to this adoration. 30, 60, 90 days, run something for 90 days, fail fast, learn, move on. I love how you mentioned there, “You can’t be afraid of that. The failure belong to me.” It’s terrorizing. It just keeps you standing still and that is like the worst thing for the marketers that I’ve met with. Some come and ask me for my advice, I don’t know why. But the biggest issue that I see is that they get really complacent as the years go on. They get complacent.

They don’t keep up with the newest way to get butts on seats, they are afraid to try new things, they are afraid to put themselves out there and the world doesn’t work like that. This is America, this is dog eat dog. You got to to go get your food, no pun intended to our whole restaurant conversation we’ve had here.

[00:32:23] Kim: It’s changing so quickly. Customers are changing quickly, the amount of technology that we have is just astounding. We have to– We can’t stay still, otherwise, we’re left behind.

[00:32:39] Alex: Sure, absolutely. Okay. I have some entrepreneurs out there that are going to love hearing your story. If you could give them one piece of advice, we’ve talked about the failure to launch is really prohibited and that can keep you from some flops. Would you say if someone’s out there thinking about going out on their own, would you tell them to do it?

[00:33:00] Kim: Yes, absolutely. Just the other day, funny enough, I had a referral, somebody who helped me do some construction, like carpentry in my house. He’s like, “I left this corporate job, this recruiting job but I have this passion for carpentry and this talent. I really want to give it a go but I’m afraid.” I said, “You should never make this decision to go back to the corporate world based on your fear. If you have a passion for something and you really feel strongly about it, the work will come.”

I always had faith that in my business, if I lost one client through attrition or whatever reason, that I would get another one. It’s always knock-on-wood worked out based on referrals and tenacity. It takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight but I feel like I’m in a position where I have so much more freedom and work-life balance, yet I’m doing some really great and fun work. Don’t be afraid to take on a risk again. Yes, you got to plan before, you’ve got to have your [unintelligible 00:34:09] to fall back on but you would only regret not taking a chance versus taking a chance and have failed. It’s more important to try to go for it and have it work out.

[00:34:28] Alex: Absolutely. Or it doesn’t and you have no regrets. I think that’s really– Who cares–

[00:34:33] Kim: Exactly. No, you are right.

[00:34:34] Alex: The work will come if you know what you know. You just got to get the confidence. No entrepreneur– I saw on LinkedIn the other day, there’s a picture of Jeff Bezos from Amazon in his little office with a hand-painted sign that said, “,” one little shitty computer there in his office. It just goes to show everything big started small and no entrepreneur knew what the hell they were doing. I didn’t know what an invoice was. I had never really had a job before dad’s company where I got laid off when it went–

You don’t know anything until you just get going. So everybody out there, follow Kim’s advice and just start. That’s been huge. Kim, tell all of our listeners where can they find you.

[00:35:14] Kim: What’s funny is I did the whole marketing package, website and a lot of stuff. Honestly for what I do, it doesn’t work as well as simply having a really great LinkedIn profile. You can find me on LinkedIn under Kim Jensen-Pitts. I laugh because I got thrown into the entrepreneur thing and they were like, ” We need a company. We need you to have– Who do we invoice?” I’m like, “Shit. Who do we invoice?”

[00:35:40] Alex: [laughs]

[00:35:41] Kim: I laugh because everybody called me KJP. I guess it’s easier than Kim Jensen-Pitts. They are like, “Hey KJP, KJP.” I’m like, “I guess that will default. I’ll call myself KJP Marketing.” and then 10 years later I’m stuck with it. [laughs] But hey, it’s served me well. You can find me on LinkedIn and I’d be happy to link in with anyone who sends me a request.

[00:36:04] Alex: There you go. Everybody out there, if you are looking for mentorship, brand advocacy, a great brand marketer, Kim Jensen-Pitts is where it’s at. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing her for several years, I’m working with her on a project now so I can tell you she really knows her stuff. She’d be a great asset to you, guys. Find her, go to LinkedIn, type in KJP Marketing Services or Kim Jensen-Pitts, you’ll find her. Hit her up, pick her brain, it will be worth your time. Kim, thank you for joining us. Can’t wait to have you back soon.

[00:36:31] Kim: Thank you.

[00:36:32] Announcer: Thanks for listening to this episode of Ignite. If you like what you heard, please leave us a rating and review. Before you go, please remember to subscribe to this podcast so you don’t miss the next episode. For more digital marketing tips, make sure you visit Have a great rest of the day and don’t forget that the most important part of your job-

[00:36:57] [END OF AUDIO]

Kim Jensen-Pitts, KJP Marketing Services

Alex Membrillo


Alex Membrillo is the CEO of Cardinal, a digital marketing agency focused on growing multi location companies. His work as CEO of Cardinal has recently earned him the honor of being selected as a member of the 2018 Top 40 Under 40 list by Georgia State University as well as 2015 and 2016 Top 20 Entrepreneur of metro Atlanta by TiE Atlanta, Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2016 Small Business Person of the Year,and the Digital Marketer of the Year by Technology Association of Georgia (TAG).

Cardinal has experienced exponential growth under Membrillo’s leadership, being consecutively named on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing privately-held US companies for the last three years. Membrillo’s innovative approach to digital marketing has transformed the industry and delivered remarkable results to clients of all sizes and markets. He has been featured in leading national publications including The Business Journals, Entrepreneur, Search Engine Journal, and The Wall Street Journal. He has also served as an expert speaker for conferences including the American Marketing Association, SouthWired, and Vistage Executive Leaders, where he spoke on his unique approach to Millennial Management to over 400 CEOs.

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