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Marketing Agency Exposed Podcast

Mar 31, 2021


In this week’s episode, we discuss NFTs, the ongoing privacy vs marketing-tech saga, and get deep on the moral obligation of marketers. 


Top 3 Curtain Pulls in this episode: 

  1. What on earth is an NFT? NFT stands for non-fungible token. “It's a digital asset that is on a blockchain and it’s yours. If you buy it, it’s your. And it’s indisputably yours.” They serve as a method of regaining personal control over original content. The ramifications of these becoming more popular are more wide-reaching than you’d think. 
  2. Understand finance (more on this in the next episode). Understanding where to and how to use your company’s assets and make sure that your dollar is worth as much as it can be worth… these are really important things.” Prioritize developing an investment strategy that understands and uses the latest investment technology.
  3. Be part of the solution not the problem. Consumer trust is low. Anxiety is high. Don’t lie in your advertising. As agency leaders, it’s important that we “use our skillset to do what we do without violating morals and character and ethics, and letting the product stand for itself.” 


For more tips, discussion, and behind the scenes:

About The Guys: 

Bob Hutchins: Founder of BuzzPlant, a digital agency that he ran from from 2000-2017. He is currently the VP of Digital Marketing at 5by5 Agency. 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:

[0:31] Bob welcomes us to today’s episode, starting off with Brad’s knowledge about the world of NFTs. 

[1:53] Brad defines an NFT for us- Non-Fungible Token. “It’s a digital asset that is on a blockchain and it’s yours. If you buy it, it’s yours. And it’s undisputable, yours.” 

  • Typically represents something that’s a digital asset. Could be a song, could be a piece of art. Once you own it, you can resell it for more than you bought it for. 

[2:46] Brad continues, saying that there are many marketplaces to buy. Typically purchasing through a wallet like Coinbase for digital currency is the most popular way. 

[4:32] Ken mentions that NFTs are becoming more popular because the US dollar and fiat currency is being continually devalued. 

[6:01] Brad brings the conversation back around to how this devaluing impacts business. During the financial crisis of 2008, the first thing that got cut were marketing budgets. And during the beginning of Covid, the same thing happened. 

[6:48] Brad continues, talking about how Tesla recently bought $1.5 billion in Bitcoin and officially started accepting Bitcoin as payment in the US. The idea is that as the value of the dollar goes down, Bitcoin is going up. Brad predicts that many more companies than ever will start to report cryptocurrency in their quarterly reports. 

  • While you can go and spend 60,000 bitcoin on a Tesla, in another few months that 60,000 bitcoin will be doubled and you could have bought 2 Teslas… meanwhile Tesla as a company is making double off that 60,000 that you gave them.

[8:15] Bob ties this into the changing definition of customer lifetime value. He talks about the changing currency in recent decades, saying that debit and credit cards have already replaced cash, so moving on to a different currency altogether that is purely digital isn’t such a reach. 

[10:29] Brad talks about how NFTs and blockchain technology will actually be able to protect original content- the phenomenon of Deep Fake videos will be defunct, because the NFT of that original video will make it obvious when something has been altered. 

[11:45] Bob talks about the music genome project that started back in the mid-late 90s. It was used by Pandora to deliver customized playlists and content to their users. It radically changed the way that users interact with music, changing the primary method to digital instead of physical copies of albums or records. 

[12:20] Ken speaks on the impact this has had on Nashville as a music city. Copyright protections were difficult to adhere to, because there was no real way to track those things digitally. But now, with NFTs, that content will be protected. 

[14:53] Ken continues, “Understanding where to and how to use your company’s assets and make sure that your dollar is worth as much as it can be worth… these are really important things.” Prioritize developing an investment strategy that understands and uses the latest investment technology. 

[15:42] Brad talks about privacy, saying that people are wanting control back in their lives. These technologies are being developed to give us that personal control- over our businesses as well. 

[17:18] Ken says this is happening in ecommerce as well. “Some businesses will think whoa, one of my biggest revenue generators is owned by somebody else.” For example, people running Facebook ads having their accounts shut off and have no control whatsoever over getting their account back up and running. 

[19:28] Bob summarizes the points that are being made- Privacy and Truthfulness or accuracy. These are the commodities going forward, and if you can substitute accuracy for truthfulness then the game is changed. “The only reason we don’t have an AI world where robots run everything is because nobody is totally secure with their privacy issues.” 

  • As privacy gets back into the hands of consumers, marketers won’t have as much information to work with, so it comes back around to being a good storyteller who creates amazing creative product and understands the psychology of humans.

[21:38] Ken continues, saying that marketers rely on data and if that data becomes privatized, you can no longer prey on people based on their data. 

[23:39] Bob references an article he read recently: “Apple’s move to block user tracking spawns new digital ad strategies.” 

[27:30] Brad talks about generational truths and how older people came from a time when the news was true and trusted. Compare that mindset to millennials who have never had a stable source of truth or information- they are highly suspicious of anything being sold to them. 

[30:51] Ken talks about the runaway effect of opinions online- even reviews are easy to fake. As advertisers, how can you be aware of these things and why is that important? 

[31:54] Bob says that if these products were bought as NFTs on the block chain, there could be permissions for reviews that you only get if you’ve purchased. So faking reviews can be worked around and protected. 

[33:40] Ken talks about changing marketing strategies to accommodate for the lack of belief/truth/honesty that customers often feel when they are inundated with messaging. As marketers, it’s going to be increasingly important to lower that volume and increase the quality of the messaging. 

[34:49] Ken asks, “What is the moral obligation of advertisers in a social platform like Facebook?” He talks about the challenges of invading privacy with information and tracking and the negative impact that can have on mental health overall. 

[36:30] Bob says that in the future, having social psychologists and more moral/ethicist thinkers in business will be commonplace. He speaks about a psychological phenomenon called the Dark Triad- Machiavellianism, which says that the ends justify the means at all costs, Narcissism, which says that I’m the most important and no one else matters, and Psychopathy, or lack of feelings/emotions/empathy. This Dark Triad creates horrendous results in business and psychology. 

  • As we become more aware of this, there will be a push for more moral ethics around business and marketing. 

[40:32] Bob talks about Qanon. Recently the original Q poster said, “Well, it was a great ride, we made a lot of friends, and let’s move on and be good to each other.” Did these guys even believe the vitriol they were spewing for the last 4 years? Probably not- they knew that creating these viral videos, preying on user’s data and information, their fears, etc would create clicks and generate revenue for them. 

[42:00] Ken talks about a famous marketer who explained that they don’t care whether someone votes for one party or the other- either way they’ll create Facebook ads to serve both sides where they’re at. In real life, that would be considered two-faced. But in marketing, in business, online- there are no limits. 

[48:37] Ken talks about the moral obligation of marketers, saying “We use our skill set to do what we do without violating moral standards and character and ethics, and letting the product stand for itself… If the product’s not that good, you’re at least doing the best to put the product on the correct pedestal. And letting it win or lose.” 

  • He talks about putting your image on the line as an agency leader, saying that putting your own personal reputation on the line does make it easier to make those straightforward moral decisions in your business. 

[50:17] Bob “This is why society doesn't like marketers… we’re one run above a used car salesman…” There is a distinct lack of honesty and ethics in marketing, traditionally. 

[52:54] Ken talks about the leverage that agencies have over what people think and feel- and marketers are a vital part of our economy. When it comes down to brass tacks, think of the ad dollars that are running through these morally bankrupt concepts and strategies- the percentage of the problem that is attributed directly to advertisers is larger than we’d think. 

[53:14] Bob stresses the importance of understanding these changes in privacy on a grand scale- the leaders in technology are being questioned and challenged by the US government. This isn’t a small issue that will come and go; it’s something that agency leaders need to take very seriously and educate themselves on. 

[54:26] Brad asks “What brands do you think are hitting the spot and doing it right? That feel legitimate and aren’t trying to be greedy with their advertising?” 

[54:44] Bob says Netflix is one example. They are a company that is focused on creating really great content, owning the channel and doing a great job with it. 

[55:12] Ken talks about companies that aren’t being publicly traded- brands like Tony Robbins who are being genuine and authentic about what they’re selling. 

[56:03] Bob talks about agencies moving toward becoming production companies instead of purely media companies. The podcast industry and book public publishing, streaming services- telling good stories and creating great experiences through interaction with the content. 

[58:50] Brad says that he likes companies that don’t actually have to market much. Companies like Tesla don’t have to market much, because the product speaks for itself. 

  • If you’re all message with no real meat about the actual product, you can’t sustain.