Evan Rutchik

Founder of LocalFactorGroup

Evan Rutchik is the Founder and CEO of LocalFactorGroup. Built on the vision that advertisers and publishers can leverage a cookie-less scalable data set generated from cross channel local content merged with data derived directly from users to deliver brand safe, privacy compliant campaigns to reach their consumers in exclusively premium inventory.

In addition to founding LocalFactor, Evan Rutchik manages an angel investment fund named RIII Ventures that is focused on funding innovative technology with the mission to improve the human experience on a local and global level, as well as co-manages the Evan and Kaylee Rutchik Foundation with various missions dear to he and his wife’s heart to support local businesses and development, education, and mental and physical health.

Evan has held senior roles at digital media leaders on both the technology and agency sides of the advertising business. He is a serial entrepreneur who has funded or scaled many businesses that have achieved >$100MM in revenue directly from his efforts. He held a seat on the board of the IAB Mobile Center of Excellence. He often moderates and speaks on panels across the world as an expert thought leader in mobile marketing, first-party data and consumer privacy. Evan holds dual degrees in Management and Advertising from Syracuse University and an MBA from NYU Stern. Learn more about Evan Rutchik’s career and his charitable organizations at evanrutchik.com

Where did the idea for LocalFactorGroup come from?

I noticed that SMBs, Regional Brands, or even National Brands were not leveraging the value of OTT on a local level. For SMBs and Regional brands it was about access. There was no simple way to activate and execute OTT for these types of businesses, and while big players tried to make self-serve tools for them to use… these owners do not have the time to be managing self-serve platforms. For National Brands, they are running big campaigns across the entire country and optimizing based on several different factors…. except for Local. Not realizing or not having the time to uncover the pockets of the country that truly drive ROI was a huge miss. Giving them a chance to double down or pull back on spend at the local level based on performance/receptivity is a huge opportunity to give companies more impact for their dollar. So, I created LocalFactor to service these types of businesses.

I also added Group to the end of the official business name (LocalFactor Group) so I could use the acronym LFG one day on hats and shirts.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Before I go to bed each night, I check my calendar to mentally prepare for the day ahead. The next morning, I’ll wake up whenever my kids wake up (no need for alarm clocks with two kids under 4 years old) and do some type of mindfulness or physical exercise unless I am on kid duty. At 8:00am, I have coffee/breakfast and review any campaigns that are currently live on the platform to ensure all is running smoothly and I can know what is going with each of my clients. I’ll check/respond to my email, check in with my team, add things to my to-do list, and get working on the business. I have found that the best way to find productivity is to be consistent and create a routine. I aim to structure my days so that I can focus on each task or event in that moment, then move on to the next, and so on. If I get distracted, it’s because I am jumping from one thing to another, or my kids have come into my office for the daily hello. To regain focus, I go right back to my to do list, which is manually written in a paper journal (old school tactics at their best).

How do you bring ideas to life?

I draw (terribly) my ideas on paper. Usually with the idea that this will become a PowerPoint slide or some type of visual to be used as a “how does it work” image. By drawing it on paper, I can work through the process, the product, or the pitch to really understand it. Then, I will try to write out a script as if someone was narrating the product as a movie trailer. I have written and rewritten my scripts and drawings several times over the last 3 months. At some point, and I recommend the earlier the better, you must bring your script to someone you want to become a client. Have them listen to the way you describe your product, then have them describe it back to you. Listen to the words they use, listen to what words of yours they repeat or words they come up with on their own. Then, iterate. Do it again and again. Then ask that client to be a pilot advertiser, give them a reason to be the first advertiser and get a case study.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Definitely the massive shift of consumers across the country (and world) cutting the cord. The scale of households that are now accessible via OTT inventory grows at such a rapid rate, creating this massive opportunity for audiences to be addressed on a local level. In the past, there was not enough inventory scale to truly deliver an ad anywhere. Maybe only on the coasts, but now, an OTT campaign can be scaled in nearly every zip code.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I am not afraid to ask for something – whether it be help, an introduction, or a campaign/budget.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Work advice would be to focus on and nurture my professional relationships. I know there have been people in my business life that I wish I was still connected to. It’s difficult to do, but the relationships I’ve been able to foster and maintain have been incredibly rewarding for me on a professional and even more importantly, on a personal level. They became a huge part of my support system, especially since launching this business and putting myself out there.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

The suburbs are actually amazing. All my Brooklyn/Manhattan people… I am telling you… it is great up here. I had no idea, but it is.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Talk to everyone. I am texting, emailing, messaging, etc. with everyone to get their perspective on my business, their business, their industry, their weekends, anything. It’s worth the conversation and the connection even if there is no immediate opportunity in front of you. You will learn something about someone else that will help you iterate and improve yourself.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

This may be obvious, but it comes down to service and client referrals. Go above and beyond to demonstrate how much you value your client, discuss poor campaign performance equally as much as you discuss positive campaign performance, provide recommendations and new ideas to grow your client’s bottom line. Someone just said to me on the phone about an hour ago, “you have to take care of the people in your restaurant first, otherwise they won’t come back and invite their friends to fill the empty seats.”

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I’ve had the fear of telling people what I am working on as a first-time entrepreneur, worrying about how I (and my ideas) will be perceived. This has slowed me down in many instances from really going for it. When I’ve worked for someone else, I had no problem putting the idea out there because it wasn’t “my idea”, I was telling someone else’s story. How did I overcome it? I would say I haven’t fully yet, as I still get some insecurities when I post content or share my POV on something. However, acknowledging this as an obstacle has been incredibly helpful. I had an exec coach tell me “This is boring” in reference to me waffling about how to approach a situation. I didn’t realize I was just worried about perception. She pointed it out very directly, gave me solid feedback and it was pretty eye opening. Know that you or your product will never be perfect, just keep progressing. As Dorey said in Finding Nemo, my kids’ favorite movie, “Just keep swimming.”

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I hope my friend doesn’t get mad at me for sharing this one, but he wants this idea to materialize as much as I do. As a golfer, I really like tournament style play and competing with friends in various types of games that can be played within the game. However, it’s not always easy to find enough people for a 4-some or more, which is required for a tournament. Wouldn’t it be fun to have an app you could log into and be “paired up” with other like-minded golfers across the country and play against each other? I am thinking of DraftKings meets Twitch for live golf. Not sure exactly how it would work, but I hope someone creates it.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Personally, I bought a slip and slide for my backyard. Best $100 I have spent in a long time. Hours of fun, however my yard is now a bit ruined.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I recently spent money on Canva… mind blown. Super easy to use and makes my content look incredibly professional. Easy designs and easy to replicate and customize for each presentation or client.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Extreme Ownership

From a leadership and team perspective, I just love the idea of all people in a business, to the top, being accountable to themselves and each other. These guys break this construct down and provide lessons related to their experience in the military. Pretty interesting content.

What is your favorite quote?

“What we can control is our performance and our execution, and that’s what we’re going to focus on.” – Bill Belichick

I love Bill’s approach to leadership and coaching. Focus on the now, do the job you are here to do and perform. I relate to this, growing up in my career in sales, I had to learn quickly move on from rejection. It took me some time to realize that I couldn’t control every single outcome, my role was to put my best effort out there, execute on my strategy and let go of the rest. I think it’s something like only 10% of emails you send get read, then only about 10% of those emails turn into meetings and then about 30% of those actually turn into revenue. Learn from the rejection, try new things, iterate my approach, and execute better in the next conversation. The point to me is that you can’t harp on what you should have done and can’t control. Maybe another quote I like is “Yeah yeah, woulda, coulda, shoulda.”

Key Learnings:

  • Put your ideas and yourself out there
  • Listen to feedback, implement changes in your approach and iterate
  • Being afraid is normal, recognize and identify it and then don’t let it get in your way
  • Customer service is critical; a renewal or referral can define success or failure for a new company
  • Control what you can control and let go of the rest
  • LFG