Episode 3: Brand Discoverability, Marketing Culture, and Work Ownership
01:14:00 | July 1st, 2022
Garrett: Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of Original Marketing. I’m joined today by my co- host, Brady Cramm.
Brady Cramm: How’s it going?
Garrett: Good. Good to be here, the one and only.
Brady Cramm: How’s the weekend so far on a Monday afternoon?
Garrett: I’m fully worked, man.
Brady Cramm: Nice.
Garrett: I’m fully worked. I’m ready to record a podcast after all my brain cells have been used. So, I’m excited to actually relax and switch context. It’s going to be fun, chat marketing with everybody. So today, what we wanted to do is we wanted to look at the topic called Tactically Delicious. A little segment we have where we’re able to hopefully help you all listening and creatively explore ourselves. What tactics, what’s moving the needle for us today in marketing? So Brady, obviously there’s a trillion of them, but what do you want to talk about today? What’s your tactic that’s too delicious to not bring it up?
Brady Cramm: Oh man, we shouldn’t do this before I’ve had lunch. I’m like starving now.
Garrett: You didn’t eat lunch yet?
Brady Cramm: No, I didn’t have lunch yet.
Brady Cramm: I’ll eat after.
Garrett: All right.
Brady Cramm: Tactically delicious, I was thinking about it preparing for the podcast. Mine, it can start high level, but I think it’s hyper relevant and it’s headline writing.
Brady Cramm: Just how you’re introducing your product to the market. So the tactic is finishing the sentence I want, or I want to, when writing your headline. I think we knew this as well at Directive, even though I think we’ve put a lot of thought even around that concept into doing what we do. With our LinkedIn ads, it says,” Never miss your SQL goal.”
Garrett: So I want to never-
Brady Cramm: I want to never miss my SQL goal. That is-
Garrett: Do you keep the I want to or delete the I want to?
Brady Cramm: No. You delete the I want to or you can keep it. I think we even say it as a question sometimes, want to never hit your SQL goal. So I think you can play with it, but the tactic is to remove it.
Garrett: We don’t say never hit. We say never miss.
Brady Cramm: Never miss. Never hit your SQL goal. That’s how you move around as a CMO. That’s how you increase your salary every time is the tactic no one is talking about. No, so that’s how it starts. The reason why I’m even talking about it is because a lot of people for a headline, they just say their product. For some reason, I was thinking about the lab grown diamond industry when thinking about this tactic.
Garrett: You didn’t? Did you buy one?
Brady Cramm: Oh yeah, I want lab grown.
Garrett: That’s answers it.
Brady Cramm: So, I was playing with headlines in my head. As a consumer, what the headline could be for that market? So, it’s I want to double the size of the diamond at the same cost. So, that would be a badass headline for lab grown diamonds instead of just saying,” Lab grown diamonds.” They get into how there’s no difference on a chemical structure, blah, blah, blah. There’s real reason for someone to be in the market for that product, and almost create the reason for them. So it doesn’t have to be like,” Oh, you got to read minds.”
Garrett: There’s the social issues too. They might not want to be a part of like, if you’ve ever seen the movie Blood Diamond. I’m not sure how it all actually goes down, but I do know that there’s obviously some probably subpar living conditions involved with making diamonds that people could also care about. I want to, and then have a fair trade supply chain.
Brady Cramm: I want an ethical experience to buying a diamond. So, ethical experience of buying a diamond would be the headline there, if we’re going off of that.
Brady Cramm: So, I thought it was a cool tactic that I remember even using back in the day. I think I learned it from Unbounce maybe-
Brady Cramm: …almost a decade ago.
Garrett: Dude, we got to send this to the team because I haven’t heard something so simple. I completely agree. Hey, did you remember a Portent back in the day that used to be headline writers? It’s like a lot of tools that you can hit it and it’ll give you headlines for blog post. It’s like, 24 reasons why your grandma’s house is scary. It kind of do that and it will rotate them? It would be cool if we could put in your value props. I wonder if national language processing is here because what you could do is you could have I want to, and that would be the text. The space could pre- populate based off of maybe all the value props of the product and the jobs to be done of the audience. So imagine if we had a section that had all the jobs to be done of the audience and another one that had all the value props of the product. Then if you hit I want to, it would just naturally write the headlines based off of the value props and the jobs to be done. That would be clever.
Brady Cramm: That’s kind of what I was thinking. What is the layer under it? Okay, you gave me the tactic but I can’t finish the sentence kind of thing. So, I was thinking of reviews-
Brady Cramm: …especially in the consumer market. This is something we do in B2B where we’re even limited probably by reviews just based on the market size and people giving feedback in B2B. Especially in B2C crawling Amazon reviews, product reviews on your site, there’s a lot of people who just want to tell the world everything. So, you can probably unpack not just their review of the product, but also why they got the product in the first place. I wanted to do this, therefore I bought that. So finding that information straight from the market, because it is tough to sit there and try to think,” Okay, what just my market want?”
Garrett: Well, I’ve been working with the team on this. I like your point, Brady. I think there’s a nuance I want everybody to hear, is customer feedback should be personified when using it to drive strategy. So what I found is our team for example. We were talking about this one account and they’ve done a lot of work on this account, but they were struggling to understand how to turn the reviews into action to your point. It’s like,” Okay. I got all these reviews, and I saw that I want to statement. How do I plug it in?” What they were finding was, is they had it personified the reviews. So what you want to do in my opinion, Brady, is yes read the reviews but then ask yourself which human had that feedback. Because for example, the review of marketing manager writes about Directive is going to tell you something different than what the CMO writes. You don’t want to take the feedback from the marketing manager and advertise it to the CMO and vice versa. So I think if you could do, I think the layering we’re talking about, which is I want to. Then you understand your personas, and what each persona wants to do. You understand the jobs to be done of each persona, and what they need to do. Then, you understand all the reviews and feedback each persona’s given. I would argue it’s probably hard not to write a great headline at that point in that environment.
Brady Cramm: Even with the diamond example, there is the ethical buyer and there’s a price buyer. You could probably find other correlations between the two and control the two messages.
Garrett: Yeah and that’s because you still want someone to feel like what they’re buying is socially relevant. If that makes sense?
Brady Cramm: Mm- hmm.
Garrett: It’s still a part of the narrative. If you think about you don’t want go too hard on the fake diamond thing because you still want it to be a diamond, right?
Brady Cramm: Yeah. That’s what they’re fighting against. It’s like it’s known to be not a real diamond.
Brady Cramm: What they can do is set the positioning on what they are and get more ownership and mind share about actually what they do and not just be known for,” Well, it’s not real. So, I’m going to ignore it.”
Garrett: Well, the hypothesis of that tactic that Brady’s articulating is that sometimes it’s more powerful to own what you’re not, than own what you are. So instead of owning that you’re a fake diamond, it can be far more powerful as a marketer to own that you’re not a diamond sourced through poor living conditions. You’re not a diamond sourced from lower economic regions that are being monopolized. You’re saying what you’re not, if that makes sense. By saying what you’re not, sometimes it’s like the fake diamond part goes away because it ends up being that this is a better diamond. It’s not that it’s a fake, if that makes sense?
Brady Cramm: Time is a testing too. It’s like you’re thinking about what to test. Just finish that sentence for what you know and do A/ B test. I think it’s such a cool place in marketing that not a lot of people leverage, especially if they just take their product name into. That’s my headline.
Garrett: There’s this weird thing, Brady, going on when I talk to a lot of these marketers and doing all these sales calls together where… How do I explain this? It’s like there’s a big divide. There’s people who test headlines and test things, but they test almost for the sake of testing and they use it as insurance more than leverage.
Brady Cramm: Yeah, leverage.
Garrett: I know a lot of marketers that test everything so they can never be wrong, but they never actually build anything either. It’s like they’re using data and testing as an insurance policy for their lack of success. There’s other marketers that don’t test anything because it would take a lot of time, and effort, and require tool, and they want to get budget. So when you say test headlines, what’s a healthy way to think about testing where you aren’t testing for the sake of testing and just over testing and is doing dumb tests, or you’re just not testing at all? What’s a healthy understanding of testing, especially when it comes to this tactic?
Brady Cramm: That’s a good question. I think this answer is just coming from what I’m thinking now, when you challenge the testing and not setting goals for a test. That’s just something I don’t think a lot of people do. To your point, I think whether it’s talking to a client or if it’s an internal team, people feel like they check the box because they’re running a test.
Garrett: Well, if you don’t have any results, the best thing to do is launch a test. You got to wait for that too. inaudible manipulate it.
Brady Cramm: You wait. You’re doing something. It’s strategic. So you feel like,” Oh yeah, I’m testing. I’m A/B testing. Don’t give me shit right now. I’m doing my job.”
Garrett: The test is in progress. It’s not done yet.
Brady Cramm: The difference is,” Hey, we’re at 5% conversion rate right now. We’re going to be A/ B testing with the goal to get to 10, 15.” I think having tests put your-
Garrett: Buy extra time.
Brady Cramm: Buy extra time. So having that accountability behind your testing, that’s going to put way more thought into the research, in the hypothesis that you’re testing in the first place. I think that’s the difference is what is your goal for the test and when are you going to achieve that goal?
Garrett: I think the biggest gold nugget of that was set a time because I do think people have goals in their tests or trying to raise conversion rate. They’re trying to do this because they have to kind of with the way the testing softwares work. If you notice really, the testing softwares work for the most part, they don’t put end dates because they’re all trying to keep you doing more tests and stuff. They never want the test to end.
Brady Cramm: They’re like,” Oh, it’s not a lot of traffic. So maybe next month, maybe next month.”
Garrett: It’s all about confidence intervals, but then it’s testing once again for the sake of testing, not testing for the sake of accomplishing a business goal. That’s my point. It’s like when I’m trying to improve the conversion rate on a page, I don’t want to do it just for the sake of that page. I want to do it within the lens of what the organization’s trying to accomplish. I think if I can put testing within the organization’s vision, then I think it becomes a more powerful tactic immediately.
Brady Cramm: No, I totally agree.
Brady Cramm: Now, what you got?
Garrett: You want to hear it?
Brady Cramm: I’m already starving so.
Garrett: Probably. Where do you get food today?
Brady Cramm: I have a leftover cheeseburger from last night.
Garrett: Oh, Brady. It’s not pizza, baby. What are we talking about?
Brady Cramm: I have leftover pizza as well.
Garrett: Oh yeah, but that’s different. It’s going to be all soggy.
Brady Cramm: No, it’s a good burger. The brother- in- law put American cheese on it. I’m pretty stoked on that.
Garrett: Is there any sauce on the bun already? You have fresh buns, it’s in the buns?
Brady Cramm: I got some leftover Chick- fil- A sauce. I might air fry broiled buns.
Brady Cramm: We’ll see.
Garrett: I can’t compete with this, Brad.
Brady Cramm: I got some pizza too. We’ll see. It’s Detroit style. I got a new place in San Juan. Got to check it out.
Garrett: What’s it called?
Brady Cramm: It’s called Lunita’s pizza.
Garrett: It’s good?
Brady Cramm: Yeah. It’s a guy who’s taken over the bakery section of a Mexican restaurant. He’s there from Wednesday to Sunday, Detroit style, two types of pepperonis. He’s got honey that has been marinating in habanero. Those little tube you can buy for three bucks. Shout out Lunita’s Pizza in San Juan. Catch you later.
Garrett: Charlotte, our producer, can you make sure Brady’s eating before we do our next episode because-
Brady Cramm: I’m feeling good.
Garrett: …he’s craving the food so badly.
Brady Cramm: The title of the segment is a little ironic if you think about that.
Garrett: I know, tactically delicious. You can’t just stop thinking about food. I love it. So, my share of SERP.
Brady Cramm: Okay.
Garrett: I hadn’t talked about it in a minute. I was trying to explain how I see SEO. That’s a weird statement. How I view the field of search engine optimization, SEO. What I discovered is what I used to frankly, try to pioneer almost like five years ago when I was starting all this. It was share of SERP. It is just as relevant as an important today is it was back then. Not enough people know about it or doing it. So, I want to help anyone listening today to understand what share of SERP means and this concept. So, the concept is very simple. The purpose of search engine optimization is to be discovered when someone has purchased in tech. So when someone is looking for the product or service you sell, are you discoverable? Do you show up in that moment. Back in I think it was 1997, the internet and stuff first started. The answer to that question is how do I get my products or services to show up when someone’s searching for it? They’re like,” You need a website.”
Brady Cramm: A ton of keywords behind an image.
Garrett: Correct. You would medicure and stuff it. You would play the game, and that’s how you” ranked” and then took traffic, showed up and made money from SEO. Now, the truth is that game doesn’t work anymore. Search engine optimization might as well be called,” Are you a brand?” That’s the way it works. You want to rank? Cool, be a brand. Oh, you’re not a brand? You can rank. You know how? Become a brand. That’s kind of the way the game works. Now the irony is, is you can essentially create a search engine optimization brand through share of SERP. It’s the same question you ask yourself. It just comes with different answer. So how do I make my brand discoverable when someone’s interested in the product or service itself? Am I changing the word from how do I make my website discoverable, which is what I believe everyone’s doing wrong. Every marketer in the world who’s trying to make their website rank is misunderstanding search engine optimization. Instead, what they should be asking themselves is, how do I make my brand discoverable? Not my website, but my brand. When you change it to brand, everything changes.
Brady Cramm: You mentioned that you think it’s still relevant. It’s more relevant.
Brady Cramm: It’s almost impossible to-
Garrett: Do it any other way.
Brady Cramm: More domain for the right terms.
Garrett: Yes, because you’re not God. You cannot control what Google ranks. Google can’t control what it ranks. It’s a massive machine learning algorithm that is also dynamically adjusting to an individual’s own search behavior. So if I search, and I did this a couple of years ago. I’m sure it works today. If I were to search how old is Justin Bieber? I searched again right after and said,” How tall is he?” They know that, that pronoun is actually referring to Justin Bieber and they’ll give me the answer. So my point being is that, even when we do all our keyword research and we’re in our tools as search engine optimizers, everything is a dynamic experience relevant to the user, their cookies, their past browsing history, and their own retargeting, their inaudible. Everything is dynamic. There is no true, accurate keyword research or universal search volume. Everything is a dynamic experience. Now the reason share of SERP is so important is it allows you to come to life as a marketer, in the sense that you can now capture market share on a search engine results page. That’s what SERP means, search engine results page. So, I’m trying to take up market share on a search engine results page when my query is being searched. So theoretically, your website’s probably only going to rank once for a keyword. What about those review sites? Am I on those yet? Well, I can put those review sites into Semrush. I can see what keywords they rank for and oh my gosh, they rank number one for all the queries I want to rank for. Why don’t I just get on that list? Next thing you know, I can be the best in the world at anything I want to be with a little ad budget and a few reviews. How do I control my search engine brand? I essentially what I call pay for SEO. So the key to search engine optimization, the key to SEO right now is share of SERP and paying to be discoverable when there’s intent. So, you can take any of your keywords. You can modify them like queries like reviews. So you could say, SEO agency reviews. You could say, ERP software reviews. You could say, ERP software pricing. You could say, ERP software competitors, ERP software enterprise. All of a sudden, these are all the different modifiers. Once you see who shows up on those pages, you’re going to start to notice trends. You’re going to see a lot of review sites. You’re going to see a lot of publications that have listicles. 14 things to consider before buying your first ERP software. That listicle, it might have a display ad opportunity on GDN. It might have an opportunity for you to reach out to the editor, if you’re not mentioned. It might have an opportunity for you to essentially position yourself to be discovered. So in a perfect world, instead of trying to rank for a query, what you should be doing is asking yourself is my brand discoverable in every possible area? Do I show up in the 4- Pack of Google Ads? Do I show up on the review site? Do I have an article that ranks? Do I show up on other people’s articles? As you start to show up more often, you’re going to notice something weird happens. Google starts to put you into their knowledge graph. Google starts to understand your product or service as the best answer to these types of people when they have similar intents. That is how you start to actually rank in 2022 in my mind, is you are positioning yourself to be discovered as a brand at every available opportunity. Because of that, now your website’s ranking better, as well as everything else. Does that make sense?
Brady Cramm: Yeah. I think I know psychology is a whole another segment on this show, but there’s a really cool psychological signal tied to it. That is once you start dominating search engine market share as the end consumer experiencing that, whether you’re software or a coffee shop, and someone’s looking up best coffee in X location and they see your shop not just in Google.
Garrett: Well, what do you say? They’re not doing their job if they don’t fill out your form, right?
Brady Cramm: Yeah. They feel like they’re not doing their job. They’re not living the lifestyle. They’re not really answering their query, if they don’t experience your product because of how often you show up. It’s almost like why you want to have a ton of reviews on Amazon is because now someone trusts you because of the volume of positive reviews. The same signal goes for your visibility on the first page of Google. If someone sees you in the first link, the second link, the third link, and the fifth, and you’re positioned well, you’re really not doing your job. You’re really not answering your query, if you don’t look into who the heck is showing up across the board. Even if you’re a startup who launched a year ago and your competitors have been around for decades, you just set that signal just through share of SERP alone. It’s very controllable.
Garrett: It’s like a metric or KPI just thought of. So you know we have ad frequency?
Brady Cramm: Yeah. First page-
Garrett: We got SERP frequency.
Brady Cramm: No.
Garrett: It’s the same concept. It takes eight words to say it. Then, it’s like eight brand impressions before anybody ever remembers you. I wonder how many SERP frequencies, where you did enough queries in an industry? So I’m searching, let’s say for a new hosting software. So I’m like,” Best hosting software.” Okay, and I see WP Engine.” Okay, that’s cool.” I read up inaudible,” Oh nice.” Then, I go back to my search show. I’m not like,” Oh, well. I did one query. WP Engine’s the best. Take my credit card.” That’s not really how it works. So then I go back, I’m like,” Oh, HostGator.” I look at a little more SMB. Go back again.” Oh, inaudible These guys are all right.” I go again, DigitalOcean.” Oh, little too Debbie for me, next.” You’re going through this whole process. At the end of it, you’re like,” Okay. WPEngine came up four different times, three different articles. I checked their reviews. Then I went, I searched WPEngine. Clicked on a brand ad, and it’s like,” Way to go Google. Way to go PPC team.” So my point being here is like, I think SERP frequency entirely matters when someone has purchase intent. They want to know, is this really the best person? All of us do research. We all know how to try to find the best person. What I don’t think many of us know as consumers and those who aren’t professional marketers is all that research can be paid for. It’s not that pricey. So you can pay to be number one on all those lists. It’s not newly as expensive as a lot of other advertising to really influence sentiment for your brand in a category.
Brady Cramm: A lot of it can be free, I think. In B2B, SaaS, and the AOV that we deal with, we see obviously these companies who have achieved these listicle rankings just monetizing them because they make sense. I think if you deal with other industries, a lot of it is free. It’s content. It’s like local OC mag content. They’re going to rank the top 10 X in OC and you can really just reach out to that writer. I think just the other benefit of this tactic is it’s necessity. So, I think for the listeners to understand why you see it happening. Why it’s so hard to rank your domain is because back in the day, Google would use the first page of Google. Let’s say 10 links to show the top 10 most relevant companies. Now that there’s listicle websites, Google can use one link to show 50 companies. Why would they not do that?
Brady Cramm: So, that’s why these directories and this list- based content works so well in Google’s eyes is because for their end users satisfaction, they get to show the end user-
Garrett: They’re aggregators.
Brady Cramm: Yeah, everything. Everything in one link. It’s listed. It’s all prioritized based on why that blog chose those sites listed.
Garrett: Someone else is saying they’re great.
Brady Cramm: Someone else is saying it.
Brady Cramm: So, it’s really what Google wants for the end users. So in my mind there’s no going back, which just lean in further in a share of SERP strategy and trying to get your domain to show if you can, when you can. We still see industries where there’s probably five spots still there for specific domains who do what that query is looking for. It’s not to say it’s impossible, but it’s all moving in the direction where it will not be your domain ranking. So, you have to do that PR outreach. You have to see if it’s an ad network. You have to start those relationships to get that visibility.
Garrett: A thousand percent. So, hopefully that helps you all to understand better how to be competitive in the search engine, as well as how to write amazing headlines by using this I want to methodology.
Brady Cramm: We both kind of pulled one out of the pockets from back in the day that are still hyper relevant. It’s always nice to get those reminders.
Garrett: Back to the future, baby. I want to talk about our next segment, Brady.
Brady Cramm: Okay.
Garrett: Marketing and culture.
Brady Cramm: Nice.
Garrett: It’s my favorite. I’m used to it.
Brady Cramm: No, it’s fun.
Garrett: So, we’re going into this world where there’s a lot of unknown. Frankly, I feel like blessed. I haven’t lived through enough at 30 years old to know everything or even smidge of anything, to be honest. It’s been a little while with Covid and that unknown. Everyone in the world’s wearing mask. We have lines. We can’t go anywhere. It’s everything shut down. We can’t see our families. So, we get out of that. Have like what? Three to six months of good things on sales but literally no labor to service it. So, everybody’s still getting killed. Then we go from having literally the entire world in marketing changing jobs. I legitimately think probably 75% of marketers changed jobs in the last 18 months, 24 months. They almost always do. The way I guess, that’s not that crazy but they really all changed. We went all the way out of that to now the opposite end of the spectrum where we have companies doing layoffs. I’ve said this before. I think the reason companies were doing layoffs is they were under hired in 2020. They cut people because of Covid because they didn’t know the world was truly exponentially harder than right now. It was scary. It was unknown. Many of us had never been in global pandemic in our lives. We have no idea what that’s going to affect economy or businesses. Clients freaked out. I don’t have clients freaking out like they did in Covid, right?
Brady Cramm: Yeah.
Garrett: Okay. So we came from that and then everybody was like, and then we got to from Covid. We had to do layoffs and cuts because nobody knows what’s going to happen. Then, we rehire. We all survived that year. That’s 2020. 2021 demand picks back and everybody’s wanting to grow again. Then workers are like,” I’m done with all this crap. I don’t want to work for these people. They don’t treat me right. I’m changing jobs.” So everybody’s changing jobs. Then we get out of here, and it’s just inflation skyrocketing. Now, we’re actually ironically I feel like going the other direction where people are like,” Is my job safe?” So as we go into this new instability. Brady. We got Q2 earnings coming, I think at the end of this week. So, we’re going to see how the stock market reacts. Essentially, the P’s been all bad. Prices down on all the stocks but earnings hasn’t been bad. We’re going to see at the end of this week, how earnings are for all these big public companies at the end of this week for the most part. What do you think, when those earnings come out, let’s say they aren’t bad. Do you think the recessions over? What do we do with ads? This environment we’re in, if you’re a chief revenue officer, Brady. You’re a CMO. You got earnings coming out. If you’re in- house, you know how they’re looking. If you’re an agency, we don’t really know. It’s not publicly available information. So, what do we do? What do we do right now as professional marketers when we’re going into a recession? Do we spend more, spend less? What’s your take?
Brady Cramm: I think a lot especially in our space, a lot of our clients are almost bit well for a recession in terms of their products, introducing more efficiencies into an organization. Some of the challenging selling points of our clients’ products is they replace humans. In the end of the day, the end decision maker is thinking about their staff versus software in some cases-
Garrett: Or themselves.
Brady Cramm: …or themselves. So, our clients’ products can come across as a threat to sometimes even the end user. It’s what makes their marketing difficult. I think in the grand scheme of things, it’s the efficiency and the effectiveness. Any company that’s looking to maintain or grow needs marketing, but they have to do it well. I think you even brought up the chief revenue officer. That’s something I’ve noticed is I’ve seen more CROs within sales conversations with us because I think it’s getting to that level. I think it always should have been at that level. People looking at the effectiveness and efficiency of their marketing investment.
Garrett: So essentially, what you’re saying is the head of sales was very curious about what’s driving their pipeline and they want to be involved?
Brady Cramm: Yeah.
Garrett: In simple format. CROs are more head of sales than anything. So, the chief sales revenue officer is like,” Hey, if I need 3X pipeline to hit my goal or 2X qualified or 5X, for as whatever the heck that number is, I’m very curious. Who’s in charge of driving pipeline for me? Because I’m co- dependent on how they perform.”
Brady Cramm: We have a very interesting perspective. You and myself I’d say just where we’ve been positioned in the org and spending a lot of time on the front end of a client engagement, which is on the sales side. The volume of accounts that we get to see just as individuals at scale for us within SaaS, but the waste that happens in marketing budgets, it is insane how much money goes into Alphabets, Microsoft pockets.
Garrett: So everybody listening, let me explain a little bit where Brady is coming from. So, they’re getting into context. So, Brady does the audits when someone comes to us. So if someone’s looking to hire Directive, Brady does the audit of their entire ad environment. So, we do a ton of free work here. So if we do a proposal for you, it’s a ton of free work. Brady’s the chief strategist of that” free work.” So for context, Brady, and we at Directive I think we have over hundred million in B2B SaaS spend under management, which is a decent amount I’d argue. We have that on the database. It’s anonymized and secure, but we can essentially see cost per SQL, cost per MQL, cost per SEL, cost per customer, lifetime value, AOV across hundreds of industries, millions of spend, and get a really good sense of the market. You’re doing probably what? How many of these audits a day, two on average?
Brady Cramm: Yeah. On average, one to two a day.
Garrett: These are all people that have at least very substantial budget who are working with us or at least in wanting to be bigger. They’re funded, series A + big organizations. You’re getting one or two of them. So, I say all of that to lay the foundation of who Brady is. First ad hire, we ever had seven years ago, ran all paid media. So Brady’s a quite talented advertiser, and you get to see more ad accounts than almost anyone in the world for B2B software-
Brady Cramm: Yeah, it’s fun.
Garrett: …which is dope. What percent of waste on average do you see? Remember, Directive is large player in software marketing, I’d argue largest in the world, mid- market and enterprise. Let’s break it off. So what percent of account mid- market has waste? What percent of an enterprise account has waste, would you say?
Brady Cramm: So, I would have different definitions of waste.
Garrett: Let’s define waste then.
Brady Cramm: So, there’s waste where it is cost to them for something that will never become a customer.
Garrett: Okay. So let’s just go egregious waste, not low value poorly thought out-
Brady Cramm: There’s a waste if it’s the right people, but the landing page is worse than the competition. So, they’re spending all this money for people to see their page but it’s not built to convert.
Garrett: No. I’m talking maybe largest preschool software in the world accidentally spending all their money on people looking for a preschool not software. That kind of waste, egregious waste.
Brady Cramm: We see that a lot. A good example is a cloud data protection company. They often are attempting to get just so much volume from a search platform. They don’t realize that they’re becoming unrealistic with their volume attempt. They are very close to consumer cloud storage type intent. So, a good example would be in a cloud data security company. They’re wasting a ton of money on iPhone storage related terms and iCloud related terms. So with that type of waste-
Garrett: You guys can see why he is good. He’s not giving me an answer. He’s a very nuanced man. So give me-
Brady Cramm: No. I’m trying to.
Garrett: If you look at a proposal and you’re doing-
Brady Cramm: I’m speaking as I think.
Garrett: So, you think for a second. I’ll ask you the question again.
Brady Cramm: No, I know the question. I got-
Garrett: What percent?
Brady Cramm: I got some numbers floating around my mind.
Garrett: 20% of it is waste?
Brady Cramm: I was thinking 20 to 30.
Garrett: That’s it.
Brady Cramm: If I were to do an average, unfortunately the average is made up of probably a ton of outliers if you will, in terms of just extremely bad. I remember the 80% very well vividly just because I’m passionate about it. I think it’s so interesting that they’re still going-
Garrett: Sometimes you and I do get accounts at this point in our careers where we both look at it, we’re like,” Well, we don’t have a lot of people at this company who we can put on this account because they are freakishly good.” We are at that point too, where we talk to some advertisers. I mean the in- house person might be better than some of our consultants a lot. We are getting to that level where you have some exceptionally, exceptionally talented client teams. I think we have the best advertisers in the world that work for us, and I can still go look at an account and be like,” That’s really good.” So, let’s say we got 20 to 30% waste. If you talk to 10 accounts, what percent do you think are really good at advertising?
Brady Cramm: So the ones you’re speaking towards, I would say we’re lucky to see one in the 10.
Garrett: Yeah, I would argue too. It’s that low.
Brady Cramm: It is exciting when we see those companies because that gets into some of our initial work bringing in the product marketing team.
Garrett: It’s more like one in 25. I bet you, if I did 25 ad accounts, I’d probably find one where I was like,” Okay. They’re ready for some next level strategy. They’re ready for some…” I would argue. If we do look at 25 though, 24 of them need to play the hits and they aren’t getting their foundations right and their basics right. They’re wasting 20 to 30% of their spend. I think that’s fair. Now, the reason we talk about that is to bring it all the way back to this recession point. If you got 20 to 30% waste, is it so much that you can’t advertise or that you might be able to parlay this recession into like… What’s it called when you put your agency up for review? Can you put your advert? If we think we’re going to a recession and you’re the CRO or the CMO, or even the CEO or the board, it’s not like,” Should we advertise?” It’s more pause and see, really put it under some scrutiny to me. That’s kind of where I would say is kind of the step one.
Brady Cramm: I think the gap is, and I think this is actually getting better. The more board members talk to other board members, even that competitors and these platforms are becoming far more popular in terms of conversations around growth. I think board members are now talking about Google Ads. I still think we are closing the gap on people at that level executive and board level saying,” Oh Google Ads, that doesn’t work for us. Let’s make some changes here.” So, there’s a lot of performance tied to the platform and not performance tied to the strategy within the platform, which is I think what you’re getting to is like-
Garrett: You’re saying what they’re doing is they’re throwing the baby out with the bath water and they’re saying,” Google Ads doesn’t work. Susan must have it. Perfect. Susan, couldn’t get it to work. So, Google Ads doesn’t work for us.” It’s not, Susan’s strategy might have been wrong. For sure, that’s it.
Brady Cramm: No, I hear that a lot. It’s like,” Oh yeah, we tried Google.”
Garrett: You’re right.
Brady Cramm: “We tried Capterra. We tried LinkedIn. It didn’t work. So we’re coming to you all for something that new.” They’re thinking channel level, and you go into how that channel was run. It was the strategy that didn’t work. It wasn’t the channel.
Garrett: Dropping heat, Brady.
Brady Cramm: So, I think that is something that needs to be closed.
Garrett: Articulated. No, you’re completely accurate. So from what I can hear, if I say back our conversation to us ironically here. Sounds like if you’re going into a recession, if you’re going into a moment of uncertainty and the world is spinning around you as a professional marketing leader or even a practitioner, step one is to ask yourself is our strategy good? It’s not so much to go straight to the channels and be like,” Where are we wasting money on Google?” It’s talking to whoever’s running your Google Ads and ask them,” Strategically, what are we trying to accomplish out of Google to hit this goal of X revenue in Q3, or Y pipeline, or Z SQLs? What’s your strategy for that? If they start mumbling, and stuttering, and spinning, I think that would be a sign that you either have to divest or increase investment in this channel, but you cannot ignore, if that makes sense?
Brady Cramm: You just have to know like Google is against you. It’s fun because it gets down to the details. So, it’s just one of those things where you don’t expect even the VP level, director level at these orgs to understand the details of what’s going on. The problem is, the manager level and the practitioner level, most of them don’t know what’s happening either.
Garrett: Well, it’s because of what I call is this information gap. So the C and the V level have strategy, humanity, perspective, finance. They have all this like the big blocks. They know those really well, but they don’t understand offline conversion tracking offers-
Brady Cramm: Close variance on exact match. I have a great example.
Brady Cramm: A recent one was they do travel management. They do employee credit cards, expense management, all those things. When I was in their account, I saw a lot of things paused and performance tied to it. One of the trends was I saw they went after business credit cards and that didn’t work, and I understood it. I was like,” Okay. That’s someone who maybe just started their own company, getting their credit card with their bank account. That’s not intact.”
Garrett: There’s no maturity associated with it. You can’t tell how mature they are.
Brady Cramm: So, I saw them go after corporate credit card on exact match, and I get it. It’s like,” Okay. Someone’s looking up corporate. Now we’re talking employees, all that good stuff.” They shut it down because they saw the same performance. That’s where they ended. So internally, you can already imagine the internal communication on,” Yeah, we tried corporate. The data was pretty much the same as business.”
Garrett: I’m curious, Brady, was there may be a search term report that you can look at?
Brady Cramm: Yes. I highlighted corporate credit card, and I looked at the search terms. 90% if not more were business credit card search terms because Google used it as a close variant to the exact match for corporate. So the internal teams, they thought they were driving the strategy. They have the ideation.
Garrett: If they would have set business card as a negative in that group.
Brady Cramm: They negative out business. Then it would clean it up, but it’s tough to know who to blame here because Google is just changing their product. So that the input, which is on the keyword level, the strategist in the situation thinks,” Oh, I’m doing strategy. I’m moving away from business, and I’m including corporate. I’m going to collect the data. I’m going to report to my manager. They’re going to report to the director VP and all that good stuff,” yet the details and the realities would actually happen weren’t what that entire company thought. I think that’s a value prop I often like to say on calls or prospects is we are very realistic marketers. I think that’s the mindset you have to have in marketing right now when dealing with wasted spend and all of the traps you can fall into within campaign settings is you have to ask yourself what is actually happening.
Garrett: When it goes to age old adage, the age old adage in marketing is I know half my marketing doesn’t know what works, but I don’t know what half. I would argue, despite all the attribution, it’s still where we’re at. It’s all you’re saying. So you do this whole thing where you’re showing me how you can misspend 20 to 30%. You think you’re going after business. You think you’re after corporate credit cards. You’re actually still doing business. You’re one layer away from discovering the information but because you don’t have a consultant as talented as Brady on your account, you don’t catch it. That’s how you waste 20 to 30. Okay. It’s very easy to waste 20 to 30% of spend in almost any channel due to targeting, messaging, technical reasons, whatever it is. Now that doesn’t mean, and everyone listening should cut their spend by 20 to 30%.
Brady Cramm: No. Well, I think one of the biggest issues from that scenario is now the company has concluded that corporate credit card search intent does not work for them.
Garrett: Not even just that, they’ve also concluded that Google Ads doesn’t work for them. I think it’s the most dangerous part of it all.
Brady Cramm: Google Ads, out the door doesn’t work. Corporate credit cards,” Hey team, we tested it. The data was the same as business. Let’s not go after that for the foreseeable future.” I think that’s the biggest missed is the false data and false conclusion.
Garrett: It’s the overreaction to false information. Right, we’re heading into this recession. We know 30%. Everyone listening right now, and I guarantee you probably assume 20 to 30% of your ads right now aren’t working. So, we need to cut budgets. Finance has come back to us. We don’t love this, but this is just the nature. When finance gets scared, budgets get cut. This is real talk. So I’m sitting there. I’m no longer the CMO or the CRO. I’m the director of dimension, Brady. I’m sitting in my chair. I get the news. I got to cut spend by 30%. How do you discover, Brady, where you cut the spend? We’re going this recession. It’s a time of uncertainty. I’m listening to this show and I agree. There’s areas of waste in my business. My strategy isn’t always right. People have false conclusions. What do I do to identify as a professional advertiser? As a director of dimension, frankly and I’m not a professional advertiser. So what do I do if I’m not the 1% of advertisers that can really catch the 20 to 30%, and instead I’m just the individual that manages or employs an agency. How do I go about determining where I should stop spending my money in your mind?
Brady Cramm: I think it is drilling down to the realities as far as your mind can go. So, what was the keyword? Okay, cool. What were the searches? What devices were they on? What was the audience idea for this? Okay, who was actually showing up? What seniority were those positions? I think it really is just asking those deep questions and that can almost force someone on more like a practitioner level to find the gaps.
Garrett: Let me get specific for people so I can take that away. So there’s two things you can do, what Brady just said that are actually specific. First and foremost, you can filter all your campaigns in Google by cost, and click all the way down to the search term level in each of those. Was it campaigns is the nomenclatures?
Brady Cramm: You can do search terms on a campaign level, ad group level, keyword level. Then I would even recommend at least if you’re in B2B, sorting by once you’re down to that level search terms, sort by impressions.
Brady Cramm: That’s how you discover what is likely consumer based intent because likely you don’t have too many people online every single day searching things relevant to you. So when you sort by impressions, it’s a nice trick to discover what your campaigns are actually pulling that are possibly relevant.
Garrett: The common sense test?
Brady Cramm: Yeah.
Garrett: Okay. So, there probably not a million people looking for this, right?
Brady Cramm: Yeah. That’s usually one for the cloud storage, one for B2B. You get all the iPhone searches are going to be discovered in high impressions and likely tied to high costs as well.
Garrett: I love that. Now the other thing you said was personas. So a lot of you might not realize this, but even if you’re not running LinkedIn Ads, you can put the LinkedIn pixel on your website and start to understand the firmographics of your traffic. It’s way more accurate in my opinion, than a Google Analytics behavioral or demographic report. This is going to get you a lot more insights. So kind of two takeaways, filter by cost and then look at impressions. Then, look at your search term report and Google Ads. That’s a great way to find waste. Another great way to find waste is from your paid social accounts where at Directive for example, we only use first party data. That’s the backbone of customer generation. So, we have a lot less waste than any other advertiser actually that you could hire because we aren’t advertising using the platform’s data. We’re only advertising using manually verified data outside of Google Ads. So anything like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Programmatic, any of those channels, we can advertise exclusively to your total adjustable markets. It’s like ABM on steroids. So if you’re listening too, a third way to save waste is stop using industry and LinkedIn data to advertise on LinkedIn. Instead, only advertise on LinkedIn when you upload your account list because that’s going to give you 10 times more control and cut the waste out. I would argue by 50% on LinkedIn, you’re wasting if you’re not using your own data but instead using theirs.
Brady Cramm: I think this is where T- shaped marketers really stand out in orgs because it’s tough. You’re going to be looking at performance to come to these conclusions, but performance is all historical. It’s based on what is running in the past. So, you might run into situations where it actually is the right persona. It’s the right search term. To my point earlier, it’s the landing page that’s off. If the data is not good, you might pause pretty much the best intent that’s out there for your business and keep it paused because you had no one aware of the landing page environment for those terms, and how the competitors were doing better offers, and obviously taking that intent. No one was thinking that. So, you pause it and who knows how long until you run it again. If you’re a company who needs to grow, that could be the most valuable intent that you’re missing out on because you don’t have a T- shaped marketer who knows how to think about landing pages and that type of analysis.
Garrett: So, smart. It reminds me, Brady. So, we talked about saving money in platform on Google and that’s the search term filtering by cost, looking at impression, looking at the search term report. You can catch your errors there. Offsite is by taking your top campaigns where once again, all your cost is going and then looking at the landing pages for those ad groups and those ad sets, and asking yourself,” Is this the best experience?” One of the coolest examples I have from this is a hosting company. One of the top five hosting companies in the world was a client of ours for websites. We did this n- gram analysis. The word pricing never converted. I was mind blown because usually when I do an n- gram analysis and I discover pricing, and I used to maybe be a little smarter than I am now. I used to dive in all that stuff, and I pulled out this pricing piece. Usually when I saw pricing, it was a high cost per click, but it also had a high conversion rate.
Brady Cramm: Especially for hosting.
Garrett: Pricing and hosting is essentially saying like,” I’m in the market. My credit card’s out. Is your pricing good?” Well, they weren’t converting anyone on pricing and they had low pricing. So that’s where I was like,” Wait a second. Pricing is one of the-“
Brady Cramm: That’s why you looked up pricing in the first place probably?
Garrett: Correct. It’s a competitive advantage of theirs. Any time someone searches pricing, they’re losing. I go look,” Every single solitary landing page that was receiving traffic that had the search term pricing in it, had no pricing on the landing page.” I was like,” No.”
Brady Cramm: They had the best pricing?
Garrett: Oh yeah, they had the best pricing. So, it’s a perfect example of waste. When you start to look at landing pages, you run an n- gram analysis and you can look essentially at all the words people were searching before they landed on your landing page. What that gives you is a really deep understanding of intent. Then, you can start to see,” Oh, they wanted pricing, and we never even talked about pricing. We never captured that intent.”
Brady Cramm: It would take a T- shaped marketer to find that. That person was only, let’s say just data analysis. They would have said,” Hey, this is the data behind pricing. We need to turn it off.” Now for the foreseeable future, they’re never going after pricing when the fix wasn’t the intent. It was the page. It’s interesting. I think in the end of the day, T- shaped marketers are relevant in this potential recession to then really figure out how to have the most effective and efficient budget because these companies need to grow. This is why we’re in business with our deliverables is we truly believe they are some of the strongest and most controllable growth lovers for companies.
Garrett: If they weren’t, we wouldn’t have offered them.
Brady Cramm: That’s why we do what we do. If it was something else, we’d build an agency around it.
Garrett: Well, we essentially build an agency around ourselves. I think is what makes us fun and cool in the sense that we don’t offer any services that we don’t do for ourselves and that don’t work for us. So, share of SERP changed my life. What we talked about earlier. That changed my life, the first time around. That went from being a couple hundred thousand dollar shop to multimillion dollar shop. That was share of SERP. Then, gift cards and customer generation went from being a multimillion dollar shop to tens of million dollars of shop by that. So what we do for our clients is a direct byproduct of our research and development and what we tested for ourselves. I want to step away from the micro for a second, Brady. So I think at a micro level, we’ve talked a lot about,” Okay, recession is coming. You got to cut 20 to 30% of spend.” Look at your landing pages. Look at your search term report, look at your audiences. Look at those things. I’m sure, we could do a list for hours of everywhere you could look or check to find waste and tighten up without losing revenue, just the waste. At a macro level, Brady. When you think about uncertainty, and this is something I’ve been juggling. Where do you put money in uncertainty? Do you completely cut brand advertising? Because what I think a lot of people are going to do is I think a lot of people between 2020 and now, and I’m not talking forever. Between Covid, which took them to zero. Instead of trying to find 20 to 30% of waste, people just hold the e- brake and just like,”Tried it.”
Brady Cramm: They unplugged it.
Garrett: They unplugged advertising. I remember it was just obviously, not fun for us as an agency. It was a tough time. People aren’t doing that now. They’re kind of doing pivots, reassessments of strategy, analysis, trying to find areas of safe. That’s what they’re doing, which is good for us. Good for them. I think it’s good for the whole economy. When you think about uncertainty, do you think we should go 100% of direct response, 90% of direct response? Our marketing initiatives, do we just pause on the long term and then catch ourself getting screwed in 2023? Do we use the recession? Because to me, part of me says,” When heading into times of uncertainty, don’t try to win an uncertainty but try to build now. So that in the future when there is a certainty, in other words time is… What it say? Time is a circle?
Brady Cramm: Yeah.
Garrett: So we know we’re going to go from this place of uncertainty to a place 2018, place 2019, place like 2021. Well, we’re back. We know the future of stability is coming and this is a moment in time. We also know that great marketing takes time. So could someone argue, Brady, that if no one’s buying right now anyway, the best thing you could do is go all in on brand advertising? Do you think it’s because no one’s buying, we ought to go all in on direct response and capture as much of the audiences possible to survive? How do you think we should be seeing this at a macro level as marketers?
Brady Cramm: I think you can rethink your product market fit.
Brady Cramm: You can rethink your personas. Like I said, I think especially in SaaS, a lot of the value props are around cost savings. I think due to the economical environment, those weren’t the strongest value props in the past, but they could be right now. So, I think it does start there is inaudible.
Garrett: So in other words, so all these companies are selling value because value works when you’re winning. It’s almost like you can have recessionary call to actions and growth call to actions. When you’re growing value, when the economy’s rescinding and closing, you go cost cutting almost. That’s clever.
Brady Cramm: I think the perception of cost cutting when the economy is strong, makes you sound cheap. It sounds like a lot-
Garrett: It’s like dynamic value props. It’s like the macro environment control our micro value prop. So when the macro environment goes up, our value prop goes up. When the macro environment goes down, essentially our micro value prop goes to cost cutting, right?
Brady Cramm: Mm-hmm.
Garrett: We essentially pivot our value prop to the ecosystem we’re marketing within. That’s a clever concept.
Brady Cramm: So just overall product market fit, I think it’s definitely time. No matter what your company is and what you do, I think trying to look at it through the current-
Brady Cramm: …market. That lens, that macro lens and see if a product market fit, adjustment is relevant. I’d say it’s probably very common in our portfolio where they have these UVPs that they’ve not really put on the forefront because of the reaction making them seem cheap. Maybe a lot of people saying,” I don’t care about spend. If your product is super expensive, I don’t care, as long as I make more.” I don’t need to save more. Show me the good stuff. Show me the product. Show me how much I’m going to scale. Now that people are fearful about money, the UVP on how much it can save you and cut costs-
Garrett: It could be more.
Brady Cramm: …while still being an impactful product, it’s not like you ditch everything else. I think just adjusting what’s on the forefront of your positioning, it could be the time to change it.
Garrett: I want to hone this in. I want to make sure we get something for the listeners. The thing is, as a professional advertiser, and I’m supposed to speaking mostly from advertising right now. Do you optimize the existing and focus on short term wins, which is cutting that 20 to 30% waste, or do you build right now? In other words, do you say,” Hey, the market’s down. We need time to launch these initiatives.” A lot of times in marketing, you don’t really do the campaign you know you really need to do. That initiative you know you really need to do because you’ve got to hit your Q3 numbers. Well, if we’re in a recession as a marketer, you almost get almost like a hall pass where people say,” Essentially, the reason you didn’t hit your Q3 numbers was because we’re in a recession.” Do you think that if going into a recession, then you should focus more on building, so you win when there’s no more excuse? In other words, if you just try to survive the entire recession and then it ends, and then the next quarter you’ve got nothing left because you just cut, cut, cut, optimize, optimize, optimize, and now it’s time. They’re like,” Hey Brady, what you’ve been up to lately?” You’re like,” Dude, I was surviving for the last year.” Now, your results aren’t there. You didn’t build it. This is what happened by the way, coming out of Covid. So, we don’t want history to repeat ourselves. I saw all of these companies coming out of Covid with no strategy, no foundation, no backbone. It was great for me because then they all go to an agency to help them develop these things, but they cut their whole team. Their leaders changed twice. Their budget’s got slash in half. Now, they’re just this marketing leader out in the middle of the ocean without a compass or a rudder. So when you hear that, Brady, does that make you think you have to build more or does it just mean like,” Dude, survive, survive, survive. Don’t build. Just optimize crazy.” What do you think?
Brady Cramm: I think it depends on the maturity on where you’re at going into it because I think some companies are set up to where they know,” Okay, with a lower spend, what’s the most efficient, effective things we would keep on. Let’s do it. Let’s close the box on these other things that we still use for growth, but might be too expensive now. When we’re out of it, let’s open that box back up.” I think there are companies who actually have that set.
Garrett: That’s our alpha betas. So what you’re saying is,” Let’s run all of our campaigns in our alpha. This is where 80, 90% of our spend goes. We know it works. These things statistically have an LTV/ CAC of greater than three or a row as of Y. They drive revenue for us. We aren’t going to stop any of those. All the things we launched last quarter, and frankly like the woman who was running it no longer works here, or this dude launched it the quarter before, or the previous CMO was passionate about this. We didn’t want to sunset it yet. You’re saying those things, you might need to sunset or pause? That’s beta.
Brady Cramm: Yeah. That’s your risk assessment is like, let’s say the models at a 1. 5 now, but it is still new and there are moves to make. If you can afford learning it to improve it-
Garrett: Get into three, and you cough on it.
Brady Cramm: …then you should do it. If you can’t, then yeah, that’s what you cut off. I think it gets down to a predictable revenue. How many predictable levers has the org have set up going into it? I think that’s where it differs.
Garrett: What I do for everyone listening and my kind of criteria for how I do this, is anything that has an LTV/ CAC of greater than two within the planning period, I’ll keep believing and fund. So let’s say I run the company at trimesters, let’s say you run on the quarter. You launch a campaign in Q3. At the end of Q3, if you can get it to an LTV/ CAC of two or at least trending in that direction, I try to upgrade that to alpha and get it out of beta. If I’ve got something that hasn’t been able to crack a lifetime value to customer acquisition cost of two, I might sunset it than just trying to keep pushing it because I have never found a marketing campaign that didn’t work. That changed my business, that didn’t work out first. Maybe it was hard to monetize. Gift cards took six months to monetize, but they always pumped the pipeline. So, there was always very strong indicators that this campaign could work, and so I believe in it. I’ve never had a campaign that had no indicators and I gave it more time and it eventually worked. Does that make sense?
Brady Cramm: Yeah.
Garrett: A good marketing campaign, I’ve never had one that didn’t win on the marketing metrics from day one. I’ve had plenty of great marketing campaigns that sales wasn’t ready for. That didn’t really fit right. That the reason we acquired the customer from the marketing didn’t match with what sales was used to selling from an intense standpoint or a part of the buying journey. I don’t think I’ve ever had a marketing campaign that I can remember that didn’t work. Then I just pounded on it for months, and months, and months and it worked. It’s usually just like,” You have to launch a bunch of them, but when something works, I feel like it just kind of works.”
Brady Cramm: Sure, there are holes in the ship when you launch.
Garrett: Of course. You got traction. You got good signs. It’s like there’s something there.
Brady Cramm: There’s something there. That all goes down to the planning, how sophisticated the planning phases, pre- launch. I do think before we wrap up, we’re talking about LTV/ CAC models, but it just reminds me of I think a common mistake that could be had in this environment, and that is the direction on let’s keep things live, but let’s get the cheapest leads possible. I can definitely see that happening. It’s something I’ve seen a lot in my career is the answer being the lowest cost per lead in contact form.
Garrett: When the marketer essentially has their goal of SQLs and they change it to MQLs?
Brady Cramm: Yeah. We just need lead volume. We need to stay alive. We need to keep our sales team busy. We’re going into recession. We’re cutting budgets. I need the cost per lead to go down to this. I think that is the most dangerous thing you can do because the customers, which is all that is done to probably get more customers. The cheapest leads, what we have in our data sets are your highest cost per customer.
Garrett: Highest CAC for sure.
Brady Cramm: I think as much as we are talking about LTV/ CAC, it could easily be not perceived as a vital. It could be perceived as like,” Oh, that sounds nice to have,” but it is a need to have. I think that’s just important for just the market to know.
Garrett: When it comes to customer acquisition costs, don’t ever assume your competitors are stupid. In other words, if you’re advertising in 2022, you exist in an auction based environment. So if you’re participating in an auction, don’t think you’re so much smarter than all your competitors and how could they ever pay X amount for a lead. If they’ve been paying X amount for a lot of years, just trust me on this. It’s because it works. Any time you’re in B2B where you have high average order values, do not ever try to optimize towards in platform cost per acquisition, but always try to optimize towards in pipeline via offline conversion tracking OCT, down funnel life cycle metrics, or revenue, or customers, or demos. What you’ll find is your most expensive clicks are almost always your cheapest demos. It gets you a very healthy understanding of why something’s expensive in Google, but cheap for your business. You always want to optimize for your business, not the channel, not the platform.
Brady Cramm: If someone does have a channel or source, it’s like their lowest cost per lead and lowest cost per customer, you can hit me up because I’m always looking for unicorns, but they’re tough to find these days.
Brady Cramm: I have one more question-
Brady Cramm: …before we wrap up. It was something I was thinking about when we were talking about the waste spend. So whether you’re on the agency side of things or an in- house marketer talking to the practitioner who is responsible for the spend, and is the one likely to discover the wasted spend. As CEO at Directive, how should these people inform that,” Oh, I found 30% wasted spend, so I know what to clean up.” How do they do that in a way where on the flip side, now these people are informed that they’ve been wasting 30% their money for who knows how long, and it’s that person’s responsibility. How would you go about that?
Garrett: So how do you step in crap without getting your shoe dirty?
Brady Cramm: Yeah. I think the answer is there is no right answer.
Brady Cramm: I’d be curious what you think about that because I think a lot of people, there is that fear on diving into things.
Garrett: Okay. You could just quit your job and run from the problem. That’s what a lot of people do unfortunately.
Brady Cramm: No, I think they do.
Garrett: I think step one is to make sure that you don’t ever pair bad news without a solution because then the executive you’re presenting the problem to doesn’t see you as the solution. Okay. So what I’ve found as a leader is the person most motivated to solve a problem is almost always the one who created it. Okay. So if you’re a good leader, letting someone go or giving them a really harsh performance review or just kicking them out of the company because they misspent 30% of the budget should not be your course of action, if they bring you a solution. If they don’t bring you a solution, I’d argue you probably should let them go because this is an individual whose given up at this point or at least not wise enough to frame themselves as the solution. You could probably get someone more talented for the opportunity. However to your question, I would make sure that when I informed everyone that we lost 30%, I would do so first and foremost in a way that no new information could be discovered. It’s like if you’ve ever done anything really, really horrible to your significant other, and you only told them 75% of the story. When they take you back and then they find out about the other 25%, you’re probably in a bad spot. So my point being of this is don’t be the marketer that says you only lost 20-
Brady Cramm: This is good enough.
Garrett: You only lost 20%, but don’t tell them about the other 10 points. Then they hire Brady, and Brady catches the other 10%, a hundred percent of the time. So I would argue, in all things, the best way to deliver bad news is with 100% honesty and a solution. So if you do it with 100% transparency and honesty,” Here’s exactly where I made a mistake. Here were the reasons why I made the mistake. Here’s how much money it costs the business, no sugar coating it. Most importantly, here’s how it will never happen again, and here’s what we’re going to do moving forward. It’s going to not only make us allow us to recover for those losses, but actually fuel us forward.” If you say it with that much confidence, I don’t know any executives that will let you go.
Brady Cramm: I think the commitment to the org as well. I think you could easily just have your tail between your legs in those situations-
Garrett: Run, hide.
Brady Cramm: …kind of shiver and present the data. I think that’s where you’re screwed. I think the fact that it was discovered in the first place and who takes ownership of that, you never know. You may be the leader who demanded that we look into things, give them that ownership. It was because of them telling you to look at it. That’s why it was found like,”Oh that’s okay.” You just need to own it. You need to be transparent. You need to lay all the cards out. I think that’s a great piece of advice is come with a plan, not just the bad data.
Garrett: How will it never happen again and what are we going to do different moving forward? Those are the two questions. How will it never happen again, and what are we going to do different moving forward? Now, there’s a question you didn’t ask me, but I want to talk about it I think to wrap up the segment here. What do you do as a CMO or a CRO, if you got to cut 30% of the budget, which is different of what you do if you’re director of dimension. What if you’re an advertiser? So what I would do if was a C- level exec, any time I’m in a position and I have to make cuts, but I also have growth goals. Because the irony of this situation is, nobody who is a C- level exec going into this Q3, Q4 right now, who has goals that aren’t bigger than Q2 and Q1. So, we have to grow in this recession universally. That’s every C- level exec.
Brady Cramm: I haven’t heard the let’s just plateau conversation.
Garrett: Or” Hey, we’re going to lower your goals in Q3 because we believe as a board, the best way to motivate you is to set lower goals.” It’s not really how it works. So I would argue, marketing organizations have a lot of low leverage individuals in their org chart. If I had to cut 20 to 30%, the last thing I’m touching is my spend. Spend is one of the highest leverage things I get, and I always need a way to allocate my capital. So, let’s say I have a burn. My company has a burn, a software company running on VC money. All I need to get as much leverage as I can off their cash. There’s almost always more cash, but there’s not always more of is ways to allocate the cash to drive revenue. What I have found is headcount is almost always the least leveraged thing you have in a company outside of a very select few execs. So the vast majority of humans are getting leverage off of their boss, not creating leverage for their boss. So, I would look at my org chart in growth and I would ask myself. If my call volume’s going down, do I really need all 12 SDRs?
Brady Cramm: Yeah.
Garrett: Because SDRs are the definition of low leverage. Essentially, what you’re doing is you’re saying my high leverage people, my AEs. I want to manage their time better. They’re more expensive, and they create more revenue for the business. So, I need to be careful with their time. SDRs are lower leverage and create less revenue. I don’t need to be as careful with their time. Because they’re cheaper, a lot of times you can have too many of them because you don’t ever want to have not enough. So, I would look at my SDRs. I would look at people in marketing that aren’t driving revenue. This is a sad truth. If you’re in a marketing organization and your job is more administrative to a certain extent. You’re not the person running the HubSpot, but you are the person who writes the email on the HubSpot. That person is in a little bit more trouble. They’re managing a channel that might have lower value in B2B. Frankly, other people could probably write the email or they could send less emails, and their P and L will not know the difference. So I’m going to look at every single solitary headcount in growth, sales and marketing, and I’m going to ask myself. If I didn’t do this anymore, would it have any short or long term effect on my P and L? If the answer is no, what I would probably do, which is essentially what every CEO is doing right now. So I would use the recession to my advantage to downsize my growth org, to get myself back in budget without frankly having to lower my goals or really change anything other than the fact that I had overinvested, or I had some ongoing investments that were no longer profitable that I need a sunset, or I have humans in a role where frankly, I’m just not getting enough out of them or I don’t have enough hours of value that they can create. That’s how I would trim up, but I would never touch spend. Not because I’m an advertiser, and I sell an ad agency. For my own business, you try to never cut spend because it’s the only thing that scales without headcount that well, and you get that much of a leverage off of. So I would really try to keep my spend tight, and then I would look at my internal team and ask myself, where am I not getting leverage? Then what investments, frankly should I have sunset it a while ago? Thus if I sunset the investment, there’s usually headcount associated with those initiatives, and campaigns, and investments that I could essentially integrate to that decision. So, that’s probably how I would look at it.
Brady Cramm: No. I think at a high level, if the pressure of this recession was placed on companies while the economy was thriving, we would have even better companies out there. That’s the way I look at it, is a lot of it are things that should have been done, but they didn’t have to be done I guess-
Brady Cramm: …prior to this.
Garrett: Now, people are using the recession as an excuse to get their EBID right, their cash flow right in those moments.
Brady Cramm: It’s more because they have to.
Garrett: Correct. Someone’s forcing them to make the decision they should have made six months ago, is what the vast majority of this is. The other half of what this is in my opinion is people who were under hired due to the great resignation in 2021. So they over hired in Q4 of last year. Then when everything came back around and all of a sudden, none of those people churned. So essentially what’s happening is these HR departments, these people ops departments, they do have essentially what we call regrettable churn and it’s all forecasted. People don’t quite realize how advance people ops is. So people ops can look at all of your current retention rates by departments and see how often you’re losing people. Then at 2021, we all lost people exponentially more often than we did in 2020, where everybody was just glad to have a job and they didn’t get laid off because of Covid. If you had a job in 2020, you were keeping it. Well in 2021, you were like,” Wait a second. I’m in demand again as a worker. All these people can hire me. I’m going to go check out better options, get a 30% raise. I’m going to get a new place,” totally normal. Then 2022 comes around and companies are like,” Whoa, we’re booming still. We can’t ever be under hired again.” So, they overstaff their marketing org. They overstaff their sales org. They overstaff their CS org and they’re like,” 2021, the largest economic boom I’ve experienced in my lifetime is never going to end. 2022 is going to have it. 2023 is going to have it. We just got to hire, hire, hire because we never want to run out of talent again.” Then boom, all these companies over hired, the economy naturally pulls back to a more reasonable state. Now, the CEOs are doing layoffs because of a” pending recession,” when really all it was is they got overzealous and wanted to be on the right side of the great resignation. Now, they’re experiencing the great layoff because they over indexed on the other side of it.
Brady Cramm: I wonder how many of them lowered their standards too, as they were.
Garrett: Everyone, dude. Every C- level exec needed bodies in 2021. Let’s not kid ourselves. Everyone needed bodies.
Brady Cramm: Yeah. I just ask because I wonder how much of it is looking at the job description that they brought on as not being a good fit anymore or the person themselves?
Garrett: Well, I know at Directive, we had a couple of roles that we had to sunset that we only created because we literally couldn’t hire enough people in our normal roles. So we created this, a role that would do a similar thing that wasn’t fully baked into our business model, just so we could test it in case we couldn’t get anybody to do the old job. Here’s a new version of the job. It might have account management plus someone else doing the barns and it takes two people, but at least we could fulfill the work. Everyone was just struggling with fulfillment, whether it was a product company with supply chain, a service company with bodies, whatever it was, we were all understaffed in 2021. So we all went,” Never again,” hired like crazy in Q1 and Q2. Q3 comes around as a recession, it was like,” We’re doing layoffs.” It’s like, well, everyone just over index on this pendulum swinging the other way. I guess we’re going to see at the end of this week with these earnings reports, is there a recession or was there over hiring and inflation going on?
Brady Cramm: Yeah. We’ll see.
Garrett: We shall see. Well, Brady, we talked tactics.
Brady Cramm: Another good episode.
Garrett: Talked recession. God willing, there’s none of it. I really don’t want to cut anything, any spend or any budget. Really, really cool to see, I think from my lens your understanding of how to write headlines, how to save money, how to cut costs. I think hopefully, people can walk away from this have a couple tactics in their pocket, but also have an understanding of how do you articulate bad news. How do you at a macro level, invest in tomorrow when you need results today? What are the consequences of not investing in tomorrow when you need results today, and balancing all that. So hopefully this is amazing episode for everyone, and we’re able to keep having fun together. So like, subscribe, share, any other tips?
Brady Cramm: No. I just feel empowered as a marketer. I feel like that’s a takeaway from all these talking points. Even you bringing up like,” Hey, if you’re just the person getting quotes for boxes and you’re not driving revenue and you’re a marketer, you might get cut.” I think that’s just a good awareness. Feel empowered, be connected to revenue because anyone with marketing title can put themselves in that situation. I know I have early on in my career, I was getting quotes for boxes, and I was doing Google Ads. I decided to make my job full time Google Ads because I was able to go into sales force and see my impact on revenue. So, I think that’s just good advice for anyone getting started or even feeling stuck.
Garrett: If you’re in marketing, stay close to revenue and always make sure you’re tied directly to it. You’ll always have job security that way, and you’ll always be valuable. So, thank you. And that’s Original Marketing.
Brady Cramm: See you everyone.