Episode 70: See you on the Internet with Avery Swartz

Those of us who work in a marketing role or are marketing our own company can debate how this tactic is better than that tactic. Depending on which conference you attend or article you read, you’ll get a different opinion. But there are a few elements that a company must have to make all of this possible – their web and social properties. These foundational assets are what everything else sits on top of, and though I may be preaching to the choir here, these basics must be properly managed, or it’s all for nought. 

My guest, Avery Swartz, has had her own business for 15 years. She’s seen nearly every problem that can happen, through her experience as a web consultant. 10 years ago, she established CampTech, a company which holds workshops showing the right way to use marketing and website applications. So she knows whereof she speaks. 

Her clear explanations of web technologies earned Avery spots on nationally-airing Canadian TV shows and on the radio. She also writes a tech column in one of Canada’s national newspapers that reaches 6 million people a week.  She’s here today because in 2020 she authored a book covering the fundamentals of managing these pieces. 

Listen as we cover everything from domain registration and maintenance, accessibility, privacy laws, PPC channels like Google Ads, marketing metrics and more.

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Episode Reboot.

Check out the new LinkedIn Learning course by Avery

Episode 69: Digital Pivot with Eric Schwartzman

The act of rotating yourself with one foot anchored is called a pivot. This mechanism our bodies use to face a new direction provides the perfect analogy for how people should think as they move fully into digital marketing. 

Our guest, Eric Schwartzman, is a digital marketing consultant, with over 20-years of experience serving clients such as Boeing, Johnson & Johnson, Toyota, the United States Marine Corps, and hundreds of SMBs. In 2021 he published “The Digital Pivot: Secrets of Online Marketing” and he joins me on this episode to talk about digital pivots.

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Episode 68: Scale at Speed with Felix Velarde

Has this ever happened to you? You’re working as a Marketer, either in-house or as the agency serving another business. You work earnestly to do what leadership asks. You might even be part of the leadership team, directing the marketing efforts. But inside, you’re bugged by a question. While you architect campaigns, answer emails and sit in meetings, the question is there in the back of your head. You wish it had an answer, but that magic bullet keeps eluding you. It’s “How are we going to grow?” 

My guest says that growth can happen, but it’s part of a larger challenge, and not just one that marketing has to tackle. For growth to happen, both marketing (who’s got a pivotal role here) and the whole company have to retool themselves into an entity that can scale.   

Felix Velarde began as an entrepreneur, starting a web design agency in 1994, when websites were just starting to be a thing. He then became a journeyman CEO for a string of digital agencies, eventually moving onto a role where he chaired those businesses. He has also been an adjunct professor at Hult International Business School and UK lead at Vint Cerf’s People-Centered Internet coalition.

In 2014 Felix broadened the advisory role to other companies like tech startups, at which point he boiled the growth principles he’d learned down to a system that any businesses could use. In 2021 he published the playbook of his two-year program that he claims will triple a company’s size, called “Scale at Speed” 

Listen to how instrumental  Felix  considers the role that marketing plays in building the firm’s proposition. Also watch who he says should be in charge of growth; it’s probably not the roles you’d expect to be most effective at it. 

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Episode Reboot. https://scaleatspeed.com/ assessment (20 questions, under 5 minutes)

Episode 67: Human Centered Communication Ethan Beute

Our talk doesn’t start out sounding the way most sales & marketing talks do. That’s because of the alarm being raised by our guest on the forces around us that are polluting our digital environment. Why does this matter? Because this sludge messes with our innate ability as humans to relate to each other, and without that personal  connection, the ability for a buyer to  gain enough trust to put their faith in your business is out of the question.

The book in question is Human-Centered Communication. It was co-authored by Stephen Pacinelli  as well as our guest, Ethan Beute. He is VP of Marketing at BombBomb, a software company in Colorado Springs, CO that helps people create simple video messages. Prior to that: he ran marketing for local television stations on-air and online. 

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Episode Reboot.

For another take on communicating with video, check out Ep 54 with Tyler Lessard

Episode 66: Vitamins vs Painkillers with Dipalli Bhatt

One of the basic principles taught in marketing is to suss out why someone buys a product. That seems a simple enough thing to do, but is it? What makes this complex is the fact that different jobs demand different products. 

Let’s say you’re sending a physical object to someone who’s on another continent. You aren’t going to take it there yourself, so your likely option is to mail it. To you, the mail service fits the mold of the product you should buy in this case. But let’s pretend this object is a birthday present and their birthday is tomorrow. Now, what you require is a ‘it-absolutely-positively-has-to-get-from-here-to-there-overnight’ product and for that, only a global courier like FedEx fits the mold. Not every product in a category suits the job the customer has in mind, so those of us selling products must know the job our product is bought to do.  And these jobs can loosely be divided by whether they:

  • help us improve something we may not feel an urgent need for – Vitamins
  • immediately solve something we absolutely positively need – Painkillers

That’s how  someone I know describes these two job types. She’s joining us to explain how knowing which type we have impacts positioning, customer service, product roadmapping and more.

Dipalli Bhatt is the head of marketing at Incognito Software Systems. She has 15 years of product and corporate marketing experience and has worked with organizations like Disney and TD Canada Trust which listed her as one of ’30 under 30′ marketing professionals to watch. Honoured by Adobe as ‘Fearless 50 Marketer 2019-2020’ across the world. 

She is a member of Forbes Communications Council and is involved in mentoring tech-startups and women in leadership. Dipalli also volunteers at Tie Ottawa Chapter and Invest Ottawa

She has a Master of Business Administration from University of Ottawa

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Episode 65: Conversion Rate Optimization with Deborah O’Malley

We all want to know how to improve the number of conversions we get on our websites. A lot of the time, we try to do that by rearranging the layout or switch up page elements. Then we go to our dashboards, see if the number went up or down. You’ve probably spotted the flaw in this. This is circular reasoning, a change in customer behavior can’t be proven by “looking back at data, trying to decide whether or not it was some sort of change that we made” As conversion expert, Matt Gershoff puts it.  What’s the right way to do this? It’s simple, reverse the order of events and start off with your hunch about what you should change, run an experiment on your customers, proving or disproving if the thing you believe causes their behaviour actually has that effect. 

This discipline is called CRO, which stands for Conversion Rate Optimization. There’s someone who’s superbly qualified to talk about this and I’m lucky to have known her for the past few years. 

Deborah unknowingly ran her first optimization study in school at the age of 8, when she put her classmates through a science experiment where they looked at pieces of construction paper tacked on a bristol board. Little Deborah grew up to earn a master’s of science degree, specializing in eye tracking technology. Today, Deborah applies her specialized skillset to Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). She founded a well known resource website where she has published hundreds of client A/B test case studies. She also has a certificate in graphic design, giving her the blend of left and right-brain thinking that’s just right for working in CRO. 

Some things to listen for:

  • Marketers who run paid search & paid social will want to listen to what she has to say about mixing traffic from various channels together. 
  • She explains what minimum traffic constraints we’re under for A/B tests, and why with small volumes we’re better to put 2-pages into a test where only 1 thing has changed, versus testing multiple pages or multiple variables at the same time 
  • She has some tips on how we can maintain objectivity as we run our tests and as we present the results to our leadership.

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Deborah’s Five Step Process:

1. Practice Know Your Audience (KYA) and research the performance of pages via site analytics and heatmaps like CrazyEgg and HotJar

2. Form a SMART experiment hypothesis. Here is a single-sentence version:  “Because I observed and received feedback on [what is causing users to convert at X rate], I believe that [the change to be tested]  For [targeted segment or all users] will result in [specific lift in conversion rate].”

Ensure you have sufficient traffic / time for the experiment, using one of these calculators:

3. Pick a Tool to run the experiment. Here are some common ones:

4. Run the experiment. Here’s a screenshot from one run using Google’s free tool 

5. Implement the winning page and monitor for expected results. 

How A/B pages are commonly named: “A” is your Control (original version) and “B’ is your Variant (includes change you’re testing). Here is a more in-depth Conversion Rate Optimization glossary

Note the different frameworks that tools use:  Frequentist vs Bayesian frameworks. Depending on the statistical framework used, the timeframe needed to give results will change.

Connect with Deborah on LinkedIn and Twitter

Deborah’s websites include GuessTheTest.com and Convert Experts

Episode Reboot

Run an A/A Test, here is Deborah’s article on why you should and what to consider.

Episode 64: Virtual Events with Jarrod Goldsmith

Before 2020, most interactions between sellers and buyers were done in-person, at industry conferences. To attract and retain customers, companies held their own seminars or user group events. Of course, none of us have been driving or jetting around for the past year and a half (I’m recording in late 2021)  and as of now  here in Canada and elsewhere, we have filled the void with virtual events.

These are more than just webinars, If you have attended one, it’s likely been a paid affair, though cheaper than it’s IRL counterpart. These  virtual events enable you to interact with others, you can either take part in breakout sessions, ask speakers questions & take their polls, or sit at virtual tables to chat and network.   

So while it’s unclear whether we will keep using virtual events as much once face-to-face meetings return, there’s no denying their powerful advantages. 

I’m speaking to someone who knows more about virtual events than almost anyone. Jarrod Goldsmith has tons of experience running physical events and hosting exciting virtual events for others. He is better described as a Canadian small business community builder and is the embodiment of the small business spirit. He founded Sax Appeal (Canada’s Premier Saxophone Ensemble), Jarrod also shares his passion for entrepreneurship through the eSAX Podcast series and the Pivoted Success Podcast which he co-hosts. You can also follow Jarrod on social media; he’s easy to spot, he’ll be wearing his ever-present Fedora. 

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Show Flow Diagram sample:

Horizon Workrooms: Facebook’s Metaverse Starts With Virtual Reality Meetings

Event registration tools: 

Event recording tools for hosts:

About Jarrod:

Episode Reboot.

When attending an event, add your social links to your main profile, it gives people chances to connect with you down the road, whether or not they engage with you during the event. 

Episode.63: Marketing Stack Do’s and Don’ts, with Dave Hicks

The element of marketing that occupies the largest chunk of our time and energy is the collection of software tools that we use. We usually termed it as our technology stack. Some people have seen enough things done with tech stacks, they can spot the do’s and don’ts that marketers should follow. I brought somebody on who I think is really good at this. 

Dave Hicks is a front end digital marketing strategist, photographer and designer whose tools of choice are Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.  He’s also a backend developer who knows JavaScript,  Jquery, Node.JS, Ruby and PHP. But what he’s especially good at is making sure that the tech stack a company uses conforms to the marketing objective that the strategy calls for. 

I met Dave through some of his community minded pursuits including his organization of live meet ups for social media and marketing folks in Ottawa. I also enjoy gawking at the creations he makes out of Arduinos and Raspberry Pi’s as a hobby. After doing a lot of moving around in his youth, he settled in Ottawa, where he lives and works on cool projects as a freelance marketer.

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Episode Reboot. You can’t automate everything.

Episode 62: If marketers had a creed. How being a thoughtful person helps us in our profession, with Morgan Friedman

Our guest, Morgan Friedman, loved math as a kid, so it may not surprise you to know that his life as a marketing professional centred around pay-per-click, most recently as the CEO of a few digital agencies.  

That’s interesting in its own right, but when we step back to Morgan in his 20’s, he was already doing different things than what I did at that age: 

  • He Cofounded “Overheard in New York.com,”  dubbed one of the coolest blogs by Time Magazine, it still exists 17 years later, with bazillions of pageviews. 
  • He published my two Amazon bestseller humour books.
  • He ran an experiment to gauge human communication. He bet that good actors could convey story lines solely through body language, and he tested this by watching an entire season of the sitcom Friends without sound. 
  • He obtained a bachelor’s degree from UPenn, with studies in English & History. Not just history, but Classics in particular

This last activity brings us to why he’s here today. Classical philosophy influenced Morgan heavily, and he feels that philosophy can teach us much about marketing. As someone who’s overseen a lot of client relations, he believes practicing thoughtfulness is a key ingredient to good agency-client collaboration. 

As a mini pandemic project last year, Morgan put out some posts illustrating how various philosophers would adapt their approach to Pay-per-click marketing. Of course his posts were tongue-in-cheek, but they paved the way for today’s conversation. 

Listen to why philosophically inquiring about what we know helps us frame problems. Hear him tell how communicating with empathy impacts how well others understand us. I’m sure you’ll catch these and other deep ponderings that have very practical application in our day-to-day digital marketing jobs

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About Morgan:

Episode Reboot

Please don’t ever utter a sentence in conversation starting with “Obviously….”

Episode 61: Tools for wrangling marketing data, with JD Prater

What needs to be done with marketing data to make it usable?

Essentially, it must be taken from its original source, formatted cleanly, and put into your database to be analyzed. This is handled by a process called ETL, Extract, Transform & Load. This process was done manually in olden days, but AI is now facilitating this task to be almost entirely done by technology. 

Our guest can help us get familiar with how this works because he approaches it more from a marketer’s perspective than a technical one. JD Prater has a background in the world of paid media marketing, probably the niche that’s most famous for doing detailed analysis on large amounts of data. He has recently become Marketing Lead at Osmos, the maker of a tool that uses AI to help companies with ETL work. Besides that, JD has done marketing in-house at Amazon and Quora, and worked on brands while with a PPC agency. Besides that, he’s well known for speaking on digital marketing and being involved with several podcasts, and when he’s not on dad duty, you’ll catch him somewhere in his home state of Oklahoma, out cycling on an open stretch of road.

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Episode Reboot

Go take a product demo of some tool you might use.