How a Marketing Executive Went From Zero Experience in the Industry to Building Brands

Zev Norotsky knows when to say no to projects

Norotsky landed at H360 Group before creating Enter.
Nils Davey

At Enter, an experiential agency founded by Zev Norotsky in 2014 and formerly in partnership with BMF, caffeine’s a big part of the company’s DNA—and not just for the usual reasons. The agency’s Los Angeles headquarters is a coffee shop dubbed Agency Coffee Co., which Enter opened with La Colombe as a partner.

For Norotsky, it’s one of the ways he’s innovated on the agency front. The second? He developed another partnership with 19 York, a holding company based in Sausalito, Calif. Enter gets a “front row seat” to see what projects and deals 19 York is working on, as well as a chance to work with any of these brands. It’s exactly what Norotsky wants for his company and his career: the ability to pick and choose which clients are best to work with.

It’s also part of Norotsky’s “try anything” nature. After all, his path to the agency world has been unconventional to say the least. At 25, he opened the first North American franchise of Pacha, an international nightclub. “I always joke that was my MBA,” Norotsky said.

From there, he jumped to Mirrorball, working as director of influencer marketing in 2008; there, he worked on the activation for SoBe, Pepsi’s Red Bull competitor drink. After that, Norotsky landed at H360 Group before creating Enter. After two years of working together, the BMF partnership ended in 2017, and Norotsky took back the reins at Enter.

While Norotsky has worked on plenty of campaigns since, the one “closest to his heart” is putting together the AT&T activation for the LoveLoud Festival, an LGBTQ music scene in Utah. He feels so passionately about this festival that he flies out the entire agency for the event—even if they aren’t on the account.

“We get to work on so many different projects, but when you see something like that and the human connection that happens, it sort of makes it all worthwhile,” Norotsky said. “It really connects to what we do and shows us how important marketing is when it’s tied to the right cause and the right partnerships.”

Big Mistake

For Norotsky, it’s cliché, but knowing when to pass on a project is his Achilles heel. It’s easy in the industry to say yes to everything, but he said that as he’s grown in his career, it doesn’t always make sense for the team to take on certain clients or plans.

Lesson Learned

Norotsky said while it’s definitely an experience to work with a big client like Hyundai, it’s a whole different one to work with a small startup “you believe in.” And that sort of instinct and balance goes hand in hand with understanding that you can’t say yes to everything.

How He Got the Gig

Norotsky first ended up in the industry by opening the first Pacha club in North America, which led to stints at agencies like Mirrorball and H360. After having his first child, he decided to say goodbye to all that in New York and move across the country to open BMF’s Los Angeles office, eventually taking back ownership of Enter, an agency he started in partnership with BMF.

Pro Tip

Norotsky didn’t want to name any specific client, but he said as an agency, he wants to make it easy to “protect the brand and client from unseen consequences.” In some cases, that means understanding that the “customer isn’t always right.”

This story first appeared in the May 13, 2019, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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