In this episode, Stacy sits down with Futurety’s Business Strategy Vice President, Sam Underwood. The pair discuss Sam’s two rules of fishing: “You can’t catch fish where there aren’t fish’ and ‘don’t leave fish to find fish,” revealing how these rules can be applied to marketing a business, product or service.

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EP127: A Smarter, Faster Marketing Program With Sam Underwood | Futurety

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Transcripts:

Stacy: 00:00 

  • Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones, the founder of Influencer Marketing and branded content agency, Hollywood Branded. This podcast provides brand marketers a learning platform for topics first to share their insights and knowledge on topics which make a direct impact on your business today. While it is impossible to be well-versed on every topic and strategy that can improve bottom line and results, my goal is to help you avoid making costly mistakes of time, energy, or money whether you’re doing a DIY approach or hiring an expert to help. Let’s begin today’s discussion.

Announcer: 00:31        

  • Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. Here is your host Stacy Jones.

Stacy: 00:35  

  • I’m so happy to be here with you all today. I want to give a very warm welcome to Sam Underwood of Futurety, a data analytics and CRM agency out of Columbus, Ohio. Sam is the VP of Business Strategy with expertise within digital marketing, online and consumer research, communication strategy consulting and business development, which helps their clients derive insights from data to predict customer behavior and deliver smarter, faster marketing programs. Today, we’re going to talk about Sam’s two rules of fishing. You can’t catch fish where there aren’t fish, and don’t leave fish to find fish, and how these rules can be applied to marketing and business, product or service.

Stacy: 01:09 

  • We’ll learn what’s worked from Sam’s experience, what maybe could be avoided if you were doing this by yourself, and where other brands are missing the mark. Sam, welcome.

Sam: 01:17 

  • Thanks, Stacy. Excited to be here today.

Stacy: 01:19 

  • We are super thrilled to have you. I know our listeners are going to find lots of value from what you’re going to be sharing today.

Stacy: 01:27   

  • Can you tell us a little bit how long you’ve been doing what you do, a little bit about your background, where you were at, and what got you to where you’re doing what you’re doing today?

Sam: 01:34   

  • Absolutely, Stacy. I’m happy to talk to that. Here at Futurety I’ve been at Futurety for about Two years now. We are, as Stacy said, a startup here in Columbus, Ohio working on marketing and data analytics. I’ve been with Futurety about two years now in my role on the business strategy side of things. Prior to joining Futurety I worked with a large organization called Alliance Data, again here in Columbus, Ohio working with over a hundred different credit card brands to do a lot of data analytics around their marketing program, looking at what the best demographics, psychographics, behavioral predictors may be for someone to be a really great customer, a loyal customer for a credit brand and for a retail brand.

Sam: 02:27 

  • Prior to that, I worked with an agency right here in Columbus called Web Marketing doing online and digital marketing, with a major focus in both social media and visual analytics as well.

Stacy: 02:39

  • That’s awesome. You have quite a bit of digital experience it seems.

Sam: 02:46 

  • We certainly try yes.

Stacy: 02:47  

  • You’ve accomplished that. So one of the things that really caught my attention were your two rules: you can’t catch fish when there aren’t fish and don’t leave fish to find fish. Can you share a little bit more about that for our listeners?

Sam: 03:03  

  • Absolutely. So there is a couple different ways we can take both of these rules. They are first of all great rules for fishing, if I could say so myself. I grew up spending a lot of time camping and traveling to a family place that my family has in northern Ontario and what we found was there’s a lot more to fishing than just having the right bait or going to even the right spot of the lake. It all depends on the weather, it depends on the time of the day, it depends on the time of the year. When you find, just speaking of fishing, you find the spot where the fish are biting, you wanna learn something from that. Likewise if you are out there all day and you get stunk and you’re coming in, you’re sunburned and all the beer cans are empty. At the same time, you definitely learn something there to.

Sam: 03:59  

  • So as we take an annual trip up to the family cottage up there in Ontario, it kind of occurred to me that a lot of the things that I learned, for better or for worse, on the fishing boat apply pretty well to both, more of my focus here in the marketing world, but also on product development, service development that sort of thing.

Sam: 04:25 

  • At a high level, you can’t catch fish where there aren’t fish. This kinda ges without saying that, for us as marketers I think we’ve all probably had that project or that client or that initiative where maybe we worked on it for a few weeks, did a lot of outreach, did a lot of marketing campaigns whatever it may be, and finally just looked at ourselves in the mirror and said “I’m not sure that there’s a buyer here. I’m not sure that there is a market here.

Sam: 04:51  

  • In the same way, the counterpoint to that’s the second rule there: don’t leave fish to find fish. We’ve all again been a part of something where we’re marketing or we’re developing a product and we roll out the campaign or we roll out the product and we say to ourselves “Wow, there is really a hot market full of buying here.”. in the same way that you might be fishing and you toss the line over the boat and you have maybe not so great bait on there and the fish go crazy. Sometimes you just have the right spot at the right time of day, the way the sun is striking the water, whatever it is. You’ve just really hit on something special.

Sam: 05:30   

  • We apply these rules of fishing in our personal lives, over to the marketing and product development world, has seen a lot of benefit from thinking about things and simplifying things in both of these ways.

Stacy: 05:45

  • So you can’t catch fish where there aren’t fish. You mentioned the fact that a lot of us will go and spin a lot of wheels trying to make something happen that there’s just absolutely no market for. At what point do you find that people need to take a step back and say “okay, this is defeating, this isn’t working, we’ve given it our all.”. When should they actually find a new fishing hole?

Sam: 06:12 

  • Absolutely. Stacy that is in some cases literally the million dollar question. What we love to do and what we advocate for here at Futurety is to not just make, I guess you could say an emotional decision about it. Something that either you’ve worked for on the marketing side in the campaign or even as a product owner worked to develop a product over months and years. Its pretty easy to say either “Oh, I rolled it out a month ago, its been enough time and it’s just not gonna work.” And likewise it’s easy to say “No, I’ve spent three years of my life on this so I’m gonna spend ten years of my life trying to push this.”. To take a step back and look at the data you have available. The great benefit to again both product development and marketing campaign development these days is there’s so much data available and sometimes there’s almost too much data. Wading through that data, looking at what are those most important data points that can help you make an informed decision is definitely the direction that we almost always advocate for.

Sam: 07:18  

  • Our view here at Futurety shared amongst our team is that for us as marketing, for us as the folks who are at the front lines I guess you could say. Where the consumer meets the product, the product meets the consumer, we’re in the best position to diagnose any kind of mismatch between the product and the consumer. We’re talking to consumers sometimes literally every day. We’re putting campaigns, we’re printing wording, imagery, all kinds of campaign variables in front of that consumer and seeing what works.

Sam: 07:51  

  • So for us as marketers it almost can be easy sometimes to get a little bit arrogant and say “This product is never gonna work. We’ve done the testing, we’ve done the campaigns, it’s not gonna work.”. I think that the way we can position that a little bit better is to say “Yes we are in a great position to help our clients understand when a product is or isn’t going to work but how can we be more of a partner to them.”. Use the campaign data that we have to say “This isn’t working but here’s a way that it would work. Here’s a way that we can all be successful together. Let’s change the size or change the color.”. Or maybe there’s a market here , we’re marketing to an older demographic or a different geographic area than we should be or something like that. How can we use the data, in short, that we have available as marketers that our consumers have told us by their behavior, and use that to inform proactive[inaudible 00:08:45] or whatever it may be.

Stacy: 08:46 

  • With all of that data that you put together, is that something that you as your team will actually strategize and come to the client and say “Hey, you’re not seeing the results that you’re looking for, our team put together some thoughts around this. This is where we think you should be going, this is the direction we think you should be doing.”, in general is that something that you do all the time?

Sam: 09:10   

  • Absolutely yeah. A lot of us here on the team, you could say our roots are in the straight ahead marketing execution. So for a lot of us we’ve been there, done that on [inaudible 00:09:24] to some extent. Like Facebook campaigns and Google Ads and that sort of thing, comfortable there. What we almost love to do even more is to say “Okay, lets develop a campaign that’s really excellent, but lets also apply the learnings from this campaign over to whatever it is that we’re actually marketing.”.

Sam: 09:42 

  • One of the things, like I think I may have mentioned before, one of the things that we really really enjoy is almost looking at our marketing channels as if they are essentially a live, updating focus group. If we’re running an ad campaign, we’re putting an ad in front of thousands of people a day, whether they click or don’t click or call or don’t call from that ad, that tells us something about that product. That informs a ton about: did they like the color that this image was versus the color of this image? It would be an exaggeration to say we don’t need to do product research because of course we absolutely do, but that is an excellent supplement to a really dynamic product research strategy.

Sam: 10:26  

  • When we can put an ad in front of thousand of people, millions of people a day or a week and say “this is what works, this is what doesn’t. When we use this color, this wording, they click or they call. When we don’t, they don’t.”, that tells us something there. We absolutely love doing that and that is definitely a direction for the marketing community as a whole, that we have seen has a ton of growth potential.

Stacy: 10:52      

  • And that is literally making sure that you’re doing online and consumer research every single moment of the day with whatever marketing tactic that you’re testing out, where you’re actually pausing and taking a step back to analyze the data that’s been presented to you.

Sam: 11:08     

  • That’s right on there Stacy. We love to do, whether its a daily, weekly monthly deep dive. Even if its just looking at what headlines did we use? That can take five minutes to go through and diagnose that. What pictures did we use? What pictures did we not use? If things went really poor or really well. What are some of the little variables. It can take literally five minutes a week and sometimes you can say “Hey wait a second, I just realized we had an awesome week and we changed the wording to be this, maybe we’re onto something.”.

Sam: 11:38        

  • There’s tons of insights that we love to derive that can be applied across much more than just the marketing world.

Stacy: 11:45     

  • And I’m sure this is much like if you’re in the forest its hard to see the trees, so having someone who is an expert who’s outside the box to be able to look over your data and your information, can sometimes bring in some additional insight as well.

Sam: 11:58    

  • Absolutely. One story I can share relevant to that, we love to share this anecdote. We worked here at Futurety with a brand that is especially made for childhood dehydration. So it’s typically marketed to a parent with a young child, maybe ages two to five or so, a pretty narrow demographic there. For decades this product has been almost exclusively marketed to parents saying “When your kid is sick, when your child has the flu, the child just can’t hold anything down they’re really really sick. Give them this product and they’ll most likely first of all hold it down, but it will also help them rehydrate even better than water.”.

Sam: 12:45       

  • One thing we saw working with this client, just I think it was last year. We realized there’s obviously a ton of market for that. Kids continue to get sick, there is plenty of germs to go around in every elementary school in the country. But another potential market for this product, there’s a ton of people online, on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit you name it, who are talking about how they are in college, maybe it’s a college student, they had a blast on Friday night. They were out late, they had few drinks, maybe a few more drinks and a few more drinks. They woke up and they bought some of this product Saturday morning when they weren’t feeling so great and it helped them rehydrate and get back on there feet and get ready for exams on Monday morning faster than anything. So wait a second, maybe there’s a secondary market here. It was something that this brand hadn’t really considered, they certainly hadn’t noticed that before.

Sam: 13:40    

  • What we were able to do, of course in partnership with them, is to come and say maybe we can not only market this product to this secondary market, maybe we can even market this product in a way that their two very distinct consumer groups don’t even realize that its being marketed to the other group. If you’re a mom with a sick kid you probably don’t want your kid taking necessarily a hangover cure, that seems a little strange. And if you’re a college student you don’t necessarily wanna be drinking a product that is made for a three year old, that seems a little odd too. But if you only ever see messages that are about “Hey this is great hangover cure.”, “Hey this is great for your kids when they’re sick.”, the beauty of digital is we can target things so specifically that a mom may never realize this product is marketed to a college student and vice versa.

Sam: 14:34  

  • So tons of opportunity for us to use a lot of the data that we as marketers have right at our disposable to make really interesting, at the very least if not useful insights about product positioning, product development that sort of thing.

Stacy: 14:50  

  • Yes, and I’m sure its always great to have all that data behind you as well, to be able to go in to the brand where there’s executives who might be a little more cautious and concerned about making switches like what you are mentioning, so that you can really see the potential of what the market could be and having that insight helps support that for a new brand launch.

Sam: 15:14    

  • Absolutely. If I’m an executive, if I put my shoes in the executive at a Fortune 500 international company, something like that and I have, in our case, a small start up here in Columbus, Ohio saying “We have an idea for your multi-million dollar product that might make it even better.”, I’m gonna be a little nervous. That’s a big ask. We try to avoid saying things like “I feel like” or “I think”. We really try to say things like “The data shows” or “Our consumers are telling us”, something like that because at the heart of it, for us as marketers and researchers, it doesn’t really matter what we think.

Sam: 15:55    

  • If we feel like this product could do really well if you position it this way or that way, that’s kind of immaterial, it’s kind of irrelevant. But if we have data that says “Wait a second, we can position this product in a way that it could really take off.”, that way we can really partner with our clients to make a decision together. Maybe the data is wrong, maybe there’s an even greater story to be told, but starting with the data allows us to all make that informed decision together, rather than just taking risks that maybe we don’t need to take, maybe we could take risks elsewhere but we can rely on more sure things using that data. It takes some more calculated steps to be successful.

Stacy: 16:34    

  • And then on to the topic of don’t leave fish to find fish. I know I myself am excellent at seeing something bright and sparkly and thinking “Oh, maybe we should [crosstalk 00:16:45] have that bright sparkly thing. That’s a common mistake that marketers make. When we find a market and we’re there and we see something that could potentially be even better, it’s really hard to not jump in and race over to that new market too try and test it out. What is your council to brand managers to help them either stay the course or what are your suggested ways in actually taking the steps to test out that other fishing hole, while still keeping a pole in the one that you have.

Sam: 17:27      

  • Stacy that is a great question. So, like you said,[inaudible 00:17:32] as marketers and just as people really. We naturally gravitate towards what’s new, what’s shiny, what has this great promise, the greener grass, what’s just over the hillside. Whatever it might be. We as people love going for the new shinier thing that looks like it could solve all our problems and make all our dreams come true. Every now and then that’s the case, that’s true but a lot of times the promise just isn’t quite what it looks like.

Sam: 17:58   

  • For us more specifically as marketers, we definitely council those who are thinking about “Well maybe I should pivot, maybe I should try a new market.”. A lot of times there’s more data that can be used to help make that decision, sometimes we take that for granted. There’s more data available than sometimes we realize. In several cases that I can list off we’ve had clients look at maybe this is a product that just isn’t quite working. This is a product that seems pretty good, its working okay. Things are going okay, we’re growing maybe a few percentage points a year but our investors wanna see double digits, something like that.

Sam: 18:40 

  • Sometimes the change that needs to be made is not necessarily lets enter a new market, lets go into totally different branding. Sometimes the change is very very subtle. Do you wanna change the color of your product, do you wanna change maybe just what words you’re using in your product descriptions or your ad headlines or whatever it may be. It really doesn’t require huge, monumental changes. What we’ve found over the years that all of us on the team have done kinda data driven marketing is that, there is data out there that can indicate that.

Sam: 19:19  

  • Maybe you’re a consumer products company and you’ve got a whole product catalog on your website. Maybe one of the things that can be used to derive your next step as a business is not necessarily what your reading on the news although that’s a good source, its not necessarily what you think might be a good market although that definitely has some value to it.

Sam: 19:40   

  • Maybe the next step is to go on your website and say what products do people seem to spend the most time looking at. Maybe they’re not quite buying because it’s kind of a new market that’s a little bit untested but are there certain products, certain product descriptions, certain product colors or sizes, whatever it might be that you have a lot of people coming on there, dwelling a long time on these products. Even if they’re not buying, that indicates interest. That indicates that that might be a product or a set of products that has- there’s something there, there’s some kind of promise there that maybe we can look into a little bit, maybe we develop a pilot, we do an MVP, something like that and say let’s vet this out, maybe there is something there.

Sam: 20:18 

  • At the end of the day, if we’re looking to drive major roads, there is inevitably going to be risks that have to be taken. There’s nothing great that’s ever been done without some level of risk having been undertaken prior to that. How can we use data to be a little bit more sure of what that risk is and know what risks we should take most importantly. We feel there’s a ton of opportunity in that, whether its analytics data, product sales data, anywhere in between. There’s tons of ways we can look at that and help our clients and, even just in the marketing world, help our clients overall to be more informed before they jump into a major decision like that.

Stacy: 20:59    

  • I think that you make data sound a lot more sexy than a lot of us listening would probably feel.

Sam: 21:05      

  • We try. We love to think that way, yep.

Stacy: 21:09

  • Are there any typical data analytics that are not always as revealing as others. Are there certain things you should be looking for that are going to reveal more than other types of data.

Sam: 21:27  

  • That’s a great question Stacy. One thing we love to look at, and we’re again just beginning to look down this path, but one thing that we love to look at is mapping out not just a pointed time interaction, and what I mean by that is not just looking at what marketing channel works the best, although that is valuable. Let’s look at not only what marketing channel looks best but the entire customer journey, from start to finish. So one of our clients right now, we’re working on mapping out their entire consumer journey, from impression to click, in this case they’re a facilitator of college applications. Impression, to click, to starting the application, to being reminded about finishing the application actually to finishing the application. One thing that, at least in our experience has not been perhaps fully explored in the marketing and data world, is not only what marketing channels work the best or what times of day and those variables in isolation, but how do all of those things together help us to be smarter, more effective, more successful together with our client.

Sam: 22:44  

  • For this one client in particular, again you could describe them as a common application for prospective college applicants in the art space. So they recruit potential art students, whether it be music or visual art or theater whatever, across the country, around the world, and help them find what college may be best for them. We work with this client to match up how many impressions does a prospective student need to see for this college before they then click.

Sam: 23:19 

  • How many times do they need to click and view the landing page before they apply? And then how many Emails should we send to that person when they’ve completed 10% of the application, when they’ve completed 50% of the application, when they’re so close and all they have to do is submit their ten dollar payment to submit the application. How many Emails should we send them? Should we maybe serve them Facebook ads or not? Is that overbearing? How can we track people all the way through that marketing funnel and make sure that we’re being really really smart about when we contact them, when we don’t contact them because they’re talking to their parents and maybe need some time to think about it. How can we overall look at that entire journey.

Sam: 24:00  

  • So I guess I would say in response to your question there Stacy that the big thing that perhaps is overlooked is looking at multiple variables together. It’s certainly not the easiest thing to do, to do a multi-variate analysis like that, but sometimes you look at your clients or your partners marketing mix and things come to life that you would never have seen otherwise. And that has really made the difference on a few projects we’ve worked on.

Stacy: 24:32  

  • With that, I know you guys are so entrenched with data analytics and also CRMs so that you actually have systems in place to be able to track all of this. What is your viewpoint and how do you help companies understand that importance of putting in some sort of CRM system to their websites to better communication, as well as, we’ll have clients sometimes who are like “Oh well I have a CRM its Mailchimp.”, which isn’t quite the same thing but it gives you a lot of data to. Is there a level that someone needs to have and get to and invest in in order to get all of this awesome insight material that we’ve been talking about?

Sam: 25:23  

  • Absolutely, yeah. When we’re talking about [inaudible 00:25:26], for better or for worse there is no one size fits all, that’s both the beauty and sometimes the downside of exploring that type of solution. We have clients right now that use everything from premium, deluxe, whatever you wanna call it the very very highest levels of things like Salesforce, Marketo, Pardot, that sort of thing, the premium tools, all the way down like you said to the Mailchimps the smaller quote unquote TRMs of the world. Where we’re just sending an Email once a week, we’ve got a newsletter something like that. We have clients that are being very successful using that full range of tools. We have a couple of them right now they’re using Mailchimp or they’re using Icontact is a popular one amongst our clients, and they’ve done great things with it. We have a few that are using again the huge tools and doing great things with it but if we were to swap those and the big ones used the small tools there’d be some dissatisfaction and if the small ones used the big tools there would be a lot of dissatisfaction as well.

Sam: 26:28   

  • I think when we look at using CRMs to be smarter, one of the thoughts that comes to mind for me is that the CRM is essentially the messenger. We wanna make sure that whatever platform we’re adopting, whether it’s anything from a failed source marketing cloud all the way down to a Mailchimp, that it’s appropriate for us as a business.

Sam: 26:51     

  • But what really powers that, like we’ve talked about is the data behind it. One of the most powerful sources of data to fuel that CRM program that we use on our side is perhaps the simplest of all. Its just Google Analytics. We can use that to say what demographics are most engaged with us, what demographics are least engaged with us, what parts of the country or parts of the world are most and least engaged. If someone’s engaging in a website, chances are they’re gonna be at least somewhat similarly engaged by Email or not engaged. So how can we break that down by demographic, psychographic variables that sort of thing, and how can we use that to understand what sort of tool we should have? If all of our different variables are engaging the same, different ages, genders, location, they all seem relatively happy with our product, maybe just sending out a weekly newsletter’s just fine. If we need to go a little more differentiational we’ve got big goals, maybe doing a drip campaign with some triggers, using a bigger tool is a little better solution.

Sam: 27:53

  • The short answer is it just kinda runs the range, but as we look at the different tools there’s definitely a purpose and a reason to consider each one.

Stacy: 28:02  

  • Okay. Are there anything that people should be aware of that CRMs won’t give them insight on? Is there certain information that people typically hope for and expect from a CRM that they’re just not gonna be able to get from that?

Sam: 28:20   

  • Yeah. I think probably one of the biggest things that we see, at least right now is I think there’s a lot of interest in the marketing community in a CRM that would connect really well with both your website and your internal CRM database. So maybe you’re using Salesforce as your CRM but you’ve licensed a small Email platform to send Emails to those folks. In some cases those won’t really natively connect, so you may send an Email to a thousand prospective customers and find that who click and who doesn’t, who opens and who doesn’t, there’s no real way to tie that together with who has purchased in your database. So that’s probably the biggest thing that we see that our customers look back and say “Whoops, I thought it would do that and it didn’t.”.

Sam: 29:16  

  • Some of the other things that we see, even with some of the big tools, just unifying data can be a real challenge. So even licensing and leveraging, some of the biggest tools on the market. Just because they’re an industry leader, and for good reason in most places, doesn’t mean that they’re going to natively interface with your Google Analytics, your sales tools, your prospecting tools that kind of thing. Sometimes it just requires the developer to connect those things and I think as the market matures that’ll probably start to be a little bit more of a basic integration that’s started to be taken for granted, it’s gonna be much more common.

Sam: 30:02  

  • But right now, even some of the nicest, best tools on the market just have a little bit of a work flow to get them to integrate really nicely with other internal platforms that a lot of our customers use. So that’s probably the one thing I would just caution against, is before licensing a tool, buying a tool whatever it may be, just make sure that the effort and the lift required to integrate that with something else to make your marketing really really smart, that is well understood and well documented and everybody’s very clear about how much work that may be to get that integration to happen.

Stacy: 30:39 

  • I know that with our industry, I am all about technology and I think that sometimes my team just looks at me and rolls their eyes. We started using HubSpot years ago, really as a solution, not just for inbound marketing and lead gen, but because it was a really easy platform to get people to be able to blog on and it was a very expensive tool for that service but it allowed us to do blogging and have it be turnkey and from there we were able to build out all of our landing pages and offers and tracking and really take it to that next level, and I still think that we probably only used it too about 60% of its capacity.

Stacy: 31:16

  • But what I’ve learned is as technology continues to evolve, so we use Monday for project management, we use Mailchimp for large blasts, we use all these different things where there’s cool tools like Zapier, which connect everything and allow you to actually have even more insights, or just people touching all of your databases that you are adding onto less so that the information is flowing back and forth. I think that’s where the big win is for companies also, is to understand that technology is here to help but there’s actually additionally technology that makes it all come together and be even more helpful.

Sam: 31:56

  • Absolutely. You mentioned Zapier, that’s one that we have used with great results. That’s a great point Stacy. Sometimes we have so much technology that we think that the solution to unify that technology is a manual process but sometimes the solution to unify the technology is more technology, which of course can be a challenge to manage and to maintain and that sort of thing, but sometimes there’s great benefits to, so that’s right on.

Stacy: 32:23

  • I think that you also have to have the right mindsets of employees who are supposed to managing those processes and systems or agency partnerships because its not something that just anyone can sit down, it’s amazing to me the members of our team who just completely embrace technology and they understand it it’s almost intuitive and it has nothing to do with age. Its certainly a right brain, left brain and processes base so finding that on your team of who can actually be that lead is going to be incredibly important to everyone to.

Sam: 33:00

  • One of the things that we throw around here in our office. Of course back in we call them the good old days, the early days of SDL maybe 2006/2007, we used to say the day that you tell someone you fully understand how Google ranks a website is the day that you need to look in a mirror and have some humility. In the same way today, the day that you think you know exactly how to integrate marketing systems and make everything work and sync and talk to each other, is again the day that you need to say okay maybe there’s actually some things that I don’t know that I don’t know.

Sam: 33:35

  • A lot of what we’ve found to unify a lot of these systems is really just that willingness to learn. HubSpot’s gonna update tomorrow with no notice and all of a sudden we’re gonna have to rewrite all of our scripts to automate things. Salesforce is gonna roll out a new integration or acquire yet another company, that’s gonna require us to update things and probably for the better but ideally the person managing that is someone who just loves to learn. Who loves to dive into something and learn a new coding language or a new process or learn how to use a new tool or something like that so yeah, exactly. The day that we stop learning with this kind of stuff is the day that we’re probably gonna be a whole lot less respected because that is such a huge piece of staying up to date with this stuff.

Stacy: 34:22

  • And when your team is looking at hiring on and finding people who are so data driven and process oriented, you just mentioned all the things that you need to look out for but how do you find those people? How do you actually sit there and figure out if a person really is that able minded to embrace a lot of metrics and being able to get a logical conclusion from point A to point B of what it actually means and who loves doing it.

Sam: 34:56

  • Absolutely. You know what’s really interesting there Stacy is we’ve found, we’ve a team here in our office of about ten people and what we’ve found so far is that in the hiring process we love to talk to people who just love to solve problems. There’s certainly a threshold of whether it be working with technology or working with data or working with marketing tools, there’s kind of a baseline there.

Sam: 35:31

  • But one of the things we love either for hiring or for working, even with partners in some cases, is just the genuine enjoyment of solving problems. Whether they be technology problems, whether they be, again like we talked about earlier product development problems, how can we use data to identify what products are gonna be the best to market or fastest or whatever it may be. So once we’ve identified that yes this person is, maybe they’re Google Analytics certified or they’re HubSpot certified or they have however many years of experience whatever tool that the roll would require. From there its how much do they love to be a partner and help our clients solve problems. A lot of our clients come to us and they’re looking to solve one problem and to solve that problem you have to solve five others so how can we solve those five others before we get to that one that really is the end of the day problem and solution for them. That requires someone who, as you could expect, just enjoys solving problems, even if that involves solving ten more problems than you thought.

Stacy: 36:36

  • What do you think the future is going to bring as regards to how all of this is going to evolve over the years?

Sam: 36:45

  • One thing that I think is probably going to evolve, and I say this literally crossing my fingers as I sit here and say this, is that a lot of these systems are going to start to talk to each other a little bit better. I think the days of a marketing department or communications department or even a business operations department, licensing maybe one or two tools and being okay if they don’t talk to each other, those days are gone. That’s long gone.

Sam: 37:20

  • Our hope, I don’t know that I would say it’s an expectation but our optimistic hope is that going forward things like I mentioned before, things like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, HubSpot, Google Analytics, whatever they may be, are gonna be a little bit easier to integrate. I don’t know what that will look like, maybe that’s a particular suite of tools that is a little bit more friendly to someone who has limited or no coding knowledge. Maybe it is some type of common language that allows a lot of these tools to unify themselves. I’m not sure what that’ll look like, but that’s our optimistic hope is that as all of us as marketers are adding more and more layers of tools, for good reason, every year, that they start to communicate and speak with each other a little bit better.

Sam: 38:12

  • I think that’s something that the market is gonna, start to demand, it really already is. I think as more people get on board with, you could call it the democratization of data, where everybody wants to see the data, wants too use data everyday to make little to big decisions, I think that’s gonna be something the market starts to demand and we’re certainly hoping that’s something the market responds to with tools that sync up a little bit easier and say we can all get along here a little bit better. Help our client, in this case the tools client, be more productive with their tools and be smarter with them as well so that’s the way we’re hoping it’ll go. We’ll certainly wait and see. We’ve been wrong many times before and I’m sure we will be again but that’s kind of the hope that we have right now.

Stacy: 38:55

  • As long as there are more tools being developed there are going to be even more of a need for agency like yours to hold it all together.

Sam: 39:03

  • Absolutely yeah. You can look at the old saying ‘The ore things change, the more they stay the same. The more they stay the same the more they change.’, as much as maybe in the future all these tools will talk to each other and agencies like ours will have one less service we’re offering because all of a sudden hey, wait a second, everything just integrates. That gives us more time to do things like analysis, like helping with product development that sort of thing.

Sam: 39:33

  • We’re excited for the future, we’re excited for the things that may or may not come to pass. Either way, looking at using data to inform marketing and product decisions, that’s something that’s not going to go away any time soon if it ever goes away. It’s just how you’re doing it is what’s gonna change and that gives us a lot of excitement because that allows us, empowers us to learn new languages, coding languages, to learn new tools, to learn new processes of looking at data, of synthesizing data, of using data to tell really, really compelling stories about our client’s products and services. So that’s a pretty exciting future to look forward to and that’s why we really really enjoy what we do here in terms of data-driven marketing.

Stacy: 40:23

  • That’s awesome. Sam, how do you want people listening to get in touch with you?

Sam: 40:29

  • The best way to get in touch with us, our website is futurety.com, it’s just future with a ‘ty’ at the end. So at futurety.com we got a contacts form on there. We’re also on Twitter and LinkedIn as well so you can look us up and find us there.

Stacy: 40:44

  • Fantastic. Do you have any last bits of advice that you would like to share with our listeners today?

Sam: 40:52

  • I think the big thing that I would advise all of our friends, clients, partners is that the world of data driven marketing is kind of intimidating. I’d be completely bold-faced lying if I said we aren’t intimidated by some of the tools and processes that we look at some days, but one thing that we suggest to our clients is you don’t have to bite the whole thing off in one big go at it. Sometimes the best way to get started in that world of data and data driven decision making is to say “Let’s do one little thing, let’s try it out and see if it makes sense.”. and maybe that little project makes sense and gives us all the energy to go and do something bigger. Maybe the solution is to bite this whole thing off as a bunch of little projects at once.

Sam: 41:46

  • I think overall I would say the world is definitely moving towards a data driven model in how we make business decisions so it’s best to jump on board now, but jumping on board slowly is definitely not wrong. There’s definitely good reason for being very cautious about it and making sure that everybody knows what they’re getting into.

Stacy: 42:08

  • Well Sam, thank you so much for being on today. I think you provided a ton of advice that’s gonna be super useful for our listeners to actually revisit and think about what they need to do with their strategies and with their CRMs and with all of the insights that they actually have at their fingertips that they may not actually be using right now. So thank you so much for your time.

Sam: 42:31

  • Absolutely. And Stacy, thank you so much. We’re excited to be on, excited to talk about this stuff. Thank you for letting us be on, its really our pleasure.

Stacy: 42:41

  • Of course. Well have a great day.

Sam: 42:42

  • Thanks, you to.

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