010 | Turning Marketing Observations into Business Growth | Studio CMO
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The Episode in 60 Seconds
Angus Nelson, Golden Spiral’s Director of Development, and Mark Whitlock, Golden Spiral’s Marketing Manager, are co-hosts of the Studio CMO podcast. This past week, Angus and Mark dug into email marketing analytics following a plummet in open rates.
In this episode of Studio CMO, Angus and Mark report on their findings and reveal additional marketing observations they uncovered in their research.
The episode delves into:
- Major changes in email marketing
- COVID-19’s effect on consumer behavior
- Incentivization in this new environment
- How to approach digital ad spend and goal-setting
- Why you should be “redeeming your commute”
Mark Whitlock spends his days telling others about Golden Spiral, a full-service B2B technology marketing agency helping clients realize their marketing potential. He is Golden Spiral’s Marketing Manager and has used words to craft stories and influence others from his days in radio, through his time recruiting partners for non-profits, as a senior acquisitions editor for a major publisher, and as a best-selling author. Mark quotes way too many movies, always has something playing through his AirPods, and enjoys laughing with his wife and children.
Angus Nelson, Director of Development at Golden Spiral, is a forward-thinking marketing professional with proven success in brand strategy, innovation, and identifying emerging trends. From Fortune 500 brands to battle-tested startups, he helps leadership teams gain solid ground—solving problems, guiding strategy, and navigating challenges. He’s the host of the “Up In Your Business” podcast and has spoken for brands like Walmart, Whole Foods, BMW, Coca-Cola, and Adobe. Last but not least, Angus is a huge fan of travel, family, a great bourbon or cigar, and the Green Bay Packers.
Learn how to fortify your marketing infrastructure on the Golden Spiral blog.
Daniel Glickman, CMO of Wave.video, thinks of B2B as B2U (Business to User), meaning we should always remember that we are marketing to real people. Daniel is also an expert in creating high-quality video funnels. Learn more in Episode 009 of Studio CMO.
ARE WE THE PROBLEM?
Hubspot reported a 67% increase in the volume of emails being sent during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Golden Spiral’s marketing team decided not to increase or decrease our cadence of emails, but instead to sharpen our existing efforts by focusing on two factors:
- Repetition: A repeated message matters. The more times someone sees a message, the more likely they’ll remember it.
- Fundamentals: Practicing the fundamentals is critical. One of those fundamentals is email subject lines.
CoSchedule, the social media scheduling tool, offers a free headline analyzer. Check it out here.
The verbs in your emails matter, especially in your subject lines. We compiled 756 verbs that will help you avoid cliches and create better CTAs.
COVID-19 IS A POWERFUL TECHNOLOGY ACCELERATOR
Consumer behavior is changing. Here’s how companies are responding:
- Incentives: if you pay in advance, you’ll receive a discount.
- Expanding bandwidth: providing more access or features at cheaper levels
- Innovation: finding new ways to meet customer needs.
COMPANIES ARE INCENTIVIZING HUMAN BEHAVIOR
What does incentivization look like in this new environment? How can companies engage customers in a way that really matters to them?
Many companies are providing bonuses if consumers behave a certain way. For example, some insurance companies are installing programs into vehicles that monitor whether or not the driver remains within the speed limit, makes complete stops, etc. If the driver meets expectations, he or she receives savings or bonuses.
Coming out of the pandemic, B2B leaders may need to consider what kind of reward structure they could provide their customers.
IT’S ALL HUMAN TO HUMAN
Do B2B and B2C still exist?
The people that are engaging in the sales process with your products or services are other humans with challenges and mandates and goals. It’s incumbent upon your company or product to position itself in a way that directly speaks to their pain points.
“Let’s be honest. You want that deeper human touch. You want to be more human in what you’re doing despite the technology around you.” – Mark Whitlock
HOW TO NAVIGATE DIGITAL ADS DURING COVID-19
Spending is down 50% across all channels, clicks are down, and cost per click is down correspondingly. Companies don’t know what to make of it, so digital budgets have been significantly cut.
Is that being driven from a budgetary standpoint? Is it being driven because they feel like they’re tone deaf?
Mark and Angus revealed their greatest piece of advice during the pandemic: Fortify your marketing infrastructure.
Right now, it’s a week-by-week proposition. You should be setting goals for the next 2 weeks at most. Then, watch the trends and respond rationally. Once we come out of this, it’s important not to set a goal for the rest of 2020. Set a goal for one month, maybe two. Then, once again, watch and respond rationally.
“Everything is changing rapidly, almost daily. Your paid spend needs to represent that.” – Mark Whitlock
WHAT DOES WORKING REMOTE LOOK LIKE FOR YOUR COMPANY?
As more and more companies offer a remote work option, will more management and leadership teams begin to recruit talent from anywhere in the world?
As mentioned by Rishad Tobaccowala in Studio CMO Episode 003, find out what Automattic does with their distributed workforce to strengthen on- and offline bonds.
REDEEM YOUR COMMUTE
If you had a daily commute before the pandemic, what could you do at home to redeem that time before work starts up again?
“Keep the M.A.I.N. thing the main thing.” – Angus Nelson
Mindset. Allow yourself to see more objectively and creatively in how you approach your customer, your product, and your teams. Improve your leadership, communication, and delegation to help your team have ownership and influence over the future of your company.
Attitude. Come from a place of generosity, a place of abundance where all things are possible.
Inputs. Find the people that are speaking to your soul and inspiring you. You and your company need intellect, data, and heart in this season to truly connect with your customer.
Nurture. We have to make time for ourselves and the things that are important in our families in order to remain effective.
Subscribe here to get a sneak peek every week.
Our theme is created by some of Nashville’s greatest musicians. Bigger Story Music is born out of a longtime friendship, a deep, talented community, and a real love for what we do. Whatever story you’re trying to tell, we have the perfect music to make it better. Really.
Check out their production library and explore their custom options at biggerstorymusic.com.
Angus Nelson (02:20): Well. Hello. Hello. How are you there, my friend Mark?
Mark Whitlock (02:22): I’m doing great. It’s Friday and we could sing numbers of songs about it being Friday, but we will refrain from doing so. But grateful to be here on Studio CMO Live with you. Uh, our fearless leader John Farkas is involved in a great and mighty tasks this morning and has uh, asked for permission, which was kind of odd, but to not be a part of it here today and we miss him, but he will be back.
Angus Nelson (02:50): You kidding me? And he doesn’t need permission. He’s got bigger fish to fry. He’s bringing in the big dogs.
Mark Whitlock (02:57): That’s right. Absolutely.
Angus Nelson (03:00): So today we’re going to go into some of the content that we’ve been picking up through this week, uh, some as early as yesterday and today and pulling together some conversations that we believe would matter to you, the marketing professional. Um, Mark, how has the week been for you?
Mark Whitlock (03:17): Well, it’s been interesting to walk through this week. We have noticed some amazing trends in our own marketing, especially related to email. And so we’ve been doing quite a bit of research. If you are a subscriber to our newsletter called The Angle, we would love for you to be a part of that. We don’t intrude, we don’t share lists. We’re very faithful to protect your information. But if you’d like to be a part of that, you can come to our website at goldenspiralmarketing.com and click on the Angle down at the bottom of the page and subscribe. But we featured an article last week about email and we started digging into some of the results because we’re seeing our open rates plummet. So the question was, all right, is it us? Are we doing something wrong? Is this a trend in the marketplace and what’s happening to our clients and our marketplace?
Mark Whitlock (04:07): What’s happening in the B2B tech space? And it was kind of scary to find out what was going on. Let me click over here and show you this, this graphic. Um, there are numbers of graphics that you could see that talk about the same issue. This is information from HubSpot. So HubSpot’s one of the major CRMs in our space and this is their data and they’re noticing a dramatic increase in the numbers of emails being sent, corresponding with an even sharper decline in response rate. Now, I don’t have the statistic on this screen. I’ll leave this screen up for just a couple more seconds for you to take a look at. But, uh, the statistic that HubSpot reported, um, that we, we talk about is a 67% increase in the volume of emails being sent. And when I, when I heard this statistic and when I started doing the research into this and what’s going on, the thing that popped into my head was the great scene from the movie, The Hunt for Red October, if you remember that movie years ago.
Mark Whitlock (05:13): So here’s the American fleet and they’re trying to find this a rogue Russian nuclear submarine. And the way the Russian Navy was chasing after the same sub, one Naval officer said to another, it’s like they’re pounding away. And if they ran over my daughter’s boombox, do you remember what her boombox is? Okay they can run over, my daughter’s boombox, they wouldn’t know it. And I think that’s in some ways what the trend is right now. We feel like we have to do something. We have to make a difference. We’re losing business, we’re losing leads. Our current clients maybe re maybe pulling back and reducing their engagements with us and we have to do something, but we’re pounding away. We’re driving our ship so quickly. We’re pounding away on our sonar so loudly that we could run over a potential client and we wouldn’t even know it because we’re making too much noise and we’re flailing away in the sea.
Mark Whitlock (06:13): At least that’s, that’s my opinion. And so as we’ve, we’ve worked through this, we’ve decided to maintain the same cadence of emails to our master list, to not increase, to not decrease, but to be sharper in what we’re doing. Uh, one way that we’re doing that is we’re a more repetitive, uh, we know that a repeated message, and you’ve seen this, if you’re a marketing professional, you know this, you’ve heard every stat, you’ve heard every analogy going back dozens of years, that a repeated message matters. That the more times someone sees a message, they finally get it in their head. I’ve got a radio background and the rule of thumb was by the time the radio DJ was ready to go vomit, if he heard a song again, the audience was going, Oh, I think I liked that. But they don’t know the artist. They don’t know the song. They can’t sing along with the lyrics yet. So as marketers, we feel like we get tired of our messages, but we’re not. So we’re, we’re becoming more, more repetitive so that we get a repeated message into the marketplace and we’re beginning to see some traction with that. And then the second thing is we’re trying to sharpen, we’re trying to practice the fundamentals. Fundamentals are important. And one of those fundamentals is a subject lines for emails. They are so critical. And one of my favorite tools. And if I’ll, if I can share my screen here. Yeah, I will. I will do so and I’ll pop up here to this. And Angus, are you seeing it? I lost my, my, uh, production screen here. Are you seeing my excellent one headline analyzer? Yes. So CoSchedule, um, is a very powerful tool. Um, I’m familiar with CoSchedule because of their social media scheduling tools and they have a free headline analyzer.
Mark Whitlock (08:04): So it’s free. What can get better than that? And what they’ll do is they’ll look at the language that you’re using and the words that you’re using and give you a score and you want to try to get your score for your email headlines above 75%. This is a fundamental, I feel like Vince Lombardi holding up an oblong spheroid and saying, this is a football, you know what a football is. You know what a subject line is, you know, how important it is. But this is a great tool also, we’ve created, uh, this and sorry for the stutter screen there. Verbs matter. The verbs in your email matter. And especially in your subject line. And we’ve created better calls to action. And this can be used for calls to action. It can be used for your subject lines, a verbs list. So when you go to goldenspiralmarketing.com/verbs, you can download this list.
Mark Whitlock (08:57): Not only do we have some exercises for you to play with, but we’ve got 756 action verbs for you to, um, to think about and move through these. We try not to be cliche, we try not to be the same old, same old. We tried to really come up with a list of verbs that would motivate you to write better headlines and write better calls to action. So, um, so there are some, there are some ways that we can help you. You can help, uh, be a part of what you’re doing and building better email. So that in the middle of this amazing noise out there, when it comes to email, you can see your rates are beginning to climb. So let us know if you’re, if you’re watching us hop on and, uh, let us know what you’re thinking about. You can, uh, make some comments there on LinkedIn. What are you seeing with your email? What, what challenges are you having? We would love to hear about that and maybe respond to it later here in the stream.
Angus Nelson (09:54): Yeah, and I love the fact like there’s other people who are getting really honed in on their subject matter or subjects. And the subject is, is everything and the people who are writing more and more about COVID, um, people that’s tone deaf. Now it’s like people don’t want to hear that anymore. It’s like we’re very much well aware of what’s going on. I don’t need another COVID perspective. Right?
Mark Whitlock (10:18): And that, that’s another stat that we uncovered when we were doing our research related email is number of deletions. People who are deleting a subscription. So that number is up depending on the market, 11 to 17%. So you’ve got, you’ve probably seen it yourself, you’ve got 11% or more people deleting your subscription right now we got it. You got to hold onto the subscribers.
Angus Nelson (10:45): So important, it’s so important. Well, some other news. Um, are we ready to go onto some of the other things that we got going on?
Mark Whitlock (10:53): about ready to make a segue for one of your trends? So you go right ahead.
Angus Nelson (10:57): Oh, fantastic. Look, great minds think alike. Well, I love these guys over here at um, uh, Sparks and Honey, they’re based in New York. They do a lot of, um, um, research and cultural observations around what is going on. And they have a, a report called COVID-19 and their report is in this, um, little bit. I’m here. Uh, sorry. I’m playing with these banners while I’m, I’m putting this up here, but let me just read this real quick for you. And they were talking about social distancing and public health recommendations are becoming powerful accelerators for a range of technologies from contactless payments to contact lists, delivery, any type of cashless method, robotic assistance and voice technologies and more. At the same time, there aren’t, right? There are legitimate. Let’s just pause there. I don’t want to read more. Let, let’s just stop right there. I order something from Amazon.
Angus Nelson (11:55): I’ve ordered a lot of things from Amazon here recently and I can have that just dropped at my door and not have to like see that person. I can order food item off of Postmates or Uber eats and then I can request contact-less delivery. Now I gotta be conscious of the food part cause then it’s just in my food’s going to get cold out on the doorstep or peoples are going to steal my food or steal my stuff. So there’s a little bit of, you know, attentiveness that we have to have while we’re home. However, that’s kind of changing the game of what our consumer behavior is dictating to opportunities that are presenting themselves. And so if you’re in FinTech specifically, this is speaking like how can you create tools and resources or rather solutions to help people get past, you know, they say like in your wallet, some of the dirtiest stuff in your pockets is the cards, the credit cards you have and your cell phone.
Angus Nelson (12:53): Like those are some of the dirtiest things in your pocket. You have filthy pockets, Mark.
Mark Whitlock (12:57): I do.
Angus Nelson (13:01): And to be able to get to where people can buy things without having to navigate like suddenly taking my credit card and just tapping on the screen versus like inserting and touching him all the buttons seems to be far more intelligent, a much smarter play. I never used my iPhone or Apple pay before. Now suddenly that seems like genius. Like there are opportunities for FinTech to play in this space in ways they’ve never done before.
Mark Whitlock (13:38): Have you had a chance to think through some of how the contactless delivery and the contactless payments, some of those things will manifest themselves in this space?
Angus Nelson (13:50): Um, so do you mean in the marketing space or do you mean in, in context of, um, FinTech, I apologize for the lack of the lack of clarity.
Mark Whitlock (13:58): So we know that FinTech is driving some of this contactless availability. So that’s, that’s a great thing. But what about other B2B tech players and receiving money or just distributing their services and good — have you thought about how that might apply?
Angus Nelson (14:15): Well, you know, there’s some elements of it where it already is, you know, advanced for like particular clients are, they’ve done the digital transformation of having things available online. Most of our B2B clients, I’m already in that play altogether because they are a SaaS product software as a service. So it’s already digitized, right? However, how they deliver their product or service might be different. So for one of our clients where they’re providing nurse at home nursing, that’s a very different play than a software as a service. We have this platform where, you know, nurses and whatever can communicate with, you know, whatever, you know, a company they’re working for, but there’s still an on hands element.
Angus Nelson (15:04): So what does that look like when you have nursing or you know, other kinds of medical fields who are now doing all of their diagnosis and prescriptions from a virtual world. So my daughter had a meeting with her, um, orthodontist, um, two weeks ago and they did it over a zoom call, open her mouth, look around, ask them, answer some questions, that data, take a look at your palette. Oh, you know what you’re going to need, you’re going to need to have an expansion done. You got to do this done, dah, dah, dah. Um, and um, here’s what that’s going to cost.
Angus Nelson (15:45): However, here comes the incentives. It because of everything that’s going on, if you pay in advance, now we give you a 20% discount or if you can extend it, we’ll do it for 0% interest. You know, um, through the course of this payment, companies are getting super creative. So from that element, looking at COVID, what does that look like for contact lists, communications? Um, I totally want to say something, but it bleeds into the next thing that, uh, I have a segue. Go for it. Well, I don’t want to leave this one just quite yet. So just put a bookmark in that one. Okay. Because I want to talk about remote working, which is related to that here in just a few moments. Um, so that stay at home behavior. Let’s just jump into the second part of this. Um, the, uh, COVID-19 is a powerful accelerator for the, a range of technologies from, you know, all these different components that we were saying before, right?
Angus Nelson (16:47): But in addition, this, the behavior, the consumer behavior is changing. So what does that look like for internet companies and providers? Like they’re expanding their, their, um, their bandwidth, they’re providing more, um, access at cheaper levels. And in fact, um, my, my cell phone company has said, you know, Hey, we’re taking the cap off of your six megabytes or gigabytes a month and now you can go 20 or whatever. So now I can use my cell phone data far more than I could. Um, my wifi, obviously if you’re like any of us, like it’s glitchy, right? Because the weight and volume of at home is changing. Exactly. So that’s creating, you know, another conflict. Um, and then what about our behavior? As I stated, I’m ordering things online far more than I was before. So what does that look like for in-person demos, for everything from car dealerships to um, to um, um, other hard goods, uh, shopping habits.
Angus Nelson (17:56): Like all of these different things are changing in light of what we’re now experiencing. Furthermore, what happens when we don’t want to be in the same place with other people? Like now we’re being conditioned to avoid human contact. Like we’re going to get weird if we allow it. Like introverts are like, they’re like celebrating. They’re like, yes, I don’t have to talk with people. For those of you who are like me, where you’re an extrovert is like, dear God, give me some interaction. I want to throw a party that’s all changing. So technology being the important piece of our lives, you know, it’s also, uh, a good and a bad at the same time. So on one hand technology gives us like AI and capacities to be able to sense and follow big data and personal data to know where these cases are popping up.
Angus Nelson (18:49): Like that’s a part of technology that’s going to be awesome. The downside of this is innovation. You have to innovate. You have to find new ways to meet your customer’s needs in ways that you probably weren’t thinking about before. That was a whole lot. Did he track with all that?
Mark Whitlock (19:07): I did. I did.
Angus Nelson (19:09): Um, I’m thinking about, you know, some other companies where, um, they’re following behavioral AI, how people are, um, I’m gonna use the word that sounds kind of crass, but gamified for healthy behavior. So there are some companies that are providing some bonuses if you behave a certain way. So insurance companies are installing pieces into your vehicle that say stay under, you know, a certain mile per hour, um, your starts and stops that, that does incentivize you with, you know, savings and bonuses, blah, blah, blah. Right? Right. There’s healthcare companies that are saying, if you take your shots, if you do your immunizations, if you do your exercise, if you, um, take your diabetes medication, um, they’re going to give you bonuses. Like these are different ways that we’re trying to incentivize human behavior. What does that look like now in this new world? How much more do companies have to be very proactive to, um, either incentivize or engage in a way that really matters with their customers? Um, that’s a whole other conversation.
Mark Whitlock (20:35): Yeah. And with as, as, uh, metrics sensitive as B2B tech companies are with as much time and energy as we spend on that, just think about what could you do, uh, what could you install in your app or in your, um, in your program that could track certain behaviors that would give you greater insight into how your customers are using your product so that you can meet their needs, uh, better with an empathetic understanding. And then how could you provide a reward structure for them, uh, by being able to look at those analytics and see, see what’s going on. That’s, that’s a really interesting question for product development coming out of, uh, coming out of this pandemic.
Angus Nelson (21:18): I’m also thinking about like help desks, um, you know, being able to initiate AI into machine learning, into bots, right? So your, your transactions can be faster, more efficient, more effective. Um, it’s still have a very human quotient when these things are refined more and more. And then there’s the opposite play. What if instead of you waiting on a phone call, you’re actually waiting on a video call where you can see someone’s face, because if the human quotient is being removed, because of all these other separations and these contactless elements, how much more do we want to see somebody eye to eye and know everything’s going to be okay.
Mark Whitlock (21:59): And on that note, let me, let me share this observation. This goes back a few years, but when a Blackberry and Palm Pilot began taking off, I remember reading an article in the New York times, I believe it was the Times that talkED about the spike in stationery and fountain pen sales. So all of a sudden now, because we have these instruments in our hands, we’re texting more and we’re doing more from uh, our Palm top, so to speak. And yet the value of person to person, human communication, something you could touch and feel had a greater value and therefore people were spending more money on delivering that. So what does that mean today with everything that’s going on? How can you increase human to human contact where you are to have a deeper impact and not just for the sake of your business. You want it? Let me let, let’s just be honest. You want that deeper human touch. You want to be more human in what you’re doing despite the technology around you.
Angus Nelson (23:08): It’s, you know, it’s interesting you’re saying this because I was just reading some articles this week actually two different articles where they talked about can we start saying that B to B and B to C no longer exist. Like it’s all, it’s all human to human like Brian Kramer would say. But in this context of these other writings, one said that B2B is dead. That is, it’s a human quotient because the people that are engaging in the sales process with your products is another human on the end of the line that has challenges and mandates and and goals that they have to reach and therefore it’s incumbent upon your company or your software product to position itself with that human quotient like speaking to that pain. And challenge directly.
Mark Whitlock (23:58): And I know you didn’t mean to make that a segue or a plug, but I will. So shameless plug here folks. Daniel Glickman was the guest on our podcast, [inaudible] dot com slash zero zero nine and the reason I’m bringing this up is that he thinks of business to business as business to user. And the name of his, his own podcast is the B2U podcast meaning business to user. So you’re, we, you and I, Angus and you, our dear viewer are marketing to real people. Yeah. It is our business, our business proposition, our business solution to a single user on the other end of that, that message. So Daniel has some great information about video and while Angus and I are strong proponents and makers of video in our own right, Daniel challenged us. I took more notes listening to this podcast and in the middle of the interview than I did any one of them else that we’ve recorded so far. We’ve got some more great guests coming up,
Angus Nelson (25:05): Daniel is watching us right now.
Mark Whitlock (25:05): but if you want right now, I, Daniel, thanks for being a part of this. So grateful
Angus Nelson (25:14): He is even telling us, um, that are, he wants us to take the graphic off so you can see our faces. He says he can’t.
Mark Whitlock (25:24): So thanks for joining us. And again, Daniel, just grateful for what you had to say. And the thing that he said is that so many companies just feel like they’ve got to make video but they don’t think about strategy and strategy is the missing key. And so that’s what we dive into in that podcast. Uh, and we, we discuss with Daniel, so studiocmo.com/009 and you can listen right away.
Angus Nelson (25:50): Um, and by the way, uh, Samantha jumps on there and says that she uses a CoSchedule for, um, every blog post. So she was giving you props for using that and Chantal said that, uh, mediation services are even moving to the contact list, virtual space. Wow. Um, so before this whole crisis that had been frowned upon and now it’s a thing. It’s now a thing. Just fascinating. Cool. Thanks guys for listening or watching and engaging. That’s awesome. Uh, well, so we got here, I’m Mark tag for you.
Mark Whitlock (26:25): I guess it’s turn and if I can get back to our handy dandy overlays, which is, there we go. So, uh, we took a look today on our blog and if you’re a subscriber to the Angle, you just got it in the last nine minutes, at paid search, what’s happening with paid?
Angus Nelson (26:48): Are you multitasking? You knew that nine minutes ago you sent that.
Mark Whitlock (26:52): I just happened, it was scheduled. We schedule our emails using marketing automation,
Angus Nelson (27:01): digital world,
Mark Whitlock (27:04): enough sarcasm. So what about paid ads? Uh, you, if you have watched any TV at all during this period of time, you have seen how ads have just become what they’ve become. And you’ve seen some pretty interesting mashups online about how every COVID ad sounds the same looks the same, the same piano music, the same language, and yet they’re all doing it. What’s going on? So what’s going on online?
Mark Whitlock (27:30): What’s going on with digital ads? Well, spending is down, clicks are down and cost per click is also down correspondingly. So, but what’s, what’s really scary when we point this out, uh, in our, uh, in our, uh, our, our article today that we published online, and why can I not find it? Because I, I don’t remember the statistic at the top of my head. And so now I’m filling dead air. I feel like in my old radio days when I had to vamp, I was working on something here. Um, I was blown away by this statistic and that, uh, uh, ad spends, I have declined 50% across all channels. Hmm. So people don’t know what to make of right now. And so they have cut spending 50%. Now is that being driven from a budgetary standpoint? Is it being driven because they feel like they’re tone deaf?
Mark Whitlock (28:31): That’s some of the information we’re trying to find insight into. So we can tell right now the research is showing us what’s happening. The question is why it’s happening and what we talk about in this article, uh, goes back to, um, the idea of fortifying. We know that many of you right now, uh, you have an evergreen solution and your solution is still going on. For instance, if you help in any way with banking software, your, your solution has continued just to crank on some of you in the healthcare space or in the digital information delivery space are going nuts and you’ve pulled out all of your hair and you look like Angus and me, uh, we know you’re on fire and things are going crazy. But for the majority of companies right now, you’re trying to figure out what do we do now we’re, and you feel like you’re on hold.
Mark Whitlock (29:19): And our greatest piece of advice to you is to fortify your marketing infrastructure. So as you’re looking at paid ads, what does that mean? So in today’s article we talk about the fundamentals of paid ads. That would be the, just the evergreen way of looking at it. But we also talk about, right now it’s a week by week proposition. So if you’re going to be setting, if you’re going to be setting goals, if you’re going to be making a do it week by week, maybe two weeks at a max, and then watch the trends, don’t react but respond well. And then, uh, once we come out of this, if your region, if you’re regional, if, if your region gets back to work or maybe we have to wait even longer than that and get into summer, don’t set a new annual goal for the rest of 2020. Set a goal for a month, may be a couple of months. And then watch that because everything is changing rapidly, almost daily, almost daily. And your paid spend needs to represent that. So don’t throw good money at the ads just because you feel like you need to do it. Uh, be circumspect. Be careful, but set goals and follow the fundamentals and, and you’ll be, you’ll, you’ll see some results from your, your paid ads.
Angus Nelson (30:33): And some of the opportunity is for those that do it smart. Obviously there’s a lot of savings they can take advantage of here because a lot of their competition has pulled back. That’s why the costs are going low. It’s a supply and demand issue, right? So if the supply is rising, the demand is decreasing your opportunity to assert your message, your story, your solution is huge. But to your point, you have to do it smart
Mark Whitlock (30:59): and you need to build, you need to look at every application too. What I just talked about in those numbers is Google spending. If you are active on Facebook, you need to realize that Facebook traffic is up 50% right now. And that’s primarily in Facebook messenger and WhatsApp. But Facebook is seeing in traumatic increase in online traffic. So that space is a little bit noisier, a little bit more crowded. So, um, you’ll need to be watching your Google, spend, your LinkedIn, spend your Facebook spend separately as opposed to lumping them all together and say, how are we we doing on our cost per paid ads?
Angus Nelson (31:34): Yeah. Um, and to that point, um, Facebook, uh, we mentioned before Daniel Glickman, he actually invited me to the new, uh, Facebook messenger groups. They’re trying to like compete to Zoom and bring that into, you know, the nether sphere of, of Facebook to where he could do groups. So he just sent me an invitation. So actually last night I was on with a number of other people from around the world — it’s really cool. Um, obviously it’s early, so there’s a lot of, uh, opportunities for change, but it shows you a company that is iterating in and amongst and responding to in and amongst what’s going on in culture in real time. Like super kind of creepy and impressive all at the same time. You know, they were working on this before, they had to have, but to hit the accelerator and say we got a boost up development and typically Facebook would deploy things incrementally to a handful of people and they would test test test.
Angus Nelson (32:34): They went with this one, like bam, like they just dropped it for almost everybody. Um, I think in the States at least. So crazy stuff. Um, so speaking of more technology, two things I want to share. Um, one is my other contest piece, but I want to go back to the first piece. I didn’t put this down. If you want to know about that stuff we were talking about in terms of the contact list. It’s in a report by Sparks and Honey. So I put it in this little thing down here is called the technology, uh, complex, connected and predictive. It’s in their culture bytes, which they release, I believe it’s, uh, either biweekly or monthly, um, by Sparks and Honey. So that’s what that’s about. So I want to jump into this other part that I [inaudible]. Um, and that is remote working. So let me jump in here to my little [inaudible].
Angus Nelson (33:25): Um, so this article just came out with, uh, Bloomberg business week and they’re talking about the fact that tech workers consider escaping Silicon Valley’s high sky high rents. I read this this morning. Yeah. So this is on LinkedIn. So if you’ve been on LinkedIn this morning, you’ve already seen it. So it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s out and about. It’s in the wild. Um, and so this is a very interesting construct or context in the fact that people have been wrestling with high rents. My brother used to live there years ago, he bought at one level and it just kind of skyrocketed, right? So this stuff is really, you know, pertinent if you were paying what you’re paying in San Francisco, that high rent. And now all of a sudden the companies tell you, Hey, you know what, um, we’re going to let you work remote. You don’t have to come in the office and if I don’t have to be the office then [inaudible] I’m going to go somewhere else.
Angus Nelson (34:22): Right? So look at this Facebook, Google, they said they will not be bringing employees back until 2021. And then Twitter has given workers the option to work from home permanently. So if I don’t have to be in this expensive place, I can get my costs down. What does that mean? Now there’s a couple of components to this and I just want to just share by, I’m the writer of this is, um, I didn’t put her name. Let me go find her name cause I want, I want to give her props. The author of this, some of the things that she observed is really fascinating. Um, I just killed it. So her name is Sarah Frier, that’s F. R. I. E. R. And some of the things that she brought into the conversation I think is super fascinating and relevant, um, to where we’re at.
Angus Nelson (35:14): So you’ve got a where’s my page? I lost my page. It’s in real time here. I hope I didn’t close it. Um, so the element of, um, rethinking how you are dealing in these majors, uh, companies, the looming Exodus isn’t just happening in San Francisco. Many people in crowded cities are eying moves to less densely populated areas amid the pandemic. A new Zillow Harris poll surveyed that found 60, 66% of people teleworking, they would consider moving if a work from home flexibility continues. So think of the dynamics of this in terms of sprawl, in terms of actual buildings, you know, constructed brick and mortar buildings, these office buildings, there are some who still will relish, you know, meetings and gatherings and conferences. And stuff like that, but from an overall landscape of square footage needed to manage, you know, a large workforce is going to be dramatically decreased.
Angus Nelson (36:22): If this continues on this path, it makes no sense that she goes on and says, it makes no sense. Paying Bay Area rent. If we can earn our salary living elsewhere with offices closed for months, workers are plotting their Exodus, right? This gets complicated. Like I said, once these employees leave, do the imply employees keep getting paid that same salary. That’s an interesting component. Do I take a pay cut if I live in a different region where the cost of living is significantly lower, do they make it easy to advance in careers remotely? So that’s going to challenge management and leadership and do they recruit for the next open role from anywhere in the world? A Twillo exec wonders, should we give relocation bonuses to leave San Francisco where it could actually be cheaper if they incentivize them to go somewhere else, they could pay them less and still have a higher cost of living.
Angus Nelson (37:23): You’re assuming quality of life, quality of life, you know, at a, at a less strain, you know, a lesser strain on the company. So here’s the opportunity. So if you’re a SaaS company, what does that look like for your company? Yes, we’re talking about HR, we’re talking about you know, teams, but what does it look like in context of solutions you can create? Like what kind of things can you iterate with your products that are going to leverage these kinds of moves for security, for communications, for training and for leadership development. Like it changes kind of the script, um, and provides opportunities for something we otherwise didn’t know. And I’ll say this one more thing and then I’ll shut up and turn it over to you. Um, 2008, 2009, some young men looked at some air mattresses on their floor that they’re renting out because of a conference and they said, you know what, this could be a thing.
Angus Nelson (38:21): Thus was born Airbnb. A friend of mine, um, uh, shout out to Robert Scoble was getting out of a conference in Paris and he was sitting next to this guy named Travis as they’re sitting there waiting a cab and they looked off in the distance and there were these other like luxury car drivers who were just sitting there doing nothing. And so as such, um, they were like, well, couldn’t, couldn’t we do something about that? Like we could like develop an app and maybe we could leverage them to be able to give rides outside of their already posted time, thus became Uber. During these kinds of seasons. Crazy stuff as possible. If you will look at your products from a different perspective, a different lens, how can you stand back and see opportunities where maybe your solution can pivot? I talked to a company that does QS, Q, U, E U E like standing in line Q, right, right, right. And so there’s a lot that’s kind of a competitive space. There’s a lot of like people that can wait in line and they say, well, well, if the hospital situation is a real thing, what if you could stay out in your car? And rather than wait for a text or a phone call, you actually have an app that tells you where you are in the process. I know DMVs dear Jesus, this would be amazing. That could say, Hey, and they had this in Nashville for a while, but I think it went away where it would tell you, Hey, you’re lying. You’re coming up in the line, your number, you know, whatever. Um, and you’re about 25 minutes out. You need to make your way to the DMV. Are you going to be here in time? And if you said yes, then you know they were holding your place. If you said no, they bumped you out of the line and bumped you back and said, okay, we’ll reset you to a different line place. Iteration is key. That’s the opportunity here.
Mark Whitlock (40:15): So some things that I’ve been thinking about through, uh, some of the, my diatribe, it wasn’t a diatribe. Uh, we had Rishad Tobaccowala on our podcast and uh, he was talking about leadership and how to help people, uh, and working remotely. And one of the things that he brought up. And so if you wanted to listen to that episode, by the way, that’s a studiocmo.com/003 in the studiocmo.com/003 and he brought up a company and I’m going to try to remember that you may remember who the company is, Angus, I’m going to try to find it while I’m talking, but what they did is their entire workforce is remote already. And uh, they looked at it from a cost perspective and realized, you know what, these teams that are working together, we need to help them get to know each other and help them live life together and help them cooperate better.
Mark Whitlock (41:05): So they empowered every team within their company to pick a place that they wanted to meet face to face. And some of them have picked like Hawaii to go and have a departmental meeting for a week and the company picks up the bill and they looked at it from an ROI perspective and said, the distributed workforce is great. Uh, we’ll just, you know, uh, make these different, uh, opportunities available to, to, uh, to meet in real life. Uh, so they can continue to build rapport and build teamwork. So it is possible, uh, very, very much so. And I’m going to do a quick search here and see if I can figure it out.
Angus Nelson (41:45): Um, while you’re doing that, um, you know, there’s other companies who now look like absolute genius cause they’ve been doing this for years. You look at buffer, uh, Agora Pulse is another company I’m thinking of, um, where they’ve had a distributor for, I think GitHub has been distributed. Like they’re all over the place. Like if you were for buffer, they do exactly that. They’re like meet at some crazy place around the globe twice a year. If you’re Agora Pulse, they go to Paris.
Angus Nelson (42:15): Wow, that’s all the French I’ve got. The rest is up to you.
Mark Whitlock (42:22): There you go. So Automattic is the company that Rishad talked about. So Automattic, uh, uh, we were talking about um, you know, contactless payments and, and some of those things. And I remember reading a story in Smithsonian magazine about the Piggly wiggly franchise. And so here’s the strange thing. Back in the day, grocery shopping was done this way. You went to the counter, you handed your list and clerks chose all of your groceries from the store and then you paid for it and went away. What does that sound like? It sounds like ClickList from Kroger or whatever regional grocery chains for where you are that now you can do all that online and just go pick up and they put the bags in your car and you go, yeah. So the challenge to you is what old can be new again in your industry, in the way that you do things. What are some ways that used to have business done that we can, we can resurrect again? That would be a fascinating brainstorming session.
Angus Nelson (43:25): We love using Shipt where? S H I P. T. And they do the grocery shopping for you and then they deliver it to your house. The only caveat to that is could they put the groceries away too after they bleached items because that would be awesome. Bleach, wipe it all then put it away for me. I’ll make a little template here of where everything needs to go. And my wife was saying, actually my wife was saying we’re doing some cooking this weekend and obviously we’re all doing more cooking and she said, I would pay somebody just to wash my pots and pans and I said, that could be a thing. What if there’s a pot and pan app on your phone that says they just, you know, leave your pots and pans on the front stoop and we’ll pick it up, clean it and drop it off in a few hours.
Angus Nelson (44:15): Like that could be a whole thing where people are like, I’m cooking all of stuff. I don’t want to be scraping pants like we got you. Oh you got cast iron, no problem. We got ovens, we’re going to have reseal that thing and then we’re going to put on a little oil and make it all nice and shiny. Like it’s new. The bacon.
Mark Whitlock (44:32): So it’s the mobile dishwashing van coming to your neighborhood soon?
Angus Nelson (44:37): No, even more niche. Not dishwashing, like just pot and pan dishwasher.
Mark Whitlock (44:42): Oh, okay. Even more niche. Okay.
Angus Nelson (44:45): And then somebody is going to come up with like slicing and dicing your veggies. Like here’s your app here, a little sass product here where we can you say, Hey, I’m going to make chili and we already prep it. We pre prep it with just, you know, a whole line of food processors.
Angus Nelson (45:02): Alright, we’re chains getting off the tracks. But that’s what’s possible. It sounds ridiculous. You know, when someone first said, I remember when Uber was out and I told my parents, I’m going to go jump in some stranger’s car. Someone I’ve never met before, I don’t know who they are and their history. My father-in-law’s still thinks that’s insane. I’m going to go sleep in some stranger’s house. I’m going to close my eyes and go unconscious for a series of hours in some person I’ve never met before’S home. Like if you think about it, at first blush, that was crazy talk. And yet now there are entire industries [inaudible] except some of those industries are really second wind and in light of COVID, total different conversation for a different day. Yeah. And on your Forrest Gump impersonation while you’re at it. That wasn’t Forrest Gump, that was just, oh, it’s just another voice. Okay. Very good. Okay. So let’s bring this thing for a landing. Do you have any final closing remarks?
Mark Whitlock (46:19): Well, I, I would say this, um, from my vantage point, uh, I’ll give you a personal and a professional, uh, challenge here is we, we stop, uh, we talked about working remote and distributed workforce and commutes and all the things that could change there. Uh, I live, uh, depending on traffic on a given day before COVID, I live 45 minutes to an hour one way from our office and I redeem that time. Well, I, I’m an audio book listener. And as Zig Ziglar would put it, I used, uh, automobile university every day on my way to and from work to grow and learn and discover new ideas. Uh, and I decided a while back that I need to redeem my commute at home. Now it’s great spending time and eating more meals with my family and I’m enjoying some extra time and in different ways, but how can I use that time to, to move things down the road?
Mark Whitlock (47:17): And so I set some goals for how to redeem my commute. So if you have a commute, if you had a, a train ride or a ferry ride in your daily schedule, what could you do now at home before work starts up again to redeem that time? And then from a professional standpoint, I would say this, um, what we’ve, we’ve all developed new habits during this, this time right now and in a few weeks or months, uh, somehow we’re going to be getting back to work. And let me, let me give you this. This is an innocuous anonymous example. So let’s say that you, you’ve gotten into a habit of walking your dog more often, which is a good thing. Your dogs need to be walked. You’ve spent time with the dog, you feel the, the emotional boost from spending time with your dog. Well, you won’t be able to do that.
Mark Whitlock (48:13): And so you’re getting, you’re getting back to work and it’s going to be a whole new pace and a whole new habit and all those things. Are you ready for it? Are you ready to put your shoulder back to the wheel with the same intensity that you had before? And if not, what does that look like? How can you be as predictive as you need to be in whatever, whatever comes after. I think if we’re doing the thought work, we need to now, we’ll be able to get there. I know that, um, you know, retail wise of some restaurants, I’ve talked with some friends who were in the restaurant industry and they’ve overheard employees talking about, well, you know, I kinda like it now. I don’t have to do this. And the dining room, you know, all this drive through. I like it. I wish we were just a drive through only store. Well the stores, the restaurants are going to open up again and employees are going to have to get back to doing some things that they were doing before. What does that look like in your world and how can you be ready for it? Yeah.
Angus Nelson (49:10): And uh, that’s awesome. And I, I’m just want to piggyback off of that. Um, keep the main thing, the main thing. You know, I’ve created some really intentional time to work on myself during the season cause I knew like I want to come out of this thing stronger. So I’ve been like reading books and kind of like you were just saying, Mark is like, I actually miss my time in the car. I’m like backlogged on podcasts. I have not listened to in, in literally two months and it’s just cause I don’t have that time anymore. It’s like I’m actually working more, I find myself, you know, cause it’s so convenient and I’m not, you know, having as much time. So I have to be intentional to walk the dog or what have you. Um, but here, here’s a couple of things I just wanna encourage you and keeping the main thing, the main thing.
Angus Nelson (49:57): So it’s an acronym. You know, the first thing is your mindset. Like you have a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset. Allowing yourself like we’ve been saying is to see more objectively and more creatively in how you approach your customer and your product. Even more so in your leadership. How do you approach your teams? There’s great ideas and great leadership already percolating within your team right here, right now. How can you use this time in the season to come out of all this with massive momentum? Invest in yourself as the leader that you can be like, who do you need to become in order to do this thing you need to do? How do you improve your leadership, your communication and your delegation so that you’re helping your team have ownership and influence over the future and destiny of this company? The second piece is your attitude is come from a place of generosity, a place of, of um, abundance that all things are possible.
Angus Nelson (50:59): See optimism in all this when everyone else is running and fearing lean into what does this make possible? See the opportunity in and amongst the clouds and the fog and the chaos. Don’t let the noise and the pressure of all of the media and everything else getting your way, but rather be objective and lean into an attitude that says, what does this make possible? The third piece, we’ve got M we’ve got A, we’ve got I. That I is this element of where you have the inputs you need. You mentioned before Jim Roan, you know, uh, or excuse me, Zig Ziglar, I would say, yeah, yeah. You said Zig Ziglar. I would say Jim Rowan. I would say Tony Robbins. I would say Brendan Burchard or Oprah, like, uh, um, um, uh, Brene Brown. Like find the people that are speaking to your soul the things that are inspiring you because we need more than we need intellect and data right now.
Angus Nelson (51:54): We need heart. We need leadership in this season from you and your company to connect with your customer, with compassion, with empathy, and putting yourself in their shoes will help you message your brand and your product and your service in ways you probably never did before. And the last thing is nurture. Mindset, attitude, inputs and nurture. Be kind yourself. Like Mark was saying, make time for you. As you’re investing, you make time for those walks where you’re walking your dog and getting peace because mental health is a big deal right now. It’s almost like some people are in post-traumatic stress, you know, and.
Mark Whitlock (52:37): There’s actually something called zoom fatigue. That’s a real thing.
Angus Nelson (52:42): You know, we have to make time for ourselves to be effective and make time for the things that are important in your family. And maybe you need to scrub some pots and pans, like do something that kind of gets away from all the minutiae and settle in and lean into stuff that’s gonna feed you and build you and prepare you to be the best you possibly can. With that,
Mark Whitlock (53:08): Thanks. Thanks. That’s great.
Angus Nelson (53:10): My pleasure. Um, it’s been a show. Thank you guys for joining us. Thanks for being a part Mark. Thanks for always being awesome.
Mark Whitlock (53:19): You well I appreciate that. And, if you want to hear more, uh, we’re going to be doing this on a weekly basis, uh, for the foreseeable future. So what, what would you like to hear about? What would you like to see discussed? Who would you like for us to interview? Those are things that, whether it happens here in Studio CMO live, uh, in these live forums on LinkedIn or whether it happens on our podcast, we want to hear from you. So leave a, leave us a comment below and if you want to, you could go to studiocmo.com and leave us a message there and just let us know, um, what you’re thinking about and the questions that you have right now or what are you saying? And even if you want to argue with us, we’re welcome to that too. Tell us, tell us where we’re off or what we’re not seeing. We both want to grow and, and learn, learn in a deeper way. So help us know that moving into the future and then tell somebody about what we’re doing. We would love to have more folks involved. Yeah.
Angus Nelson (54:21): Be healthy. Be hopeful, our friends. Cheers.