The Subtle Art of Under-Thinking It with Adam Pierno

Shareable Guest Club
Shareable Guest Club
The Subtle Art of Under-Thinking It with Adam Pierno

Hey Shareable listeners, here is another bonus episode! We were lucky enough to have Adam Pierno join us! Adam Pierno has built strategies for clients for over 20 years. He began working in the advertising industry in the creative department. After acting as a creative director for Verizon, he started to focus on strategy. He is currently the Chief Strategy Officer for Santy. He is also an author, speaker, editor, and podcast host. He has worked with many prestigious brands, such as Delta Air Lines, Dunkin’ Donuts, Mercedes-Benz, and more. He hosts a podcast called “The Strategy Inside Everything Podcast,” where he analyzes strategies behind events in pop-culture, business, sports, and politics. He wrote a book called “Under Think It,” which acts as a guide book for creating strategies with real-world examples and compelling insights. Strategy isn’t only for marketers, any professional can benefit from learning how to build a simple strategy and communicate it effectively. Download this Episode

  • Running time: 43:51 
  • Subscribe on iTunes and leave us a review

SHOW NOTES (4:31) – What is strategy? And why are people so bad at it?

Many marketers tend to use elegant words and cram way too much content into the first 20 slides of a slideshow. Yet they still get confused when their clients don’t like their creative work. Adam said, “Strategy is just about taking information and making a plan.” Complex words just confuse the client and does help not encourage trust.

(6:39) – How do you deal with the complexity of marketing?

The marketing business is always going to be complex. But this is why it is even more imperative to create simple strategies. It is unavoidable that the process will get extremely complicated, so don’t start with confusing language. Be clear and concise, it will alleviate some of the future complexity.

(15:28) – Does the additional measurement of digital create more opportunities or more problems with communicating with clients?

It depends. Some of the recent digital techniques are so new that they don’t offer any measurement. This can clients to feel doubtful. Even though the advertisements don’t have any key performance indicators (KPIs), they may still have a lot of value. Technology is changing and we no longer live in a time where you can advertise on Seinfeld and hit 95% of your target audience. Every client reacts differently so ultimately it is your job as a marketer to effectively communicate your plan.

(19:00) – How do you convey the complex aspects of marketing?

Adam tends to create flows which show the path he is trying to create. However, he would never directly show the whole flow to the client in a slide deck because they would never be able to comprehend it.

Rather, he hosts sessions to educate the client on certain aspects of advertising campaigns so it will be easier to present related concepts in the future. Even if the client doesn’t completely understand the concepts, it doesn’t really matter. They will still understand its complexity and respect your expertise.

(24:38) – Do you worry about making the strategy too simple?

It is all about how you present the information. Adam has a great strategy on how to communicate information to clients. He keeps the main slideshow barebones and does not exceed 20 slides in length. He uses these slides to explain the logic of the plan. He will then keep around 100 slides in the appendix so that if the client wants to know the specifics about research or analytics he can explain further.

It is all about the making the best use of time. Editing presentations is a skill that many marketers need to work on.

(27:13) – How do you walk a client through strategies?

Every client is different. Adam wants his strategy presentations to act as a conversation. He wants clients to ask questions and give opinions so they can build a strong foundation. This foundation will make the rest of the process much easier and efficient. Adam also recommends making the information relatable and understandable for the client. One technique he uses is to create mock target audience with backgrounds so the client can personify its target.

(34:35) – Why should people care about your book and strategy?

There are no textbooks available that can teach strategy. Adam asked many of his associates whom are in the strategy department on how to teach strategy but nobody could give an answer. He wrote ‘Under Think It’ to act as a guidebook to give steps on how to develop a strategy.


Adam’s book that is referenced throughout this episode is called ‘Under Think It’. The book acts as a guide book for creating strategies with real-world examples and compelling insights. It is available through amazon here.

You can view the Maker’s Mark ad here

You can view the UNTUCKit ad here





SPECIAL THANKS TO Ray, our Audio Engineer. Thanks for cleaning up our voices and adding all that sexy production value. Kurtis, our intern. Thanks for all creating the show notes for this episode! Fiction. Because sometimes, make-believe can reveal the truth we’ve been struggling to pin down.

If you think this episode is Shareable...


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *