How can long-term marketing help you generate more profits than growth hacking? Connor is the Head of Marketing for Phorest, salon software that helps salons grow their businesses. On today’s episode he discusses his own experiences in marketing startups and SaaS businesses, and he shares some excellent resources. Join us as we get into the the benefits of long-term marketing, specialization and how it can be applied to your business.
Listen to this Episode:
Topics Discussed in this Episode:
- Dealing with ADHD as an adult
- Learning from bad marketing and past mistakes like using scammy email campaigns and working on a product you don’t believe in
- Long-term marketing instead of growth hacking
- Specialization and narrowing target market for startups
- Successful content and long-term marketing strategies
- Connor’s hiring practices
- Advice for future marketers and learning to say no
— Ronan Perceval (@ronanperceval) July 26, 2017
- The Tao of Warren Buffett by Mary Buffett and David Clark
- Growth Hackers
- Hidden Champions by Hermann Simon
- Good Strategy, Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt
- Good to Great by Jim Collins
- Farnam Street
- Trust me I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday
- Connor on Twitter – @Con_Keppel
- Nothing Ventured Blog from Phorest
Louis: Bonjour, bonjour, welcome to everyonehatesmarketers.com. The digital marketing podcast or tech marketers who are sick of shady, aggressive marketing.
I’m your host, Louis Grenier. Think small. Just do it. Think different. All of those advertising campaigns have been running for a long time, decades even. They’ve been running for a long time because they work and people remember them. There are many other reasons why long-term marketing is the right strategy for your business.
This is something that Connor Keppel and I are going to go through in this episode. Connor is the head of marketing for Phorest, which is a salon software that helps salon businesses to grow their business. We’re going to go through all of that together and explain the benefits of long-term marketing over short term marketing and how it can be applied to your business.
Before the episode begins, have you ever wondered how I managed to publish one episode a week for my podcast while working full time? It’s quite simple, really. I only spend time finding guests and interviewing them. Then, the guys on podcastmotor.com take care of everything for me. They edit the audio. They add the intro and music. They write transcript and publish that on the blog post. They publish each episode on iTunes. It’s been great. They took care of everything for me from the start so I don’t have to think about it really.
Podcasting is a marketing channel that has been growing quite steadily in the last few years. If you ever, ever thought of doing one but thought that you maybe didn’t have the time to do, you probably have to reconsider because it literally takes me around an hour a week to do this podcast. If I can do it, you can do it.
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Hi Connor, thank you so much for being on the show. Everybody says that but it’s true. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me. On the 18th of October 2016, you tweeted, “You’re not a ninja. You’re not a guru. You’re a tosser.” Why are you so mad, Connor?
Connor: I’m mad because it seems like in this day and age, that you can’t just call yourself A, a marketer or B, work in tech or some other industry without being a ninja, a guru, or these types of titles. I think that’s particularly prevalent. I think that day I was probably on LinkedIn or something and seen a few people who are calling themselves full stack, or ninjas, or gurus, and so on. It just makes me mad because I think it’s going to make some mockery on the discipline.
At the end of the day, we are marketers and maybe people want to call themselves something else because marketing has a bad reputation but it’s good marketers that reignite a good reputation about marketing. Things like gurus and ninjas are ironically probably the worst thing you could do to put to your title. Unless of course, you’re joking, but unfortunately, in most instances, people are not.
Louis: That’s what I thought. You’re a man of simple taste. You like whisky, cows, and sweet potato fries. You started as a marketer for Phorest three years ago and you’ve been promoted since then in the executive team. I’ve known you for a while now and I know that you’re a very driven guy. You’re very ambitious. You want to help Phorest succeed. I’m just interested in knowing what kind of a kid were you when you were younger? What type of personality did you have?
Connor: I would say this hasn’t entirely changed by any means but I was very, very hyperactive and severely ADHD so I would be the kid in the classroom. I went to a very small school, basically. There was about 60 in the school in total. We had three or four classes in the one room. I love learning. Sometimes, I’d like to learn stuff outside of school and stuff. I was that kind of, I guess, the teacher is always said I was a smart brush so they’d be teaching all their classes and someone in the class wouldn’t understand something and I’d be two classes behind. I’d stand up and I’d share it because I just had to feel like I knew the answer and I wanted them to know I knew the answer, if that makes sense.
I guess I was a bit of a [00:04:33]. Definitely, as a guy who tried everything from skateboarding to golf, I tried literally dozens of things. I was even pretty much a devoted Christian for about three or four months. You name it, I’ve done it. I was just really hyperactive.
Louis: Let me pause here.
Connor: I know. I know.
Louis: Tell me about this particular episode. When was that? How old were you?
Connor: I was probably about 12, or 13, or 14. Basically, in our school, people come in sometimes and we had religion class and so on. They were running activities camp. It’s run by this Christian organization. I went out to this activities camp and there’s lots of other kids. It was basically an exercise of trying to convert everybody into divine Christian. In my naivety, I’m like, “Oh my God, this is the light. I can see the way. This is the bigger picture. This is the reason.” Little did I know, in my general sentences, that only lasted a few weeks before I questioned the greater good.
To go back to your question, as a kid, I definitely threw myself with everything. Just kind of a hyperactive kid who just wanted to try everything and never believed anything anyone said. I had to go try and discover that for myself. That was pretty much my childhood, pretty happy childhood with a lot of great friends. I think I was everybody’s nightmare. My mates had parties and stuff, I was the kid that was like, “Oh, come on, let’s go do this. Let’s go up to the area we’re not allowed to go.” I was always that person that was poking, prodding, and trying to find out stuff that probably I shouldn’t know.
Louis: You grew up in Carlow, Ireland. It’s funny because I didn’t know most of the stuff you told me just there and it’s really similar with my childhood. I grew up in a small school. I was the kid in class. My teacher used to call me intellectual terrorist.
Connor: Yeah, similar.
Louis: Because I used to interrupt them and say, “Actually, that’s not true.” And that kind of stuff. It’s quite funny. Have you been diagnosed with ADHD or are you just saying the word for the sake of it?
Connor: No, no, no. I was diagnosed. When I was about 21, I went to along and got diagnosed. It was something I always knew and I guess the older I got, there were certain little things that I noticed like just my concentration span is really bad. However, once I got engaged with something, I literally just got completely and overly hooked in and locked to the point where nothing could distract me. I was extremely obsessed with a lot of things.
With other people, they’re maybe engaged with things in a less engaged way, in a healthier level, spend a little bit of time doing many different things but I tend to be really an all or nothing person. If you got me bored into something, I will just spend hours trying to pull that apart and trying to figure out. I will obsess and obsess for 20 hours a day. I guess try to understand how could I do something for a few hours a day, do more things that I didn’t enjoy that are always part of people’s jobs and do it in a way that you could spend a few hours and become a little bit more regimented, become more routine about things, and a little bit less impulsive.
I went and I got diagnosed. It was no major surprise. At the time, they put me on Ritalin, which is the drug basically, to help me focus better. That drug, any guys who watch some of the war movies might know about them, the snipers take it if they have huge periods of concentration where they have to basically stay still for hours. That worked amazingly for a week or two but I just was like, “Wow. It’s a highly addictive drug. It’s just not a good thing. It’s not good to be on it.” It definitely alters your behaviour. It sedates you and makes you more focused but I was like, “This isn’t me. I’m better running with being who I am and just accepted the fact that I have major weaknesses.”
Louis: I think a lot of people who are listening to the show will wonder whether they have ADHD. Where did you go for that? Do you go to a psychologist?
Connor: I went to a specialist in Dublin, here in Ireland. There’s not many of them, he’s one of the leading guys, one of the leading professors in Europe so they had them all over the world speaking. And then actually, I was talking to a guy from Yale who is also a professor in it as well. Again, being ADHD, I just couldn’t take anybody’s word for it. I got obsessed about being ADHD and did lots of research on it. There are lots of different factors.
A lot of people would say, “Oh, I’m ADHD.” I’m OCD.” It’s the one I hear all the time. In reality, 99.9% of people who say it are not. I understand why people say it. They’re not saying it in a bad way but it’s just a comment. Like I said, I understand it but I went to a specialist. I figured there was just something a bit different by the way I thought about things, a little bit different but also being quite hardly strong about stuff. I felt things could get very emotional very quickly, very hyperactive type of person, very highly strong type of person, poor attention span but then yet I had a poor attention span but I could spend two weeks obsessing about the one thing.
I just knew there was something not bad, but different. I guess I wanted to know about if I wanted to use it to my advantage or if I wanted to learn more about who I truly am, then I should go learn more about it and find out if I really am. As it turned out, unsurprisingly, I am.
Louis: I didn’t prepare any question for that but there’s one question that springs to mind. What type of things did you learn to do to embrace those weaknesses and the strengths? What type of day to day stuff do you do to handle it?
Connor: There are a couple of things. I set myself different stuff so they gave me certain exercises to certain things around diet. Like caffeine and that kind of thing is not good obviously for somebody who has ADHD. I drink a bit of coffee, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve cut that. One thing that’s helped me immensely, two things, actually. One is not assuming you know everything and just running straight into something but really trying to actually sit back and ask people for their opinions. That sounds like a really obvious thing but it’s not because we all go, “Yeah, yeah, okay. Thanks for your opinion.” We run with it anyway. It’s kind of like confirmation bias.
Just asking people what do they really feel. Keep asking the questions. That’s been really good with people I’m close with because I think they’ve gotten to know me better and I’ve gotten to know how they feel really better. If it’s like I want to do this in my life, what do you think? Yeah, yeah it sounds like a good idea, but it’s not really what they actually think. Usually, they give me different perspectives. That’s one thing I’ve done. I think that’s something that has made me discover how little people really tell you about how much they actually think, if that makes sense.
I think people feel obliged to run with what you say or they can feel obliged to tell you what you want to hear. I think that’s been a really good exercise to find out how other people think and a good exercise for me to develop as well.
The other thing is the thing I call the 24 hour rule. If I feel insanely passionate about something and really charged about it, I just say, “I’m going to go sleep on it. If I feel this way tomorrow, then I will act upon it or I will say whatever to that particular person.” That’s been really good from a management point of view, I will say in certain things because I tend to be a driver so I can turn around and be like, “No, no, no. This is the way it should be done.”
The likes of Phorest, it’s a very autonomous environment. What that’s actually done is the next day when I go back in, I generally do feel the same way but I act upon it in a much calmer, more open way as opposed to just impulsively working with the emotion that I feel at that particular time.
Louis: Really interesting. I think a lot of people will feel that they might share some traits with you in terms of that and they might need to speak to someone. I’m definitely one of them. I think I need to go and get diagnosed, potentially. Without messing, there are a lot of things that you just said that I would share in terms of behavior so that makes me think as well.
Let’s go to more marketing in detail. I’ve known you for quite some time. I know the kind of marketer you are that’s why I’m interviewing you now. I’m more interested in why are you this way today? What made you this type of marketer? Is there any particular event that you would like to share?
Connor: I suppose what’s made me this type of marketer is obviously based on experience largely. A lot of them are pretty negative experiences as well, a mixture of positive and negative. I’m 31 so I have been in marketing since I was 21, 22. When I started out, naïvely, I left college and just wanted to get a job in marketing, get my foot in the door anywhere I could. That was a very interesting experience. I’ve had some good jobs. I’ve had some ones I didn’t like so much.
It’s kind of a very hard question to answer specifically. It’s been a few events really where I’ve had to do campaigns, things that I’ve done myself that I look back. The way I would describe marketing sometimes is you know when you look back at yourself in college at a photo and you go, “Oh my God, I can’t believe I actually wore that.” That’s what some of your marketing looks like from a few years back. You look at it and go, “Oh my God, did I actually send that campaign? Did I do that?”
I think what’s made me the marketer today is I’ve worked with some products that I didn’t believe in. That was so destroying. To go in everyday and try and craft the message, try and get people to believe in something you don’t believe in yourself. That just doesn’t feel right. That’s one thing.
Number two, like I said, is I think I’ve done some stupid things in the past myself, heavily around discounting, probably some kind of spammy things I did in the past to try and just get the leads or get a sale across the line. That doesn’t feel good. I think a lot of what’s made me the marketer I am today is learning through those negative feelings I’ve got and by not being allowed to be the marketer I wanted to be or by telling myself, “Who cares? It’s about the result.” Or maybe working for a product I didn’t believe in.
I think what’s made me the marketer I am today is having a product I believe in, working with people I believe in, and actually largely, a lot of it is down to self belief as well. I think you need a lot of self belief to be a really great marketer in this modern world, there’s so much noise.
Louis: How did you understand that the kind of marketing you are doing wasn’t good, wasn’t the right thing? How did you realize that?
Connor: Largely because it felt shit, number one. Number two, it didn’t feel good to other people too. To give you an example, I forgot what the product was. It was an April fool’s trick, which of course, are always the best marketing campaigns. We basically sent out an invoice to a bunch of prospects. It was like an opportunity cost invoice. It was like literally saying, “By not using our product, here’s pretty much how much you’re invoicing yourself over the next number of months.”
These stupid ideas that you think, “Oh, you know, they’ll get attention.” It’s almost like not any publicity, bad publicity, but it’s like polarizing marketing for the sake of it when you’re avoiding the issue that people actually are talking about your products because maybe it’s just shit. It’s just doing things to grab attention, to get people’s eyeballs, to get people’s conversions. Ultimately, it’s almost like the marketing in itself are trying to just ignore the product and do tricks that will get people across the line when clearly, you’re avoiding the bigger issue.
Sometimes, that issue can’t be all down to the marketer. Sometimes, that might be unfortunately, you’re in the wrong job, or you work for the wrong person sometimes, or maybe it’s things you can’t influence. They were some of the crappy things I did. I won’t say I’m proud of them.
Louis: What was the result of this fake invoice campaign?
Connor: I remember someone rang in crying. It was basically an older woman rang in and she’s like, “My husband is no longer around. I’ve got this big invoice and I can’t pay for it.” Clearly, she just didn’t see, we had a boiler plate at the bottom of it, saying this is not real, obviously. It just made me realize that, “Wow, that was just not thought through.” That was definitely a defining moment. I promised myself I’m not going to be that shit ever again.
Louis: The poor woman.
Connor: I know. Actually, one thing around that time as well, I read a book, some of the best marketing advice you can get is actually from non marketers. One really good book was The Tao of Warren Buffett, which is little short phrases and short sayings and stuff from the book. One of them was it takes years to build an incredible reputation, it takes five seconds to lose it.
I was just thinking that could have lasted one tweet, one whatever in this modern day and age. I was kind of hustling, I guess. I hate that word now but that’s the flavor of the month. It was like trying to hustle to get a lead, or get a sale, or get people’s attention. When in reality, that was avoiding a bigger issue which was that there’s a reason people were talking about our product and it wasn’t down to the fact that we weren’t doing enough marketing. It was bigger issues.
Louis: What did you do in this situation where you know that you’ve done all you could in terms of marketing and you have this gut feeling that tells you, “Well actually, the product or service you’re selling is not just good enough.” If you’re not in the position, if you’re not in the leadership or if you don’t have any involvement in the product itself, what would you do? Would you leave the job? What would you say to people who are in the situation?
Connor: It depends on the situation. One thing that I’ve learned over time, marketing feeds into every single department in some shape or other. I’ve tried to be, in the past, too bullish and a little bit forceful about this as opposed to getting buy in from people. In other words, rather than going to the CEO or going to your director of the product and jumping up and down the desk going, “This is crap. This is crap. This is crap.” What I probably would’ve done if I have my time back will be to go and say like, “How are we trying to position ourselves within the market?”
In that particular instance was Telecoms Company. We weren’t in any way differentiated really except for pricing. In that particular type of situation, it’s a race to the bottom. What are the plans of the CEO? Where did he see us in the market? What was that particular position? Maybe, if I’d asked him, I could’ve gotten him asking himself questions that maybe he hadn’t asked himself before.
My approach was very much like knocking on the door and going in and telling him why he is doing everything wrong. That rarely convinces people.
Louis: It is what you’ve done.
Connor: It’s what I’ve done in the past. I’m not going to lie and say I still don’t do it the odd time. You got to get buy in from people. In certain situations, it was probably one or two jobs I would’ve left earlier if I have my time back. I think it’s okay to put your hands up sometimes and say, “You know what, this just isn’t for me. It’s not allowing me to be the marketer I want to be.”
Again, with a little bit of time and experience, I think a lot of younger marketers are about getting the results and about getting the sale and stuff. That’s admirable but I think a lot of it is you gotta ask yourself what do you think great marketing is. If you can’t see that organization letting you develop that as a marketing strategy or letting you develop as a marketer in that way, then you have to ask yourself serious questions. It’s about taking a bit of risk, leaving or trying to line up something else to know where you fit better and working on that.
To go back, it depends on how limited you are but try to get buy ins from others, try to get people asking questions themselves about it, and then maybe present the solution to that question or if you can’t, if that’s not going to work, maybe it is time to think about somewhere else.
Louis: Why do think marketers have a bad reputation in general?
Connor: I think a lot of it is justified in terms of the reputation that marketers have, a lot of us. I think it comes down to a few different things. One is a lot of it is based around the product or based around the company. It’s based around we are great. Here is why you should buy us. And then you get into what’s known as the arms raise where you’re just basically fighting on the same channels with the same message. It’s just people trying to show up louder and coming up with new and innovative ways. Like we’re talking about earlier, just trying to get a quick book out of people. I think that’s one reason.
I think another reason that marketers have bad name is, I tend to find a lot of marketers talk specifically about marketing, purely in the context of marketing as a function and not the general organization. When I talk to other people, like finance people, they very often talk about the business. When I talk to people who are in operations, they talk about the business. Very often, when I talk to marketers, they bore me to death with their own creative ideas.
I think between just about the company outwards but I think inwards, it would be good for particularly younger marketers and graduates to think about the company as a whole and not just to think that marketing as their job or their function but to actually think about how every function and every person is marketing with the organization.
Thirdly, I would say what differentiates a good, strong marketing conversation from a bad one and in my opinion as well is having a bit of data to back it up. It’s not all data, don’t get me wrong. But just being able to talk to people who understand why the market operates the way it operates, understands what kind of marketer and what kind of people they’re talking to and all that kind of thing.
I think a lot of that is why we have a bad name. It’s because a lot of marketing people lack that. They go through college. They come out working a job, they see somebody else running the social media account. I’ve interviewed hundreds of these people. They come to the table going, “I’ve run a Facebook page. I am a marketer.” In reality, they’re not because they’re just tools. They’re not thinking about the bigger picture. They’re not thinking about the way people think. They’re not thinking or talking about, in their own mind, how these products that they’re working on can change the world, or make one person’s life better, or whatever it is.
I just think it tends to be quite fluffy, a little bit like self obsessed. I would think that sometimes having a little bit of data, thinking about the bigger picture, like we’re just a cog in the overall picture. If not actually, a window more so than a cog, even. Just think what the company does to the market. I think there’s a fundamental lack of understanding of what marketing really is and what good marketing really is. I think that’s why we have a bad name, because I think we just give ourselves a bad name as a result.
Louis: I like to zero into a few things, a few so called base practices that marketers do and that you think are just plain wrong. Do you have anything in particular, any pet peeves in marketing that you think are just plain wrong specifically?
Connor: I suppose one thing that annoys me and I think there’s always exceptions to the rule, don’t get me wrong, but generally is the focus on growth hacking. That really, really annoys me at the moment. You can take some amazing examples. Go back to the very early days of Hotmail with the link at the bottom of each email. You go to Dropbox with the premium model and refer a friend for storage. They’re just loads of great example that work really, really well.
But working with a lot of startups like going in to do some talks and incubators and stuff, there’s just an unhealthy focus on growth hacking. It seems to be an understanding that there is a shortcut somewhere that’s going to get us long term sustained growth. It has to be somewhere. If you haven’t found it, you’re not working hard enough or you just haven’t, you’re not smart enough. I think that’s a real pity because I think to truly build up a great brand, to truly succeed as a company, for most companies, it doesn’t happen in three to five years, it happens in a far longer time.
It’s that focus on that short term, on the quick shortcut, like how can we make one or few changes like many men put, max them up, this kind of crap that I hear a lot of marketers talking about as opposed to genuinely great marketing, understanding the marketing and having a long term plan with some really hard graft as opposed to thinking about the shortcuts. That’s one thing that definitely gets my back off.
Louis: We’ll get into the details of how to do what you just said. How to think long term, how to do great long-term marketing and have an impact in long term as well as the short term. A lot of people in the podcast have been mentioning that growth hacking is a term that they really don’t like and dislike. I’m going to play the devil’s advocate here.
There seem to be a lot of smart people that are obsessed with the term and obsessed with the practice of growth hacking. There must be something about it that is appealing. I think it appeals to human nature. We are always looking for a quick win.
Connor: The shiny object.
Louis: What’s the issue with it beyond the fact that it’s just quick wins instead of long term stuff? Do you think we should invent new terms like this every two years to describe what is basically marketing today or do you think we should let people invent new terms and just let it go? Because that’s how people are anyway.
Connor: We have this thing internally in Phorest where why not ignore the noise and build a company that can last for generations. I think there’s always new terms. I’ve gotten caught up with that. I’m not going to lie. I know what you’re asking. It’s not that there’s something wrong, per se, with coming up for certain terms and all that kind of thing. But it’s what, to me, it means, first of all, trying to get growth as a marketer is a function that you should be focused on, that every single marketer should be focused on, obviously, in different ways. It’s like this new term where for me, it’s like, “Yeah, okay, growth hacker isn’t like a digital marketer who’s good at spotting opportunities.”
My point is it’s just putting a new term on something that already existed except if we become so fascinated and so focused on it that we forget that we should’ve been doing that for a long time and in the more long term way. It’s not per se that I think that these are new brand of bad marketers out there but I think the shift of focus of what marketing is, it’s focused so much on the term growth hacking particularly in tech. I think a lot of great marketers have been thinking about growth for the last 20 years. They think about it in the short term. They think about it in the long term and they devote the same time across all the channels.
For me, growth hacking is a hit word hacking because it’s by nature short term. Good marketers are focused on growth. I don’t think the term is needed because I think a lot of people who don’t understand the fundamentals of marketing are now coming along like startups and so on and they’re just focused on this growth hacking. Yeah man, it’s all about growth hacking. But it’s not. It’s about growth, yes, but it’s about short term growth, I’m sure, for the next quarter to meet your targets. And it’s about growth towards the next 10 years.
A good marketer is always thinking about growth for both short term and long term. But I think this term has actually almost made it not okay to focus on the long term. It almost made it that all great marketers are thinking about that one Eureka moment that 10x our growth. The sad part is that the majority of us will never find that because it just isn’t that easy.
The second thing I don’t like about it as well is the focus on what they’re doing as a growth hacker to get that small change for a big win. Largely speaking, if you can change two or three small things or find out that Eureka moment, it’s very, very easy to replicate it. It’s really a first mover advantage with a lot of that stuff as opposed to actually building a sustainable competitive advantage. It’s not a competitive advantage because I think that you can build something far greater that people truly appreciate the value of over a longer period of time, that’s much harder to knock off than any growth hacker.
Louis: That’s what I wanted to ask you. But before that, you made two very interesting points. The first one is one of the previous guests in the podcast, Dan Kaplan, actually explained that the reason why startups fail more than 50% of the time, it’s coming from bad marketing foundations. Whether or not they don’t understand customers, whether or not they haven’t built the right product and stuff.
I think the reason why Hotmail or Dropbox have actually succeeded is not because of those growth hacks that you gave as an example. The product was good on its own already and yet they used that to grow a little bit faster. But you can question, would it have been successful without it? Probably.
Connor: I would agree. I think so. But the difference is that they probably weren’t focusing. That was probably something they did, one of money marketing initiatives that really worked. That’s my point. We’re probably doing marketing their way and it just happened to be that one thing hooked on really well. The difference is when you’re focusing and putting all your eggs in your basket to find that growth hack or to find that Eureka moment. You’re not thinking about the long term.
You’ll end up going two, three, four years down the road and you’re not much further down the road because you built your startup on a foundation of like you just said, short term bad marketing. I would agree to you. I don’t think Dropbox or Hotmail succeeded just because of that. I really don’t. In fact, I believe the opposite.
Louis: I remember Rand Fishkin blogging about something similar. I think it was growth hacking. He posted an article on Mars maybe three years ago or two years ago. We’ll find it and we’ll post it in the show notes but it was saying basically, growth hacking is bullshit and stop calling it growth hacking. It’s only marketing. The very next day, you know how transparent he is and he’s always speaking his mind. The next day, he basically contradicted his own blog post saying, “Yesterday, this is what I said. Now, I don’t agree with myself.” Literally 24 hours after.
Connor: What a great growth hack. The word for that is thought leadership disruption or something.
Louis: But he basically said, “I truly think that we should let people come up with new terms and you can’t really fight it.” I’m very torn between the two because I don’t like it either. I don’t like this way of thinking that you can just hack your way into success. It doesn’t happen. You have to really work hard, think long term, create good things, value, think of people. But on the other hand, it’s impossible to make people change the behavior at scale unless we come up with this crazy campaign that makes all marketers change their mind about growth hacking. People will keep calling it growth hacking until a new person comes up with a new term.
I think we should just focus on good marketing, spread the word, and perhaps, hopefully, this way of thinking will disappear.
Connor: I think it’s just a term. It’s the art of growth hacking per se in isolation as the go-to marketing strategy type of thing that annoys me. It’s not anybody coming up with, “Hey, I have a great idea.” And then that gets a hockey stick growth. I have a great idea that’s going to get you thousands of blog subscribers for the right reason in short term. It’s not like we turn around in Phorest then we go, “Oh, that’s a short term idea. Let’s not do it.” It’s absolutely not like that.
It’s just if you’re trying to build a long term plan, you’re trying to move over 5, 10 years and so on, you just can’t keep firing ideas out like that. You have to build something, like a long plan or road map that’ll get you there. I agree to everything you’re saying. Who cares with the term growth hacking? They can call it what they like. If it gets my back up, so be it. It’s just, I think, particularly in startups, I’ve noticed, there is just a huge focus on we have to get hypergrowth really quickly and probably some Eureka way of doing it. I keep saying Eureka because it’s just like you’re sitting at your desk and you just go, “Oh wow, that was it. I never discovered that before.”
It’s that focus on that in isolation that’s worrying because you will turn around in two years time and go, “We should’ve been building a better customer base longer run that’s driven by referrals for instance. I guess it depends on the folks, the founder. If you get that in a year’s time and you got a shit load of funding, then you probably need to find something like that to try and get out but like I said, focusing on its own, it’s not for me. But I think if you can come up with something that’s great, and do it as part of your overall marketing strategy.
Louis: You mentioned just a few minutes ago the fact that you spoke at a lot of startup events and you met a lot of startups, marketers and founders. You mentioned the wrong way they are doing it, at least incorrect way of thinking about marketing or thinking of growing. What would you tell them to do instead of just focusing on growth hacking and that kind of short term tactics? What would be the blueprint for them to actually create a business?
Connor: It entirely depends on the model and whatever vertical they’re in or if they’re in multiple verticals and so on. I suppose I believe in a few things, I don’t know if you’ve read a book called Hidden Champions. It’s from 1994. It’s about $200 billion companies in Germany that nobody has ever heard of and they are by far the market leader at what they do.
What I always say, first thing, is for a lot of startup founders, not just from a marketing point of view but from a general point of view is focusing on all these different opportunities. We can do this idea. We can do this in this market. If we pair back some of our features, then we can tap six verticals and not go deeper into one and so on. The art of specialization, particularly when you’re a startup is a very powerful thing to do. Spreading yourself too thin too quickly will end up biting yourself in the ass.
One thing that I talked to him a lot about is what is their idea? Why is that idea needed? What’s the value proposition of that idea? Who are they truly targeting? How is it going to get that message out there?
A lot of things I do with startups and talk to them about is not really about what tools are we using or the marketing strategy per se, it’s actually much higher level than that. It’s like are you focusing on something? Who are you focusing on first? What vertical do you want to get into first, who is that target customer that you can serve better than anybody else, you’re open to serve anybody else as well but you can serve that one person better than anybody else. And that’s how you get traction at the start.
Hidden Champions just go back to that, I mentioned it. They are masters at this and they’ve figured out how to do one or two things incredibly well and they dominated the entire market globally. To give you an example, Chupa Chups is one of the companies. Their CEO came in years back and they had 250 product ranges and he came in one day and he’s like, we’re going to make lollipops and that’s it and he closed 249 of the 250. They focused on that and they absolutely smashed the market and grew revenue.
Louis: Why did they pick this product?
Connor: It didn’t say why they picked that particular one but I suppose it was probably the flagship product for what I remember. It was already doing better than the rest but because they were spread so thin trying to target so many stuff between wholesale and retail and different stuff.
The other one is Winterhalter which is a dishwasher manufacturer. I blogged on that before and what they did is they basically made dishwashers for industrial type scenario. Army based camps, hotels, restaurants, you name it, they made it first. They focused on what do we do best. Why is our growth beginning to slow. What they discovered was sometimes they do the best dishwashers in the world but those actual restaurants found that their dishwashers were cleaning dishes, and the detergents they had were cleaning dishes better than anybody else in the world. They focused on that particular vertical, hotels and restaurants. Instead of going into multiple different verticals, they actually extended the range of products within that vertical and then they completely dominated the market.
I think one thing that I talk about in terms of marketing, in terms of product and so on with startups is this grandiose plan. We want to be the uber of, for instance, or we want to be whatever of. I think to flip that on its head and to actually narrow things down to the best person that you can serve and how big is that market and how quick you can grab that market. That’s where I would start. Worry about conquering the entire globe or 20 different markets down the line. If you’re starting there, you’re going to build your business very, very thinly. Be the best for one person. Whether it’s a head of marketing, or it’s consumer on the street or who are you picking that will resonate with your product and that will resonate with your message.
Louis: There’s one thing that I think is happening that happened to me before is the fear of missing out. But that’s what happens. The other reason why a startup will struggle to specialize and to position themselves. But I think the reason why many of them don’t is exactly because of what you just said, they think that if they specialize today, they’ll never be able to be the next Facebook and the next whatever.
This is the biggest mistake they can make because this is actually counter intuitive, the more you specialize, as you said, you nailed this target market, the more likely you are to be successful. And then the success that you get, you can perhaps expand, right? This is the issue I see quite a lot about positioning and it’s an interesting topic. A quick tip as well. Usually if you think that the target market is too small, or if you start to cringe, or you start to be scared about it saying oh I think it’s going to be too small, this is what you need to pick. You need to go one size below what you’re comfortable with and this is going to be your niche market.
Let’s dig into the actionable thing. I’m interested into knowing what type of activities, or campaigns, or things that you’ve done in the past that were really successful in terms of good marketing. Are there any particular projects or campaigns that you’ve done in the past that were successful? Let’s dig into them a little bit more.
Connor: We tend to do a lot of content marketing and we’re very top of funnel type marketing team. But one thing that worked really, really well, thousands of salons are using our platform as their point of sale and CRM and point management software. Customers, when they walk out of the salon, leave a review out of five. What they thought about their experience, they can leave a comment and they can share if the review is five out of five, they can share it on Facebook and so on.
But one thing I just don’t ask really is when we get the data back, the amount of people who were leaving five out five and four out of five star reviews for the salons and it’s not that we were surprised in a bad way, we’re like this is absolutely incredible and the range of people leaving reviews is very, very high as well.
Louis: Can you share those numbers? How many people on average would leave a review, out of 100 customer, and then how many 4 out of 5 and 5 out of 5?
Connor: It depends. Some get the customer to opt in via SMS and they will send them an SMS every so often after a particular treatment or appointment. That’s very, very successful. If you’re just doing just purely through email, it’s not as successful. What we found was when we went back and we basically went through everything, there was a substantial proportion, a very large proportion of our database had a rating of basically 4 out of 5 or higher. It was actually something like 4.35 or I can’t remember what it was.
What we did was we just felt like we were sitting on so many success stories, if that makes sense. Like for thousands of businesses in Ireland, in UK and US, and Finland. What we did was we simply put together a campaign and we put together an award sticker basically for the window. We sent out a letter and we just really let them know by surprise that guys we’re giving you this client experience award because you have literally got hundreds of reviews back and your rating is four out of five or higher on average. The beauty of it was, what made it so powerful, we got hundreds of emails back in and people sending us physical letters and photographs of them holding their reward, “We’re in business for 10 years and this is the first time anybody has recognized us.”
There was two successful things about that campaign. Not everybody is comfortable submitting themselves into an award ceremony to be judged by a panel of so called experts or to be judged by so called public audience or public votes. To me, that isn’t really the true benchmark for success.
A lot of these people hadn’t been in any sort of awards before but it didn’t feel like they were leaders in their area. The second thing I could say is basically that these review were left by the people who are using their business every single day. Phorest can tell them their grade like some national award ceremony, you could be very right and they could be great. What was so successful about it was we just literally sent out a letter with the sticker for the window and just thought we should let these guys know and make them feel celebrated but the response to it was just like absolutely insane, way better than we ever thought before.
We had salons ring us going, “There’s a woman down the road that copied the sticker and put it on her window and she’s not using your software.” It was just nuts, the response we got. It was an incredibly powerful way to take that data and the reviews from software and go, “Wow, this is actually a very customer service led industry. Clearly, people love going into the salon largely speaking and I think there’s thousands of salons sitting on success stories and they probably don’t just know how much people love them. We just went like here’s the evidence that people really love you and that worked well because it wasn’t about us.
Louis: I don’t want to generalize too much but generally, awards are complete bullshit. Because of exactly that, you have four judges or five judges, but I’m here to judge the experience of a website or the social media accounts or campaign. The only thing they have is just them looking at it.
Let’s say there are a lot of website awards, the best websites of the year or whatever. It’s fine for businesses to enter them. I understand why they do that, right? But from the judges, they might not be the customer, the target market at all. Let’s take an example, you submit Phorest website into an award ceremony and the four judges, none of them are salon owners or any type of owners or any related to the beauty industry. Why would they rank you or grade you? On what basis? They are not able to tell you whether or not your website is good. The only people that can are the visitors, the people who are in your target market. That’s why I had the issues with that.
That’s a really interesting take into your world. Let’s say for marketers listening and would like to apply those principles that you just mentioned to their own business, why do you think this particular campaign or project worked that well?
Connor: Couple of reasons. One was it wasn’t about us telling them they were great, it wasn’t about them saying they were great themselves. It was feedback from people that they probably hadn’t analyzed properly, if that makes sense. We unlocked an element of greatness in them, if that makes sense, or we unlocked basically a piece of data to go like this is absolutely incredible and we were able to tell them with that award and basically the top 3% or 4% of all salons and in order to respond the ratings and so on.
That was one part, it was about telling them they were great without us telling them they were great, if that makes sense. Any cynic would turn around and go, “Okay, what are they going to look for next?” It wasn’t about that. There wasn’t a hard sell at the end of that. There’s nothing like that. It was just genuinely us telling them they were great based on the client reviews. That was one reason I think it worked so well.
I suppose it depends on what vertical you’re in but I think it really tapped into the psyche of what they do, I mean the face to face, like customer services is just so incredibly vital part of what they do. One of the most important aspects in their business. We could’ve sent them something saying they sent out these SMS campaigns, email campaigns, and so on to our software. I’m sure we could’ve send them an award to say you’re in the top 10% of people who get the best opens and click rates in salons, they don’t care about that. That’s not what their passion is.
It tapped into their passion and their passion is making people look good and feel great. I suppose if you were to somewhat open something, I would say it was about us being able to present to them something that proved that they were truly great at what they loved doing and that was the key part of it.
Louis: Which also triggers some sort of reciprocity principle where you give something away and then they are more likely to do something in return.
Connor: It does. I’m a firm believer in that. That’s a large part of what our strategy is based around. I think it was also that it was quite sincere and genuine. It didn’t stink of anything, there was nothing hidden. Reciprocity is really powerful, that’s something that we do everywhere, we do in everything. For instance, we know that salon owners tend to be amazing in what they do in terms of styling or in terms of skin or in terms of whatever but the part that scares them more is running a business and managing people.
We give them so much free content through webinars, we get them ebooks to download, we’ve even done things like if you want a free online reputation audit. One thing that scares salon owners a lot is what people are saying about them online because they have very little control over that. Even though we do have control over because if you provide a great service, but it doesn’t feel like getting a complaint over the phone that you can act on there and then.
All the things that we’ve done for instance in terms of reciprocity was to send them a type form and fill out a few quick details and we will actually get on the phone to bring them to it and say here are some tips to help you build your online reputation and do that.
I think giving away things that are of genuine value for genuine reason is what a lot of great content and lot of great marketing is about. It’s okay to turn around eventually and be like guys, we do the software that can help you with this. You can’t go on forever and ever and ever but there are ways that you could bridge that gap from giving stuff, trying to get people engaged. It has to be a slow and patient process that adds genuine value for them. This is where I come back to the growth hacker thing earlier. If you’re trying to hammer people through your funnel too quickly, if you’re trying to get a close too soon, you’re just going to alienate people.
You got to give them something to prove yourself. It’s not just about giving things to get it back, it’s about proving yourself to them that you are a thought leader in a particular area or that you really know about your particular area so that they begin to trust you and when they trust you, they are far more likely to buy from you. That, to me, is what great marketing is about.
Louis: That’s what Larry Kim has shared a few times before. They made some study about PPC and the actual conversion rate from PPC ads to purchase or lead generation. The main differentiator is you have to choose one thing to work on to improve your conversion rate in the brand. As soon as people recognize the brand, as exactly as you mentioned, trust it, they are much more likely to click on the ad. That one’s obvious, right? But that’s not something you can hack, that takes years.
Connor: That takes years. You can’t hack great brand advocacy and not brand trust. You can probably hack brand awareness but not brand trust and they are two different things. If you get some insane product placement by pure chance. Obama is wearing a pair of your shoes or whatever it is, he would get brand awareness very, very quickly. But people actually believing in what you do, your story, how you differentiate, what you’re going to do for them, that takes a long time to build up. And again, this is the reason why this podcast exists because a lot of marketers give marketing a bad name. People are extremely cynical of marketing, I don’t blame them.
It’s like if you tried to hack and you tried to close too soon, you’re going to give marketers a bad reputation. That’s where a lot of that comes about it. It’s not just all about you and that metric, it’s actually about the customer. If you could prove that to them by giving them some great stuff for free, or by going the extra mile in customer service or by creating a product that nobody else has bothered creating because you’re a part of such a small market, in other words by being really niched and giving them something they can’t get elsewhere, whatever it is that’s going to make you special and different to make them trust you, that’s worthwhile but it takes time to build and that is not a growth hack. It’s just hard work, it’s blood, sweat, and tears and really understanding your market.
Louis: Connor, I know you guys for a while now, and I know how thoughtful you are with your hiring. I met your team and I know them quite well now and I can say that it’s quite impressive, the amount of people that you are able to get shares and values on the same mission to help Phorest to grow. I’d like to get into the how of this hiring. For marketers listening who are also managers or leaders and they were hiring people, what’s your process from start to finish?
Connor: Sure. I suppose there are two or three different things that are ultra important when you’re hiring. You have competency, you have culture fit and I think you would have motivation, as well. What’s actually motivating them as a person. We have a very tight process in Phorest and I start with the competency part. I think that’s the easiest part to identify. A recent hire would have been Achillion for instance and he works on marketing products to existing customers to add up to the contract and so on.
A lot of it is heavily done through email marketing, I looked at all the applications, I seen he had some decent experience, he applied for the job and then reached out and saying like round one. Before you even come to the table, round one is basically do a YouTube video and the second thing is here is an idea for a campaign, write me the first email in MailChimp and send it to me as if I am the customer, I want you to send me that email that’s going to launch this campaign or that’s going to try and get that particular lead.
They send that through and so straight away I could see if they’re half decent to content or not but that only tells me a little about the capability. It tells me are they a decent writer or they write good punchy catchy content that’s not too click bait-y for instance.
The next round then is bring them to the table, and what I typically do in that said scenario is I take that email, I’ll turn it upside down and I’ll write some metrics on the back of the actual piece of paper. That metric might be 12% open rate, 3% click through rate and I will say, you’ve sent this email out, that email you sent to me has gotten this results, you’re now going to send a second email, a follow up email. Tell me how you’re going to use the data from the first one in order to build the second email.
I’ve gotten a whole wide range of answers and some are absolutely brilliant but largely speaking, what I’m looking for is for the person to say, if I put a small variance on the title, how will that change or I want them to turn around to me and say this piece of data I have, it doesn’t tell me everything but it’s my benchmark and that’s from where I start it in order to try and optimize to increase opens and clicks and so on.
I do tasks like that depending upon what the rule is and that’s the first round. We use an interviewing technique called top grading in Phorest. You can check it out on YouTube and so on but it’s basically asking a repeated set of questions at every person’s stage of life throughout their CR, from their education outwards, and you find trends in why they’ve made choices the way that made them. That’s really important. You start to find out what motivates people and if you really press people, very often we’ll do a second round of that as well. It could be another person asking the exact same questions over and over.
It seems like really tedious and almost unfair but it’s amazing when you keep asking the same questions. People start to open up after a while. It’s kind of like asking the seven whys. Keep asking why and somebody will eventually tell you the truth. That’s one thing. I imparted that, that’s very, very important, is the reference stage.
I will put down the reference stage. Most people think the reference stage is like pff, that’s the bullshit stage. I ring and they’ll tell me he’s great. That’s because you’re doing the reference stage wrong. The reference stage for me is probably one of the single most important stages in the entire interview. The way it works for us is they have to ring us. The reference rings us, so we’ll say okay, who are your references, they have to be recent and from at least your manager in your current or last job, we get two references to ring us. The reason there is if somebody isn’t so good for instance, if you ring that person’s manager, it will probably go through the motions. They’ll go yeah, they turned up on time, they were a decent guy, blah, blah, blah.
If it’s a case that I have to go and I have to pick up the phone and ring that person on that person’s behalf, to actually try and give them a good reference, that’s a very different scenario. I’m not going to do that for somebody that I don’t really believe in, but it’s also when you’re talking to the reference, it’s what you say that’s really, really important.
Part of the interview will be, say if it’s Louis, and if Louis worked in the Tesco Marketing Department. I asked Louis who is your manager, who do you report to in Tesco and if he says I reported to Lianne and she was my manager, I’ll go great, okay. One of the stages in Phorest is a reference stage, and we will be requiring Lianne to ring in with a reference. Can you tell me when Lianne rings in, what is she going to tell me about you? Is she going to say your strengths and your weaknesses? That pitches everything extremely differently because it’s no longer a case of what am I going to tell them, I’m a perfectionist and I’m a great team player, it’s actually about what Lianne thought about them and you tend to get a very much more honest view and they start thinking about what would she have said about me and that really gets the truth out.
You find them at the competency, you find out why they make decisions the way they have made them, you find out what their motivations are, you find out from the references when they pick up the phone and you get the references in a nice way, a good grading. I’d have people ring in for instance when I have interviewed and I’ve been on the phone for 20 minutes for a reference and they said 1 or 2 little things and I go, “Right okay, they said this on the interview. Would you say that’s true or not?” They go, “Yeah, that’s kind of true.” I’ll be like what do you mean it’s kind of true and they eventually get to it. I’ve had people break down after 20 minutes going, “I have to be honest, I wouldn’t hire them again.”
Louis: That was my question. You had examples of people who seem to be very good candidate. When the reference stage came in, you talk to their reference and you actually ended up not hiring them at all because you knew that they weren’t that good.
Connor: Correct. You wouldn’t get to the reference stage if I didn’t think the person was the right person. I can only find that so much in an interview, no matter what I do, if you ask the right questions and ask people the right thing, it’s amazing how open they are. You just gotta keep pressing in a nice way. You got to keep pressing and keep asking questions like how big was the team for instance and then I ask the manager how big the team was and where would you rank them in terms of performance on the team and why would you rank them there and would you have kept them on.
There are just loads of different questions you can ask, you just have to keep asking and cross reference with the information that you got previously. Some of the candidates, I’m not going to lie, that have end up being hired are people who said, you know what, I’m actually really crap at this and I was told I was pretty crap at it. I’ll try to work on it and I’ll do X, Y, and Z. And then the reference rings in and tells me, they’re really crap at this but they’ve tried X, Y, and Z. That thing might not be that important but at least I know they’re upfront and they’re not going to bullshit me. I think if you’re not a bullshitter, that’s a good place to start if you want to be a great marketer.
That’s one of the parties where I actually run personality testing. We use a profile test called McQuaig. The McQuaig is super important in terms of our hiring process. It tells you about drive, it tells you about compliance versus independence, it tells you are they more sociable or analytical, are they more driven or do they tend to be more accepting. What kind of person are they when they walk into the room, do they take charge, do they not?
That is astonishingly accurate. It tells you what’s known as their situational and the real, so it’s tell you how they’re acting versus how they actually are. I’ve often been in an interview and it’s astonishingly accurate. I would show them the two graphs. I’d ask them, it says that you’re acting way more driven than you really are. Can you tell me why and they’ll be like, oh my god, how did you know that? It’s amazing. You can find out things from people and that’s a really important part of it as well.
Louis: I think you should add another stage to your hiring process. The first question you should ask them is have you listened to the Everyone Hates Marketers Podcast?
Connor: Or maybe, would you describe yourself as a ninja?
Louis: What do you think marketers should learn today that will help them for the next 10 years, 20 years, 50 years?
Connor: For the next 50 years, I don’t know but I think there’s a couple things you can learn. One is I’ve been the guy who has done the short term crappy campaign to try and get the result. I know if you’re under pressure from a CEO or under pressure and you’re battling the sales team or what case would be. One thing I would say is try not to go under the pressure and learn to say no. I think no is one of the most powerful things in marketing, the word no.
You can get away with doing things maybe a little bit more when you’re a start up because you don’t really have a brand. But one thing that I’ve learned is the bigger your company gets, the bigger everything gets, you actually have a brand to protect. One wrong move and it can send you seriously, seriously wrong. Start thinking about that early.
If you want to be a big company, if you want to have an amazing brand, like we talked about earlier, if you want people to trust you, you have to be upfront and when you screw up, you got to say you screw up. When you don’t offer something, tell them you don’t offer something. Do whatever it takes to build their trust. I think that’s one of the most important things because in today’s market where there’s so much noise and so much disappointments, trust is a really, really rare commodity. It’s not one to be abused.
Louis: What are the top three resources you’ll recommend to our listeners to read or to listen to?
Connor: One that I really like if you’re a startup, there are loads of different ones. One is Good Strategy/Bad Strategy, that’s a really good book. We sit around talking about strategies sometimes and they’re not strategies. That really teaches you what good strategy is, actually teaches you what strategy is. I can guarantee you it’s probably not what you actually think it is. I certainly picked it up and went, wow, I can’t believe it. I’m never going to use the word strategic again. That’s an incredible book that looks at different companies and strategies that they deployed in order to succeed. It’s a really thought provoking book. It’s not the easiest read but it’s thought provoking.
In terms of other resources, I think they all really come down to book. All my favorite resources come down to books. Jim Collins’ Good To Great, I think that is an absolutely incredible book that talks a lot about trust and leadership. It talks about specialization, it talks about long-term marketing, it talks about all different things and something they call the flywheel where if you work long and hard enough at something, the momentum begins to gather and everything starts moving.
There’s lots of other different resources, one that I really like but you have to pay for it is Stratechery, Ben Thompson. It’s about $10 a month and he emails you on his inside analysis on tech and the general community and like TV and radio tech, it’s just mind blowing. His whole process is mind blowing. It’s the best content around, I think. You have the likes of Ben Evans and so on.
Louis: Who is he? Is he a marketer?
Connor: I forgot exactly his background. He’s doing this fulltime now, it goes around talking and stuff but he analyzes and he comes out with a daily email. It’s on Facebook, it’s on different things and he just calls stuff out so far in advance, he’s just absolutely incredible. Check it out. It’s the best $10 you’re going to spend in terms of making you think.
There’s other ones that I look at particularly from a SaaS point of view, like [59:52], SaaStr, there’s all these different blogs as well. There are some really, really great stuff out there. For marketers specifically, I tend to look more at general SaaS stuff than I do at marketing stuff and that’s probably by design because I get caught down sometimes into just thinking in the marketing mind frame when I’d like to try and broaden the way I think to get greater understanding of human behavior.
One actually that’s really interesting, slightly off topic blog, is one called Farnam Street. Farnam Street sends you a collection of articles and books. I think it’s weekly. A lot of it has to do with psychology and why people behave the way they behave. It’s very, very deep and it gives you some amazing references and it get into the real in depths of why Buffett thinks the way Buffett thinks.
It’s quite philosophical and it’s quite deep but it’s very, very good. If you’re looking for some great resources, you can Google the hell out of marketing blogs, you can Google the hell out of whatever but I would try and find other stuff that help you understand human behavior and why people think the way they think.
If you’re looking for something around what we’re talking earlier about the negatives of short term marketing and all that kind of stuff, one really good book, and it’s kind of about growth hacking and the good and bad was a book called Trust Me I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday. He was the head of marketing globally for Gap when he was 21 or 22.
He’s absolutely insane and then he went on to do some political campaigns and now he writes full time and he’s got a few New York Times Best Sellers. But that guy thinks about human behavior in a way that I just can admire and can only long for, it’s absolutely incredible. I think he used that very much in a negative way to his advantage at the start.
He talked about for instance those politicians that he worked with. I can’t remember exactly the story but basically he wasn’t particularly liked in his local town, he’s trying to get voted so he put up posters of him. They said they went around in the dark and basically defaced the posters. What they found was that it actually got buy in from other people because we’re like oh, they shouldn’t do that. Everybody wants to root for the small man. What they did is they built a false nemesis to get buy in from the town. Really smart stuff that I’m not suggesting you do, by the way.
They are the kind of resources I like. I really would read anything, Louis. Just keep reading, that’s the thing, keep reading.
Louis: Connor, you’ve been just okay. Thanks. You’ve been amazing. You shared a lot of things I never heard of before which is great and I’m sure listeners will learn a lot from you. Thank you so much. Where can listeners connect with you and hear more from you?
Connor: On Twitter, it’s @Con_Keppel. The other thing is we write internally sometimes for Phorest, the founder and the director of product and so on, we write articles on bootstrapping growth and how we think about growth and markets and product. That’s called Nothing Ventured. Because we say nothing ventured, nothing gained and nothing ventured isn’t ventured back as well. It’s nothingventured.rocks, so check that out. You can connect right there, guys.
Louis: Thank you. That’s it for another episode of everyonehatesmarketers.com. This is the moment where I tell you to subscribe to our email list. Before you leave and go to another podcast or listen to another episode, I don’t treat email lists the way people usually treat their email lists. I really treat that as a one to one conversation. I’m going to send you very short personal emails every two weeks, I would say. I’ll inform you of guests in advance, I’ll share with you my numbers, and how many listens we get. I’ll also ask you for your feedback in terms of the questions we can ask future guests. Perhaps we can also have you in the show someday. Don’t be afraid to subscribe. I’m not going to spam you. You can always unsubscribe for sure, if you wish.
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Thank you so much once again, and Au Revoir.
How to stand out: 9 bullshit-free lessons from world-class tech marketers
Insights from Seth Godin, Rand Fishkin, David Darmanin and 6 other world-class tech marketers.
I’m a no-fluff marketer living in Dublin, Ireland (but yeah, I’m French).
I believe you can treat people the way you’d like to be treated and still generate results without using sleazy, aggressive, hack-y marketing. This is why I’ve started Everyone Hates Marketers – a no-fluff, actionable marketing podcast – as a side project in April 2017.
I’m also the Content Lead at Hotjar – a powerful way to analyse people’s behaviour on your website or app and understand how you can improve their experience.