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Doing Digital Marketing The Right Way: Tested Strategies For B2B And B2C Companies With Erik Huberman [Episode 144]

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Is hiring a digital marketing agency as a B2B or B2C company a good move for you? How do you know?

Many people hire a digital media company without the proper knowledge of how to do so, and don’t get the results they want. However, digital marketing agencies, when there’s a right fit, can transform your company for the better and help propel your success. In this episode, Doug C. Brown speaks with Erik Huberman, the founder and CEO of Hawke Media, about successful hiring of a digital agency company. They discuss the do’s and don’ts of hiring, how to set the right (and most realistic) expectations, and much more.

 

In this episode you will learn:

 

Episode’s guest – Erik Huberman

CEO Sales Strategies | Erik Huberman | Digital Marketing

Erik Huberman launched Hawke Media in 2014 — growing the company value to over $150M and working with 3,000+ brands worldwide. It is the fastest-growing marketing consultancy agency in the United States, working with brands like Red Bull, Verizon, and Eddie Bauer. Erik has expanded his business portfolio with Hawke Ventures, which raised $25M in its second fund, and HawkeAI, which has helped over 5,000 companies benchmark analytics and improve results.

Prior to Hawke Media, Erik successfully founded, grew, and sold two e-commerce companies by the age of 26. As a serial entrepreneur, national best-selling author, and marketing expert, Erik has been recognized by his industry peers through honors and awards including, Forbes Magazine’s 30Under30, CSQ’s 40Under40, and Inc. Magazine’s Top 25 Marketing Influencers.

transcript

Doing Digital Marketing The Right Way: Tested Strategies For B2B And B2C Companies With Erik Huberman

I’ve got a fantastic guest for you. His name is Mr. Erik Huberman. Erik owns a company called Hawke Media. Hawke is a digital marketing company specializing in the digital world. He’s got a wonderful story. He was 26 years old at the time. He started up a company. As with most entrepreneurs, he struggled through that process and he made a whopping $350 at the end of that year. Now, several years from there, he now owns the fastest growing marketing consultancy and agency in the United States.

They’re valued at over $150 million with 250-plus employees. They’ve serviced over 3,500 brands from all sides and shapes, from startups to household names like Red Bull, Verizon and others. We are going to talk about doing digital marketing the right way, especially for B2B and B2C companies. What I mean by the right way is that most people can relate to hiring some type of marketing company, especially a digital marketing company, going through the process and saying, “I was so disappointed in the end results. I wasted money, time, and energy. It didn’t work for me and it should have because I got a great product and great service. I know how to sell.”

The big challenge for most people, and I’ve made this challenge in my life, is not understanding what I should be entering into and how. In other words, all the parameters that are successful for a company to achieve their goals using digital marketing. What other questions we should be asking you? What are the preparation steps that we should be having prior to even engaging in a process like this? Let’s go talk to Erik. You’re going to love this episode.

Erik, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for being here.

Thank you for having me.

I love your story. I was so excited to have you on. You started when you were 26 with your company. When you started out, you made $350 the first year, if I remember correctly or $300.

No, that was before that. That was when I was in real estate. My first year out of college, I made $350 that first year because I started real estate in 2008. Not a great time, apparently, to be in real estate.

Now, you’ve gone to having a company valued at $150 million with well over 200 employees at this point. If you don’t mind, I want to talk about how you did it?

It was a confluence of a lot of things. The nice thing was that after the real estate, making $350 in a year, I built three eCommerce companies and sold two of them over a few years. I built an online music company and a men’s subscription t-shirt company called Swag of the Month. It was one of the first eCommerce subscription companies, and then we sold that. I joined an incubator called Science that had launched Dollar Shave Club. I helped them there and then helped them launch an activewear brand that we sold a year later.

At that point, we’re at 2013 and I started consulting and advising for a bunch of brands because, it turns out, there weren’t a lot of people who understood how to leverage marketing, especially digital, to drive growth for a business. They could sell pretty pictures and big words, but it wasn’t doing anything for the business and I knew how to drive growth. I started helping some companies just as an advisor.

CEO Sales Strategies | Erik Huberman | Digital Marketing
Digital Marketing: There aren’t a lot of people that understand how to leverage marketing, especially digital, to drive growth for a business.

 

I wasn’t going to pull the levers, but I’d advise them to tell them the things they needed to do and how to do them and try to help them hire agencies or hire people themselves. I found that that piece was so difficult to hire in-house. Good luck finding great talent, attracting it, managing it, working in a vacuum, and not having this ability into what’s changing in the market. That’s why a lot of agencies exist.

At that point, there were 25,000. Now, there are about 88,000 digital agencies in the US, and 99% of them are terrible. They have no idea how to grow a business. They don’t know how to sell services and are not good at what they do. They end up churning through clients. If you’re one of those unlucky clients, you blow a bunch of money and then move on to the next one. I have yet to meet a seasoned business owner who doesn’t have a bad agency experience, which is crazy. I got sick of it. I decided to build my own SWAT team and help these companies out. That’s how we started.

The original secret sauce was a few things. One is I had all the credibility in the world that had been aspirational to the people who wanted to work with me. They all wanted to grow and sell their companies and build their companies. I had done it, so I could help them do it too. Timing of the market, there was a huge wave of getting into digital and eCommerce. I was that person with that credibility in LA, so location. We had a factory, too. There’s a lot of business in LA.

There were a lot of California haters. At the end of the day, it’s the biggest state economy, so to be here is valuable. From there, I brought on a partner who helped manage the day-to-day so I could focus on growth. For the first three and a half years, my personal focus was pretty much bringing the business. I was, by far, driving most of our revenue literally at the low point, meaning three and a half years in when I did have a couple of sellers. I was still 85%-plus of our revenue personally.

I was out all the time, events, hustling, networking, running different strategies to drive sales and focused on that. At that point, three and a half years in, is when I realized, “If I hit the pinnacle of how big I could get doing that, I was going to need to build a team if I was going to get bigger.” That’s when I started building a sales team or marketing team and building that out and kept growing.

Thankfully, it has been the fastest-growing marketing company in the country and we continue to aim for that. I’d say part of that is I learned this on the investment side and we also have a fund. A valuable advisor to us said, “Invest in the ambition of the founder.” How fast you want to grow is what you manage to. If you want to build and grow a business, you’re going to do things that build and grow a business. There are all sorts of market factors and they say, “Bet on the jockey, but not if he’s riding a donkey.”

If you really want to build and grow a business, you're going to do the things that really build and grow a business. Click To Tweet

You have to make sure that you’re running down the right path, but at the same time, if you’re ambitious and you want to go, you’re going to look for things to do that. If you’re not, it’s going to slow down. That’s why I believe there’s so much, even in a large organization and how the founder drives because the rest will follow. The founder has to be that driver. For me, I always wanted to grow and build. I’m always pushing and that helped us achieve a lot of growth.

The cool part, I love what you said, “The founder always has to be involved to a certain point in driving the growth.” Many business owners that I’ve talked with or advised over the years are like, “I’m at $3 million. I’m going to stop getting out there.” It’s like, “No.”

No judgment. There’s probably a lot of positives to that. If you’re satisfied, like if you’re happy and you can run a smaller business and keep it going, good for you. I wish I had that level of satisfaction, so to speak, but no. What I enjoy is constant growth, which is a lot harder hunger to satiate, but I have fun with it, so I haven’t fought it either.

It’s one of those things that you hit it right on the head of the nail. I’m saying no because these people are telling me they want to get to $10 million or $15 million or $25 million or $40 million. It’s imperative for them to be involved in that process through a certain point. Eventually, you reached your saturation point, so you were intelligent enough to know, “I’m pushing the pedal down on the gas, and it’s not going to go any faster or cover any more distance than we’ve already covered. We’ve got to now create some additional leverage in the business and I’m the point that is holding that leverage to a certain degree.” By the way, my magic number is three on hiring bad digital marketing agencies, just so you know. I’m one of those statistics you’re talking about in our companies.

The interesting part is that you said they’re good at the acquisition side but can’t deliver. I had no intention of going down this path on this interview but let’s go down there for a second. It’s why I have my theories and my understanding from my knowledge, but I’d like to get it from you, the guy who’s growing the fastest and largest agency. Why are so many people not able to connect with a great digital marketing experience from an agency?

There’s no regulation. This is what’s crazy. We managed a little over $500,000,000 in a year. Zero license, zero government oversight, and zero anything other than my ability to get people to trust us and then deliver because, at some point, your reputation goes bad, but how crazy is that? $500,000,000 that there’s no thought whatsoever. Maybe we should look at what these companies are doing.

I believe the problem partially is the lack of regulation of the issue, and I tried to look at fixing that and creating regulation around an industry. You have to start state by state. I have to find states that want to regulate marketing agencies and here’s the biggest problem. The lobbyists fall under the title of marketing agencies.

Find a lobbyist that wants to set up regulations for themselves. That’s where I hit a wall. I was like, “I don’t know where to go from here. I have a lot of other things on my plate, so probably do not think I’m in a battle.” That was my first thought. It may create actual certification like a CPA or a bar exam for marketers that at least gets rid of the bottom 50%.

There’s no barrier to entry. There’s no cost. I can easily create a web page and say, “ I do marketing.” People don’t question it. Especially in the past years, it’s been like, “My nephew has a Facebook page. He probably knows Facebook marketing.” That is how people think about it and they don’t hire it in the same way. When it comes to your accountant, lawyer, or other parts of your service stack, you know they have a CPA. They’ve passed the bar and they’re regulated. There’s a minimum threshold of skill. A lot of times, you bet them in a certain way. A lot of people with marketing buy into the flash.

There’s also a culture in marketing because, again, no barrier to entry of people selling flash and over-promising and hanging on for dear life even though they’re under-delivering to try to keep that client for 3 or 4 or 5 months. They create this sales machine that replaces that and you can build a $1 million or $2 million or $3 million business that way, honestly. You can’t go much bigger than that, but you can get a few million dollars, which, by the way, as a founder, you’re probably making a few hundred grand a year. All you have to do is keep that sales engine moving and self-promotion and people keep signing up.

There’s no great discipline in practice because there’s not a lot of knowledge about how to hire a marketing agency correctly. People buy into the hype. We lose business sometimes because someone else promises the world and we’re like, “That’s not going to happen.” “They say it will, so we’ll go with them.” They’re pissed off months later, but they’re also out of money.

That’s the thing. I’m between sad and pissed off when I hear these stories all the time because I hear these every week. I’m talking to people every single week who are running into this. I’ve also found that most of these people who have started a marketing agency, like you said, there’s no barrier. This is not the beat-up on marketing agencies.

This is a conversation of reality that business owners experience every single day. I’ve found that most of the people who own a marketing agency have never built a business other than a marketing agency, or it’s like people who put their business coaching hat on and have never built a business ever. When they are talking to guys like you and I, who have been there in the trenches, I’ll speak for myself, I remember one week going, “I got to pull money on my credit card cash advance so I can make payroll.”

With marketing, a lot of people buy into the flash. Click To Tweet

I don’t know many business owners that haven’t been there.

It’s one of those things or you’re flying high in April, and then down in May. It could be to no fault of your own.

Take every brick-and-mortar business in COVID.

All of these things happen in a business, but I found that if somebody doesn’t have that business experience, they cannot relate to the level that most businesses need to grow.

I don’t know if it’s related. A crux of where our value has been from the beginning is they don’t understand how a Facebook ad affects a business. They look at spreadsheets and ROAS, which is a bullshit metric. We have a chapter in our book that ROAS is BS because it doesn’t play into how sustainability in this success and return on your advertising plays into business. That’s a good example. It’s like 90% of marketers talk about ROAS. This is a dumb metric.

This doesn’t help a business at all. It doesn’t take into account your gross margins, lifetime value, and the time factor of money. There are so many parts of ROAS that are stupid and purchase cycles. All these things that matter. Not understanding that because, again, it’s exactly what you’re saying; they haven’t run a business like this means that you end up selling them and trying to coach them on things that you’re like, “This is great.” They’re like, “Why is this great? Our business isn’t doing well.” They’re like, “I don’t know why your business isn’t doing well. This is great.” When you can’t bridge that gap, you can’t be a good service provider.

Let’s break down ROAS for a second. Return On Ad Spend is the acronym. What are people looking at from a marketing perspective? How should a business look at it differently?

Generally, I’d say your cost to acquire a customer versus your lifetime value of a customer. How much do they spend with you over their lifetime? Let’s say you’re a smaller business. You can measure that lifetime in a year. In a larger business, they go up to three years, a lot of the time and even longer. It depends, like Ferrari looks at 30 years, but that’s a good one. What does it cost you to get a customer in marketing? How much did you make off them? The problem with ROAS is simple. Everybody knows this intuitively, but don’t think about it when they’re looking at their own marketing. When you see a random ad, do you buy it instantly, very often, like, “I’m in?”

Not usually.

Almost no one happens, don’t get me wrong. It’s not normal when we’re talking about a game of averages and how it all plays out in scale. Knowing that, what we know from our data because our AI system runs 80,000 companies’ marketing media and revenue data in real-time is growing every day. We have that. We know that the average sale cycle in eCommerce for a $50 purchase is about three weeks. For $100, a purchase is about 5 weeks and $200 is about 6 weeks. It trails off between 2 and 3 months after that.

That’s just using eCommerce as the example, but it’s illustrative of a $50 purchase, on average, takes three weeks, which means on average, overall. If you’re selling something online, just assume that a month goes by before they buy after you advertise for them. Here’s the catch. If I start spending money on advertising, and I look at how much did I spend this month and how much did I make, it takes people a month to buy, so isn’t that a ridiculous number to be looking at? Especially if you’re not keeping your advertising budget consistent for a long period of time.

Let’s say I’m spending $10,000 a month consistently. That’s my ad budget, and I’m making $50,000 a month. It’s great and then I decide it’s time to scale this. The next month, I’m going to 5X. I’m going to spend $50,000. There’s a very good chance you spend $50,000 and make $50,000 because it takes a month for that to cycle, and then you have to optimize it and all that. Understanding that simple thing but in a way that you can track your advertising is one example. If you’re only tracking your first purchase, let’s say you have a year subscription company that is a monthly subscription, a Netflix, for example. I’m measuring ROAS.

Netflix is $12 a month now. Let’s say my customer is $20. My ROAS is negative. This sucks. I’m never going to spend any more money. You make $240 a year. I’ll spend $20 to make $240 on that business all day. These are the things that are very short-sighted and people get caught up with them. It’s an okay leading indicator and how things are moving in shape, especially if your spending isn’t changing much. I could go on for an hour about this, but those are two examples of why I’d be careful with ROAS. Even more careful if hiring someone who talks about ROAS.

CEO Sales Strategies | Erik Huberman | Digital Marketing
Digital Marketing: Be careful with ROAS and even more careful with hiring someone that talks about ROAS.

 

We’re speaking to Mr. Erik Huberman and Hawke Media is the company he owns. Originally, we were going to talk about a different subject, but this subject is amazing for people. Let me go back to, if you spend $50,000 that month, you had said you were spending $10,000, then you spend $50,000, it’s a good chance you’re only going to get $50,000 because it takes a month, which makes total sense.

If you’re making five times your money. That was an example.

It’s the same in selling, too. We have a sales cycle.

I know my average sales cycle for Hawke Media is 24.4 days. I know that number. That is an important number for me to know. It’s so liberating because a few things happen. When I’m starting a new initiative, I want to see how it plays out. I know I’m going to have to give it about a month to see where it is averaging out and know that’s about what it takes, which is super enabling because I know I can see the results in a month of the things I’m doing, but it takes a month to start seeing him. That’s important to know. Knowing that cold and understanding that is critical.

The interesting part of this conversation is that there are fifteen points, but one of the interesting points is that many business owners don’t know the lifetime value of their clients.

If you don't know the lifetime value of your client, then you don't know your business. Click To Tweet

This is another big point that you don’t know your business. CAC and LTV are the two most important parts of what private equity fund wants to fund you if someone wants to invest. That’s going to be the most important growth metric in your entire business. What is your CAC? What is your LTV? You don’t know your business if you don’t know those numbers.

Define CAC, please.

Cost to Acquire a Customer. How much did it cost you in marketing to get a customer, marketing sales, then what is the lifetime value? That tells me, do you have a profitable growth strategy so that I want to invest in you?

By the way, folks, if you’re reading and you’re going, “I don’t know these acronyms,” you should when it comes down to it. Take that out of this.

We mentioned the book, but we have a glossary in the Hawke method with all these.

CEO Sales Strategies | Erik Huberman | Digital Marketing
The Hawke Method: The Three Principles of Marketing that Made Over 3,000 Brands Soar

I love how you shamelessly promoted that.

Always. I got the logo on my shirt. Sometimes, it’s on my hat.

We want to calculate lifetime value when we’re looking at client acquisition costs because a lot of people don’t do that. That means if somebody buys from you once a year, but you’re retaining them for ten years and they spent $1,000 a year with you, that lifetime value was $10,000. What we want to do is figure out what it costs us to acquire that particular client. Most of the time, we want to look long-term.

Blended, too. Looking at, what are all the things I’m doing in marketing that drive to a customer and how does that pencil out, versus trying to identify. A lot of people get unstuck into this attribution conversation. I did a google of Facebook out of an email. They went through all three. How much credit do I give to each? The answer is 100% to all. You blend it all together. You add it all together. That was your cost. It’s not like 5% a year or 7%. That’s not how it works, which I see a lot of people struggle with, too.

They do that in sales as well, Erik. They’ll go, “It cost me 20% for my salesperson.” It’s like, “You got all these other people involved. This was a multi-point sale.” You have additional costs. When we break them down on that side, it’s eye-opening. On the marketing side, it’s also eye-opening when you look at it from that perspective.

If somebody’s sitting going, “My mind’s getting a little blown out at this moment. Where would you tell them to come back? I heard you, Erik and Doug. I’m not supposed to just run out there and blindly hire a marketing agency because I may not know enough to know.” I’ve got an example here of how things can go. I talked to a gentleman and he said to me, “I’m doing these ads and I spent $100,000 this month on a budget and I got zero leads.”

I said to him, “Why do you think?” I asked him questions like you and I are talking about, “What is your sales cycle?” It was a very short sales cycle. I said to him, “Who are you working with?” He gave me the name and I said, “Are they an agency?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “What do you think you’re going to do next?” He said, “I’m going to spend $110,000 this month.” I said to him, “What are you going to get out of that?” He said, “I’m being told that we didn’t spend enough money.”

I’ve heard that. I haven’t hired an agency in a very long time. I’ve heard this from other clients that I’ve never heard before. Somehow, agencies out there are not performing and using that as a way to get more money. There are very low levels of like if you don’t spend $5,000 a month on a marketing channel, you’re wasting your time, but the idea of having to go from $100,000 to $110,000 when you’re not seeing anything is crazy. That is absurd and not a thing.

That’s what I asked him. I said to him, “Let me guess. These guys are on a percentage of spend.” He said, “Yes.” I said, “How about 10%?” He goes, “That’s the exact number. Why are you asking?” I said, “I know in your third month, you’re going to be spending $150,000 because they’re making $15,000.” The reason I’m bringing this up is when we’re hiring an agency, we also want to look at our ROI that’s coming out of that and understand that these people are looking at it from a position of how much money they can make as well. I wouldn’t call that a win-win-play in that process.

It can be because we charge the same way because we’ve played with so many compensation models, which seems to be the one that does it. Even though it has its problems, there’s nothing perfect and it does align more than anything. We also have a culture of not getting people to spend more money when it’s not working. Part of this is having a good culture of wanting to be here for a while. What I’d say when you’re trying to hire an agency is, have they taken someone from where you are to where you want to be that is similar enough that you can see that they know how to run the playbook?

If you want to win a Super Bowl, hire a Super Bowl-winning team. It’s like the Miami Heat when they got LeBron, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosch and everyone together. It’s like, first, they built a bunch of winners into one place. That’s what you want to do, assuming you want to win. I sometimes have incorrect assumptions that business owners want to win and want to succeed. A lot of them are self-sabotaging. We deal with it where it’s like, “We could hire you or we could spend half the money and hire a bunch of guys in India.”

If that’s the result you want or if that’s the business you’re trying to build, go for it.” Saving money on this and cutting costs is going to create less upside, but if you don’t care about maximizing your upside, that’s fine. Understanding that and what you’re trying to achieve means finding the people who know how to achieve that and have accomplished that. Don’t be the guinea pig. Don’t try the new guy. The fallacy in marketing that’s very commonly mistaken is that the new shiny object is what people have to stay on top of.

Don't be the guinea pig. Don't try the new guy. Go with the company that's done it and that's been there. Click To Tweet

The best-performing digital channels now are Facebook and Google or Instagram and Google. That’s been that way for a decade plus. These changes that are happening are not that fast. Going with these new shiny agencies that are saying, “We’re going to do this and that. We’re going to use AR and VR,” which, by the way, don’t do anything for new companies and do all these things. It’s usually going to be a waste of money and time. Go with the company that’s done it, and that’s been there because the baseline of failure is that you’re protecting your downside a lot.

The baseline is going to be at least decent because this company’s done it. They’ve been around. The variables are a lot more controlled. You might not get that high flyer upside where they go viral and it goes crazy. What are you trying to do here? My argument with a business is that when you’re looking at marketing, start with the scalable repeatable side so you can build a predictable business at scale and control and scale it.

From there, you can go play with 10% of your budget on all the crazy stuff. That’s how I look at this. When you’re looking at hiring an agency, if you think of that in context, similar to like you don’t want to hire some ragtag group of lawyers if you’re trying to defend yourself in a big case, you want to probably, if you’re going to get audited, have a good accounting firm you trust that also is credible. The same thing with marketing. You want the idea of hiring three guys out of a spare bedroom who are running Facebook ads. If you want to play with 10% of your marketing budget on something like that, go for it, but you need predictability and scalability.

I love that predictability and scalability. If you haven’t written that down, folks, please do because that is the key. You want stability out of the whole process. I want to go back to something you said, Instagram and Google. I imagine there are people here because we also have a very big B2B audience, thinking, “Instagram for business?”

CEO Sales Strategies | Erik Huberman | Digital Marketing
Digital Marketing: You need predictability and scalability.

 

I love it when people say that.

That’s the question.

My company’s B2B, our number one ad channel is Instagram. We can start there. What it is is an assumption carried over prior to this modern age of digital marketing where you need to advertise where your audience is. If I’m a B2B, I need to advertise on business shows like Bloomberg TV, or I need to make sure that I’m reaching that audience. What it turns out is you’re trying to reach in. B2B marketing is still marketing to an individual. People forget this. You’re marketing a decision-maker at a company.

It turns out that on Instagram or Facebook, you can target people by job title. You can target by a lot of different things when it comes to their work as well as who they are. The reason Instagram works so well is that you’re catching someone who is 99.9% of the time bored and just burning time scrolling. That’s what they do. You can reach your decision-maker. Let’s say you need to reach HR. Heads of HR companies, you can put that into Instagram and target those people during a time when they’re not doing anything productive.

If you can reach them, they’re the right type of person. You can capture those people. There’s a total strategy there versus LinkedIn, which, theoretically, would be better people. They have done a good job of making their newsfeed a lot more active. People do scroll through and look around LinkedIn now, but they are being productive on LinkedIn all the time. Messaging is specific to people. They’re engaging with people. You’re interrupting them with an ad, versus Instagram, where they’re being more passive. That’s one problem.

The other problem is LinkedIn can’t seem to nail down their CPMs and the scalability or predictability of their marketing platform. It changes all the time. You don’t get any consistency out of those ads. If you spend $10,000 and it made you $50 in one month, spend it the next month, it might make you five. There’s no way to start to build and grow. We’ve had some small wins with LinkedIn but never big on that piece of it. There are other powerful ways to leverage LinkedIn on the sales side.

Instagram, traditionally, if you want to create new demand for something where someone’s not necessarily seeking you out, which is more of a Google thing – they’re searching for you, you show up. But if you want to reach new audiences that fit your demo and your target, you are targeting individual people like a brand like  VuvClico. I got a bottle of champagne for an IPO we had. VuvClico does not buy a service or software. A person at VuvClico does. That person is on Instagram, and you can target them when they’re bored. That’s why this still works well for B2B.

That’s a fascinating statement because so many people think Instagram of just people on there posting this or whatever right there. They would say, “LinkedIn’s the only method that would work for my business because they’re business people on LinkedIn.” I’ve always found LinkedIn to be a decent medium for sales channels, if they know how to target them and they know how to message them but it’s direct. You’re talking about somebody who’s looking at their phone eating a sandwich or whatever, and you’re able to bring the ad up in front of their face to capture their attention.

The time when they’re telling you again they’re not doing anything else productive. They can’t even be eating a sandwich because they’re scrolling. They’re thumbing through their Instagram. Their thumbs are right there to click and check out what you’re doing.

Someone who’s reading this and they’re like, “This makes a lot of sense to me,” because this conversation should make a lot of sense to them because it’s a real conversation, versus three guys in the bedroom of a condo, “I learned how to do Facebook. Let me teach you how to do that.” What should be some of the considerations or the questions that listeners should be asking themselves before they even engage in an agency conversation?

What are your goals? What are you trying to accomplish? That is important to come in with like, “This is what we want to do.” It doesn’t have to be so specific that it’s like, “This is the revenue target for the year.” If you want to grow, you want to grow at a rapid pace and at a predictable pace. Where are you in the business stage? What are you looking to do? Why an agency?

If you look at every Fortune 2,000 uses agencies, there’s a reason for having that partner and expertise. The same thing with all these other services we talked about. It’s not good to do this yourself by nature. This is the example I always use. There is like, “Good luck competing with me to hire great marketing people.” Do you think they’re going to want to work with you? If you have the sexiest business on the planet, maybe.

If SpaceX wants to hire a marketer. They might be able to create a great one. You have to be real with yourself. Is your brick manufacturing company going to attract the best marketer on the planet or someone that just wants a job and is decent at marketing? That’s where you can get an agency that it has that ability to attract the best marketers out there and bring that to your business. That’s part of the dynamic there. You need to figure out what is that goal. What am I trying to accomplish?

When people ask me, do you not take on clients? Who do you want to work with? The people who don’t are people who are looking for someone else to blame for their business problems. That’s important because we try to suss those out because it happens. They exist. People don’t like to take responsibility. If your business is struggling and you’re looking to offload the blame, versus bring on someone who can help you and be a partner, that’s important.

There’s a cultural part of that where if you’re hiring an agency, you have to treat them like they’re a partner in the business, work with them, and enable them in every way you can. I have obviously a ton of service providers for our business. I’m always thinking, “How do I make their job better and easier to get more out of them?” That’s important when you’re ready for that. Again, have goals to grow. If you’re not trying to build, grow, and change things, you’re probably going to make the wrong decision on an agency, too, because that should be their job.

CEO Sales Strategies | Erik Huberman | Digital Marketing
Digital Marketing: If you’re hiring an agency, you have to treat them like they’re a partner in the business and work with them and enable them in every way.

 

I’m going to take my hat off of the show here. I’ll put my hat on as a business owner who doesn’t have a lot of experience in doing this. What I heard was we can generate leads, but I’ve got to make sure that I have my back end in order to make this work. In other words, maybe I shouldn’t grow so fast because my operations can’t handle it or my sales team couldn’t handle the amount of leads that are coming through or do I need to train them? Is this a valid consideration I should consider as a business owner?

Worried about training the people you have, you’re saying?

I come to an agency then, all of a sudden, we start getting a ton of leads, let’s say.

No, I’ve heard that, too. There’s no Oprah effect. It’s not like, “This is overwhelming.” You can always tone it down. Again, that’s the predictable and scalable part of this. That’s important. Don’t go try to record a viral video first. By the way, it’s probably a waste of money. It’s very rare that happens anymore. The idea is you’re finding places where you can put more in and get more out. It starts to progress and you start slow. That’s how you do this right.

Someone said that to me. They were like, “We want to kick off marketing, but we’re worried it’s going to dump business on us.” I’m like, “First off, you should be excited about that as an owner. Go fix that problem. React to it, scale, go move quickly, and find a way to fix it. If your doors blow off, you’re suddenly getting more business than you can handle. Figure out how to handle it. Welcome to being an entrepreneur. That’s what you’re going to have to do.” That doesn’t happen often.

If your doors blow off and of a sudden, you're getting more business than you can handle, figure out how to handle it. Welcome to being an entrepreneur. Click To Tweet

It’s more of you test it out, and you get some results. They’re mediocre and you make adjustments. If it was that easy, you go turn on marketing, and then, again, the doors blow off, everyone would be billionaires and we’d all be great. No, this is an ongoing and constantly iterating process that usually can make you decent returns and help scale your business if you do it right.

I remember Jay Conrad Levinson’s Gorilla Marketing book series. I had known Jay for a while before he passed away and I asked him a question. I said, “Jay, what’s the number one mistake that people make in marketing?” He said, ” Doug, they don’t have patience.”

I feel like patience is a cop-out. This goes back to knowing your purchase cycle and going back to knowing your numbers. I hate when people say, “Wait or be patient.” Why? If there’s a reason to be patient, be patient. Sometimes, it’s because people don’t have a good explanation or buying time, like your friend who’s spending went from $100,000 to $110,000 because it didn’t work.

What could be a reasonable expectation then for somebody who’s like, “I need to do something like this. I need to extend my reach. I must figure this out?”

It depends on what you’re doing, but let’s say you’re ramping up digital marketing. It usually takes around a month to get all the back and forth to get some ads created and get things going in the right way. I’m using round numbers. It will take you two weeks to a month, but let’s say a month. Be conservative on this, then you’re going to spend money for that first month.

Let’s say your sales cycle is a month. That means that I won’t even know how those are performing. Even the first out is performing for a month, but it’ll take about two to see how these ads perform because you need that full second month to get that full picture of your customer life cycle. Now you’re three months in, and you’re starting to see what’s working and what’s not, so you make adjustments.

That takes another couple of months to see that result. This is if you have a one-month sales cycle. Now, you’re talking about your five months in that whole process. We usually say, “You’re going to have to give it probably six months to start to understand how things are working. You can see indicators faster, but actual returns and things, usually, it’s six months.

That’s an important metric for people to hear because a lot of times, like the three guys in the bedroom, so to speak, in the back.

They could be a billionaire tomorrow.

They’re going to say almost the opposite of what you said. It’s going to be like, “We should be smacking things out in the next 30 days. You should start to see leads flow in. You should start to be closing people.” A lot of what I would call the bro and bro ads out there now, like, “We’re going to drive $1 million in your business in the next three months.” Maybe if you’re a $50 million company, that might happen, but the reality is, in most businesses, that’s not a tangible viable metric to use. I appreciate you bringing that up. You wrote a book called The Hawke Method. The Hawke Method illuminates three key principles for effective marketing. What are those three key metrics or key principles?

It’s awareness, nurturing, and trust. Awareness is what we do to introduce a new potential customer to our brand. It can be advertising, word of mouth, or PR. You get the word out there with all these things, but this goes back to the sales cycle. We do a lot of things to advertise and to get our name out there. However, if you don’t do anything during that period from when they first become aware you exist to when they become a customer and post-transaction to bring them back and keep them going to build your lifetime value, you miss out on a ton. Awareness is how you reach those new people.

Nurturing is what you do during that sales cycle and post-sales cycle to keep them coming back. Things like email marketing, SMS marketing, follow-up, offer them a sales practice standpoint, and content creation to get people engaged with your content above and beyond a purchase decision and all of these different things. I can go on for a long time about this, but a lot of it is on nurturing and making sure you help convert.

Trust, I say it’s synonymous with brand. Over time, you’ll build a brand in your space and people will begin to trust you inherently. Before that, third-party validation is what builds trust. That’s testimonials, reviews, and referrals. Word of mouth is a big part of that, too. Endorsement deals, influencer marketing, and PR. All these things are things that you can borrow trust from someone else basically.

The whole 3 principles fall on the 3 principles of revenue growth, gathering new clients, increasing transactional value, and increasing buying frequency. Some people would argue the fourth one is retention to be able to do those three. To me, I put retention in on buying frequency.

I agree with you. It’s how to drive those numbers. I feel like those are result numbers, minor activities to drive those numbers.

It’s the front end of moving that our sales channel can also pick up. The one thing I wanted to end on, Erik, is that so many companies are starting to shift from what I can see. Many companies tried to separate marketing and sales as two separate functions to sell a client.

There are different types of people because we do, too, but they need to work. Our head of sales and head of marketing share one office. There are 2 people focused on 2 different parts, but they’re completely intertwined where our head of sales is working with him on like, “We need to change these leads. We need more here. We need more of this. We need help here. We need this marketing support.” The head of marketing is, frankly, sometimes chasing down our sales people that he’s sent a great lead to through marketing and going, “What happened to this? Why is that closed? Why are the leads not converting into opportunities?” Finding out and seeking out information. They work very hand in hand.

That’s how it’s supposed to work, folks. It’s supposed to work hand in hand.

They have to get along and they do. Thankfully, ours is like they’re buddies, so it works out well. The other side that happens is they blame each other. Marketing starts saying, “They drove a bunch of leads, but sales can’t close them.” Sales start saying, “Marketing is not giving us enough leads.” You need them to be on the same team and on the same page.

Sales will play, “These aren’t sales-qualified leads. These are marketing leads.” Erik, if people want to reach out to you, to the company, and know more about it, where do they go?

On the company side, we’re always happy to run a free marketing audit and use our whole AI system. It gives you some feedback on what’s going on with your business. You can sign up for that on the website at HawkeMedia.com. I’m easy to find on any social channel, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or TikTok.

Erik, I appreciate you being here on the show. Thanks for bringing your A-game and enlightening people with invaluable information. I’m very grateful you did.

Thank you so much for having me.

Did you learn that focusing on return on ad spend is a metric that most people in the marketing world will make a big hyping deal about that and you should be looking at other metrics as well? What is your cost of acquisition of the client? What is the lifetime value of that client? Lifetime value being I hold on to that client for five years. They spend $5,000 a year with me. It’s $25,000 at that point.

You can base your budgets and your decisions off other metrics versus just return on ad spend, which is what a ton of digital marketing companies will get you to focus on because that makes them look good. What we’re interested in is growing our revenues and growing our profits. We want to look at those other metrics as well. I found it fascinating that Instagram could be a big business-to-business vehicle for business-to-business entities because a lot of people look at Instagram and I have to admit, I looked at Instagram that way as well for a lot of years like, “It’s Instagram. Who’s serious from B2B that would be on that?”

I thought he did a great job bringing forth how you could use Instagram, Google, and LinkedIn. LinkedIn is always a great vehicle, but it’s got to be used appropriately. Maybe LinkedIn ads are not for you. Direct outreach might be the way to continue to go. That’s what we do here as well. Understand your clear goals about what you’re doing in digital marketing, but understand your clear goals, the business you want to achieve, and how that marketing is supposed to fit in.

The last point I wanted to bring forth, which I was grateful that Erik and I see eye to eye on, is that marketing and sales should not be separated for the segregation purposes of acquiring a client. In other words, too many companies have inter fights going on with marketing saying, “These salespeople can’t close the leads,” and salespeople going, “These marketing people can’t deliver qualified leads,” but they never talk and get together. Quite frankly, that’s what usually starts a war between countries.

They get together and might have a conversation, but they’re not hearing one another. They’re not solving each other’s challenges. It is a tandem. It works together. Marketing and selling work together. The more you can get your company aligned on that concept, the more you will sell and, quite frankly, the higher your profit will be because you won’t be doing way too much things. It will be one unified process.

If you love this subject matter, please go up and give it a review. I know it takes a moment. I’m so grateful that you would be willing to do that. I’m appreciative of you doing that as well. If you’re interested in maybe a good and you want to be better, or maybe you’re in that position that you’re like, “I want to make more money either for my company or I want my sales team,” or, “I’m selling individually and I want to make more money.” Reach out to us.

Inquire about our 1% academy that’s coming out. Our revenue growth academies that are coming out. We’re going to be launching those soon. We’ll be happy to talk about the details of that for you. If you know somebody yourself or somebody else who is an expert in something around revenue growth strategies, growing sales, and the process of creating more profit, reach out to us at YouMatter@CEOSalesStrategies.com.

If you’re looking for commissioned salespeople, you’re looking to build a sales team, or you’re looking for help in your company, it doesn’t matter, you don’t have to be Procter & Gamble or a multi-billion-dollar corporation, reach out to us. We’ll see if we can help you, and if not, we’ll have resources for you who can. If you want to pick up a copy of our latest eBook the Nonstop 1% Earner, you can go to CEOSaleStrategies.com/1pe, which stands for 1% Earner.

Now, go out and sell something. Sell a lot of it. Focus on win-win play with your clients, meaning they win, you win. That also means you don’t want to discount down. Remember, if you discount down 10%, you might have to sell 5X to even break even. Until next time, thanks for being here and to your success.

 

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