Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Marketing Agency Exposed Podcast

Apr 1, 2020


Are you worried about how you’re going to make payroll? Are your prospects not buying? Are you afraid current clients will put things on hold? Are you unsure how to keep SELLING?

We have the same questions.

While these questions are real, the key is to LEAD well through the turmoil and find the opportunity in it. Doing that will separate you from the rest. When everyone is running around in chaos, it may feel counterintuitive to be calm, but that is where the opportunity lies. 


Resources Mentioned: 


Top 3 Curtain Pulls in this episode:

  1. It is so easy to get swept up in the panic and fear during this time,  but that makes it nearly impossible to make effective decisions. Put your oxygen mask on first, then worry about taking care of everyone around you. 
  2. Health is wealth! And not just physical health. Mental, spiritual too. Create a schedule for yourself that feeds every aspect of your health and stick to it. Get outside! Move your body! Breathe!
  3. There is opportunity. Don’t be afraid to take a fresh approach to your own brand’s content creation- there is more desire for online education than ever before! 


About The Guys: 

Bob Hutchins: Founder of BuzzPlant, a digital agency that he ran from from 2000 -2017. He is also the author of 3 books. More on Bob: 

Brad Ayres: Founder of Anthem Republic, an award-winning ad agency. Brad’s knowledge has led some of the biggest brands in the world. Originally from Detroit, Brad is an OG in the ad agency world and has the wisdom and scars to prove it. Currently that knowledge is being applied to his boutique agency. More on Brad:

Ken Ott: Co-Founder and Chief Growth Rebel of Metacake, an Ecommerce Growth Team for some of the world’s most influential brands with a mission to Grow Brands That Matter. Ken is also an author, speaker, and was nominated for an Emmy for his acting on the Metacake Youtube Channel (not really). More on Ken: 


Show Notes:

[0:35] Bob welcomes us and speaks on the purpose of this episode. “We want to chat and do what we normally do on the podcast and talk about some things that we’re all dealing with as a business owner, former business owner, current, whatever you’re dealing with… Speak about how current business owners are responding to the current crisis. 

[1:10] Ken: This is a quickly changing landscape for businesses… we wanted to discuss what we’re all seeing… and how can we navigate this, not make rash decisions and actually, find the opportunity in all of it, which I think is the key.”

[2:00] Brad discusses being reactive versus proactive and being ready to make that switch in the midst of the chaos that’s happening in the world. “What do we do now? How do we prepare for the future? What can we do currently to prepare for Q3, Q4?”

  • Hardships during this time are inevitable, so growth is inevitable. But that growth takes intentionality, and that can be elusive during chaos. 
  • “We don’t have all the answers but we’d love to discuss it and see if there’s some things that can be helpful.”

[3:02] Bob: “Let’s start with square 1- mindset. There’s this idea of everyone, specifically our clients, wanting to pull back. Wanting to like put everything on hold. And I think that can carry through to our mindset as well.”

  • There can be a desire to pull back, but it’s important to ask yourself how you can live in this reality but also expand and become more creative. 

[3:57] Ken adds that a lot of businesses are being directly impacted, and they have to react quickly and take massive action. The ripple effects of that impact all of us and our clients feel that as well. 

  • “No matter what you think about the situation and why we got here, we’re here. And no one wants to be here, but you can either choose to accept that and the reality of it and then figure out… how are we going to find the opportunity- or you can retract. And I think that in this scenario, you need to stay in the mindset of expansion.”
  • The mindset of hysteria is prevalent, and giving in to the different levels of that flying around is a recipe for disaster. It starts with a mindset of health.

[6:47] Brad asks Ken: “How are you personally keeping a mindset that is positive? Instead of thinking about the worst, preparing for the future in a positive way.”

[7:00] Ken speaks about how important it is to control what you’re allowing to clutter your mind. He limits news intake to a need-to-know basis.

  • “Knowing that 10,000 people have it doesn’t help my decision making process, which just creates anxiety and clutters my mind… I’m choosing to say hey I’m going to be creative in this, I’m going to figure this out, even if not until we’re on the other side of it.”

[8:50] Bob reflects on the instructions that are given by flight attendants on an airplane- that in the case of emergency, put on your mask first before those around you, as you cannot assist others if you are not properly prepared.

  • “So, one of the first things that we should really talk about before the practical stuff is the most important thing, which is making sure you’re taking care of yourself and making it a priority every day… everybody is struggling right now mentally with this thing on certain levels… some people have to turn off the news altogether because they know that they get depressed, others feel like they’re trapped inside and have to get out, others feel like their business is going to fail because all their clients are going to withhold and shut down. “
  • It’s vitally important to get outside if you can, breathe deeply, meditate, pray, stretch, exercise. Otherwise everyone around you will suffer even more because you’re not taking care of yourself. 

[10:31] Bob: “I think that’s square one for business owners and solo-preneurs and whoever may be listening- just make sure you have some sort of routine and put your mask on first every day.” 

[10:57] Ken speaks to the lack of routine that can happen when you’re working from home. It’s easy to never get out of your pajamas, to work for 15 hours a day, to never go outside. This is why during this time more than ever it is vitally important that you’re taking care of those things. When so much of our day to day routine is gone, it’s easy to lose that for ourselves. 

[11:47] Brad adds: “You hear people say they either work really well at home or they don’t… half the country is probably struggling working from home while the other half is getting a lot done.”

  • Really it comes down to how you can protect yourself. If you’re looking to protect your business, you have to protect yourself as well.

[12:51] Brad continues: “You have to have a strong plan, right? It’s good to know the what if’s- not from a place of fear but based out of a clear idea of what you need to do. So if you do get to the point where next month, you’re not able to make payroll, are you going to let people off or are you going to take a personal financial hit yourself and try to take that on…”

  • Asking yourself what you’re going to realistically do means you really have to whittle away at why you’re in business in the first place. “Is it just for money or is it for a greater purpose than that? I think this can give us more purpose as business owners and understand exactly what our role is in society.” 

[15:42] Ken: Having a better understanding of your “Why” through this can allow you to market better and grow through this as a business as well. 

  • “I think you have to have a plan on the expense side… I do think you should look at your expenses and it’s the time to trim down.” This lends itself to the concept of survival of the fittest- you have to figure out what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are. 
  • Aside from trimming down on your expenses, it’s worthwhile to reflect on what the growth plan is through this time. 

[17:00] Ken: “We even grappled a bit with the idea of explicity selling your products right now… you have to do it. You can’t be opportunistic or anything like that, but there’s a right way to do it. Ultimately, the way the economy works is by money exchanging hands and people selling and people buying.” 

  • It’s important to continue to sell, in the right ways. Having a mindset of helping and being generous is coming from a place of authenticity.

[18:01] Brad talks about a commercial he saw recently. Cadillac has expanded interest-free financing, they’re delivering a new vehicle to you directly. They’re marketing “We’re all in this together” and that is a message that is positive and impactful during this time. 

[19:41] Brad: “I think for all of us in our businesses, how do we provide win-wins for our customers?”

  • It’s important to take the time to put on your mask and figure out how to keep your business afloat, create a plan and decide how you're going to take care of those things.
  • “But now it’s time to say, how can we help our customers get through this? And maybe there’s something that we can do to take advantage of this time that can actually offer people value.”

[20:29] Ken adds that aside from explicity selling something of value by reducing the prices of all of their educational products, Metacake is also offering free coaching sessions. That’s not so much part of lead generation as just sharing their strengths.

[22:30] Ken continues to share the ways that Metacake is changing their mindset around the situation. “It’s important that you keep selling, that you keep doing this stuff and you don’t just slow down because of other people, because there’s chaos going on around you. That’s the way I believe we’re going to get through on the business side, by continuing to move the market forward despite the pain and chaos.”

[22:52] Bob: “Since all three of us have experience on the Digital Marketing side, let’s talk a little big about some, many of our clients are using paid media, online ads, whether it be Google or YouTube or Facebook or Instagram… there’s probably a pull to hold back on advertising… but more people are online now than ever before. And so there’s a HUGE opportunity- for those who do the majority of their work online- to actually focus on the current customer LTV, etc. How have you guys been approaching that?”

[24:15] Brad speaks to his experience so far. “We are talking to our clients about it and trying to have a short term and a long term goal with our media spend and whether or not we will need to continue marketing a product that they currently can’t sell.”

  • If your product is helpful to those in the ecommerce business, you may want to actually increase your spend. But if this isn’t the case, you need to take the time to move that budget and allocate more for things that will be more impactful. 

[25:36] Ken asks if Brad has experienced clients pulling back on their spending. 

[25:41] Brad speaks to certain types of clients. Some are projects where Brad’s company is marketing events around the world that have now been cancelled.

  • “This is where our diversity of clients is helpful for us.”
  • Brad’s concern in Q3 and Q4, what businesses will look like three months from now. 

[27:28] Bob: “We’ve had a question come through, Kyle says ‘Now seems like a good time strategically to up our marketing as a content production firm, however we’re also worried about keeping cash in the bank.”

[27:42] Ken responds that financial stability is the most important thing, as Metacake does a lot of content and that financial stability is important. “We’re investing into creating content and in general we’re seeing consumption of that content going up, and we’re seeing ad costs go down.”

  • “We’re scaling our advertising up because costs are down, and in general we see this as probably the best opportunity to generate leads or future leads- to gain market share and brand equity.”
  • “The conversion rate on some of our free pieces of content are up to 100%, that’s super interesting. People are taking action- people may be scared or uncertain, but if you can give them certainty in some way, they’re going to take action.”

[30:31] Bob adds that tweaking the messaging slightly, not to be opportunistic, but to be genuine and authentic in response to people’s concerns. 

  • In many instances, there is opportunity for training and education that there wasn’t previously time for in the past- now there is time. And so if you have that product to marketing to truly provide options for people and help guide them through this, then that’s a good thing and people will take advantage of it.

[31:39] Ken: “Another idea is recycling things that you’re good at that you don’t typically sell.” He has gotten a lot of questions about how Metacake works from home and the processes/systems in place that makes that easier.”

[33:00] Brad asks a question from the live feed: “How much money do you think an agency needs to have to get through this as a company? Where do you find sources to make sure you have cash flow on your balance sheet?” 

  • These are strong questions as you formulate a plan of action for yourself and your business. He suggests always having a line of credit, looking into the Small Business Administration’s Disaster Relief program
  • There is talk of payroll taxes being suspended temporarily as well. 

[36:13] Ken adds: “If you’re not doing electronic payments, or if your accounts receivable is really big and delayed, this might be a lesson that after all this you should be switching to electronic payments.”

[37:40] Brad reflects on the fragility of many businesses in America. “60% of American live paycheck to paycheck, and so if you’re one paycheck removed, you’re in a world of hurt.” 

  • As businesses we should be more aware of that and wiser than that. 
  • Even for our business, even just one month can make a big impact. 
  • “You should have at least a year out in the bank, just for security.”

[44:00] Ken speaks on a “new normal”. Amidst all of the anxiety in our world right now, customers aren’t making purchases as frequently and quickly, but ads are doing a lot better. 

  • “Whether we’re at home for who knows how long, things will normalize, people will get into a state of new normal, and that will start to flow again… some of our customers have put things on pause, but there is going to be a new normal that people settle into.”

[45:37] Brad adds that he has clients who have slowed down, but eventually there will be a new normal… right now it feels like week by week. “Even my sentiments last week are different than this week. This Monday I suddenly got a charge, a new energy. I’m more in a rhythm now, more of a new normal.”

  • Historically humans have bounced back from hardships like this with an excitement to get back to work, with a can-do attitude.

[50:24] Ken adds: “As a business owner, it’s our job to continue to help them [clients] make the right decision- which is moving forward, in the right way… if you believe in what you do, and you believe in the results that you can create, that will help you be in a position to make the right decision.”

[51:45] Bob suggests reaching out clients that you know are struggling and offering to get on the phone and talk through some ideas and let them air their thoughts. “I think this is where as agency owners and creatives, we can really shine.”

[52:52] Brad speaks on the importance of being heard during this time. Some of your clients may not have support at their company, you may be working with a marketing manager who has no access to financial information on their end, who has no support from their higher-ups. This is a time for us to say “hey let’s be a part of your solution, let us help you become a part of the solution for your business as well.” 

[55:00] Bob: “I think this is a great time to be investing in giving back to your customers through content, especially helpful content.”