Series Posts: Beyond

Heart of Business: Life is Never a Drag for Miz Cracker

Heart of Business: Life is Never a Drag for Miz Cracker

Beyond • August 9, 2019

A few weeks ago, the YouTube algorithm auto-played a video of Miz Cracker giving Queer Eye\'s Antoni Porowski a drag makeover. It left me thinking about the opportunities that being on a show like RuPaul\'s Drag Race opened up for a drag queen\'s career. Then, I remembered I hosted a podcast that asked those very questions to a person who gets to play dress up for a living. Not long after, I had confirmation for an interview in an email signed xoxo Miz Cracker. Reader, let me tell you: Miz Cracker does not disappoint. Fun, witty and thoughtful. We talk about how she got her start in drag, the decision to go on RuPaul\'s Drag Race and what she\'s been up to since. Miz Cracker talks about the importance of building a brand and how social media has changed the game for drag queens. I mean brand building is 90% of what I do. I am on stage for about 10 to 30 minutes a day. I\'ll do two five-minute numbers or I\'ll do a half hour show, at most I\'ll do an hour and 15 minutes show. And the rest of the entire day is thinking about the brand and what I\'m putting out there. A lot of people think that building a brand is about fabricating an image and building it on social media, creating a story. But it really should be sort of turning around to the pile of stuff that is you and shoveling it onto the internet. 00:00 Andy Shore: Alright, so how you doing today? 00:03 Miz Cracker: I\'m doing great. I\'m here in my little studio in the Bronx, which my co-pilot, Katelyn, and I just rented, and it\'s now just our little home where we run everything from. 00:16 AS: Yeah, that\'s exciting. Congrats on finding your own space and moving in there. I guess we can... 00:21 MC: Yeah, it\'s... 00:22 AS: Sorry, go ahead. 00:23 MC: No, it\'s important to have a space, a working space that\'s not your living space, you know what I mean? 00:31 AS: I do, yeah. We both work from home a bit here and there, and it\'s important to be able to have that space so you\'re not just like, \"Oh, I can go get food, or go take a nap, or go do all these other things. The dog is here to play with.\" 00:45 MC: Yeah. 00:45 Daniel Miller: Throw some pants on, shower. [laughter] 00:47 MC: Yeah. 00:50 AS: And so I guess we\'ll get back into having your own space and seeing that real career grow, but I wanna start at the beginning. What made you wanna get into drag in the first place? 01:03 MC: I actually didn\'t want to get into drag at all. [chuckle] I was nagged into it by one of my friends. I was walking home one night, and I ran into this guy who needed help with a bookshelf, and I was like, \"Listen, I\'m gonna help you haul this up to your apartment.\" And when I got to his apartment, it was covered floor-to-ceiling in wigs. And I was like, \"What have I gotten myself into?\" [laughter] And the guy\'s like, \"Well, I actually do drag every Saturday. I do these marches for marriage equality in Times Square. You should join me.\" And I said, \"Sure, maybe,\" as in never. [chuckle] But he lived down the street from me, and he just kept asking every single weekend for six months, so finally I was like, \"Okay, I will try it.\" 01:58 AS: And that\'s, of course, the infamous or famous Bob the Drag Queen? 02:02 MC: That\'s Bob the Drag Queen. And as soon as he put me in makeup, I turned around and looked in the mirror, I was like, \"Oh my god. This is the new thing!\" 02:08 DM: That\'s wonderful. So for some of our listeners, do you mind explaining a little bit what is drag and drag shows? 02:20 MC: Drag shows are a lot of things, but above all, they are people wearing too much, doing too much, [chuckle] in order to entertain queer people and their friends, really. 02:36 DM: Wonderful. I actually... I was just telling Andy, I think the first drag show I went to was in the Keys in Florida. 02:45 MC: Oh wow. 02:45 DM: And yes, I ended up on stage. I don\'t remember anything after that, though, that\'s probably the dangerous part of it, though, [laughter] but it was a lot of fun. 02:54 MC: I\'ve had a few of those as well. Yeah, there\'s... A lot of people have different rules for what drag should be and how it should look, but as long as it\'s too much, I think that\'s drag. Men can do it, women can do it, trans people can do it. There\'s really no laws in the world of drag because it\'s one of the only forms of entertainment that doesn\'t have a NYU program feeding into it, [chuckle] it is just... It\'s its own thing. 03:27 AS: It almost does now, with the whole Drag Race kind of economy that has grown from the show. 03:34 MC: Right, yeah, now there\'s a market that it belongs to, but luckily it still has escaped academics for now. 03:43 AS: Sure. 03:44 MC: Which, who knows. There could be a drag vocational school, [chuckle] drag community college, which would be a great television show on ABC. 03:54 AS: I was just gonna say, I\'d watch that for sure. 03:57 MC: Yeah. 03:58 AS: And so how long after you started doing drag, and getting started, and seeing yourself there for the first time... When did it go from, \"Hey, this is really fun,\" to \"This is what I think I could do for a living\"? 04:11 MC: Well, I actually just had this show with a queen, Brenda Darling, in the Upper West Side. And one night she just was just murdering it, she was just doing such an amazing performance, and she got the standing ovation, and I got mild applause, and I was like, \"This is so rough, [chuckle] every week, to go through this.\" And I was kind of like, \"Listen, I\'ve gotta either quit or really go all out and make this my thing because this middle ground is not doing me any favors, it\'s not doing the audience any favors.\" And that was when the tides turned, which I think was like 2014, 2015. 04:53 AS: Yeah, I think that\'s a good lesson for a lot of people wanting to pursue passions is you gotta go all in on it. 05:00 DM: You can\'t half-ass it, yeah. 05:00 AS: If you\'re gonna do one foot in, you\'re gonna find yourself there being like, \"Yeah, is this it?\" \'cause you\'re not giving it your all anyways. 05:09 MC: And your relationship with drag is like your relationship with any person, you\'re only going to get out of it what you put into it. And you can starve it or feed it, but you\'re not gonna get... And there are exceptions to the rules, of course, but you\'re usually not gonna get more rewards from drag than you make sacrifices. It\'s gonna be about equal. 05:33 DM: Yeah, absolutely. 05:35 AS: And I do content marketing, social media, for a living, and as a nice Jewish boy from the Midwest, I have a hard enough time explaining that to my parents, that that\'s a thing you can do. How did it go over with your family when you told them that this was the thing for you? 05:52 MC: I think my mother was actually in town when I decided to quit my job and do drag full-time, and she was just like, \"You know what, you hate your job so much, I would rather that you were homeless on the streets than doing this job because I really want you to be happy more than anything else. So I don\'t know if drag is gonna be successful for you, but I know that you are going to be happier.\" And I was like, \"Okay, we\'re doing this then. If my mom says I should do it, then let\'s do it.\" 06:24 DM: That\'s wonderful, that\'s... Yeah, having support from family, friends, with something like this, I think that that\'s always one of the most important things. I see you\'re on tour a lot. It seems like beyond being able to get a career from this, drag has allowed you to travel a lot. What are some of the places that you\'ve traveled to, and what are some of your favorites? 06:54 MC: Oh my god, we\'ve been to so many places. I think we\'ve been to 15 countries in the last year. 07:00 DM: Oh wow. 07:00 AS: Wow. 07:01 MC: It\'s not made up. Katelyn is sitting over there like it\'s totally made up, but [chuckle] Brazil, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, I\'m won\'t count the US, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, the UK... Wait, is Scotland part of that or what? They\'re gonna be so mad that I still don\'t know. Portugal, that\'s 13, I think, now. And I\'m sure there\'s just one more. Oh, I\'ve been to Senegal and the Gambia, but not for travel. But yeah, we\'ve been to over a dozen countries. It\'s a lot. 07:42 DM: What\'s been one of your favorite ones, so far? 07:46 MC: I mean, one of my favorite ones, of course, on the small side was Portugal, it\'s... Lisbon was the most beautiful place I\'ve ever been in my entire life. But our favorite place to go is anywhere in the UK and Ireland because they just treat us so well. They treat me so well over there. And every single aspect of a drag show is handled so beautifully, and the audiences are so polite, and kind, and they bring gifts. And it\'s like when you come back to America, it\'s quite a shock because any American listening to this will know, we are a lot to deal with. We just are. [laughter] 08:35 DM: That\'s so funny. Is there... Do you see big differences from country to country in regards to the drag community? 08:42 MC: Oh, you can see differences in the drag community from state to state. If you are in Columbus, Ohio, and you name a pretty drag queen and a comedy drag queen, they will be completely silent for the pretty drag queen and just go wild for the comedy queen. And then if you are in certain parts of New York, they will go nuts for the pretty girl and have nothing to say about the the comedy queen at all. But you could cross the water and go into another part of New York City, and it\'ll be completely opposite. There\'s so many little bubbles, and you kinda have to know where you\'re going. I know what numbers to perform, what songs to perform in different states. I\'m like, \"Well, this is the state for this song, I can\'t do any other, they\'re not gonna hear this one,\" and you just have to be very sensitive to it, and you learn very quickly. 09:41 AS: Yeah, I\'ve heard a lot of comedians talk about that. There\'s always the, \"Local jokes get local work,\" but just knowing what material\'s killing in the clubs in LA, and the second they go on tour and they\'re just getting blank stares, that you gotta be able to read a room, and I guess it\'s incredibly important for you guys, too. 10:00 MC: Right. Just stop and think for a minute about the people that are in that room. You don\'t have to know that much about a city to know jokes about Fendi and Prada on 5th Avenue are not just gonna play as well in San Francisco, or... You know what I mean? It\'s just like it\'s not there, and that\'s not what people live for in San Francisco, it\'s just... It\'s not that hard to do, doesn\'t take rocket science, just go with your gut. But if you... What you do, I find, is I... Whenever I\'m backstage, I\'ll just turn to the other people in the room, I\'ll be like, \"Alright, here we are in Puxaluxie, Alabama, what is the neighborhood that everyone makes fun of?\" And they\'re like, \"Oh, we always make fun of blah-blah-blah-blah neighborhood,\" you\'re like, \"Alright, work.\" You go out on stage, and you\'re like, \"Oh, sir, look at your outfit, where are you from? Blah, blah, blah, neighborhood?\" and everyone\'s like, \"Oh my God, genius!\" It\'s a literally a mad lib fill-in-the-blank joke that I take everywhere, but people live for it. 11:10 AS: Yeah, that\'s great. I don\'t know if you heard of Brody Stevens, that\'s way last year, but he used to be the guy that closed the comedy club, would perform the last hour to the six people still there finishing their drinks. And his entire bit was that he can do all the different places in the Valley, and know the zip codes, and just all over the country, too. If someone\'s in town, he would have some random fact about... Just an encyclopedic knowledge of the randomest things that... Exactly like you\'re saying, connect with anybody for any means necessary. 11:42 MC: Yeah, just know the lingo. 11:45 DM: What would you say are some of your pet peeves when it comes to drag shows in general, and then as a career as well? 11:54 MC: My pet peeves for a drag show? My pet peeves for a drag show... Honestly, for Ru Girls! , we meet our fans at some point during the show. We will go to a little photo area, and get to say hello to everybody, sign a few autographs. It\'s a huge pet peeve for me when that is scheduled to be at the end of the show because I am one of those drag queens that sweats her face off during the show, [chuckle] and I just look like a bedraggled Cocker Spaniel-rodent hybrid, just something pulled out of a drain, and that\'s the picture that they\'re gonna get. [chuckle] So for the bar it makes sense, it\'s an incentive for people to stay for the whole time, but for me, I just hate that. And my big peeve for drag shows in general is when someone performs a song, and then another queen a couple of performances later comes up and does the same song, I\'m like, \"Really? You didn\'t have [chuckle] one other song to do? You had to... We\'re gonna listen to Nicki Minaj Super Bass four times tonight?\" You know what I mean? [chuckle] 13:11 AS: \"Just that confident that yours is gonna be better after the fact?\" 13:14 MC: Right, \"It better be amazing.\" [chuckle] We had this night, we went to a place in LA called Mickey\'s. There were 10 girls, I would say six of them did the same did the same Nicki Minaj song. Six! [chuckle] And you know what, luckily Nicki Minaj is great, so it was fun every time, but still! The principle stays. 13:35 AS: It\'s a lot. So what was the process like for you deciding to go on the show? Was it a no-brainer, or was it something you had to really think about? And then the experience with filming, and how did that change your drag outlook? 13:52 MC: I was really hesitant to even audition for Drag Race because I believe in small rooms. I believe in making in-person contact with the audience when you are a drag queen. And I wasn\'t sure if being part of television was gonna get in the way of that, and if it was gonna make me compromise myself in ways that I couldn\'t predict. So it was a really long process. And finally what it came down to was, \"Listen, I am in my 30s now. We need to be financially stable, and we need to take this to the next level and go all the way, as I already said. Otherwise we may as just well stop.\" So I was like, \"Alright.\" It\'s like if you wanna do something, you wanna do it on the highest level, and I was like, \"Alright, this is the highest level. And if I wanna be true to myself, I gotta do it in that context.\" 14:58 AS: Yeah. And I\'m sure all those things that you did want that you were concerned, you had to know it was gonna open up the opportunity to do those later. Like look at John Mayer did two pop albums, and then got to do whatever he wanted for the rest of his career, whether it\'s... 15:13 MC: Right! 15:14 AS: Touring with the Grateful Dead, or playing with Eric Clapton, or all those things that... We\'re both marketers, so for me, it\'s just like, oh yeah, you take the opportunity that\'s gonna give you the exposure, and then do it on your own terms afterwards. 15:28 MC: I\'m sort of like the John Mayer of drag in that sense. [laughter] 15:31 AS: I\'m here for it. Let\'s start it right now, we\'ll keep spreading it. [laughter] 15:36 MC: But yeah, no, it is true, I do get to do exactly what I want. And I had this Jewish epiphany, which means nervous breakdown, [laughter] and at the end of it, I was just like, \"You know what, I\'m gonna do exactly what I want all the time. I\'m not gonna pay attention to what anyone else is doing because that\'s the only way I\'m gonna be happy.\" So that\'s the way we do things now. 15:57 DM: Yeah, I think that that\'s a really good point. For anybody that says... Sorry, I hear so many people... I think it\'s a good idea to keep an eye out on what the competitors are doing, what other businesses are doing, but if you continuously do that, you\'re always gonna be chasing them and going behind them. If you look inward and start to focus on what you really want, there is no competition to you, and you do your own thing. So yeah, I agree with that full-heartedly. 16:24 AS: Speaking about that, can you tell us a little bit more about American Woman? 16:30 MC: Oh yeah, American Woman, I guess we\'re relaunching the global tour this week. We\'re doing it at a place called Laurie Beechman Theater in New York. And it is about feminism today, and the mistakes that I have made in not supporting women in the way I think they should be supported, especially because I was raised by women, by my mother and my sister, my Drag Race audition tape was made by a woman, my manager and my assistant are both women, 75% of my audience members, when I look off the stage, are women. I owe women everything, and I think I have to stop and think now about some of the stuff that I do that doesn\'t make life easier for the women around me. And I make fun of myself and point out things that we can all do better to make America and the world a better place for women, especially right now when women are coming together and saying, \"It\'s time.\" 17:42 AS: Yeah, that\'s interesting. You say walk a mile in their shoes, and you do [chuckle] that whenever you\'re performing. 17:47 MC: Oh, yeah, yeah. 17:48 AS: And just having... After the explosion of Nanette and Hannah Gadsby last year, and looking at the self-deprecating humor of it all, and the impact that has on yourself and the community, I think that\'s important. 18:00 MC: I watched Nanette while I was preparing for American Woman, and it was really a powerful thing. And I don\'t think everyone has to be perfect when they contribute to the women\'s rights movement that\'s starting to re-emerge and gather momentum right now, but I do think we have a responsibility to do our best to try to contribute. Make mistakes, fix them along the way. 18:29 AS: Yeah, I think especially in the social media culture we have, that it\'s important that it\'s not... To accept that everyone\'s not perfect. And as long as we\'re trying and everyone\'s on the same team, that it\'s okay to have those bumps in the road. 18:42 MC: I think women make a lot of mistakes when it comes to women\'s rights, too, and in the way that they treat each other. And so we can sort of all be on the same page of like, \"Okay, we\'re all struggling to figure out where to go from here, but we all agree that where we are now is not great.\" [chuckle] 19:00 DM: Yeah, most definitely. I think there was a Ted Talk, gosh, I can\'t remember for the life of me, the name of the guy that was talking about it. But he was showing the differences between languages and upbringings from men and women. And languages, for example, in certain countries like in Spanish, bridge is masculine, but in German, it\'s feminine. And when they would ask people to describe in their own language what a bridge looks like, in Spanish, they would say it\'s strong, it\'s this and that. It would be a lot of male words. 19:40 DM: And in German it would be a lot of female ones. Oh, it\'s a beautiful bridge, connecting bridge and so forth. So the the wiring of the language alone was so interesting on how that wasn\'t... The main thing that he was saying \'cause language is much harder to change, but the upbringing, so many parents will encouraged their kids to go on the playground and get hurt. But their daughters, they\'re like, \"No, no, don\'t skin your knees, you\'re a princess, stay here.\" And there is that balance of that pre-wiring is from a very young as a kid and the power that that can have. So yeah, I think the movements that are happening now, it\'s something that it should have happened long time ago, but the power of social media is really allowing communities to spread and to empower women. Definitely. 20:28 MC: Yeah. And to talk about and to talk about things that they haven\'t been able to talk about before, so... 20:32 DM: Exactly. 20:35 AS: So we\'re talking about you being able to have a platform and trying to use that responsibly, going along with that and kind of building your brand as drag has become such a bigger part of the zeitgeist with the popularity of drag race. How much thought do you put into kind of building the brand you have and helping yourself separate from the rest of the crowd? 20:55 MC: I mean brand building is 90% of what I do. I am on stage for about 10 to 30 minutes a day. I\'ll do two five-minute numbers or I\'ll do a half hour show, at most I\'ll do an hour and 15 minutes show. And the rest of the entire day is thinking about the brand and what I\'m putting out there. And it\'s really... A lot of people think that building a brand is about fabricating an image and building it on social media, creating a story. But it really should be sort of turning around to the pile of stuff that is you and shoveling it onto the internet. And by that I mean... 21:45 DM: That\'s a good visual. 21:47 MC: You know what I mean? Kaitlyn and I take the stuff that we do every day, and we take pictures of that so people know what we\'re doing. We don\'t go very often to a photo studio and put me in an outfit that I wouldn\'t normally wear, and a hair that I wouldn\'t normally wear, in lighting that I\'m not normally in, to tell the story of me being someone that I\'m not. We\'re like, \"Okay. I was in drag early today and I was in Boston, so here\'s a picture of me early in drag in Boston by a landmark.\" We try to take a picture of me with a landmark in every city that we go to. And it is not story-telling, it is literally just journalism. It\'s documentarianism. You know what I mean? And I think that\'s... People get everything backwards that you are supposed to create this image and then live towards it, but really you live and then you expose that life to the world. And that\'s... If you try to do it the other way, you will get exhausted. This way is exhausting enough, but that artifice is gonna take up so much of your energy. 23:00 DM: Yeah, if you don\'t absolutely do what you love, you\'re gonna burn out really fast. That\'s yeah... 23:03 AS: And we live in a world... 23:05 MC: Another thing that... Another business, the smartest business thing I ever heard which came from Kaitlyn as far as anyone who is trying to sell an item based on their brand, do not sell something that you would wear or you would use; sell something that your customers will wear or use. And a really good example of that is like if you are a 6\'5, 102-pound model, yes, you would wear a leather bra and panty set out on to the stage. But you can\'t really make that into merchandise for your customers because almost none of them are going to be 6\'5 models. Do you know what I mean? And I see people make this mistake all the time. They\'re like, \"Oh, here\'s something that I would use, I would wear, I\'m gonna sell it, and I\'m gonna put my brand, my logo on it.\" And then the fans come up and they are Americans just regular Americans, not wealthy traveling entertainers and they look at the spread of stuff and they\'re like, \"Where does this fit in my life?\" It\'s backwards. 24:29 DM: Yeah, definitely. I mean like you said, we live in LA and where you\'re always told write what you know. And just as marketers in general, just seeing the importance of being authentic and trying through it like... There\'s so much competition in any market, really, at this point, that the ones that people feel like they can connect with and see who they actually are is who it\'s gonna be. And I think that extra layer of being able to understand your audience, I mean, as marketers, you could be selling a product, but what you\'re really selling is the solution to a problem that someone has and being able to understand from their eyes and do that customer-centric marketing rather than just blasting what you think you need to be putting out there. 25:09 MC: I think authenticity, loving what you do, are such high goals. And if... You have a whole lifetime, you might not get there. But you can definitely start by not lying before you get to authenticity, just don\'t lie. That\'s a good one. And then if you don\'t love what you do, at least do what you do. It\'s very hard for you to create a brand as a drag queen if you don\'t do drag all the time. Does that make sense? 25:44 AS: Yeah. 25:45 MC: So obviously the goals are to be totally authentic with yourself and your audience and to love what you do. But shy of that on a regular human day, just don\'t lie and do your job. You know what I mean? 25:57 AS: Mm-hmm. 25:58 MC: Kaitlyn almost died just now walking into the room. [26:00] ____ wires everywhere. It\'s almost became a one-woman business again. [laughter] 26:08 AS: I\'m glad everyone\'s okay. And kinda continuing on, using all of you and what you\'re doing, you\'ve had two web series that are either Rhymes Or Puns With Jew, and Review With The Jew, and Jewtorials, what went in the decision in including that in what you\'re putting out there? 26:26 MC: When I went into season 10, I was looking at Kaitlyn and I was like, \"I am Jewish. I\'m not gonna let them turn me into the token Jew.\" I\'m not gonna make... I know they wanna make that part of my storyline, but it\'s like... That\'s just a part of me. And then Watching season 10, every time I walk into the room I\'m like, \" Jewie McJew, McJew Jewison. You know? And I was like, \"Oh my god.\" It is a massive part of who I am and I\'m just going to embrace that. And it is really just... I laugh the hardest when I\'m making Jew jokes because I love being a Jew and I think Jews are funny and wonderful people. And so it\'s just... When I put Jew in the title of anything I do, it\'s just kind of like... It just makes me happy, that\'s why. 27:16 AS: Mm-hmm, that\'s great. I think in audiences like there... Especially Jewish audiences, the second they know someone is Jewish will just support that person no matter what. 27:28 MC: Oh absolutely. 27:28 AS: Even growing up, there was like one Jewish player on the Dodgers and I\'m from Chicago, but I knew that because my dad told me every time he was on television. And told me of the Sandy Koufax story all over again \'cause he is just like Jew, he\'s like, \"Well, we\'ve gotta root for what we\'ve got left.\" And it\'s just so funny [27:47] ____. 27:47 MC: Yeah, any time you get together with Jews you\'re like, \"Did you know that so and so was a Jew?\" \"Oh, I didn\'t know that.\" \"Did you know that so and so was a Jew?\" \"Oh, I didn\'t know that.\" \"Did you know that so was... \" \"Oh, I did know that. Yes, I knew he was a Jew because he did this Jewy thing.\" \"Alright.\" \"Well. How are your bowels?\" \"Terrible, let\'s talk about it.\" Like how every Jewish conversation begins. 28:10 AS: Yeah, just Eliot Glazer from Broad City and many other things had Este Haim on his haunting rendition show. They did a whole Jewish music set that just killed the whole room. 28:22 MC: Right. 28:22 AS: I was like, \"Yeah, this plays in LA. It might not play like you said in Ohio so much.\" 28:27 MC: Right, I can\'t wait to release my Klezmer album, which I don\'t know why I didn\'t think of this before, but it\'s gonna be great. And I\'m gonna play Klezmer for Kaitlyn after this so she knows what the hell I\'m talking about. \'Cause I\'ve had to teach her everything about Judaism. [laughter] 28:43 AS: That\'s funny, yeah, I\'m the... 28:44 MC: Doesn\'t play well in DC. 28:45 AS: I\'m definitely the token Jew in our office. 28:48 MC: Good. 28:48 AS: So I get that responsibility as well. 28:51 MC: Yeah. 28:52 AS: And so we\'re talking about doing it and everything that goes into it. Is drag a career that you think has longevity, or do you have plans beyond that? 29:01 MC: I never make any plans for my life in the long term. I sort of do what I wanna do until I\'m not interested in it anymore and then I suddenly stop. So I\'ve never... I think as long as drag allows me to do exactly what I want to do all the time, which is what it\'s allowing me to do right now, I\'m gonna... There\'s no reason I would ever leave it. If ever at any point I find that it\'s constraining me and that I feel that I\'m not totally free, then I could leave. But I just don\'t see that happening. 29:34 DM: That\'s a great feeling. 29:35 AS: Yeah. 29:36 MC: I\'ve never made any plans ever. [chuckle] 29:41 AS: That\'s great, yeah. Our next guest we\'ve got that we\'re interviewing actually later today, his name is Nick Uhas. He was on Big Brother back in the day, but the first time we interviewed with him was like four years ago. And he\'d gone from like a high school wrestler to a professional rollerblader to like crashing a fraternity conference to do networking that landed him on Big Brother, and then was like hosting other shows. And like the whole conversation we had is just kinda picking the path presented to you and being able to do that and see that and accept that where you are is where you\'re supposed to be and kind of go forward from there. 30:15 MC: I came to New York as a poet, and I worked with a number of poets in a group. And we traveled around the country doing readings and performances then I got bored and I quit. And I joined a publishing house and worked my way up to the top as an arts editor and then I was bored of that. And I went into journalism and I wrote for a newspaper for a while and then I was done with that. I took one fundraising course and became a fundraiser for a museum. And then I was like, \"Now I hate fundraising.\" And I was like, \"I think I\'ll do drag.\" And so that it\'s sort of just been like completely 180 turns all the time that led me here. No plan whatsoever. I left Seattle to come to New York because I saw Meryl Streep walking down the street in a movie in New York, and I was like, \"Oh, I wanna do that.\" 31:12 DM: Do what you love to find the people to love. That\'s what [31:16] ____. 31:16 MC: Right, oh exactly. Do what the people you love do. 31:18 DM: There you go. Yeah. This is the question that I had for a little bit earlier, but the conversation kind of strayed it out. But I\'m actually on the computer right now and I can see some of your photos. And I have to say, \"My goodness, the make up, the hair, the dress, everything.\" How long does it normally take to get out... To have that transformation? To be ready like that? 31:44 MC: It takes me about an hour to make a wig. I usually make my wig right before the show. And then about two hours to get in drag, and that\'s including getting in my pads and everything. 32:00 DM: Wow, that\'s... Yeah. I thought it would be more than that. It looks amazing, so yeah. 32:06 MC: Oh, I mean, it used to take me four hours just to put my eyebrows on. But now it\'s a lot easier. 32:17 AS: Great, getting your Malcolm Gladwell 10,000-hours in drag. 32:21 MC: Oh, definitely 10,000 hours at least. [chuckle] 32:26 AS: And in terms of the pictures and everything you talked about, like wanting to show the authentic part, how much has social media and Instagram in general changed the game for drag? 32:41 MC: Let\'s just put it this way: When Lady Bunny was doing drag, it was not a visual art form. [laughter] 32:50 MC: She and the ladies of her time, it was about being in the same room with them and if they could be funny and make you happy while you were there. Never mind the fact that she was just wearing two lashes and a touch of lip gloss under that wig. It took... The makeup did not matter and the outfit could have been vintage, let\'s put it that way. As Jinkx Monsoon put it, a series of unfortunate caftans [laughter] But now social media is a visual... Especially Instagram is a visual medium and it has created an expectation for drag that it will be a powerful visual experience. So that, I think, has created a massive change in drag and also the expectation that thousands of people should know about you, which I don\'t think that the queens like Lady Bunny really anticipated when they were starting drag. You know what I mean? They were not like, \"I\'m gonna be world famous.\" I think they were like, \"I\'m [34:04] ____ gay tonight, girl,\" you know? And that was pretty much it. And things like Sweetie, they were going lip sync in a club and have a really great time and then that was it. They wouldn\'t expect to become a mega star. 34:20 AS: Yeah, now you guys have to be the multi-hyphenates of the look, the make-up, you can dance, the comedy, all of it. It\'s like a lot more. 34:28 MC: Right, but also you have a different breed of people coming into drag. People that wanted to do something for its own sake, art for art\'s sake, those were the kind of queens and the kind of personality types that were flooding into drag in the \'70s and the \'80s because they had no expectations of fame. Now you have people that are thirsty for fame which is a very different personality type, thirsty for fame, thirsty for money, thirsty for recognition. Those flies are being drawn to the tape now, and it has changed the temperature of the water. [laughter] 35:07 AS: I believe that. So what\'s next for you? You said the show is starting back up again and you\'re about to go on to tour? 35:14 MC: I\'m about to go on tour with American Woman, so it\'s gonna start here in New York once again. And then this fall we\'re taking it to New Zealand and Australia and then the UK in January. And then in the spring, we\'re thinking of doing an American tour as well since, you know, that\'s where we\'re from. 35:39 MC: But we\'re spending a full year and a half in the UK if we can. 35:44 AS: It\'s fun. Sure, why not? As you said, follow the path you got. If the opportunity is there, you might as well. 35:50 MC: Yeah, give me a visa and a Visa debit card. [laughter] 35:56 AS: Well, Miz Cracker, I wanna thank you sincerely for spending the time and chatting with us today. Before we say goodbye, let everyone know where they can follow you and find as you go on the tour. 36:08 MC: Absolutely. If you like a visually appealing drag queen, just go to miz_cracker. That\'s miz_racialslur on Instagram and Twitter. And find my YouTube where I have literally 50 hours of video content laboriously made. I watched all 50 of \'em while I was sick the other day. And yeah, get to it. Go to mizcracker.com too, but it\'s just gonna direct you to the good sites, so... [chuckle] 36:42 DM: Awesome. Well, thanks again for joining us. And thanks everyone for listening. We\'ll catch you guys next time. 36:47 MC: Thank you so much, everybody. 36:49 AS: Bye.


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Raising the Bar: How Sandbox Software Engaged a List of 3,000 Subscribers

Raising the Bar: How Sandbox Software Engaged a List of 3,000 Subscribers

Beyond • August 6, 2019

Sandbox was founded in 2011 when the two co-founders discovered the need for an administration software in the childcare industry. Looking at other players in this industry, they quickly noticed that there were only a few options available and they were cumbersome to work in and outdated. They set out to develop a solution that would make it easier for owners and early educators to manage their daily activities at the center. By meeting with a number of local centers they were able to find out more about the needs and wants of childcare workers and early educators. Fast forward 8 years, Sandbox is now one of the fastest-growing companies in the childcare space with over 80,000 users across North America. They have also recently received Two awards from Gartner Digital Markets for ‘Best Value’ and ‘Best Ease of Use.’ Sandbox Software’s mission is to innovate through technology to enable childcare centers to grow their business and optimize the learning experiences for their families. I found Benchmark Email to be extremely intuitive and easy to use. I was a little concerned about the flexibility of the email editing, however, I found it easy to start working in and it allowed me to create professional looking emails. Gavin Wieske - Marketing Manager at Sandbox Sandbox was looking for an email service provider that boasted both fast and easy campaign creation options to help them build and maintain their brand. Sandbox hadn\'t found a solution that offered an adaptable enough email editor for their needs. They felt that other solutions lacked the formatting options to complete their vision. Sandbox had no way to stay connected with users and prospects, which made it difficult for them to establish relationships, build their brand and stay top of mind. Benchmark provided Sandbox with a simple and powerful drag and drop editor which allowed them to create beautiful emails. That made it easy for Sandbox to keep their customers and other interested parties engaged. Before using Benchmark, Sandbox had no way to stay connected with their customers and followers. Now, Sandbox has over 3,000 email subscribers and a 25% open rate on their emails! Let\'s look at how they\'ve done it: Above the Fold It\'s necessary to delivery value with every email that hits a subscriber\'s inbox. What could be more important than the safety of your children?! Plus, learning is always more fun in graphic form. It\'s also a great choice for the hero image, with the smiling children, that does a great job of carrying their brand into the email. Plus, there is a clear Call To Action (CTA) that cannot be missed by subscribers. Social Proof Customer testimonials can go a long way towards attracting new subscribers and re-affirming the choices of your current customers. Plus, it can help sway any leads and prospects on your email list. After all, studies have shown that almost 70 percent of consumers will look to an online review before making a purchase. The graphic elements carry over from the hero image and continue the fun branding of Sandbox as the subscriber scrolls down. Delivering Value with Good Content   Your newsletter can be one of the best drivers of traffic to your blog. Sharing your best posts via email is an excellent strategy and Sandbox does this well here. They give you just enough of a teaser to pique your interest and a clear CTA to get you to click-through to the blog. It\'s important to create engagement with the emails you\'re sending and so far through this email Sandbox offers several great click oppotunities. The More You Know Getting a subscriber to download your app can keep them around longer. It creates \"stickiness\" with your subscribers and customers. Also, your email subscribers may not be your social media followers. Give subscribers an opportunity to be both. With such a well-executed email, it\'s no wonder Sandbox Software has been able to create good engagement and grow their email list. If you\'re interested in learning more about Sandbox Software, you can follow them on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.


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6 Trends That Suggest Email Marketing Is Still the Top Marketing Technique

6 Trends That Suggest Email Marketing Is Still the Top Marketing Technique

Beyond • July 26, 2019

More companies are investing in email marketing – you might want to do the same after taking a look at the numbers. Over 59% of marketers say email is their most lucrative marketing channel with the largest ROI. Along with a wide scope for innovation, the emergence of diverse trends, such as interactivity, CSS animation, AI, and automation, continues to help email sustain its popularity over other marketing channels. Businesses are also increasingly aware of the potential to build loyalty and boost sales through fostering the connections which are already accessible through subscriber lists. In 2019, marketers will keep expanding upon the big theme of delivering quality over quantity into inboxes. Besides heavy emphasis on quality and personalization, what else can we expect? Here are 6 trends that suggest email marketing is still one of the top marketing techniques! 1.   Creative design trends Innovative design trends in web and email design have reshaped a user’s entire experience with email, especially how they engage with a brand and their content. Marketers are implementing creative design trends into their email templates to give subscribers a new and exciting way to interact with their brand – without clicking out of an email. Brands are embracing top trends in creative email design to deliver dynamic content to subscribers through image galleries, carousels, offer reveals, and add-to-cart functionality. AI-powered systems have also made it easier for marketers to make sense of more customer data and to identify the trends that are necessary for personalizing emails. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but innovations in email design have taken it up a notch through CSS animations, GIFs, keyframe animations, cinemagraphs, and live backgrounds. With the rise of interactive content, written content has become less of a priority for marketers as they continue to focus on creating dynamic content and reducing the barriers to engagement. Businesses like Home Depot are embracing interactivity in their email campaigns to facilitate a frictionless email experience. For instance, instead of opening a new browser, customers can leave a rating or type a review all within an email. Tips for creating dynamic visual content: Use Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG format) to ensure images retain their quality when resized or rendered Compress the file size of animated GIFs to ensure faster loading time 2.   Optimizing email for smartphones It goes without saying that a lot of people are attached to their phones. About 46% of email opens were done through mobile email in 2018. With more people accessing email on their smartphones, optimizing email campaigns for the mobile world is something all businesses should look into. Mastering the art of visual-storytelling is the secret to creating an effective email design. With short attention spans and hectic schedules, no one has the time or patience to go through a messy email – keep things simple with a minimalistic design. Using a well-balanced design with plenty of white space to organize your images and text makes it easier for people to scan through your email – consuming more information faster. Sites like Pinterest have made good use of the card layout. More businesses and eCommerce sites are using this type of layout to appeal to prospects and increase CTR. CTR (click-through rate) is a metric used to measure the percentage of people that are actually clicking on your links or ads. Tips for optimizing content for smartphones: Focus on your goal when designing your email – reduce barriers in responding to a CTA Use a design that makes it easy to tap on links or a CTA Display your CTA above the fold Use a larger font size for better readability Resize images to fit a mobile screen 3.   Artificial Intelligence and automation In 2019, marketers continue to focus on building connections with subscribers through a customer-centric model to create a frictionless experience in their email campaigns. With the help of AI and automation, the possibilities in email marketing continue to reach new heights in the level of personalization that can be offered to each and every subscriber. With automated emails, you can expect higher open rates of about 70.5%. AI augments automation to do most of the grunt work for marketers. AI-powered systems can sift through large amounts of information and draw important correlations to be integrated into master templates. Besides saving marketers a ton of time, this also provides the necessary insights to ensure the right emails are being sent to the right people – and at the right time. Conversion rate optimization or CRO is a big theme in 2019, where marketers are prioritizing customer retention just as much as acquisition. CRO focuses on converting the people who are most likely to buy. In conjunction with master templates, AI automation can effectively close a sale by sending out customer-centric emails based on their pain points and preferences. AI-powered systems can join customers on their buyer journey. An example would be when a prospect abandons their shopping cart without checking out, triggering an automated email encouraging them to complete their purchase. AI trends are streamlining business processes Brands are also embracing AI in their business processes with innovative tools to streamline all facets of creating an effective email campaign. These tools have made it easier for more people to collaborate on a campaign – either those within the same company or even from external agencies. Top trends in 2019, such as visual automation workflow builders will continue to make it easier for businesses to manage email campaigns and enhance their workflow – integrating insights and relevant data. To facilitate targeted emailing, marketers are also using automated email list segmentation to organize their emailing lists into relevant segments. AI-powered systems are paving the way for new business growth strategies in the world of email marketing. ‘The marketing flywheel’ combines the core principles of effective email marketing with a customer-centric model to build momentum in email campaigns. 4.    Email marketing vs. other marketing channels Search Engine Optimization Businesses use SEO to drive traffic to their site and to build long-term prospects organically. The main drawback with SEO? Besides general insights, businesses are in the dark when it comes to who their content reaches. With email marketing, you can track the reach of your email campaign because you know who you’re emailing. Social Media Marketing Embracing social media is the best way for brands to remain relevant in the information age. Social media marketing is a great way to increase brand awareness and extend your reach to larger audiences, all of which can have a positive impact on conversion rates. The advantage with email marketing is that you can deliver a personalized approach to those who are already interested in your brand. Paid Campaign Marketing How does email marketing compare to paid campaigns? Well, let’s take a look at the numbers – for every $1 businesses spend on Google Ads, they get a return of $2 in revenue. With email marketing, you can expect a ROI of $38 for every $1 spent. It’s pretty clear who the winner is. Affiliate marketing is a great way to extend your reach to a new audience by partnering with a third-party advocate to advertise for you. The main drawback with affiliate marketing is that your prospects are limited to the audience of your advocate. When you take into consideration the fact that not everyone’s going to be interested (converted), your pool of prospects gets much smaller. With email marketing, you have higher chances of converting because the people you reach out to are already interested in your brand. 5.   GDPR and data protection/privacy policy In 2018, big changes were made to EU’s data privacy regulation laws – also known as GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation. In light of these changes, marketers must pay special attention to creating GDPR compliant email campaigns. With GDPR, marketers are prohibited from sending emails to those who haven’t given them explicit permission to do so. For example, email designs should facilitate the act of opting in to receive newsletters, as well as making opt-out or unsubscribe links somewhere easily accessible. 6.   Chatbots and trustworthiness Trust is a huge concern for businesses when it comes to chatbot technology. There’s a lot of uncertainty as to whether businesses can fully trust bots to deliver the quality or consistency of a unique customer service experience – one they wish to uphold across all channels. At its best, chatbots can benefit both parties (brand and consumer) by automating repetitive tasks and streamlining the customer service experience. However, there’s always the possibility that it can lead to a very unpleasant customer service experience for users who are unfamiliar with bots. Or even worse, there could be a major disconnect in the quality of service a business hopes to keep consistent, and the actual capabilities of their bot. Nonetheless, the advancement of technology has truly left its mark on the world of email marketing – helping to sustain the popularity of emails and to streamline the various business processes in creating an email campaign.


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Lessons Learned from Top Brands on How to Rock on Instagram

Lessons Learned from Top Brands on How to Rock on Instagram

Beyond • June 14, 2019

Instagram has gained a huge footing from various social media marketers thanks to its knack for connecting people. According to Forrester Research, Instagram is superior to every other social network when it comes to user engagement. Of the seven social networks reviewed, six had an engagement rate less than 0.1 %. Instagram was the only network with a user engagement rate of 4.21%. Nate Elliot, an expert marketing analyst, said that Instagram has 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter and 58 times better user engagement than Facebook. One of the most common way to increase reach on post is to use Instagram hashtags. Top brands are making the best out of this opportunity by coming up with imaginative and creative ways to popularize themselves. Here is a list of some top brands that will serve to help marketers gain inspiration for How to Rock on Instagram: Lesson Learned from Zappos: Go Beyond Your Product The most excellent thing about Zappos is that their Instagram feed is just so out of left field. No doubt that there are several images of handbags and footwear scattered here and there, but their feed is packed with some cute little gems. The lesson here is that businesses should not just limit the Instagram feed to photos of products. If there is any occasion coming up like Christmas, New Years, Easter, etc. you can put a relevant inspirational, attractive and funny image on the feed that will attract more followers and bring a smile on their faces. Lesson Learned from Asus: Capture That Follower A common mistake that even large brands often commit is treating Instagram marketing as a standalone campaign. The end goal of any of your marketing campaigns should be to either to build brand awareness, capture leads or make a sale. While growing your Instagram following helps you build awareness or even make a sale once in a while, it is worth remembering that relying entirely on a third party platform may not be a sustainable strategy. It takes one algorithmic tweak from Instagram for you to lose all your followers. Translating your Instagram following into a mailing or retargeting list must thus be top priority. The bio section of your Instagram profile comes in very handy here. It is ideal to have a custom landing page built primarily for your Instagram users. This way, when a follower clicks on the bio link and lands on your website, they may be channeled into your mailing list or remarketing group. Lesson Learned from Adidas: Selfie, Meet Personalized Shoe Adidas was the third most popular account on Instagram as of May, 2014 with close to 2 million followers. First place being was Nike (4 million followers) and second place was Starbucks (2.5 million followers). Adidas is allowing every sports fan to pull their favorite photos from Instagram and have them personalized as per their requirements directly on their ZX Flux shoes. This announcement generated a great level of user engagement on the Instagram post as well as on the video shared on Instagram persuading users to share their experience with personalized shoes. The lesson that every marketer needs to learn is that customers love to boast their creations and if posts can include personalized products ... there’s little better than that. Lesson Learned from Pabst Blue Ribbon: Take Your Brand Places Pasbst Blue Ribbon (PBR) embraces its Instagram feed with grace and humor rather than its hipster image. PBR’s Instagram feed doesn’t contain any photos of beer pong or group members, but rather it has wonderful and elegant pictures that people would like to share without caring about the fact that they like cheap beer. The lesson that every marketer should learn is that you can brand your product in historic landmarks, or any other beautiful scenic places, and there you go with thousands of comments and likes piled up on the feed.


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Michael Barber: He Got It From His Mum

Michael Barber: He Got It From His Mum

Beyond • May 24, 2019

We first crossed paths with Michael Barber during not one, but two, sessions and workshops he led at Digital Summit Los Angeles. There, we saw him host a four-hour workshop on email marketing that kept us riveted and again for a workshop on marketing lessons from his mum. We enjoyed him so much we asked for more and invited him to be our guest on the Heart of Business. We talk marketing agencies, what makes great content, the importance of email marketing and more. I think [email marketing is] one of the most under-served, less respected, least sexiest tactics that we have at our disposal, but it\'s one of the most impactful that we have. And I think for many, many years, it has been the one that marketers have just forgotten about and I worry, because it is an owned channel, that not only real people continue to be engaged in, but it drives an incredible ROI when you are very strategic and thoughtful about the campaigns and strategy that you produce around that tactic for your customers. Andy Shore: Hey everybody welcome back to The Heart of Business. I\'m your host, Andy Shore here as always with my co-host Daniel Miller and he\'s not here with me while I\'m recording the intro, but he\'ll be here for the episode, I promise, and we\'ve got an incredible guest. We say that every time, but this guy was so great when I saw him at Digital summit not once but twice that I had to invite him out of the podcast afterwards. We talk about being a marketing firm about email marketing, about creating gory content about speaking also. It\'s awesome things. He\'s a really great... Yes, we had a really good time talking to him. Before we get started, I wanna remind everyone about the Benchmark Starter Plan. If you\'re just getting started with email marketing or your list is small, you can do your email marketing totally free. And what\'s great about Benchmark is that as you graduate into a Pro Plan because email marketing is helping your business grow, all the tools are right there for you, you\'re not gonna have to switch another service, whether it\'s marketing automation, CRM, it\'s all there for you on the Pro Plan Check it out, benchmark email dot com. Let\'s get rolling. AS: So how do you doing today, Michael? Michael Barber: I’m well, just wrapping up, what is... What was a very, very long week, but a good one, so... And my mother is in town for Mother\'s Day. So that makes it even the better … very exciting. AS: Yeah, I\'ll ask you more about her later. I got to see your great session at Digital Summit LA that was all center around her. And I definitely wanna talk to you about that. But… I wanted to talk a little bit about Godfrey and everything you guys do there. MB: Yeah, so Godfrey. We are a team of 90 people we serve, mid-market industrial manufacturers and help champion the world-changing work that they do. It sounds about as un-glamorous, is what it is as an agency that\'s dedicated to B2B industries that are not necessarily the most sexy, but certainly super intriguing and gets to a variety of big initiatives with them to help bring both their products services and ideas to life. AS: Yeah, and you say It\'s not sexy … just reading the copy on your website you never know that I loved… We\'ve been really into the whole story, brand story telling of your marketing and just the line your industry is our purpose. It\'s how we make the world a better place, it\'s like, \"Oh these guys are great, they\'re doing awesome things.” So it\'s both the first gate it\'s just maybe not the sexiest things but we\'re championing that. I mean, it’s great. It\'s all about marketing, you\'re helping people be the heroes that they need to be. MB: Yeah, that\'s absolutely cool about the people that I get to spend my time between 8 and 5. it is that we are all... Not necessarily communication professionals at our core. Or should I say that I never probably... What motivated us to get into the communication space? We were builders, were developers. Some of us have a background in science and engineering, and we just happened to also be good at story telling. And so that provides a really interesting combination of people under one roof that do some pretty incredible things for the team of people that we serve. Daniel Miller: Do you guys have any specific focus? You focus more on branding you focus more on specific marketing channels. MB: Yeah, we are full service. But I will tell you that our bread and butter is strategy is really helping to understand the human truths and insights that we can pluck from better understanding our client\'s customers for 70 years. We\'ve done that. It\'s where clients come back to us we keep the team pretty lean in terms of execution, ally being able to work within all the different tactics or facets of what is a modern day marketing mix, if you will. So, some of our clients, we are executing full-service from PR, all the way through execution elements but for most of our clients, it begins with a strategy initiative, and then grows from there, depending upon what they decide to work with us on our work internally with their own team. AS: That’s awesome. And you mentioned everyone in the team coming from different backgrounds. What led you to Godfrey? MB: This is a really interesting question. I actually was a consultant for Godfrey for a number of years, and then in late 2017, the team there, the ownership team. Stacy and Aaron \"Stacy-wise and Aaron Mitchell at came to me and said, \"Hey we\'d like you to do this more often and work with us on different projects and I said, \"Okay we\'ll look at next year, and see what that looks like. We had a team of three working at the consultancy that I had founded many years ago called Barbara and Hewitt and Stace and Aaron on said No, no, no, we\'d like you to do this full-time here. And I said, “in Lancaster?” because at the time we were based in Southern California and Lancaster Pennsylvania is a very obviously different place than sunny downtown LA, where we were based, and within about a month, we had figured out a structure for how we were gonna combine the teams, and went from there. And I have been in a Lancaster for almost 18 months now. AS: That’s awesome. And what\'s that transition like going from growing your own business and consulting firm to transitioning to not being your own boss all the time? MB: I think the best way to answer this question is sort of why I decided to go from owing to helping a team and that is \"as I truly enjoyed the work I found very quickly within the first two years of owning my own shop that while I loved the work, and I love working with clients and figuring out the nuances and challenges of how they are connecting with their customers and clients. What I hated, and what kept me up at night, and what had me worried was legal, HR, accounting, and while I had two parents who had retired at the time that could help me with those challenges, \'cause they had owned a business for almost 30 years. I just didn\'t love all of the operational side of the business and I wasn\'t good at it, and I also didn\'t wanna grow the agency to a place where I would need to sort of add that operational layer to the team. And so this was just the right decision at the right time. And I love the fact, I loved the ability to work with the team on a day-to-day basis, and that\'s why I have found myself why I think I found myself wanting to make this a reality two years ago, was the ability to come in and continue to do work really did work with a team that I had respected and had the chance to almost date before we got married, so to speak. AS: Yeah, I totally get that, right out of college, I had started a music blog that ended up taking off a little bit and I got to do that for four years and it was amazing and when I started at Benchmark, I kind of balanced both for a little while but having a creative team around me and not having to do all the stuff that stresses me out and everything like that. I mean, it was such a much better experience and also helped me to grow in ways that I probably wouldn\'t have had a note. I\'m sure that would have been its own growth experience but it\'s nice to be around people that push you and inspire you and make you do better work MB: Exactly. As an owner-operator, you are challenged with, How do you split your time where do you invest that time given just how valuable time is these days? And I would just prefer to spend my time in the place that really drives me and excites me. And the good news is I\'ve got two other executives as a part of Godfrey Stacy and Ron who are the other sides of the brain, if you will stay leads the operational side of agency and are leading our account management and strategy teams, so, it\'s really great to have three individuals that split, get to split their time on focus and focus their effort on the teams where they have expertise and the areas that they enjoy working in on a day-to-day basis DM: That is so important. I think a day we were watching, I think it was a TED talk or some like that, and somebody was explaining the value of time and how they were trying to book Richard Branson to give some sort of a talk and they offered him a certain kind of money and they said no, and they came back again, with a higher amount and they said No. And it came back again and he said, \"Hire just kept saying No, and they finally say like, Why do I... This is an absorbent amount of money. Like, why won\'t you take... They said Look, it\'s not part of the three things that I need to do right now. This is what I know to be focused on you. This can be handled by somebody else, but it\'s not me. And just having that resistance of nothing pulling back, nothing taking a way no fame no money, no nothing, but staying so focused. I think that\'s what creates the success. And as a question to some of our listeners, here, I see that the chief creative officer what does that mean for the company, and for what you do with clients? MB: Sure, if you look around, first of all, I think it\'s a completely nebulous and ridiculous title. I just want to preface the answer to this question with that answer. It\'s a very fancy title. We love fancy titles and agencies. I will tell you, you can go look up what Chief Creative Officer means and the industry will look at it as, you own the creative voice of your agency. And that being the strategic and execution aspects of the creative that come out of your shop. I will tell you my role at Godfrey is just to help the 36 people on my team produced the best staff possible and that means one thing. Understanding what is the best thing that individually that those 36 people can contribute and helping make sure that they\'re the ones that are contributing that to all of the ideas to the concepts, to the tactics, and pieces of creative that we\'re bringing to life. I have zero background in creative, I am not a designer by trade, I spend zero amount of time in creative type positions in my 15-year career in this space. And so as a chief creative officer, my role is solely to ensure that they all have the tools and the needs met so that they can produce extremely, amazing, creative, innovative work for our clients. Do I get to play a loose role, and what things look like or how they feel? Sure, I tend to be the Mom test, if you will, the last person that they bring those concepts and ideas too, and I get to say yes, I sometimes say No and they say Yes, but... And they convince me otherwise, but my role is Chief Creative Officer is simply to ensure that 36 people inside that building on my creative team have everything they need, and the process in place and the right people on the engagements on the right clients to make sure we\'re bringing really strategic, the impactful work to our clients and make us the most sought after B2B shop in the world. AS: I. Know that roll all too well. Daniel plays that role for me, he\'s my boss, and he gets to hear my first worst ideas, all the times are the ones I know that I\'m almost pitching just to get a laugh out of him but from those seeds come the actual great ideas that we get to present to other people, and that\'s an important role to have. There is just like that last guard, that is gonna push you to get your best, make sure you have what you need and get the best out of you. It\'s, MB: Hey, worst ideas of the best idea is possible. And that\'s funny that you share that example because our executive creative directors who are near and dear to my heart, Scott Trevaw and Cliff Lewis they celebrate our greatest worst ideas on a regular basis, inside the agency. And what\'s funny is sometimes those really bad ideas are actually end up circulating something or germinating something amongst our team that actually ends up being something that is pitched. We literally just had this happen the other day. We have a new client and this is public knowledge. I\'m not sharing anything that is under NDA or anything, but e-Corp, which is a manufacturer of floors, industrial commercial floors, largely within the athletic space. These are floors you\'d find it and gyms or hotels, or in commercial gyms, big brand gyms and such. We are just going through concept phase with their team, and the way that we produce concepts is a very structured format has a specific process of how do we get to a concept that becomes something they\'ll be pitch in front of a client and Cliff and Scott lead that effort, and we bring disparate groups of people together to help develop those concepts inside the agency that could be a web developer and a copywriter that could be a designer and a strategist. It\'s typically two to three people from different parts, agency and they have a traditional creative brief and we give them them some time to start to turn on their ideas and we use cards to initially come up with what these ideas going to be, and then we all throw them out on the table, we start talking about them. And there happened to be one card sitting on a table, a week ago that literally turned out to be our copywriter in said Jen Marie said. Oh, it\'s the worst idea possible. It\'s X, Y and Z. and Cliff, you could see the light bulb turn. He\'s like that is definitely the worst idea ever. But it could be this. And it ended up becoming a concept that was pitched to the client two days ago, and they picked that concept. So I, the worst, best ideas are often the ones where it\'s celebrating and we do. I think some really interesting thing is to not only make sure that they\'re celebrated, but ensure that they potentially become something tangible because sometimes you can find really good ideas in bad places. DM: Yeah, …too often. So I think you can see the memes online all the time, of client expectations versus their budget kind of thing. How do you guys manage that? I\'m sure we have a lot of listeners that they manage their own clients that I\'m sure we all run into that problem to where client says I want this, this masterpiece build, but have a very small budget. Any tips on how you guys handle that to try to steer that conversation and always meet those expectations? MB: Sure, well, I think the first thing is that you have to be very transparent about what your expectation is an agency or a service provider is to your client, you have to say This is our expectation of the investment you\'re gonna make into our agency and we\'re very explicit about this, we have a number... A spend that we expect our clients to work with us for and we\'re trying to grow them, towards... If you can\'t make that number, you\'re not a fit for us because we have a very specific type of client that we\'re looking for. So I think it\'s about understanding you as the service provider, you as the business what is your ideal client and making sure that that client can meet those expectations. Now, that doesn\'t mean that things aren\'t gonna change in the relationship and that means that we as an agency do have to get creative about how we produce things, but that means we also have to be very transparent of what it takes to produce those things and I think that\'s where coupled with just the disasters that to cure the procurement team has done to the agency-client relationship, but we also, as an agency and as a client didn\'t do a good job of pulling back layers, and providing a little bit of an open promo of What does it cost for certain things to be produced. And so, I listen I can... We could spend all day on the procurement side of the conversation, so I\'m not gonna address that but what I can tell you is that the way that we have handled these sorts of situations when it comes to MS expectations and dollar value is simply to be as transparent as possible. It\'s one of our cultural touch stones. We try and be as transparent, we try and be completely transparent inside organization, we do the same for our clients, so we line item, here\'s why, and here\'s what drives those costs or Here\'s why the investment level is at the level that it is and if a client says listen while we only have this budget, we just have to get very aligned on Well what can we do within that budget? What are the things that can or cannot happen? There\'s no secret RESP... That making that success happen but what makes it easier? What makes the conversations abundantly less stressful is the transparency between the relationship of that client and your customer in this case our agency. DM: I think that\'s the philosophy of life. MB: This is true. This is true. This is very true. AS: We mentioned at the start that I got to see you speak, actually, not once, but twice, at Digital Summit LA. When did the speaking opportunities come into play for you? And is that something you enjoyed doing? MB: I love doing it. And I\'ve said for many years, that if I could afford to live on a teacher\'s salary, I would be a teacher. I love teaching, I love helping people get better at what they do because I was so abundantly lucky, the moment I was lucky from day one, my mom and dad moved to the United States in 1980, and then, promptly four years later had me so I\'m giving away my age at this point, but I I also I even I grew up in one of the greatest public school programs in the world, at was abundantly lucky enough and had parents that could help me go to college, at the University of Arizona and then just stumbled into a job opportunity with a guy, a little known guy at the time. name Jay Baer. And if you\'re not familiar with Jay one of the most well-respected marketers and maybe one of the best guys on the planet in our industry. Hay has written New York Times best-sellers, and just as an absolutely stellar human being. And I would not be where I am in my career and I think in life without the impact of him on my career. But that impact comes purely from a teaching perspective. If you worked for Jay. you understood one rule and that was... You were always a lifelong learner if you\'re not learning your diet. And I think he instilled that in every single one of his team members. And I just love that aspect and I just happened to always end up in a place where I had great leaders that were also teachers and so I take that very seriously and given the other path of me is that I love a very nice lifestyle. I know that I couldn\'t afford at the lifestyle that I enjoy on a teacher\'s salary, so I figure, Hey I can combine the best of those, both worlds by helping people get better at what I know best and also continuing to be able to afford that lifestyle. So the speaking thing really came out of this passion of loving the teaching aspects of the knowledge that I\'ve learned over the past 15 or so years and getting on stage, was just really by no fault of mine a happen-stance where Jay could not make a very small opportunity in Phoenix and just said, \"You should go talk to these people because I can\'t do it and... And you\'re really good at this stuff. So go, go do something on the stage. And I was like, \"Go do something on the state. What am I gonna talk about?” And that was 10 or 11 years ago, and I\'ve been doing it ever since and I just love being on stage and bringing a life, something that is, is equally entertaining, I hope and in forming at the same time. AS: Yeah, I have to give you credit. The reason I was in your email workshop is I\'m a content manager for an email marketing company and it was almost curiosity to the point of how someone gonna get people to sit through four hours of an email presentation, and you excelled the point that I wanted to come see another one of your presentation so I do have to give you compliments there … when you\'re planning for that long of a session, what goes into that planning of How am I gonna carry people\'s attention for this amount of time? MB: Yeah, this is a really structured process, so for me, when you\'re doing a workshop there a couple of key components and that is why does this matter? You always have to start. This is a very like Simon sent driven conversation. You always start with why, because if you don\'t give people a reason to sit there for four hours, they are not going to care. And let me tell you, literally the first thing that you could say that would be the worst possible thing is your own opinion, of why people should stay there. So I you have to back up that why with a global well-known resource or set of research that says this is why you should be spending time here. So the beginnings of that of any workshop for me are all ways setting up that why I then try and mix in. Usually here\'s everything that\'s wrong with what\'s happening with X thing, if you will, and I think you can start to see the pattern because you\'ve sat in that workshop. So start with the Y inject here\'s what\'s wrong, here\'s the problem, the challenge, that we\'re having and then here\'s my view. And here\'s why that new matters? And here\'s all the things you do to get to that view. This is not an unknown sort of framework. This is a very traditional TED-style framework, that\'s just stretched out. Thampson, Webster, who is another delightful, amazing speaker and also the former executive producer at TEDx Cambridge which is one of the most well-respected TEDx in the world. She talks a lot about this framework features of content on stages and it has everything to do with allowing people to understand why does this matter setting the problem of showing the problem than saying Here\'s the solution, and backing that solution up with Here\'s all the items that go with that solution. And so there\'s a very strategic framework to building out that workshop and I use it whether it\'s four hours long or whether it\'s something like that. You saw on your second session in LA, whether it\'s something that\'s 30 to 35 minutes long, yeah. AS: I don\'t know if you got to see a Fishkin’s keynote at the LA but the title is Four Horsemen of the Marketing Apocalypse in the first 20 minutes. Literally made you feel like... Alright, let\'s pack up everything and go home marketing dead, it\'s over, we\'re done exactly and then it\'s just like... But here\'s how you can survive and what\'s gonna be okay or how we got back. So just in terms of creating compelling content bring people in. You mentioned your mom\'s there for Mothers Day now, your entire session was lessons you\'ve learned from her and what other people can take from her where you\'re sitting down to create a session like that, and it\'s something so personal how you work that in. Did you talk to your mom about it? And I mean, just what\'s that ideation process like for you? MB: So I set this is an incredible question, I and I think you guys know the answer is already this comes from story. What makes compelling content is great stories, and I think too often we forget that fact, that is a fact. And I have always approached the work that I do on stage in that way, I try and source stories from my life and then build them into something, a framework, an idea and muddle around them and eventually, hopefully something percolates out of it. And by the way, there\'s been hundreds of ideas that I\'ve starting with stories, and I\'m like, \"Oh this is gonna be great this could be fantastic, I can see it coming to life and as soon as I get put some meat on the book that\'s like \"Oh that just falls flat. So, you\'re gonna throw away a lot of it. A lot of those stories that you start with or that you think are a germination for an idea that you bring to stage. But the mom idea, I think it\'s just something that works incredibly well, because it\'s relatable. My mom... My mom, not only brings the life lessons that provide this I think really nuanced framework to how we can think about customer experiences. But back it up with everything that she does, in life, and so it\'s a very honest, raw framework that she has that she has brought life in any number of life lessons through my life. But again, this comes back to this idea of what makes great content is great stories that serve that content. And so when I think about what\'s gonna come to stage regardless of whether it is a pitch we\'re doing for a client or whether it\'s something that I\'m gonna do in front of a marketing conference, it always starts with just thinking about things that are happening in my life and how that becomes relatable and then how can it be educational, and help people get a better grasp of what you\'re trying to say, or the point that you\'re trying to make and how it can impact the work that they do or the goal that they\'re trying to reach. AS: Yeah, when I first started creating content for benchmark and I\'m writing things like lessons from Game of Thrones or Mad Men, or all these things I definitely got different eye roles and I was like... No, that\'s... That spoonful of sugar that helps the lessons go down. And I mean you\'re using videos or your mom and I mean, teasing jokes and all those things that it certain what you\'re like. Oh, I\'m also learning something, I go. It’s almost surprise attack people with the education, but just like you said, doing the storytelling I\'ve... I think I managed to hone, that a little better. We just had a really fun Email Marketing Lessons from Star Wars, for May. The fourth. MB: Oh, I love that, I love that. AS: Yeah, I got to let my internet out quite a bit. It was about 7-000 words, MB: So it’s got some meat on the bones. AS: Yes, yeah, quite a bit. I was just like, \"Oh man, this one might have gotten away from me, but I\'m here for it. DM: Yeah, I so when it comes down to giving talks is email marketing, something that you normally give talks about or do you tend to vary the subject, depending on... On the different type of event? MB: It’s very by event. I focus solely on customer experience and email just because that\'s where my bread or butter is. Email is just something that\'s been in my life since the start of my career, and I\'m just a sponge for it. I love the tactic. I think it\'s one of the most underserved less respected least sexiest tactics that we have in our disposal, but it is one of the most impactful that we have, and I think for many, many years, it has been the one that people, the marketers have just gone about, and I worry, because it is an own a channel, that not only real people continue to be engaged in, but it drives an incredible ROI, when you are very strategic and thoughtful about the campaigns and strategy that you produce around that tactic for your customers and given the fact that we have the ability to integrate this, our data as organizations, our first party data and all these different tactics, we\'re doing from social and beyond, and content and understanding how we recognize existing and known users, that are coming back to our sites or apps and personalizing that experience. It all comes back to knowing who that individual is and behaviors of that individual is doing around and own piece of data like an email address. And I, over the last couple of years, we\'ve seen this renaissance happen and I just continue to be a huge, huge fan, and so, very often, in my day-to-day life, I\'m more concerned these days, with experience for the organizations and clients that we serve. So typically, I love to talk around those two core ideas experience and email DM: That’s great. So I think you hit something really important. We always tend to say that Your email list is your most valuable asset. Without that you can\'t really bring in sales you can, but it... It\'s one of the underserved most just forgotten about things. And I think it relates to as well, if we think about relationships, the new relationships are the exciting ones like, \"Oh a new sale, a new customer blah blah blah and then you kind of forget about all these other people that already purchased from you that maybe probably had a good experience that one single email can get a large percentage of those people to come back to the store experience new products and services. And I agree with you 100% that a lot of people tend to forget about that or they have it as the thing in their mind like let\'s say everything else up and then let\'s send out the email blast as they like to call it. Hate the word, blast anyway, and we talk it and we compare ourselves now a lot to social media, we tend to see that a lot of businesses do split their time between social media and email marketing. And one thing that we try to highlight here is that your social media list, your 20.000 Likes on Facebook, something happens to them tomorrow, they\'re gone. If you don\'t have that email is You don\'t really own that I\'m gonna say, \"Oh you don\'t really own the email list either the relationship is as far as the subscriber wants it to go if they describe that\'s it, but the power you have with that is, so underserved. And my question to you is, I guess, what do you see beyond that, the most valuable part of the email marketing that you think business is kind of put aside? MB: Oh man, I mean. Let\'s start with the topic that you just sort of chewed off there, which was on social. It just the connection to social itself, largely because we exactly as you said it, you\'re on rented land, when you\'re on social media, right, your likes, your followers, your those individuals that are falling, you across those profiles that\'s rented space. If they go away, they\'re gone now, I think we\'re all being a little bit blasphemous when we say that if they\'re gone, we\'re probably in an era where Facebook and the like, are not going away in a sort of a matter of moments, if you will, especially given just the pervasiveness at least Facebook by itself. I think in other social networks we could probably see that happen, but the connection to social is one of them. The value that you have when you have a relationship with a subscriber with a human being in their inbox and then the ability to connect the behaviors that they\'re doing inside that impact two things that you\'re doing within social is one big opportunity that I think that businesses don\'t understand. We\'re spending an inordinate amount of money on the ecosystem that is Facebook and Google\'s ad ecosystems, right? So Facebook\'s got Instagram app, the whole platform, WhatsApp, deepening that experience in the messenger and more of the private areas of Facebook and then under the ecosystem on Google, you have obviously all of their display media empire, the search Empire, all the retargeting empire Mentos. And he likes right? We can take the... Not only just if we have a relationship with that a subscriber and understand the impact of what they\'re doing or what they may not be doing with our email campaigns and then target them with very specific messaging in those two platforms based on those behaviors. We can also ensure that we are not marketing to people that are already our customers, right? So we\'re spending trillions of dollars a year, on marketing, new customer messaging to people that are already our customers when we could do a really good job of excluding them from those paid promotional messages because we have an understanding of who they are. So just the connection to social and email itself is just one area and of value. The next is just experience with your business and how you can personalize conversations with an individual, like a sales rep or you can customize a personalization aspects, on your digital property is like your app at or your website, right? By understanding and knowing that person is a logged in, logged out user or cookie-ing that you with some sort of tracking right? And then understanding the experience that you bring to life or a known subscriber, is going to be very different because you know the activities that they do in the behaviors that they take. So you can not only have the value from Social, you can also start to deliver an incredible experience with real-time face-to-face conversations with customers when you have that subscriber relationship and the digital experiences that you\'re creating for customers on your website, on your app or these experiences that you may be creating. So the value is so much more than just the relationship inside the inbox. It\'s also about all these different areas that we are seemingly trying to reach potential prospects, but also reach our current customers and make sure that, that conversation or that experience we\'re having with them is timely targeted and relevant and personalized for that individual. DM: I can totally see where you\'re the chosen one to give seminars and talks, and stuff like that. Your answers are complete. Wonderful... Good to hear. I agree, 100% and yeah, thank you for your support towards the email world and sharing that. AS: I was gonna say listening and being like, \"Oh we gotta pull some of these quotes and put a giant mega phone on top of the car Blues Brothers style and just drive around blasting them. But the good thing is, this is a podcast and everyone\'s gonna get to hear it anyways. DM: Something that you mentioned that, I\'m just kind of curious about changing gears completely. Keeping your paid customers your existing customers outside of some paid ads they may want. I know there\'s probably some specific ads especially, it\'s like a first time special like, Hey save 20%, off on your first purchase. You definitely wanna keep your existing customers out. But I\'ve read a lot from Amazon and some other marketing blogs that a lot of companies tend to show the same product, multiple times after the customer buys and that does encourage multiple buys or sharing of that product later on to friends and family. Do you have any experience on that or any take on that? MB: Yeah, I mean it is, it\'s purely I think especially from a sharing angle, I\'m not gonna say that I think the experience of re-targeting, for the sake of getting people to repeat purchase is something that we should be championing, because we are a society that is just driving they want of things and I\'m not a big proponent of that, so personally I would say I hope we\'re not doing that by driving things, but again, we have to run businesses, so I totally get it, and understand that it\'s a tactic that will provide value on this idea of sharing. I think that is an incredible insight. And I\'ve been reading some of those same articles and certainly something to me on is this, the power of word of mouth, and obviously Jay being my former boss and a guy who\'s written a book on this, right? It is second to none, it is the thing that is driving purchase right now. And so, yeah. Is it an interesting tactic to consider for how you drive board of mouth? I think yes, I just hope that we aren\'t making we are intentionally doing something to create that sharing mechanism to hit to create Tenali for that customer to share versus simply trying to drive them to repurchase \'cause I think there are much more smart ways we can be doing that without showing them the same ad that we should be showing to a net new customer. DM: That’s a gold nugget right there I agree, I hate it … I’m it\'s not gonna hate it but it just bothers me seeing the same the... So, that I purchased it makes me show it shows to me that that company was a little bit lazy with their marketing and their segments AS: I think is kind of the idea of the flywheel is almost been like jargon du jour lately, but as that\'s becoming people\'s more focus in terms of their marketing strategies, I think they\'ll learn what to do and not to do, from all of that and where the client is gonna get value from all of it. MB: Yeah and even worse, it not even what\'s hard is when you already are a customer seeing a product or service that you bought before and you do that eye roll motion of why am I seeing this ad? What is even worse is when it\'s a potential coupon or it\'s a promotion or something, and it\'s more than you got off potentially a couple of days ago, or a week ago, or six months ago, right? And we\'re so lazy that we can\'t even exclude customers, that literally just bought our product got less of a discount on that product and now you\'re showing them, if they just would have waited a week, they would have got potentially two times more of it. That those things... I\'m like how do we... How do we get that lazy that that\'s even a thing but it is... So just things that we have to tackle as marketers. DM: Yeah, I was at a conference where we were talking about AB testing pricing pages, and they were talking about the horror stories of pricing page that had huge totally different as something 50% different \'cause they were trying to test pricing out and customers that we\'re seeing both of them, because somebody screwed up in the ads and the email marketing. That is not a fun game for customer service will tell you that a... MB: No, it is not not at all. AS: Well, Michael, I really wanna thank you for spending some time and chat with us day liable marketing \"narain could probably to or up for hours but we won\'t. \'cause you\'re on the east coast, and it\'s Friday, so we just wanna give you a chance to let everyone know where they can find out more about Godfrey, and you yourself. MB: Well first I really appreciate the time and getting to spend a Friday afternoon with you two regardless of if it is Friday, afternoon and we\'re gonna go get drinks after this, but if anybody would like to say Hello, I\'m pretty much at MichaelJ. I am at MichaelJBarber. Pretty much everywhere online, so Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, you can find me by just using those URLS and then ending them with MichaelJBarber. AS: Awesome. If you\'re ever an event that he speak can\'t recommend going to see him enough. Thanks everyone for listening and thanks again to Michael for joining us bye guys.


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Working Five 2 One with Vaibhav Namburi

Working Five 2 One with Vaibhav Namburi

Beyond • May 10, 2019

We love a good story here on the Heart Of Business and Vaibhav Namburi is no difference. He left India for his education and found a career, starting a company, Five 2 One, dedicated to helping people make their dreams come true by creating apps and AI for businesses across the globe. They\'ve even worked with the UN!  This episode is packed with lessons Vaibhav has learned along the way and advice for others looking to pursue their own passions. It\'s one of those things where I\'m building stuff and I\'m like, \'Okay this is very hard. It\'s tough for me, I can\'t figure it out, blah, blah, blah.\' And then you\'re like, \'You know what? You said that the other day, you\'ll figure it out. Even if you don\'t, you will find the right people to help you figure it out.\' 00:00 Andy Shore: How are you doing today, Vaibhav? 00:02 Vaibhav Namburi: Mate, you got my name right. So, well done. I\'m doing bloody bloody well. How about yourself? 00:07 AS: I\'m doing great, thanks. I have to admit, I went to YouTube and watched a couple of videos of you saying it, so that I knew I would say it right? [laughter] I did my homework, and it paid off and I\'m glad. 00:18 VN: Well done. 00:19 AS: But for the listeners who haven\'t done their homework, maybe can you tell us a little bit about 521. 00:24 VN: Sure, for sure. Hey guys, my name is Vaibhav. I commonly go by V. We\'re a product studio-based in Sydney, do a lot of apps, products, and machine learning, and blockchain solutions for people. So we\'ve been lucky enough to work with the likes of the United Nations, with DeVry, PwC, KPMG, News Corp and the big ones and a couple of cool startups as well as global corporations. 00:55 Daniel Miller: Nice. 00:55 AS: And how did you wind up in Australia to begin with? 01:00 VN: Fair enough. I actually had a bit of a globetrotter story. So my dad works for a large corporate, so we moved around eight countries or seven. And I came to Australia about eight years ago, just to do my undergrad. And after that, just started working and ended up here because my sister was actually here before me. I was about to go to the States but then I decided to come here, which I guess paid off in its own way. 01:27 DM: Very nice. So, I\'m actually kind of curious, where did the name 521 come from? 01:35 VN: So, the 521 is originally named Five to One, to help people convert their 5 PM to 1 AM side hustle to their full-time hustle. 01:44 DM: Oh. 01:46 AS: That\'s actually perfect, \'cause when Daniel asked me, I started doing like the Dolly Parton like working Five to One, and that\'s exactly what it is. [laughter] 01:55 VN: You knew exactly what it is. 01:55 AS: So if you need that marketing video, you can have that idea. 01:58 VN: Buddy, thank you so much, I will definitely credit you for that. As anything later you tend to realize that people want to convert side hustles to full-time hustles. We don\'t have the money for it, so I was like, yep, I\'m just gonna stick to corporate. That\'s kind of where all the money comes in. So, happy days, the biggest hypocrite is me. 02:15 DM: Very nice. 02:16 AS: But you are helping people make their dreams come true, that\'s why we are here, I don\'t know how to do business, that\'s amazing. 02:22 VN: It\'s always fun working with the smaller companies, we worked with a couple of first-time founders as well. And it\'s really great seeing their ideas being converted to something on a story board, to something on a design pattern, to something as an app and eventually thousands of users using it. So it\'s always encouraging for ourselves to see people use our products, and more so believe in the founders who we once believed in too. 02:50 DM: That\'s awesome. What would you say is your favorite part of the process of working with a new client? 02:58 VN: I think the favorite part always comes into the first time we have them use the product that we\'ve built, whether that might be in the past two weeks or three weeks. And when they finally see, okay, all these things that we were talking about finally executed. Everyone stays in the idea and I want to do something phase for such a long time, that once that idea that, the thing is actually executed in their hands, they\'re like, Oh wow, this is real, right? This is happening and that\'s when they get super excited. You can see them shine and get really pumped up whether... Even it\'s an SME or if it\'s like a corporate, the second we see that happening and they see that this is in their hands, and they actually get to feel and touch their dream. It\'s always a great feeling and that\'s when you see that they get really pumped in, their marketing stars getting kicked off, they\'re like, Oh yeah, we finally have a cool product, it\'s not just us talking about a bunch of ideas over a couple of drinks. So that\'s always been the exciting path. 03:58 DM: Nice. 03:58 AS: Yeah, definitely, that it\'s great to be a part of people\'s growth process and having those [04:04] ____ awesome. 04:04 VN: For sure. 04:05 DM: Especially those who dream, you know. Like this is a dream that I have, I\'ll love to build this app or this piece of software and then being able to see that in your hands, it\'s going to be a good feeling. Yeah. 04:14 VN: Yeah, exactly. 04:16 AS: With the name of the company, it\'s built in, that you\'re helping people with those side hustles, and that\'s the founding of the company but you\'ve now got clients like PwC and Auto Trader and you\'re working with the UN. So what\'s that growth process like for you that led to being able to net those much bigger clients. 04:36 VN: I wanna say luck and I guess right time at the right place. I got on to this whole LinkedIn game about two and a half years ago when there\'s not a lot of people producing content. And honestly I started rambling crap online and some people actually liked the shit I was saying and coincidentally some of the people who liked what I was saying was like a senior HR manager at PwC. And then he reached out to me saying, Hey we\'re looking to have someone help us out with XYZ, do you and your team wanna come in and help us? And I was a small company at that time, I was like hell yeah, I\'ll do for free if you want me to. But luckily, I didn\'t do it for free, which is a good decision. [laughter] 05:21 VN: I basically met them that way and we did that project which was great. Auto Trader won honestly, I think it\'s kind of what you look at as a long-term sales cycle, right? I caught up with their CTO, who was a great friend Jeremy Gupta, he\'s doing his own thing right now. And it was honestly, I just caught up with him \'cause I wanted to meet people who were doing different things in their career. And when I mean different... It\'s a very broad word? It was... How did you start off doing bio-med science, and now you\'re a CTO of a company, right? That\'s literally was my LinkedIn query search. I wanted to find people with interesting career paths, people... It was more so an attestment to me, to give me confidence and saying that, \"Look, I started with a mechatronics background, and now I\'m in software, don\'t worry, it\'s going to be fine,\" right? 06:11 VN: And I messaged heaps of these people, I don\'t know how many. And Jeremy from Auto Trader was one of them. And he replied back, we caught up, honestly it was like six months in, before we even worked together. But that\'s where I... I talked to [06:26] ____, the person who introduced us about this a lot is, I call it the red button principle is basically be so good at one thing, that when someone\'s built something for you and they have a red button regardless of how much you charge and where in the world you are they trust you so much to be that one specialist that they will call you and have you press that red button, right? Because it\'s just as important. And with us it was the same thing, where we were really good in a couple of things and Jeremy was respectful of that, so he called us in, he\'s like, \"Look we\'re building this massive project Hav and we\'re derivative of Cox automotive in America were a massive company. Can you help us?\" And I was like, \"this is great\" \'cause this is gonna be one of our first few products that is actually gonna be televised in Australian TV. Like people are actually gonna watch ads for it, there\'s gonna be thousands of sign-ups, and that\'s how it happened, It was a long, I wanna call \'sales cycle\', but also at the same time, a genuine relationship that was built over non-agenda-driven coffees, I guess. 07:31 AS: Yeah, No, I think those are two incredible points that I really wanted to emphasize while you were talking about it because I was just at Digital Summit at Los Angeles last month and saw both Randi Zuckerberg and Rand Fishkin. 07:44 VN: Oh yeah. 07:45 AS: Neither one of them would recommend someone start a blog right now, because it\'s just such an oversaturated market. So for you to find a channel where you can more authentically connect with people, it just shows and proves that is effective in today\'s marketing landscape that if you\'re finding a way to connect with people and deliver something that\'s valuable to them, that that\'s really... It\'s gonna take you places, and you\'re a living example of that, that\'s great, but the other part is, I mean everyone at our company, here, always laughs at me because I\'ve got eight weddings a year to go to all over the country and I\'m always traveling and it\'s just Like, \"how do you have so many friends?\" But that\'s what happens when you just are kind to people and you make those genuine connections and if you keep talking base that, sure maybe something will pay off in the long run that you get to do for work, but it\'s those friendships that are gonna grow. I mean the reason we\'re talking today is your... One of your childhood friends who\'s... [chuckle] 08:41 AS: One of our favorite guests that we\'ve had emailed me like, \"Hey you have to talk to my buddy.\" [chuckle] 08:46 AS: That\'s what he said and he wasn\'t lying, but it was just that simple, being like, \"hey man... \" we had a good time talking to him. We had a good time promoting it afterwards together. An hour later he was just like, \"Hey let\'s talk to this guy.\" And I looked into you, and I was just like, \"Oh yeah, we definitely have to tell that story.\" [chuckle] 09:04 VN: [09:04] ____. Sorry, you were saying something. 09:07 DM: No, no, no, all I was gonna say is I think more people need to really look at what they love to do, and shine at doing that because... 09:16 AS: Yeah. 09:16 DM: That\'s how you meet cool people, that you\'re gonna get along with. I think there\'s a lot of people that just do things \'cause they think that that\'s what they\'re supposed to do and they end up with a group of friends they don\'t really care for and all that stuff. 09:27 VN: Yeah. 09:28 DM: Not to get too philosophical today. [chuckle] 09:31 VN: I wanted to add to that thing that you guys were talking about right before is be kind to people for the sake of it. I have shared this story multiple times, on linkedin, YouTube, etcetera, one of my biggest projects... One of the biggest ones we\'ve done actually came through, Honestly, just like you said, being nice to someone. I was at a friend\'s birthday at a club, and I was leaving my coat and there\'s a long line at the coat hanging place, and I was talking to this guy in front of me, he was talking to me about his job and what He does, etcetera, and it was so long ago, it was almost two years ago before I actually worked with that particular client. Turns out that this dude I was talking to at the coat hanging place was best friends with who was gonna be one of my biggest clients. And The nicest thing you wanna hear from a client who is a large project is for his best friend to say, \"Oh, V\'s actually a really nice guy. Out of a pure non-agenda basis. He was generally cool and we spoke and we talked about work and helping each other out.\" and it was one of the things where you try and test a few things right? When you\'re in marketing, you throw a few things methodically on a wall and you see what sticks and then you double down on that process, like the whole Sean Ellis growth hacking process, right? 10:53 VN: And I generally wasn\'t sure. Look, I\'m one of those dudes who... Heavily bullied in school, and I was super shy and you sort of need to step out of that shell and just talk to people sometimes without an agenda, sometimes with an agenda. And this was one of the cases where I always talk to the younger founders that I reach out to who reach out to me and I\'m like, \"look it\'s two minutes, you\'re standing there, you\'re not getting anything out of it. Just say a hi. You don\'t know what might happen.\" right? And this is like a living example where I, without again going too philosophical, is about you never know where opportunity stands and you never know where this person might work, it\'s people buy from people. You can tell me as much as you want that we\'re in the internet age, and it\'s all about online marketing and funnel optimization blah, blah, blah. But people buy from people. It\'s as simple as that, it\'s how it\'s been, it\'s how will always be. 11:44 AS: Yeah, I live in LA. The version of that we hear all the time is, you never know who\'s gonna be your boss on the next project. [laughter] 11:51 AS: So all the... [11:52] ____ podcast things I listen to, yeah, be nice to the PAs they might be directing a movie you\'re in next time. [laughter] 12:00 AS: That\'s the much more superficial version of that, but that applies to every industry is just like... The power of kindness, when you go in... When I came to my interview at benchmark the first person I interacted with was just at a desk setting up a computer, turns out that it was the CEO of the company, and I was truthfully kind to him. Not that I would have been anything else I\'d like to think, but you really never know who it is you talk to or what you said, What\'s serendipity it might lead to. So that\'s a really important lesson. I\'m glad we got a chance to hit on that. What else have you learned in this process in terms of growing and as you\'re working with bigger clients, what kind of challenges came with scaling as you had to learn to do that with a bigger client versus some of the Startups or people still looking for their funding and those sorts of things? 12:52 VN: Sure, I think the biggest challenge I\'ve faced in general I think everyone faces in business is, \"Am I doing this right? There\'s a constant battle between am I doing right, can I grow faster, what am I doing wrong? And it\'s right to have that certain level of pedanticness but at the same time it almost consumes you at sometimes. So it\'s just a learning lesson to realize that look, just people say this a million times and I\'ve said it and I\'m the biggest hypocrite saying that is, stop comparing someone\'s tomorrow with your today, is someone that you\'re seeing that you\'re following blah, blah, blah they have put in hours and hours and hours of work into this so stop getting concerned that you\'re not there yet, right? 13:36 DM: Yeah, correct. 13:36 VN: And the second thing is just learning that it\'s somethings are just unfair, somethings are just fair. And when we started working with the corporates I think or the larger companies I think when you put the word corporate, it becomes very... When we started working with larger companies who were... Who were testing innovation I think the... I wouldn\'t call it challenging is actually great working with them because they understood that working with a smaller company meant we get to be more nimble, we get to be more approachable, we get to try new ideas without having red tape attached to it and you know this is what I find interesting. Whenever I have a project within my own company and I wanna offer it to someone else, I tend to not go for bigger companies, I actually got the smaller ones \'cause to my opposition what I think is smaller guys, the small guys and girls they wanna prove a point which means they\'re gonna do 10 times the job to get that reputation up and going versus someone who\'s got a bit of reputation. Not like who has a reputation wouldn\'t do a good job. They obviously will that\'s why they have that, but it\'s always a chance of passing the baton on to someone who\'s trying to make it. 14:43 VN: So, I think that really helped us also shape ourselves is when we were working with the larger companies, the biggest challenge obviously is just understanding how they operate. They work so differently each company to its completely own self, they work very differently but in the end the promise that you have to sell to anyone or what you need to deliver is look, if I can deliver you a good nights rest, that\'s all you need to worry about and most of these people who are working in executive positions that\'s all they care about. They generally want to do good for their business and they wanna do good for their family and if you can offer both of that and do it in a way where you\'re like, \"Look you need to trust the process, you need to trust us, we do things a little differently mainly because we\'re working in emerging technology, we\'re working in Blockchain, you need to realize that this is not just another random web application that will just be built at it\'s predictable, right? 15:38 AS: Correct. 15:38 VN: These are things that are new and you need to trust us and the last part of that trust comes from them seeing us on LinkedIn or YouTube or Instagram, whatever other million ways I\'m trying to get ourselves pushed out there. They\'re like, cool there\'s familiarity and I understand you because you\'ve obviously spoken to X amount of people, I don\'t understand this arena but I\'m going to trust you and that trust is it takes sometime, I think Jeremy actually said this really well, he\'s like look, I think any relationship when it\'s a client service-based situation is much like a marriage, you\'re going to have a bit of tips and fight but both of you really wanna work together, you wanna make something great happen and you need to realize that any disagreement or any qualms is honestly strengthening the relationship further which was exactly the case with us and Auto Trader was it was not just cool, smooth story from start to end, it was like any relationship, you have some tough times but it\'s how do you react to that tough time that decides how this goes on and I think that was a great example of us. We worked with them for almost one year and we loved working with them, they loved working with us and it was purely for the fact that okay, we have a tough situation, let\'s not just run around and pull our hair which I don\'t have much of, but how do we go ahead and make something happen out of this? And that really, really helped us all. 17:11 DM: Yeah, trust is I think the most important thing of any relationship and once you gain that trust, the sky is the limit. A question for you in regards to... \'cause you not only do you work with big brands but you work on big ideas, big projects. 17:31 VN: Yeah. 17:32 DM: What are some of the... I guess, what\'s some of the secret sauce there on tackling a big challenge especially when it\'s things with artificial intelligence, Blockchain, what are some of the things that you guys go through or I guess... What\'s the word that I\'m looking for? Not strategies but I guess, how do you guys tackle those big ideas? 17:55 VN: Now, you\'ve raised a very good point. It\'s about how do you stay on top and I think the easiest way to answer it is by being a little loose in the head. I came back home at 1:00 o\'clock in the morning and I wanted to do machine learning algorithms it\'s... But honestly I wish I had an answer that didn\'t sound for lack of better words cocky or whatever it\'s generally that. I\'m a nerd, I like building cool stuff, you guys understand this as well right? You are doing excellent things in your business because you are trying to push the forefront of delivery and making cool things happen, it\'s that obsession that you have and I think it starts from the top. My team have always forced me to take a vacation \'cause they consider that okay look, we get that you work hard but if you get sick, then there\'s no money coming in, so do it and chill. But I think it\'s just, it dives back to that story. I actually have a tattoo on my arm, it\'s a bull and I keep telling people that I got this tattoo \'cause it\'s Taurus blah, blah, blah but the reason I actually got it was because I got that at the time where I was like, \"Cool. I\'m gonna put this at the time stamp and every time I look at it, I will want to be like \"Cool, I need to run, I need to go fast because I don\'t wanna be where I was when I got that tattoo.\" It\'s as simple as that and it doesn\'t work that much when it\'s winter \'cause I\'m wearing long sleeves clothes but. 19:21 VN: But the principle is basically that the way we stay and solve big ideas and solve big problems because you face 10 times the challenges when you\'re sitting at the edge of the cube, is understanding that it\'s a very frustrating role and embracing that and realizing that... It\'s one of those things, right? And I\'m pretty sure you guys have both faced this. You\'ve both have faced times in your life where you\'re like, \"Oh shit, this is hard. I can\'t handle this break up. I don\'t know how I\'m gonna do this.\" or someone\'s unfortunately not feeling well or, \"I\'ve broken my leg and I can\'t be a football player anymore.\" But then you moved past that and you\'re here. You two are doing really well right now and you\'re achieving something you wanna achieve. And it\'s just that mindset, you\'re like, \"Okay, back then I thought that was the end of the world but here I am.\" Right? So... 20:09 DM: What\'s that saying? In the end it will all be alright. If it\'s not alright, it\'s \'cause it\'s not the end. 20:14 VN: Exactly right. And it\'s one of those things where if you sort of stumble upon these things that you\'re like, \"Oh yeah, it\'s a cliche because it\'s true.\" Right? So it\'s one of those things where I\'m building stuff and I\'m like, \"Okay this is very hard. It\'s tough for me, I can\'t figure it out, blah, blah, blah.\" And then you\'re like, \"You know what? You said that the other day, you\'ll figure it out. Even if you don\'t, you will find the right people to help you figure it out.\" I think one thing that we all appreciate within our team is we understand that we\'re not the smartest but we strive to be the dumbest in that we want to surround ourselves with the smartest people. That\'s when you\'re doing a good job. When you\'re the smartest it\'s always value down, but when you\'re the dumbest in the room it\'s always value up, right? 20:56 AS: Definitely. Yeah, I love that. I\'ve told the story on the podcast before, but I remember at Coachella a few years ago, it\'s when they did the Tupac hologram on stage and I\'m standing in the middle of this field with 70,000 other people and I\'m thinking about how I\'m gonna turn that into a story to write for our weekly newsletter the next day. 21:16 VN: Exactly. 21:17 AS: And making it about an email marketing lesson. And it just happened with a guest blog I did. They were like... It was about email and event marketing and they had wine and cheese in the graphic, but they hadn\'t written anything about wine and cheese in the post. So they\'re like 10 points if you can somehow work wine and cheese into this [laughter] or if you\'re writing about is email and event marketing. I was just like, \"Oh I can turn anything into email marketing, that\'s just how my noggin works now. 21:42 VN: That\'s it. That\'s it. 21:44 AS: Talking about having that tattoo to remind you of that time that you needed the lesson. Daniel was just working with our offices in India, and did come back sporting some beautiful art on his forearm for a very similar reason. 21:58 DM: Very similar actually, I got Lord Shiva on my forearm. 22:02 VN: Oh yeah? Nice, nice, that\'s awesome, that\'s awesome. It\'s just one of the things, right? Once you\'re in it, you\'re switched on. Like you always see like, cool opportunity, everywhere opportunity. I talk to my friends and client services is tough. It\'s very hard, \'cause what\'s your value prop? Everyone\'s doing the same thing, how do you stand out? And that\'s okay. You\'re right, it is very difficult. But then there\'s two ways to look at it. You can look at a 15-year-old killing it in life and be like, \"Shit, it\'s late.\" or you can look at 15-year-old and who\'s killing it and you\'re like, \"Hell, yeah, I wanna be like them and I\'m pumped by it.\" So you can... I look at the skyline at Sydney every day and I see all these big companies I\'m like, \"One day, one day, one day I\'m gonna knock on their office. One day I\'m gonna knock on their office.\" And that\'s just... It\'s some days you\'re like, \"This is... I can\'t.\" I don\'t know about you guys, but I\'ve spoken to a lot of people, I was like, \"I have a magic number and I\'ve kept a book.\" Every single time I wanted to quit in the first year, and I think it was 45. Like 45 times where I was like, \"You know what? Tell the other team I\'m done. I\'m out of this. I\'ll pay you guys off. I\'m just frustrated, right? I\'m out of here.\" But every single time you look at that book, it\'s one of the things like, \"Okay, remember the time you said you\'re done but now you\'re back here? 23:17 AS: Yeah. 23:18 VN: And you just keep pushing. 23:20 DM: That\'s really cool, that is really cool. There\'s this book called Non-Violent Communication. I highly recommend it to everybody. 23:26 VN: Oh yeah. Please. 23:28 DM: And in that book he talks exactly about kind of what you\'re saying. Like don\'t be jealous of anyone else, be happy for them and have that inspire you to keep going for yourself. And I think I really like that idea of keeping a tally of all the times that you wanted to quit to look back at them like, \"Remember that day. Remember how foolish that would have been.\" That\'s pretty cool. 23:51 VN: Yeah, exactly. 23:55 DM: You work with artificial intelligence and Blockchain. I think a lot of people... I mean, it\'s somewhat new, I guess, for the mainstream. 24:04 AS: It\'s a buzzword. 24:05 DM: Yeah. It\'s a buzzword, that\'s what it is. 24:06 VN: It is, it is, it is, huge buzzwords. 24:08 DM: What I wanna ask you is, what is artificial intelligence for you? 24:13 AS: Awesome, that is a beautiful question. Artificial intelligence to me, is something a bunch of IT geeks came up with to over-charge clients. [laughter] 24:21 DM: I love that answer. 24:23 VN: It is basically that. I read this great article, I\'ll actually share with you guys in an email. And I think I loved what she said. She was I think a data scientist, a massive data scientist at Google and she used the word anthropomorphizing. So I actually had it in front of me \'cause I can\'t... What it basically means \'cause I Googled is making something sound Godly when it\'s actually not. So AI to me is simple. It\'s mimicking human beings, it\'s mimicking decision patterns that human beings would take. Which is what? When I look at something, I go through a recognition pattern. I\'m like, \"Okay, where did I see this before? And what was it when I first saw it? When I first saw it I didn\'t know what it was. Then I was told what it was and now I know what it is, right?\" And it\'s as simple as that. It\'s when you show an algorithm or whatever you call it, a bunch of functions, here is the image, tell me what it is. First it doesn\'t know what it is, then it goes back, and this is the whole word people use training models, right? Then it goes ahead and understands what it kind of is. And then the next time you show it it\'s like, \"Oh yeah, I saw this. You told me what it was. So this is what it actually is.\" And it\'s just that going back, failing, repeating and then realizing this is actually what it is the next time you actually show it. 25:46 VN: That\'s all AI and machine learning is. It\'s telling a function that what it predicted was wrong, so please go back and understand the variables that you used to make this prediction and change the variables around until you get it right. It\'s like almost teaching a function to punish itself until it actually gets it right. [laughter] 26:06 AS: Interesting lesson. 26:07 VN: That\'s basically what it is. It\'s... It is a little hard. Don\'t get me wrong. I find it hard as well. It\'s a very deep topic, but removing the complexity at us, when you actually talk to clients, it\'s like, \"Oh, what is this MLAI, like robots taking over the world?\" In all fairness, it\'s as simple as that is you show them something, they don\'t know what it is, then show it again, and because they remember it from memory, they\'re like, \"Oh yeah, this is what it was. Is that it?\" And you\'re like, \"Yeah, you\'re right. You got it correct.\" And sometimes you get it wrong and you tell it and it punishes itself until it gets it right. 26:40 AS: That\'s cool. Do you ever face an issue when you\'re talking with clients, I mean, sometimes when you\'re with a young, hungry startup, I\'m sure they\'re more familiar with it, but sometimes you face kind of that old guard that is more scared or doesn\'t understand it. Is there a pushback in that when you kind of face those people or do you find them becoming more learning to adapt and accept what\'s coming and especially when you\'re able to break it down and explain it as clearly as you can? 27:07 VN: Yeah. It\'s always... I think people are inclined to familiarity. People love comfort zones. Like it or not, I love comfort zones, but only those... When you\'re growing like, \"Yeah, you need to be comfortable being uncomfortable.\" That\'s where you start. We need to get into that mindset, but obviously bigger people don\'t care about that. I think in the end, if you stop selling it in a way that you understand it and you start selling it in a way that they understand it, that\'s all that matters. There\'s always a resistance in any adaptation of a new tool, so if you start telling them, \"Look, if you use this product, genuinely it will make your life easier. This is not about me. Let\'s talk about you. What are the problems you\'re facing right now? What are the issues that is costing you money? How can you do more by doing less?\" That\'s the dream, right? How can you do more by doing less? And this is a solution. Sometimes it\'s not the right solution, so let\'s not do it. Let\'s not just work together for the sake of working together, but sometimes let us actually work together for doing more with less. And it\'s not always a perfect hit, but majority of the time, people actually understand that. If you walk them through the issues that they\'re facing. Do you guys watch Friends, the TV show? 28:26 DM: Yeah. 28:28 VN: Oh, thank God. We\'re best friends now. I love that show and I grew up on that. It\'s basically my depression fix. And you remember that episode where Joey\'s at the gala and he buys a yacht? 28:40 AS: Yes, with Kevin. 28:42 VN: Yeah, and then Rachel\'s kinda like send it off him and she\'s selling it to the second highest bidder, it\'s a great topic on sales and marketing. Rachel never once sold the concept to that dude about how great the actual yacht is. All she did was, she\'s like, \"Envision a picture where you and your wife are traveling on the yacht and then there\'s the wind hitting the hair,\" the little hair that he had, and she sold the dream to him. She sold what it was solving for him. She never showed features. She sold solutions, right? And I think a lot of people get drawn in the fact that, \"Oh cool, look at these 50 features we have.\" No, the client does not care about 50 features, they care about feature number four. Just sell feature number four, and that\'s where what you guys do, which is email prospecting and understanding what clients actually care about and diving really deep on that one thing really makes a difference, which is why, you know, my newfound respect for marketing and marketers over the past two years has honestly just exploded and I\'m learning a lot about it and I\'m trying to learn more and more because what you guys do is have the super power of understanding psychology as skill. And that is just incredible. Some of the things that I learn when I talk to marketers and how they understand people, it\'s incredible. 30:08 DM: For me it\'s been... So I studied Computer Science in college and then halfway through I switched to a Art major. 30:18 VN: Oh, awesome. 30:19 DM: It almost killed me. [chuckle] 30:21 DM: Now the job that I have, I\'m no coder but I understand how to speak to coders, and the artistic side helps me with marketing. So for me, I think it was the best combo that I coulda had because I am able to see the perspective and I\'m curious. I\'m very, very hungry for like, \"What happens if we change this? What\'s the power of this one word?\" And yeah, I just love it. But I think Seth Godin said, going back to what you were saying, a guy going to a hardware store for a drill bit doesn\'t want a drill. He wants a hole in the wall and he doesn\'t want a hole in the wall, he wants a shelf. He doesn\'t want a shelf, he just wants his damn books to be organized. That\'s all he really wants. So understanding that in marketing and being able to tell a story that will relate to that person, that\'s the whole power of it all. 31:18 VN: Perfectly said. It\'s selling that dream, right? This is marketing, correct, the new one, the orange colored book? 31:26 DM: That one, yeah. Yeah, that one. 31:28 AS: I read that through all. [31:34] ____ dream big, has hardware ever stopped a project for you, meaning hardware just wasn\'t there for you to be able to do something? It looks like the battery life or speed or... 31:46 VN: Sure, sure. There\'s always limitations. You always need to work with the bounds of what you have, right? If we didn\'t have that, that would be great. We worked with the United Nations in Devry to solve a big problem for our schools in Tunisia, and it was about delivery of food to people in an efficient way using blockchain for tracking products, etcetera, etcetera. And a large issue that we had over there was the drivers or the people who would move product from one place to the other would not actually have the technology or the phones. We have modern 3G or 4G, but they don\'t have that over there. So yeah, it was an absolute limitation. We\'re like, \"Okay, how do we... 32:28 VN: I have engineering teams and engineers over here with full-scale internet and fast computers. We\'re billing for the modern age, but how do we now scale back and build for people who might still be in the early 2000s or late \'90s. And that\'s where you start really stressed, you start stretching your engineering team and your mindset. This is when you start being like \"Okay how do we be true problem solvers? How do we solve for the client?\" And we\'ve faced that. We definitely faced that and solutions that we came up with was like, \"Okay, we will start doing... An easy way of put-through is [33:04] ____ We\'ll go ahead and basically batch up requests that a user has made when they\'re offline, and the second they get online or get a hint of data, we\'ll just start dispatching these pockets of data to our servers, so they catch on to it. But in today\'s day and age, you\'re like, \"Oh, you\'re pretty much always online. And if you\'re not online, then you can\'t even do anything.\" 33:28 VN: So I was coming up with these cool little things and even so, that\'s where it gets even more fun. If you\'re just doing normal products every day, it tends to be, \"It\'s alright, it\'s great. We made money. Hurrah.\" But how do we go home and be like, \"Oh, you know what we did today? We built something that actually works completely offline and the user thinks it\'s offline, but the second they get online, everything just goes back in.\" And it sounds so easy, and maybe 100 people have done it before, but the fact that you get to do it again, but yourself, gets you even more excited. So, there\'s always limitations in hardware, even when we\'re doing with machine learning algorithms and we\'re trying to train models. We\'re trying to do stuff on... Just FYI, when people say they\'re training models, it\'s just syntax where we got it wrong, and we\'re trying to do it again. [chuckle] That\'s basically all it stands for. 34:20 AS: The positive spin. 34:22 VN: Yeah, yeah the positive spin. It\'s like, when the engineer comes to you and like, \"Hey boss, I\'m re-training the model right now. It\'s not... It\'s basically... Dude, I screwed up. I\'m just gonna do it again and again and again until I figure it out.\" And when you humanize it, it makes it sound cooler. I think Devs are really cool, including myself, are really good at creating black boxes and mystiques around people. I love marketing for the same reason as well. When I didn\'t know much about it, I\'d always go to the marketing team, I\'m like, \"Yeah, so how\'s the QPC and the FPAs and the ABCs and the ZYTs going?\" \'Cause you guys talk a lot in acronyms, right? Yeah, there\'s limitations, but you just need to work around it and if you can\'t work around it, you always need to be very upfront with the client or the customer to let them know that, \"Look, this is not there, we\'re not Google, we don\'t have Google level resources, but we work with what we have, and we build for the future.\" 35:26 AS: Yeah, just talking about working within your limitations and how to adapt to that, I wanna circle back to something you were talking about before, \'cause I think it\'s a really important lesson for our listeners in terms of... You said you like working with the younger company. A lot of times they\'re hungrier, they\'re more passionate. I\'m like, \"Just \'cause someone\'s young or doesn\'t have... Hasn\'t worked with those bigger clients.\" That talent is out there. We\'ve hired freelancers, through Fiverr or Upwork or those sites. And we talked to one guy who were talking about maybe developing a site for Benchmark, who I ended up recommending to another client that I do consulting with. And he\'s now gonna be the CTO of their company because... [laughter] 36:08 VN: Awesome. 36:08 AS: [36:08] ____ We were living up in Alaska and the first conversation that I had with him, I was like, \"I don\'t even know if this guy knows how good and talented he is.\" 36:17 VN: Awesome. 36:18 AS: But I see that and other people see it too. And I think that\'s so important, in like you\'ve kind of approached in two different ways, in this conversation so far, is just, it\'s okay to have the limitations of where you\'re at, whether you\'re a start-up, whether it\'s resources, or the time or the technology. But it\'s adapting and overcoming and finding the tools out there. We have a global marketplace now, where you can find talent and work remotely and do those things that... I just want to hammer that home because I\'ve been thinking you did a really good job of sharing that with people that, just \'cause someone\'s young, they\'re passionate. The passion is there. That\'s oftentimes more exciting \'cause you don\'t get those jaded people that... They\'ve seen it all and don\'t think anything will work, that it\'s a great lesson for people trying to grow those businesses, pursue their passions, is, find the young hungry talent out there. Just \'cause it\'s expensive, doesn\'t always mean it\'s the best and it [37:10] ____ learn to adapt to those limitations. 37:13 VN: Absolutely. I think... Who said this really well? I think Jack Ma said it really well. It\'s one of the many things he\'s... He\'s spoken about it in his conference was, \"When you\'re young, when you\'re in your 20s, work for yourself. Sorry. When you\'re in your 20s, work for a start-up or a big place where you understand process, etc. When you\'re in your 30s, maybe start working for yourself and try figuring things out. When you\'re in your 40s, hire the right people. And then, when you\'re in your 50s, start working for young people because they have the energy, and they have the drive to actually... \" And it\'s so true. I\'m growing old as well, and I realized that soon enough, I start saying, I\'m with friends, I\'m like, \"Oh, he\'s 24, he\'s really young.\" I was like, \"Oh, wait. He\'s young. I\'m old. Never mind.\" [laughter] 38:04 VN: Some people think 24 is old so whoops, I\'ve crossed that part. But it\'s one of those things where, I think you need to embrace your limitations and that\'s the best part, is when you embrace your limitation and you realize, \"I\'m not gonna do everything.\" is when you become really good at resourcing. One of my friends said this really well, \"A CEO is nothing but a great resourcer. You give them a problem to find someone better than them and you to get it done.\" And that\'s what you have to be. A great resourcer is, how do we have budget, how do we find the right people and how the hell do we make this happen. 38:38 AS: Yeah, good point. Absolutely. Well, Vaibhav, I know it\'s the middle of the night for you, so we don\'t wanna keep you too much longer. Before we give you a chance to say the plugs and everything. I do wanna recommend Schitt\'s Creek and Freaks and Geeks, both on Netflix. Those are my pick-me-up shows lately. 38:54 VN: Oh, yeah? Okay. 38:55 DM: They\'re so good. 38:56 AS: They\'re both [38:57] ____ and have just an incredible sweetness to them, too. They\'re just [39:00] ____ so uplifting and nice that they balance those both so well. That [39:05] ____ friends, too. But those are my two more recent ones. It\'s like doing yoga for me, it just sets [39:10] ____ makes me okay. 39:13 DM: I wish they had more seasons of Freaks and Geeks. I cannot believe that there are only... 39:17 AS: There\'s five of Schitt\'s Creek, though. There\'s four on Netflix, a new one will be there soon. I actually just got to see them do a live panel in Austin and it was so fun to see a whole sold-out crowd get excited about Schitt\'s Creek but they\'re both great. Highly recommend those two. 39:31 VN: Awesome. I am gonna watch them. Perfectly, perfectly well said. Thank you, sir. I don\'t think the... [overlapping conversation] 39:38 VN: Sorry, go ahead... No, I was gonna say Australian Netflix is kind of sad. It doesn\'t have a lot of the cool shows that American one has but we\'re in live podcast. I\'m not gonna use words that might put me in trouble. [laughter] 39:53 AS: Did you have any last questions before we go? 39:55 VN: No, this has been a great conversation. Thank you very much... 39:58 AS: Yeah. We appreciate you staying up late and talking to us. Before we say goodbye, let everyone know where they can find out more about 521. 40:06 VN: Absolutely, thank you. Firstly, thank you guys so much. I really, really appreciate the time that you\'ve taken to talk to me. And to [40:12] ____ as well. He\'s an amazing character. Finding me, I think the best place... Nowadays I\'m really active on LinkedIn. It\'s my first name and last name, which is... God bless you if you can figure it out, Vaibhav Namburi. It\'s a shiny bald head, brown dude guy. You\'ll most likely see me at the top search, which is great. And the other places, 521.com.au. Which is, what I\'ve learned, is an SEO nightmare. F-I-V-E, the word, the number two, and the word O-N-E.com.au. If you\'re looking to develop a product, if you\'re looking to talk about machine learning or you just want to chat, like talking to these great guys. I love hearing other people\'s stories. Get in touch. 40:56 AS: Awesome, thanks again, Vaibhav. Thanks everyone for listening and we\'ll catch you guys next time. Take care. 41:02 DM: See you later. 41:02 VN: Thank you. See ya.


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Digital Summit Los Angeles Day 2 Live Blog

Digital Summit Los Angeles Day 2 Live Blog

Beyond • April 11, 2019

We\'re back today for Day Two of Digital Summit Los Angeles! Yesterday was an awesome day full of helpful workshops and presentations. If you missed it, here\'s the Day One Digital Summit Los Angeles Live Blog. It\'s always fun to be surrounded by so many people that do what I do and have a passion for it. It\'s energizing! Today, we\'ve got a full day of 30-minute presentations, with a couple of keynotes mixed in. Stay tuned, because there\'s a ton of fun stuff in store for today (if you\'re a marketing nerd like me). Digital Content Lessons from a Fyre Festival Attendee - Seth Crossno, Dumpster Fyre Podcast 8:48 AM: We\'re 15+ minutes in and the only lesson I\'ve learned so far from this Fyre Festival Attendee is to get to the meat of your content quicker, because as of now he\'s only managed to make telling the story of Fyre Fest incredibly tiresome. 8:51 AM: We\'re now getting into learning what content works best on what platforms. Images and video are always most popular, but even the social channel it\'s shared on matters. Know who your audience is on each of them and what they want to see. A video that doesn\'t perform on Twitter might be much more successful on Facebook. 8:53 AM: You don\'t have to spend $250K on Kendall Jenner. Find the fans of what you already do and make them your brand evangelists. Invite them in and make them a part of your community. 8:55 AM: Reach your audience where they are and provide the kind of content they want to consume. 8:58 AM: Seth trails off... \"so I think that\'s... (turns and looks at final slide) yeah.\" That\'s literally how it ended. I don\'t know much more about creating \"fyre\" content, but I\'m pretty sure that wet blanket could put out an actual fire. Four Automated Email Series That Get Serious Results - Akerho Oghoghomeh, CM Group 9:18 AM: Automation is an opportunity to inject ourselves into the customer journey. They\'re relevant and timely and should be used by more marketers. Only about HALF of marketers are using automation. Additionally, that half is mostly Welcome Emails only. 9:19 AM: According to eMarketer, B2C marketers leveraging automation have conversion rates as high as 50%. 9:20 AM: About half of the subscribers you engage aren\'t ready to buy. That\'s why automation can be a helpful tool to engage them and stay top-of-mind. 9:21 AM: Welcome Emails are the basic version of automation. Triggered when someone subscribes, by a download (with an opt-in) or a purchase (with an opt-in). Average 8x higher revenue per email Make the most of a Welcome Email by making it a series See where your signups are coming from, determine the next steps, consider the customer journey and create the template and start automating. 9:24 AM: Date-based emails Triggered when a date is approaching or a date has passed Birthday emails genrage342% higher revenue per email Make the most of it by offering a unique promo or follow-up after a purchase Coordinate the dates with what fits your offer, gather the right data and then create and automate! 9:27 AM: Level 2 Automation - Content nurturing Usually centered on educational content What you need: educational content, email, map the outcomes How they\'re triggered: Downloaded content, attended an event, purchased a product, used a service and many more Relevant content-driven emails can product 18x more revenue - Jupiter Research Make the most of it: relevant and based on the specific action they took Where to start: Map the starting points, outline the journey, create and automate Key Takeaways: Content nurturing should be very targeted, based on specific goals Consider what you want them to do next 9:32 AM: Level 2 Automation - Story nurturing Creative use of storytelling to inspire more experiences with your brand What you need: experiences, reviews or case studies, storytelling basics, map the outcomes How it\'s triggered: Purchased or donated, downloaded content Why you should do it: story nurturing picks up where content leaves off Where to start: identify pain points, find stories that fit, create and automate Takeaways: Stimulate the heart The story should relate to your unique value proposition 9:36 AM: Advanced Automation - Behavior in an email What you need: ESP with email click tracking, creativity How it\'s triggered: clicks in your email Why you should do it: Emails triggered by behavior can contribute 30% of your revenue, according to the DMA Where to start: 1. Examine your basic and level two automation sequences 2. See where new tracks can be explored 3. Create and automate Key takeaways You need an ESP that can support this activity (Benchmark does this!) Combine this automation series with your existing automation sequences 9:40 AM: Advanced Automation - Behavior on your website What you need: integrations, webhooks, API, Creativity (or use Automation Pro) Triggered by activity on your website or in-app Why you should do it: Abandoned cart emails may recover 63% of lost revenue, according to Business Insider Where to start: 1. Draw up your customer journey 2. Identify key points where emails can reinforce the experience 3. Create and automate Why Your Brand Works in the “Real World” But Fails When Online - Juntae DeLane, Digital Delane, Digital Branding Institute 10:06 AM: Only 48% of US respondents trust businesses 10:09 AM: Consumer distrust impacts their path-to-purchase 10:10 AM: People are going outside your path-to-purchase because of their distrust. They look to review sites, online communities, etc. That means what we\'re sending to them becomes less effective. 10:11 AM: What can you do about this? Focus on building a digital brand. Digital branding is the whole puzzle: social, content and SEO are the pieces. Delane believes social media is starting to plateau. Audiences know it\'s become less organic, that brands have to pay to play. Savvier marketers are starting to understand what we\'re doing as marketers, making content marketing more difficult. SEO isn\'t just about linkbacks, but engagement with your pages. 10:15 AM: How can you enhance your digital brand? It starts with your brand voice: Character: human characteristics Purpose: your point of view Language: the words you use to describe your offering Tone: it\'s not what you say, but how you say it 70% of those polled by Survata said they were irritated by the use of inappropriate jargon from a brand OPP: Objective, Promise, Personality Be Memorable Use reality shows as market research. See what\'s memorable about the characters. Wendy\'s social media as an example. They\'re adopting a consumer voice. 10:23 AM: On social media platforms, consumers don\'t want to be helped. They want to be engaged. 10:24 AM: Use micro trends to help you capture your own brand voice and align it with your consumers Quickly capitalize on a cultural moment and leverage a micro-trend Assess your organization\'s agility: can you act quickly to do this? Develop a protocol for leveraging micro-trends: Super Bowl, Grammy\'s, Final Four, etc. Is your team equipped to handle social trends as they come? Micro-moments: Be there, Be useful, Be quick Be there: where is your target audience searching for your offering? Be useful: are you creating content with value for your audience? 73% of consumers say that regularly receiving useful info is the deciding factor when choosing a brand Be quick: what is getting in the way of having your target audience taking you up on your offering and what can be done to fix it. 10:31 AM: Prioritize the customer experience Just because you can\'t measure it, doesn\'t mean it doesn\'t exist 65% of buyers consider a positive experience to be more influential than advertising Go from transactional to experiential 10:34 AM: Reaching people isn\'t the challenge-it\'s connecting with people Growth by Content: Driving Massive Traffic Without a Big Budget - Nadya Khoja, Venngage Infographics 11:08 AM: 4-Step Framework for Massive Organic Growth: Goals, Research, Authority, Promotion 11:10 AM: Goals: how to establish specific goals for various types of content Higher domain authority (DA), higher conversions, increased traffic Different content can help you achieve different goals Viral/editorial: higher DA, Actionable/how-to: conversions, inspirational: more traffic 11:14 AM: Research: how to strategically research which keywords to rank for 2-types of pages: boring (high-converting LPs) and not boring (blog posts, etc.) Brainstorm keywords and categories/topics, then keep breaking down \"category\" topics into more long-tail search queries Understand the theme and depth of topics you write about 11:17 AM: Authority: How to structure your content to establish authority on Google 11:19 AM: Promotion: How to effectively promote various types of content for growth Too many marketers spent 80% of their time creating the content and only 20% promoting it Promotion should take up more time than the creation of your content Cold-outreach best practices for link building Don\'t sound like a robot Cull your lists and make sure the content is relevant Don\'t be afraid to inject your personality in your outreach (Be yourself ... unless \"yourself\" sucks ... then be someone better.) Give people a reason to care about what you\'re doing (and don\'t always rely on short emails working) Build a relationship: link building is a long-term strategy Reinventing Content Marketing Into a Measurable Business Strategy - Robert Rose, Content Marketing Institute 11:51 AM: Trust is the one thing that we must deliver. Trust is at its lowest point ever today. 11:54 AM: Content marketing is building a corporate branding asset 11:57 AM: Strategic content is stuck in average 51% “small group” servicing entire company 35% have a formal strategy 24% committed to content marketing 20% very proficient at ROI 90% successful content marketers put audience information needs above all else 11:59 AM: The Four Business Models of Content Marketing Player: content as a contributor marketing tactic Performer: content as a department marketing strategy Processor: content as a service Platform: content as a business model 12:06 PM: Content is a product not a project, it’s not more efficient, it’s a business model. It’s harder. It’s more expensive. But it’s your opportunity to build trust. 12:08 PM: Two important questions: Can I have your attention? Can I have your trust? Zero moment of trust: I trust this message/brand First moment of trust: I trust this product Second moment of trust: I trust this experience The Four Horsemen of the Web Marketing Apocalypse - Rand Fishkin, SparkToro 12:46 PM: In 2016, this happened: keywords sending less traffic, \"good\" content was not enough, links in social get little traction, fewer followers see your posts, influencers failed to influence and ads got expensive 12:48 PM: Social Platforms Massively Diminished Outlinking Traffic Facebook killed organic reach. Outbound, referral traffic went to almost zero. Twitter and LinkedIn also suppress content that has URLs/links YouTube cuts off descriptions to avoid making links visible in default view. They cut it off wherever you put the link. 12:53 PM: Who still does send web traffic? Google has always been the one ... right?! 12:55 PM: Google (for the first time) Sends Less Organic Traffic Google solves more and more queries WITHOUT clicks. The answers for searches are directly in the SERPs. 30% growth in no click mobile searches over the past two years Once Google owns all the traffic, there\'s no more incentive for publishers to create content 1:02 PM: \"Influencers\" failing to influence Very little metrics accountability from brands on influencers. Less than 50% ask what happened with a campaign. That\'s the fault of the marketers. There is a growing backlash on influencer marketing 1:08 PM: Web Advertising ROI (in many fields) is trending to zero Ad bids in many sectors are going beyond what is profitable for businesses Many marketers aren\'t on top of their metrics 1:10 PM: So ... what do we do?! The Smart Marketer\'s Battle Plan Center All Marketing on your website and email lists 10 email addresses > 10,000 New Followers 100 website visitors > 10,000 new followers 100 true fans beats 100,000 visitors Change your approach to SEO Click volume > search volume Build flywheels: a great marketing flywheel scales with decreasing friction Flywheels are hard at first, but get easier and more profitable with scale You want a flywheel that sparks demand Growing branded searches > ranking #1 for generic searches We need to market where our audiences are actually paying attention Discover your audience\'s true sources of influence - market there It\'s hard to get this data, but surveys and interviews are a good start If your competitor ignore a channel, you can get higher content/ad engagement for less money Balance social engagement vs. drawing clicks When content does poorly, Facebook will reduce your next posts reach. Same is true for the opposite. Good post? More reach for next post, unless it starts to show low engagement. True on all platforms. They\'re designed to engage, addict and train us. Use this formula: High-engagement, non-promotional post Repeat step above Promo w/link Back to step 1 Repeat step 1 yet again Broaden Content & Outreach Campaigns Successful content targets topics that resonate with amplifiers, not just customers What your customers care about (only a piece of the puzzle). Doesn\'t help get visibility/engagement Play to what influential publications and people your customers listen to and care about The harder content is to create, the more likely it will be to do well Spray and pray outreach leads to reputational damage for your brand, social, email and search Use Ads to Reach Already Primed Audiences First: Organic and Brand, Then: Ads and CRO How to win at digital advertising Earn brand exposure w/your target audience Get organic visits and social engagement Advertise to those you already know like you Get More out of Every Email You Send - Brett Merle 1:57 PM: 1st big lesson: walk before you run. Start simple. You don\'t have to do everyting at once. 1:58 PM: We have to cut through the noise and inspire action. 2:00 PM: Strategic Thinking Journeys exist within journeys and are incrementally important To control the experience, control the journey and the purchase will come 2:02 PM: Keys for Success Don\'t blast and broadcast Email is a channel for action. It\'s NOT a place to consume content. Leave content to landing pages. It\'s all about the Call To Action (CTA). Every email goes like this: Step 1: Here\'s some 💩 you want to do.\" Step 2: [Do the 💩] (CTA button) Mind your real estate. Compelling CONTENT and CTA must always be above the fold. Keep your messages succinct. Learn to VENT Valuable (targeted) Engaging (personalized) Necessary (goal based) True (validating) 2:09 PM: How do you do it? Know your audience statically. Signup forms are the doorway to your contacts, first opportunity to understand who they are. Know your audience dynamically. People are behaviors. Dynamic content. Right offers to the right people, different CTAs. Segment and personalize. Don\'t broadcast, personalize. Meaning makes action. Timeliness is critical. Put time back into content. Automate what you can, so you can focus on what you cannot automate. 2:15 PM: Results: More targeted, actionable emails that you can actually measure, learn from and repeat. The Most Powerful Email Data Lessons All Found in the Movie Groundhog Day - Sam Douglass III, 250ok 2:31 PM: Groundhog Day is actually a data story. Email isn’t sexy. It’s the “Puxatawny job.” But that’s just a matter of perspective. The numbers show emails impact. Email can feel like the same every day, week, month, season. Use data to take advantage. People get wise, then get angry. Regulations result when this happens. Example: GDPR, CCPA Cobra effect. The law of unintended consequences. Increasing a promo thinking it’ll help, but it hurts the value of your brand. Disillusionment. “You’ll never love anyone but yourself.” Now what? Enlightenment: Missing Something Small, but meaningful ways everyday Use data for good 2:42 PM: Engagement Data Data you see (last seen, clicks, opens) Data you can’t see. Survivorship bias can show you what to do, but how do you get that data? Spamtraps, other reputation-harming actions, be mindful of the emails that don’t make it to the inbox. List validation services help you ensure recipients are actual, real people and avoid unseen pitfalls. DMARC Policy, SPF/DKIM Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) 2:50 PM: Email Design Use your data to design to your audience. Ex: Older audience, use a bigger font. Use email previews and test to see how they’ll look and the devices your reports show your audience is using. 2:52 PM: Google Email Annotations Make the most out of being in the Promotions Tab. Shows more info about your email in the tab. 2:54 PM: Smart Speakers Have to write more like you speak, not use emojis, etc. It’s burgeoning, so might not need to start tomorrow, but be aware of it. Design emails with the user in mind (more accessible for some audiences). Use the preheader text to optimize for speech. Make Your Buyer Your Content Hero - MaryAnn Holder-Browne, One Network Enterprises 3:19 PM: How do we connect with our buyers? Do we lead with head marketing? Appealing to intellect. Do we lead with heart marketing? Appealing to emotional. 3:21 PM: The Approach If you want customers to buy, you must tell a story where the customer is the hero - not you \"Be the wizard who gives the hero the sword.\" How We Win Internally Credible, Useful, Create the Sensation of Winning 3:22 PM: The Making of a Hero Just Do It campaign: Not trying to get you to buy the shoe. Getting you to believe you\'re the hero 3:24 PM: The Journey 1. Call To Action: A normal person is faced with evil or adversity. 2. Supernatural Aid: A mentor, sometimes in the form of a supernatural entity, arrives to show the person what they are capable of and gives them the confidence or skills to battle the evil forces 3. The Master of Two Worlds: The hero battles and defeats evil and brings peace. 3:26 PM: Types of Learners Visual Auditory Reading/Writing Kinesthetic 3:34 PM: People trust a sales rep at 3%. Only profession that\'s worse is a politician. How to Talk to Your Customers in a Voice First World - Dave Isbitski, Chief Evangelist, Amazon 4:05 PM: Alexa gives accessibility to people who can\'t read or write. 4:07 PM: Speech understanding advancements have skyrocketed in recent years. There\'s been a big rise in Natural Language Understanding. It\'s looking at our intention, regardless of who you are, how old you are, etc. 4:10 PM: Amazon believes voice is the next major advancement in computers. 4:12 PM: Alexa gives humans the ability to naturally comunicate with the technology in their lives. Conversation is complex Utterances and Intents: Wake Word, Launch, Utterance, Invocation Name 4:18 PM: What conversations can you have with your audience? Anything that will be a time saver Telling convos: what\'s the weather like outwise? Searching: identifies specific info Doing: performing a task 4:24 PM: Devices like Alexa are also training our search habits. Tailor your content to it. People will ask things like: Alexa, how do I remove a grass stain?  


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Digital Summit Los Angeles Day 1 Live Blog

Digital Summit Los Angeles Day 1 Live Blog

Beyond • April 10, 2019

For the next two days, I\'ll be attending Digital Summit Los Angeles. It will be an event chock full of every aspect of marketing. I\'m going to do my best to bring as much of it as possible to y\'all in real-time (as long as WIFI and my laptop battery allow). I\'ll obviously focus on email marketing as much as possible, but there should be a good amount of general marketing knowledge you can apply to your email strategy and every other channel as well. Email 2020: Email Marketing for This Year & Beyond - Michael Barber, Godfrey 8:51 AM: Adobe Study: Average # of hours spent checking personal email: 2.5 hours The same Adobe study showed 50% of consumers preferred email to other marketing channels 9:02 AM: 71.8% will spend more time next year on email, 86.7% say they\'ll spend more money 9:07 AM: eConsultancy conducted a study showing businesses still may not be shifting enough budget to email marketing. The percentage of sales from email is greater than the percentage of a marketing budget dedicated to email. 9:12 AM: According to Experian, B2B conversions are more likely to convert on a desktop (but that doesn\'t mean they\'re more likely to open on a desktop). On mobile, Women are more likely to convert on a tablet. Men are more likely to convert on their phone. 10:02 AM: We\'re back from break and starting to look at the new inbox developments happening already. Seeing some examples of the interactivity in the inbox that AMP allows for is exciting! Text-based emails are seeing new life with wearables like the Apple Watch that only render the text of an email. 10:16 AM: We\'re gonna start talking about building a list. I\'ll share some of the more notable ideas here: Create a page where site visitors can opt-in to any or all of your email content Make your preference center look good, it\'ll save them from opting out entirely Create a sharable signup page that can be posted to other channels Try using a chat-bot instead of a signup form on a page 10:30 AM: The best email marketers use subdomains for SPF and DKIM records. Example hello.yourwebsite.com, etc. 10:36 AM: Some highlights from the section focusing on the design of emails: #1 Reason someone opens your email is the From Name. Using a person\'s name rather than the company helps to build the relationship. The best use of combo tested \"Name from Company\" in one study. Single column, skinny-based layouts are a must in today\'s mobile age. An inverted pyramid layout helps to show the subscriber what you want them to see A Zig Zag layout helps get more complete eye coverage from the subscriber Headlines: 30px, Body copy: 16px, Button minimums: 44x44 points (smallest one a person can click on) Get specific with button copy. Google \"Button Generator copy\" if you have to. The top results are all good tools. Stop saying \"Click Here\" or \"Learn More.\" 10:52 AM: Talking \'bout Subject Lines: Size doesn\'t matter: the variance in opens is less than 0.1% Sentiment; the words you use does matter. Use different word choices for different types of individuals/subscriber personas. The more simple, the better. Emojis make good subject lines good ... and bad subject lines worse. Superlatives matter! \"Brand New\" +37%, \"Latest\" +24%, \"Exciting\" +19% Phrasee is a great subject line testing resource. 11:22 AM: The difference in average ROI for sending to your whole list versus segmented lists is $28 to $42. 12:12 PM: Welcome emails that are sent immediately after signup have a 10x higher transaction rate and revenue per email. 12:15 PM: My favorite tip so far: BE HUMAN Write your emails like a human Don\'t start with \"WHAT WHAT WHAT\" ie the things you want to tell them, but instead \"WHY\" they need to know about it. Ask subscribers what they want to receive. Give them options. Also, let them tell you when they want to receive it. 12:27 PM: Test audience segments that are similar and different. Test segments that are active. Ensure that your testing groups are statistically significant: 10,000 subscribers or more. Opening Keynote: Future Consumers - Randy Zuckerberg, Zuckerberg Media 1:25 PM: Mark Zuckerberg\'s sister, Randy, opened her speech by mentioning she graduated from Harvard ... which her brother did not (she also mentioned that). There\'s clearly no complex there. 1:30 PM: Randy\'s marketing budget for her first year at Facebook was one box of t-shirts. I hope that worked out for them. 1:34 PM: Randy thought of Facebook Live at a Hackathon and thought it was an absolute failure. Only her mom and dad watched. Then, Katy Perry\'s team called, wanting to launch her world tour on Facebook Live. They developed Facebook Live, just so Katy Perry could do it. Four months later, Barack Obama was regularly using Facebook Live to connect with US citizens. 1:40 PM: Randy\'s best advice for women in tech: have a man\'s name. Advice she rightfully called funny and horrible. 1:41 PM: Hearing the person who created the concept for Facebook Live talk about the highs of the platform and the lows (New Zealand mass shooting) was a sobering reminder that we don\'t always know how the technology we create will be used. 1:48 PM: The Future Consumer: Everything is media Values unique experience Wants a different kind of career Craves healthy tech balance 1:52 PM: We should put a focus on long-form content that can engage an audience on a deeper level. 1:55 PM: Live content creates scarcity. Even with so many options to choose from, people still tune into live events to be a part of a cultural moment. 2:00 PM: Offline experiences also create scarcity. Examples like the Ice Cream Museum show that people will go to take pictures for social media. It also takes advantage of real estate spaces that were previously thought to be hard to fill. Contagious Content: Turn Your Customers From Privately Placid to Publicly Passionate 2:45 PM: S.T.E.P.P.S framework. How to make something catch on: Social Currency: \"People care about how they look to others. They want to seem smart, cool and in-the-know. So be sure to find the inner-remarkability and make people feel like insiders.\" - Jonah Berger (JB) Triggers: \"Top-of-mind means tip-of-tongue. So consider the context and grow your habitat so that people are frequently triggered to think about your product or idea.\" - JB Starbucks does this with its seasonal offerings: Pumpkin Spice Lattes Emotion: \"When we care, we share. Emotional content often goes viral, so focus on feelings rather than function.\" - JB Music is one of the best triggers of emotion that we can use as marketers Anyone can be a hero, the power lies within Public: \"Built to show, built to grow. The more public something is, the more likely people will imitate it. Design products and initiatives that advertise themselves (e.g. red bottom shoes) and create some visible behavioral residue.\" - JB Practical Value Something that connects with both the head and the heart Stories: \"Information travels under what seems like idle chatter. Stories are vessels - so build a Trojan horse.\" - JB 3:01 PM: Take these concepts and infuse them into every single one of your marketing channels. Email, social, etc. Content & Chaos: Diary of a News Marketer - Paul Plumeri, Wall Street Journal 3:21 PM: Marketing should be a service. Not a solicitation. How do I serve the customer at this moment? 3:32: PM: Find your Game of Thrones: what brings people to you Step 1: Recognize the disruption Step 2 Build according to tiers Step 3: Optimize 3:44 PM: Adapting audience experience: bites, snacks and meals More Than Acquisition: Why Marketers Need to Own the Entire Customer Journey - Sean Johnson, Digital Intent 4:03 PM: A retention chart is the money chart. It measures the success and failure of products. 4:08 PM: User Generated Content  (UGC) Loops: User Content > Google Indexes > New Visitors > New Signup 4:10 PM: Strategies to Leverage for UGC: Advocate for any and all user-generated content opportunities Turn lurkers into creators: 90% of users that join a site will usually be lurkers. Levers you can pull to make them user-generated content creators. Ask a question! Consider the cycle of the content: make it easy to share it early/often during that time.our 4:18 PM: Referral Loops let your customers do the marketing for you. Test and build the opportunities for referrals into the flow your customers will follow. Incentivize referrals: doesn\'t have to be money. Dropbox gave away storage space, rather than money. 4:21 PM: Customer activation, especially right off the bat, is the best way to retain customers. Small improvements at each step have a compounding impact 4:24 PM: Tip: go to Product Hunt every Friday and review the most popular companies from that week. See what they\'re doing. What their onboarding is like. What their referrals are like. 4:25 PM: Two steps to all of this: Create a habit Get your timing right 4:30 PM: Create lock-in. What can you do to create more stickiness? Example: Slack lets developers build into or on top of their platform to keep their users there. Bloody Hell! And Other Marketing Truths My British Mum Taught Me - Michael Barber, Godfrey 4:55 PM: We\'re in an era where easy wins. The least path of resistance is the best one. Too often, it\'s a competitor. 4:56 PM: Be Bloody Brilliant Create content where your audience is spending time. Let them get there as quickly as possible. Use Native Always Leverage the context The Magic Castle Hotel didn\'t have the best amenities, but there was something they could do. They could create an experience for kids. They created a popsicle hotline at the pool. All you have to do is pick up a phone and someone in a suit delivers a popsicle. 5:00 PM: Always Be Available Reduce friction to give them what they want immediately. Don\'t have a lengthy signup process. Conversion process should be frictionless. Know your audience: understand their pain points and be there for them Connect people to the things they care about 5:03 PM: Consistency Above All No surprises, ever. All platforms and channels should create a consistent experience for your customers. 5:06 PM: It\'s the little things. Little things create stories. The Hotel Monaco in Portland puts a teddy bear on every bed. The tiniest improvements can have the biggest impacts on experience. 5:09 PM: Be kind. If you can\'t be good, at least be kind. Empathy matters. Build empathetic systems. Do unto others. Live by the golden rule. Chewy (dog food company) has a \"make it right\" budget for customers who tell them that their pet has died. They suggest places to donate the food to, since they can\'t accept it back. They refund them. They\'ve even sent flowers with a note. Bloom & Empathy created a Mother\'s Day email opt-out ahead of the holiday for subscribers who may have lost their moms. It got them far more shares on social media than customers they have.


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6 Email Trends in Vogue This Year

6 Email Trends in Vogue This Year

Beyond • February 28, 2019

The latest statistics of the number of Vogue readers are from several years ago, and they show that Vogue has reached 15.7 million readers in the United States. That number definitely has gone up by now, but just imagine how many millions of Vogue readers there are all over the world. Vogue is constantly enhancing its email marketing strategy because that’s precisely what helps attract new readers and engage them in Vogue’s fresh, original, and compelling content. Email marketing experts at Vogue are bringing new email trends this year, and you should definitely take a page from their book. Take a look at the six email trends that Vogue is following right now so that you can learn something from their strategy and make sure that yours is just as effective. Attracting Mobile Users Attracting mobile users definitely isn’t a new concept, but it’s one that a lot of marketers still avoid for some reason. They don’t realize the huge potential of mobile and the importance of engaging mobile users into their brand. If you still don’t have a good mobile strategy, here’s Vogue to the rescue. Vogue has an app for the digital version of its magazine, which its avid readers can use to stay engaged in their content and all the latest fashion trends anywhere they are, and anytime they want. But how does Vogue compel its readers to get Vogue for their mobile devices? It sends them an email! In the email screenshot above, you can see Vogue showcasing every tablet it’s available on, enticing its email subscribers to get Vogue for their favorite mobile devices. If you don’t have an app for your content, simply make sure your website is mobile-friendly, and let your subscribers know it. Did you know that 94% of people judge websites on responsive web design? Without a mobile-friendly site, you lose lots of opportunities for growth and higher ROI, and your email newsletter is the best tool to promote it and attract mobile users. Grabbing Attention with Eye-Catching Visuals Vogue wouldn’t be where it is now if it hadn’t been providing its readers with beautiful and eye-catching visuals, apart from its original and unique content, of course. This also isn’t a new trend for Vogue, but the magazine does include more and more visuals these days in all its emails. You can write a compelling email copy to engage new readers but enriching it with compelling visuals will instantly capture your subscribers’ attention. Take a look at how Vogue does it. In the email shown above, the first thing you see is “VOGUE TREND ALERT”. It instantly grabs attention. The second thing you see is the runway models wearing beautiful pieces of the latest fashion trends. You cannot help but click through to find out more. And that’s how you engage people. Visuals tap into their emotions and they want to find out more about what you have to say or offer. So, be sure to enrich your every email with irresistible images, infographics, graphs, or anything else that will help you appeal to your audience. Incorporating Videos in Emails According to video marketing statistics by IMPACT, the number of businesses using videos in email increased from 36% to 46% in the past year. This is because, according to Forbes, 90% of customers say that videos help them with their purchasing decisions, while 64% of customers say that they’re more likely to purchase a product after watching a video about it. Videos are much more powerful than images, and Vogue is one of those numerous businesses that follow the trend of incorporating video content into their emails. In Vogue’s email shown above, Vogue invites its readers to check out its archive and uncover hidden gems that may inspire them and help them improve their fashion style. Offering Exclusive Content Yet another one of the great ways to capture more email leads is to offer exclusive content. Offer your email subscribers an incentive that they won’t be able to refuse, and you’ll manage to guide them up the engagement ladder and into your sales funnel. One of the ways Vogue does this is by offering its email subscribers full-year access to exclusive interviews with the biggest names in the fashion industry, top photographers’ images to inspire them, and many other pieces of content regarding fashion trends, style, culture, food, and much more. Blending Quizzes With audience engagement taking an edge with email marketing, it has become quite easier for anyone to know their readers\' preferences and shape up their content. Including a quiz or a survey with great title definitely prompts the readers to take it up. Questions about the latest trends and readers’ expectations with upcoming fashion help magazines to shape up their content. These days, the online quiz creator is in trend. Editorials are using such tools to create online quizzes and embed them to their emails or social media pages. This not only helps magazines with their content but also enhances communication. Including the Readers in Their Brand The best way to truly engage your audience in your brand and form meaningful relationships is to actually include them in what you do. It makes them feel special and builds trust and long-lasting loyalty. Vogue encourages its readers to share their Vogue story, which may end up being published in one of their next issues. The readers are invited to share their experience with the magazine and tell the world how Vogue has influenced them and made their life better. If you can find a similar way to connect with your audience and really include them in your brand, you’ll build a strong base of loyal customers who will eventually become your brand advocates. Do you have an interesting Vogue experience you’d like to share? What about your email marketing? Are you already following these email trends? Are you using some other email strategies that are helping you generate quality leads? Feel free to share your experience in the comments section below!


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We ❤️ Newsletters: Tips and Inspiration from the Newsletters our Email Marketing Experts Love Most

We ❤️ Newsletters: Tips and Inspiration from the Newsletters our Email Marketing Experts Love Most

Beyond • February 14, 2019

Newsletters are probably the form of email marketing that businesses and consumers are most familiar with. They provide the perfect excuse to visit your subscribers’ inbox whether it be monthly, weekly or even daily and help you stay top of mind. Why are newsletters so popular? The New York Times newsletter readers read two times as many stories as those who don’t receive newsletters. They’re also two times as likely to become paid subscribers. They have  more than 50 newsletters with a grand total of 14 million subscribers. It’s the goal of their newsletters to “build meaningful relationships with readers by delivering our original, world-renowned journalism and product experiences straight to their inbox.\" Newsletter readers spend 80% more time on NewYorkTimes.com than non subscribers. Email newsletters can significantly boost your website engagement. So, what makes for a lovable newsletter? Here are a handful of tips for making a newsletter that your subscribers will love: Keep your subscribers in mind. Sure you’re sharing updates about your company and goods and services, but it must be with your subscribers’ needs in mind. Solve their problems and you’ll see the results. Choose a template that can be customized for your brand. There are some services that offer HTML email templates, such Stripo.email and many others. Make sure you choose a newsletter template that’s set up to serve your goals for your newsletter and that it feels like it comes from your company. Use subheaders. Attention spans are at an all time low and subscribers will more than likely be skimming your email. Make it easy for them with subheaders. Keep it short and simple. Use teasers for each piece of content and bring your subscribers to your website to read the rest. Use captivating images. Grab those skimmers’ attention with some great photos or graphics. Send regularly. Monthly newsletters may be the most popular, but some businesses prefer to send weekly or even daily. You want to stay top-of-mind with your subscribers so that your business is the first they think of when they’re in need of your goods or services. Check your reports. It’s important to track what is (or isn’t) working with your newsletters. If your open rate could use a boost, test different subject lines and make sure you have a familiar From Name. If your click-through rate could be higher, try including different content in your newsletters. At Benchmark Email, we love newsletters as much as the businesses who use our tools to send them. And we see a lot of them! I asked the Benchmark team across the globe to share some of their favorite newsletters with all of you. Here’s what they had to say: Adastros Cruz - The Artist Formerly Known as Senior Marketing Designer - Guatemala What I love about this email from Grammarly is how the content is goal oriented, this was their \'new year\' email and at the end of it they included a recap of their 2018 but kept it customer-focused. See the full email here. What I love about this newsletter from Muzli is the content I get, but also how simple it is, just an image a graphic and a clear short and sweet CTA. Daniel Miller - Marketing Director - USA Subaru is one of my favorite newsletters. If you’ve ever owned a Subaru, you’ve experienced what it means to be part of the Subaru family. Subaru’s real marketing kicks in after one has purchased a vehicle. From tips to where to camp, hike and travel with your new baby (the car that is) to new releases, rally competitions they’ve won and even experiences shared by other drivers. No matter what level of “car expert” you are, Subaru speaks their customers language. Adventure, discovery and fun! Their newsletter backs their message and creates brand loyalty. I ❤️ my Subaru and the way the company treats me. Fernanda Brito - Social Media & Digital Partner - Mexico I really liked the content in this email from Cracks, it is also practical and quick to read, without a doubt I expect the next email. 😊 I like the design of this Cool Hunger MX email which has a lot of color and notes of interest as well as city events related to art and design. Love Veg always shares new recipes and ideas according to the seasons of the year. Ronald Liang - Frontend Development Manager - USA Kumar Guarav - Email Deliverability & Support - India They say great minds think alike and Ronald and Kumar shared love for the same email. Here\'s what they said: Ronald: I love receiving these newsletters from Smashing Magazine, because they’re a quick way to catch up on the latest web design news and topics. Their newsletter is text-heavy, but they do throw in some playful graphics of their mascot here and there that keeps it fun. Kumar: I love the way these guys present the entire newsletter, the content at the top includes a brief description/welcome message from the Editor, Table of content at the top with every article numbered and linked accordingly to the actual article in the newsletter. Proper spacing between the articles, fonts large enough to be readable on all devices. Sponsor ads being marked accordingly and finally at the end, sender information and the purpose of the newsletter. Everything is presented in a very professional format. Kristen Pon - Senior Product Designer - USA I also love getting Action Rocket’s newsletters because it keeps me up to date with email industry news (they compile articles from various sources). Also, over time I’ve seen them test out various things to push email boundaries like switching up their layouts, adding interactions, etc because of who their audience is. (At the top they mention they use experimental code) Sorry, the forwarding of their newsletter breaks those things so you can’t see it.. but this is what their newsletter normally looks like. Action Rocket also does special newsletters every so often, like this one here. It\'s goal is to show how much of an email shows above the fold. Yamile Flores - Learning Experience Designer - Mexico I have a lot of subscriptions in several newsletters: fashion, shoes, food, recipes, but this that comes from NESTLE I really love it, Why? As you can see since the subject line has my  son’s name, then this newsletter reminds when my son turns months /years and what he should achieve in that month, some recipes I can cook for him and other important facts relative to his age. So I really love to read it and keep it. It’s a pity the promotions are just for Spain, not for México, but still I like it. I reminds me to say Congratulations Jaden! Every month. Denise Keller - COO - USA I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE getting this email from Tim Ferriss every Friday like clockwork. It’s 5 bullets, so it’s quick and easy to read while I’m sitting a traffic light.  It is always informative and I inevitably learn something I didn’t know before. This is one of my top 5. I’m forever taking screenshots of this newsletter from Scott’s Cheap Flights and sending them to family and friends saying “Let’s GO!” I love the easy to read format and the info telling the best way to book this particular flight. Even though I rarely cook, I thoroughly enjoy Ina Garten’s occasional newsletter emails. They are super basic, no fancy graphics with an easy link to her recipe.  My husband and I actually made this one and it was FAB! Alvaro Rosado - Product Design - Mexico I like this email for the brightness of the images, the animations and the clarity of the message. The text is really easy to read and understand. Also it has clear call to actions that allow me to understand what to do next. Jason Ashley - Web App. Development Manager - USA I like the Crunchbase Daily newsletter because it gives links to the latest updates of companies to watch, and the subject line refers to the companies too. Goes to variety of blogs. The newsletter content is a lead in to a blog. Also, the blogs have links to outside resources used for research, so the newsletter is like a gateway to different blogs and the different blogs have multiple resources which are commonly other blogs on the same subject. I like this Node Weekly newsletter because it references the latest updates of node.js a programming language I like to stay on top of. The sections reference multiple resources from a variety of common well known blogs from different community services. It really helps to stay on top of what’s new, and if nothing new, to see the items those in the community feel are important. This is my favorite of all time. It gives the graphs of my favorite currencies, their projected short term trend, the give rates, the levels they see as resistance and support to watch for. Allows for a quick view of trend and cross currency comparison on similar pairs. This is my absolute favorite email for the last 7 years since I found it. Bulat Kutliev - Frontend Engineer - Russia I like Medium’s customized feed for me, with additional nice recommended topics. Topics are sorted from more specific to common articles. The design is also minimalistic and neat. Lucas Braga Peres - Customer Engagement Specialist - Brazil The content has my name and the name of the course that I have done here in Brazil on the main text. Then, they suggested more courses based on my certification level, with CTAs and images. Also, they have social media links and the image and text proportion is ok. Emperatriz Ortegón - Marketing Designer - Colombia I really like video games, especially the competition and co-op games. always I want to know any news, updates or offers for video games that I play, so I choose this email from my favorites. Epic Games aaaalways sends me information about events, new maps, new game styles on the platform. I also like how they use colors, images and the newsletter structure is not too rigid and clean.


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