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.


Social Media marketing strategies that drive sales with Marty Mcdonald

  • Marty starts with social and then helps clients integrate that to their overall sales and marketing strategy moving forward.
  • So what’s the plan? Let’s plan for this, let’s work on this. Because sometimes people still think, even though it’s 2020, they think the Internet’s magic.
  • I’m a big fan, especially in e-commerce, of email.
  • You can’t set it and forget it, even though on the face, it looks good. So that’s been one of the eye-opening things.
  • I love micro-influencers. Give me somebody that has 500 listeners to their podcast, and they have an email open rate of 75%. Because those are more powerful especially than trying to go and get a celebrity to endorse your product.

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Marty starts with social and then helps clients integrate that to their overall sales and marketing strategy moving forward

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Doug Morneau: Well, welcome back listeners to another episode of Real Marketing Real Fast. Today in the studio I’ve got joining me a fellow marketing agency owner, Marty McDonald. He is the co-founder and CEO of a company called Bad Rhino, which is a full-service social media marketing agency. When I first talked to Marty, he said he starts with social and then will help his clients integrate that to their overall sales and marketing plan and strategy moving forward.


Doug Morneau: Since about 2002, Marty’s consulted with small businesses, startups, and many other businesses to help them succeed online. Bad Rhino is a full-service social media agency, it’s a digital agency that was founded in 2011. And today their services … They service clients locally, nationally, and globally. Marty’s also a podcaster, and he is an author. And the name of his podcast is Taps and Tees, which you’ll be able to check out in the show notes. And the book he’s written as an author is Great Beer is not Enough.

Doug Morneau: One of the reasons that he said Bad Rhino’s grown to be so successful so quickly is due to their ability to develop truly unique and highly customizable strategies that create really incredible exposure for their clients and businesses. So their full-service approach means that they not only create these amazing strategies and plans, but they also stick around to help implement them, manage the day today, and that includes delivering messaging to their customers.

Doug Morneau: So, I’d like to welcome Marty McDonald to the Real Marketing Real Fast podcast today. Hey Marty, super excited to have you on the podcast today. So welcome to the Real Marketing Real Fast podcast.

Marty McDonald: Hey Doug, great to be here. I appreciate it and looking forward to it.

Doug Morneau: I really love talking all things marketing, and it’s great to talk to a fellow digital marketer, podcaster, and author. So looking forward to having a conversation and just helping our listeners understand a little bit more about what you do and your focus. So, when we started talking to you for the recording, I said, “Hey, what’s kind of your superpower?” And you said, “I help people with social, we kind of lead with that.” So, why don’t we just lead with that now and just kind of walk us through the process of what that means for you guys, and what that typically means for your clients?

Marty McDonald: Absolutely. And thanks again, Doug, for having me on. Bad Rhino is a social media marketing agency. We founded it at the end of 2010, so we’re actually entering into our tenth year.

Doug Morneau: Well, congrats.

Marty McDonald: Thank you. I’ve been playing around in marketing, and digital marketing especially, since 2002. So a lot of times I feel like a dinosaur when I talk about the old stuff. But it was also a good foundation for education. Learn to code, and you get to create all these things. And now you see the evolution in ten years with Bad Rhino. We started off with just social media, and it’s evolved into a full-service digital agency where you’re doing a little bit of everything. And that’s just what our clients had demanded, and we started delivering that because of the internet and social media kind of morph together. And that’s been the way we’ve approached everything, is for full-service custom solutions for our clients, whether they’re large or small, and give them what they need, and not try and focus in on one or two areas just to make it look good. But take a look at their marketing holistically, and where digital fits in, create that plan and get the results.

Doug Morneau: Well that makes sense. I mean, I’ve often said that if there’s one tactic that you sell … So I tell people I’m tactic agnostic because if I only sell one solution, then obviously that’s the answer to every question my client has. As opposed to finding out what’s the best fit for them to move the sales dial or grow their business.

Marty McDonald: Absolutely. And that’s one of the things you have to focus on, right? You have to take a look at what’s working for them. Sometimes people come to you and they’re so enamored with whatever that new, shiny object is. And for years, it was Facebook. And then it became various other smaller channels, and then it became something else, and then it became something else. And we would have people come to us, and the first question I’d ask them was, “Well, what’s working for you now?” And they’re like, “Wow, we run this amazing direct mail postcard campaign that attributes 85% of our revenue.” And I’ll turn around and say to them, “Well, maybe instead of branching into digital, why don’t you just scale up that direct mail campaign a little bit more. And if you’re spending $100,000 on it, maybe spend $150,000 on it.”

Marty McDonald: And they kind of stop dead in their tracks. Because if it’s working, and it’s generating revenue, and you’re getting an ROI from it, who am I to tell you to move away from it? Those things still work. It’s just getting that message into the right hands.

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Marty starts with social and then helps clients integrate that to their overall sales and marketing strategy moving forward

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Doug Morneau: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I guess the other side too is often people try to do everything. They want to be on every platform and have a presence everywhere. And I’ll just let you respond to that.

Marty McDonald: Sure, no. And there’s a spot for that though, too. I mean, I think being in all those places is really smart. You shouldn’t just put everything in one spot, that’s not what I’m saying. Should you be everywhere with loads of content and things of that nature? No, not necessarily. But should you make sure your Google business page is set up properly, make sure you have a Facebook page? Leaving it dormant isn’t necessarily the answer. But also too, like we just said, if you have other things that are working, just make sure people can find you. And I think that’s step one. But people over complicate it sometimes in thinking they have to do everything like you just said.

Marty McDonald: Just figure out where it fits into that marketing wheel, and then start to build out those things. Sometimes you can do it fast, and sometimes you need to. Other times you can just do a little bit more slowly because other things are working for you and business is good.

Doug Morneau: So when you say you lead with social, what does that look like? So if you’re talking to our audience, they’re going, “Okay, so what does that look like? I have a LinkedIn profile, and I have a Facebook page.” Where do you go beyond that?

Marty McDonald: Yeah, so I think when we say, “Lead with social,” that’s where we started. That’s where we won the majority of our awards in social media. I mean, we were doing social media marketing before there was an ad platform on Facebook. It’s different ten years ago. I mean, completely different. When you look at screenshots of what it looked like back then, you kind of go, “Whoa,” right? So when we say lead with social, that’s where we started. So our agency leads with social media. We have our hands in a lot of different things, and we know, and our team knows how it works, and how to make it work for a client.

Marty McDonald: But those things are, again, going back to what we just spoke about a few seconds ago, those things should fit into your marketing, right? You’re not going to go 100% and say, “Okay, now I’m just going to sell on LinkedIn and do social selling.” You have to build those things. So what’s the plan? Let’s plan for this, let’s work on this. Because sometimes people still think, even though it’s 2020, they think the Internet’s magic. Like, “Oh, I’m going to get all the leads and all the sales all at once.” And you and I both know, as you laughed there, that’s not the case. You have to build it out, you have to plan. There are content pieces. What do you want these people to do when they see your information? What’s the call to action? How do we get them into a place where you can buy them?

Marty McDonald: So, we start off with everything, and all but one of our clients, we do social for, in one way, shape, or form. Either consulting or actually create it and push it all out there. So, when I say, “Lead with social,” that’s how our agency is. But going back to the other point, we don’t want to be just, “Oh, you should be on social media because we said so.” Let’s look at what a good solution is for you, let’s take the time to unpack that, and understand where your sales come from. And let’s build out those proper sales funnels, or those proper pieces of information on those channels to bring you more, or raise your profile, or just create brand awareness. Everybody has different needs.

Doug Morneau: Yeah, absolutely. And I’m still a big fan of direct mail.

Marty McDonald: Me too, it’s the best.

Doug Morneau: Because it works. So, and now looking at technology coming along with intentional direct mail, the ability to send a card or a note to someone who visits your website. So yeah, I mean, it’s just interesting how the technology’s evolving. I mean, people thought direct mail was dead, now we’ve got technology that’s enabling it with a website. Whether you’re using Pearls or you’re using intentional direct mail. And who knows what the future holds. It’s going to be a lot different than it is today for sure.

Marty McDonald: [inaudible 00:08:38] trap in the personal URLs in there, right? It’s funny, we were just having a conversation about that with one of my friends who’s also in marketing. And he’s like, “Every time somebody thinks something is quote, unquote dead,” He’s like, “That’s when I start to go and take a look at it and resuscitate it.” I’m a big fan, especially in e-commerce, of email. And people, they’ll say, “Well, we don’t want to hound the people. We don’t want to have these constant emails.” And I was like, “Well, Dick’s Sporting Goods here sends me an email about, what feels like, about twice an hour. But it’s all with relevant information for me.”

Marty McDonald: I’m a big golfer. So when golf season comes around, they’re sending me sales to that. Or they have a clearance sale. And it’s all tailored towards me and my previous purchases. Now, that’s way more advanced than what a lot of e-commerce has. But, if they’re sending six, seven emails a week, don’t you think you should? What’s the harm in that? Now, you might not have a product that has multi or multi-products in your store. But at the same time, following that, they do that for a reason. Because, oh, I don’t know, it works.

Doug Morneau: It works, yeah. Yeah, I mean, I was interviewing a guest, and she’s the email deliverability person for an organization called change.org.

Marty McDonald: Okay, yeah. I’m familiar with that.

Doug Morneau: Yeah. So we’re talking about email and does email work? And she’s saying, “Yeah, we do 300 million emails.” So yeah, they’re a big fan of email. And it’s all for social good, is the whole premise behind that. So yeah, it’s not dead. And frequency, to your point, if it’s relevant, we’re interested. And we got into the conversation around segmentation and segmenting your list for people who respond. And to your point, what you’re interested in. You’re interested in golf, so I could probably send you, knowing just a little bit of your background, we could talk about golf and craft beer a lot. And there’s probably a lot of other topics where you’d be just happy to get some information once a month.

Marty McDonald: Yeah, absolutely. 100% correct.

Doug Morneau: So looking at the landscape today, is there a client example that you want to share with us? Maybe give somebody a shout out of how you helped them kind of transform where they were to where they are today? And name them or not name them, that’s totally up to you.

Marty McDonald: Sure, yeah. No, I never name clients without their permission. But I’ll give you one really … It’s a very recent example. And it’s something I think is relevant to anybody out there that are running paid ads. It doesn’t matter the platform. This one’s Google. But, they have a budget that they’re spending right now of $50,000 a month. And the ROI that they’re getting on the face wasn’t awful. They were getting about 2.75-ish to one. So for every dollar, they’re spending, they’re getting $2.75 back.

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Marty starts with social and then helps clients integrate that to their overall sales and marketing strategy moving forward

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Marty McDonald: And it wasn’t, again, it wasn’t awful. But, they were just kind of coasting along. And they brought in somebody to oversee all their marketing, right? It’s an e-commerce brand, they have different products for different things. Some of its sportswear, some of it is for post-surgery, compression things. And, the interesting part about it is when talking with them, and once somebody brings up, “Oh, we want to bring in a new agency.” It sends off sirens in my head, like, “Oh man, here we go. What’s the issue?” Because most times that I find, when people want to switch agencies, it’s a huge communication.

Marty McDonald: And I’m not knocking clients, but it is just … Sometimes they’re not getting their point across, or they don’t understand. So you have to … I always spend more time with that type of potential client, or my team does, to understand where they’re coming from. Because you need to understand that, right?

Marty McDonald: So they’re telling me, and [inaudible 00:12:31], and that’s not their main thing. Their main thing isn’t necessarily e-commerce at this point. But they want to grow it. They know that’s where they want to take the company. So, the whole point here, in telling you what we did, or what we started to do, and we’re continuing to do, is once we dove in there, you see a lot of things. Now they’re with an agency for well over a year, I think close to two, actually. And like I said, when you see the reports, the numbers don’t look bad on the face. It’s like 2.75 to one. They want to be closer to four. And for that type of brand, and that type of traffic, and everything else that they are in the marketplace, that’s not only doable, but that’s a realistic goal. They’re not trying to get 10 to one, 20 to one, that type of stuff, right?

Marty McDonald: So they’re looking four to one. And, they were talking about low hanging fruit. That the other agency wasn’t listening to them. Like, “Why aren’t we doing remarketing? Why aren’t we doing these things that are sitting out there? Why aren’t we doing these things that seem pretty simple?” So we started to look at it. And the most interesting thing is that … And this is where I’m saying where the point is. so if you’re a business owner and you’re running paid ads, and you have somebody else doing it, and your reports look good, you want to make sure that you have something in there that works out really well. That you’re diving in there a little bit deeper, right?

Marty McDonald: Because on the face, as I said, the numbers look perfect. But then we got in there, and they were spending $25,000 was converting. The other $25,000 was basically fluff, right? And it was like, “Well, where’s this fluff coming from?” They basically set it and forget it. That was the weirdest part, as you have a client that’s spending $50,000, so $600,000 a year. Which is a big chunk of change? They’re getting decent results because they see it. And they had associated revenue coming in. But they never really dove deep into what was actually happening. So we saw all these nonperforming ads, we see all these other things that were going on that just weren’t working. And in one week, we didn’t get them right to the magic number, but we cut their ad spend down with the same results, down close to 30. But with the same exact results.

Marty McDonald: So they saved $20 grand right off the bat that we can just use to scale back up. So right then and there, the lesson here is if things are just going smoothly, and you like the numbers, sometimes you don’t want to upset the apple cart. But the algorithms on all these things change so much that you really have to sit there and pay attention to this day in and day out. You can’t set it and forget it, even though on the face, it looks good. So that’s been one of the eye-opening things. We do that all the time. But this one was just so extreme that I was just like, “Whoa. Yeah, you guys are worried about remarketing and all that, but all these other things you want to add in with YouTube and tons of other things. But right here on the face, this is just broken right here.”

Marty McDonald: So that was the first three days. And a month later, they were like, “Wow, we can’t believe we were just wasting that much money.”

Doug Morneau: Yeah, it’s funny. I mean, I’m working on a project right now where I said I wanted to introduce this ad attribution software because they’re working with two different agencies. And said, “Well, why would you want to do that?” I said, “Well, exactly to your point. We can’t attribute your conversions, your sales, to the right agency and the right ads the way you’re currently running. You’re just getting this high-level view. Which looks good because you’re generating leads, but there’s going to be a hole in the bucket someplace. And we need to find the hole and plug it.”

Marty McDonald: And there’s a lot more technical stuff that I could mention. But, the interesting part about it, at a very … And this happens more and more recently with us. Where we’re called in, and somebody on my team starts to unpack it. And I’m very direct. And I know it’s such a hackneyed expression. But no BS. But it’s true. If we find something and I say, “Hey, we can’t fix that.” I’ll tell you, or I’ll say, “Hey, you’re not going to do much better than this,” when we do our discovery. You may want to just keep the agency you have, or you might want to do this.

Marty McDonald: But it’s happening more and more, and I think it’s an interesting thing for people just to understand that if you’re sitting out there, and you’re listening to this, and you think everything is really good, you might want to have a third party just take a look at it. And there’s no harm in that. Because once you do see those little holes because things have changed dramatically in the last 14 months. I feel like a broken record, always saying that. Every year, I’ll do an interview, or speaking from a stage, and it’s like, “The changes are coming so fast.”

Marty McDonald: But this past year, the end of 2018 through 2019 now, early 2020, it’s been dramatic in certain things on Google and Facebook. And if you haven’t really taken a look at it, and you’re still happy with your results, you might want to tweak it a little bit and be even more happy with your results. So, that’s all I’m really saying there. But I think it’s important.

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Marty starts with social and then helps clients integrate that to their overall sales and marketing strategy moving forward

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Doug Morneau: Well, and like you said, sometimes to audit. I mean, I’ve done that in the email space because I’ve bought so much sponsored email over the years. In the tens of millions of dollars. Sometimes we just come in as a third party, say, “Hey, let us, as a non-interested party just vet the vendors that you’re using, and make sure that they’re giving you what you’ve contracted them for.” And we’ll report it back. And I don’t have a vested interest because I’m not going to name the brands, but I’m an ex-brand newspaper. I’m just reporting to you if they’re delivering what they’ve promised.

Marty McDonald: Absolutely. And that’s really the thing that you see, is, like I said, it changes so much. But at the same time, when you enter into that and say you’ve worked with somebody for four or five years, ourselves included. It’s really been an eye-opening thing to make sure that we’re constantly auditing what we’re doing for clients. And making sure that you’re doing the right things. Because you do get into that complacency thing. And that’s why I said I didn’t want to knock that other agency, and why those sirens went off when they said, “Hey, we want to look at a new agency.” Because those things do change. And if you’re getting good results, you’re just like, “All right, let’s just let it go. Don’t touch it. Don’t want to screw it up. We’re getting the money coming in, everything is good. We’re hitting our numbers.”

Marty McDonald: But a lot of times, optimize it, just like you said, to make sure that they’re still giving you what you promised two, three, four, five, ten years ago.

Doug Morneau: Well, and sometimes, I mean, to be perfectly honest with you, you said the no BS approach. Sometimes the plan is the problem.

Marty McDonald: Yes.

Doug Morneau: So, “Hey, we want to change agencies.” So okay, so I’m the new guy. And you show up and then you say, “This is the recommended strategy.” And they’re going, “No, no, I want to do this.” It’s like, “Okay, now I know why the last agency couldn’t get you results because you’re driving the strategy. And clearly you’re off base.”

Marty McDonald:

Right, great. So you want me to come in and get punched in the face all the time. Okay, sounds good, where do I sign?

Doug Morneau: Yeah. And a year later I’ll be the guy out, and you’ll be bringing somebody else in. Yeah.

Marty McDonald: Exactly, yeah. No, it’s very true.

Doug Morneau: So that’s a great way to segue into how do you find, identify, and work with an agency and have that win-win relationship?

Marty McDonald: Yeah, that’s something that I’ve been speaking about a lot. And our whole thing, Rich and I, when we started Bad Rhino as I said, I had been doing this type of work on the side. It was a hobby that became a well-paying hobby. That became a side gig that was matching my salary. Then it became our agency. And a lot of times, working with the smaller clients that … Professionals. Lawyers, doctors, they were essentially had low admin, and they were professionals. And they were trying to either sell their businesses or move ahead. And doing those things in terms of going into retirement, or passing their practice onto their kids.

Marty McDonald: And, they didn’t have any of the technical stuff set up. Some of them barely had a website. And that’s where I cut my teeth. But to your point, having that approach has always been educational. And, when we started Bad Rhino, the whole tenant was anybody that talks to us, anybody that we engage with, I just want them to leave with a little bit more knowledge. Yes, it’s part of the sales process. Yes, they’re coming to us for a certain thing. Yes, they’re asking some questions. But, are they actually asking the right questions or are they just trying to tick off a box that, “Hey, we need an agency to do certain things?”

Marty McDonald: So we always had the education approach so that if they hired us, great, and it was a good fit. If they didn’t, they were at least more educated on how to select an agency that was right for them, or how to select somebody to do that work for them. So when we start that process, that’s how we go into it. And, it’s always like sometimes you have to slow down that sale, right? They’re eager, it sounds good, we like what we’re hearing, it’s in an industry that we know. It’s like, “Okay, let’s just close this and get started,” right?

Marty McDonald: But by slowing it down, and having them, walking them through, “Okay, well tell me about your average cost per sale.” And it’s like, “Well, what do you mean?” And it’s like, “Well, how much does it cost you to obtain a client?” And they’re like, “Yeah, I don’t know that.” And then you start to uncover all those things. In that part of it is where you determine whether they’re a good fit. It very rarely happens where somebody goes, “Yeah, I can send you all that information when I get off the phone with you.” And you’re like, “Whoa, you actually have it, and it’s actually right?”

Marty McDonald: So it doesn’t happen that often. And what you realize is sometimes marketing becomes that sales band-aid. And that’s why marketing and sales fight all the time because sales are expecting people to come in already ready to buy. And, marketing’s going to sales like, “Hey, that just doesn’t happen in five minutes, and you guys want this done.” And then they wind up just going, “Well we need to bring somebody in to help fix this.” And you fix the wrong problems. Sure, we can run your ads for you, but if you’re broken on the inside, you’re still going to be a mess if we just do this for you. It’s not going to give you what you want.

Marty McDonald: So you have to uncover that because that’s how you really create that win-win. And if your agency, or the person you’re talking to, isn’t asking those questions, that’s going to be a cautious thing. And if you’re sitting there as a business owner thinking of hiring an agency, what I’m saying is make sure you have some of this, and understand how smooth or how rocky your sales process is, so that you can really put marketing pieces out there that can bring it in. And if it’s smooth, then it should just go. If it’s rocky, you want to start testing certain things so you can fill those holes in, and make sure that everything goes smoothly.

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Marty starts with social and then helps clients integrate that to their overall sales and marketing strategy moving forward

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Marty McDonald: And that’s really how we create that win-win, is asking those questions about what’s going on internally.

Doug Morneau: Well, and that brings up a really good point. I mean, I think often business owners, as you said, don’t know about it. So they don’t know what a cost to acquire a customer. They might not know the lifetime value of a customer. Or, the next question is, so who is your audience? And you say, “Well, everybody.” Say, “Okay, that’s a problem. I can’t market to everybody. Let’s dial …” I worked with a clothing store, and said, “Oh, everyone’s my customer.” It’s like, “Yeah, I was in your store before I met you, and I noticed your scarves are in the $1500 to $2000 range. I’m thinking not everybody’s your customer. We can probably dial that in a bit.”

Doug Morneau: So as a business owner, or entrepreneur, for our listeners, the more information that you can share with your agencies and your partners, the better results you’ll get. I mean, I think the expectation is, “Well, you’re the marketing guy, you figure it all out.”

Marty McDonald: Yeah, no, what you just said is that. And we’ve made mistakes too, obviously, everybody does. Where you rush into it, and then you find out, “Oh man, how do I get out of this? I’ve got to run out of here.” And, really, you learn from that. But, I like to just flip it out whenever I’m talking. It’s like, “Yeah, you don’t have to come to hire Bad Rhino, we’d love to talk to you. If it’s a right fit, yeah we’ll go.” But at the same time, I find sometimes people, or entrepreneurs, business owners, or they’re in marketing departments in larger organizations. And they just find the agency to be a necessary evil, a problem, whatever it is. And then they do turn around and flip agencies all the time.

Marty McDonald: And it goes back to what we were talking about, even a few minutes ago, is making sure that they’re delivering on what you want. And then auditing that process. But it really starts up front. And just saying, “All these pieces of information need to go.” And it’s not going to be that simple band-aid where the agency just comes in and can fix all of it. Many times, when you walk in there, it’s just like, “Okay, we didn’t do our due diligence.” And then that’s part … It’s like, “Tough.” You have to make sure that you’re there.

Marty McDonald: And I’m all about talking about how a business owner, and those people that I just mentioned, whether they’re in the marketing department, et cetera, that they can actually choose the right agency because too many people knock what agencies do. Because they’re like, “Oh, they’re just doing this, and they charge us a lot of money.” And that’s really what it comes down to. And there are people out there that can’t deliver. But if you slow that process down, you can get that right fit, and create that win-win.

Doug Morneau: Well, and I think maybe a good analogy would compare it to sports. How do you get in shape? You didn’t get your golf game up the very first time you went out and played. You’ve got to be in a certain physical shape, and there’s practice. So, how does a business owner or an entrepreneur get into shape for an agency? So, what sort of information would you say would be ideal for our listeners to say, “Good, I can put this together. Now I’ve kind of got some of my ducks in a row on one page.” What needs to be on that page to be a good exploration document to talk to someone like yourself?

Marty McDonald: Very simply, just analyze your best clients, and see how they came through your doors. That’s a start right there. We have ten really good clients, and that’s who we really like, as a business owner. Or customers, or shoppers, whatever you want to label them. And they fall into these categories. And everybody talks about, “Oh, you’ve got to create the avatar.” You don’t have to get that complex. Just think about that. The average person comes into our store and spends $1500 per sale. We love them. If we can get more of those people, that’s who we want.

Marty McDonald: The second out person is they spend about $400, but they spend $400 per purchase. But they also make more. More purchases than the $1500 person. So bringing those people in, and looking at that, then figuring out, “Well, how much am I making on there? How much per sale am I making?” And stop right there. And that’s all you really need to start off with.

Doug Morneau: Well, and that makes sense. I’ve often told people I like to take the lazy approach to marketing. So tell me who your very best customers are, the ones you love to work with, that are the most profitable customers. And let’s just go find more people that look exactly like them, and forget about everybody else. I mean, who wants the complainer customer, or the customer who refunds, or the customer who’s already grinding for a price? Let’s just find people who love you, like your brand, like to do business with you, pay you quickly, pay you well.

Marty McDonald: Yep. Perfect. And then, start assigning a cost to it. And that’s how you start that whole process.

Doug Morneau: So in terms of the type of work that you do, how do you guys attract the types of clients that you work with? Because looking at your bio and your background, looking at the headlines saying, “The secrets to golf and crap you’re marketing,” and looking at your podcast and your book with regards to beer. You’ve obviously picked a niche that works well for you guys. It looks like you have fun. So just a shout out for Marty, he’s got a book called Great Beer is not Enough.

Doug Morneau: So how do you design your business around the clients that you work with?

Marty McDonald: So funny, that’s a great question too. One of those things that don’t happen overnight. So, as you said, I’ve been doing this for 17 years in one way, shape, or form. And, in doing that, it gets boring. Digital marketing is not sexy. People think it is, but it’s blocking and tackling. So, I want to make sure that I had industries that I had a lot of interest in, craft beer and golf. And, I stumbled into it. I was speaking at an event, and this gentleman in the back of the room kept asking me a million questions. And I couldn’t see it, it was theater-style. So, we were on stage and it was all lit up, and then the crowd was dark.

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Marty McDonald: And it just so happened to be an owner of one of the largest breweries, not only in Pennsylvania but at the time, in the country. And, two weeks later, I’m there in their brewery, in their offices. And, a week after that, we sign a contract, and we started working with them. And it was awesome. And it was just like it reinvigorated me in doing the stuff that I was doing at the time. I’m not as much hands-on now in the agency as I was. But, I’m more Head of Sales and CEO type position. My team’s way smarter than me anyway, so that works out.

Marty McDonald: But, what it gave me was a shot in the arm. And it was like, “Woo, let me think about this. What else can I do to bring this in here? Where I’ll talk about golf for hours upon hours. Talk about craft beer, and trying different things, and the way to brand it, and the way to attract new people in.” I’m like, “Well, this is pretty cool.”

Marty McDonald: So we started working with them. And, we worked with them for about a year. A little bit more than that. And, at that time, I paused, and I was like, “How do I get more clients like this?” And the book, the podcast, doing interviews like this, and speaking has been the main way that we’ve gone about it. And it’s also approaching it like you can’t just walk into the golf world or a craft beer and be like, “Oh yeah, we’re the experts, hire us.” You have to kind of pay your dues in those things.

Marty McDonald: We had great case studies on both. But at the same time, we have to volunteer on some of the organizations and educate them. Again, going back to one of the main things that we do at Bad Rhino is education. Make sure that people are walking away with a really good experience, and they know a little bit more. And that’s the way we approached it. And then yeah, I mean we have all the PPC and content ads and all that jazz. But, most of it has been old school type networking, and give before you get.

Doug Morneau: Well I think that’s great. Because so often, business owners are afraid to niche down. Because they’re afraid of what they’re going to miss, the FOMO. “If I niche down, I’m going to miss this or I’m going to miss that.” And you’ve clearly said, “Hey, I love beer and golf, I like working in that sector, that’s great.” Most of my experience is in financial services, working with venture capital companies and companies that want to raise money. I love that space, I love all the language around it. And so, I focus there. Do I miss other stuff? Sure I do. Would I love to work with a brewery? Yes, because I like beer. But it’s just as simple for me to go down and have a few beers and I don’t have to have them as a client to enjoy the product.

Marty McDonald: Yeah. And I think the other side of it is that that’s a part of our business. That’s not the whole thing. And I think … I mean, I can make the argument in both ways. To niche down, or not. And if I look at how we started, when I look at our client roster, I have a specialty Italian food maker and seller, and I have a custom bra shop. I have the craft beer, golf, all that. We have had large pharmaceutical companies that are Fortune 500, giant companies. We’ve had a whole wide variety, from the restaurant up the street all the way to Major League Baseball players, to the PGA. I mean, I look at it and I’m like, “This is crazy.” But how it started, and I think this is important for any business, is that you do good work and people refer you. That’s how I wound up with a custom bra shop. I mean, at the time we got that, it was just me and my business partner. Neither of us knows much about bras, but we know how to market. And we just went from there.

Marty McDonald: And it was referral upon referral upon referral. And, that happens when you do good work. And it’s hard when somebody is sitting there going, “You just need to hire these guys. They can do that for you. They can handle this. They can do whatever.” And it’s really hard to turn down that type of business and say, “Oh no, we just do craft beer and golf.” Actually, for anybody, because you have the foundation.

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Doug Morneau: Sure. I was thinking the other side, of reaching everyone. Sure, you take the referrals for sure. But in terms of trying to market to the world, it’s great to get those referrals, as you said. And you’re not going to say no if it’s a good fit.

Marty McDonald: Right. When you market to everybody, you get nothing. But when you’re very direct, that absolutely works. But you also wind up getting quite a bit when your portfolio is wide and varied.

Doug Morneau: Well I remember getting a referral from an agency. So it was an agency I was buying media from in New York in the Manhattan area. And they gave me a referral to a tobacco company. And I’m thinking, “So I’m a small agency in Vancouver, Canada. And I get a referral from a guy I’m buying media from. I mean, are there no other agencies in Manhattan?” The mecca for agencies and we get the call. And tobacco obviously doesn’t fit into my niche of financial. But like you said, it was a great opportunity, we could fix the problem they had. And so yeah, we took the referral, and it was good business. Have I worked for any other tobacco company since? No. Have I looked for them? No. If the referral came along again, would I consider it? Yeah.

Marty McDonald: Yeah. It’s very interesting. And it’s always funny because it’s hard when things are good, you don’t really think about that. You’re just like, “Oh yeah, well maybe we’ll explore that, maybe we won’t.” When things are bad, you’re dying for any lead whatsoever sometimes. Not so much now, but when you’re first starting out. And then you can get caught up in being in that circle, and people are just referring you. And it’s outside of your scope, but where it winds up being good relationship building, as well as being good for your agency or business.

Doug Morneau: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, and I tell people that when I started my business I would take anybody who could [inaudible 00:35:34] and write a check.

Marty McDonald: And everyone’s been there.

Doug Morneau: And then eventually you go, “That’s not good for business. It’s not good for my mental capacity.” And then you start setting some ground rules. “No, you can’t phone me at the weekend.” Unless one of your staff or your truck drivers had driven over somebody and it’s on TV, don’t phone me because nothing’s that important for your legion program to call me on the weekend. So you set some boundaries and grow.

Marty McDonald:


Doug Morneau: So in terms of marketing, kind of the space we’re in today. As you said, it’s evolving. I think it seems to be evolving daily. What’s some of the bad advice you hear when you’re out at conferences speaking, and you’re just kind of listening to the crowd?

Marty McDonald: So I say this all the time. If I would pitch my clients on their ideas for marketing, we would have been out of business years ago. And because it’s the silliest stuff that you hear. And it’s because, from the stage, or from a course, or for some marketing hook that someone says, “Oh yeah, I can easily get you …” Just using a simple example, “A thousand Instagram followers in the next seven to ten days that are highly targeted to this, this, and this.” And, it plants a seed that is good for marketing, to get somebody to go to a conference. Or, buy a book. Or, buy a product that is just educational in some way, shape, or form.

Marty McDonald: But it plants those seeds that people are just like, “This is easy.” So one of the worst things I ever saw was people talking about how to get things to quote, unquote go viral. Now, you and I both know, I’m assuming that you know, the majority of stuff that goes viral from a business standpoint usually has a ton of paid media behind it. That you don’t know, but it just happens to be pushed out that way. And people talk about that, and they’re like, “Well, we just need this to kind of go viral.” And I just cringe. I’m like, “Whoa, slow down.”

Marty McDonald: And you hear it in the crowd, and you hear it, “Oh, that’s going to be a good idea, we could probably get this to work.” One of the worst things I ever saw and heard was a tweet at somebody, like Shaq. So Shaquille O’Neill. And let’s do it during the NBA Finals, and he’ll retweet it, and stuff will go crazy.

Doug Morneau: Yeah sure.

Marty McDonald: And I’m like, “Do you understand Shaquille O’Neill probably barely handles his Twitter account if he does at all? Most of those people have people that do that for them. And then, number two, what makes you think that that’s just going to fly? And change your business overnight?” And some people really do think that. And I’m not talking about small business owners with a dream. I’ve heard it in boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies. And I’m like, “Where are you people coming up with these ideas?”

Marty McDonald: And I think that’s a cautionary thing when anybody’s talking to somebody on a podcast, or from the stage. And so you just have to really treat it normal. Tell people, “Hey, this takes a little bit of time, there are certain things that will catch on faster than others.” But some of the worst stuff I’ve ever heard has been around going viral. And it’s just not going to happen. You don’t understand how this works. And I’ve been around for a while and all the stuff that I know that went viral, like that Chewbacca mask woman a few years ago. When you really unpack it, you’re like, “Oh, it was only available at one store.” And then it was like, “Oh, a bunch of people did this all at once.” And then you’re like, “Oh, funny video, but when you really look at it, somebody had a plan to do that.” And it’s very fascinating when people drop the word viral in any way, shape, or form.

Doug Morneau: Well, and just the idea that you can create something viral, it goes against the definition of what viral is.

Marty McDonald: Exactly. And there’s tons of funny stuff that goes viral and it’s not really leading the business. It’s just pop culture and stuff like that. That’s different, I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about things that people think are going to bring them business in a marketing sense.

Doug Morneau: Well, and one of the buys that I like on social because he produces a lot of content and I like his content, and his style, is Neil Patel. And I don’t know if you remember, or you saw his campaign back a year or two ago. When there were all these paid, I’m assuming, they were paid posts. And they all had the same sign, “Who is Neil Patel?”

Doug Morneau: And I couldn’t figure out how that was going to drive business, but there were all these paid influencers on Instagram posting these. I thought it was the weirdest campaign I’d seen. But, it wasn’t a viral campaign. They all had the same sign, had the same question. So, the chance of a whole bunch of Instagram creators creating the same content and sharing is highly unlikely.

Marty McDonald: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, it’s always, usually, coordinated.

Doug Morneau: So, on that topic, what do you see, or do you guys do anything in the paid space? The paid influencer space, where you’ll have a celebrity that will come alongside your brand?

Marty McDonald: Doug, you’re asking me the question.

Doug Morneau: You opened the door.

Marty McDonald: Yeah. So, if you catch me on one day, I’m all about influencer marketing.

Doug Morneau: So where are you today?

Marty McDonald: If you catch me on another day … Today I’m right in the middle. Which is normally not where I’m at. But-

Doug Morneau: Okay, well that’s not going to help us, so.

Marty McDonald: Yeah. So, again, going back to having a plan, and understanding how it’s going to work. That’s really what you need to understand about influencers. I can make the argument that if you have the money, spend it on a big one. So if you have unlimited funds, spend it on a big one. However, you might want to take, instead of getting a quote, unquote Kim Kardashian or something to that level, you might want to take a different approach. And I think this works out better across the board. And using that Neil Patel type thing is actually how it works, are you get … Say, you take that $100,000 budget or whatever it might be. And you say, “We’re going to take 50 and it’s going to be our main person. But then the other 50 is we’re going to get as many people as possible to hold our product up and put it on Instagram and other channels, et cetera. And we’re going to write the content, and we’re going to give it to them, and we’ll pay all their fees. And we want them all to drop it on a certain date.”

Marty McDonald: I think, as weird as that … What was it? Fry Festival or Fyre Festival, whatever that thing where that guy went to jail a few years ago. When you look at that marketing plan, and I watched the documentary, and the agency owner, he was crushed because what they did was brilliant. And it really worked. Everybody was like, “What is this? What is going on? What is this event,” whatever it was? And I remember it dropped, and it was so fascinating. And you take that type of plan, now don’t rip people off and go commit a bunch of fraud, but if you take that type of plan and look at it how it would fit into your business, and using that Neil Patel type example where it’s very simple, those things have some power. But you have to have a plan, you have to understand when you’re going to drop a bigger influencer into that plan. And how it’s all coordinated so that you are able to measure it, and you also know exactly where those sales come from, and how they came into your organization, whatever you’re selling.

Marty McDonald: And I think that’s the biggest thing with influencer marketing when I get people and they’re jaded about it. All they didn’t do was track it. And they thought, “It doesn’t matter if we track it, because it will just be a windfall of sales.” And then maybe they did get some of the sales, but they’ve attributed it just to the influencer because that was what they were doing at that time, and it didn’t come through that. And it was a combination of things.

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Marty McDonald: So I think influencer marketing, just to sum it up, I think it’s valuable in certain ways. But, people approach it like a panacea. Like it’s going to solve the whole issue.

Doug Morneau: Yeah, it’s the Holy Grail. [crosstalk 00:43:40].

Marty McDonald: The Holy Grail. It’s like, “Oh, if they hold the product up.” I love micro-influencers. Give me somebody that has 500 listeners to their podcast, and they have an email open rate of 75%. And those 500 people listen to this person because they really enjoy the content, and they really enjoy what that person has to say. I would rather sponsor something on their podcast or something like that as an influencer, where I know those 500 people are really going to actually say, “Oh wow, he recommends this product or service, I’m going to check it out and I might even buy it.” Because those are more powerful at times, especially in small to midsize companies than trying to go and get a celebrity to endorse your product.

Doug Morneau: Yep, I think so. And the other side to it is, like you said, attributing your sales, where the sales come from. Because I don’t count on the influencer doing all the heavy lifting. Sometimes it’s using their name, their brand, their voice, and sending it out to our existing audience that hasn’t converted, to move them over that threshold to say yes.

Marty McDonald: Absolutely.

Doug Morneau: So a couple of questions, and I’ll let you go back to serving your clients and helping them make some money.

Marty McDonald: There we go.

Doug Morneau: Who’s one guest I absolutely have to have on my podcast?

Marty McDonald: Justin Christianson. He runs Conversion Fanatics down in Austin, Texas.

Doug Morneau: Yeah, I’ve had him on, he’s an awesome guy.

Marty McDonald: Oh, you did?

Doug Morneau: Yeah.

Marty McDonald: Yeah.

Doug Morneau: Yeah, I like him, he’s a great guy.

Marty McDonald: All right. Well then, we’ll go down to the next two. I’ll give you two more since you know Justin. Justin, it’s like a mini commercial. Great guy, one of the smartest guys I’ve ever met in marketing, and I’ve known him for years. Great guy. Jason Swank would be another one. And then Ian Garlic down in Orlando, Florida who runs a video marketing agency.

Doug Morneau: That’d be amazing. Are you able to make an introduction for me?

Marty McDonald: Yes.

Doug Morneau: That’d be great. Now most important question of the day, how can people contact you, learn more about you, and just check you out and say, “Hey, are these guys the right guys I should be talking to?”

Marty McDonald: Absolutely. So, you can find us at badrhinoinc.com. So B-A-D R-H-I-N-O I-N-C.com. If you have any specific questions about anything I said, I do this for any podcast interview that I do. Just email us at info, so I-N-F-O, at badrhinoinc.com. Somebody will get back to you. And if you’re interested in anything that we have on our website, case studies, et cetera, please just fire off an email, we’ll get back to you, and mention Doug’s podcast.

Doug Morneau: Excellent. Hey, thanks so much. And I just want to share a quick tip with you. I had Christopher Lockhead on my podcast. And I’m going to rip off his email idea. His is a black hole at. I went, “That’s a good idea.” I bet that cuts down the number of people who email you. And he said, “Yeah, it’s a little bit.”

Marty McDonald: That’s awesome.

Doug Morneau: So thanks so much, Marty.

Marty McDonald: Hey thank you, Doug, I appreciate the time, and it was great talking with you.

Doug Morneau: Love the conversation. Happy to carry on the conversation again. So there you go listeners, there’s another point of view. There’s, I think, some great information from a fellow marketer. Somebody who’s got tons of experience in the marketing space. Been doing it for a long time, having success with their clients. And I hope what you picked up was this is not an overnight thing, it takes time. And you need to get the right fit, work with the right people, look at the metrics. But more importantly, get your house in order before you have the conversation to help your agency and/or your partners and vendors help you to be more successful. And it starts with you. So thanks again for tuning in, I look forward to serving you on our next episode.

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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."

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