HOW TO USE DATA TO IMPROVE YOUR MARKETING

Tips on how to use data to improve your marketing with Bill Bice

  • The hard part is how to use data to improve your marketing. Using it so that you're constantly getting better can be difficult.
  • That's the hardest problem that businesses have, is executing on that day-to-day in the trenches working to get their marketing done. That consistency is what makes it work.
  • There's always somebody bigger in your space. They've spent millions of dollars figuring out what works in that area. The hard part is figuring out, okay, how do we make that work for a smaller company?
  • I love how much you talk about email marketing because that's what actually produces results.
  • These days, LinkedIn is such a perfect place to do that. It's like going back in time and just starting at Facebook 10 years ago.
  • All the clients and prospects you've ever talked to, that's your audience. If you're not constantly staying in front of them, then you're losing. That asset is devaluing every day.
  • If you don't have a sales funnel behind that, that's going to take that audience and convert it into an interest in what you're doing, then there's really no point in creating all that effort.

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HOW TO USE DATA TO IMPROVE YOUR MARKETING

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HOW TO USE DATA TO IMPROVE YOUR MARKETING

The hard part is how to use data to improve your marketing. Using it so that you're constantly getting better can be difficult.

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Doug: Welcome back, listeners, to another episode of Real Marketing Real Fast. Today, we're going to talk about all things marketing and how to improve your marketing. My guest in studio today is Bill Bice. He has been an entrepreneur. He started his first company at the age of 14, putting him on the road, races with corporate sponsors. At 18, he started ProLaw Software, which was the first integrated ERP software for law firms. After that, he sold his company to Thomson Reuters. Bill became a venture capitalist, as a founding partner in the Verge Fund. He's been investing in high tech, high growth companies in the southwest.

Doug: One of the core things that Bill has learned in building and investing in companies is that the go-to-market is always the hardest part of growing any business. With that, he got so frustrated in trying to find great marketing companies for the companies that he was investing in and working in that he decided to tackle the problem himself. A programmer at heart, Bill founded Boomtime, which tackles marketing as a technology problem. It turns out that when you follow the data, real good things happen. That's why Boomtime built the world's first marketing as a service platform called Fuse. Boomtime's marketing strategists follow the data. They have always known what will work and always reinventing the wheel.

Doug: I think you're going to enjoy the conversation today and you're going to want to listen really close because Bill is going to drop a number of value bombs and some information as we talk about how to build and market your business and get it to the marketplace and do what works over and over again. Listen when he mentions one of the terms called mailbox mining. Without further ado, I'd like to welcome Bill to the Real Marketing Real Fast podcast today. Well, hey, Bill, I'm super excited to have you on the Real Marketing podcast today. Welcome to the show.

Bill: Thanks. It's great to be here with you.

Doug: I really enjoyed looking at your background and how you've transitioned what you're doing and created a new company to solve a problem that you had. If you want to share a little bit of your background with our audience of how you got started and how you worked that process to come to where you are today.

Bill: Yeah, absolutely. I'm a programmer at heart. I wrote the initial platform for my first company, which was an ERP system for law firms and corporate legal departments. I started when I was 18. I had no idea what I was doing, so I wasn't smart enough to not do it. I just dove in, and I was literally at 18 walking into the corner office of the managing partner at a law firm and convincing him to buy the software that I was working on the night before. It was sales training by fire. I sold that company to Thomson Reuters. We got a great team. We really built a great company there and started a … joined a small VC fund on the way out of Thompson. I've built, invested, on the board of 27 companies. Go to market, that's where the friction is. I wouldn't get involved in a company if we didn't have a great product or service and a big enough market to make it worth going after.

Bill: All of that work, that hard work of creating that company and taking care of your customers, that's really just the table stakes to then see to get the opportunity of, okay, can you do the go-to-market right? When I look back on that history, the companies where we really did that well and we focused on it, those, of course, are where we got the biggest wins. It's a very frustrating thing from the business owner's perspective to get great marketing for your company. All of the options have challenges.

Doug: That doesn't matter what tactics you're using these days. It seems like it just takes a few minutes and there's a new one that's popped up and somebody is ranting and raving that that's where we all need to rush off to. That's the new silver bullet.

Bill: Yeah. I really have a challenge with that because what I have seen and in my experience, what I see in the data because as quite well, marketing, it's all about the data, and it's a consistency that really makes it work so constantly changing. The tactics, they do have to change. You have to match what's happening in the market. The core strategy, you've got to stay consistent because it's a long-term play. If you don't do that … That's the hardest problem that businesses have, is executing on that day-to-day in the trenches working to get their marketing done. That consistency is what makes it work.

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HOW TO USE DATA TO IMPROVE YOUR MARKETING

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HOW TO USE DATA TO IMPROVE YOUR MARKETING

The hard part is how to use data to improve your marketing. Using it so that you're constantly getting better can be difficult.

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Doug: Can you walk us through an example of some of the challenges that you face? As you said, you're looking at investing in a company and then getting it to go to market. Why don't you just explain what the go-to-market piece looks like for our audience who might not understand or be familiar with that term?

Bill: I've done a lot of work in startups, most of the businesses that I'm working with. I love sitting down with a business owner and asking them, “Where did your last couple of new clients come from?” They say, “Oh, it was a referral from,” that's exactly what I want to hear because of a business like that who have done that hard work of creating those table stakes, that's the business where you can apply a great marketing strategy and produce really great results for them. We've really ended up focusing on the B2B space. The techniques are actually well known. We're not inventing any of these things. We're looking at what is really big … There's always somebody bigger in your space. They've spent millions of dollars figuring out what works in that area. The hard part is figuring out, okay, how do we make that work for a smaller company? How do we put scale and efficiency into it so that we can get an ROI on it?

Bill: Looking at what innovative companies are doing, what the big guys are doing, and then just putting the scale into that is really how we've tackled this problem of how do I really get a return on my investment in marketing? How do I make the long-term commitment that's required to make it work? In B2B, if you set up the core of your marketing program between your website, email marketing, and LinkedIn and really understand the customer journey between those things, you can produce really amazing effects. I love how much you talk about email marketing because that's what actually produces results.

Doug: That's why I talk about it. It's funny because people go, “Why do you talk about email if I miss it?” Because it works. The minute it stops working, if we can't make it work then we'll replace it with something else, but it's part of the mix like you said. It's not everything is just a piece.

Bill: It's a crucial piece because it's what brings closure to the process of getting somebody really involved. We've got to build our audience. These days, LinkedIn is such a perfect place to do that. It's like going back in time and just starting at Facebook 10 years ago. That's really the state that LinkedIn is in right now. If you're B2B or selling to the professionals that are on LinkedIn, and you're not putting a tremendous amount of effort into Linkedin, then you're just missing out.

Doug: You're the second person who I've spoken to in the last week that has used the analogy of LinkedIn today is where Facebook was 10 years ago. If you're not in, you're missing the opportunity.

Bill: Yeah. It's such an ideal time period because their algorithm is really simple, just like Facebook was at the beginning. This is the time to go in and get your network built, get your audience, create a brand and a presence on Linkedin because it's much easier to do it today than it will be next year or the year after and so on.

Doug: What's the typical story of a business owner that's trying to get some traction when you talk to them?

Bill: It's almost always the same, which is they built a great business. Things have slowed down a little bit, don't totally understand why that is. It's really that word of mouth is what was working for them because it really focused on taking care of their customers. These days, it's more difficult to get that tried and true approach to really work. We've got to amplify that effect of word of mouth digitally. That's what LinkedIn and email are so powerful for. If you don't stay in front of your audience, and I really think the audience that a business owns is almost always the most undervalued asset they have. All the clients and prospects you've ever talked to, that's your audience. If you're not constantly staying in front of them, then you're losing. That asset is devaluing every day.

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HOW TO USE DATA TO IMPROVE YOUR MARKETING

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HOW TO USE DATA TO IMPROVE YOUR MARKETING

The hard part is how to use data to improve your marketing. Using it so that you're constantly getting better can be difficult.

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Doug: Sure.

Bill: That's the easiest marketing you need to do and yet the vast majority of companies don't do it.

Doug: The old saying it costs 10 times more to get a new customer than keep an old one, and then you look at the budget, and the budget has allocated 100% to new acquisition going, hmm, that doesn't match.

Bill: Exactly. Everybody wants new lead generation, and yet it's so much easier to leverage the audience you already have, and then it will start growing organically if you're doing the right things with that audience. If you're really creating engagement and if you avoid the thing that I consider the number one mistake in marketing, which is talking about yourself. Nobody cares.

Doug: I fall down that trap often. As you said, people are looking for a solution. They don't really care what your tactics are or how long you've been in business or how big your portfolio is. They're just looking to solve their problem, which might be just getting enough business to keep paying the rent and pay payroll.

Bill: Yeah. If you talk to them about their problems, which you have a unique perspective on because you're working, whatever your target niche is, you're working with hundreds or thousands of businesses like them. You've actually got a great perspective on the market that the CEO, business owner, and one individual business just can't have because they're running their business. If you take the approach of, well, I'm going to bring really valuable insight to my audience and I'm going to help them. I want it so that if somebody sits down with one of our business development folks, they're better off in how they're going to go execute on their marketing, whether they happen to become a client or not. You want your prospective clients to have exactly that same experience any time they work with your company.

Doug: That totally makes sense. You mentioned something just a minute ago and you said it's all about the data. What does that translate? What does that mean?

Bill: That I think is the biggest advantage in marketing these days. I always joke that, and this was particularly when I'm on the business owner side trying to get great marketing, the reason somebody goes into marketing is that they don't want anybody to tell what they're doing. In these days, it's actually just the opposite. We have too much data, and we know how every dollar is being spent, particularly if we're talking digitally. We know every engagement we're creating. We have the ability to know absolutely everything. The hard part is actually using that data, turning it into information, iterating on what we're learning from that and constantly getting better. Most marketing departments, most companies aren't actually that good at it. They've got a ton of data, but actually using it so that you're constantly getting better, that is the hard part.

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HOW TO USE DATA TO IMPROVE YOUR MARKETING

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HOW TO USE DATA TO IMPROVE YOUR MARKETING

The hard part is how to use data to improve your marketing. Using it so that you're constantly getting better can be difficult.

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Doug: Do you have a system or tools that you use to bring all those silos together? If you look at email, you're probably using one system. You may have an email system in addition to a CRM and then you've got your social platforms and then like you said, then you've got LinkedIn. You've got all these silos of data. How do you get a good view of that and be able to learn and leverage?

Bill: Yeah, that is exactly the problem. In your larger competitors, they have put in really high-end tools that allow them to pull all that together. We set out to solve that problem and ended up creating our own, what's essentially a marketing automation platform. It's really marketing as a service called Fuse. We can pull all those pieces together. It shows through to our clients, but it's really for us to use in order to be better at delivering marketing as a service. That's what gives us that holistic view. We look at it as the customer journey. We want to see it across all of those different channels where we're touching that same person and understand what's working and how it all ties together. It's really difficult to do if it's in those silos. It's basically impossible. You've got to make the investment in pulling all that together.

Bill: A lot of companies do custom work around that. A lot of people fake it and pretend that they know what the heck is going on. If you don't really get an aggregate view across that, you're going to have a really tough time understanding what's going on. The thing that I love about what I do is that since we're doing this for several hundred companies, I get all that data across all these companies. We see the trends much more quickly. Even if you're great at it in one company, you just don't have enough data to improve your marketing.

Doug: Absolutely. That's one of the benefits of using, in the email world, using a big email service provider, is they have all this aggregate data from all their clients, and they will share the reporting in terms of the best time to send, time to open, average click-through rates, average bounce. You can compare yourself without seeing other people's information on what's acceptable or where other people are at.

Bill: That's enormously valuable. If you spend all your time designing emails and crafting subject lines and content and following the data on that and you're doing it across. We're a small, fast-growing company. We send about two million emails a month. What we learn from that is just incredible.

Doug: What advice would you give business owners in terms of allocating resources to marketing? I'm now asking because you've got the experience of several businesses that you started, an exit with Thompson, and then now you're looking at investing in other businesses. From a VC point of view, which obviously is a great way to think of how do I build my business and exit, what would you tell them to do?

Bill: I'm going to emphasize the same theme over again because of the crucial-

Doug: That's okay [crosstalk 00:13:46]. Don't apologize. If there's a right way of doing it, that's the direction we should go, and maybe we need to hear it three or four times.

Bill: The crucial mistake, this is one of the things that really frustrates me about the discipline of marketing. It's really difficult to find great marketing talent. I see this over and over again that you bring in the new marketing director and they tell you about the last person, they were an idiot. We're going to start over. It's really the worst thing that you can do because you've got to have consistency in your marketing to improve your marketing. It's the only thing that's going to work. It doesn't mean you don't evolve over time, but I would much rather have a company with a horrible logo and an outdated tagline that takes care of their customers and has an audience we can talk to because we just execute on that in the trenches. We're going to get so much more value than doing a huge rebranding effort.

Bill: Those are the kinds of things that it's easy to get excited about and involved in, and yet it's that consistency, the day-to-day work, just constantly staying in front of your audience. What we see in the results, the results for our clients, that's what actually works.

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HOW TO USE DATA TO IMPROVE YOUR MARKETING

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HOW TO USE DATA TO IMPROVE YOUR MARKETING

The hard part is how to use data to improve your marketing. Using it so that you're constantly getting better can be difficult.

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Doug: What I think is interesting is that you talked about LinkedIn being a key tool. We're in this time when everybody wants to be a LinkedIn expert, or at least that's what it seems to me, I can't count how many pitches I get for people who want to set appointments for me. You're not talking about that. You're talking about making this part … integrating this as part of your plan, not just going off and creating just a LinkedIn plan. Can you share a little bit on how you use LinkedIn with the rest of your methods and processes to help your clients?

Bill: We see a lot better results when you tie it all together. It's not that you won't get value by just going out and building a network, but you really … LinkedIn to me is the ideal networking event because I get to invite exactly who I want to meet, and I don't have to eat a bunch of empty calories while I'm there. It's just the ideal way to expand your audience, but that's what you're accomplishing with LinkedIn. If you don't have a great strategy behind how you're going to be a thought leader in your niche, then getting that audience isn't going to help you any. You really have to have this larger strategy of, okay, how are we going to go out and help the prospective clients that we want? How are we going to build that audience that we own and control, whether it's the connections that we have for each of the executives on LinkedIn, for the email list that we're building, for the website traffic that we have?

Bill: If you don't have a sales funnel behind that, that's going to take that audience and convert it into an interest in what you're doing, then there's really no point in creating all that effort. Each step of the way in that sales funnel if you get 10% better conversion here and 5% here and 12% here, that adds up to a really significant change in what happens in your sales. The vast majority of companies have a lot more referrals coming in that they know about because they're just not very good at capturing those leads. You have a sales team out there selling. This is what we do when we have this problem. I can't get all my salespeople to actually use our CRM and enter everybody that they come into contact with. If you just do that, if you actually capture all of the connections that you're making.

Bill: We developed a solution to that problem called mailbox mining where we go and look through the email accounts of everybody who is customer-facing in the business and find all the new contacts that they're making, and add them to the CRM, and add them into a marketing automation so that you're getting a level of built-in followup that happens with every contact that you make no matter what. Because salespeople are just human. They're going to talk to the people who are going to affect their commission check in the next 30 to 60 days. Yet, you could have just met somebody who is the ideal client six or 12 months from now. A ton of those opportunities just gets lost. If we just get better at that sales funnel and increasing conversions every step of the way, it's obvious the results that you get from them.

Doug: I think it's interesting. I've never heard anybody share that, that you take the responsibility to make sure that that information gets entered into your CRM.

Bill: It's really frustrating. One, most CRMs are built for the sales manager and not the salesperson. I don't entirely blame salespeople for not wanting to use CRM, because it's just this extra thing I've got to do. You really got to design your tools around what's going to help your salespeople be more productive. Once they see the benefit of having marketing automation in place that increases their sales and makes it easier for them to hit their quota and really all that effort they put into making connections and new context starts to pay off, then you start to get buy-in. What we're really getting to do is just the classic division between sales and marketing. We have to tackle that head-on. We honestly have a huge advantage in that regard because working as an outsourced marketing department, we often have a much easier time creating great alignment with the sales team. That produces great results.

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HOW TO USE DATA TO IMPROVE YOUR MARKETING

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HOW TO USE DATA TO IMPROVE YOUR MARKETING

The hard part is how to use data to improve your marketing. Using it so that you're constantly getting better can be difficult.

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Doug: I think that's such a great investment. I had a friend of mine who was a general manager of a really large car dealership and they had implemented this big CRM system. He was complaining that his sales staff weren't entering in all their contacts. I said, “Why don't you just hire somebody, pay somebody, get somebody in, a girl just to do data entry?” “I'm not paying to have somebody do that after we spent all this money on the CRM and my sales guy should do that.” I'm going, “If they leave tomorrow quick, could fire or get run over by a bus, you've lost all their contacts.”

Bill: [crosstalk 00:19:12] A lot of these guys are amazing.

Doug: Not so good. It totally makes sense. The other thing I heard you say was, what can you do to help the salesperson do their job better? It wasn't about saying, hey, you have to sit down to pick you… insert CRM here and do this. What can we do to help them? Once they see the results of sales automation, then they understand that, hey, I make more money this way.

Bill: Absolutely. So many salespeople put a lot of their time and effort into building their own sales materials because they figured out what works for them. If you go and actually talk to your salespeople and figure that out and then have your marketing team produce that for them. I'm a big fan of the challenger sale. One of the pieces of data that came out of Gartner's research in that is that the top performing salespeople spend a third of their time building their own marketing materials. Well, why don't we do that for them, which were in a much better position to do anyway? Suddenly, our top performers have a third more time to sell.

Doug: They're going to have a better quality sales product because that's what you do.

Bill: Absolutely. They're not doing it because they want to, otherwise, they probably wouldn't be a top performer. It's necessary in order to be successful. That really tells you something.

Doug: Can you share with us a client story of how you helped them transition from where they were to a better place?

Bill: Well, yes. This is really an inside one because I think it's really ironic, which is that despite the fact that this is what we do until we started treating ourselves as a client, we didn't really take off. It's the classic Cobbler's kids' shoe thing. When I made the choice to give credit to one of our marketing strategists and treat ourselves exactly like a client and actually … because it was the same problem. We were having a tough time getting … because you're running the business. It's really difficult to spend … just the LinkedIn efforts we're talking about. Your best practice is you need 30 to 45 minutes a day every day on LinkedIn. That's really tough to do if you were running a company.

Doug: Sure.

Bill: It was just amazing seeing the results for ourselves when we started doing exactly what we tell our clients to do and exactly what we do for them. We started doing it for ourselves. It was just a great way to actually see it happen, and that daily effort is completely worth it. Whatever it is you're doing in your marketing, you have to find a way to make that happen.

Doug: Let's just shift gears a little bit. You're helping businesses to reach their sales and marketing goals. How do you structure your relationships? What would this look like if someone is going to engage with you or look at your firm and compare marketing firms? What should they be looking at?

Bill: We're not a traditional marketing agency. We're really trying to solve this larger problem of normally just throw bodies at the problem in marketing. That's how you get more marketing done. You hire more people. We typically work with a company that either has hired their marketing director and now needs bandwidth to execute on their strategy or we are their full outsourced marketing team. Because the reality, you can't find one person who can do everything that you need. If you rely on that, you get a hammer and everything is a nail. You really have to have a team of three or four people in order to execute on a full marketing strategy. That's very difficult for a $2 million, $5 million a year company to invest in. You've got to hire a marketing agency for $10,000, $20,000 a month, which probably would work if you would stick it through long enough to get the results. From a business owner's perspective, that's a very tough thing to do.

Bill: What we've done is put a lot of automation into the process. You can't automate it entirely. You've got to have people who are following the data and know what the right strategies and tactics are, but it's that unique combination of putting those things together. That's how we get scale into marketing. We've got a basic word of mouth marketing in a box. That is how we work with almost all of our new clients that covers the basics of what we need to do. Let's get a regular flow of great content going. Let's build that network on LinkedIn. Let's have emails going out on a regular basis. Let's understand how all that is working together. Let's make sure that we've got real sales to funnel on the website that's feeding into our sales team. That's a standard thing. That's a foundation that every company needs to do. We've just done that over and over again. We're really efficient at putting that into place.

Doug: Just a quick survey question. How often do you guys email out to your contacts?

Bill: I love this subject because we all get too much email, and the solution to that is to send more email. People don't want to hear that, but it's what works. Where two years ago we might recommend to somebody, send 16 emails a year. This is really more convincing the business to do it as opposed to what we really want to do. We're going to move that up to 30 emails a year, so we want at least two a month and a few extras thrown in the end. For the businesses that are willing to do it, that is putting high-value content that's really what their audience cares about, then we'll do a higher frequency because it works. If you're actually giving value to your audience, they want to get your emails. They're not annoyed because you're helping them.

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HOW TO USE DATA TO IMPROVE YOUR MARKETING

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HOW TO USE DATA TO IMPROVE YOUR MARKETING

The hard part is how to use data to improve your marketing. Using it so that you're constantly getting better can be difficult.

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Doug: That's good. I just was curious because you said that was part of that cornerstone or one of the offerings. I moved my frequency up actually to a twice a week.

Bill: That's because you understand it. You're willing to do it. It seems risky from the business owner's perspective. We just use the data to show, look, our unsubscribe rate is staying steady or we're getting what we want there. As you've talked about, we want people to unsubscribe that are not interested in what we're doing. Unless you see a spike in that and your engagement numbers are staying strong, you just want to keep increasing frequency until that starts to flatline.

Doug: The other thing is, too, whether people read all your emails, you're in their inbox, they see your name over and over and over again. I consider it almost like a mini PPC campaign, whether you're getting the branding. People are busy. As you said, they don't always open your emails, and sometimes you'll see them binge. Just another area I want to ask you about, because I heard you mentioned this a couple of times, and you said that people stick around long enough. The question that I often hear is, well, how long is it going to take to get ROI? I often find that business owners, entrepreneurs, even larger companies are very impatient. They've got an unrealistic expectation of what they'd like to achieve and the time they would like to achieve it in. I know it's a broad question, but how long do you recommend people actually roll up their sleeves and work at this before they expect to see results?

Bill: You're saying people are unrealistic about what's going to happen with their marketing?

Doug: Yeah. Well, [crosstalk 00:26:09] sorry for saying something, stating something so obvious.

Bill: I don't think it's worth committing to a marketing program. I'm talking in the context of B2B, fairly high ticket items. If you're going to put a strategy in place and you're not going to commit to it for a year, then you don't really have enough confidence in that strategy. It's not that you're not going to see results before that, but it takes a good time period for the full effect of that to pay off. In this content-driven effort, it takes time to get that audience built up, get people really paying attention to what you're saying, get that to then turn into … We really look at it as social currency. You're giving people a reason to talk about you. That generates the thing that really works, which is more referrals. It takes time to plant those seeds. I don't want to work with anybody who's not willing to commit a year because it's just unlikely we're going to see enough value without doing that.

Doug: Yeah, it's funny. I think of what we do as a long game. You mentioned that you're going to start a podcast. When I started my podcast, people said, well, how are you going to monetize it? I said, well, I'm going to monetize it by finding, identifying and speaking to the smartest people I can in the marketing world. How do you make money doing that? I build relationships. Well, what are you going to sell them? I said I'm not going to sell them anything. I just want a chance to get in the minds and have the conversation that you and I are having today. Sometime down the road, there might be an opportunity for referrals or for us to work together or whatever. People didn't understand that. Months later, guess what happens? That starts to bear fruit. Do you want to share a bit about your up and coming podcast with us?

Bill: Yeah. It's called B2B Word of Mouth Marketing. We're doing exactly the same thing that you are. I'm happy to share all the specifics of what we do for our clients because … Although it's very valuable to understand that, the hard part is actually doing it. The day-to-day tactics change enough that you really got to stay on top of it. I find tremendous value in just sharing all the things that we have learned. My bigger passion is I really believe in small businesses. It's what drives our economy. It's what employees … It's where innovation comes from. There's a reason that in the VC world, we're in the business of investing in smaller companies-

Doug: That's right.

Bill: … that then get sold to larger companies because it's difficult to work in large companies. That's why I left a large company that bought my first software company because I couldn't do the things I wanted to do in that environment. This is the engine that powers everything, but yet if we don't enable smaller businesses to get more sophisticated in their marketing, it's going to stop working.

Doug: Well, that's really cool. I won't ask you for a launch date, but listeners, we'll make sure that when Bill launches his podcast, that we'll make sure that there's a shout out and comes out to you, subscribers, of our email list.

Bill: I appreciate that.

Doug: Looking forward, what do you most excited about in the next six to 12 months? You're a 12-month guy so you must see lots of stuff as I do on everything that's happening in the marketing world as well as where the money is going in the VC world.

Bill: We talk a lot about AI in marketing, which I think is a little premature at this point, but that is a very exciting area. I'm all about automation in marketing. We're constantly testing every new tool that we can get our hands on. One that I use regularly right now is an AI assistant that does automatic follow up, which I think any salesperson that is interested in doing a good job of making meetings, having an “assistant” that is automatically going to do that work for you, that's a great example of putting AI to work right now in a way that's very effective.

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HOW TO USE DATA TO IMPROVE YOUR MARKETING

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HOW TO USE DATA TO IMPROVE YOUR MARKETING

The hard part is how to use data to improve your marketing. Using it so that you're constantly getting better can be difficult.

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Doug: That's really cool. I think it comes back down to the scary thing. As you said, it comes back down to the data. I think if it's used right, at least my thinking is that it's going to be a better experience for your customer or potential customer because you'll be serving them at a level that they want to be served.

Bill: Absolutely.

Doug: Stealing a quote or a question from Tim Ferriss's book, what's the bad advice you hear in your space?

Bill: We could do several podcasts on that.

Doug: Well, feel free. Let's tackle a couple of them. I ask people, so when you're at a cocktail party and you overhear somebody having a conversation about your space and they say, what, does it get the hair in the back of your neck to stand up and you just want to go over and slap them?

Bill: The thing that you mentioned is really what frustrates me the most, which is this idea that there is some silver bullet in marketing that is just the latest thing. We're going to pop on social media and suddenly all of our problems are going to be solved. That is what really frustrates me the most because you hear so much of that, that it creates this expectation, that perfect solution is out there. The perfect solution in marketing is really hard work. That's the problem with marketing. It's hard. If there were a perfect solution, that company would have already been bought by Google for $10 billion and we would all know about it. Instead, there are literally thousands of options to help you with your marketing. That's because nobody has actually done a great job of figuring it out.

Doug: There are so many tactics. What I hate hearing is people say, oh, that's dead. It's like seriously? How long did you try it for? I tried it for a week. That doesn't sound like a year to me.

Bill: There comes our one-year rule again. If any of that frustrates me the most, it's for people saying that email marketing doesn't work. I live in the data. We know what works. Part of the reason that email works are not just because that approach is very effective and that's how we want to communicate and it's where we spend all of our time is an email. By definition, you're talking to the people who are the right target audience who are interested in you. They've either expressed interest in your company or you've done the work to really target exactly the right audience in email. It works because the channel is effective and it's the right audience. If you do a good job of putting the right message in front of them, then of course it works.

Doug: I like to connect with people on multiple platforms. I find that if you have the opportunity to talk to them on Twitter and on LinkedIn and on email, I'm looking at each of those communication tools often differently. When I'm on Twitter, my mind though is one way. When I'm on LinkedIn, I'm there looking at information, and in reading what my network is feeding me and talking to people one on one.

Bill: The more we talk about this, the more frustrations you will bring out. That same thing of there is one channel or one approach that is going to work, that is extremely dangerous because what does work is a cross-channel integrated overall view of the client journey. That's what works. Moving particular channels in and out is not nearly as important as having that bigger perspective and really managing that client journey.

Doug: I guess a better question is instead of what social media tool should I use, maybe the better question is what social media tool do your clients use?

Bill: Yes, absolutely. Where is your audience? This is an interesting area because I'm really big on automation, but what we see in the data is that one of the ways that Facebook has dealt with all of their challenges is they've really devalued automated posts, even their own scheduled posts. If you're doing work on Facebook and you care about what you're saying, you've got to put the time and effort into doing those posts manually, times when you want to do them if you really want to get results out of them.

Doug: I think that's the really big value from people that people get business owners to get from using and working with a firm like yours is that I look at how much information comes across my desk every day and this is all I do. To be running a company and have departments running companies, you don't have the opportunity to have your finger on the pulse and just know that simple tactic to get more lift.

Bill: I think there are young entrepreneurs that really love that. That happens to be their passion, but your typical 35-year-old-plus business owner, that's not what got you to the success that you have today. It makes a lot more sense to get somebody who is an expert in that, has all the data to follow up. The specifics of how you make a post on LinkedIn, you can change your engagement four X just based on doing the post this way versus that way with no other changes. That has a dramatic impact on how much of your audience you're reaching.

Doug: If you're not interested in four X then just keep doing what you're doing and you'll keep getting what you've got. I want to say thanks so much, Bill, for taking the time to share with our audience today. Do you want to share with us the best way for people to connect with you and learn more about what you're doing and what your company is doing?

Bill: Our website is at boomtime.com. You can reach out to me directly at ceoofboomtime.com. I love talking to business owners and CMOs and marketing directors. Helping businesses grow is what I'm really passionate about, I'm happy to help anyone who asks.

Doug: Excellent. I did promise you my one tough question of the day, and that's who is one guest that I have to have on my podcast?

Bill: I don't know if you already know Brian Burns, but I really like his B2B sales-oriented podcast. I think there's a great fit between what the two of you do.

Doug: Excellent. It'd be great if you could make an introduction. Hey, thanks again. Really enjoyed the conversation. I can talk about this stuff all day long, but I know we both have to get a little bit of work done.

Bill: So could I, and I really appreciate the opportunity to chat with you. It's been a lot of fun.

Doug: There you go, listeners. This is another episode of Real Marketing Real Fast. Today, we learned about sales, sales automation, how to improve your marketing, and the opportunities that are there if you will engage and look for a partner that can help you and then set a realistic goal. It's not going to happen in two weeks, three weeks. The people who are telling you that clearly is going to take your money and will be gone. I want to say thanks again to Bill, and thank you for tuning in. The last thing, please don't be shy. Make sure you subscribe to the podcast so you don't miss the next upcoming episodes, and don't be shy to join our email list. If you don't like what I'm saying, feel free to unsubscribe. We look forward to serving you on our next episode.

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HOW TO USE DATA TO IMPROVE YOUR MARKETING

[just click to tweet]

HOW TO USE DATA TO IMPROVE YOUR MARKETING

The hard part is how to use data to improve your marketing. Using it so that you're constantly getting better can be difficult.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

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