Optimized Ecommerce EP 066 – How Traditional Thinking & Innovation Drive Growth to Your Business
Today on The Optimized Ecommerce Podcast, Bill Durrant joins Tanner Larsson to talk about how the world's most successful advertisers are using traditional thinking and innovation to drive growth. Join us on today’s episode as Bill discusses how you can apply traditional thinking and innovation to your ecom business. Don’t forget to subscribe
Welcome to Episode 066 of Optimized Ecommerce – How Traditional Thinking & Innovation Drive Growth to Your Business. I’m your host, Tanner Larsson, CEO of BGS.
BGS means Build Grow Scale! It is a community that we founded where eCommerce entrepreneurs and physical product sellers come to learn how to take their businesses to the next level.
Bill Durrant is the CEO of Exverus Media—a data-driven media agency dedicated to helping brands develop a paid media strategy that pushes visible sales growth and merchandise. A credible and powerful guy in his niche, Bill works with some of the world’s leading brands and has won nearly every major industry award.
Here’s just a taste of what we talked about today:
Bill shared a story on how he built Exverus Media.
18 years ago, Bill worked in the field of advertising in media for large international brands. After enjoying the job for a few years and felt a bit burnt out, he began his own consultancy.
One of his former clients asked him to consolidate all of their media investment across the Clif Bar portfolio. Thinking that this kind of opportunity only comes rarely, he said immediately.
10 years later, Exverus Media was founded in Los Angeles and supported by a world-class team dedicated to growing modern brands.
Then, Bill talked about the Youtube Ad of the Year Award.
A couple of years ago, they ran a campaign for No Bo’s brand — now owned by Walmart. In that campaign, there was a long-form video, TV integration, integration with outdoor media, influencers, and other traditional e-commerce digital channels such as social search, display, and video.
The great thing about that campaign was it had a strong message and it helped to build the brand. It simultaneously won YouTube Ad of the Year and AdWeek Media Plan of the Year
They knew that this was the proof of what they’ve seen as a central thesis of the work they do. All media is performance media. It all drives sales. That is just the way to do that, and how to measure it is what ultimately matters.
We also discussed a few other fun topics, including:
- The realities of holistic approach advertising and the reason why this strategy can’t simply be a tunnel vision.
- Basic advertising game plan for businesses that want to tap into that 70% of the market, but not building that long-term brand value yet.
- Some available platforms can expand brand traffic sources.
- An overview of the book Digital Stone Age: how the world’s most successful advertisers use traditional thinking and innovation to drive growth.
But you’ll have to watch or listen to the episode to hear about those!
How To Stay Connected With Bill Durrant
Want to stay connected with Bill Durrant? Please check out their social profiles below.
Also, mentioned the following item/s on the show. You can find that on:
- Digital Stone Age by Bill Durrant
Tanner Larsson 0:07
What’s up everybody, Tanner Larsson here and welcome back to the Optimized Ecommerce Podcast. Very excited to be back with you guys and really excited about today’s guest. This is an external guest, some of you guys have been asking, hey, who else you’re going to have on here besides your team? Well, we’re going to do it, we’re going to start with Bill Durrant. Okay, so Bill is the CEO of Exverus Media, he’s a very credible and powerful guy in his space. He’s one of the top paid advertising guys in the game, works with some of the biggest brands out there and also has won multiple awards, but one of the ones that jumped out to me was one YouTube ad of the year. Now you guys know, there’s a lot of YouTube ads to get out there. So to be able to do that requires some special skills and special knowledge and probably a pretty good system and formula for the way he approaches advertising. And he works with a ton of different big companies, he’s managed massive amounts of ad spin in terms of like $40 million worth of ads at a time. And today, what we’re going to talk about with him is how the world’s most successful advertisers are using traditional thinking and innovation to drive growth. And we’re going to talk about how specifically that applies not only to what they did to the big advertisers but how you can apply that to your e-commerce businesses. I’m really excited to go through this. I have no idea exactly what’s going to come out except for I know it’s going to be good. And I’m excited to do it. All right. So, Bill, thanks for joining us.
Bill Durrant 1:28
Thanks so much for having me. I have no idea what to expect either, I’m ready for anything.
Tanner Larsson 1:32
That’s what makes it the most fun though. I love the ones that just kind of go. So Bill, I guess to kick this thing off, why don’t you give people a little bit of background. I can always read your bio, but it’s never the same as, you telling your own story a little bit and give people like the Reader’s Digest version of who and what you do.
Bill Durrant 1:50
Sure. As you mentioned, I head up a team called Exverus Media. We’re a media team and a media agency based in Los Angeles. And how I got there was a bit of an interesting story, I started working in the field of advertising in media, working for some pretty large international brands, but 18 years ago, and so after doing that for a few years, and enjoying it, but burning out a little bit, I ended up starting my own consultancy, and operating on my own. And that’s when I got a call from a former client who was at Clif Bar and said, Hey, we need some help, we need one person who can consolidate all of our media investment across the Clif Bar portfolio. Do you think you’d be interested in it? Certainly, an opportunity like that comes along very rarely in one’s life. And while I was thinking I couldn’t do that, I still found myself nodding my head and saying yes. And I would say about 9, 10 years later, here we are. So I have Exverus, the team here based primarily in Los Angeles. And we’re really focused on growing brands, and in some cases, those are household names. So brands like a masterclass, we work with brands under the Coca-Cola portfolio. And in other cases, those are brands that are kind of still on the ascendancy, but have some pretty hefty investment, typically, whether they had a DSC or e-commerce focus from the start, or whether they had a retail focus and are now expanding into e-commerce. We’re looking at how we build a scalable growth plan for these brands. Who already came into the equation. In many cases with nine figures, eight figures, nine figures, in some cases, 10 figures in annual sales. And how can we do that as effectively? And let’s call it neutrally, as possible.
Tanner Larsson 3:54
So, now, I already dropped the bomb about a little bit. That was cool. Talk about this YouTube ad of the Year award that you got and kind of just tell people a little bit about that. And what that was.
Bill Durrant 4:03
Yeah, that’s a great example, for this conversation, because that was actually for a brand that is an e-commerce focus brand. So that’s a NO BO’s, who’s now owned by Walmart. And that was the campaign that we ran a couple of years ago, called evolve the definition. If you kind of thinking about traditional e-commerce, advertising strategies. It was sort of the opposite of that in some ways, but also very aligned with best practices. In that, there was a long-form video, there was TV integration. There was integration with outdoor media and influencers. And of course, it’s other traditional e-commerce digital channels like social search, display, and video. And what I loved about that campaign was not only that it had a message and it helped to build that brand. But it simultaneously won YouTube ad of the year, which is a very cool thing. Let’s call that perhaps more brand-oriented. And it also won the e-commerce next year award for the Best media plan. So we knew that this was really proof of what we’ve kind of seen as a central thesis of the work that we do, which is that all media is performance media, all media drives sales. It’s just how you do that, and how you measure it. That ultimately matters. So this campaign was really the perfect illustrative example of that, utilizing all the things for the audience, if you’re out there, using YouTube as one of your channels. It can be a little bit tougher from an e-commerce perspective, because of the pricing, but if you’re using it, you’re accustomed to all the different audiences that you can build against, we had this very specific message about evolving the definition of masculinity. It’s a men’s clothing brand. And we knew that there were going to be certain populations, certain audiences, that would be allies. And if we could find those audiences and those allies, let’s segment them in the same way that we were used to segmenting and micro segmenting and targeting audiences, to drive direct e-commerce sales. Let’s do that to build advocacy and support and awareness for the brand in the same way. And so seeing that strategy scale up, but then ultimately lead to such a strong response in terms of sales. And then you can see it feels like the brand sales year, you’re seeing all these smaller spikes throughout the year, certainly bigger opportunities in Q4 around gifting. And then bam, right in July, just this huge spike of a massive two-day presence for the brands around this campaign.
Tanner Larsson 5:16
Which is amazing considering that July is normally a slow time of year for ecom brands.
Bill Durrant 6:51
That’s exactly right. And that wasn’t necessarily any different for Bonobos. So seeing what happened during that seasonality approved all these different theses that we had as an agency and as a team. And also that we had been reading about. The proof is always in the plane, the proof is always in the sales, right?
Tanner Larsson 7:10
Absolutely. And it’s funny because obviously, I knew about the award, I read about it, but I didn’t know that it was Bonobos. And it’s funny because a good friend of mine Drew Sanocki used to work with him as well, and did a bunch of consulting and helping them with their email management and stuff like that for a while. And he helped him do some stuff too. But then to hear someone else that had a direct influence on that brand, which is an awesome brand, by the way, it’s a cool brand to be able to work with. But yeah, I just need to hear that name come up again. So let’s unpack this a little bit. You do touch on a whole bunch of stuff just by talking about that YouTube ad. But how all advertising is performance advertising, all advertising drives media. I think that a lot of people, especially in the e-commerce space, have a very linear thought process or tunnel vision approach to media where it’s like, I’m on Facebook, I run an ad, I’m on Google, I run an ad, I’m on Tik Tok, I run an ad, but not chaining them together or having any kind of like connection between the different platforms or video verse search and video verse static or anything like that. I know you touched on it, but just unpack that and talk about the realities of that and how it can’t be tunnel vision, I’m assuming that is the approach, right?
Bill Durrant 8:22
Yeah, that’s absolutely right. I mean, it’s spot on, this idea of being myopic, is really only appropriate if you’re just kind of starting out bootstrapping, and you only have the resources to focus on one particular channel. That’s really the only time that that’s the appropriate approach. What we’ve seen, and there are meta studies of thousands of brands and their results that bear this out as well. But what we’ve seen too, and I’m sure you’ve seen, is that there is a synergy. And there is a kicker effect, as we call it when you’re layering multiple channels on top of one another. And you’re allowing multiple channels and approaches to do different things. Facebook and TV are really the two kinds of only mass channels that can adequately drive awareness of your brand interest consideration and ultimately purchase for your brand. So Facebook is very versatile. And of course, one of the first places most folks go. But what you find is that having a presence and search having a presence in the video, when you have the resources beginning to build a brand, creating a relationship and driving engagement, and doing things that aren’t necessarily as easy to track in some cases, or in some cases as easy to kind of understand what’s the effect of everything together because I’m getting my data in silos. And that’s the other problem is measurement. If you’re getting your data in silos if you’re doing things that kind of isolate individual channels, you’re always going to have that mindset and you can hear until you’re blue in the face. Okay, maybe the science says that it’s better to lay or multiple channels, the science says, it’s better for me to also start building a brand. But understanding the why of that is what’s going to be so important in getting people over that kind of psychological hurdle that you’re talking about Tanner. For me, I’m looking at a very often kind of duality. People are trying to drive performance, they’re trying to drive immediate sales, and rightly so. And they’re doing that with channels, and approaches that are sometimes singularly focused, hey, this is the channel that just drove the lowest cost per acquisition or the highest ROAS for me. So I’m just going to focus on that one channel. And what you often find, if not always, at a certain point, is that they run into issues of scalability and growth. And they stopped being able to grow. And they wonder, well, what’s next? This was the best channel for me. What should I do? So the bad news is that you might find another channel that seemed to perform more poorly for you, it’s kind of the next best option for you to layer in to scale further. But the good news is that there’s going to be a synergy between those channels, especially when they’re sequence to work together. So that’s the first thing that we try to tell folks is, let’s make sure that we don’t singularly focus on individual channels. And then let’s also not do the same thing when it comes to strategy as well. When you’ve got this idea of driving immediate sales, and driving demand, that’s great, that’s totally appropriate and relevant. But there’s also needs to be a nod to building your brand and building your sales for the future. So if you kind of ascribe this idea of all media as performance media, we’ve seen TV campaigns that never once said, buy now or anything like that, that drove massive fraud that any of our digital channels frankly, couldn’t compete with. And we’ve seen that because what they were doing was they were driving immediate sales through running a more branding-oriented campaign. But then, of course, they were creating a deeper emotional relationship with the folks that they were reaching, they were talking more about who they are, what they believe in the problems they solve, rather than asking people to buy now here are product features. And that was also then we see this in the research, bearing out in terms of future sales as well. So you’re building for today. And you’re also building for tomorrow, because at a certain point, however, the most appropriate audiences for your product, you’re going to have reached them all. And then there’s not going to be any kind of easy, cheaper, more immediate demand left for the product and for the category. And you’re going to need to go to the next level. So what you’re seeing the most well-funded DTC brands do is branch out into other media channels that you never would have guessed in a thousand years to be in, because it’s allowing them to then scale. And it’s changing that strategic approach, and changing that mindset that really allows brands to do that, and in some cases to get out of their life.
Tanner Larsson 13:21
Absolutely, that’s great stuff. It’s always nice when you hear something that kind of reaffirms what you’ve been saying for so long, and when we talk about advertising to our people. And we don’t do advertising, we use agencies and everything else, but we obviously work with a lot of advertisers. And we do the optimization, we see a lot, we always say that there’s 30% of people that are willing to do this buy now thing, but then you have the other 70% of the market that’s not getting nurtured or taken care of your speaking only to that 30% and everybody else is fighting for that same 30%. And that’s your money now. But that longer-term money that you’re talking about comes from continuing to do that engagement, advertising, brand advertising, knowing their problems relating to them, and all of that. And we say that all the time, but in the e-commerce space, that’s for the most part. Nobody’s doing that. So I’m really, really excited to have you talk about that today.
Bill Durrant 14:21
Yeah, I think for brands in the e-commerce space, so let’s maybe talk to some of the folks right now that are in Amazon is a great example of how you can kind of evolve your thinking. A lot of folks get into having their products or their brands listed, and they’re primarily distributed through Amazon. And that’s been really successful for them. And the advertising that they’re using to support those kinds of product listing ads, search-based ads. Maybe they’re using the display network, and they’re going out and kind of running those painfully simple banner ads. That sort of work, but who knows? Nobody worked all the time.
Tanner Larsson 15:04
They worked two years ago. But they are now possibly losing their effectiveness. Right?
Bill Durrant 15:09
Yeah, that’s exactly right. And Amazon has their own challenges, and that they’re taking credit for all sales. Whether you were exposed to that once, and you didn’t even pay attention, they’re still taking credit for that sale. But that’s its own conversation.
Tanner Larsson 15:24
Bill Durrant 15:24
What Amazon does allow brands to do, though, is to start thinking in this way, but still doing it in the safety in the confines of the Amazon ecosystem, because they have inventory, and they have media that’s powered and fueled by the same data that’s so important to you that you’re using right now for your product listing ads. But they have formats that are more kind of brand-oriented, we can tell a deeper story, even if you’re still asking people to buy now. So you have the opportunity to appear on someone’s TV screen. Using Amazon’s technology, you have the opportunity to appear in the video. And you have the opportunity to take advantage of other kinds of emerging ad units. And so you get the chance to, it’s not to say that you don’t still have to produce a video that that’s going to work and convert, but you have the chance to branch out and to start thinking more holistically and strategically without leaving the safety of the Amazon world. And I think that’s a great example of how people are doing this in a way that removes some of those psychological barriers.
Tanner Larsson 16:38
Absolutely, that’s great. I want to stay on this holistic approach to advertising because I basically want to beat the dead horse kind of a thing here, but have you take it down into a more of a tactical level of, let’s take the example of a seven-figure e-commerce store, they’re Shopify store, they’re in the apparel market, they’re doing $3 million a year, which is a pretty relative size for a lot of these stores out here. They’re doing Facebook ads, and they’re playing with Instagram, they’re doing Tik Tok, that kind of thing. But as if you had to just basically give a basic game plan. Like what would you say would be the way to chain that together? And where else should they be tapping into to try to tap into that 70% of the market that they’re not building that long-term brand value with yet?
Bill Durrant 17:36
Yeah, absolutely. So I think one of the things that brands can get hung up on in that position like this is the look at that 70%. And they’ll say, that’s just massive, we don’t necessarily have the resources to reach all of them. And that’s fine. That’s totally okay. We still have, at least for the next year or so, we still have the opportunity to segment and to target audiences across the web, within walled gardens, like Google and Facebook, and to find, who are the audiences that share the same passion points that you support that your products support, that share the same point of view that your products support, and you can find those and play around with those. And you can do that in programmatic platforms, Google being far and away from the simplest and easiest to access, if you want to go beyond Facebook, that then allows you and opens you up to different media formats and creative specs, video, display, search, etc.
Tanner Larsson 18:41
We can also buy actual TV spots on Google as well, right? You could get off our slots or whatever, you put up a clue or something.
Bill Durrant 18:51
Yeah, Google’s been, they were one of the earliest to sell remnant TV inventory, which you can get pretty granular with targeting nowadays, as well. And so you don’t even have to have a big fancy agency to do that anymore either. And PS, this is where the whole world is going, you’ll be able to buy anything you want radio, TV, outdoor, even, programmatically. So you don’t have to necessarily have a massive infrastructure in place. But what you’re doing by opening yourself up there is you’re starting to diversify and expand out your media mix. So you’re inherently increasing reach by reaching people across more media channels going beyond just Facebook. But you’re still doing that in a way that feels focused and tight and aligned to the passion points and ultimately the problems that your products solve. And while you’re doing that, the other piece of advice that I would give is, I would start thinking about how am I building a brand and how am I building a relationship with people. You might have emails going to people, but a lot of times emails can feel very transactional, right? It’s about telling people what’s going on, what
new products happen, what sales are taking place, that is absolutely, totally fine. But how are we building a deeper brand relationship so that we’re creating preference for us the next time that they’re in the market for this particular product. And that’s where I think a lot of folks fall short is that it’s a little bit tougher sometimes to see the immediate ROAS, either because the measurements are less accessible, or because it takes a bit longer to build. And so they throw it out the window. So it’s gonna take more discipline, more of an investment, but it’s ultimately going to help you get to that next level because we’ve talked about now, a few times, you reach the folks that are kind of in the market for whom your product solves their needs or their problem, you hit all those folks, life feels pretty good, kind of get it dialed in. And then suddenly, things start to feel like they’re falling off a cliff because you’ve exhausted that pool.
Tanner Larsson 21:01
Bill Durrant 21:01
Yeah, if you want to build that next pool of people who are going to be ready to purchase you in a month, and three months and six months and 12 months. That’s how you can do that in a way that still feels like you’ve got one foot on shore, but one foot on that boat kind of venturing further out, and allowing you to test and learn safely. And doing that in a way that hopefully does create that relationship with consumers. Because if you’ve ever dated and I’m pretty sure everyone that’s listening has dated unless you’re young, in which case you’re already an all star.
Tanner Larsson 21:37
Bill Durrant 21:38
The worst thing you can do is go up to someone and keep asking them, would you like to go out with me? Would you like to go out with me? No, they need to get to know you first. They need to understand who you are, what your values are? What’s shared between the two of you, what problems you can solve for each other, there needs to be a slightly deeper relationship. And that makes it so much easier to then say to someone who knows you, would you like to go out with me? And that’s what you’ll find when you start expanding in this way.
Tanner Larsson 22:07
So this ties in guys, if you’re trying to tie the connection with what we talked about, I mean, he uses the same language or just hasn’t actually said the words, but this would be the completely cold audience that doesn’t know you yet doesn’t have any relation with you. You’re trying to basically take them from cold to lukewarm to warm. And then you make them an offer after they know they trust you. And doing this though, Bill. I mean, I know what people are thinking because before I started, I would never say I’m a master of this. But we do try to do this as well in our business and the brands we work with. But people always think, Oh my god, I have this much money, it’s got to go towards immediate sales. But then okay, I’m gonna carve some off to do this other thing. But they’re thinking it’s got to be this massively manual process, which it really doesn’t. It can be daisy-chained through automation and retargeted ads to this to that right? To make that easy to use.
Bill Durrant 23:06
Yeah, absolutely. They’re not hacks, necessarily. But there are shortcuts that you can take to where you don’t have to come out of this feeling like, you’re like an advertising master who understands every aspect of Google’s DSP. You can go in, and you can find the right audiences, and then reach them through multiple tactics. And really the challenge for you may become, how am I producing creative and messaging across these different formats. And you don’t have to invest as much time into all the technical elements because they’re incentivized, just like Facebook is, which is one of the reasons why everyone’s using Facebook. They’re incentivized to make it as easy as possible. There are technical elements, there are things that need to be learned, but I don’t think it precludes anyone listening today, especially if you’re already accustomed to how the logic works behind Facebook. Or if you’re not using Facebook, and you’re using Google similarly. There’s no one precluded from this today from expanding out. Certainly not at least in a very small way to start adding Google Search, ad and display, ad in YouTube, if you’ve got access to video, that’s certainly going to be very powerful for you.
Tanner Larsson 24:23
Now, you just touched on it and which is the part that scares everybody, or they have trouble thinking that which is creative, which truthfully, is probably more important than any type of placement. Because the placements are key, as well, but if you don’t get the creative right, there’s no point even finding the placement. I think everybody on here gets a pretty solid understanding at least of running a direct call to action style ad, buy my shit now kind of thing, right? Or everybody’s pretty good at that. There’s better ways of doing it. But when we’re talking about that branding, more relationship building type of awareness. Can you give a couple examples, maybe from past clients, or whatever of what some of that content or ad creative would look like, so people can get their head wrapped around it?
Bill Durrant 25:10
Yeah, absolutely. I think in a lot of cases, it kind of goes back to some of those core elements that we talked about a moment ago, which are passion points. So show me the lifestyle that your brand or products enable. And a beautiful example of that. And they’re obviously now at a much more substantial scale is a brand like Yeti. What I love about Yeti is that they are a brand and in this age of, buy now, click now, do this now, they are a brand that has been built entirely in this age. And anything that you experience from Yeti, even if it’s product focused, is always tying back to lifestyle. And it’s always tied back to the emotions and what that lifestyle evokes. So if the creativity and the messaging that utilizes and brings people back to a lifestyle, that’s in some cases, probably slightly aspirational, because I don’t know many people who go cattle ranching in Maui, but like Yeti made that look really cool. Then you’re serving a need, you’re creating a relationship, and you’re going far deeper than just buying now to where they’re going to buy now, and they’re going to buy again later. So that’s probably the first thing that I would say is think about the lifestyle that you bring. And if you have just the resources to make that come to life through photography, or even the photography that you didn’t shoot, that’s okay, too. But taking that step is critical. And then from there, I do think that you can utilize, in a kind of performance oriented way any media channel, it really just depends on the message, if you’re telling people to buy now. So think about the channels that you’re in, that you’re utilizing right now, to sell people to buy now, to tell people to do this action, to tell people about your product. And then think about what would happen if you shifted or evolved the message. The biggest, easiest way to do that is Facebook, because it really does allow you to go from awareness, to consideration of a deeper relationship involvement. And then ultimately, to purchase you can do that in a more sequence way, as you mentioned through things like retargeting, certainly, as well. So think about the platforms that you’re using, and shifting the messaging around, think about the lifestyle that your brand or product creates. And ultimately think about other brands. Yeti, being a great example, have kind of grown up in this world of DTC ecommerce, first marketing in many cases, but now have kind of done that and expanded out to create a brand that’s more holistic, and ultimately, significantly larger than it would have been had they kind of stayed in their initial lanes.
Tanner Larsson 28:04
Yeah, and guys, another way of looking at this is, if you think about brands that are predominantly online, DTC, they exhibit buy now marketing, the ones that typically have a retail presence as well tend to shift more into brand awareness advertising, because now they’re trying to also take care of the retailer, and they’ve got commitments there and things like that. But if you can take that same aspect, is what Bill is saying, take that same aspect of pretending you have a retail location where you can’t tell them to buy now, you just have to demonstrate the product and take that into consideration into some of your second years, the third year, fourth year ads, or potentially, at your start. That’s actually something interesting that we’re doing now, for BGS, we’ve always been predominantly like, here’s the problem, here’s our solution, come check it out right now. When we’ve been shifting that model around to be much more of a problem awareness to the entire marketplace, and then escalated in through the path of awareness consideration, and then potentially coming to find us and come to our event or whatever else. So we’re actually living that right now. And it’s been quite a big shift in our mindset because we knew that was a way, but we never actually focused on it. And the results already early on are significantly better than we were before and the buy-in when a customer is ready to buy or join or work with us. The education level, the buy-in that the excitement level that they have is 10 times better than it ever was when we were just saying, hey, here’s the problem, here’s how we solve it buy our shit.
Bill Durrant 29:45
Yeah, that’s fantastic. And I would ask you, do you feel like there has been kind of a certain revenue level or a certain inflection point or threshold where that becomes, the main conversation or you’re finding that you’re able to have that conversation with folks at varying revenue levels, how is that dynamic working?
Tanner Larsson 30:09
I mean, again, we’re early in it. But so far, we haven’t noticed a big difference in what we’re getting people at all. Because Build Grow Scale, we have a Build program, we have a Growth program, we have a Scale program. So we kind of do speak to all audiences, but we’re starting to build our initial funnel, I guess, it was just consideration, awareness of ecom problems in general, and it wasn’t really defined by are you a build grow or a scale phase type person. And the feedback from that, though, we’re getting leads for people who want to be amplified partners, which are big brands, where we’re getting leads for the other ones. So we’re finding people that all levels are good. One thing we have found is with the people at lower income or revenue levels. Previously, with our here’s our problem, here’s the solution, here’s how we sell you, people would think that we are too big to work with him, they would think, oh, you only work with the big brands, which we talk about a lot as like basis for hey, here’s where the proof comes from, that we’re able to then break down and teach to you guys. But through the awareness advertising, we’re not having that pushback where they’re immediately thinking, Oh, yeah, I immediately knew you guys got me, you guys are on the same page. And then I was surprised that you did work with the big brands too. So it kind of had a reverse effect for us.
Bill Durrant 31:29
That’s great. I think from our side, just given our heritage, we’ve been seeing so many more new opportunities with brands pitches, etc. that originated as DTC e-commerce brands, and are now kind of in that phase of getting retail distribution or wanting retail distribution. They’re getting around to financing or funding, funding really, that’s built around kind of a scale phase. And they’re coming to us and saying, how do we build this awareness? And how do we kind of build a more sustainable infrastructure, frankly, in a lot of cases, a more sustainable infrastructure for growth, and kind of hit that next level. And it’s such an exciting inflection point, we see folks that are doing that, coming in seven-figure sales, eight-figure sales, and above. And I think you’re right, it doesn’t necessarily matter where you are, the time is always right to do what is right. They’re probably more, it’s probably better to use more like social justice applications, but it’s certainly appropriate here. And the time is always right to begin building awareness, involvement in a relationship with your consumer, and using that to then grow and scale your business.
Tanner Larsson 32:50
I think at this point, to get kind of tactical for a second with just what’s happening in the marketplace right now, I mean, we’re about two months into the iOS 14 rollout, iOS 15 is coming. Fate, Google still has a little bit more availability, and targeting and options, and stuff than Facebook has, Facebook still doesn’t know what it’s doing, the algorithm is changing every single day and leaving us to wonder what the heck is going on. So what used to work as we could laser focus targeted on interest to really dial somebody in and find that honeypot traffic. Now, we’re not able to do that, we’re also not getting as much data returned to tell the algorithm what to do. So this model that you’re talking about, of building the long term brand, the long term value, the long term buyer, and taking them from awareness to the big fish audience awareness, then consideration, everything else is probably the best way forward for anybody at this point, because it’s the only way you’re going to actually wind up with people ultimately down at the awareness or not awareness, but consideration phase. That’s a sizable enough audience that you control that you can advertise to, right?
Bill Durrant 34:00
Yeah, I agree. I think where we’re seeing measurement going. Because the biggest implication, the smaller application is in targeting of everything that’s going on, that sounds big, but it’s actually the smaller of the two, the bigger implication is in measurement and our ability to measure and understand what’s actually driving results. And so the nice thing about this is that with this approach, results are a little bit more opaque, I’m not getting a very clear ROAS number from these three channels, and then kind of tailoring everything towards that only to kind of slightly larger growth that could happen by consolidating and combining even more channels together. What we’re seeing is if you can measure through this very opaque world, you’re going to be lifting the tide, you know, much higher than it would have gone even if you have access to less than that measurement data. And what we’re also seeing is that there’s kind of this democratization and certainly a supply. So the bigger the brand, the more relevant this is. But there’s this democratization of research. And using machine learning in essentially marketing mix modeling and attribution measurement. We’ve now got machine models that can go in and dig out and to a 95% confidence level, tell us out of this very opaque mishmash of different channels and different tactics and approaches, what is actually driving the results, and where the synergies are, and where to focus our investments in a way that just looking at channels myopically in the past, with some of that measurement going away, never could have really done so it’s kind of forcing folks to become more disciplined and to become more comfortable with this idea of a more opaque world. I think ultimately, it can serve us better, as long as we are continuously looking at ways of finding more novel forms of measurement to actually hold ourselves accountable and improve what we’re doing.
Tanner Larsson 36:03
Absolutely. I mean, the other kind of silver lining of this and bad for some good for most of us is that it’s going to cause a lot of people to phase out who aren’t willing to evolve and change to match all that stuff. Like, there’s gonna be people who are trying to do it the old way are gonna be the dinosaurs are gonna go extinct, or you’re gonna create a lot more opportunity in the e-commerce space by just brands that just don’t evolve, and don’t model this way, dropping off.
Bill Durrant 36:32
Yeah, I agree enough, we wrote a book called The Digital Stone Age, and Digital Stone Age is exactly folks who are doing things one way and just telling screaming at the world, this is the only way to do it, if you’re doing things another way, maybe that looks old fashioned, or maybe that’s, kind of even a newer tactic that they’re not comfortable with, be wary of someone who’s telling you, there’s only one way to do things, and just happens to be the thing that they’re good at.
Tanner Larsson 37:04
They’re selling, yeah.
Bill Durrant 37:06
You know, be wary of that. And understand that we are living in the digital stone age and that everything that’s not digitized is becoming more digitized by the day. Marketing is now a predominantly digital function. But there are still things that worked 50, 60, or 100 years ago, outdoor advertising, it’s the new ways TV, new ways radio in new ways that are still effective. And so you just need to have that neutral perspective. And always use your critical thought. Because what will ultimately help grow your store or grow your brand may not necessarily be what worked six months or a year ago. And that has been true, no time more than it is right now. Everything that you’ve shared.
Tanner Larsson 37:55
Very true. So one more kind of little off-topic, but still an on-topic question. And then we’ll kind of talk about your book a little bit, cuz I want to definitely talk about that. So you’ve been mentioning through this whole thing about, broadening out the different sources, different placements in different areas, or traffic sources, so to speak, that you guys could be using. You mentioned Amazon a little bit? What are some other ones that the average person may not be aware of? Is it even a platform or is it even available nowadays?
Bill Durrant 38:27
Yeah, I think one of them is, for folks that are looking at these kinds of self-serve marketplaces now that Amazon really perfected it, there are opportunities for advertising with Walmart as well. So you can kind of look at them as a broader marketplace to sell and advertise and communicate, they have their own kind of treasure trove of data. And you’re also looking for brands that are starting to get retail distribution, there’s support through instacart that I think a lot of folks can overlook. But if you’re starting to get retail distribution for your products at a very specific retailer that’s covered by instacart. It’s a really incisive way to juice up your results for your product, to increase velocities, and ultimately, help you get more distributions. If you’re thinking of a next-level tactic. And I think we’re also looking at it’s sometimes it’s the channels, but as I mentioned earlier, it’s also measurement solutions, who are going to be building measurement solutions that are future proof and allow you to understand this very opaque world of combining multiple media channels and not getting very crystal clear results because apples withholding that data from you or any of the other myriad challenges that we’re facing. So thinking also about research and attribution is also going to be really important, and understanding who’s leading in that space as where you’re actually running. One channel that I think has shown an extraordinary amount of resilience, even though it’s fairly new, is podcasting. Podcasting is now available programmatically, which means that it’s just much more accessible at smaller budget levels for people to test out and to try. And podcasting lives in a world of passion points and personalities, who shares your viewpoint, who shares your passion points, you can find those audiences in a very finite way. And you can now reach them in a way that is certainly more automated. And the resilience that podcasting showed last year, you would think with no one commuting during COVID, that podcasting would have seen a dip. Podcasting continued to grow during that time, in terms of consumer usage. So we really see that as a big opportunity that a lot of DTC and e-commerce brands that have scaled and become very successful have done, but it’s still kind of an underappreciated channel. So that would be my kind of very tactical top tip there.
Tanner Larsson 41:11
Cool, that’s great. So, Bill, you mentioned the book. Let’s talk about that for a little bit for a second, right. So it’s called the Digital Stone Age: how the world’s most successful advertisers use traditional thinking and innovation to drive growth. What is it?
Bill Durrant 41:26
Yeah, I think in a roundabout way, we’ve talked about what it is. And it really is this idea or concept that there are going to be people who tell you that there is one specific way to do things now because we live in a new world. And they’re right that we live in a new world. But they’re wrong that there is one specific way to do things. When we found what we have seen research bear out over. Again, thousands of brands need to have a multi channel disciplined approach. And as much as your media mix, or communications mix as a brand, needs to be digital first, in most instances, especially if you’re an e-commerce brand. There are still applications and uses for channels and ideas that might feel a little bit more old-fashioned, like TV, radio, or outdoor. And that’s particularly true for how those channels are now digitizing themselves and creating new opportunities. You can now buy a TV, as you mentioned, which 10, 15 years ago was, $2 million minimums pipe dream kind of conversation, you can now buy digital out of the home. Again, programmatically, you don’t necessarily need to have a massive infrastructure to do that. And you can be extremely targeted to specific groups of people, depending upon the locations that you’re at, and the time of day that you’re running, and even targeted towards weather and weather-based advertising, which is always fun. So we’re really thinking about how do you look critically at what is going to be effective for growing your brand, rather than just kind of falling for what someone is telling you, it’s kind of the next type of channel, or the next type of opportunity, putting all of your eggs into the Tik Tok basket, Tik Tok effective and super fun and really enjoyable. But that’s not the most effective long-term marketing strategy, because you’re inherently limiting yourself to one new channel. And as we know, algorithms change, and things change, too. So that channel may not even be as effective in the future as it is today. So how do you take that more rational, media neutral, or strategy neutral approach to what you’re doing in terms of growing your brand? And so we’re just kind of giving people the tools and the proof, to think critically about that. And if somebody reads that, and they say, Well, some of these examples are about Nike, obviously, Nike is an example that everyone understands, because it’s a ubiquitous brand. But I’m not Nike, I’m not billions of dollars in sales. What you’re also looking at in this book is, what are the strategies that people are employing, that are actually translatable to any level of sales or investment, and those strategies apply to you, regardless of whether or not you’re Nike, or you’re just starting out, you’ve got $5,000 in revenue. And so getting your mind into the right strategic framework and the right strategic mindset becomes kind of the unanticipated benefit of the digital stone age in the context of all of the proof of everything that I’ve just talked about. So it’s, um, it’s definitely a read if you’re thinking about scaling or growing your brand or business and trying to understand how the people that are really leading are doing that by combining the best of what’s worked in the past, with the best and what’s worked now and what’s going to be working in the future.
Tanner Larsson 44:57
Awesome. So what’s the best place for someone to find that book? Your website is at Amazon what’s the best place?
Bill Durrant 45:01
Where all fine books are sold but Amazon is certainly the number one spot just search Digital Stone Age.
Tanner Larsson 45:08
Everybody wants free shipping on the book today tomorrow. So, guys, Digital Stone Age go to Amazon pick it up. Bill, where is the best place for someone who wants to get a hold of you guys? What do they do to see more about Exverus? What’s the best way to find you guys?
Bill Durrant 45:26
Absolutely. So you can either go to Exverus.com, that’s E X V E R U S.com or you can certainly track me down on LinkedIn as well. I’m Bill Durrant, that’s two R’s, no relation to Kevin.
Tanner Larsson 45:39
Awesome. Well, Bill, it’s great having you on today. Guys, this was a fun episode, lots of good stuff in here, not the usual optimization stuff we’re talking about, but more about how to get more money out of the optimizations by getting your traffic dialed in and a much more holistic approach that builds your brand long term. So this was very exciting Bill, I had a great time chatting with you. I got some ideas myself, guys. leave a review, leave a tip, whatever you thought, comment on it on YouTube, go to Spotify, go wherever you’re listening to it. And if you need the show notes, you want links to Bill’s book or you want a website link or anything like that, go to BuildGrowScale.com forward slash podcast. We’ll all be there and have a great time chatting with you can’t wait till next time. Bill, thanks again. Really appreciate it.
Bill Durrant 46:24
Thank you Tanner.
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Want us to do an Audit on your e-commerce store and show you how you can make some quick changes that will dramatically increase sales and profits without increasing your traffic?