Tools of the Trade: Kurt Kaufer of Ad Results Media

By Kyle O'Brien 

Tools of the Trade is an AgencySpy feature to help highlight the many tools that help make advertising and marketing folks successful. The tools can be anything that helps people perform at their top form, from a favorite drafting table to the best software program to a lucky pen, a vintage typewriter or a pair of headphones.

Next up is Kurt Kaufer, co-founder and chief growth officer at Ad Results Media.

Kurt Kaufer of Ad Results Media leads skip-level meetings that function as mentoring sessions.


What is one tool you use all the time at work, and how does it inspire your work?

My number one tool is skip-level meetings. As a leader of a services-based business where people are at the heart of our organization’s success, it’s imperative that I maximize opportunities to guide and mentor individuals at any level by leveraging my experiences and training in a way that helps them learn, grow and develop into leaders themselves. What started out as a way to just stay in touch with steering committee members in a post-pandemic work remote environment, the meetings have blossomed into a platform that I use to mentor individuals across the entire organization over the last few years.

The meetings provide a formal mechanism for me to not only get to know each person a bit better, but also understand what motivates them, what obstacles they’re facing in their day-to-day, what makes them happy, and what areas they could think differently in to solve whatever challenges they’re facing. I try to break down the perceptive barrier that may exist between our roles and be open and honest about my professional journey, issues I may be facing now and how I solve them, so I can connect at the human level and make them comfortable enough to open up to me.

The magic happens when they’re open and honest with me because I can then truly mentor them properly. Between my 25 years professional experiences, and the hundreds of hours of leadership coaching I’ve taken throughout my career, I find I’m able to both relate to them at the personal level, but also impart my wisdom in a way that brings clarity, comfort and/or resolution to whatever the topic may be.

Why is it your favorite?

There is a concept of a “second mountain” in our personal and professional lives that resonates with me. Oversimplifying a bit, the first mountain peak we climb is self-serving in nature. It’s about ascension to achieve our personal goals and celebrating our successes along the way. From graduating elementary school, to middle school, to high school, to college, to getting our first job, first raise, first promotion, to moving ourselves up the “corporate ladder,” we strive to achieve individualistic growth as we look to carve out a life and make our marks on the world. Then, many reach a plateau, or their first peak. We ascend to a point where we reach what they thought our highest goals were and don’t feel the joy we may have thought we would. We have experienced happiness along our journey, but we start to realize that happiness and joy are two different things; and the second peak on the horizon comes into view. The second peak is a new paradigm that is less self-centric and more other-centric. It’s about helping others in their journeys and helping the community around us.

As my professional journey has evolved over the years I’ve found that helping and mentoring others brings me joy. It always has throughout my career, but I’m now at a place where my collective experiences and position in my organization give me the opportunity to maximize my ability to positively impact others in my community, and I consider my organization part of my community. The skip-level meetings, along with other mechanisms we’ve incorporated in our organization to share knowledge at scale, are platforms to create guidance, growth and gratitude for all with the hope that those individuals will not only benefit from it in the near term, but pay it forward long-term.

Obviously, they don’t have to be called skip-level meetings, but seek out opportunities to help others, mentor them or just be an ear for them. Each situation is different making for a mutually beneficial experience as you will learn and grow with each conversation as well as those you’re looking to help.

How did you acquire your tool or hear about it for the first time?

We started incorporating skip-level meetings when we first launched our agency, Ad Results Media, but it was after the pandemic hit and we went to a remote work environment that we went from doing it in an ad hoc nature to one that was more structured and formalized.

How does it help you be successful?

The constant learnings I get from each conversation. No matter how many experiences I’ve had, or how much coaching I take, there are always new situations that arise that test how I can guide and mentor someone who is having the problem. It’s through those conversations that I continue to evolve and grow both personally and professionally.

Does it have sentimental value?

Absolutely. These meetings create meaningful positive outcomes for our business, but they also resonate with me personally as I on my second peak ascent.

Do you think your tool could go TikTok viral? Why or why not?

I believe so. Personal stories about everyone’s journeys are educational, relatable and emotional.

We want to know what tools you use to make you successful. If you’d like to contribute or know someone who would want to be featured in Tools of the Trade, contact and fill out our survey.