Step into the fast-paced world of ‘Real Marketing Real Fast’ with me, Doug Morneau. Each episode is a power-packed journey through the twists and turns of digital marketing and website acquisition. Expect unfiltered insights, expert interviews, and a healthy dose of sarcasm. This isn’t just another marketing podcast; it’s your front-row seat to the strategies shaping the digital landscape.


Tips on how to build a great brand by Rick Cesari

  • I’m looking to get back two dollars of revenue for every dollar of advertising that I spend
  • I have a free sheet for your listeners called The Five Keys to Build a Great Brand (see below)
  • What do you do with your product or service that is different from everybody else?
  • Create awareness for the product and always have some type of offer and a way for people to respond
  • Videos work so well because of the simple fact that it appeals to two senses. Images come alive when you’re using video

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Create awareness for the product and always have some type of offer and a way for people to respond

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Doug: Well, welcome back listeners to another episode of Real Marketing Real Fast. Today we’ve got a special guest in studio joining me. I am super excited as a big fan of direct response, direct response advertising, and seeing companies grow to this particular venue … I’m super excited to have Rick Cesari joining me in the studio. He is an expert. You’ll want to tune in, listen in, and take some notes.

Rick has been a pioneer in the brand response advertising business since the ’90s. He’s helped create the concept of selling while you brand, and he’s been a force behind the creation of many of today’s iconic consumer brands, including Sonicare, the George Foreman Grill, OxiClean, and many others. He has helped companies take products like GoPro from a startup to over a billion dollars in sales in just a few short years.

Rick’s newest book, Building Billion Dollar Brands, put his experience with winning companies in the hands of everyday business owners, marketers, brand managers, and more. Rick continues to put his experience and his cutting-edge vision to work for brands, big and small alike. Today he’s focused on video marketing and it is the next entry into the billion dollar branding. He’s creating and implementing innovative cross-platform strategies with digital and mobile venues or ventures for his clients.

When Rick’s not working, he enjoys reading, skiing, fishing and hiking, and for this 50th birthday he achieved one of his all-time goals, and that was a successful summit climb to Mount McKinley in Alaska. He resides with his wife, Martha, and daughter, Anna, in Seattle, Washington, so he’s just a little bit south of us. I’m super excited to welcome Rick to the Real Marketing Real Fast podcast today.

Rick Cesari: Hey Doug. It’s great to be here, and I really appreciate the very nice introduction you did.

Doug: Well thank you. I can appreciate all the things that you do for your hobbies in terms of fishing, hiking, and skiing because you live in a great part of the world.

Rick Cesari: Absolutely. It gives us more opportunity to do those things out in the Pacific Northwest.

Doug: So was there anything I missed in the introduction or anything you’d like to add before we get started today.

Rick Cesari: One thing, as we talk about big numbers like billion-dollar brands, I just want your listeners to understand that almost every one of the products that we’re going to talk about today I started working with on an agency basis when they were just getting started, and that probably the things we’re going to talk about today are great tactics and strategies for small businesses to use that are just getting started or just launching products, and don’t be frightened by some of the big numbers that you mentioned in the introduction, because most of those products, like I said, I started working with them when they were doing very little sales, or actually just startups.

Doug: And that’s a fair comment. Every product that we mentioned was an idea at some point and they needed to get their first customer in the door. I like your approach of building it while you’re generating sales.

Rick Cesari; Yeah. So I have a philosophy, and it’s really kind of more of an underlying direct response principle, in that any type of advertising that you’re going to do, you’re always looking … I have a rough rule of thumb that I’m looking to get back two dollars of revenue for every dollar of advertising that I spend, and that’s a great rule of thumb if you can achieve that, and then to me, it doesn’t matter really the distribution channel. In other words, it doesn’t matter if that’s happening on Amazon or Facebook … Or, you know, a lot of the products you talked about, we used direct response TV. It’s really more the underlying philosophy of trying to get a really good return on your ad dollar that is a really powerful tool for small businesses to use.

Doug: Absolutely, and I think you’re right. As a small business owner, you know, you’ve really got to be paying attention to your numbers and looking to squeeze as much value as you can out of every advertising dollar.

Rick Cesari: Yeah. And I’ll give you a good example. PR is something that I’ve used consistently, good public relations throughout my career, and I try to implement it with every product. The very first product that we created that turned into a national brand, the Juiceman juice extractor … And this goes back a long time now. I’m dating myself, but we started that business in 1989 and then sold it in 1993, but we started the whole business just using a really good PR. But we made sure that the money we were spending on PR we were getting back in sales from basically having the people respond to the different PR pieces they saw.

One of the fun things … I don’t think this would ever happen today, but we actually had almost a third-page article about the product in the Wall Street Journal, and at the end of the product they put an 800 number where people could call to get more information, which was pretty neat at the time.

Doug: Wow, that’s pretty cool. I guess your client was probably pretty excited to see that. That’s a great opportunity.

Rick Cesari: Absolutely. And … Go ahead.

Doug: So do you want to share, you know, some breakthroughs, some successes that you’ve had for our listeners? I mean, you know, like you said, you mentioned a lot of brands and you’ve got a process in place, and you’ve been doing this for a while, so I’m sure you’ve seen some shifts in the marketplace. So why don’t I hand it over to you and why don’t you share, you know, a couple of your success stories and kind of how you walked into that process?

Rick Cesari: Sure. So one of the first things we do, and this is something that we started doing way back when we were marketing the juicers, like I said, in the early ’90s … After that, we started doing the Sonicare toothbrush and after that the George Foreman Grill and OxiClean, and then more recently you mentioned the GoPro camera, and there are lots and lots of products in between.

But one of the first things that I like to do is if the product is out in the marketplace already, even on a very, very small scale, I think it’s hugely important for a business owner, company, marketing director, whatever, to reach out to the existing customers and talk to them about why they bought the product. I’ve always brought a video camera and actually recorded the people that I’m interviewing so that we can later use that video either in a direct response television ad or online or on the website.

But I found if I do that, it’s a great first step for any product that I’m going to market because really the customer or the consumer tells me everything they like about the product, everything they don’t like. And if you talk to 15 or 20 people, you get a pretty good idea of the hot buttons that you need to market to regardless of the product or the category.

Doug: That’s an interesting approach. I mean, like you said, we’ve got some sales here, lots of sales, but to go out and to learn about your product, and I guess that maybe gives you an opportunity for new improvements to the products well.

Rick Cesari: Oh, absolutely. One of the things that is important too, and I have a sheet that’s free for your listeners called The Five Keys to Build a Great Brand, but one of the things on there is really establishing how you differentiate your product from every other product in the marketplace. In other words, what do you do with your product or service that is different from everybody else? Because the minute you’re the same as everybody else, you’re a commodity and you get commodity pricing, where if you can differentiate your product from other products out there, then you’re able to command a higher price and actually, you know, generate more sales.

I’ll give you a couple of examples, and this will go way back, and even more current. You know, we talked about the Sonicare toothbrush. Well, when the Sonicare toothbrush came out it was a $150 product when most people were used to paying a couple bucks for a toothbrush, or even less. So what was different about this product? The fact was it had the sonic technology.

But there’s another marketing tip I’m sure you’ve heard Doug, features tell and benefits sell. So sonic technology was the feature, but the benefit was that it could clean beyond the bristles, and no toothbrush could do that. So it enabled it to kind of reach into the nooks and crannies of your teeth and actually help reverse gum disease, and that was the category, the space that they were able to come and dominate and the thing that differentiated the Sonicare toothbrush.

Take it to a more recent example, the GoPro camera. Here is a camera startup, and you think about the competition like Sony and Panasonic and even Kodak, which I think is out of business or bankrupt now. They were fighting against these giant camera companies, so what did GoPro do? They basically turned the camera around, and through using a series of very innovative mounts that you could mount on your wrist or mount on your helmet or mount on your bike or your surfboard, enabled you to take great pictures of yourself, and that differentiated their camera and camera technology from everybody else out there, and was the basic reason that they were able to grow as quickly as they did.

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Create awareness for the product and always have some type of offer and a way for people to respond

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Doug: Absolutely. I mean they made it waterproof. I remember with our kids we were scuba diving and my son brought his GoPro.

Rick Cesari: Oh, absolutely. You know, they did a lot of things like that. They started the company … They took a category that was open to them … There’s a great book called The Blue Ocean Strategy that basically talks about finding a category that you can dominate … Where’s the blue ocean when you sail your ship out of the harbour? Where can you go where no other boats are? That’s something that all small businesses or products should look for, is what category they could dominate.

And with the GoPro camera, they were looking really at extreme athletes, the mountain bikers, the guys that jump off the cliffs in their Columbus squirrel suits, the flying suits, and underwater scuba divers. So they picked that category and that’s where they kind of planted their flag and had a lot of initial success. But as the company grew, they started making videos that appeal to pet owners and to kids with families and other uses for the camera besides the extreme athletes.

Doug: So how do you help your clients do that? Like I’ve heard that before and I understand, because that’s what we practice as well, is what’s your USP? So for a lot of business owners, they may be listening to the podcast going yeah, that’s easy for you to say, but my business is … Fill in the blank. It’s the same as everybody else’s.

If they said that to me, I would say until we can differentiate it, there’s really no conversation to have because, like you said, you’re a commodity. So how do you walk people through that process to create something? I mean if they have an existing business, you know, they may not have the ability or the desire to just say I’m going to change businesses.

Rick Cesari: Yeah. No, I hear you loud and clear. I think it’s just really looking at maybe taking a same product or service and appealing to a smaller niche. I think there’s a saying like if you try to appeal to everybody you’ll appeal to nobody, and really breaking down kind of a target demographic, that you can position your product to be different.

I’ll give you an example. Coffee is one of the biggest commodities there is out there. You live up in Vancouver. You know we have lots of great coffeehouses. I don’t know if you’ve talked about or heard the story about Death Wish Coffee. The guy who started that company was from Saratoga, New York, not exactly the coffee capital of the world. He owned a coffee shop and it was struggling and actually going out of business, and he basically decided that some of the people that were coming in there were blue-collar type workers and they enjoyed a really strong cup of coffee.

So he basically took something that was a commodity, like how do I differentiate my coffee or my coffee shop or my coffee business, and basically made it into the world’s strongest cup of coffee, and now they’re doing gangbusters online and Amazon and everywhere else.

Doug: That’s really cool, and like you said, it just takes paying attention and making that shift. So he didn’t close his coffee shop, he just changed his focus on what he was doing.

Rick Cesari: Yeah. Absolutely. And I think, again, it goes back to one of the very first things we talked about, which is talking to your existing customers and finding out what they like. Why are they your customers? Why are they buying your product? What is it about your product? And then seeing if you can take that and craft that into a message or a marketing message that you can use in your advertising.

Doug: So I want to back up just a little bit, because often I find that, you know, I could have … You know, you and I could chat for hours because I love where you’re coming from and I love direct response. But share with us just an overview for our listeners who don’t understand what you mean by direct response marketing.

Rick Cesari: Sure. I guess the best way is to compare it to brand marketing. The purpose of when you do brand advertising or brand marketing, and again this can go into a lot more detail, is really to create awareness for the product. So I guess the basic tenet of direct response marketing, and I can recommend a good book for people to start if they want to learn about it, is that there’s always some type of offer and a way for people to respond.

So if you look at any of the types of advertising for the products that I’ve mentioned, they always had … In the past, it was an 800 number. Now it’s a URL to go to a website, some type of offer, a percent discount … Most eCommerce marketers are doing this now. You’re on Amazon, you’re doing directly to consumer marketing.

It’s basically direct to consumer marketing, but always including some type of offer and response mechanisms so that when your advertising gets people excited about the product, they have the ability to act on it and actually purchase the product. If you just … For example, turn on the TV and you can look at advertisements, and the majority of them are brand advertisements. There’s no way to order the product unless you Google it. Direct response advertising makes it very easy for the people to purchase because there’s always an offer and a way to respond.

Doug: Yeah. That’s a great explanation. You’re right. I mean the goal here is I’m here to build my business, and I would tell people in the past that we can’t afford to build a brand like we’re not going to build a Coca-Cola or a McDonald’s or a Ford or pick a brand. We need to sell some stuff to get there, which means when I spend a dollar on advertising like you said earlier, you want to see good ROI, like two times or more ROI.

Rick Cesari: Yeah. The book … You know, if anyone is interested in learning more about direct response advertising, you mentioned a couple of my books, but those are a little bit, you know, more about the specific case studies. But a really good book, one of the first ones I read on direct response marketing, is called The No BS Guide to Direct Response Marketing by a guy named Dan Kennedy.

Doug: Yeah. Yeah. I know Dan.

Rick Cesari: Okay. So really that’s a really great basic book that will show any type … It doesn’t matter if you’re a dentist, a lawyer, you’re selling products. It’s a really great introduction to how to use the direct response as a way to help market your business.

Doug: That’s funny. I’ll take my turn at dating myself as well. I started buying Dan’s stuff when I was getting three-ring binders and cassette tapes.

Rick Cesari: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I think he still sells a lot of the stuff that way. He actually has a whole series of books, and like I said, if any of your listeners are interested in learning more about direct response, that’s a great place to start.

Doug: Absolutely. Yep. I’ve used his stuff and am very familiar with the long-form direct response, multi-step direct mail because it works.

Rick Cesari: Uh-huh (affirmative). Absolutely.

Doug: So, you know, moving forward and looking into your crystal ball as someone who’s built a number of brands, how do you see the marketplace changing? We had … You know, I would think a direct response typically is DRTV.

Rick Cesari: Right.

Doug: So it would be a late night and it would be long-form infomercials, and that still obviously is happening and it’s still having success, or people wouldn’t be spending money there. So where do you see the marketplace transitioning?

Rick Cesari: This is a really important point for anybody listening, is to really understand the underlying principles of direct response. What we have now is … Some people call it a marketing nightmare, but I think it’s really a marketing opportunity because there are so many different ways of reaching the consumer through different distribution channels.

When we go out and use direct response TV now … And not every product uses that or works, but we have to have … That’s like just one leg of a stool, and the other leg is you have to be on Amazon, and the other leg is you have to have a good website where you can do eCommerce.

I’m a really big believer in a concept called omnichannel marketing or multi-channel marketing, because I believe there’s a real synergy between offering the product in different places and really offering … Letting people buy … This is a concept that I’ve been talking about for years and years and years. You need to let the consumer buy the product where they’re the most comfortable purchasing it. It’s hard to know exactly where that is, so you need to have your product available on Amazon, available on your own website.

There are some benefits to the omnichannel marketing … Is that I’ve always found that as you’re marketing through those different channels there’s a synergistic effect, where they start to work together, where two plus two equals six instead of four, because of the synergy between the marketing that you’re doing.

Doug: Yeah, I agree, and we’ve seen that as well, where we would advertise in traditional online media, maybe display, and then we’d add pay per click, whether it’s with Google, Facebook, Bing, or whoever we’re using, and add into that mix social media, and we always found that, like you said, by advertising in multiple channels, that they pull together a good story, they probably build confidence in the consumer because they saw you in a number of different places, and we got better ROI.

Rick Cesari: Absolutely, and you hit the nail on the head. It’s something that works almost every time with every product. I’m leaving out many, many parts of this. When I talk about having your own website, it’s not only a place for the customer to purchase, but it’s also then the place where you can deliver great content so they’ll keep coming back to your website.

Then probably the most important aspect of it is developing your own database so that you can re-market to the customers and stay in contact with them. And it’s really important … I’ve mentioned like Amazon and your own website, and a lot of people … I work with a lot of large Amazon sellers, I mean they’re doing 10 million, 15 million, 20 million, and no matter how big and successful the business, they’re all scared to death that Amazon is going to change something and their business is going to disappear overnight.

The best way to combat them, I tell them, is to basically develop a brand presence or develop alternative sales channels in addition to Amazon, and instead of Amazon being the be all and end all, that it really becomes just one part of your distribution for your product.

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Create awareness for the product and always have some type of offer and a way for people to respond

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Doug: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I feel the same way around … Just around media in general. For example, I’m working with some clients in the CBD space, so they have a medical grade product, and Google and Facebook and Twitter have said no ads. So for people who had, you know, invested 100% of their marketing strategy in those platforms, and maybe like you said didn’t build the database, now they’re kind of scratching their heads to … You know, now where do I go to market my product, because they put all their eggs in the one basket.

Rick Cesari: Yeah. Oh, absolutely. Let me give you a good example because it really is kind of the underlying strategy that really helped GoPro have exponential growth. Basically, when we first started doing TV advertisements for them, first of all, it was user-generated footage, so it was very inexpensive to make the advertisements. That was nice because it was very authentic.

But at the end of every ad, we told people to go to the website and someone will win one of everything we make every single day, so we had a contest. Three things would happen when people go to the website. They would go to the website and register, so we’d be capturing their names, and we were able to build the database and market new products or just continue the marketing of the existing products.

People would get to the website and they would see all the additional content, all the cool videos, and they would share them with other people, and they created a type of viral marketing. The third is really kind of what it was all about. They would get to the website and they would see the products and they would order and spend money.

But we did … In keeping with the direct response mindset, that’s what we did at the end of each ad, is we basically were making people an offer that they could potentially win something free. Somebody would win something free every day, and we were able to build a huge database and help create, you know, a viral sales growth.

Doug: That’s really a unique story. I mean it’s interesting, but it’s not shocking to me, because that’s kind of the approach that I think makes sense. So, listeners, there’s your opportunity. Build your database, but I like that because you have the chance for viral. My favourite part about your story was and people bought stuff. That’s why we’re in business. So for people who aren’t comfortable making the sales pitch themselves, I mean this is a great opportunity for your cash register to ring while you’re sleeping.

Rick Cesari: Uh-huh (affirmative). Yep.

Doug: So do you want to expand a little bit on what you’re doing in the Amazon space, because I have seen in your background that that’s an area that you’re having a lot of success with.

Rick Cesari: Well, you know, Amazon has just been … You know this is no surprise to anybody. I mean you just look at out in any magazine or online, but Amazon’s presence has been growing exponentially as a form of marketing.

Two years ago, I gave the keynote talk at a conference in Las Vegas called the Prosper Show. It was about 1,800 people, and it’s kind of the top Amazon sellers in the country. As I mentioned before, they … Amazon is a great place to build product sales and build a business, but one of the things is that they do everything for you.

So there are people that really know how to do … Have two skills. They know a product category and they’re able to manufacture well, and then Amazon does all the marketing for them. So they were very elementary in other types of marketing that they could be doing, and so there was definitely a great reception to learning about other ways to market.

But kind of the work I’m doing now, and you mentioned it a little bit earlier, I do a lot of work with helping people create videos that perform better, and Amazon is basically allowing more and more video. Now, you know, there are ways to do it. Not everybody can just put a video up on Amazon. You have to have a brand page. In order to do that, you have to have a trademark or copyright for your product.

But if you do that, some of the statistics are pretty staggering. We’ve seen that you can increase sales conversion by up to 20% by just having a good product demonstration video and some testimonial videos. So I’m working with a lot of companies to help them with their video strategy on Amazon.

Doug: I see videos everywhere. I’m excited about the video for a bunch of reasons, and I remember business associates years ago just grinding it out trying to get their video business moving, and now here we are having a conversation, talking about Amazon and video. We’ve had conversations earlier about Facebook serving up video ads cheaper than their other ads, as they want to compete with Google and YouTube, so there you go. The video, again, is at the forefront of Amazon.

Rick Cesari: Oh, absolutely. It’s really … You know from doing your podcast and the marketing that you do that video is just kind of … It’s not the new trend, but it’s just kind of like a growing tidal wave that’s going to get more and more and more, especially with … You and I were talking a little bit earlier about using it on mobile devices. You know, it’s really simple, if you just … There are some great video statistics, but videos work so well really because of the simple fact that it appeals to two senses as opposed to one, when you’re just reading the text. Images come alive when you’re using video.

Doug: Absolutely. So if somebody is listening to this and saying okay, that sounds good, where do they start? I mean it’s … Getting into a direct response or understanding the direct response, opposed to just running ads on their social media platforms, where would they get started?

Rick Cesari: I don’t know if I can answer that because it would have to … It would be more business specific or product specific.

Doug: What steps would people take them to move to more of a direct response, opposed to likely the typical advertising they’re doing now with the local newspaper or maybe the local radio station or they’re running ads on Facebook?

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Create awareness for the product and always have some type of offer and a way for people to respond

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Rick Cesari: Oh, okay. So really it’s just doing what I talked about before, which is taking any advertising, if they’re currently using any advertising, and making sure that there’s some type of offer and a way to … Like some people … Again, another … I don’t mean to be bashing brand ads all the time, but another thing about a brand and is like they’ll put a website up and they’ll put it up in the last three seconds of a commercial, so you barely catch it.

So with a direct response ad, you want to have the response mechanism, and in this case it’s more, you know, your website address or even a text code that people can use, and you want to basically just have a way for people to respond or go to your website or go to Amazon, a place where you’re driving them to create the sales and some type of specific offer which is basically giving them a reason to go there.

Sometimes it can be a 10% discount on your first order. It could be a buy one, get one free. This is where, you know, they need to do a little bit of educating about some of the different types of direct response offers out there. One of the nice things about direct response, I’m using some of the same tactics and strategies, I’d say, that worked 20 years ago, and it’s just the delivery vehicle is different.

So once again, if you understand those underlying strategies, you can implement them regardless of the advertising vehicle, like you said, newspaper, radio, Facebook, wherever.

Doug: Well, and I think … I don’t want to gloss over one of your other comments, and that was that as business owners we need to make sure that we are selling our products or services in places that our potential customers are comfortable buying.

Rick Cesari: Oh, absolutely.

Doug: So to say hey, I’m just going to sell on my website, I don’t want to sell on Amazon or I don’t want to have a Facebook Marketplace store or fill in the blank, right, that’s a bit of a mind shift, because of lots of times … I’m thinking of the way that I sell. I’ve got some areas or ways that I sell that I’m comfortable with, but are there other ways that my clients might buy from me if I was there?

Rick Cesari: Absolutely. So it’s two things. It’s the place you’re selling it, and then also we talked a little bit before about the different marketing channels that you can use. So what I’ve found is if you can make a direct response offer work in one marketing channel, you can usually make it work in the other marketing channels and generate sales, regardless of where that consumer is receiving the message.

Doug: Yeah. That’s really neat. So tell us a little bit about your current book. Your first book was Buy Now and-

Rick Cesari: Buy Now. People can get that on Amazon.

Doug: Yeah. And the second book that you’ve got is all about branding.

Rick Cesari: Well, it’s called Building Billion Dollar Brands. It’s basically a lot of stuff we talked about today, but it’s building the brands using direct response marketing.

Doug: So if our readers … Our listeners are to read you’re a book, are they going to see like from beginning to end how you grew some of these brands from an idea to the sales and the brand names that they are today?

Rick Cesari: Yeah. Absolutely. With Go Pro … There are lots of others we didn’t even talk about, lots of others that we didn’t talk about. There’s a product in the book called SoBe Supreme, which is basically SoBe cooking. That’s a product that started as a startup and is doing close to $50 million in sales now, and basically how they just used Amazon and online videos, cooking videos, to grow that whole business. So lots of basically start to finish stories with some products that your listeners will definitely recognize.

Doug: That’s really cool. I mean I could talk to you for hours, just because I absolutely love this, and I like your approach and your recommendations. The Dan Kennedy stuff I would also recommend listeners. I’ve bought if not all of his books, just about all of his books, and the pages are pretty worn, so there’s some good information there if you want to get a good handle on direct response.

So, Rick, where’s the best place for people to track you down and find you?

Rick Cesari: Actually my website, which is rickcesari.com, R-I-C-K, and my last name is C-E-S-A-R-I, rickcesari.com. Actually, I have a couple free handouts for people, The Five Keys to Building a Great Brand, and then also How To Make Any Video Work Better. They can get that at my website /R-M-R-F, which stands for Real Marketing Real Fast, so rickcesari.com/RMRF.

Doug: Excellent. Hey, thank you very much for those generous offers. A couple more questions and we’ll let you get back to your busy day in sunny Seattle. What are you most excited about in the next say six to 12 months in your business?

Rick Cesari: I’m working on a couple projects. I just got back from England, working with a company that was developed by a husband and wife, they’re a surgeon and a dentist over there. It’s an oral spray technology for supplements, and it’s called Instavit. We’re in the middle of doing … Kind of building a marketing campaign that will launch in the fall, so that’s really exciting.

One thing I love about this business is being able to go from product to product and really be involved with a lot of fast-growing businesses, because you see the whole management part of it and how businesses deal with fast growth, so that’s really cool. So that’s a pretty exciting product.

Then IA doesn’t know if you’re a golfer or not, that something … Another hobby I like to do. We’re launching a product, you can find it online or Amazon, it’s called Ixia Sports, I-X-I-A, ixiasports.com. It’s a putting training system. That’s one where I’m actually a part owner of the product. We’re going to be launching a commercial on the Golf Channel in mid-July, so-

Doug: That’s exciting. Yeah, I like golf. I know people will spend endless amounts of money to learn how to drive a few yards further or two, to be able to sink that putt.

Rick Cesari: Yeah. So we’re counting on that to help our sales. We just got finished filming a commercial just actually last Thursday-Friday, and we’re in the process of putting it together. You can look for that on the Golf Channel in mid-July.

Doug: Super good, and I will track you down and look up what you’re doing on Amazon as well because obviously, that’s a growing marketplace. What’s interesting is I think that the way that the consumers are shopping obviously has changed, so that’s not a new revelation, but what was interesting for me was I found myself for the very first time talking to a customer service rep about a product I had purchased from them, and I was on their help chat line.

The help chat line said the product I had bought, it was out-of-date. They weren’t servicing it anymore. It was a technology product, so the shelf life is pretty short, but they made me an online chat offer. So that was the first time I had experienced that. They said well, the router that you had bought, we’ve got an updated version and we’ll make you a special discount offer because you’re a registered customer. So that was the first revelation for me. I had never experienced that before, wherein a help chat I got an offer from a help desk.

But the second thing for me that was kind of surprising is that I found myself going to Amazon and doing a price comparison while this person was making me this special discount. I’m not mentioning the brand, but … Because when I got to Amazon, I could buy it for less money on Amazon than the special offer that they were making. So there’s a perfect example of an opportunity that that brand missed, because it only took me a few seconds to type in the model number that they were recommending to see that yes, in fact, I could get it from Amazon and I wouldn’t have to pay for shipping and purchase it there instead of purchasing from the … You know, the same product, but instead of purchasing from the person making the offer.

Rick Cesari: Yeah. It really boils down to companies pay thousands and thousands of dollars to try and engage with the customer, and here in the customer service department, if done correctly, should be great customer service, but it should also be a profit center, because any time you can solve a person’s problem, they’re very happy and it’s an opportunity to sell them, but solve the problem first, not sales first. So that’s really cool.

Then just out of curiosity, one of my … I have a big client, we get together every two weeks for breakfast down in Seattle, that does computer peripherals. He’s one of the ones that have a seven-figure Amazon business called Pluggable. I don’t know if that’s one of the companies you were dealing with or purchased anything from?

Doug: Nope. That wasn’t the company. Actually, it was Linksys.

Rick Cesari: Oh, okay.

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Doug: So anyhow, who’s one guest that you think I absolutely have to have on my podcast?

Rick Cesari: Well, it’s an either/or. They work for the same company. I have to reveal I’m on the board of advisors of this company. It’s a local Seattle company here called Natural Stacks. They make supplements that are good for the brain, dopamine, serotonin, they have a patented product called CILTEP, and they’re really a study on how you can build a business and market in the new marketing using influencers and doing daily emails and content marketing.

Basically the name … Roy Krebs is one of the founders, and Ben Herbert is one of the founders, and Ben is the CMO. I’m happy to forward your contact information with them, but they would be really fascinating about … Because their company is only three years old, very successful, and how to do direct to consumer marketing and launch a product in today’s marketing world.

Doug: That would be really cool. Super. Obviously, that’s kind of the way the marketplace is working. I don’t know what your thinking is in terms of technology, but I think that today it’s probably easier than it’s ever been for people to take advantage of the direct response space because the barriers to entry just seem to be a lot lower in terms of technology and media.

Rick Cesari: Oh, absolutely. You see it in … I read a fascinating article … I know we’re limited time … A couple of weeks ago, and it was kind of about how what they call mini-brands are taking over because it is so easy for a company to basically be a virtual company, source a product … And I’ll use the mattress category, products like Casper and there’s several others that really are mini-brands in a category that was dominated, old school, with big brands that did traditional marketing, that if someone is nimble enough with their marketing they can create a brand very quickly, and I agree with you that there’s never been a more exciting time to be a marketer because of all the tools at our disposal.

Doug: Yep, and the ability now for us to be publishers, to have a blog, like you said, write an email, publish on social media, create and publish a video and just get started. I had heard Kevin Harrington speak at an event and he was talking about infomercials and his first start and what it cost him to produce his first infomercial. He said, “Anyone in the audience that’s got an iPhone, hold it up.” He said, “You have more technology in your hands today than I did when I launched my business.”

Rick Cesari: Absolutely.

Doug: So there you go, no reason to not do that. I want to thank you very much for taking time out of your day and sharing with our audience some insights on what you’re doing and how people may learn to be better marketers and get that minimum two times ROI on their direct response advertising.

Rick Cesari: Thanks. It’s been a pleasure. I really enjoyed the opportunity, Doug, so thank you.

Doug: So there you go listeners. We’re going to wrap up another episode of Real Marketing Real Fast. I can’t recommend more highly the opportunity for direct response. It’s a world that I live in. I love it because it works. I tell people I’m tactic agnostic, so having had this conversation with Rick and looking at his website and his background, I would encourage you to check him out, take a closer look at what he’s doing, and follow up on some of the books that he recommended, whether it’s Rick’s books, or as he mentioned some of Dan Kennedy’s books, to kind of what your appetite and see what’s possible with direct response.

So thanks for tuning in. It is always our pleasure serving you. I appreciate that you took time out of your busy day to listen to this podcast. I’d recommend heading over to the show notes and clicking through and checking out the links that we put there to Rick’s episode as well as heading over to iTunes. If you’re not subscribed, please subscribe. I’d be happy if you would also leave us an honest review. So looking forward to serving you on our next episode. Thanks so much for tuning in.

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Create awareness for the product and always have some type of offer and a way for people to respond

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The Five Keys to Build a Great Brand – CLICK HERE

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Find out more about Rick:

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  • Book (Coming Soon): Building Billion Dollar Brands

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"Innovation isn't just thinking outside the box; it's about setting the box on fire and building something extraordinary from the ashes."

Doug Morneau