Right Side Up Talent Spotlight: Grant Durando
September 27, 2023
September 27, 2023
The Right Side Up Talent Spotlight series profiles some of our full-time employees and growth marketing consultants. We chat with the experts in our network to learn about their incredible professional experiences, expert marketing insights, and how they’re balancing work and life.
Grant Durando | Director, Offline Practice, Right Side Up
Grant Durando joined Right Side Up in 2018. He's a Director of the Offline Practice, which means he both supports direct client work at a strategic level and also helps administrate, manage, and grow the business unit.
Where is home these days?
My home is in Los Angeles, CA (Culver City). It’s got the hustle and bustle of an urban setting, is as walkable as LA can get, but it’s also very close to the beach which is important to me.
My work environment is a second bedroom in my apartment. I’ve got a second monitor, Apple mouse/keyboard, and a laptop stand. A comfy/ergonomic chair is a must! My other secret weapon is my wrist pad that’s made by a computer gaming company to keep my ergonomics aligned. My AirPods Pro are almost always in, or music is bumping from my Sonos One speaker. I also have my piano/keyboard and guitar next to me at all times, for whenever I need a brain-wash or a stress release. Similarly, I have a collection of fidget toys (currently a Rubik's cube that I'll never solve) that help me actively listen while on calls.
Tell us about your professional background and areas of expertise. Any achievements you’re proud of or notable brands you’ve worked with?
Lately I’ve been thinking of myself as a service professional since my career began—at 14 years old—answering the phones in a pizza shop. I worked in restaurants for the better part of the next 10 years; from front of house, to kitchen management, and eventually a GM of a boutique restaurant here in LA. After burning out from restaurant work and doing some part-time work in startup logistics, I decided I needed a change (and weekends free for the first time in my life).
From there, I was hired by an agency that took me and my zero experience, and I helped grow one of the largest podcast advertising practices in the world, while also learning all about all the offline channels. I came to Right Side Up after about four years at an agency, ready for more balance in my life, as well as less bureaucracy-driven friction in executing media plans in the service of growth. I was really keen on the idea of taking my subject matter expertise and using it as an in-house collaborator at a brand, and can truthfully say that I still think it’s the best way of managing almost every marketing channel.
What excites you about growth marketing? Has your work changed since you first started?
I love the scientific nature of growth marketing. It’s the best part of my day to diagnose a brand’s marketing initiatives, goals, and channel mix and ask, “where does it hurt?” and be able to prescribe solutions (treatments) for any and all conditions. Monitoring those treatments and whether they cure the ailment, need adjusting, or maybe even have unexpected side effects is always fulfilling to me.
Right Side Up has grown since I started (both the offline practice and the broader business), and my work has absolutely changed and continues to evolve. I feel that I’ve grown from a niche executor into a very well rounded marketer, as well as an effective business leader and manager. The breadth of challenges and opportunities for us (again, both in the offline business unit and the broader business) that come up every single day keep the days feeling short and the personal growth incessant.
What do you see for the future of growth marketing?
I think the future of growth marketing will be determined by media habits and privacy.
If you explained TikTok to the general public five years ago, most people would probably not get it—nor would they project the immense adoption and rabid consumption of content that occurs there today. Similarly, I think the “next big channel” will be something that we haven’t quite conceived of yet, but there will continue to be one every so often. It’s our job as marketers to see it early, partner with media companies to develop it, and then place great ads within great content and environments in order to help great brands grow.
Privacy will also continue to dominate the growth marketing conversation. While the focus is currently on PII and individual level tracking, I think that we’ll be able to effectively manage attributable campaigns via the use of clean rooms, data hashing, and (for better or worse) media company/attribution company consolidation. The good news is that quant-focused growth marketing campaigns’ success will still be quantifiable. The better news is that marketers will necessarily innovate and get creative (especially in the case of a more consolidated ad seller environment) to create campaigns that not only grow companies through efficient CPAs and high ROAS, but impact companies through water cooler conversations, kitchen table (or viral) moments, and enviably high brand awareness.
What has the structure/flexibility of Right Side Up’s model allowed you to do outside of work?
When I was considering joining Right Side Up, I calculated the amount of time, annually, I spent in my car commuting every day. Thirty 8-hour days, in my car, every year. So first and foremost, I got 30 extra days of my life back. Specifically, I love the flexibility to work from anywhere geographically. My family is on the East Coast, so it’s nice to not have to rush trips when family time is both so limited and important. My diet is way more nutritious as I eat at home, I’m more inclined to hit the gym or the waves in the morning knowing I don’t have to budget an extra hour for drive time, and my car might actually last forever (2004 Ford Focus).
And now, let’s get to the fun stuff…
What did you want to be when you grew up?
An inventor! Like Thomas Edison, though I wasn’t really sure if that was a real job.
What do you like to do for fun in your geographic area?
Surf or relax by the ocean, hike, and play outside (tennis, soccer, anything!). If you’re living in SoCal and not getting outside, you’re not doing it right!
What’s a TV show, podcast, book, video game, recipe, etc. that you’re loving right now?
Going back through Seinfeld right now, which has been a treat. Also watching The X Files for the first time. I WANT TO BELIEVE.
What’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to? Why?
My (not so) toxic trait is that almost every place I travel, I’m enamored with it, and I “could totally move here.” Currently enamored with Barcelona, Spain, where I’ve spent a lot of time recently. It’s a great blend of city and nature, with a healthy portion of vermouth. Buenos Aires, Argentina was also an absolute delight and I can’t wait to return.
What’s a fun fact about yourself that people wouldn’t expect?
I won a poetry contest at UCLA and was published in the university’s literary magazine Westwind.