How to Future Proof With Sustainable Business Practices

How to Future Proof With Sustainable Business Practices written by Tosin Jerugba read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Maisie Ganzler, the go-to expert on how companies can make positive change in supply chains and other entrenched systems. Ganzler has been featured in leading media outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, Fast Company, and Bloomberg. She is also the author of “You Can’t Market Manure at Lunchtime and Other Lessons from the Food Industry for Creating a More Sustainable Company.” Throughout this episode, we discuss the complexities of implementing sustainable business practices and how companies can authentically integrate these practices into their operations and marketing strategies.

Key Takeaways

With over 30 years of experience at Bon Appetit Management Company as Chief Strategy and Brand Officer, Maisie Ganzler shares her insights into the practicalities of sustainability. She emphasizes the importance of defining sustainability specific to one’s industry, advocating for a tailored approach that resonates with both internal stakeholders and customers. Through real-world examples, such as the challenges faced by industrial hog operations, Ganzler highlights the significance of firsthand experiences in driving genuine change.

Ganzler also discusses the critical role of authenticity and personal passion in sustainability efforts. She warns against superficial commitments driven solely by market trends, underscoring the need for sincere and strategic initiatives that align with a company’s core values and operational capabilities. Additionally, Ganzler introduces the concept of the Circle of Responsibility Matrix, a tool used to track and manage sustainability commitments, ensuring continuous progress and adaptation in the face of changing circumstances.

By integrating these insights, businesses can navigate the intersection of profitability and sustainability, making meaningful changes that benefit the environment, society, and their bottom line.

 

Questions I ask Maisie Ganzler:

[00:53] How would you describe a more sustainable company?

[02:43] Tell us the case study in the book about the profit-environment complexities involving a pig farm

[05:37] What role does a person’s personal passion play in the success of a sustainability plan?

[07:19] How does a business partner with recognized climate & sustainability organizations as opposed to being enemies?

[10:02] How exactly can you build that bridge between profit and sustainability, especially with companies where share price is very crucial?

[11:25] What is a Circle of Responsibility Matrix?

[13:04] Tell us about the ‘Better Chicken Commitment’ cautionary tale you write about in the book?

[15:23] What makes students and younger generations a great source of feedback when it comes to sustainability?

[17:29] What is the importance of having sustainability as part of the organizational mission as opposed to a one off action?

[18:30] Is there some place that you would invite people to find about your work, connect with you and pick up a copy of profit first for creatives?

 

More About Maisie Ganzler:

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

John (00:08): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Chance. My guest today is Maisie Gansler. She is the go-to expert on how companies can make positive change in supply chains and other entrenched systems. She’s been interviewed by leading media outlets, including the New York Times, wall Street Journal, NPR, fast Company Bloomberg, and now she can include Duct Tape Marketing to that list. And she’s also the author of You Can’t Make, you Can’t Market Manure at lunchtime and other lessons from the food industry for creating a more sustainable company. So Maisie, welcome to the show.

Maise (00:47): Thank you so much. I’m excited to be here.

John (00:49): So I’m going to start with a really big question. It might take the whole episode here, but how would you describe a more sustainable company? Maybe even use an example if you could give us a sense of what all that entails.

Maise (01:03): Well, I think you have to first start with defining sustainability, and I would do that specific to the industry that you’re in. There are a couple broad definitions of sustainability. One that came out of the UN that’s often quoted and one that came out of the Iroquois Confederacy papers. And they are looking at the impacts of what you do on future generations essentially. And I think that is a lovely sentiment, but it’s hard to write a purchasing policy against or to rally your staff to make change with. So at Appetit Management Company where I was the chief strategy and brand officer for 30 years, we actually crowdsourced a definition of sustainability from all of our employees and we wound up with a lot of words, but we talked about the importance of the air, water, soil, but also the people who grow and harvest our food and the animals that are involved in the production of food as well. We wound up with a very specific definition of sustainability that we could then work towards. So the first step I would suggest is that a, no matter what your industry is, you do that kind of Mad Libs version of figuring out what are the words that means sustainable in your particular industry. Then you can set off to becoming more sustainable.

John (02:37): So you pretty much set the table for this is a complex process, right? And you actually have a story early on in the book about the complexities that involves a pig farm. You want to tell that story.

Maise (02:50): So the title of the book comes from a real story of my boss, Fidel Bacio, who was the founder and CEO of Bon Appetit Management Company, had this personally transformative experience of visiting a industrial hog operation. And I want to put a pin on that idea of that he went to this operation and he had this transformational experience. Anybody who wants to get more sustainable, I suggest that you yourself go and you bring your executive team to whatever your supply chain looks like or where the impacts of your product are felt firsthand. So Fidel had done that and he had met with families that live next to this pig farm and found that they had higher incidences of asthma, lung cancer and other respiratory diseases because they were breathing in particulates that come from the manure the pigs produced. So there’s literally thousands of pigs in one place doing what any animal does, and that is collected in manure, lagoons, what they’re called, and then to get rid of it, it’s sprayed onto fields, the manure is, and so it’s up in the air and people can also breathe it in.

(04:14): So Fidel was really fired up about, this was an awful practice along with many other bad practices of industrial hog production, including something called gestation crates, which is where pregnant sows are kept for their entire pregnancy in a pen that is essentially the same size they are. So they can’t turn around, they can’t walk, they can really just stand, sit and eat. So Fidel’s screaming about this, he’s a loud passionate man and I’m thinking, this is great. We’re going to make real change. We’re going to take on the industrial animal production industry. But then I was also thinking, how are going to talk about this to customers? You can’t market manure at lunchtime. And it gets at the crux of what the book is about, of that duality of wanting to make real change and become honestly more sustainable, but also get market credit for it because we are for-profit businesses, so how do we make decisions that impact the lives of people or animals or the health of the planet, but also that we can drive the bottom line with

John (05:31): And go to one of these facilities and you’ll quickly become a vegetarian as well. So on that note, what role does a person’s personal passion play in deciding which way to go? I mean, there are a lot of companies out there saying, oh, it would be good to say we’re sustainable. And then there definitely are a lot of companies out there like, no, we mean this. So is that a great place to start?

Maise (05:56): Yeah, I think there’s two questions baked in there really. One is about authenticity, and if you’ve just read a what’s hot this year list, are you seeing millennials care about sustainability and therefore you try to be more sustainable? I think people can sense that they’ve got that detector of when you’re not being authentic and genuine, and not only will you not get the benefit, it may even backfire. So I think you do have to have personal passion in order to come across as sincere. The second piece of it though is picking the issues you take on. And the obvious thing would be to take on the issues that you’re personally passionate about and I think you should, but you also have to have your business person’s hat on and think about are these issues that I can make meaningful change that will resonate with my customers? And so that manure lagoon issue, Fidel was personally passionate about it. It wasn’t a great marketing piece, so we did it, but we also took on issues alongside it that customers could maybe understand a bit more and that we were able to talk about at lunchtime. So passion projects are important, but maybe not the only thing, the only filter you should use. So

John (07:20): There are a lot of groups out there that are, or Greenpeace that are advocating for certain law changes, certain practices. A lot of times they kind of go butt head to head, right? We don’t want Peter coming down here. So how do you actually turn that around and maybe make some of those folks partners?

Maise (07:37): Well, they can become your greatest ally, not adversary, but ally. And the first thing to do is to accept their calls. Just start with the basic thing of answering the phone. And I think a lot of people are scared, oh no, Pete is calling. Oh no. Green Peace is calling. Don’t let ’em in. So first of all, open up your doors literally or proverbially, have a meeting, find out what it is they’re after. They’re probably expert in this area more than you are. So think of it as free consulting and a free education. Find out what they want and then be transparent about what your challenges are, why that’s going to be hard for you to get to. They need to understand your business in order to give better advice and to make their ask more reasonable. Now, some of these organizations reasonable is not the top of their priority list, but the more they get to know you and your company and they sense your sincerity, the more reasonable they become. And even if you can’t agree at the end, you will not probably have their anger and their ranker against you in the same way you would’ve if you just stonewalled them. And if you are able to meet their demand, they become your best PR instrument.

Speaker 3 (08:58): Duct Tape Marketing really helped me to shave at least six to eight months off of work that I was dreading after leaving the corporate world. Even before I participated in the agency intensive training, I had already landed in my first customer. This in essence, more than paid for my investment in Duct Tape Marketing.

John (09:16): What you just heard was a testimonial from a recent graduate of the Duct Tape Marketing certification intensive program for fractional CMOs marketing agencies and consultants just like them. You could choose our system to move from vendor to trusted advisor, attract only ideal clients and confidently present your strategies to build monthly recurring revenue. Visit DTM world slash scale to book your free advisory call and learn more. It’s time to transform your approach. Book your call today, DTM world slash scale. Where’s the crossroads between profit and sustainability? I’m sure some companies are like, yeah, we could do it that way, but so how do you cross that bridge, especially publicly traded companies that maybe all people care about it, or at least they believe all people care about is share price?

Maise (10:11): Well, you’ve got to not have the two divorced in order to have sustainability at the heart of your brand. And that’s what I’m talking about and what my book is about, not just about something off to the side, but really critical to how you go to market. You have to believe that’s also going to increase profitability, and the most obvious way that it’s going to be is in driving revenue that you are going to have people buy your product more often or pay more for your product because of the sustainability attributes that come along with it and then it becomes good business.

John (10:46): So it’s probably inherent upon you to, a lot of people are like, oh, we do the right thing because it’s the right thing, but then it’s sort of inherent on you to actually promote that so that the tribe that cares about that really knows.

Maise (11:01): I think so I do think that marketing should follow operations, meaning that first you should be doing the thing, doing the right thing and then market it versus putting the brochure out and then saying to the operations team, Hey, you got to make these changes now we promised it to the customers. Right,

John (11:20): Right. So at the heart of the book is something you call, where is it? Circle of Responsibility Matrix. You want to unpack that idea?

Maise (11:30): Yeah. So when I was at Bon Appetit Management Company, I developed something called the Circle of Responsibility, matrix Circle of Responsibility. It was just the brand name that we used internally for our sustainability platform. We tried using it externally, it didn’t work well, it didn’t resonate with customers, but it still worked for us internally. And we kept a red, yellow, and green list just like a stoplight green is all of the commitments that we had made publicly where we stood on them by region and what marketing materials were available for them. Yellow were the things that we were actively working on and red were the ideas that we were stuck on and we pulled that list out on a regular basis and discussed it. And it’s easy to think that you want a lot of greens and not a lot of yellows and reds, but you actually need those yellows and reds, the things that you’re actively working on and the things that you’re stuck on so that you have a constant flow of ideas and something takes longer than you imagined it was going to or something that happens often is that something that’s in the green, you’ve publicly made the commitment you’ve met, it falls out of the green supply chains change.

(12:50): There’s a huge weather event, something like, oh, I don’t know, a global pandemic happens. And all those things that you thought were rock solid and green are now yellows or even reds. So it’s a really active conversation.

John (13:04): You provide an example, maybe a cautionary tale of something called the Better Chicken Commitment. You want to talk us through that one?

Maise (13:13): Yeah. So you mentioned advocacy groups like Greenpeace or peta. Well, one such group is compassion and world farming, and they put together something called the Better Chicken Commitment. And it really is about making meaningful change in chicken production in how chickens are genetically bred. So they have stronger legs to hold up their body weight as well as how they are raised. And they started shopping around for companies to sign the better chicken commitment. Now it’s tempting when a advocacy group comes a calling as I just told you to try to placate them, but you need to also make sure you’re going to get a real leadership position from that and that you can meet the ask. So in the case of the Better Chicken Commitment are known as the BCC, the first company that jumped, had that leadership position for all of about two hours before the next company signed.

(14:11): Now we’re at a position where there’s for 200 companies that have signed, but no one has yet met the better chicken commitment. It is not clear how to meet it. Does that mean that we shouldn’t have done it? No, it doesn’t mean that it is actually the right thing to do for the chickens and when that many companies sign on, if you don’t, you’re not just not a leader, you’re really a laggard. So now there are a group, it’s called the Broiler Working Group, broiler Chickens that meet on a regular basis cross company along with compassion to all work collaboratively to figure out how to solve this B, c, C and to get chickens that are better for the chickens is who it’s better for. So a really important issue to stay involved in, but probably not a leadership opportunity at this point.

John (15:07): So if somebody’s thinking we want to do the right thing, we want to invest in the right initiatives, but we’re not really sure what’s changing, emerging things coming along, obviously listening to customers. But I took particular note if you actually highlighted particularly students as a great source for, or I guess we’re probably talking about a younger demographic in general as a great source of feedback. So I’m curious what led you to that conclusion?

Maise (15:38): Well, it’s of course important to listen to customers, but I find if you wait for your mainstream customer to ask for something, you’re probably already behind. Somebody else is working on it. And so college students tend to be more out there, less concerned with practicalities, more extreme, more wanting to be disruptive and make change. So they’re are great almost focus group of what the emerging issues are going to be. They also literally are your consumers of tomorrow, but they’re also the ones that are a little bit fringy and I think you want to be listening to the fringe.

John (16:20): So what’s the first step? Especially if somebody has really ignored this for all intent and purposes and they want to take this seriously, what’s the first step in getting started? I’m sure it’s not picking an initiative, it’s probably figuring out where it fits in the company as a whole, isn’t it?

Maise (16:39): Well, I think it’s picking the initiatives that fit within your company. So it’s first going out and listening, talking to people like college students, talk to your suppliers, look at what advocacy groups are talking about. Try to read between the lines of what your competitors are talking about and see not just what they’ve committed to, but what they might be trying to brace against, what argument they might be trying to counter and take all that information and along with your personal passion and try to distill that into a platform that makes sense, make sense in terms of you can achieve it and make sense in terms of it’s a story that you can tell and make sense in terms of it’s real and meaningful. You actually will be making change.

John (17:30): Is it enough to just say, okay, yeah, you’re right, we should use less packaging. Or does it really need to flow all the way up to the mission? It’s like, here’s how we’re going to train people. Here’s going to be our culture. I’m kind of given two extremes, but does it really have to start there?

Maise (17:45): It needs to be throughout your company, it needs to be in your compensation strategy. Is this how people are rewarded? It needs to be in your sales information. It needs to be in your supplier selection criteria. If you are incenting everybody throughout your organization to only find the lowest cost option, you are not going to get there. So you need to make sure that you are with real dollars and with soft power where people get recognized and celebrated for working towards your sustainability goals or else it’s going to be window dressing. Yeah.

John (18:26): Well, Maisie, I appreciate you taking a few moments to stop by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. Is there someplace you would invite people to connect with you, find out more about your work, and obviously pick up a copy of You Can’t market manure at lunchtime.

Maise (18:37): It’d be great if people went to www.maisiegansler.com and that’s a lot of letters. M-A-I-S-I-E-G-A-N-Z-L-E-R, or they can just go to Amazon and find the book there.

John (18:55): Awesome. Well, again, I appreciate you stopping by. I’m certain this is the first time that I have said the word manure on the show. I can’t speak for all my listeners. Maybe they’ve said it about the show, but first I’m actually on the show. So again, appreciate you coming by and hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days out there on the road.

Find Ease with Remarketing: The Future of Ad Targeting

Find Ease with Remarketing: The Future of Ad Targeting written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Larry Tim, founder and CEO of Customers.AI – a first party, website visitor identification and remarketing pixel.  Also founder of WordStream – provider of Google and Facebook ad management software for tens of thousands of customers globally. Through his insights and experience, Larry reveals the future of ad targeting and the role of remarketing in the post third party data era.

Key Takeaways

Larry Tim, CEO of Customers AI, emphasizes the evolving landscape of remarketing, highlighting the importance of leveraging first-party data and adapting to changes in privacy regulations. By embracing tools like Customers AI and prioritizing transparent data practices, businesses can navigate privacy concerns while driving effective remarketing campaigns. Larry’s insights underscore the significance of staying proactive and leveraging innovative technologies like AI to connect with audiences in today’s dynamic marketing environment.

 

Questions I ask Larry Kim:

[00:54] Are you still involved with WordStream?

[01:28] When jumping ship did you have a business idea in mind or did you stumble on the opportunity?

[02:05] In the Ad world, what exactly is Remarketing?

[02:56] When it came to ROI, how effective was retargeting during your WordStream days?

[04:11] When it came to Remarketing what changed, especially with pixels and privacy?

[06:11] What is the level of degradation for Retargeting as we knew it?

[08:10] When big companies comes in and kill third party data, does that reduce or increase their revenue?

[11:37] Would you agree that Retargeting made marketers a little lax and lazy?

[16:12] How do you easily explain the technology of Remarketing?

[17:09] Do you see any trends or technologies that you think are going to further impact this space?

[18:33] Does customer.ai integrate with any CRM?

[19:09] If somebody wanted to find out a little more, how would they explore and get started with a tool like yours?

 

More About Larry Kim:

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ActiveCampaign

Try ActiveCampaign free for 14 days with our special offer. Exclusive to new customers—upgrade and grow your business with ActiveCampaign today!

 

 

John (00:08): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantz. My guest today is Larry Tim. He is the founder and CEO of customers ai, a first party website, visitor identification and remarketing pixel. He is also the founder of WordStream, provider of Google and Facebook ad management software for tens of thousands of customers globally acquired by Gannet in 2018 for approximately $200 million. So Larry, welcome to the show. I wonder what in the world you’re doing hanging around with the Lowly Duct Tape Marketing podcast at this point.

Larry (00:47): Thanks John. It’s great to be here. It’s just awesome.

John (00:51): So I think I had you on back in the day to talk about WordStream. Are you involved in any way, shape, or form with WordStream or that’s completely out of it.

Larry (00:59): It was acquired by the companies and so not to other things.

John (01:03): Yeah. I’m curious, did you take some time and say, I’m just going to, I’ve picked up a little money here, I’ve got some ability to enjoy myself. Or did you just immediately start thinking of what’s next?

Larry (01:16): It’s still a long career ahead and digital marketing is a fascinating field, so I just jumped right into the next thing.

John (01:25): Yeah. So we’ll talk about customers.ai, but is there anything in particular that you looked out and said this is the next thing to tackle, or do you feel like you just stumbled into an opportunity

Larry (01:39): When you sell a business, they ask you to not recreate the same business for obvious reasons and that’s perfect, reasonable? So I was just looking for opportunities in digital marketing, but outside of the Google use,

John (01:54): Yeah, I mentioned in the intro what customer AI is, website, visitor identification, remarketing, pixel. A lot of people, a lot of listeners know what remarketing is, but maybe we ought to start there. In the ad world, what exactly is remarketing

Larry (02:09): Incredibly effective way of doing ad targeting to people who have recently visited your website? And the reason why this works so smashingly well is just that people are two to three times more likely to engage with ads for brands that they’ve heard of and targeting it figures. It solves for that by narrowing the ad target, the people who have recently been to your website, which means that they’re in market for the products and services that you’re selling as well as they’ve heard of you. It’s the crown jewel of or has had been historically the crown jewel of ad target methods and was responsible for a lot of the growth digital ads that were driving, driving company growth.

John (02:52): So back, particularly in your word stream days, and maybe you don’t have an exact number, but how likely or how much better was if you could retarget somebody? How much more effective was that in terms of a conversion, in terms of return on ad spend, things of that nature?

Larry (03:09): It’s an order of magnitude better. The engagement rate was two to three times higher that implied substantially lower cost per click. But also that excitement, that higher engagement would carry through to purchases or apps because they’re excited to engage. And what we found was in advertising there, this concept of ad fatigue where it’s like the engagement rate, even a fatigue plus 20 impression remarketing targeted ad will still perform better than a brand new interest or demographic based targeted ad.

John (03:47): The ones I hate is when I see it 20 or 30 times after I’ve made the purchase and I’m still seeing the ads, those are the ones I hate

Larry (03:54): This opportunity. They should be segmenting into an upsell ad flow.

John (04:00): Of course. Yeah. Alright, I get the concept. I’ve visited the website and so now you’re going to show me Target or you’re going to show me ads because you know a lot about me, or at least one thing about me. I’ve visited your website. What’s changed in the world of pixels and targeting and privacy? And again, maybe that’s a big question with a lot of answers, but when it comes to remarketing, what’s changed?

Larry (04:23): It’s nearly dead that this entire phenomenon was a hundred percent reliant on third party, third party cookies. So the way that retarget would work for Facebook or Google was that you would log into Facebook or Gmail or some Google service on either your browser or on your device. And using the power of third party cookies, they could share data between one browser or tab to another and someone visited Duct Tape Marketing or customers ai. It used to be the case that if you install a Facebook or Google ad Pixel on your website, it could attempt to look for, but the Google Pixel could look for a Google third party cookie. The Facebook pixel could do the same and it would then pick up an ID if it was there. And 50% of the times this would work, I would then phone home that ID to the mothership saying, John visited customers of ai, so let’s add John’s ID into Larry’s ad manager so that you can retarget to ’em.

(05:29): So this whole thing is very tenuous right now. It started in 18, a Firefox drop, so then 2019 iOS third market opt in rather than opt out. And the Chrome is the last shoot of drop here. I dunno if you saw the news yesterday, they extended the time to end, so time six months from now or something, a year early, early 25 is what they’re saying now. But it is in the process of being sunsetted and we’re already that retargeting signal just because of all the other players in the ecosystem, excluding Chrome is still like 50, 60% of the signal been in the decline for five years now.

John (06:11): So what’s the level of degradation now of that type of tactic?

Larry (06:16): So at the heyday seven, seven, you were able to get using a pixel, it would vary based on where you lived and who your audience was, but on average they could ID somewhere around 50% of the people who were visiting your website integrated by call it 70, 80% over the last five years.

John (06:38): So what’s driving these changes? Is it just consumer privacy theoretically, or is it just legislative backlash?

Larry (06:47): The thing that people don’t realize about the Facebook and Google ad pixel, what’s this, a massive Trojan horse. The use case was limited to what we’ve described here. Just being able to ID the people who visited your website and show ’em ads, it might’ve not been such a big deal. But the other thing that Google Facebook pixels were doing was they were phoning home like every bit of user journey data for every visitor, but then uploading that to their ad systems to then power the display network capabilities of those ad platforms. So it was like they had this pixel on 10 million sites and you would visit a fishing site and then Google would ascertain that Johns must be going through a fishing trip. And then other competitors in the ecosystem, there’s 10 million advertising, would then be able to run ads using display targeting segments like interested in Phish or something. That’s exactly the mechanism of how that data was being populated. And I think that is very questionable and it wasn’t really well disclosed and it did run afoul of a lot of regulatory practices. The Google and Facebook weren’t necessarily even disclosing that to the people who were in some of the pixels. There was some concern, but that is the genesis of the demise of third party cookies.

John (08:10): So some of these bigger players, the Googles of Facebook, even Apple now jumping on killing third party data, does that put a big dent in their ad revenue as well, or does it actually increase ad revenue because targeting goes away?

Larry (08:25): So they’re putting on a bold face. They’re saying, you know what, we have this new Facebook is calling it audience plus ad targeting, and they’re saying, you don’t need data, you need r AI will figure out who your perfect customers are. Okay. And it’s mixed reviews. This is nothing new. It’s rebranding of similar audience target. Exactly. And look like audience Target was there in 2010 when niaz started, and it was always the backup kind of stepchild of ad targeting methods where if you didn’t have any signal, you would go to similar ad target, similar audience targeting and it just reversed the pecking order. They’re saying now the default is similar audience targeting, and if you happen to have data, then that’s still an option, but it’s not required now does it actually work? Sure, it can work a little bit, but apex of what they had going back in 2017, this was pretty hard.

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Speaker 3 (10:40): Duct Tape Marketing really helped me to shave at least six to eight months off of work that I was dreading after leaving the corporate world. Even before I participated in the agency intensive training, I had already landed my first customer. This in essence, more than paid for my investment in Duct Tape Marketing. What

John (10:58): You just heard was a testimonial from a recent graduate of the Duct Tape Marketing certification intensive program for fractional CMOs marketing agencies and consultants just like them. You could choose our system to move from vendor to trusted advisor, attract only ideal clients, and confidently present your strategies to build monthly recurring revenue. Visit DTM world slash scale to book your free advisory call and learn more. It’s time to transform your approach. Book your call today, DTM world slash scale. And as an advertiser, it made a lot of us lazy too, didn’t it? Because you really could get such good targeting information. A lot of people stopped worrying about first party data and even about building email lists and things of that nature. Where are we today?

Larry (11:52): Yes, that’s exactly the thing. It was like this weird phenomenon between, for about a decade between 2010 and 2018 ish, we had Google and Facebook trying to kill each other by providing the best possible data for their advertisers and the best possible tools. And I think advertisers were the beneficial of this free, it wasn’t free, but they were licensing the data to you through their ad products. But just even having that access was something that marketers ever had before. And providing very granular analytics to understand the ROI of that ad spend was quite remarkable in terms of where we’re headed at. These companies are now trillion dollar behemoths and they have monopolies and there’s just not, with the specter of regulatory concerns overhead, there’s just no upside to sticking your neck out there and trying to provide really great ad targeting in 20 or so. They’re making things more opaque. In case in point, Google Analytics, it used to have people explore data. You could understand more about the people and the demographics of the people who are visiting your website. They ripped it out. The audience managers and Facebook used to have audience insights that’s ripped out. So I’m saying Google Analytics used to be able to get very granular user journey and data. It’s been replaced with sampling and where they don’t tell you the exact numbers, they just surround to the nearest s. So does that answer your question?

John (13:19): Yeah, absolutely. So really a lot of where I’m really going with this is a lot of what you’re doing at customers AI is really trying to help people recover the ability or the capability to do remarketing. So if third party data is not the answer, what is the answer or what’s the technology now that’s allowing some recovery of this?

Larry (13:39): We need to lean into your first party data and we just got very complacent and lazy and forgot to about the importance of engaging in marketing, driving traffic to your site through top of phone campaigns. And then what we do is we have something a little bit comparable to what the Facebook and Google pixels used to do, but it’s limited to a first party context. So what we can do

John (14:01): Is, so maybe I hate to do this, but maybe explain what first party data is first,

Larry (14:06): It’s your competitive advantage. It’s your understanding of the market in terms of the people who are visiting your website, the information that they fill out on your website, the pages that they view. It’s the data in your CRMs, in your HubSpot, in your MailChimp. It’s all that information. And third party data on the other hand is ZoomInfo, where you could just buy a list of DES that was just purchase data or ads where it’s like you specify an audience and they just happen to know who’s looking to do a fishing trip this weekend. And that’s third party data. So what we’re saying is the pendulum was swamping the other direction. We cover these remarketing use cases, but in a first party content, meaning we will provide you with a ton of information about the people who are visiting your own website. So this is augmenting your first party website data with all sorts of valuable information.

(15:09): I’m sure all of your visitors will be familiar with this idea of augmenting your visitor data with whatever. Yeah, geotargeting is one of ’em big ones like city state. And we can print that to include identity as well as attributes of the people who are visiting. So email, phone number, mailing address, et cetera. And this is still your first party data. I’m not just giving you a list of ideal customers. You have to bring them into your funnel first. And then what we can do is we can in a first party way, augment the data and unlock different use cases such as email marketing, such as retargeting. So that’s in the case of retargeting. We can securely encrypt those identifiers and send them back to whichever ad platforms that you care about in a way where it’s just your data being sent to your account and it’s not populating 10 million ad accounts. So this is what we’re talking about like compliance and privacy. Compliance. Any questions?

John (16:11): So is there an easy way to explain the technology? It’s some sort of server to server connection or

Larry (16:17): Yes. Obviously we can’t be using third party cookies, then we would have the same fate as the ad scripts that are being blocked. And obviously we can’t be using browser scripting calls because that’s also what Google uses. It is a server to server call. So different recognizing that the ad platform is recognized that the scripting communication channel was likely to be a little bit more tenuous moving forward. They have all built sort of these server PIs where vendors like customers AI can now securely and reliably encrypt and send over that information so that you can still remarket like it’s now 2018 again.

John (17:03): So I always like to, especially somebody like you that’s watching what’s coming. Any trends or technologies that you think are coming that are going to further impact this space

Larry (17:14): As marketers? I think the most successful marketers are the ones that can tell the future. And easiest way to tell the future is to look at the past. And because we just go around and around before Google and Facebook, were invented and were providing these really radically amazing targeting offerings, ad targeting capabilities and analytics. The companies that were doing really well were old school big companies that had a lot of data like Walmart or ha’s entertainment or other big data companies. And they had a huge advantage over smaller retailers or vendors. And that advantage had been diminished over time because Google and Facebook were democratizing the availability of this third party data. And I think where it’s moving back is it’s where we’ve been before. It’s like the companies that are going to be amazing are the ones that have a lot of data. So you should be really taking stock of all the first party data that you’re generating, making sure that it’s fully augmented using first party pixel technology so that you can maintain all that valuable information and then act on it In terms of powering email automation campaigns, advertising campaigns, we can do mailers, they can send postcards because we have the address et first cetera.

John (18:31): Yeah, yeah. One more in the weeds question. Does customers io, am I getting that right?

Larry (18:37): Ai.

John (18:38): Ai, sorry, integrate with any CRMs or is it all you have to integrate through a Zap or something like that?

Larry (18:45): So we do have emailing capabilities and email automation capabilities within a platform. However, a lot of businesses, they have preferred CRMs or ESPs, like email service providers that they wish to work with. We have native integrations with a couple of the big ones and including kla and Lane Mail and a couple dozen high, high level one

John (19:07): And

Larry (19:08): Dozens of

John (19:08): Others. Awesome. Well if somebody wanted to find out a little more about whether or not this makes sense for them, how would they explore and get started with a tool like yours?

Larry (19:17): There’s a free trial or on our website, customers have AI and just put the pixel on your website. I believe it includes 500 leads or seven free days of utilization, whichever comes first. So if you have a high traffic website, I think that might be very interesting. You’ll see all the IES of the folks who are visiting your site and you can tell your friends that. Guys, come click on my website. I just want to see, I’ll see all these interesting names.

John (19:46): Awesome. Alright, Larry, again, appreciate you stopping by. This is an interesting evolving topic. People can find out more at customers AI and hopefully one of these days we’ll see you out there on the road.

How to Make Money From Your Passion: Tailored Solutions for Creative Minds

How to Make Money From Your Passion: Tailored Solutions for Creative Minds written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Christian Brim. Through his extensive experience as a certified public accountant and certified management accountant, Christian Brim has gained profound insights into the intersection of creativity and profitability for entrepreneurs. In this episode, we cover the unique challenges faced by creative entrepreneurs and explore tailored solutions to help them thrive in their businesses without having to sacrifice passion for financial success.

Key Takeaways

With over 25 years of working with small businesses to grow their businesses profitably Christian Brim is experienced in the unique mindset of creative entrepreneurs, emphasizing the importance of embracing profitability as not just essential to creative endeavors but also, honorable. Through the Three-Pronged Decision concept, he highlights the necessity of aligning market needs, profitability, and personal passion for success. Christian guides creative minds in implementing the Profit First framework to prioritize profitability while ensuring financial stability. He also underscores the significance of value pricing as a strategy to maximize earnings. By integrating these insights, creative entrepreneurs can overcome financial challenges, unlock their full potential, and thrive in their unique ventures.

 

Questions I ask Christian Brim:

[00:54] Seeing as Mike Michalowicz created ‘Profit First’ what new insights do you bring to the concept?

[02:26] How are creatives a unique group with specific challenges in the business world?

[06:38] Can you explain further with a specific example from your career?

[05:13] Explain the 3 pronged decision every creative makes?

[12:36] After the profit assessment, explain the process of the profit first framework

[15:42] Talk more about the pricing dilemma in making profit

[17:34] How did your oil field experience in Oklahoma influence your career?

[20:00] Is there some place that you would invite people to find about your work, connect with you and pick up a copy of profit first for creatives?

 

 

More About Christian Brim:

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

John (00:08): Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Christian Brim. He’s a certified public accountant, certified management accountant with over 25 years of working with small businesses to grow their business profitably, heavily influenced by a family riches to rags experience. In his formative years, Christian has dedicated his life to work, helping his life’s work, to helping entrepreneurs have their business work for them. He’s also the author of a book we’re going to talk about today, profit First for Creatives, redefining the Creativity slash Money Paradigm. So Christian, welcome to the show.

Christain (00:51): Thank you very much for having me, John.

John (00:53): So first thing, Mike Albo has been on this show, a creator of Prophet First wrote the original book, prophet First. So let’s just start with an overview. What does Christian bring to the prophet First world

Christain (01:05): That’s interesting? Yeah, so when I decided to write this book last year, my original intent was to use it to gain traction in the space with our target market, which we’d recently defined creative industries such as videography, marketing agencies, interior design. But a funny thing happened along the way. I started to realize the challenges that I had faced, even though I wasn’t in a creative industry and my experience working with other creatives. What came to the surface was there are some things about creative entrepreneurs that posed some challenges in implementing Profit First. So the profit first component of the book is, you can read Mike’s book, my book, any of the Derivatives. They’re all very similar, but the big difference in my book is the mindset application in creative spaces.

John (02:13): So maybe let’s talk a little bit about how are creatives different from a mindset standpoint, particularly when it comes to running a business, making money, selling all those kinds of things that are part of the entrepreneurial world. Is there a unique subset of folks that have challenges?

Christain (02:30): Yeah, so let me define this first. When I say creative entrepreneur, I don’t necessarily mean someone that’s in a creative industry. The distinction there is, as Perry Marshall explained it to me, and I go through this in the book, is the difference between entrepreneurs, either being builders or artists and builders are ones that see opportunities in the marketplace to find a way to make money, and that’s what drives their entrepreneurial journey. Artists or creatives are driven by passion. So they may see an opportunity in the marketplace, but they have no interest in it, and so they pass on it. In other words, if the entrepreneurial endeavor does not strike their passion, they have no interest in doing it. And so in a lot of ways, Mike was a creative, he probably had never thought of himself that way, but he was passion driven. And one of the problems when you are driven by passion is that you run into work that you don’t want to do.

(03:43): It doesn’t interest you. There’s this false paradigm among a bunch of people in the creative space where you have to do what you don’t love doing to pay the bills, or you can do what drives your passion, but you are precluded from making money at it. But that is a false paradigm because as I postulate in the book, profit derives from creativity and every entrepreneurial endeavor, it’s something novel that you bring to the equation that drives the profit. And so the mindset is really about embracing that paradigm rather than running away from it or thinking that there’s a false paradigm that I can’t have both. Yeah,

John (04:35): Let’s get really down in the weeds of the mechanics of this. When I first started my business, I was good at selling. That was about it. And so I hustled work. I came to the end of the year and I was like, oh, you got to pay all these taxes. I thought I just got to keep the money. And so got a real big wake up for sure. So I said, I’ve got an idea. I’m just going to make myself a W2 employee of the corporation that’ll force me to pay the taxes. It’ll basically pay me a wage that hopefully I can make payroll. And so to me, even the thought of profit was kind of odd because I was an S corp, but I was like, I don’t want to make any profit. So talk about I’m setting myself up as something, probably an example you run into,

Christain (05:18): Well, yeah, now you’d be, well, maybe you wouldn’t be surprised. So creative entrepreneurs tend to just ignore it for the most part. But there’s a large percentage of entrepreneurs in the broader sense that have that mindset of I don’t want to make a profit. I don’t want to pay taxes, and I can’t even really get my brain around that because if you’re not in business to make a profit, then what are you doing it for?

John (05:47): Right. It’s a job.

Christain (05:49): Exactly,

John (05:50): Exactly.

Christain (05:51): I think creatives also struggle with this idea that profit is honorable, allowable. It sounds kind of like a dirty word.

John (06:04): You sell your soul or you don’t make money. Right.

Christain (06:08): And the reality is that if the business doesn’t make a profit, you’re exactly right. You nailed it. You have a job. And there are a lot of people that I’ve come across in my experience that they would make more money, have less headaches, have fewer headaches, and just be more happy in general if they would go work for someone else. Right,

John (06:30): Right, right. Just go to the mailbox and get that check. Exactly. No kidding. So there is a concept in the book that you call the Where is it? Three-Pronged Decision of Creatives. I would love it if you could unpack that and give us some really the meat of the work.

Christain (06:48): So every business has to answer two questions. One is, can they fulfill the need in the market with their good or service or product? And the second is, can they make a profit at it? That’s what every entrepreneur has to solve. They have to solve that equation. The creative adds this third aspect, which is, do I want to do it? Does it further my passion? And that is something that a lot of people wrestle with because again, I go back to, I think most of it is they don’t set themselves into that false paradigm. They’ve closed the system, so to speak, so that the alternative of being able to make a profit and do what they love is possible. But in interviewing several clients and going through their stories, it’s really about reapplying their creativity. It’s using their creativity in a different way. It is not like there aren’t going to be things that you love to do that don’t have a economic or monetary impact or value, purely artistic or purely creative for creativity’s sake. Those absolutely are. We call those hobbies. How can I apply that creativity in my business to make a profit?

John (08:22): And that word passion is one that I think is so confusing to people too, because a lot of people that advice do what you’re passionate about. Well, I had no idea what I’m passionate about until I did it, until I got good at it. And then I was really passionate about it. But it’s because blogging, writing, I didn’t particularly say that’s something I’m passionate about. I just started doing it, started getting good at it, people started paying me for it, and I was like, I love this. And I think a lot of people really underestimate that idea is we get passionate sometimes about stuff we get good at by practice.

Christain (08:58): And I’d even go a step further that your passion is deeply rooted in something. And for me, in my case, it was this richest rag story. And although I had an awareness of it from an early age, truly understanding the root causes and feelings about my passion didn’t manifest itself for a couple of decades. I mean, really coming to terms with understanding what my passion is. And now that I have an understanding of that passion, it’s opened up opportunities that I had pretty much ignored the book being the first one, but I’m already onto my second. That is probably going to be a podcast format. But the point of that is that until you have a true understanding of your passion, what motivates you, it may manifest itself in ways like blogging or in my case, helping people with their finances. But once I understood the true impact of my passion, it opened so many more doors. And that’s really kind of a parallel of the creativity in your business. Once you start looking at it from that lens, you start to see other opportunities open up to express it.

Speaker 3 (10:21): Duct Tape Marketing really helped me to shave at least six to eight months off of work that I was dreading after leaving the corporate world. Even before I participated in the agency intensive training, I had already landed my first customer. This is in essence, more than paid for my investment in Duct Tape Marketing.

John (10:39): What you just heard was a testimonial from a recent graduate of the Duct Tape Marketing certification intensive program for fractional CMOs marketing agencies and consultants just like them. You could choose our system to move from vendor to trusted advisor, attract only ideal clients, and confidently present your strategies to build monthly recurring revenue. Visit DTM world slash scale to book your free advisory call and learn more. It’s time to transform your approach. Book your call today, DTM World slash scale. Yeah, that’s a really great point because for me, I don’t often kid that it’s nine siblings, and so I think I spent a lot of time trying to get noticed, and I think if you were really to take that idea and go back and say, well know a lot of the things in my business. I like to speak, I like to write, I liked that people liked my writing. I, so I think that’s what you’re talking about. There is yes. And I sort of unlocked that maybe early on you’d realize why these things that are kind of hard and maybe not that fruitful you stick with.

Christain (11:48): Yes. And Todd Henry, when I interviewed him for the book, he told me, he said, well, you know what the Greek word for passion is? And I said, no. And he said, I don’t know how to pronounce it, but it’s basically the Greek word means suffering. And he said that in order to really fulfill your passion, you have to be willing to suffer for it. You not necessarily will suffer for it, but it has to have that depth of emotion for you. And so if you use the word suffering instead of passion, it kind of changes the conversation,

John (12:27): Right? Nobody’s so interested in that.

Christain (12:29): Right?

John (12:30): So alright, all this touchy feely stuff, let’s leave it behind. Now somebody comes to you and I think the first step is they do a profit assessment. I know that’s part of the book. And then they say, okay, Kristen, what do I need to do? How does the process work? I mean obviously I know everybody’s different, but from a high level, what’s the process of working through the Profit First framework?

Christain (12:53): Sure. So the profit assessment basically takes your historical financial information and boils it down to some percentages of what’s your profitability, what’s your compensation is. And I use the analogy of weight loss. It’s your weigh in. It’s like this is where you are and there’s no judgment. It’s just a number. But then I think that the harder part is to think about where you want to be and that we can bring in information around industry standards to say, well, this is what on average your peers are making. But I think the first step for every business owner is to fund their lifestyle. And that is, I’m going to take out X amount of dollars to do what I want to do personally support my family. And that’s your first goal. I mean, you need to be able to fund your lifestyle. And so assuming that you have not done that, you’re not there yet.

(13:58): The process is to say, okay, you’re at a 10% profit and you need to be at 20% profit is laying that out in a quarterly implementation plan where we make incremental changes each quarter to arrive at that goal maybe a year, maybe 18 months, maybe 24 months in the future depending upon how big the change is, and then help guide you through to get there. I think one of the things people realize when they implement Profit First is that the initial gains are easy, right? When you’re changing 1%, you’re adding 1% to your profit, they’re easy because you can go back through and say, okay, well I don’t really need to spend this or I can change this behavior or habit. Where it gets more difficult is after you’ve cut all the expenses you can, how do you keep moving towards profit? And I devote a whole chapter into the book on value pricing, and the real lever to increase your profit is with your top line. And in that instance, I’m not talking about just selling more to sell more, but to increase your prices so that your margins are better, and that’s where you really see your profit go through the roof.

John (15:21): Yeah. I mean, theoretically, if you’re getting 10% more for something and not paying any more expenses, that drops to the bottom, doesn’t it? I was going to ask you, you kind of answered the question already, but I’ll ask it in a different way. Profit is a math problem. How much revenue, how much expense so you can lower expenses, raise profit or raise revenue, or both as you talked about, how often do you see pricing not charging enough is a problem as opposed to spending too much?

Christain (15:50): I’d say a hundred percent of the time. I think owners of businesses, all of us have this fear of raising prices, and I have rarely met a business owner that was charging the most that they could. And value pricing really forces you to think about how you price your services or goods in terms of the value perceived as opposed to your time and costs. And when you shift your mindset to looking at it that way, you realize that you’re leaving a lot of money on the table because you’re delivering a lot of value. You just haven’t figured out how to capture it.

John (16:35): This is the point in the show where I should mention that Christian is actually a client of Duct Tape Marketing, and we are going to go back to the drawing board and reassess, raise my piece. Exactly. Yes. Hundred percent.

Christain (16:47): Well, no, I will tell you this. I did a speaking engagement last week with a group of marketers and kind of walked through my company as a test case, as an example on value pricing. And then one of the persons afterwards came up and asked me and said, well, you mentioned you hired a new marketing agency. What did they do for you? And I told them and they said, well, if you don’t mind, how much do they charge you? And I told them, and they’re like, really? That’s a really good deal. And I’m like, I know.

John (17:19): Okay, you heard it here. Christian has agreed to a new, so I want to end with one last thing I said in your sort of comical way on the intro, a riches to rags story. So how did that experience, I think you were in the oil field business service business. How did that experience as you were coming up, I suppose as they would’ve said in the oil field days in Oklahoma, was it

Christain (17:45): Yes. Yeah.

John (17:46): How did that kind of influence your career, your mindset?

Christain (17:50): Yeah, so the whole richest rag story of going from riding in limousines and private aircraft to living in a rent house and driving shitty cars, as I described, it happened when I was 16 and 17. And it shook me, not because of the change in lifestyle, but the impact that it had on the family before we were close and did a lot of things together. And then afterwards, everybody scattered to find employment, and that family unit disintegrated. And that was what really impacted me. And even in my early twenties when I started out on my career, I knew I wanted to help business owners because I knew that what I had experienced, it didn’t have to be that way, and that was my calling.

John (18:51): Yeah, it is interesting starting a business. A lot of people do it to make more money, to have more freedom. And if you don’t get, and ultimately maybe to have impact on the world, but if you don’t get, it’s like the hierarchy thing. If you’re not even paying the bills, then the idea of freedom or certainly the idea of impact is kind of a pipe dream, isn’t it?

Christain (19:14): Oh, a hundred percent. It is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, right? I mean, you got to cover that lifestyle nut first. And I see so many business owners that struggle with that and live hand to mouth and worry when they don’t have work and worry when they do have work to see how they can get it all done. And it’s like hearing our clients’ stories around, well, now I get a paycheck and I don’t have to worry about it, and if we don’t sell something this month, I’m not stressed out and that allows me to be creative. I’m like, that’s a money shot for me. That’s why we’re doing it.

John (19:57): Yeah, absolutely. Well, Christian, I appreciate you stopping by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. Is there someplace that you would invite people to find about your work, connect with you, and then obviously pick up a copy of Profit First for creatives?

Christain (20:10): Yes. We’ve got a URL just for URL’s, listeners to go and be able to buy the book and contact me if you have follow-up questions. I don’t know it off the top of my head, so I’m hoping you’re going to put it in the program notes.

John (20:24): We are going to put it in the program notes, but here it is Core group us.com. Is that right? Sound right? Yes. Core group us.com/dtm-podcast.

Christain (20:36): There it is. But

John (20:37): We’ll also have it in the show notes as well. But I’m glad your team shared that with me so that I could save us both.

Christain (20:43): Save my day. Thank you.

John (20:46): Alright, well Christian, it was great having you spend a little time with us and hopefully we’ll see you soon, one of these days out there on the road.

How to Master the Science of Learning: From Tetris to Teaching

How to Master the Science of Learning: From Tetris to Teaching written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Scott Young. Through his extensive research and exploration into the science of learning, Scott Young has uncovered fascinating insights into how individuals can master the art of acquiring new skills effectively. In this episode we cover the core principles of learning and how they can be applied in various contexts, from mastering video games like Tetris in navigating paths to mastery.

Key Takeaways

Scott Young sheds light on the science of learning, emphasizing the importance of optimizing cognitive load, embracing the value of copying, leveraging teaching as a tool for deepening understanding, drawing parallels between retro gaming and the learning processes of today to access best practices, By incorporating these insights into your learning journey, you can unlock your full potential and achieve mastery in your business or any domain they choose to pursue.

 

Questions I ask Scott Young:

[02:11] Explain the 12 maxims of learning

[03:28] Talk a little bit about your research methodology in uncovering the science of learning?

[06:38] How does gaming intersect with the science of learning, specifically Tetris?

[09:26] Explain how copying is part of the creative process?

[12:25] What is cognitive load theory?

[14:21] How does teaching improve learning?

[19:36] Where can people connect with you and grab a copy of “Get Better at Anything” ?

 

More About Scott Young:

  • Connect with Scott Young on X
  • Visit his Website 

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

Speaker 1 (00:00): I was like, I found it. I found it. This is what I’ve been looking for. I can honestly say it has genuinely changed the way I run my business. It’s changed the results that I’m seeing. It’s changed my engagement with clients. It’s changed my engagement with the team. I couldn’t be happier. Honestly. It’s the best investment I ever made. What

John (00:17): You just heard was a testimonial from a recent graduate of the Duct Tape Marketing certification intensive program for fractional CMOs marketing agencies and consultants just like them. You could choose our system to move from vendor to trusted advisor, attract only ideal clients, and confidently present your strategies to build monthly recurring revenue. Visit DTM world slash scale to book your free advisory call and learn more. It’s time to transform your approach. Book your call today, DTM World slash scale.

(01:03): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Scott Young. He’s a Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the book Ultra Learning, and he’s got a new book out called Get Better At Anything, 12 Maxims four Mastery. His work has been featured in the New York Times Pocket and Business Insider on the BBC and at TEDx among others. He doesn’t promise to have all the answers, just a place to start. And he lives in rainy, sunny Vancouver. I’m not sure which it is. Rainy, sunny Vancouver, Canada is what I was going to say there. So welcome back, Scott.

Scott (01:41): Oh, thanks so much for having me back.

John (01:43): So get better at anything. Pretty bold promise you and I were talking before I hit record and you let me know. You have two young children, so talk about a new thing to get better at. Yeah, yeah,

Scott (02:00): It’s definitely a crash course when you have your first one and then the second one realizes that actually each kid is unique, so you have to do it again over with a new one.

John (02:09): Absolutely. So 12 maxims. So there obviously are 12 ideas in here, but you’ve kind of broken them up into, I don’t know, types of learning. So you want to start there?

Scott (02:22): Well, yeah. So I mean, the idea of the book was to try to find what are the fundamental principles for getting better for improvement for skill acquisition that we’ve learned from cognitive science. And so I broke it into three parts, and I think you need all three to really get better. The first is C, which is learning from other people. And one of the things that came up repeatedly in the research is that the easier time we have learning from others, the faster we’ll make progress. And often when we get stuck, it’s because something in our environment is making it harder for us to learn from the people who are the best. The second factor is do, which is obviously practice is super important for learning, but not just every kind of practice works equally well. So again, there’s also this sort of myth that if you just do something enough, you’ll become really great at it. But the research actually shows that often we stall often we don’t make progress. And so figuring out what kind of practice matters, and then finally feedback, which is obviously important. You need to get this corrective information from the environment about how to adjust what you’re doing. And so the entire book is a deep dive into the many ways that this goes right and wrong, and how you can engineer those in your own efforts at getting better at things.

John (03:28): So talk a little bit about your research methodology. I mean, this is one of those, if you’re going to teach somebody how to get better at stuff here, you’re going to do a lot of experimenting yourself, I’m guessing you’re going to talk to a lot of people. How do you break yours down?

Scott (03:44): Well, I mean, I kind of have a weird background. So as we talked about in my previous book, ultra Learning, which when we had the interview probably about five years ago, my starting point for a lot of this interest in learning was taking on these aggressive, what I call ultra learning projects. So learning MIT’s, computer science, curriculum, learning multiple languages, portrait drawing, quantum mechanics, a bunch of skills. And that was the starting point. But I think once you learn a lot of things, you get very interested in how does it actually work? What are the mechanisms? What are the principles? And so for this book, I wanted to do a much deeper dive in the science of learning. And that’s a bit of a daunting process because it’s not just like there’s one book you can read and it’ll tell you everything. I mean, learning spans, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, it spans practical and theoretical. You’ve got people working on artificial intelligence models, and then you’ve got the embodied wisdom of teachers who have taught for decades. And so the research project was sprawling, and I read hundreds of books, probably about six, 700 papers. And so this book I try to do is to try to distill what are the broad patterns? What are the things that are not like, here’s a quirky study, but here’s a broad truth that applies to many different fields, many different ways of getting better at things.

John (05:02): This sounds like a canned question, but I think based on the research way you did it, were there any giant surprises, like you were blown away by something that you learned?

Scott (05:12): Oh, I mean, yeah, writing this book was also an attempt to me to write down the things that surprised me. So I mean, one of the things that surprised me right off the bat was John Schweller’s work that I talk about in it’s the second chapter of the book and this research, he found that through these careful experiments that you can get people to solve problems and they don’t learn how to solve the problem, which sounds like almost like a contradiction in terms how do you solve a problem without learning how you solve it? You

John (05:38): Drink a lot, drink a lot of beer, maybe, or I don’t know. No,

Scott (05:41): I mean, these are people who these find some method to solve it. But then if you ask them, well, what is the method that you’re using to solve it? They can’t articulate it, they can’t remember it. And that has big implications for applying that method to new ones. And so I think that was one of the things that really surprised me. I found Dean Simon’s work on basically creative success being very closely coupled to creative quantity or the amount that you actually produce and publish to also be interesting and full of fascinating implications that don’t get mentioned that often as well. So I mean, the book is just full of my own surprises and my own things that I thought were worth sharing.

John (06:16): I’ve never been a big video game person, frankly. I just feel like it’s not a very good use of my time, especially if you read these studies that people are playing Fortnite for nine hours a day or something like that. But the one game that I kind of got attached to was Tetris because I just felt like there was something different about it. You talk a lot about Tetris, so what do we have to learn from Tetris?

Scott (06:42): I mean, Tetris, this was always a risky gamble, putting it in a book, because there’s people like yourself, I don’t play video games. And then you open with a story about video games and it’s like, am I going to lose some people here? But I think it was a story that when I first heard it, this, I heard this from John Green, he was the YouTuber. He started talking about this, and that’s what triggered me to do all this research about Tetris that I wouldn’t have otherwise done. And the thing that was fascinating about it is that it’s kind of a microcosm everything we need to really know about how learning and improvement works. And it’s the fact that it’s in a domain that most people don’t even think about, I think makes it all the more rewarding. So the basic idea is that Tetris comes out in the early nineties.

(07:21): It’s a phenomenal hit. People are obsessed with it. They’re hallucinating falling blocks, and it’s like a cultural obsession. But if you look at the world record performance, the best people at Tetris, these are the people who are truly obsessed. They’re playing it nonstop. They’re actually not that good at it. And the reason we know they’re not that good at it is that now there’s 12 and 13-year-old kids that are unfathomably better at the game. It’s difficult to put into words how much better they are at the game than they were two decades, three decades ago. So what’s the difference? Why are we suddenly much better at playing Tetris than we used to be? And the answer turns out has a lot to do with how learning works. The environment that people play these video games has transformed radically with the invention of the internet. The way you used to play video games when you were in the early 1990s is like maybe your brother, your brother’s friend, he knows a trick or a strategy, and you hear from him.

(08:11): Or maybe you read something in a magazine, and now it’s online. Now you can watch people play the video game. You can see how their hands move. You can learn the techniques that are at the best frontier of play much more easily. And this has huge implications for learning workplace skills, learning hobbies, learning, all sorts of things that maybe matter more to you than Tetris, which is how do you get access to the best practices, the best techniques, which are often hidden and really do make a big difference in not just your individual performance, but how is a field you’re moving forward and innovating.

John (08:45): Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. I see entire YouTube channels dedicated to just people talking about how they played the game. So yeah, it’s crazy. One at chapter two really got my attention because I’ve been a long believer in this idea that creativity begins with copying. And I think a lot of people have this idea that I’m not creative or I’m not a creator even. But really almost in every field, certainly all of my work has been informed by math or architecture or something else. I read that I was like, oh, I know how I can apply that to what I’m trying to do. So talk a little bit about that idea that copying is actually part of the creative process.

Scott (09:29): I mean, this was a chapter that I’d been wanting to write for years, even before ultra learning had come out, because when I got the chance to spend some longer time in China, one of the things that I found fascinating is how the culture differed from the west. In West, we tend to make creativity and originality as being these polar opposites that either you’re a plagiarist or you’re an original. And we all want to be originals. We don’t want to be people who copy things. And the thing that I really appreciated from the Chinese context is the appreciation of precedent, the appreciation of learning from the masters and the examples that come before. And as I dig in, and I dig into the research here, that this is how we used to teach a lot of things that we now expect people to just be creative and inspiring off the bat that the artistic training, especially I cover the apprenticeship period during the Renaissance, but also in the academy system that came after it.

(10:24): There really was a fairly structured approach to starting with simple examples, copying from masterworks, basically learning the patterns for how to do something successfully, building up this technique so that when you do want to express an idea, when you do want to do something creative, you have all these tools at your disposal. And I think that whether it’s artistic instruction, whether it’s math instruction, whether it’s any kind of field, like this sort of idea that creativity is built off of copying, of understanding examples, of understanding precedent is something that I hate to say is kind of unappreciated in our current culture, which focuses on genius that comes out of nowhere.

John (11:06): There was a book a few years ago, I had Austin on the show called Steal Like an Artist. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that book and the whole book’s about that. It’s a small little book about that whole idea. And I think you’re absolutely right that people really don’t understand that concept. I remember hearing a musician one time say, we’re all using the same eight notes. Nobody’s making up new notes. It’s really just so we’re all borrowing from that kind of reservoir of stuff, and we’re just having new ideas about it.

Scott (11:37): Yeah, I mean, there was a quote from one of the jazz musicians that I covered in a later chapter where we’re talking about variable practice, and he says, I didn’t know how could people do these jazz improvisations just pull something out of thin air? And he’s like, I had no idea the amount of study and knowledge of knowing what had been played before and understanding what had been played before. So people like Quentin Tarantino, for instance, are very do this very nakedly where they’re doing pastiche and doing things that call back to things they like. But pretty much any great artist, that’s what they’re doing. They’re kind of like, I like these three things and I’m going to do them. And it’s just because they have all this knowledge, they have this ability to do it. I mean, it’s so important and it’s something that I think is not stressed enough.

John (12:22): So this isn’t really a question, I just want to hear you talk about cognitive load theory. Yeah,

Scott (12:30): Yeah. Cognitive load theory. Well, I mean it sounds really complicated, but the idea is very central, very central to learning. And it’s again, one of those things that I think if you understand it, it makes sense of a lot of stuff. But the basic idea is that the way our brain works is we have this central bottleneck called working memory. And working memory is kind of think of it as your consciousness, what things you can hold in mind right now at this moment, not things you’re remembering, not things you’ve written down, things that are in your head at that moment. And it’s very narrow. You can only hold a very small amount of information at a time. But to learn things, it has to go through that bottleneck. You have to go through that sort of narrow window of attention. But there’s a little bit of a trick.

(13:11): Once we gain experience in a field, we gain ways to sort of bypass this bottleneck or make it more efficient. So the classic example is if you are learning letters, for instance, if you give someone a sequence of random letters, people will probably be able to remember between five and nine, and then they’re going to have it drop off. But if you reorganize those letters into acronyms that people understand, I think in the book I use N-H-L-F-B-I-M-B-A or something like that, then those nine letters, all of a sudden you can remember it because you’re within that bottleneck. And so this idea that as we learn meaningful patterns from a domain we can handle more information means that so much of getting better is about figuring out not just what is the best method to learn or what’s the best technique, but how do you deal with the fact that when you’re starting out, you can contain deal with a lot less information than you can when you end up. And so this sort of progressive aspect to it of tuning whatever you’re doing to where you’re at in terms of your own cognitive load ability, it’s huge. It underpins so much of learning, and I think it’s again, another underrated factor and improvement.

John (14:20): So tell me where teaching fits into this. Again, you read a book, you maybe try some things, but then you turn around and try to teach somebody else how to do it. Where does that fit into the continuum of getting better?

Scott (14:37): I mean, I think teaching is often very helpful, especially for when you realize, when you’re teaching something, you realize that you often don’t understand something very well, or you can’t articulate that understanding. I have a whole chapter talking about how as you gain experience in something, part of the way we avoid this working memory bottleneck is that components of the skill, mental steps get automated. They become something that we do unconsciously. So we just skip over things and we just get the right answer. And that can make it very hard when you have to communicate to someone because it’s like, well, you went from step one to step nine. What’s two through seven or two through eight? I don’t get it. And it can be hard for you to articulate that. And so this tacit knowledge is often a barrier when you’re teaching something for the first time, you realize, oh, wait, how do I break this down?

(15:22): How do I explain it to someone? But then I think as well, teaching something is also a chance to refine. It’s a chance to make explicit against some of these ideas. When you’re teaching something, you’re often looking for simplifications, you’re looking for ways that you can explain an idea in a way that maybe is not the difficult way that you learned it, but an easier way to make sense of it. And so, I dunno, I think teaching is a very important part of getting a real conceptual understanding or a real explanatory framework for an idea.

John (15:53): Yeah, it’s so funny. As you were describing that, my wife asked me how to do, she’s not a computer person. She asked me how to do stuff all the time. And I’m like, well, I don’t know. I just do it. It’s like, oh, okay, yeah, I guess I’d do that. And then that. But you’re so right about that.

Scott (16:11): Oh yeah.

John (16:12): So alright, there’s a lot of amazing ideas in this book and concepts in this book. How does somebody take the entire book and make it very practical in terms of getting better at something? I mean, is there a framework for take it step one, step two, or is it really more a matter of you’ve got to plug in where you are?

Scott (16:38): Well, I mean, in the last chapter, I give some sort of practical advice for applying it. But in each chapter at the end, I kind of end with, here’s some ways you can apply these ideas. And the way I like to think about it is that if you were to fix a car, for instance, let’s say you have a car that’s broken down on the side of the road, having a mental model of how a car works is going to be really helpful. You’re going to be able to say, oh, okay, the problem here is we have a flat tire, or the problem here is that we’re out of oil. Or the problem here is there’s something rattling around in here. I got to fix something that’s loose. And so in a similar way, I think the main value of a book like this is having that mental model of learning so that you can kind of self-diagnose in some senses, what is the problem?

(17:17): I’m coming out here is the problem that I don’t understand what the best practice is. Is it like a problem of seeing and do I need to join those groups, find those mentors, find those teachers, find that community to get to that best practice. So I’m not figuring it out on my own is the problem practice is the problem that I am wasting a lot of effort doing things that are not moving my skill forward is the problem feedback that I’m not getting enough information about what I’m doing right and wrong. And so if you have these sort of mental models from the book, if you have these ideas, you can kind of steer toward designing techniques that will suit your situation. Because I do think learning is, despite the fact that we just do it instinctively, there’s a lot of complicated stuff going on. And so figuring out what it is you’re doing wrong or figuring out what you’re doing when it’s working well is the first step to making progress into getting yourself unstuck.

John (18:03): I remember when, back in the day when you’d buy a piece of software off the shelf and it would come with a 400 page manual. And I remember literally, I use this example all the time where you could read the whole book and not know how to do anything really. But then you’d go in and start trying to make it do what you wanted it to do and get stuck, and then you could go back and reference the book, or you could go watch a YouTube video on how to do it. And I think a little bit. So in some ways what you’re saying is there’s almost a combination of all of those kinds of things, isn’t there?

Scott (18:36): Yeah. Well, I’m hoping that the kind of person who reads this book is going to be someone who says, you know what? I want to be a better marketer. I want to be a better public speaker. I want to be a better painter, programmer or skier or something like that. They’re going to read the book and they’re going to notice things about what they’re doing. They’re going to notice kind of like, oh, my problem seems to be here. And then they can find techniques that are tailored to that. And so the book does cover a lot of different ideas, but I think that’s just also because there are so many different kinds of troubleshooting steps you could get into. It would be nice if things just, there’s one thing you have to do and you have work all the time, but it is a little bit more like a car breaking down. And you have to be like, okay, what do I need to fix? And so I think that’s why I tried to write the book and tried to cover the ground that I covered to give people the best possible chance of fixing it. Well,

John (19:21): That’s also great advice. I mean, read the book within the context of what you’re trying to get better at, right?

Scott (19:27): Yeah, of course. I mean, it’s always easier when you approach a book like this with some particular concrete goal in mind.

John (19:34): Awesome. Scott, it was great catching up with you for a few minutes. Is there some place you’d invite people to connect with you and obviously pick up a copy of Get Better at anything?

Scott (19:42): Yeah, I mean, everyone can visit my website, scott h young.com. I have a podcast, YouTube channel, a newsletter there all free if you are interested in those things. And then of course, the book is available, Amazon, audible, wherever you get your books, if you’re interested in diving deeper into the science of learning.

John (19:59): Awesome. Well, next time we talk, I want you to have one of your kids come on and I can ask them if you’ve gotten better at being a dad. Okay,

Scott (20:07): Well, we’ll find out. We’ll find

John (20:08): Out. All right. Awesome. Great seeing you again. Hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days again, out there on the road.

How to Win The Consumer Boredom-Span: The Key to Cutting Through Clutter

How to Win The Consumer Boredom-Span: The Key to Cutting Through Clutter written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Alan Dibb. Through his extensive experience as a rebellious marketer and serial entrepreneur, Alan Dibb has spearheaded a revolutionary approach to marketing known as Lean Marketing. In our conversation, Alan delves into the core principles of Lean Marketing and how it can transform the way businesses connect with their audience in today’s saturated landscape.

Key Takeaways

Alan Dibb, an expert in Lean Marketing, emphasizes the importance of crafting a compelling message that resonates with audiences to cut through the clutter of today’s saturated marketing landscape. By infusing personality and entertainment into marketing efforts, businesses can capture attention and foster genuine connections. Adapting to evolving consumer behaviors and leveraging tools like AI are crucial for staying ahead in the dynamic marketing landscape, where brand equity and delivering value play pivotal roles in driving business success.

 

Questions I ask Allan Dib:

[01:31] Why Lean Marketing instead of MORE Marketing?

[04:12] What replaces organic search once it starts to decline?

[06:18] At what point did AI tools start making money out of knowledge control?

[08:19] What does it take to show up in places like Reddit?

[12:05] Would you say Brand Marketing is being transformed into Lean Marketing?

[16:07] What will a structured approach to marketing look like in Lean Marketing?

[22:16] If more people turn to places like Reddit for information, how do we as marketers get our message out?

[21:19] Would you like to invite people where they might connect with you or find out more about your work and get a copy of Lean Marketing?

 

More About Allan Dib:

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ActiveCampaign

Try ActiveCampaign free for 14 days with our special offer. Exclusive to new customers—upgrade and grow your business with ActiveCampaign today!

 

 

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(01:03): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Alan Dibb. He is a rebellious marketing rebellious Ozzy marketer, serial entrepreneur, and number one bestselling author of the One Page Marketing Plan and a new book we’re going to talk about today. Lean Marketing, more Leads, more Profit, less Marketing. So Alan, welcome to the show.

Alan (01:30): Thank you, John. Thank you so much for having

John (01:31): Me. I think you or your publisher got a typo in there because shouldn’t that say more marketing? We’re marketing guys. We want more marketing.

Alan (01:39): Yeah, that’s the challenge I’m trying to address because almost every podcast you listen to, every book you read, all of those sorts of things, it just adds stuff to your, to-do list. And I think that’s a big challenge for a lot of small business owners. It’s just that to-Do List is never ending. So really with this book, what I wanted to do is take some of the principles of the Lean movement, which has been very prevalent and very successful in industries like manufacturing and services and things like that and apply it to marketing. And the whole point of the lean movement is how do we get bigger results, more efficiency, less waste by doing less stuff. And so that’s some of the things that I’m trying to apply to the world of marketing. And when I looked at the best, most sophisticated marketers in the world, yourself very much included, their not to-Do list is actually much bigger than their to-do list. Surprisingly. They don’t do a lot of stuff. They do a few things, but very well.

John (02:36): Are there some, I don’t know, things that we’ve just accepted traditionally, marketing techniques that we’ve accepted that really have become a lot less effective and that you think that Lean Marketing addresses?

Alan (02:48): Yeah, I think one of the chapters I’ve got, I talk about content marketing and we used to think about organic and paid content as two completely separate things, but turns out that the paid media and paid content that works best is the stuff that people actually want to watch. So there’s been almost like a merge of paid and organic content. So I’ve created a chapter that covers both paid and organic content really as one thing. Even though there are different platforms and there are different ways of doing things, but really I think search is going to be something that’s going to be a big challenge for a lot of people. I’m sure you’ve been messing around with a lot of the AI tools and things like that, and if my behavior is any indication, my first go-to now for knowledge is not Google anymore. It’s something like either Chat, GPT or Claude, or more recently I’ve been messing around with perplexity. I think perplexity looks like what the future of search is. It’s where it’s generative. There aren’t all of these spammy links that people have obviously bought backlinks and things like that. A lot of AdSense and a lot of spam. So now I find myself going to Google only when I need a phone number or I’m trying to buy something or whatever. When I’m seeking knowledge and information and things like that, I very rarely go there now.

John (04:08): So there’s no question that’s going to be presented a challenge for a lot of marketers, error marketers out there, 70% of the traffic to their website comes from organic search because hey, they’ve just done a good job at it or they’ve paid somebody to do a really good job. So if that theoretically goes away or significantly declines, what takes its place for marketers?

Alan (04:28): I think the thing that’s taking place, and I see this in the behavior, a lot of younger people as well, they’re searching on platforms like TikTok on Instagram, on the things that are coming up on the For You page. It’s the algorithms of all of these platforms like Instagram, like TikTok are getting so much better at knowing what you want without you telling previously things like keywords, hashtags, back links. They were the important factors that really indicated, Hey, this is important. This is content that people want. But those are all very easy to manipulate. And as marketers, we have been manipulating those over the years, and so the platforms have gotten much better at weeding those things out and knowing, hey, this is something that you actually want. And sometimes you don’t even know what you want, but the platform figures it out because it can tell from your watch time, from your scroll behavior, from all of those sort of factors.

(05:24): So what it comes down to is the technical trickery that we’ve all been used to doing, the backlinks, the keywords, the hashtags, all of those sorts of things. They’re massively declining, ine effectiveness and the intrinsic value of the things that you do. So you want to create things that are valuable, that are entertaining, that are inspirational, that are educational. Those things are now moving up and up. So whether it’s on a for you page, whether it’s going to come up on search or anything else, the valuable content, the things that actually help people is actually the things that are rising to the top.

John (05:58): So to me, it seems like there are two paths here. I think that some of the players that control some of that activity, there’s no question Google controls a lot of what knowledge we get. Ultimately open AI and tools like Claude will somewhat control. At what point do those tools start making money off of that control and basically everything becomes pay to play.

Alan (06:25): Yeah, I think probably the logical step for a lot of those tools will be to do some sort of pay per click or some sort of advertising. And no doubt, Google’s probably not going to just let them eat their lunch overnight, so Google will create results. Look, it’s very early days to see how this is going to play out, but it’s very clear to me that the current model is unsustainable. Google searches now are just a cesspool of just spam and crappy links and things that have been bought. And if you do a Google search for a product, you say this product versus that product, you get all of these crappy affiliate links and it’s all just spam and junk. So where do we go? If I think about my buying behavior, I’ll go to things like Amazon reviews, I’ll go to Reddit posts. So they’re places where I know I’m getting, probably may not be a hundred percent fully organic, but I’m going to find things that are closer to the truth than these fake review sites and these affiliate links and all of these sorts of things.

(07:24): YouTube is another place. Obviously you go to experience the product before you buy, watch an unboxing video, it comes with that length of cable or does it work this way? Does it work that way? So a lot of these experiential ways, so people are looking for ways, how can I experience the product or the effects of the product without having bought it. And so a lot of what we want to do as marketers is facilitate that. So if we can be part of that conversation where we’re in the YouTube video, where we’re presenting or we’re a thought leader in that space, or we’re showing people how it’s done, that’s a much more powerful place to be.

John (07:59): In a lot of ways people are talking about, oh, AI is the end of marketers, but in a lot of ways what it just means is you’ve got to be much more strategic, much smarter in how you do things. In a lot of ways, really good marketers like yourself are actually going to be more necessary, I think in a lot of ways. I

Alan (08:15): Totally agree.

John (08:17): I was just going to say, I know you write a lot about, you’ve mentioned product market fit, really understanding the voice of the customer, really understanding the problem you solve, really understanding the experience they want to have. That depth is really what it’s going to take to show up in places like Reddit. Is that mean? Yeah,

Alan (08:35): Totally. And I alluded to in the beginning as a market previously to show up on search engines, to show up on all of these places, technical trickery was probably your main tool, and we found that a lot of people from IT industry from PaperClick really entered the agency space because they were good at that. They were good at solving technical tricks. How do we get backlinks? How do we stuff the keywords? How do we do all of that stuff? And like I said, that’s declined in effectiveness. And now more and more it’s about the intrinsic thing that you do, the valuable content. Even prior to generative ai, we had content farms where people would just generate crappy low quality content. And I Yeah,

John (09:14): They’re just human AI bots.

Alan (09:16): Exactly. That’s exactly right. And so yes, AI makes that much easier, but I think more and more the people with a valuable voice, with something valuable to say are going to stand out more and more. So I think for people like us, for people like our clients, I think it’s going to be a lot easier and not harder.

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(10:52): One of the first things I outsourced when I started my business, payroll and hr. Well, Gustos payroll and HR services can make it even easier. Gusto was designed for you, the small business owner, they take the pain out of running a business automatically calculating paychecks, filling payroll taxes, getting set up for open enrollment. Gusto does it all, and you want more time tracking health insurance, 401k, onboarding, commuter benefits, offer letters, access to HR experts. You get the idea with Gusto, you can focus on the joy of running your business. It’s super easy to set up and get started, and if you’re moving from another provider, Gusto can transfer all your data for you. It’s no surprise that 94% of customers are likely to recommend Gusto 94. But here’s the best part, because you’re a listener, you get three months totally free. All you have to do is go to gusto.com/duct tape. Again, that’s gusto.com/duct tape. I’m telling you, you’re going to love Gusto get started today. So in some ways, you and I have been doing this for a long time, and in some ways I feel like part of what you’re saying too is a return to what brand marketing used to mean is probably where we’re headed with lean marketing. Is that, would you say that’s accurate?

Alan (12:12): I think brand and also really also understanding what brand is to a lot of people. Brand is hey, it’s about the logo course or the colors or whatever. And so the definition of brand is very important. So brand is really the personality of a business. So if I think about you, if I think about myself, if I think about anyone who’s got a strong personal brand, you could take away the logo, you could take away the name of the business, and you’d still recognize who they are. There’s a particular personality. If you read the writing, there’s a particular writing style. Can someone recognize who you are without just your logo, without your name and things like that. So a brand is the personality of the business and more and more personality is going to be integral to doing well in the marketing space. So if you have a look, even some of the biggest brands in the world like Tesla, if you have a look at who’s following Tesla versus who’s following Elon Musk, it’s a huge margin.

(13:11): People follow people, right? Again, similar Richard Branson and Virgin, right? People follow Richard Branson. So people want to follow people. People don’t really want to follow. There are some cases where you want to follow a car brand or a fashion brand or whatever, but mostly people want to see other people, so they want to see other people do interesting stuff. They want to see other people educate. They want to see people do those things. And so the way that you can measure how effective your brand is, what market is sometimes called brand equity, and what brand equity is, what’s the premium that someone will pay over the intrinsic value of what you do over the commodity value. If I’m going to pay more for a Rolls Royce than I am going to pay for a Hyundai Hyundai, even though they’re functionally the same thing, right? I’m going to pay a lot for that brand value. So how much would people pay a premium over and above what you do? And that’s really your brand equity. If people won’t pay a premium for what you do, you really don’t have a brand.

John (14:10): Interestingly enough, AI has actually brought out the scam and hype and high pressure sales. We see it with every new kind of thing, new wave of technology, whatever. You get all the get rich quick people. I’ll just let you put an end to, are those days over? Are we going to see the effectiveness of that kind of marketing go away too?

Alan (14:29): Yeah, look, same as we remember the early days of social media that was going to change everything. And of course, it does make a change, and of course you do have to adapt. If you’re still reliant on print media or newspaper advertising or whatever, then of course you are going to be heavily impacted. But every technological change we’ve had, every change in media has really been about getting us closer and closer to the customer. We used to have so many different intermediaries between us and the customer. Now it’s getting more and more direct, more and more a creation of value. If we have a look at who some of the most influential people are right now, they’re people who have direct contact with their audience. So the question is, are we able to connect directly with our audiences? Are we building that audience? Are we building that email list?

(15:21): Are we building that social media following? Are we building that brand authority? So that’s become so much more important. Used to be able to buy your way onto all the media, and to some extent you can now, but it’s hugely expensive. Very few of us can buy Super Bowl ads and be omnipresent everywhere. Buying your way has become much more expensive because media is so much more fragmented. There used to be maybe few newspapers, a few TV channels, and you could get on all of them pretty easily. Now there’s even just on the internet, right? There’s YouTube, there’s TikTok, there’s Instagram, there’s Facebook, there’s all the different platforms. And so to buy your way now into being omnipresent is so much more difficult.

John (16:04): I know in the book you talk about, and you and I share this approach, certainly a structured approach to marketing. What would that look like in a lean marketing environment?

Alan (16:13): Yeah, so I talk about lean marketing infrastructure with three major. If we want to do more with less, that implies that we need to use leverage. A leverage approach basically just means we need to use some force multipliers. What’s a force multiplier? Force multiplier is something that takes an input and gives you a greater output. And in a lean marketing infrastructure, there’s really three major things that give you that force multiplier. The first is tools, and we’ve just been talking about tools like ai, but there are other tools like your CRM system. So tools really help us with that force multiplier. And sometimes literally, if you want to smash down a brick wall, you could do so with your bare hands, but it’s going to be very difficult, very painful, take a long time. But if we have a sledge hammer or something that will physically multiply our force, we can do that very easily in a few minutes.

(17:03): So similarly, there are tools that we can use, AI included, CRM systems included that are going to help us multiply the force of our inputs. Then there’s assets. So the reason that you and I are speaking today is because of an asset. I’ve got one of my books. Had I not had the asset in the marketplace, I would be not as well known. I would not be invited to speak on podcasts. I would not have been invited to speak on stages. We get so much lead flow because of an asset that we’ve got out there in the marketplace. So having an asset is equivalent to the financial world. If you own an asset and you can generate dividend income or rental income or whatever, that’s something that can just work for you and compound over time. And then the third piece of a lean marketing infrastructure is processes. So processes are equivalent to compound interest. So the things that we do daily, weekly, monthly, the boring stuff, not necessarily treating marketing like an event, but really treating it like a process. What are the things we’re going to do daily, weekly, monthly? They’re going to give us that return.

John (18:08): So the landscape has never been more saturated. I don’t know, I probably will say that again next year, but it’s really gotten hard. Even if you’re buying your way into things, it’s really gotten hard to cut through because people have a lot of ways people communicate in Reddit because they’re no ads there, or they communicate on Discord because they just want to hear the scoop from somebody without the hype. So how are we going to actually get, if more and more people, generationally particularly, start turning to those kinds of places to get their information, how do we get our message out? How do we cut through the clutter?

Alan (18:42): You’ve got to have a message worth getting out for a start.

John (18:46): There’s that.

Alan (18:48): That’s a great place to start because a lot of messages are just, Hey, we’re awesome by our stuff. And so that’s the message of probably 95% of businesses out there. So you’ve got to have a message that’s actually worth getting out. I used the analogy of a microphone. If you’re a bad singer and I am a bad singer, if I amplify that message, that makes things worse, not better. I’m just now a loud, bad singer. So we need

John (19:14): To have, give us an example, Alan.

Alan (19:16): We really need to have a message that’s actually worth amplified. Because if you think about a lot of what we do as marketers is really amplification. How do we get our message to more people? How do we get more people to notice us? So if our message is not worth noticing, if our message is not worth hearing, then that’s a pretty bad start. So that’s really one of the first places that I will work or my team will work with people on, is really figuring out what’s a message that’s really going to connect with your audience? Then really injecting personality. If we look at all the most successful people online, if we look at really all the most successful people anywhere, we really need to inject entertainment in what we’re doing because people will tolerate almost anything, but they won’t tolerate being bored. Frequently, we’ve heard advice from marketers saying things like, keep your emails short or keep your videos to two or three minutes, because why?

(20:12): Because people have short attention spans. Turns out that’s not true. People will sit through a two or three hour podcast. People will binge watch hours and hours of Netflix. People will read huge books and things like that. What happened to that short attention span? It turns out people don’t have a short attention span. They have a short boredom span. So if you’ve got something interesting, something worth saying, something with personality, then people will pay attention and they’ll pay attention for hours and hours because that’s something that’s capturing their attention. There was a guy who quoted him in the book, I think Howard, I’m getting his name wrong, but he basically said, people don’t read ads. People read what interests them, and sometimes that’s an ad. So really what we’ve got to do is create content. It may have a commercial intent, but it’s content that’s actually worth watching. It’s a message that people want to hear. It’s got personality, it’s got opinion. So that’s really what it’s about. How are you going to connect with your audience in a way that they actually listen to what you’ve got?

John (21:12): Awesome. I want to thank you for stopping by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. Share a little bit of information about your new book, lean Marketing. You want to invite people where they might connect with you or find out more about your work and get a copy of Lean Marketing.

Alan (21:25): Yeah, so Lean Marketing is the new book. If you’re listening to this before May 8th, you can pre-order it. If it’s after May 8th, go play Everywhere. Books are Sold, and I’m at lean marketing.com. We’d love to connect with everybody.

John (21:39): It was great catching up with you once again, and hopefully we’ll run into you on these days out there on the road.

How to Navigate the New Era of SEO: Strategies for Understanding Consumer Search Behavior

How to Navigate the New Era of SEO: Strategies for Understanding Consumer Search Behavior written by Tosin Jerugba read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Dale Bertrand, an SEO specialist with over two decades of experience working with Fortune 500 companies and startups globally. Dale has spoken at industry conferences, led corporate training events, and serves as an entrepreneur in residence at the Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs Organization. Our conversation covers the ever-evolving landscape of SEO and how businesses of all sizes can adapt to the new era of consumer search behavior. From understanding the ‘dark web’ to proven strategies in repurposing content.

 

 

Key Takeaways

In this episode you’ll learn:

  1. The Impact of AI on Search Engines: Discover how artificial intelligence is reshaping search engines and consumer search behavior.
  2. Strategies for SEO Success: Learn actionable strategies to navigate the changing landscape of SEO and stay ahead of the competition.
  3. Understanding Consumer Search Behavior: Gain insights into how consumer search behavior is evolving and what it means for your SEO efforts.
  4.  Crafting Destination Content: Explore the concept of destination content and how it can drive engagement and conversions in the age of AI-powered search.
  5. Future-proofing Your SEO: Get tips on future-proofing your SEO strategies to ensure long-term success in the dynamic world of search engines.

By implementing these strategies, businesses can effectively navigate the new era of SEO and capitalize on emerging opportunities to enhance their online presence and drive growth.

 

Questions I ask Dale Bertrand:

[02:04] Where are we in the rapidly evolving landscape of search engines and search behavior today?

[02:51] How are search engines or tools like Perplexity going to change what masters like Google does?

[04:51] How does this affect the perspective of brands that have spent all that money on traditional SEO?

[07:03] How will the need for Google to adapt affect its cash flow?

[09:10] What are some of the suggested things that people are just going to have to adapt to?

[13:07] As far as backlinks go: talk a little bit about guest blogging versus being a guest on a podcast as a specific tactic.

[21:52] is there anywhere you invite people to to connect with you or find out more about your work?

 

More About Dale Bertrand:

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ActiveCampaign

Try ActiveCampaign free for 14 days with our special offer. Exclusive to new customers—upgrade and grow your business with ActiveCampaign today!

 

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(01:02): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Dale Bertrand. He’s been an SEO specialist to Fortune 500 companies and venture backed startups around the world for two decades. His clients include global brands such as Citizen Watch, ExxonMobil and bva. He speaks at industry conferences, leads corporate training events, and serves as an entrepreneur in residence at the Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs Organization. So Dale, welcome back to the show.

Dale (01:34): Yeah, well, thank you for having me again.

John (01:36): At least twice you’ve been on the show, I think maybe, and we’ve talked about SEO, the SEO, so last decade, right? Not really, but I want to turn the tables a little bit and talk about search specifically and behavior, consumer behavior when it comes to search, because that is probably driving a great deal of what people are doing in the world of SEO today, or at least it should be informing what they’re doing in the world of SEO today. So where are we in the rapidly evolving landscape of search engines in general and search behavior today?

Dale (02:12): Well, we’re in the middle of a lot of change. So I think anybody who’s really paying attention to what’s going on with Google, with consumer search behavior, things are changing pretty quickly. AI is part of that story. Marketers are just starting to use AI and wrap their heads around how it can be useful for what we’re doing for SEO, and then Google is implementing ai, so generative AI on the search results pages, and that can be scary depending on exactly how Google implements it going forward.

John (02:42): And we’re all for years trained. There’s this little box I go and I type in this little thing and I get a result that Google deems is what I wanted. How are search engines or tools like Perplexity going to change how people view, I mean, I know some people aren’t familiar with it, but essentially it’s more of an AI engine. You go and ask it whatever you want to ask it, and it gives you a lot of different views. There’s no ads around it. I mean, how is that experience, in your view, going to change essentially what the big monster Google does?

Dale (03:16): Yeah, so Perplexity is one of many generative AI search engines. Instead of just showing you a bunch of pages, which I consider a research project, I have to go through them in order to find my answer. It just gives you the answer for a lot of queries. If it’s informational or if you’re asking how many people sit on the Supreme Court, there’s a definitive answer to that, a factual answer that it can give you without sending you to a website. So those types of search engines have a lot of implications when people start using them. You might end up with more zero click searches. So what that means is your customers are searching for your product or service, but they don’t actually click anywhere, including clicking to your website. They’re just getting the answer from the search engine. So that’s going to be a whole new world. What we’re talking about is destination content, which is the type of content that you create for SEO, where basically the searcher needs to go to your website to complete the next stage of their journey. And that looks different for a B2C journey versus a B2B journey. But the point is, you’re not just giving the search engines information that they can pair it back to the searcher without ever sending anybody to your website. So we really need to think about how SEO needs to change.

John (04:32): So you were headed down that path. Let me back you up just a little bit. The traditional SEO method of getting your website or your page on a website to show up in page one of Google was always kind of the gold standard. How is, and what you just described is not that world anymore. So how does that immediately impact brands that have spent years and thousands of dollars of trying to get on page one? How does that change their view of the world?

Dale (05:03): Well, so I’m going to tell you the truth is we don’t know, right? Because we don’t exactly how this is going to play out. Give me the

John (05:07): Answer

Dale (05:08): Down, but we need to be prepared. So we want to feature proof, our SEO. So in the short term, what we want to be looking at is what’s changing on the search results page? When is Google starting to release some of these features? And then also, honestly, even more importantly, we want to pay attention to how are the customers that we are targeting in our market, how are they changing the way they search? That’s really what matters most because what we’re expecting is are consumers going to get used to using chat GBT to find answers, or they’re going to start using perplexity, or maybe Google starts to give them answers so they get used to the zero click searches or getting information directly from the search engine. Also, we expect consumers will figure out that they can type in much longer queries, not just restaurants in Seattle, restaurants in Seattle for a family of four with an infant, and the dad loves spicy food and oh, by the way, the wife is lactose intolerant.

(06:04): That’s a long query. So we want to pay attention to whether customers in our market, and this is all going to be very market specific, are searching for longer queries. Are they using the follow up chat features? So what that is, is you do a query and then you follow up very similar to using a chatbot like chat, GBT. And then the third piece of it is are the consumers that we’re going after, are they starting to use different search engines? So on the B2C side, that could be TikTok, Amazon, YouTube, and on B2B side, that could be maybe they’re searching in LinkedIn or YouTube again, or software SaaS searching like Capterra or something like that. We want to pay attention to that when we really need to change our strategies.

John (06:46): So this is just a wonder question. Google, Google doesn’t make money on search. Google makes money on ads that are placed all around search. How does the need for them to evolve so that people say, heck with this, I’m going over here. How does that need for them to evolve, impact their cash cow?

Dale (07:09): Yeah, Google’s under a lot of pressure is what it comes down to. So they’ve got new competitors and then also new technology. The new technology is the generative AI that they invented, and they have the technology, but it just doesn’t work well enough for them to really launch it the way they would want to. And then what you mentioned is that Google’s more of an advertising business than they are a search business. So they’re not going to change anything if they can’t figure out how to put ads on it full stop. It just doesn’t make any sense. So they’ve got a lot of pressures they feel like they need to change to keep up with competitors. The last thing they’re going to do is let competitors take away their search volume and basically take market share. They want to be the default search engine, just like they are now for most internet searches, no matter what, full stop, that’s the most important thing to them. But they don’t want to change if they don’t have to because it could end up affecting their advertising revenue. So where does that leave us as brands and marketers? Honestly, it leaves us caught in the middle where we don’t know exactly how these forces are going to play out, but it will change the way consumer search and the way Google’s search results work.

John (08:17): Well, and there was a point in time when if I wanted business, I wanted eyeballs, I just spun up a campaign for ads, and that got me those things. Now didn’t necessarily turn ’em into customers, but at least I could buy that awareness or that exposure. How are brands that maybe got lazy doing that now, going to need to respond to create this destination content to actually realize that people are in places where we don’t even see ’em anymore? Places that dark social, I guess what people are calling it, I mean, a lot of people are getting their information in those kind of places where again, it’s unseen. I mean, I guess I’m anticipating a lot of marketers are saying, what do we do? I mean, the world’s coming to head. So what are some of the suggested things that people are just going to have to adapt to?

Dale (09:14): Yeah. Well, I can tell you what I’m doing on my website. That’s the best advice that I can give you. We know that there are fundamentals, like Google is looking for unique content, something called information gain, which is when you are adding content to the web, you’re adding information that wasn’t there before. So in other words, when you’re creating content or service pages or even your website homepage, you’re adding information that hasn’t already been written about. Gone are the dates when you can write me too articles on a topic, and you’re going to rank too, because Google just doesn’t need your content. So what I’m doing on my website is making sure that we’re focusing on our unique perspective on issues and digital marketing strategies, and then also telling our customers stories. We work with clients at my marketing agency, so telling their stories of their brands and marketing campaigns and really getting deep into the founder’s story.

(10:06): And that’s interesting, especially when it’s basically a story that other marketers can learn something from. So we’re definitely doubling down on unique content in that way. And then another thing that we’ve seen when it comes to our initial tests optimizing for generative AI search engine, like the chat TPT is really a lot of what they’re doing is averaging what’s on the web. So I want to make sure that my brand is mentioned in as many places as possible. So I’m actually from my agency spinning up a syndication campaign that we’d done a while back where I’m not just publishing on my website or LinkedIn, but I’m also publishing on many other websites. And John, I’ll hit you up with an article later, but we’re making sure that our brand is seen across the web so that when these generative chat bots like Chatt BT are averaging everything they know about my industry or the service that I provide, they see our name mentioned as many times as possible. So it’s just some of the things that we’re looking at, but that’s how we’re future proofing our SEO.

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(12:14): So what are you waiting for? Fuel your growth, boost revenue and save precious time by upgrading to active campaign today. So one of the things you mentioned that was interesting talking about, and I would welcome anything you want to contribute, Dale, first off to Duct Tape Marketing, but talk to me a little bit about the whole guest blogging. I mean, that was for a lot of people seen as a backlink play, for example. And so talk to me, one of the things I’m really, I’m very bullish on is podcast guesting as opposed to guest posting. It is a form of content. Obviously, a lot of podcasters really want to promote their show, and so they will promote it, they’ll give you back, you still get the same backlinks, but you also probably get more exposure, more content, I think, than kind of the guest blogging, like dumping grounds that exist on a lot of websites. So talk a little bit about that guest blogging versus being a guest on a podcast as a specific tactic.

Dale (13:14): Well, there’s so much there because so much there that you’re talking about guest blogging and then also blogging with video. Like we’re doing it today, make sure that we have the video content and then also repurposing it for articles. So the reason why there’s so much there is because we want to make sure that when we’re doing all of those things and all of the other channels that we’re on one plus one equals three, instead of I’m doing this over here and I’m doing that over there. And really, because everybody knows there’s so many different channels we can be working on as marketers that we’re stretched pretty thin in terms of what we’re doing. So what we’re seeing working for our clients is starting with video. So the conversation we’re having today have an interesting conversation around unique perspectives on a relevant timely issue. And then from there you have video, you have a long form video, you can make short form videos.

(14:03): There’s a number of channels that you can publish on LinkedIn, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, whatever works well for your audience. And then from there, we’re able to do written content. So what I do is I’ll take those videos, cut ’em down into the shorts that are all discreet ideas, and then transcribe those shorts, turn those into social media posts. For my work, it’s usually LinkedIn, but there’s many other channels. And then also create a content brief so that one of the writers on my team can write up the ideas as an article. So now I have a video, I have social media posts and I have an article, and I can take that stuff and build out more social media posts, also do my email marketing, and then I have something for my blog and my website. But that’s all from one video. So that’s what I’m saying. We’re not doing these things as separate efforts. We’re trying to figure out how we do one form of content, like the video we’re doing today, get the ideas out of your head, the unique perspective, the type of ideas that Google’s looking for, and then repurpose that in the right channels. The wrong thing you could do is say, I’m just going to put it everywhere. Well, guess what? Your customers are not everywhere. Figure out where your customers actually are, figure out what type of content that they want, and then repurpose it.

John (15:16): Well, and this might be a brilliant place for me to talk about AI frankly, because I think that what you just described, that’s our approach as well. Video first, always even with clients, we interview them to get, because what we get out of video too, we get tone and style and voice and point of view because they basically talk, they talk and they talk in many cases their brand, if it’s an owner or a CEO of a business. And I quite frankly think with that information, you can train a lot of the gpt in the world to actually now speak and repurpose content in a way that you would do it, or certainly a depth of knowledge about what you’re talking about, case studies, example, clients, all that stuff can be fed now in there, and you’re not just creating the generic content that the world is creating. So to me, that is one of the best uses, most efficient uses of some of the AI tools today.

Dale (16:14): Well, absolutely. I mean, as you know, John, you and I have talked about it. I’ve been pretty deep into AI for the last two years, and I’ve tried a number of different ways of replicating my voice, my ideas, and I’ve worked with some clients and agencies to do the same thing. We’ve had a lot of success replicating the style and voice of content. And where that brings you when you’re using AI is we don’t want to use AI to write content for us. They need to be our ideas. But the way that I’ve been thinking about it lately is when we’re writing, there’s thinking and then there’s writing, and I’ve been exploring other ways to do the thinking. For example, I’m putting a lot more effort into content briefs nowadays and researching and making them as solid as you can imagine, and making sure that they’re infused with my ideas on the topics so that the final piece of content will be unique.

(17:02): And then the writing is something one of my writers can help out with. And my writers are using AI tools to help with all sorts of things, but it’s human written content at the end of the day. But that’s when we’ve been thinking about it. But then there’s another agency that I’m working with, actually, they’re in Europe, and they do a lot of content with subject matter experts and thought leaders where they’ll interview the subject matter expert and write the content. And what we’ve been working on with them is for the first few articles, they interview the subject matter expert, but then we take the results of that interview and then also anything else that person is written, maybe a white paper’s ebook or a book, and then train that into ai. And then going forward when they’re writing articles on behalf of this person, they can consult the ai, basically ask the questions instead of the subject matter expert. And that mostly works, I mean, the tools that just aren’t exactly where I would want them to be nowadays. But that’s the sort of thing. Maybe when GBT five comes out the summer that it’ll work a hundred percent. I don’t know. But we’ve got the infrastructure, it works about 80% at this

John (18:07): Point. Well, and I think that’s a great point because I mean, my belief is I don’t care what you’re doing, it’s only 80% there. You can ask it to write metadata for you. You don’t want an article and you’re still going to have to look at it. So I think a lot of people feel like this is the magic fairy dust and they just don’t have to work. And frankly, with that in mind, the fact that so much garbage content is now going to be out there, what does that do? Or what does that say the bar is now to actually have this destination content you talk about,

Dale (18:43): Well, the bar is high because there’s just so much out there. So really you need to, the mistake that a lot of us made was we were writing informative content. If I’m working for a clinic that might do addiction treatment therapy or something like that, then we’re writing about what is the therapy, what are the different types of therapy, what are the medications, the treatments, the side effects? And it’s like, okay, well, all that stuff has already been written and it’s been written by institutions like the Mayo Clinic that are much more authoritative than you are Corner clinic. So we just need to dump that whole attitude and instead think, well, what makes my brand or me unique? What is our unique perspective? We might be the only clinic in this neighborhood in Boston, and we treat the types of folks that live in that neighborhood, whatever that means.

(19:30): And we were writing about that or we’re telling customer stories, like I said before, what problem did they have? How did they try to solve it before? How did we help them solve it? But it doesn’t sound like a case study, but the point is making it useful. And what Google’s looking at is engagement with the content that you create. So if you create content that people actually click on and they go to your page, then that’s engagement. People stay on the site and they don’t bounce back to Google to click on something else. That’s engagement. If they dive deeper into your site to learn more or eventually buy something that’s engagement. So what matters is it’s unique, so it gets in Google in the first place, but then that people engage with it. So Google will keep ranking it and keep sending traffic to it. So it has to be useful. And the last thing I’ll say about this, sorry, I’m going on my idea train here, but the last, it has to be useful in the way you’ll know how to create actually helpful, useful content for your customers is to talk to your customers.

(20:24): We’re not hiding behind keyword research tools anymore or analytics. Have real conversations with real customers, understand what they’re searching for, the problems they have, the questions that they ask when they’re making a decision around your type of product or service, but talk to them, figure it out. And then you can put something on the web that is unique. Nobody else has done it, and it’s super valuable to customer.

John (20:48): Yeah, I’ve been saying for a number of years now, content’s not a tactic. It’s the voice of your strategy. And that when I hear you describe, that’s exactly what it is. It’s like, here’s how we intend to compete and that’s what we’re going to write about.

Dale (21:00): Absolutely. So just to riff on it a little bit more, you’re going to have to slow me down, but just to riff on it there, what’s going to happen is brands that are personality driven are going to end up doing better. Or maybe if you’re able to build a community around your brand, whatever that looks like online or in real life, or if you’re able, because I’ve worked with a number of brands that tapped into a tribe that already exists, fire department coffee, it started by a firefighter who’s also a Navy veteran. So he’s able to tap into those networks to show Google that he’s gaining traction and all of that. And there are also some brands that are aligned with a purpose where it’s like a mission driven brand, and Google can also see that traction and engagement. So those are the types of brands that I expect to do well going forward.

John (21:47): Yeah. Awesome. Well, Dale, I appreciate you taking a moment to stop by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. So you want to invite, is there anywhere you invite people to connect with you or find out more about your work?

Dale (21:56): Yeah, check out my website, fire and spark.com. I’ll spelled out and you can hit me up on LinkedIn or my email Dale, DAL e@fireandspark.com. So feel free to shoot me an email. I love SEO and SEO questions, so always happy to talk.

John (22:10): Awesome. Well great catching up with you again, and hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days out there on the road.

How To Tell Data-Driven Stories: Crafting Compelling Narratives from Original Research

How To Tell Data-Driven Stories: Crafting Compelling Narratives from Original Research written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Michele Lin. Michele is the founder of Mantis Research, where she helps marketers conduct and publish compelling original research. With her expertise in leveraging data to drive impactful narratives, Michelle shares valuable insights on how to craft compelling stories from original research.

Key Takeaways

Learn all about the the transformative power of original research in content marketing, with an emphasis on its role in establishing credibility and trust. I and Michele highlight the process of crafting data-driven stories, from defining research objectives to repurposing findings across various channels for maximum impact. By leveraging original research, marketers can optimize search engine visibility, attract backlinks, and position themselves as authoritative voices in their industries, driving deeper engagement and meaningful impact through their content.

 

Questions I ask Michele Linn:

[01:49] What is original research?

[03:11] How do you transform survey and data into a compelling story?

[04:35] Do you believe that sharing data builds thought leadership?

[06:00] Tell us about using data to validate a story

[07:28] How do you probe for data-manipulators?

[09:16] How do you draw conclusions from graphs, charts and data altogether?

[13:15] Is there a benchmark number of responses that can make a given data valid?

[15:06] Do interacting industries bring new thought to data collection?

[16:47] What are some of the great social media platforms for sharing data?

[20:04] What are your thoughts on search engines and how they view data?

[21:12] Is there some place you’d invite people to connect with you and find out more about the work you’re doing?

 

 

More About Michele Linn:

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

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(01:02): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Michelle Lin. She’s the founder of Mantis Research where she helps marketers conduct and publish compelling original research. Prior to Mantis, Michelle was the head of editorial at the Content Marketing Institute where she led the company’s editorial strategy. She’d often been cited as a content marketing influencer and was named as one of Folio’s Top Women in media. So Michelle, welcome to the show.

Michele (01:35): Thanks so much for having me, John.

John (01:37): So you mentioned it in your bio, but also part of my interest was you had written about this idea of using original research in content production. So this may sound silly, but let’s start with what is original research?

Michele (01:52): That is not a silly question at all. I feel like there’s a lot of people here research, and it means a lot of different things to people. So when I talk about original research, I’m talking about that type of research that you take and you publish out for thought leadership, content marketing and so forth. So it’s very different. I have some people contact me and they want to learn more about their audience and so forth. That’s very valuable. But if it’s not published, it doesn’t really fit in the context of our conversation here.

John (02:22): So maybe give me an example of some that you’ve worked with that would be pretty concrete, that type of business, and here’s the research they did and then we can get into how they used it.

Michele (02:31): Yeah, absolutely. So there’s a lot of different original research that you can do. You can do anecdotal, you can do first party interviews, you can do first party data analysis. The kind that I do specifically is survey-based research. So for instance, like you mentioned, I used to work for CMI for many years, content Marketing Institute, and one of the things that we did there every single year is we conducted a survey of marketers to understand if and how they were using content marketing. So we took everything that we learned, we asked questions that we were asked and we’re wondering about. We took all of those insights and then we published those out to help other marketers do their jobs better with content marketing.

John (03:11): So surveys and data are lovely. How do you turn them into a compelling story, particularly one that maybe age your cause of getting more customers?

Michele (03:21): So I think it’s a really interesting question. I think a lot of people, I think some people want to do research as a way to prove the value of what they are selling. I’m personally not a fan of that so much. I look at as more I look at original research as a way to show your customers that you know them that will hopefully generate like and trust with you. So I always tell people think about what are those unanswered questions in the industry that you can answer with data? Or I tell people, what are those things that you see and how can you help people do their jobs better? How can we ask questions to uncover those or how can we uncover what their pain points are so you can help them? So I look at it as a way to be relentlessly helpful to your audience. And when you do that, it’s not always a direct correlation to sales. Although I have had many people tell me that they do get direct correlations to revenue and sales and so forth, but for many, it’s just a great way to do thought leadership.

John (04:18): Many years ago, PR was about getting media mentions, and we used to do some of this kind of original research just because a lot of people would be writing a story about something and they wanted research to validate their story. And so it was a really good way to get quoted. Do you find that sharing this kind of research is a way to also build your thought leadership, your mentions out there in the world?

Michele (04:46): Yeah, I mean, I have this graphic that I often share. I talk about the value of original research. So yeah, it helps people get mentioned. It helps people get interviews for podcasts. It helps people. They base speaking presentations off of their research. It helps with leads, it helps with sales, it helps sales have better conversations. They have something new and interesting to reach out about so it doesn’t feel so salesy. And I think it even helps marketers just find joy. So many marketers get excited to do something new and meaningful and different, and I love just seeing people get energized about the work that they do. And then too, we’re talking about today when you do a study, well, you can take it and you can repurpose it. So every single client that I work with, one of their goals is always we want to create this editorial engine based on this Swiss one research study. So it works on so many different levels.

John (05:37): One more question related to that and then we can maybe start breaking down. How are the ways that you would repurpose this, but what about creating industry benchmarks as a way as somewhat of a lead generator? I see a lot of people do that to say you’re spending X on ads, for example, but in the industry, this is what’s going on and here’s why you’re spending too much or not spending enough or talk a little bit about using data to validate a story.

Michele (06:07): Yeah, I mean, absolutely. I think there’s a lot of value, like you said, in using data to validate what people believe or using data. Like you said, if you could find that benchmark, which you can get via survey data or you can get via first party data analysis depending on what you’re trying to do. If you’re trying to analyze the behavior, sometimes first party data analysis is better. But anyway, if you find that benchmark and you can validate what someone believes to be true or they want to validate where they actually need to be, and then you can give them other data to help them get there, I think that’s a really powerful thing to do. I once worked with this client and we had this whole model and we knew there was four stages. I can’t remember what they were, but from beginner to advanced, and we wouldn’t call them those four things, but you could see the beginners do this, the next stage, they do this and so on. So no matter where you were, there was very concrete data-driven evidence. If you’re here do X, Y, Z things to get better. So I think that validation and those ideas of what to do, those insights are really helpful.

John (07:10): Well, and in some cases, just even telling somebody, Hey, your peers do this and you’re not doing it, is also a way to get somebody’s attention perhaps as well. So if you’re listening and you are a true data scientist, cover your ears right now for what I’m going to say. There’s a lot of people that can make data say anything they want it to say to support and validate any case they’re trying to make. How do you sometimes look for like, let’s probe for this because that’ll give us the greatest opportunity to make something to tell a great story, or they’re kind of proven things that you should be looking for to what you might even do research on.

Michele (07:49): Yes, absolutely. And to your point, John, I think people are smart and I think if your research neatly points or neatly proves, Hey, by the way, this proves that you actually need to buy X, Y, Z product or work with us, people see right through that. And I don’t think that research is very credible, which goes back to really trying to be relentlessly helpful. So what I always tell clients to do is to think about things like, for instance, what are some things that you think people in your industry aren’t doing but should be? What are those missed opportunities? How can we poke at that or how can we find disconnects? So for instance, I once did a survey with marketing profs and we asked a question to understand what would you like your B marketing? Which elements does your B2B marketing training have and what would you like it to have? We found these huge gaps in disconnects. People wanted examples and frameworks and so forth. So it’s not a big fan of surveying for pain or to survey to, you need to do this, but really figure out, like I said, gaps, disconnects, missed opportunities and so forth. And then coincidentally, those are also great jumping off places to then share your thoughts and really use that for repurposing and so forth. So does that

John (09:02): Help? Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Definitely the gaps. I think you might develop products and surfaces based out of that kind research, let alone this kind of editorial approach. But let’s turn to the editorial part. A bunch of graphs and charts are lovely, but how do you make then say, what’s our angle? What’s our story?

Michele (09:24): So I start that thinking process at the beginning during the planning and the strategy phase. And as we’re thinking, I always think about what topic can we talk about? What topic can we really dig into that says something new that’s relevant to our audience and that aligns with our brand. And so once you have that topic nailed down, it then comes to, okay, well what are those headlines you want? What are those I call ’em big picture questions that you want to answer? What are those big broad stories you want to tell? We always figured that out at the starting place, like figuring out how can you be most helpful and then taking those questions and then answering them with the survey data so that by the time you get to the data analysis, you’re then answering those questions and your themes and your stories are much more likely to rise to the surface because you’ve done the thinking work from the beginning.

John (10:17): So I mean, are you suggesting we have a hypothesis story almost and then hopefully the data validates that? Or are we going to just go with the story that the data tells us?

Michele (10:29): I think you can certainly can have an hypothesis. Sometimes the data shows it to be correct, sometimes it doesn’t. But I think if you thinking to yourself again, what are those questions that my audience has or what are those things that I want my audience to think differently about? How can we structure questions to poke at those particular things and answer those questions? So it’s almost figuring out what big broad questions you want answered knowing that the data’s going to be what the data’s going to be. Oftentimes it’s not that surprising, but sometimes we hear things that aren’t expected what we expected. So a hypothesis is great, but I wouldn’t lean too heavily on that. I would lean more onto what would be relentlessly helpful to answer for our audience,

John (11:15): Your website, your domain, I mean, that’s real estate that you want to own. If you’re an influencer, online creator, blogger, or really anyone who cares about their personal brand, then you need a unique domain. And now you can get your name, do bio, right, John Jantz, do bio, right, create a bio page to house all your various interests. It’s short, simple, easy to remember. Put all your links in one place instead of a laundry list of locations you want to send people in a profile, you can reserve your own link for around three bucks right now at pork bun.com/duct tape marketing 24, that’s right around $3 right now. Pork bun.com/duct tape marketing 24. Do you have an example of how you’ve taken maybe numbers and charts and really created or Yeah, an example would be helpful, but if nothing else, just your approach too. The most impact comes if you can make the data tell a really great story and use even storytelling techniques. So do you have an approach to getting there or even a great example where you’ve used data to really enhance some storytelling?

Michele (12:35): Yeah, absolutely. So in that example I mentioned with marketing profs, they were studying how B2B marketing teams were approaching training. And so one of the things that we did is we dug, we decided we want to understand what is the culture of training in the organization. We had a four C model. I’m trying to remember all of the Cs. What is the personal commitment to actually training? What is the composition of training look like? Does it include the examples and so forth? So it’s really nice sometimes just to base your story around some kind of model or some kind of framework. I think it makes it really easy to tell that story at the end if you kind of ask questions around that particular model.

John (13:15): One more sort of technical question. Is 10 responses valid enough? Do we need 200? I mean is mean obviously people that do this kind of true research for a living would say you need X and there’s a margin of error and all that kind of good stuff. But I mean, a lot of ways we’re almost just looking for themes and things, right? So talk a little bit about the validity part, I guess.

Michele (13:39): Yeah, that’s a great question. It’s something people ask all the time. I’m also a very big proponent of not doing survey-based research if it’s not going to work for your case. And one of those reasons, like you said, if you thought you could only reach 10 people, don’t do survey-based research instead, interview those 10 people, get into more nuance, pull out those themes that way. That’s very valid and useful. I tell people in general, if you’re doing a niche B2B audience survey, at least 125 people at the bare minimum, anytime you can survey more than that is even better. Because one of the great values of doing research is that you can start to compare segments. What are those who are more effective doing differently, or what do different industries do and so forth. And obviously if you have a smaller sample size, you’re not able to slice and dice the data. And because those segments all become so very small, so long answer is more is always better. At least 1 25 for B two, B two 50 is even better. And then for consumer based studies, I mean typically I would say 1000 people is a good benchmark.

John (14:45): So one of the types of surveys I guess I’ve had the most fun with is when you have both sides of a market. So the sellers of something and the buyers of something and to find out how off they are. So a great one might be home buyers and real estate agents, how their opinions about what the market wants or what they want are so vastly different. I think there’s a lot of opportunities, and I think there’s a lot of industries that have that kind of approach they could bring in, don’t they?

Michele (15:12): Without question. So I’ve done a lot of those studies and I actually am fielding a couple of studies right now that we’re looking at two different audiences and we can find stories within that audience. But our bigger story is going to be to show the gap and the differences between those two audiences that work together. There’s slightly more complicated because you need to survey two audiences, but they are so interesting and the stories you can tell I feel are exponentially more interesting, exponentially more. So that’s a great way to do it, John. Yeah,

John (15:40): So we recently did surveyed fractional CMOs and buyers of fractional CMO services, and one of the things that just immediately jumped out was we asked them what was the most important in, we asked the fractional CMO, what did you think was the most important aspect of why they were hiring you? And then we asked the business owner, and the business owner was very interested in, they have deep experience in our industry. And the fractional CMO was like, no, that’s almost bottom of the list. Like a vast, it’s this multiple industries that we work with, and really we can dive into what it means necessarily. But I think it showed a real disconnect between the two as far as what they thought was valuable. And those kinds of things to me are also great in messaging for just even our sales materials and things because it’s like that’s an objection almost that we have to bat down in our initial messaging.

Michele (16:39): Yes, that’s a great example. And they’re great conversation starters on social media. Why do you think this is?

John (16:46): Yeah, so let’s talk about channels and format and how do we get the most out of this stuff editorially, I know you come up with a whole plan for week one, week two, week three kind of thing. So talk a little bit about the basic plan and the channels.

Michele (17:02): So what I like to do, and I’m just going to back up for one quick second because one thing I think is helpful. I think so many people here reuse research and they don’t even know what that means. So if you don’t mind, I’m just going to talk about that really quickly, then I think that that flows into really well into how to use those things. But when I talk about repurposing research, I look at it, I have a model called the five R is of repurposing research, but the first R is all around reuse. So just taking that chart and putting it on social media or in your blog post, it’s very easy, but there’s nothing that you really change. The next one is repackaged. So taking that and taking your key findings and turning those into a webinar or something like that where you really make it fit the actual channel.

(17:41): The third thing, and these last I think are far more interesting, the third way to repurpose research is to reflect on it in public, just like we just talked about. Have a conversation, share your thoughts, get other ideas and perspectives. It makes the data really meaningful. It’s my favorite way to use research. I think it brings joy to people, but you could also take your research and you could use to reveal solutions. So what are those missed opportunities and then pain points and how would you solve them? And then the last way is to reimagine it. So what is all of those different segments that you can compare? How can you look at data that you haven’t already published and then take that to the market to give people a different insight? So I think it’s just helpful to help people think it’s not just taking charts and placing them in different things. It’s really taking that one study and trying to think what are all of the stories that I can tell from it holistically, and how can I tell them in a way that’s going to be really meaningful to my audience?

John (18:38): And obviously every channel’s got a different format that the data seems to work better in, or the story seems to work better in, right. LinkedIn and YouTube are completely different in how you would package the content, right?

Michele (18:50): Absolutely. Like you said, YouTube and LinkedIn are very different. And I have this, I’ve worked through this, but you can use LinkedIn in 10 different ways to actually share your research. So there’s a lot of different ways, no matter what channel you’re on, you can think about using your research in a lot of different ways.

John (19:08): One we haven’t really touched on because I think when you talk about repurposing content, people immediately jump to a blog post or LinkedIn posts, but what about presenting it live? You talk about speaking and webinars and maybe even doing pure round tables. Could you see those as channels for doing this as well?

Michele (19:27): I 1000% see those as channels for this. I think especially webinars. And the other thing I think about too is what is the goal with your research? If your goal is to get leads, do stuff like webinars. I talk to so many clients and their webinar is their best lead generating thing that they’re actually doing. But if your goal is brand awareness, speak at those events or be on other people’s podcasts. So really try to think of what are your goals and what are the channels to help you get there? And that’s how I would prioritize all of the opportunity that you have in front of you.

John (20:01): Okay. One last question on the content itself and using it, do you have an opinion on how search engines view this type of data and research and backing as opposed to theory and opinion?

Michele (20:15): So I will say I feel like I had a better sense of it a couple years ago, and my searches has changed so significantly, so I’m not going to say I have the end all be all answer. That said, that’s a really great question. You’re posing that said, I know so many people who are doing research and you look in tools like consumer or tools that track links, their research is their best source of getting back links because if you’re answering those unanswered questions, then people link to you as the source. So I don’t know if that’s changed recently, but I know historically research has been wonderful if you’re trying to get back links, build your domain authority and so forth.

John (20:53): Yeah, I mean, I have hundreds of speakers that go out there and they make presentations and they always have somebody’s research or somebody’s statistic to validate their point, and they probably just went and did a search and grabbed it. So I’m certain that a lot of, well, I know for a fact backlinks are coming that way. Well, Michelle, I appreciate

Michele (21:09): A hundred percent. It works well.

John (21:10): Taking a moment to stop by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, is there someplace you’d invite people to connect with you and find out more about the work you’re doing?

Michele (21:17): Yeah, I would recommend connecting me with me on LinkedIn at Michelle Lynn. I’m also in the process of updating my website, so it’s a little, but you’re welcome to visit my website too, mantis research.com.

John (21:28): Awesome. Again, I appreciate you taking a moment. I think, well, I see you in Boston in the fall at B2B or at Marketing profs.

Michele (21:35): I don’t have plans yet, but I’m still kind of getting my whole schedule together. Okay.

John (21:39): I think you’ve spoken there before, have you not?

Michele (21:42): I have. Yeah. It’s a great event for anyone who’s thinking about going go without hesitation. That’s fantastic.

John (21:47): It is. It’s a lot of fun. Alright, take care. And hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days out there on the road.

How to Be an Entrepreneur in 2024: 15 Tactics Revealed

How to Be an Entrepreneur in 2024: 15 Tactics Revealed written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Paul Cheek, a serial tech-preneur, educator, and software engineer. Paul Cheek is also a senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the MIT Sloan School of Management and the co-founder of Oceanworks. Our discussion covers the intricacies of entrepreneurship, focusing on the 15 tactics outlined in his latest book, “Disciplined Entrepreneurship Startup Tactics.”

 

Key Takeaways

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • The importance of structured goal setting
  • a disciplined approach to business for today’s entrepenurs
  • Market testing for product validation
  • Effective marketing and sales tactics, and strategies for overcoming fear and uncertainty. By implementing these tactics, aspiring entrepreneurs can navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship with confidence and drive their ventures toward success.

Questions I ask Paul Cheek:

[01:47] What is disciplined entrepreneurship

[04:02] Do the tactics of disciplined entrepreneurship begin with vision?

[06:30] How do you ensure the vision is shared organization-wide?

[07:50] How do you tie OKRs to shared vision and goals?

[09:59] How are OKRs, visions and goals applied in OceanWorks?

[12:00] How do the illustrations in the book augment the entire message?

[14:39] Do you have a favorite tactic?

[18:52] Talk about the easter eggs laid across the book for reader to discover?

[22:53] Is there some place you’d invite people to connect with you, and grab a copy of Discipline Entrepreneurship Startup Tactics

 

More About Paul Cheek:

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

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Speaker 1 (00:00): I was like, I found it. I found it. This is what I’ve been looking for. I can honestly say it has genuinely changed the way I run my business. It’s changed the results that I’m seeing. It’s changed my engagement with clients. It’s changed my engagement with the team. I couldn’t be happier. Honestly. It’s the best investment I ever made. What

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John (01:03): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsh. My guest today is Paul Cheek. He’s a serial tech entrepreneur, entrepreneurship educator and software engineer. He is a senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the MIT Sloan School of Management, the executive director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and the co-founder of Today we’re going to talk about his new book, disciplined Entrepreneurship Startup Tactics, 15 Tactics to Turn Your Business Plan into a Business. Paul, welcome to the show,

Paul (01:42): John. Thanks for having me.

John (01:44): Alright, so first let’s define what is disciplined entrepreneurship as opposed to, what’s a good answer now? Unruly entrepreneurship?

Paul (01:54): Yeah, yeah, it’s a good question, right? And you think about it, it’s not what people would usually jump to when they think of entrepreneurship, this idea, and I think even before we do that, John, we’ve got to define what is entrepreneurship. Well, that’s true, and this is first couple sentences of the book, right? Entrepreneurship is about more than just startups. It’s about more than just going and building new companies. It’s about doing more than is probably reasonable with however much time, however much money you have control of. And that might be in a startup, it might be as a founder of a startup, it might be as an early employee, as a startup. It might also be in Big Co. It might be in a big large company. It could be in a nonprofit, it could be anywhere. And so what is discipline entrepreneurship? It’s taking a structured systematic approach to having an outsized impact, whatever your goal or your vision might be.

(02:45): And so when we think about that systematic structured approach, we’re thinking about this engineering approach to entrepreneurship. A lot of people think, and this is one of what I believe to be one of the most common misconceptions in entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs, they wake up in the morning and they do whatever they want all day long. They spend their time however, they so choose whatever they’re going to be most interested in. And I believe that’s wildly misguided. The best entrepreneurs build structure into their lives, into their business to help them work towards that ultimate vision. And so discipline, entrepreneurship thinks about what’s the most structured approach we can take that’s going to increase our odds of success. And startup tactics is a continuation of the original discipline. Entrepreneurship, looking at not just what do we do to go and to start a new venture, whether that’s a new startup or within a larger organization. Startup tactics looks at how do you actually do it right? A lot of people know that they want to go start a company and they know generally what to do. The question is how do you take those first steps? How do you make sure you’re being as efficient with your resources as possible?

John (03:49): So a lot of times when people hear tactics, they start jumping to, oh, we need Facebook campaigns or whatever tactics you start, of course, and this is the right place to start. But I think a lot of people probably jump right over this with the idea of vision. You mentioned already, I mean, before we decide any kind of tactics, doesn’t it start there?

Paul (04:09): Yeah, absolutely. Right. It’s like, Hey, why are we doing this? And discipline entrepreneurship looks at this idea of personal detri or a reason for existence. We’ve got to know what’s our vision, where are we going? And the first tactic that entrepreneurs need is a really strong approach to setting goals. Like I said earlier, this idea that entrepreneurs wake up in the morning, they do whatever they want know. It’s like entrepreneurs have goals. They know what they’re working towards. Oftentimes what I see happen is entrepreneurs may have an amazing vision. They may have some goals, but then if you look at their daily to-do list, right? If we pull out the to-do list, there’s a bunch of things on there that don’t actually work towards that next milestone, that next goal. So we start with goals. We don’t have goals. We’re going to wind up doing a lot of things using our most precious resources to go and to achieve something, but that something doesn’t move us towards the end goal.

(04:58): And when I think about it, it’s something that everybody thinks they’re good at, everybody thinks they’re really good at setting goals, but when the rubber meets the road, when we actually look at those goals, we analyze ’em like, are those really good goals? We got to take a step back and revise. And the more we can build this skillset of setting goals, the better those goals are going to be on a recurring basis. Whenever we go and we begin that next stage of growth, whenever we think about what’s happening with our resource pool, are we getting, are we fundraising? Have we raised money? Do we have more people on the team? Have we lost a couple people? Were those people part-time? Were they full-time? Are we losing or gaining time or money? If we are, then our goals should evolve. They should change in an instant because if we have more time, we have more people on the team where we have more money, our goals should be more ambitious than they were prior. Likewise, if we lose somebody from the team, we’ve got less time and we need to reset on our goals. We’ve got to set realistic goals for our team.

John (05:56): So goals, vision, I think are really easy, especially sometimes in the startups. It’s like, this is why we’re doing this. This is what I’m passionate about. And then chaos hits and diversity hits and more people come onto the team. How do you take that vision and make sure that you’re aligning it and that it’s shared and that it’s the right one still?

Paul (06:13): Yeah, it, it’s a good question. Is it the right one still? That one that’s so context specific, that’s hard to really dig into the details of, but is it a shared vision? That’s a good question. And that has to be evaluated with every single person who comes onto the team. The thing that I do with companies in the earliest stages, we do this in our class at MIT, we will sit the founders down next to each other and we’ll say, why don’t you each grab a pen, grab a piece of paper, write down your vision of the future state of the world, what does the world look like with your innovation, with your business, once it’s been wildly successful, what is that future state of the world that you are working towards? And nobody’s allowed to talk during that exercise. And then we’ll say, all right, put your pens down.

(06:58): Let’s see what you came up with. Does it match what the other co-founders wrote down? And if it doesn’t, then we need to reevaluate as a team, because if one co-founder has one vision and another co-founder has another vision, even if they’re slightly different, they’re going in different trajectories. And over the course of time, they’ll move further and further apart. And the same thing is true of goal setting. Making sure that as we, and this is covered in the book, it’s like as we write down a goal, how clear is it? Is it open to interpretation? Are we going to come back if we’re doing quarterly goals and come back and in a few months and then look at them and say, yes, I think we achieved it, and somebody else says, no, we obviously didn’t achieve that. How open to interpretation are these goals? The clarity is super important.

John (07:38): Yeah. Yeah. So there’s a concept in the book that I was introduced to it. I want to give credit to Google or folks at Google, but called OKRs that shows up in this book as well. How do you tie OKRs to shared vision and goals and the fact that the founder has maybe different goals, I mean shared vision, but different specific goals than maybe team leaders?

Paul (08:03): Yeah, absolutely. Well, OKRs is introduced as one wait to set. Well, people say, oh, do we have to use ok? It’s like what goal setting methodology you choose. It doesn’t matter to me. What I care about is that somebody actually sat down and thought about these goals and we know why we’re doing what we’re doing. Our daily activities mapped to those goals and those goals mapped to our vision. When I think about it, it’s in the early stages of that entire co-founding team needs to be aligned on what these goals are and the fact that they do actually work toward that vision. As the team grows, as we add additional people, you’re going to have different goals for each team, and those teams are going to be responsible for having achieved their objectives. When I think about it, it’s, it’s got to trickle down, but in the early stages, when there is that chaos that you described, John, we’ve got to make sure that while none of these goals are open to interpretation, we have flexibility in them because things might change, our segment might change.

(08:56): We might run an experiment. We say, alright, we actually, we need to pivot that market segment a little bit. We’re going to have to revise the goals that are associated with it. And so just allowing for that flexibility and really just the constant communication around these goals. It’s not like we set them today and we come back to them in a few months. We could be constantly talking about these, and if those lines of communication are open, people are going to fall out of line Just in terms of where we’re going as an overall organization. But one of the things that we connect, a lot of these tactics are all interrelated. When we get to, for example, the tactic on building a product roadmap that has to directly tie to the organization level goals. So in the early days, everybody’s doing everything, but once you have a product team, making sure that the elements of the product roadmap tie back to the organization level goals is just so important. The same thing could be true with the marketing team and the sales team. Finding that alignment between each team’s goals with the overall organization level goals, to the point we try to drive home.

John (09:53): I love examples. People learn from examples, and we had a case of an example business called Ocean Works. How does Ocean work vision and goals and OKRs, and as you’ve kind of grown folks there, how are you applying this or how have you seen it applied at Ocean Works?

Paul (10:09): Yeah, I mean, for Ocean Works, you set goals, and as the business evolves, those goals change, right? The timescale for those goals has changed over the course of time. The goals themselves have become more refined. The team has gotten more familiar with the goal setting methodology, how to set them and to make sure that everybody is on the same page. So a lot of the stuff we’re talking about is absolutely manifested at Ocean Works in the first years of building the business and of course beyond as well.

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John (11:50): So the book is beautifully illustrated. Obviously we don’t have all the pictures here to show, but I’m curious. That was probably an investment decision that you made. How do you feel like that? What do you feel like that adds to the book, particularly when it comes to the specific tactics?

Paul (12:06): These illustrations are so important, John, so important and all credit on the illustrations that you see here, Maria, Versace, fabulous, just fabulous. Those illustrations are really important to this book. Why? Because entrepreneurship and the pursuit of building a new business, that seems like something only entrepreneurs can do. Not everybody thinks of themselves immediately as an entrepreneur. So the illustrations are designed to make the book approachable. They’re designed to give it a little bit of life. You can go through and we can look at all these experiments and define variables and hypotheses, and then looking at database outcomes. That’s not as approachable as something that has some visual elements to it, but the illustrations are also designed to communicate. One of the elements of entrepreneurial math that we talk about, PDOs, John PDOs, you may know PDOs for solving equations. We look at it at MIT as an order of operations, not of parentheses and then exponents, et cetera.

(13:10): We look at it as what is the order of operations that we need to follow in terms of our actions to take that business plan and turn it into a real business? For us, that looks like starting with setting goals, those foundations. From there, it says, let’s go test the market before we’ve ever built product. Once we’ve got that line of customers waiting down the street to use this product, we think they want, but we haven’t built yet, let’s go build it. Right? Let’s go start that product development process. And then once we’ve got customers and we have products, we know what we need to continue to grow and scale this business, the time, the money, the team, and then we look at resource acquisition. It’s the order of operations through these different stages of the tactics that the illustrations help to convey. When we look at it, John, you go through this and the big thing that I really wanted to communicate is this idea that you’re starting down here in the jungle, in the foundations at the bottom, you’re working your way towards the big city in the background, but these tactics, it’s not like once you do them, you’re all done.

(14:12): You see the floor of the jungle in the beginning. It carries all the way through to the end. You see the green stripe going in the distance, and that’s because these tactics always carry on for you. You can learn them sequentially, but they’re executed in harmony, and I think that’s something that’s really important for entrepreneurs to understand. You can learn these as you go, and that’s a really important thing to do, but you can’t just say, oh, well, we set our goals now we’re done. Every time you take an action, those goals are revised.

John (14:39): So we’ve hit on a couple of the early stage tactics. I always love to ask authors this, especially when they have a number in their title. Is there one that’s like a favorite of yours or one we haven’t talked about that? Think I don’t want to talk about that one?

Paul (14:53): Yeah. I think for me, John, when I look at the different tactics in this book, there’s no silver bullet in entrepreneurship, right? Everybody. That’s important for entrepreneurs to understand, right? It’s not like the thing that I would call out in this process. It’s not one of the 15 tactics I would call out the market testing stage in particular. Everybody thinks, oh, I’m going to go build a product and then I’ll sell it. It’s like, well, what if you build it? You waste all the time and money that you have available to you and you go to try to sell it and nobody wants it. We’ve got to validate that there are customers who are going to buy our product before we’ve ever built the product. So when I look at market testing, it goes through four tactics. First and very importantly is market research. Market research specifically.

(15:33): Primary market research is one of the most important tactics that entrepreneurs can gain because that’s our process of learning. When we are a new business, we don’t have a whole historical data set like a big company hacks. We need to build up our own unique dataset of who are our customers in our new market that we are creating? What do they care about? We need to get to know them as well as we know some of our best friends, we use the information, we learn from them about the problems that they face. We’re going to try and communicate that out to the world. The problem is you hear a lot of startup pitches and they go on and on. They have so much to say about a new complex innovation that they’re developing. As a new startup though, you don’t have people who are going to pay attention to you forever.

(16:09): And so for that reason, entrepreneurs need to figure out how do we use the assets tactic? The second in the market testing stage, how do we communicate the value that we’re creating and how we create it in 10 seconds or less? How do we use an animation or a video or something that’s going to show our end users the value that we can create before we built a product in a very short period of time? While we can hold their attention, we use those assets in the two tactics within market testing that help us to actually talk to real customers and market to them and sell to them. That’s marketing and sales. Marketing. It’s like you think about corporate market. We could go take a class in marketing when you’re in the early stages of building a new business or when you’re in the early stages of building a new product at an existing organization is so different.

(16:54): Why? Because we need to be thinking about what is the fastest, cheapest, most data rich approach we can take to running a marketing experiment? It’s all rooted in kind of a scientific method, the marketing and the sales. It’s we have a hypothesis about what people want, who wants it, who those customers are. We’ve got to define our variables, run the experiment, come back with real data, and so specifically the market testing and marketing tactic looks at how do we leverage this mousetrap model, the mousetrap model of saying, we think this customer segment wants this value prop. Let’s put this value prop in front of that customer segment and see do they react? Not will they pay us, right? Not can we drive revenue? Can we drive conversions? It’s can we get them to give us the smallest form of currency that they have available to them?

(17:39): Things like an email address. Will they give me the email address to stay updated on the progress of this product? Will they join the newsletter? Maybe will they pre-order? If we can get them to give us just a little bit to validate and we come back with data and say, yes, a very large segment of the people who we’ve targeted with these demographic psychographics want what we think they do, that gives us the competence and conviction to move forward. It gives us data to say, yeah, we should go and invest and build this new product, this new innovative product. And the sales tactic looks at things like, how do we run that first outbound sales campaign? We don’t want to reach out to anyone and everyone. Let’s build a really targeted lead list of our core end user group. Let’s craft some messaging towards them with that value prop we want to test.

(18:22): Let’s start sending it out and watching this really closely, just like we would watch a science experiment and see what happens. What are the results? Do they come back to us? Do they click links? Things like that that give us the data. We need that unique data set to keep moving, and when nothing works, I think that’s a wonderful thing, right? Because we haven’t wasted a lot of time and money. We didn’t buy a billboard, we didn’t name a stadium. We ran a sub hundred dollars marketing experiment to see do people want what we really think they do?

John (18:51): So great deal of more to cover in this book, but I want to focus on the Easter Egg hidden in the book.

Paul (18:58): Which one’s that?

John (18:59): Well, I didn’t necessarily, the folks that Wiley, I think told us that there was several instances where you did some things in the book that you wanted people to discover.

Paul (19:10): There are a few things. I mean, the biggest one, the most exciting one to me is that within the book, you are going to find me in one of the illustrations and you can find one instance in the disciplined entrepreneurship, expanded and updated version, and one version in the startup tactics version. So that’s the biggest Easter egg there could possibly be. When I first saw it, I was so excited. On a more serious note, as you go through these books, there’s a couple Easter eggs. Most of those are right within the case examples. Every tactic has a case example that shows you not just, alright, here’s what to do, how to do it. Here’s an example of somebody who actually did that, and there’s two, I’m going to give you two because they’re tightly aligned. We think about how these tactics can be used in the course of building a brand new business, something that’s brand new to the world.

(20:01): We haven’t raised any money, we don’t have a team. We’re just trying to figure it all out, and there’s an amazing story. Within that references two students, co-founders, their names are Anisha and Madeline, and they started a business using this market testing and this marketing tactic that we just talked about, their company’s called Livy, matches up women who moved to new cities to make friends in small groups. Instead of one-on-one, and they didn’t build their product. They decided that they were coming through one of our classes at MIT. They said, look, we’ve got an amazing business plan and they do fabulous business plan. They said, let’s go see if we can get some people who really resonate with this value proposition. They took a very structured approach to testing different value propositions with their target core customer segment. What they did, the example, the detailed analysis that they did of the data that came back is hugely valuable to entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial marketers, folks who want to test value props because they came back with a list of 1500 women.

(21:03): It was actually 1800 women who wanted this value prop before they’d ever built any product. So that sure number, the volume of people who wanted what they could build provides confidence and conviction to go to build it. Definitely go check out their business too. Livy app is the website, and it’s one of those things, you just see this data come back. It’s so compelling. That’s a new business. The other Easter egg example I’d give you is a gentleman named Camilo Foco, a PhD student in the MIT computer science and artificial intelligence lab. Camilo amazing. He was kind of off of the race and he’d already raised millions of dollars, had a team of at least 20 people, if not more, when he sat down and used these tactics for the first time. There’s a wonderful example of how he conveyed his extremely complex artificial intelligence advertising software and all that it can do for a brand running advertisements to improve the effectiveness of those advertisements in sub 10 seconds. Extremely complex technology, huge value prop, a number of different functionalities to convey their animation, which there’s a link in the book for people to go check out the live animation. It’s one of the best examples of how to leverage that tactic, and Camillo and his team did a lot of other things leveraging different tactics, but I just think that example is gold. It’s something that entrepreneurs, that innovators can leverage to go and test, much like with the Libby example, test the value prop before they go much further to minimize investment in any new idea.

John (22:37): Don’t want to be out there solving problems that people don’t know they have. Right?

Paul (22:41): That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right.

John (22:43): Awesome. Well, Paula, it’s a pleasure having you on the show for a few minutes today. Is there some place you’d invite people to connect with you or certainly learn where they can pick up copies of discipline, entrepreneurship, startup tactics?

Paul (22:55): Oh, absolutely. Come find me on LinkedIn. Visit the books website, it’s startup tactics.net, and of course, grab a copy of the book and leverage all the tactics within to take that idea and turn it into a reality. Amazon, Barnes and noble bookshop.org available everywhere, and my big goal is to get this in the hands of more and more entrepreneurs. So if you know somebody who’s going to start a business or somebody who’s going to build a new venture within a large organization, get them a copy of the, let’s get this in the hands of everybody who can put it to good use.

John (23:28): Awesome. Well again, appreciate you stopping by and hopefully we’ll run into you on these days after on the road.

The Art of Posing Quality Questions

The Art of Posing Quality Questions written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Jeff Wetzler. Jeff Wetzler, co-CEO of Transcend, is on a mission to transform learning opportunities by blending leadership experiences from business and education. With a quarter-century quest under his belt, he’s pioneered innovative approaches to leadership. His latest endeavor revolves around tapping into the hidden wisdom of those around us, exploring unexpected breakthroughs in leadership and life. In this conversation, Jeff unpacks the ASK approach, a framework designed to elevate organizational communication for deeper insights.

Key Takeaways

Jeff Wetzler, co-CEO of Transcend, introduces the ASK approach, a framework aimed at elevating organizational communication for deeper insights. By fostering curiosity, creating safe spaces, posing quality questions, listening actively, and reflecting on learnings, individuals can unlock the power of curiosity for enhanced collaboration and growth.

 

Questions I ask Jeff Wetzler:

[01:48] What is a co-CEO and how does it work?

[02:43] How did growing up as an outsider shape your perspective on curiosity ?

[11:19] If the ASK approach involves a level of vulnerability how do we get people to adopt it?

[14:46] How do we develop consistency in practicing it?

[17:13] Could this self developmental approach be introduced into organizational culture?

[18:00] How do you better help people come out of their shell using the ASK approach?

[20:35] Where can people connect with you and learn more about your work?

 

More About Jeff Wetzler:

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Porkbun

Go to http://porkbun.com/DuctTapeMarketing24 to get a .BIO domain name for your link in bio page for less than $3 at Porkbun today.

 

Speaker 1 (00:00): I was like, I found it. I found it. This is what I’ve been looking for. I can honestly say it has genuinely changed the way I run my business. It’s changed the results that I’m seeing. It’s changed my engagement with clients. It’s changed my engagement with the team. I couldn’t be happier. Honestly. It’s the best investment I ever made. What

John (00:17): You just heard was a testimonial from a recent graduate of the Duct Tape Marketing certification intensive program for fractional CMOs marketing agencies and consultants just like them. You could choose our system to move from vendor to trusted advisor, attract only ideal clients, and confidently present your strategies to build monthly recurring revenue. Visit DTM world slash scale to book your free advisory call and learn more. It’s time to transform your approach. Book your call today, DTM World slash scale.

John (01:03): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Jeff Wetzler. He has been on a quarter century quest to transform learning opportunities, blending unique set of leadership experiences in the fields of business and education. He’s pursued this quest as a management consultant to the world’s top corporations most recently as CO CEO of Transcend, a nationally recognized innovation organization. And we’re going to talk about his most recent book today. Ask Tap into the hidden wisdom of people around you for unexpected breakthroughs in leadership and life. So Jeff, welcome to the show.

Jeff (01:44): Thanks, John. Great to be with you.

John (01:45): So I have a personal question totally unrelated to the book. How does the CO CEO work?

Jeff (01:51): A lot of people don’t believe that it can work. My co CEO and I, Alan Samoa actually had a chance to lead together and work together in a prior organization before we founded Transcend Together. So I don’t necessarily recommend it if you haven’t tried it out in a different way at first, but because we had worked together and we knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we knew that we complimented each other, we said, let’s give it a shot. And it has really lasted. We founded Transcend in 2015. It’s lasted us since then. As we look ahead, we’re actually moving into a stage. We’re going to shift into a solo CEO model after almost a decade as the organization has grown so much. But we really feel like the model served us really well up until now.

John (02:36): I suppose clear responsibilities, expectations probably really key to that

Jeff (02:39): A hundred percent. And good communication.

John (02:42): So one of the things you mentioned early on in the book that your own childhood or your growing up as an out or feeling like an outsider as one of the few Jewish kids, I’m assuming in a neighborhood kind of shaped a little bit of your perspective on this. I’d love to hear a little bit about that component.

Jeff (03:00): As I grew up, I didn’t always feel safe just saying everything I thought and felt. I had some signals that both explicitly and implicitly said to me, you know what? You may not be as safe as you wish you were here. And it just different people handled that differently. What it did for me is that I just kind of kept my mouth shut. And so instead of announcing my opinion, I would ask questions and instead of blurting things out, I would keep a lot of thoughts and stories in my own mind and head. And at some point it occurred to me, if I’ve got all this rich set of ideas and experiences going on inside of me, I’m probably not the only one. Chances are other people are too. And how much more interesting could things be if I could talk about it and if they could talk about it as well. I was always wishing someone would say, Hey Jeff, what do you think about this? And it led me to realize there’s probably others who feel the same way.

John (03:48): So I’m tempted to ask you to unpack the ASK approach. So you have kind of a baseline of where we are, but I’ve got a hundred other questions. But maybe let’s do the high level. What are the components of the ASK approach?

Jeff (04:02): Yeah, so the ASK approach is five practices that when put together, give us the greatest possible chance of really learning what person in front of us or the people around us truly think, feel, and know. Because far too often people don’t often tell us what they actually think and feel, whether that might be feedback they have for us or ideas for where we could take the business or critiques of our direction, any number of things, they stay too silent. We can talk about that as well. So the ask approach basically helps to solve that problem. And you want me to just run through each of the five real quickly? Yeah. Okay. So number one is what I call choose curiosity. And choosing curiosity is basically centering one single question in our mind whenever we’re interacting with someone. And that question is, what can I learn from this person?

(04:51): So it’s breaking out of the certainty that we so often find ourselves in where we might think to ourselves, I know what’s going on, I’m right there wrong any number of things, and it says there’s something I can learn from anyone. And when I’m here in this interaction, what can I learn from this person? There’s more to it than that, but I’ll leave it at that as a starting point. Now, number two is called make it Safe. And what it reflects is that even if I am super curious to learn from you, if you don’t feel safe telling me your truth, I’m not going to learn from you. And this is particularly important and I’ve learned this the hard way across lines of power when there’s power differences, but also other kinds of differences as well, when other people may not feel like it’s safe to really speak their truth. And so if we want to learn from them,

John (05:31): I’m going to say what I think you want to hear, right?

Jeff (05:34): Yeah. Or I’m going to keep my mouth shut. And so making it safe, it’s really about how do we create connection with the other person in ways that build trust? How do we open up ourselves so that they don’t have to guess at what is our agenda for asking them questions and also open up about things that might feel vulnerable for us to share too. And then what I call radiate resilience. How do we demonstrate to them that we’re not going to crumble based on what they have to say? We’re not going to flip out based on what they have to say. We’re not going to hold them responsible for the reactions. And so if we can create connection, open up radiate resilience, we go so far in terms of making it safe for the other person. Do you want to say you want to jump in?

John (06:11): All I’m thinking is I’m hearing you go through these. My first thought was a coworker. You want to learn something from that you think they could, which is great, but I’m also immediately jumping to somebody you think that you just are diametrically opposed opinion wise too. Totally. You think about the political divide right now that there are people that think, I can’t even talk to you because I don’t get you at all. And I’m kind of going through these going, well, maybe that would actually facilitate a good conversation.

Jeff (06:40): Yeah. I mean, the book ends by basically saying, I think the ask approach could be part of what we need to heal some of the polarization and divides that we have in our society. And I tell a story of how I got into an Uber with someone who I thought was basically diametrically opposed to me on a bunch of political issues. And by the end of the Uber ride, I realized we had so much more in common than I realized.

John (06:57): That’s amazing.

Jeff (06:58): Yeah. You

John (06:59): Want to go to number three? We’re on number three, right?

Jeff (07:01): Okay. Number three is pose quality questions. And so this is really the heart of the ask approach. Once we’re curious, once we’ve made it safe, how do we know what are the questions that are going to actually get to the heart of the matter? I kind of think of it this way that I imagine a surgeon would think about all their tools, their scalpels and all kinds of different things that they would have. I need this tool if I want to get to this. Well, questions are the same way, and most of us have one or two questions that we have as our go-to questions, but there’s a whole taxonomy of questions out there. There can be questions if you want to really understand what’s the root of someone’s perspective. You can ask questions if you want to understand where do they see the holes In my view, you can ask questions if you want to invite their ideas to make things better. And so this is all about choosing the right question based on the thing that you want to learn that’s posing quality questions.

John (07:46): So do we have a little index card box full of these questions that we need to tap into?

Jeff (07:51): Exactly. Exactly. And that’s basically what the chapter lays out. And then summarize it at the end is what are the most important questions, depending on what you’re trying to learn, but once you ask the question, it all comes down to how well you listened. It’s not enough just to put the question out there. And so the fourth one is listening to learned. And most of us think we’re good listeners. It turns out we’re missing so much. There’s a big difference between thinking we’re listening and actually hearing what someone has to say and also what they’re not selling us as well. For the book, I interviewed award-winning journalists who are professional listeners, and I remember one of them, Jenny Anderson saying to me after every interview, she records the interview and then she goes back and listens to it 2, 3, 4, 5 times. And every single time she listens to it, she hears something she hadn’t picked up the previous time.

(08:34): And I think to myself, if a professional listener misses things on the first time, second time, how much are we missing when we don’t record our stuff? And so this practice is all about broadening the range of information we’re listening for. And I talk about it’s not enough to listen just for the content of what someone’s saying, but also the emotion that they’re conveying and the actions that they’re taking in the conversation as well. So triple the channels that you’re listening through. And then the last one is called reflect and reconnect. And this is my favorite because I am a junkie for learning and reflecting is really how we take all the experiences that we have and we squeeze the learning out of it. That’s where we get the insight. And so reflecting is about what I call sifting it and turning it. Sifting it is first to say from everything that I heard, what’s valuable and what can I let go of?

(09:16): And then turning it is basically going through three processes where I turn it first to say, what did I learn from this person that would affect the story I have about them or about the situation or about myself? The second turn is what did I learn that would lead me to take certain steps? What can I do about it? And the third turn is, how can I grow more deeply? Does this speak to some of my deeper assumptions or values or ways of being in the world that either confirms them or challenges them or enriches them, et cetera? Those are the three reflective turns, but it’s not enough to just do those and walk away. This is why I call it reflect and reconnect. The reconnection part is so important. That’s going back to the person and saying, here’s what I learned from you. Here’s what I took away from our interaction, and here’s what I’m going to do about it and thank you. And that says to the other person, A, you didn’t waste your time. B, it gives them a chance to actually nuance what you took away. Maybe there’s something else they would want you to take away. And C, it really keeps the door open for future sharing as well. They know this is someone who really values what I have to say.

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Jeff (11:05): So those are the five practices of the ask approach in a nutshell.

John (11:09): Awesome outlines, let’s break some of this down. Great. First off, as I hear you talking about this, you even acknowledge this takes hard work, this takes brave, this takes being vulnerable. None of that sounds like a sales pitch. So how do you get people past that to say, Hey, I want to adopt this?

Jeff (11:28): Well, one of the things we didn’t spend as much time on before we got into the ask approach is, what’s the problem it’s trying to solve? Because the problem it’s trying to solve is also very costly. The problem it’s trying to solve is that when we have a customer who walks away but doesn’t tell us the real reason why, how painful is that? When we have a strategy that fails in ways that could have been predicted by the people around us, by our employees, by our colleagues, when we have an investor who passes on investing us because we didn’t actually understand what their true concern is when we have a friend who goes more distant from us because we didn’t realize the ways that we were impacting them, all of those things are really big costs that we pay. And it’s so prevalent that people around us aren’t really telling us the totality of what they’re thinking and feeling. And on the flip side, if we can tap into that, we can make better decisions together with other people, we can get far better ideas to innovate. We save a ton of time. Our relationships are so much more satisfying and fulfilling. That’s the payoff of doing this work. And it’s not like this work has to take hours and hours. It doesn’t take that long to say, here’s my idea. What might I be missing? That’s a very quick little thing that you can do. So anyways, how does that land with you in terms of

John (12:34): Yeah, I’m finding myself thinking particularly like in a sales environment, the objective may actually ultimately be, the end goal may actually be the same, but using this approach rather than me trying to sell to you, I’m actually trying to learn from you. And that probably feels a lot better to the person being sold to, even if the end result is we’re trying to get to this sale.

Jeff (12:59): Totally. It feels better. And it also, I think, reveals information that will make you make it easier to know what’s the objection I need to overcome that they have or what do they really value that I can speak to? And by the way, I might also learn that my product is not the right product for them, in which case, maybe today’s not the day to make the sale, but the trust that we have together over time is that much better.

John (13:20): Over many years of selling, as all entrepreneurs do, I’ve discovered that a lot of times I’m selling ’em on the benefit that doesn’t address what they want. I’m telling them, this is going to make you more money, and really what they want is more time. Exactly my fault for not addressing that. And so then they walk away.

Jeff (13:37): And incidentally, they also, when you ask them questions, and there’s really interesting research in the realm of dating when someone is dating someone else and asks the other person questions on the date, the person who’s doing the question asking is literally rated as more attractive. And so when you’re having a sales conversation or any other kind of conversation, if you’re asking questions, it draws people closer to you too.

John (13:56): Well, and you actually, I think in the intro of the book, you talk about how this approach actually benefits both people. That’s right. You’re maybe getting some information, but that person either feels a lot better or feels a lot more heard, right?

Jeff (14:09): A hundred percent. This is not just a one way extractive, I’m just going to kind of get what I need from you. This is truly a mutual benefit. And when somebody else has something that they’re thinking and feeling but are not saying to you and you can help them get it out, you’re enabling them to be more, enabling them to actually come closer to you. And chances are that it’s going to feel good for them, but also it’s going to get you to a better place together.

John (14:31): I’m guessing that this takes practice because you can make it feel like you’re being interviewed, and that’s probably not what we’re talking about. Or I don’t want to go, okay, Jeff, now I’m going to make you feel safe. Right? I mean, so how do we go about practicing this? How do we consistently apply these without them feeling kind of clunky?

Jeff (14:52): Yeah. There’s a chapter on this in the book called Make It Your Superpower, and it talks about a few things. One is you got to go from what I call conscious competence, which is like I’m unconsciously trying to practice this to unconscious competence, which means it just comes natural. It’s fluid. And the way to do that is just this very simple cycle of practice and feedback. Try it out in safe environments, try it out in small scale ways and tell people that you’re trying it out, especially if you can start with people that you feel safe to and say, Hey, I’m going to just try asking some different kind of questions. How did that land with you? As you do that, you’ll start to get the benefits of this. It’ll start to feel more natural, just whether that just like a golf swing or a tennis swing or any other kind of thing that you’re learning, but that practice and feedback cycle, then you start to take it out in slightly more high stakes context, slightly more risky kinds of things. And over time, you level up to be able to do it in more and more places.

John (15:40): Yeah, I mean, a lot of things in life, if we just took one of these and maybe ask some better questions. I mean, we’d be ahead, right? We wouldn’t have to master all of this, right?

Jeff (15:49): Yeah, exactly.

John (15:50): So you mentioned high leverage or high, can’t remember what you said. High something stakes, but higher stakes. Stakes, yeah. Is there a different way to address this when you know it’s going to be an uncomfortable conversation?

Jeff (16:03): I would say when it’s going to be an uncomfortable conversation, step one called choose curiosity. You got to invest even more in that because for me, in an uncomfortable conversation, my blood pressure can go up, my shoulders can go up, and I can be thinking to myself, how do I get out of here? Or how do I get this done? Or how do I convince them? Those are the places where I’m most likely to overlook the curiosity that I need, which is how does this other person see the situation? How might I be impacting the other person? How might I be contributing to the issue that we’re trying to solve together here? And so using that curiosity, I talk in the book about curiosity as a team sport, you don’t have to do this alone. You can actually say to a friend or a colleague, I’m about to go into a pretty high stakes conversation here, help me get more curious. Can you help me put myself in the other person’s shoes and just think, what might I be missing in this conversation? I can’t know it for sure because I’m not in their shoes, but I can be more curious about that. So that would be the one thing. And then the second thing that I would say to lean in heavily on is make it safe. Because if you’re feeling its high stakes, the other person might also be feeling its high stakes as well. And so I would go heavier on those two strategies.

John (17:09): Obviously this is a practice self-development, a great tool to master. Do you believe this is a practice that could actually be brought into the culture of an organization?

Jeff (17:19): I do. And there’s a chapter in the book called Make It Your Organization Superpower as well, and there’s a few important things there. One is leaders set the tone of cultures. And so one of the most powerful ways to get this infused in an organization is for people at the top to model this and practice this and say it out loud. I talk about in the chapter how valuable it is for the CEO of the organization to think about themselves as the learner in chief. And that doesn’t just have to be the formal CEO, that could be the president, that could even be the team leader, but to really be modeling this, but there’s other things to do, including even what we hire for in our organizations. In my first job out of college, after I went through this very rigorous hiring process, at the very end, they sat me down and they gave me a whole boatload of critical feedback, and I thought to myself, clearly, I’m not going to get the job.

(18:10): Why are they bothering to tell me all this critical feedback? It turned out they told me the critical feedback. They wanted to see if I was curious about it. They wanted to see is Jeff going to get defensive or is he going to say, huh, that’s interesting. Tell me more. And so it’s a way that you can screen for curiosity as well. In our own organization, we also have this practice that we call the two by two, where every quarter everybody sits down with whoever they work closely with and says, here’s two things I think I’m doing well, here’s two things I think I could do better. Here’s two things you are doing well, you could do better. And then we exchange it. And that’s just a practice that gets each other asking questions, it normalizes it, it clears out the closet, nothing fester. So there’s that kind of thing as well.

John (18:45): One last question before I let you go. Today, I’m all over curiosity. I’ve made the person feel safe. I’m radiating resiliency, but they just don’t like to talk. I mean, there are human beings that don’t want to be asked their opinion. How do you word deal with that? I don’t know. We call ’em introvert, whatever you want to call ’em. How do you deal with that person that just really isn’t comfortable in sharing?

Jeff (19:07): So you can’t force it on anyone, and you got to respect the limits. And sometimes it’s actually honestly in respecting the limits that they get more comfortable to open up. You’ve

John (19:16): Made it safer

Jeff (19:17): In making it say, if I’m constantly saying, come on real, I know you got something else, they’re going to shut down. But if I say to them, look, I’d love to hear anything you have to say and wherever you want to stop, that’s okay. Too often that comes more, but I’d go back to the create connection part of Make it Safe. And what’s interesting, when I interviewed some iconic CEOs for the book, they talked a lot about the time and place of connection. And so Bill George, the former CEO of Medtronic said, if I want to really talk to someone who I think is going to be hesitant, I’m never going to have them come to my office and sit across the CEO desk from me. We’re going to be taking a walk, we’re going to be sitting on a couch, et cetera. I see it with my own kids too. If I want to hear from my daughter how her day was at school, it’s never going to happen right after school. When she gets home, it’s going to happen 11:00 PM at night when she’s done talking to her friends and done with her homework and wants to stay up a little later, and then it all comes out. And so I would encourage you to just be thinking about the time and place of connection as well.

John (20:12): Yeah, my kids, it was always when I’d have to take ’em somewhere. Right,

Jeff (20:16): Exactly.

John (20:16): We’d get in the car and start driving, and all of a sudden it’s like, okay, this is a safe space. It’s

Jeff (20:21): Amazing how many people have said that. And there’s something about not sitting face to face with them, but sitting side by side that’s a little less intense, a little less confronting, and all of a sudden the guard comes down.

John (20:30): Yeah. Awesome. Well, Jeff, I appreciate you taking a moment to stop by The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is there’s some place you’d invite people to find out about your work and certainly find more about Ask.

Jeff (20:41): Yes. So the book Ask is available anywhere books are sold. The website is www dot Ask dot, and people can also follow me on LinkedIn, Jeff Wetzler, or Ask Approach at Instagram.

John (20:52): Awesome. Well, again, I appreciate you taking a moment and hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days out there on the road.

Gain Freedom With The Hands Off CEO Blueprint

Gain Freedom With The Hands Off CEO Blueprint written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Mandi Ellefson.

Through her company “Hands-Off CEO”, she rescues agency owners from the daily grind, transforming million-dollar agencies into self-sustaining enterprises. With her expertise, she’s boosted hundreds of agencies to millions in revenue, attracting premium clients willing to pay 50-600% fees. As a former business exit advisor, she crafts exit strategies, adding up to five figures to clients’ net profit monthly so they can focus on growth. She shares her wisdom as a published author of

“The Hands-Off CEO: Triple Your Fees and Profitably Scale an Exceptional Consulting Agency that Grows Without You” and host of the Hands-Off CEO Podcast, helping consulting agencies triple fees and scale without less reliance on the CEO.

 

Key Takeaways

Mandi Ellefson, founder of Hands-off CEO, shares her journey from overwhelming debt to multimillionaire status by transforming consulting agencies into self-sustaining enterprises. She stresses the importance of building systems that allow businesses to thrive without the constant presence of the CEO. Mandi distinguishes between growth and scale, highlighting the need to create capacity and systems for consistent results. She advocates for productizing services based on outcomes and emphasizes the mindset shift required to embrace delegation and empower teams.

 

Questions I ask Mandi Ellefson:

[01:45] Tell us about the frustration you encountered earlier in your career, not being able to have a company run without you?

[04:47] How does the Scale to Freedom framework differ from other types of processes?

[08:20] Is a mindset shift a necessary step in undertaking this process?

[09:00] How do you balance working with a passion for the project and embracing the need to scale?

[09:13] Why are service businesses hard to scale?

[16:21] How do you help people differentiate between growth and scale?

[22:16] Where can people connect with you and obviously find a copy of the hands-off CEO?

 

More About Mandi Ellefson:

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Porkbun

Go to http://porkbun.com/DuctTapeMarketing24 to get a .BIO domain name for your link in bio page for less than $3 at Porkbun today.

 

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(01:03): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Mandi Ellefson , and he went from a hundred thousand dollars in debt to multimillionaire status by revolutionizing consulting agencies through her company Hands-off, CEO e. She rescues agency owners from the Daily Grind, transforming million dollar agencies into self-sustaining enterprises. She’s also the author of a book we’re going to talk about today, the Hands-Off, CEO, triple Your Fees and Profitably Scale, an exceptional consulting agency that Grows Without You. So Mandy, welcome to the show.

Mandi (01:41): Thank you so much for having me again, John,

John (01:44): Since you put it in your bio. Let’s talk about the frustration perhaps that you felt in having a previous business that didn’t run without you necessarily to leading you to creating what you do for your life’s work now.

Mandi (01:59): Yeah. So can we tell about that experience? You’re saying that led?

John (02:02): Yeah. We want to hear frustration and embarrassment that every entrepreneur goes through.

Mandi (02:07): Yes, yes. There was definitely plenty of that and what it looked like as I was nine months pregnant and I had a 4-year-old daughter. My husband lives in a demanding graduate medical program. I had moved across the country. So you’re painting a picture of I had. It was a pretty challenging situation, right? Yeah,

John (02:23): Yeah,

Mandi (02:24): Yeah. And my business at the time, I was trying to close up shop for me to have maternity leave because it was not set up in a way where it could run without me at all. And that was a frustration just because I had managed another company before this. I was the manager and I was able to get this company to run without me as the manager. So I was pretty frustrated that I couldn’t do this within my own company. And weeks before I was about to give birth to my second daughter, all the stress of trying to make all these things work on my timeframe, it was so stressful and my health was breaking down. So I literally had my arms not being able, I couldn’t move them more than just a small amount, and I had to go and get some treatments. Thankfully, I was able to heal my arms from this, but this was not a good time.

(03:16): Just weeks before giving birth to my second daughter, and we could have used that income in our life. That was one time we really could have used it. And again, anyway, I had to shut the business down. But what that led me to look at what is actually stopping me from having this. So then I went out and I started talking to other entrepreneurs after I had my maternity leave, after I took that time and I took some time to slowly start back up to just, I wanted to make sure I got it right this time. So I started interviewing other people and I knew that if I could solve the problem for someone else, I could solve it for myself. So I just started helping other people because I knew I could break down the system and figure it out. I could reverse my engineer back into it because I’m pretty good at that.

(03:59): So I knew I’d be able to figure that out. And before I knew it, I started a consulting company. I didn’t mean to, but I started a consulting company because people asked me they wanted to pay me, help them with this, and I started seeing the patterns and the trends for what it takes to be able to take a service business, especially service businesses are very difficult to scale and remove yourself from. So I started seeing the patterns and I helped other people be able to solve this before I was actually able to solve it for myself.

John (04:26): So a lot of books consulting around this idea of scaling, making a business run without you really all come down to systems and process and operations. And I think you dive a little deeper than maybe there’s even, I’ve had Gino Wickman on the show, but EOS and Traction. How would you say that your system, which you call scale to freedom, is that right framework? How would you say that you go beyond the typical systems and processes?

Mandi (04:56): Right. So EOS and other frameworks, they’re great. They’re really effective and they can help you bring your company to a level of order. But here’s the thing is I talk to CEOs almost on a weekly basis who have implemented all of that and still have a company that’s not profitable. They may even say it’s profitable. Oh yeah, well, you know what, we’re profitable. But what they don’t tell you is that they’re not taking anywhere near a market rate salary for what they would get paid somewhere else. So they’re actually losing money every year if you look at it that way. So the thing is, those frameworks, it helps you organize a working and functional business model, but it’s not a business model and it’s not a profit model, and it’s not your pricing model, and it’s not the structure for what agreements you create with your team, with your clients. It’s not going to give you the positioning in the market. It’s not going to tell you who your profits fleet spot client is, who’s going to pay you the most. It’s going to contain those things, but garbage in, garbage out. So you to get that right first if you want to have a sustainable company.

John (06:01): You mentioned something in the very beginning that you were able to manage this company to run without you, but when you, maybe it was your own business, the CEO, and I’m curious, there’s if there’s something like instructive in that idea, right? It’s like as the CEO, you’re very married to what it’s doing, you’re emotionally attached maybe, and in some cases it’s hard to step back and give yourself the distance that it requires to properly delegate and let your people do the work that they’re there to do. Do you think there’s something, I guess I’m really talking about mindset probably. Is mindset a key role to even start embracing this idea?

Mandi (06:39): Absolutely. And there’s two different aspects of it, and I’m glad you brought it up because there is a system and then there’s a mindset. And here’s the thing is you can build the system all day long, but unless you have a corresponding mindset, then the system is useless and you won’t be able to actually use it and you won’t be able to let go. So that’s one of the things that I’ve observed too with our clients is that they might get to a point where they have the whole system in place and they’re like, I know I’m supposed to be working on sales right now. I can’t quite let go of this. And I’ve even had one of our clients called the hands-off, CEO, Twitch, he named it that. And I asked him, Philip, do you have the system in place? Do you feel comfortable? They have everything that they need to be able to do this? He’s like, yep, I do. And then he’s like, okay, I realize it’s just a mindset. So at that point we knew that it wasn’t the system, it was the mindset. And now it’s just looking at what are you committed to and your vision being bigger than whatever it is that you really want to be doing that gives you that significance.

John (07:43): And I think I run across a lot of business owners that need to, their business is growing, they need to let go of certain things. And a lot of times it’s just they know that. I mean, I don’t think anybody has to tell them that they’re holding that back, but it’s what maybe they feel valuable or they feel, or let’s face it, sometimes it’s the work they like doing, right? Web designers a great example. I mean, they love to do the work. They try to grow a business and scale business. It makes no sense at all for them to actually be now doing the design, but that’s where they are passionate. I mean, how do you get around? Or on one hand you can’t scale. On the other hand, this is what you’re passionate about. How do you get around that kind of dichotomy?

Mandi (08:25): I think the first thing is just to recognize what actually do you want? And there’s nothing wrong with you going and doing the web design work if that’s the kind of company you want, but that’s more like a freelancer company that’s not going to give you the wealth. It’s not going to give you the freedom and it’s not going to give you some of the things that you would get from a business. But it’s a very simple business. And if you really are passionate about being a web designer and you don’t want to learn the skills of managing teams and being a leader and getting all of the other things right for a business, then that might be a good thing for them. But on the other hand, if I may add to that, John becoming more hands off, what that allows you to do is pick and choose the kind of projects you want to work on. You get to have autonomy over where your time is spent

John (09:10): As long as everything’s not on fire. So you mentioned that service businesses are particularly hard to scale. Why is that? I mean, I think some of the obvious, if I’m selling a $29 product, a lot of people can do that. A lot of people can produce it, do the work. But what is it unique about service businesses that you think make them feel harder to scale?

Mandi (09:30): Well, the origin of it is first and then the structure of it second. So the origin of it is that you were good at something and you start off going out and selling this service because you’re good at it, and then you have enough people that are coming to ask you for this service. You start hiring freelancers and then maybe employees. And then after a while you’re like, well, there’s so many people, I’m going to hire a manager. So some companies just grow organically like that, and they didn’t really set out to build that big of a company. So that’s one aspect of it that makes it challenging to scale that you kind of, so what that means is that the value proposition of the business oftentimes is the skillset of the owner. So the clients are coming for the skillset of the owner, and anything less than that, they’re feeling like they’re getting the short end of the stick. And they’re also looking at it from the perspective of, okay, great, well now I get a blended hourly rate with their junior level person and I’m paying for a senior level person. So that’s one thing. And then on the flip side, well, I guess it creates a scenario where there’s not the profit margins within the business to actually properly remove the ceo. That’s actually the number one thing that keeps the CEO stuck in the day-to-day is because there is not the profit in order to remove yourself from it.

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Mandi (12:58): And then the root cause of that is the pricing structure for how you’re operating. And then the root cause of not having enough, not high enough price point to deliver the service well is that there’s not enough value. There’s not enough perceived value from the client and the prospect who’s buying the services. And there’s the root cause of that too.

John (13:19): Well, and one of the things, I work with a lot of agencies and consultants as well, and what we discover a lot of times is that people feel like, well, what I’m selling is my big brain and they have to have me to do that. Well, obviously that doesn’t scale, right? So where do you fall on? I mean, one of the things we teach people all the time is you’ve got to create a repeatable system that you can actually teach to other people and it doesn’t rely on your big brain. So where do you fall on service businesses productizing?

Mandi (13:47): I’m a big fan of productizing with a caveat. Oftentimes the way the productizing is done is saying, okay, well here’s the problem. We have the CEO is too involved in the day-to-day service, so we’re going to solve that problem by it is a knee, knee-jerk reaction of, well, we’ll remove the CEO out of it. And by doing that, they’re like, well, what is left? Well, we’ll systematize that. And that’s what productization usually looks like.

(14:13): Instead, the way I look at productization, and I would call it a service product perhaps, and you’re looking at how do you elevate the service based upon outcomes? And instead of reverse engineering it to remove the CEO, you reverse engineer it from what does it take for us to deliver this outcome? What does it take to deliver? And at first, that might mean the CEO is more involved to make sure that that you’re actually building out a system that delivers the output that the client actually cares about because the client doesn’t care about deliverables that are brought to the market as efficiently as possible and as profitably for you. They don’t care about profit, they care about the results, and that’s why they’re paying you.

John (14:54): Great add on to that point. And you could charge a whole lot if you understand the results that they’re after and you can deliver those, then they don’t care. It’s not how many hours did I buy right now? It’s like, no, I bought a result. And I think that’s a healthy way for people to think about pricing, isn’t it?

Mandi (15:10): A hundred percent. But to your point, you have to know what that problem is that you’re solving and for who it is. And a lot of times they have, I hear from people all the time that, and agency owners especially who are saying, you know what? Well, we can’t make any kind of claim. It depends so much. It depends on so many factors that are outside of our control. It’s like, well, there’s one factor that you can control and you can control who it is that you’re choosing to work with, who it is that you’re choosing to target, and what problems that you’re willing to solve, especially what minimum, what’s the minimum problem you’re going to solve? And I would recommend for agency owners to not look at solving problems anything lower than a million dollar problem because anything lower than that, you’re not going to be able to have the kind of impact where you can charge high enough price points to make it make sense, and maybe you maybe step up to that point.

John (16:04): Yeah, great point. People will pay a lot more to solve a bigger problem, right?

Mandi (16:08): A hundred percent.

John (16:10): Yeah. So a couple terms that we’ve mentioned today maybe, and I know get batted around and confused I think all the time. Where do you come down? If I were to ask you directly, what’s the difference between growth and scale? Where do you come down on trying to help people understand that difference?

Mandi (16:27): Yeah. Well, growth is where you are generating more growth with about the same resources, right? Scale is when you’re able to generate more growth without the same corresponding increase in resources. Does that sound too technical?

John (16:45): I think theoretically, theoretically it needs more

Mandi (16:48): Less, I’m sorry, we’re talking over each other, John.

John (16:50): No, I said theoretically I get it. But for the business owner, what are the different sort of mindsets around, I mean growth for growth sake, scaling the scaling have a different purpose. Let’s put it that.

Mandi (17:04): Well, here’s the thing is that scaling has become a really flashy word, and there’s a good reason for that too because that’s what people are buying. So that’s why the marketing is full of scale. And I don’t blame people for using those terms because marketers are going to use what’s going to sell. Most of the time what we’re looking at when people are say using the word scale, they’re actually meaning growth because growth is getting to a point. Scaling is a whole different level, and it does require a different mindset because a lot of times where I see the scaling stage happen is in the early seven figures, and this is where I think it would be fair to say that there’s different stages of scaling. Talk about that in my book by the different stages of scaling up. But there’s one particularly that happens in the early figures and it happens about between 900001.1 million and over about a three year period of time, I’ve seen this over and over again where their income goes up and down and it’s because they’re hitting a new threshold and scale and they’ve grown to a point where they can’t grow anymore without taking the next level.

(18:07): And that usually is putting in place a manager that is changing from being the owner operator to being able to build out a management structure in place. Maybe I went more into the answer than you were asking for, but

John (18:19): No, I mean, I think to simplify what that example you just gave a lot of times what it means is you’re going to have to take, you’re going to have to spend for capacity that you don’t currently have the ability to fill. But that’s the only way to grow to that next level is to build that capacity. But that comes at a cost.

Mandi (18:39): Well, that’s a great way of putting it to build out that capacity. And then on the flip side there is you have capacity that needs to be filled too. And there’s this stair stepping thing where you’re at capacity and you have to build out more capacity. So you hire these people now you’re like, okay, wow, we’ve got this big payroll, we’ve got to be able to make some more sales. But is a pretty challenging situation to be in. And I will tell you, I have in my own company, we’ve been here before, so I get what this feels like too. Then you have to really be employing some of the things that you teach in your duct tape marketing strategies about being able to keep that consistent lead flow so that you can actually fill the capacity too. Yep, absolutely. That takes an investment, right?

John (19:21): Sometimes you got to build it before they come, right? So you talk, there’s a term you use in the book entrapment cycle that I certainly see when growth is happening. Certainly see the entrapment cycle show up. So you want to unpack that one for us.

Mandi (19:38): Definitely. And I think it actually is a perfect tie into what we were just talking about is that cycle that goes up and down. Well, the income going up and down and where there’s a plateau of revenue, and it can also be a plateau more specifically of profit because you can see the revenue grow and then the profit stays stagnant. But anyway, the cycle itself, the entrapment cycle, what happens is sales growth happens and then you get busy, you get pulled in. So even if you have a nice team in place, you get pulled into it and then you’re like, all right, well we’re under capacity, we’re over capacity. We need to be able to hire some people. So you go through, you’re saying, okay, are we going to choose quality or are we going to choose profit when we’re looking at staff members? And you’ve got to be profitable.

(20:22): So you choose the level of person that you can afford for your level of growth, which oftentimes is not enough. So you end up having to get in there and have a lot more time and energy to either clean up their work or be kind of babysitting them. And then what happens is, meanwhile, as you’re going and doing that, working in the business, then you’re like, oh crap, our sales are down. We need to go make more sales. And then you go back in and then the only problems is you’ve got your sales cycle. So your sales cycle could be 90 days, could be 120 days, whatever that is. You wait for that to catch up and then you make sales happen again, and then the cycle happens all over again.

John (21:00): Yeah, you left out one variable there. You’re working more than ever probably. Right? I see growth is happening and so now you’re working more than ever. And that’s, to me, true wealth is like all of those things. Right?

Mandi (21:16): That’s a really good point too, John. I don’t think I’ve ever thought about describing that as an additional variable within that cycle, but what we do see happen is that it ends up that entrapment cycle makes your model into a time for money model, even if you have other team members. Because what happens is the business, it’s actually so dependent upon the CEO’s actual time involvement in it that the only way that you can actually grow is to have the CEO EO grow and more and more of their hours. That means that, and that right there it is a description between growth versus scale where you can scale income while actually the CEO EO works less and less hours, which I know, which is something that you guys have successfully done in your company, which goes to show your, because I know you guys have done really well.

John (22:06): Yeah, I do nothing. I do absolutely nothing anymore. It’s amazing. I love it’s talent. Well, Mandy, it was great having you stop by the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. You want invite, is there some place you’d invite people to connect with you and obviously find a copy of the hands-off CEO o?

Mandi (22:23): Yes. You can go to hands off ceo.com/and you can go there and you can download a book summary. And also there’s a scalability checklist there that shares the stages to exit the day-to-Day and the business. And that is actually something that I found people have really loved, including our clients. They love being able to know, alright, what should I do first? And there’s a checklist. You can print it up, put it on your wall, and it’s in the book. I guess you can’t see that, but it also gives you a place you can buy the copy if you’d like.

John (22:55): Awesome. So we’ll have links in the show notes, and if you’re watching this on YouTube, you will see Mandy just held up the book there, so get a copy. Again, appreciate you stopping by. Hopefully we’ll run into you soon. One of these days out there on the road.