Ep. #1130 - How to Dominate Your Growth Marketing Strategy
In today’s Startup Hustle episode, Andrew Morgans talks with Daniel James, Founder and CEO of Flight Performance. Join them as they talk about how to dominate your growth marketing strategy. Listen to them discuss why marketers should always think customer-first and more.
Covered In This Episode
As an entrepreneur, you constantly face different challenges. One of them is how to dominate your growth marketing strategy. What strategies should you employ to help your growing company hit your performance and growth targets?
To help you answer these questions, Andrew Morgans talked to a fellow musician-turned-marketing expert and entrepreneur, Daniel James. In their conversation, Andrew and Daniel shared insights into how many musicians become marketers and why marketing should always be customer-centric. At the same time, Daniel explains the difference between performance and growth marketing strategies.
Tune in to this Startup Hustle episode to learn how to dominate your growth marketing strategy.
- Daniel’s backstory: From music to marketing (1:29)
- From MySpace to AOL (10:25)
- Working in the fragmented world of big brands (12:42)
- Founding Mint Performance Marketing (18:45)
- Marketing should always be about the consumer (24:07)
- Mint was acquired and is now Flight Performance (25:52)
- Daniel James’ Bitesized podcast (28:03)
- The difference between performance marketing and growth marketing (29:52)
- Building awareness and intent should be in tandem with sales (34:16)
- Actionable advice for a new growth strategy (39:34)
- Why you shouldn’t stop testing (46:32)
- What’s in store for Daniel and Flight Performance in the near future (48:27)
Broadly speaking, I think we’ve become too insular of the channels and how we think as marketers in terms of the platforms, the tactics, the stuff. And we don’t think enough, or maybe, maybe that’s wrong. We should always be thinking, first and foremost, the consumer, right? How do we capture attention?Daniel James
I think that’s where a lot of times when you get that big, big top-of-funnel brand awareness, you’re spending a ton of time on those things like in digital has made it easier than ever. But then, like, okay, so like, what are we actually doing with that traffic? What is our intent behind that? Is it to grow, subscribe and save numbers on Amazon? Is it to get a bunch of, you know, get our first viral posts as an agency? Or is it to drive sales? I think, at the end of the day, it’s always to drive sales.Andrew Morgans
I’ve got this phrase of, like, never, never paying for a customer twice. Once you’ve got them, how are you building loyalty? How are you looking to retain them? And then from there, like, you look at influencers pay kind of the acquisition, the outward marketing side of things. It’s all about the creative. It’s all about the creative, and creative is dictated by your product, your positioning, but also, who’s your target consumer?Daniel James
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Andrew Morgans 0:00
Hey, what’s up, Hustlers? Welcome back. This is Andrew Morgans, founder of Marknology, here today as host of Startup Hustle, covering all things e-commerce, startups, and DTC marketplaces. You name it. Today I’m talking with Daniel James from Flight Performance. Daniel, welcome to the show.
Daniel James 0:17
Thank you, Andrew. A pleasure to be here. Excited to be chatting with you, man.
Andrew Morgans 0:21
Yeah, I’m super excited to chat it up. I think we’re gonna have a lot to share. I know you guys have had a couple of moves recently. And we’ll get into those exactly what that looks like for you guys. But before we do a shout-out to today’s sponsor, today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by fullscale.io. Hiring software developers is difficult. Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. Ian has the platform to help you manage that team. Visit fullscale.io to learn more. Daniel is coming from LA. I believe that’s where you’re at today. I love getting to know just like your story before we get into just kind of everything that you’ve built and what you guys are doing, and how you’re working with brands today. I know I personally didn’t think of being an entrepreneur or business owner in the marketing, you know, in the marketing industry. And yet, here I am. Where’s your story begins?
Daniel James 1:09
Yeah, I don’t have the I don’t have the lemonade stand at the age of two kind of entrepreneurship story, which I don’t know. It seems to be if you don’t have that story. Are you even a real entrepreneur? I don’t know.
Andrew Morgans 1:24
I don’t know. Yeah, I
Daniel James 1:26
I kind of got into marketing. somewhat by accident. It wasn’t something that I studied or anything like that. I was actually at music college. So music was my first passion. I was in a band. You know, I wanted to be the next Kurt Cobain or Liam Gallagher or one of those. And this was back in the early 2000s. You know, I had it part jobs. I worked in a sneaker store; I worked at a rental car company. I made telesales, which looking back, a lot of those things actually are quite beneficial, especially the telesales, like the 1000 nose for the one yes, and then figuring out how to sell on the phone while selling like a window, double glazing window appointments. You know, kind of kind of a Sharky world if I’m honest with you, but it taught me quite a lot. And then, through some fortuitous circumstances, you know, I had a MySpace page for my band at the time. And MySpace was really new at the time. And like I said, through some fortuitous circumstances managed to get a job at MySpace in 2004. I think it was. So like, really early in the world of digital and social. And it was actually my space that they brought me out to LA to meet kind of like the team out in LA, and I learned so much through the teams at MySpace about digital and marketing; I just got completely hooked on this very simple idea of like, a brand putting something onto the internet to drive consumer action. I found that incredibly fascinating. So you know, if I replay the story slightly, I’d say I was always into, like, marketing, right? Think about a band I was always trying to sell the bands get gigs, like a lot of it was marketing on
Andrew Morgans 3:22
album art. The T-shirt designs, you know, I was in a hardcore metal band for four and a half years touring probably like, mine was a little behind yours maybe like an Oh, seven to 2011 2012 Pretty. But I relate the same thing kind of to my first attempt at a brand, my first attempt at like, you know, marketing myself and you know, from complete 96 shows one year, we didn’t have a manager so like, you know, booking those shows, you know, putting the albums together the art the MySpace, top eight or whatever, you know, you had the other bands, you were like CO marketing with or influencing with or touring with, you know, the flyers that we made for MySpace shows, remember, like, those flyers were really like, you know, the infographics or images that exist in e Commerce today, you know, we were putting like, the flyers were a work of art in some ways, like, you know, just getting getting people like getting it done. That’s super cool. I definitely think of MySpace and the sharing because Facebook just came out to, or at least a little bit after, and so it was really those flyers getting shared around that would be the difference in us having like good shows or not, you know,
Daniel James 4:33
yeah, definitely not 100% Grayza. It’s also quite interesting, actually. I obviously have a really good network of people in marketing working at agencies. I feel like we’re an industry have failed musicians. There’s a lot of there’s a lot of failed musicians running marketing companies and working in marketing companies.
Andrew Morgans 4:52
Well, I would say yes, failed musicians, but one, we’re still musicians. Okay. Number two, okay. I could have kept going that way. I just like got tired of being poor. Like, you know, I was like doing it, I don’t know about you, I was doing, and I was, you know, touring and getting all those connections, but I was just tired like I didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. When I really saw the business side of it. I got a little less enamored with it, like, you know, and I just really solid, like what is like at the top when you’re just touring, tearing down setting up and touring and like meeting these guys and girls that are like killing it, but not really killing it, I just kind of lost a little bit of the, the lore. And also, if you were to put me 10 years later, I think I’d be a very successful musician. Now. I know, Spotify and YouTube and these things didn’t exist, like you had to go play shows, like you had to go play shows all over 100. That was a hard thing to do. But if I could have worked my job and then record at night and work my job recorded, and I, you know, without having to hit the road, it might have looked way different as someone that understands marketing now. You know, I think you can be almost a solo artist and, you know, get views all over the world without ever having gone
Daniel James 6:05
there. So oh, 1000 Yeah. 1,000% Yeah, that changed.
Andrew Morgans 6:08
It changed a lot. That that didn’t exist back
Daniel James 6:11
in our day. Right? You had to sell CDs, right? Yeah, no, there was no Spotify; you could upload stuff onto some like MySpace and stuff like that. But you had to. You literally had to get fans one fan at a time by playing gigs. So yeah, these days, it’s, it’s,
Andrew Morgans 6:30
you had to choose one song on your MySpace page, like, everyone coming to your page got one song, and that was your song to let them know who you were and what you’re about; you know, you’re like you’re choosing so heavy metal song or something that’s like,
Daniel James 6:42
I’ve actually thought about kind of re-releasing the band as if it’s a new band, but just across digital and just marketing. But then we won’t be able to play any gigs. Because my expanding, there’s ,you know, live in England and all this sort of stuff. Well,
Andrew Morgans 6:59
there’s a band called Four Giants. I’m obsessed with them being giants. And it’s just two guys, two engineers. They live in different parts of the country. And they just like to write music online. Okay, it’s metal. It’s like, you know, full a full band. They never tour. They’ve never toured. And I’ll probably never get to see them live. But I mean, I love, their stuff I just put on its instrumental metal, you know, so, and vocals or anything but good stuff that works to you knows, a, it’s two guys that I’ll never I know, I’ll never get to see perform live, but like, you know, definitely one of my favorite artists. So I don’t know if that’s an encouragement, but okay. Just change today when people enjoy. You know,
Daniel James 7:36
I’ll do it. Yeah, maybe I’ll do it. Okay, so Okay, so
Andrew Morgans 7:40
MySpace brings you in; you’re like getting to know like the, at the beginning early stages of like, what digital marketing social marketing is looking like? How old were you then? I
Daniel James 7:53
I don’t want to age myself
Andrew Morgans 7:54
roughly just like roughly, I want to kind of know, like, you know, early 20s coming down to LA, where did you live before that?
Daniel James 8:02
So I moved. I lived just outside of London. So yeah, like coming to LA, I’d never been here before. And it was actually common to LA with MySpace. Like, I was obsessed, I was obsessed with a couple of things. I was obsessed with marketing and brands and branding and advertising. And then I fell in love with LA. And it was actually when I came in my early 20s. With MySpace, I was like one day, like, it kind of was the start of that aspiration to really have a solid career or build a business in marketing and live in Los Angeles. So along the way, I was always trying to engineer a full move, tried and failed a couple of times, it wasn’t it isn’t super easy to get visas and green cards and all this sort of stuff. So yeah, that came a little bit later in the journey. But yeah, my suppose was, I couldn’t think of a better company at a better time to be the launch pad of what’s been the foundation of my kind of career, which is digital social advertising. You know, that that company, at that time, was kind of the explosion of everything. And to your point, you know, Facebook wasn’t spoken about in the first year or something like that, that I was there. And then it started getting talked about, and we started to see kind of like the impact Facebook was having on kind of like daily users and stuff like this. And I kind of say this about MySpace like I have such a place in my heart for MySpace and amazing people that work there, like super talented but just really cool people as well. MySpace did everything right. And then Facebook stripped out that just one really easy bit of just an update. So MySpace, I mean, it still exists now. Right? It’s gone through quite a few evolutions, but it’s a creative platform. It’s a platform for creators, artists, bands, And there’s all that sort of stuff. And that’s probably what it should have always been. Do you see what I mean? But it was the first, you know, first big, like, an online social network where the average person could write an update, and their friends could view it. But it was complicated to customize your page; you had to do this, you had to do that. So had
Andrew Morgans 10:20
to move your time around, do you know, like, yeah, like custom code, the background skins and stuff, you know?
Daniel James 10:25
Yeah, exactly. So I eventually left MySpace and went to AOL. Again, another behemoth in the world of digital. So I was working across their owned and operated properties as well as their performance network. Again, great company; I came over to LA with them a couple of times as well, actually tried and applied for a job in LA with AOL, and got the job, but then they didn’t support the visa process. So my first attempt at moving to LA properly, but again, AOL taught me a lot because, you know, that owned and operated properties was a very similar thing to MySpace, it’s a it’s a website. It’s a, you know, platform that you own. But then I started to really understand the performance network side of things. And it’s actually fun of evolution because my next move was to a company called Turn after AOL, which, you know, as a marketing media, also a technology platform, so it was a DSP and a DMP. So demand-side platform data management platform for anyone who doesn’t know. So it’s, it’s the marketing strategy, the media strategy, but also the technology that will power things like programmatic, CTV, all these things, which were really quite new at the time. And so when I look at those moves from my space, one of the catalysts to leaving with Facebook, right, so the real explosion of like the broad, just social communication, kind of platforms. And then AOL, the thing that really started to chip into AOL’s success was programmatic because that was coming up as like efficiencies. And we can do this at scale. So the performance network side of things started to struggle. And then turn was, you know, really all in on kind of the strategy, but media buying through these programmatic channels, we did social and digital, and again, like CTV, digital out of home, which were really new at the time. I remember selling the connected TV campaign to Toyota. And it’s like; it’s seamless, we can do this. And then in the background, it’s like spinning plates trying to stitch things together to make any sense of the, of the reporting or, you know, was
Andrew Morgans 12:39
tribution was not a
Daniel James 12:42
no, no, exactly the technology and the theory existed, but it was very early, right? So, you know, obviously, now it’s advanced quite significantly. And then would turn the other company, actually, that I moved out to San Francisco, originally with, to work on, on the US brands. And so that was about 10 years ago, now, I moved to the US. So I lived in San Francisco, where the head office was based, didn’t love it in San Francisco, I’ll be honest, and then made a move down to LA about a year later; I was really fortunate, again, amazing team work with brands like Toyota, Kraft, Lexus, Disney, and some of the really big agency groups and access to their brands as well. So again, like really good exposure to really big and exciting brands, as well as some smaller brands, you know, overseeing all that digital, social, connected TV, all of this, and it was at that time when I eventually got my green card, I was like, you know, as leading strategy across these brands, leading teams. And I was just getting; I was getting disillusioned with a couple of things. One is part of a because 10 got acquired by a company called Amobi. And it’s a big company; everything felt slow, right, everything. And I was like a go-getting strategy, let’s make shit happen kind of guy. So that started to really frustrate me. And then on the other side, it’s, you know, I’m going into discuss digital and social strategy for a band like Toyota, and the fragmentation of, you know, they’ve got, they’ve got 10 different creative agencies, they’ve got 10 Different agencies for their pay, they’ve got 10 Different agencies for this, the brand and the performance teams don’t talk to each other, like, the fragmentation of that world. Like it just baffled me, like as I as you go up
Andrew Morgans 14:37
market, it’s a stop there just for a second, because when I had a little color, like, that’s something even that I’m, we’ve been going through the last couple of years in our agency now is, you know, generally our bread and butter being like medium-sized retailers, you know, like 10 million plus, you know, but 10 to 15 million or something like you know, and that’s yeah, that’s big for a lot of people all the way down. $1 million businesses, you know, trying to work with us like that would be where we’re at. And then having, you know, the opportunity to work with, like, the Nestle’s of the world, some very large brands I have, like, you know, are working with an agency that has 50 brands underneath it. And those 50 could be big, just completely different relationships. Communication Style, understanding what’s happening behind the scenes; I mean, the content team and the branding team don’t even talk to the ads or the media buying team. They’re enemies in some ways, you know, not talking about any of them specifically, but just like, in general, like these are, they’re all fighting for different budgets at a company. And, you know, they’re all just like competing. And they’re, they’re trying to fight for like, you know, internally, they’re trying to fight internally. And well, if you know anything about Amazon, on Amazon, the SEO, the advertising, the PPC, the content, the branding, they all work together on this platform, like they’re 100% Hand in Hand like, Oh, you’re trying to advertise on pre-workout. Let me see if you are trying to like rank for pre-workout in SEO. Let me see if it rings, and let me see how it does in PPC; okay, let’s take these results and see what happens. And so you’re like very much working like with the written team and the branding team and the PPC team on an Amazon business, but you go upmarket, you work with these teams that are like not so small, or they don’t have those types of conversations. And it’s like, I mean, it’s very hard to win. And if you’re like, kind of guerrilla warfare, like, let’s try this, let’s try this, let’s try this, it can be very cumbersome, and just hard to win. So like if, you know, just like an attorney, or a lawyer will say, I don’t want to take that case, I don’t think I’m gonna win. Sometimes working with the brands, you know, they can be too big, where I’m just like, look, I don’t think we’re going to find success here, if these are the metrics, and this is how we’re gonna do it, you know, and that can be something that’s maybe never crossed someone’s mind to be like, Look, this company is literally too big to win with this strategy. Like, with how fast everything’s moving, you know, if you’re gonna hold me to those, I don’t think we win. So I mean, I can talk about that forever. But I just wanted to add a little color, like, very much as a difference. So like, as a career person, you are getting like, you know, to a better job, bigger brands, a better job, bigger brands, a better job, bigger brands, and then getting disillusioned by being like, now that I’m here. These people don’t have a clue up here, what’s going on, like, I want to be doing the stuff that’s like, you know, current, I want to be the best ecommerce manager, I can be like, I want to be the best shot the best advertising guy. And I’m literally having to go through red tape like these other smaller brands, at least on Amazon; we’ve been able to win with small brands all day long because they’re willing to try the different strategies we were implementing, and then fast, and younger companies are slow.
Daniel James 17:47
Yeah, no. 100%. Any, and you mentioned that. Like it’s misaligned incentives within your within the within the brand’s own company, and then the agencies, right, what it what you’re what you’re trying to do. And I don’t mean bad intentions, just misaligned incentives. But what you’re trying to do is, well, I look after this piece of the pie; I’m only focused on that; I need to secure my budget, showcase why I’m the thing that’s driving the ROI, and kind of fuck everything else. And it’s like, it doesn’t work like that; it shouldn’t work like that. And it’s still wild to me that that’s how most of these big companies are set up, where everything is fragmented. And
Andrew Morgans 18:32
those companies like kind of their setup to where they’re like, We want this Department to speak for why they’re worth the budget and what this department say why they’re worth it in the EU. Have you started creating all this competition internally? Yeah. Which makes no sense.
Daniel James 18:45
No, exactly, exactly. So you’re totally right, this kind of disillusion with that side. And just this overwhelming sense of, like, this could be made so much better. And that was the reality; that was really the tipping-off point for starting Mint. In 2019, you know, I want to work with brands on a different scale. Right. But what I want to build is a team whereby everything is interconnected. Right? And we focus on performance marketing like we exist to drive revenue, like profitable, scalable, sustainable revenue. But that is brands that is performance. That is all the different aspects it interconnects, and so that, yeah, that was the tipping-off point. For my entrepreneurship journey, like I said, you know, I love the companies I worked at; I worked with incredibly smart people. I wasn’t necessarily pursuing this idea throughout my 20s or early 30s of, like, I’m definitely gonna go and do that. I loved what I did. Like I had so many opportunities and had so much fun. I traveled a lot and worked with amazing brands and amazing people. So really, It wasn’t like this desire to be an entrepreneur; it was actually a desire to be nice. And it was. Yeah, yeah, exactly. And that’s so happened that well, to do that, I’m gonna start my own company because I don’t see anybody else doing it. And I think as well, having moved to LA, you know, meeting the people that I’ve met, I started to get to know local brand owners. And also, you know, I’m a Brit, if you can’t tell from the accent, not Australian, living in England, England’s like phenomenal place, great talent over there. But La did bring out this sense of; you can do whatever you want, kind of thing. I questioned sometimes if I’d stayed in England, whether I would have done that. You know, I think it’s a very powerful thing that American culture has a la culture has of, you know, there is that can do anything mindset. Do you see what I mean? There’s a lot of entrepreneurs; there’s a lot of that kind of thinking. So those couple of things happening and where I was in my life, and the move to America definitely was a big catalyst for that. So yes, I started Mint 2019. With that vision of having a true kind of integrated omni channel, we don’t do Amazon; by the way, it’s the one thing we don’t do Amazon and SEO because there are specialties around that. But we really focus on, you know, performance marketing across brands. So we do influencer, UGC ads, paid social, paid searches, all kinds of paid media channels, then email and SMS conversion rate optimization. So it’s kind of that acquisition retention flywheel that we have like our products and services really wrapped around. No.
Andrew Morgans 21:53
We spend a lot of time learning that site as well, as an agency now that’s going on nine years old. I’ve got a plethora of brands that I own as well that we’re building, you know, percentage owners in or different things like that. And the off-Amazon side is a really big part of it. If we’re getting paid for Amazon to grow a brand on Amazon, and it used to be more so that someone built a brand just for Amazon. And now it’s more like this as a channel of what you’re building overall. And, you know, how’s it tie in, if you’re running great Facebook ads, and or Tik Tok and Facebook and Instagram retargeting, and, you know, getting them into email lists, and doing all these types of things? How much of that percentage is coming to Amazon? They’re doing it, right? So it’s just a matter of like, are we capturing them when they get there? Are we double paying on ads to get them there? You know, it makes your Facebook marketing look better when you’re actually getting the attribution right on the Amazon side because then it’s, you know, a third of it, or a fourth of it, is ending up on Amazon to buy and all those things. So spend a ton of time understanding how to essentially plug a marketplace in what’s happening there into the rest of the ecosystem, but like, what you’re doing well off of what we call off Amazon, that same ecosystem exists in Amazon. That’s one of the main differences is that the marketplaces kind of have everything in there, from email to media buying to SEO and the listings and the content too. Now they’ve got Amazon Live, Amazon Post, and Amazon Inspire, I think, which is like tick-tock. So they’re trying to make a lot of it native here, but it’s the same principles just like, you know, how they exist over here, essentially. So no, it’s something that at the beginning, you’re right, it was everyone in their own bucket. And so doing what I did was like, you know, arguing with Facebook ads guys, a brand is hiring me, and I’m trying to work on the same trying to be on the same team on the same page. And being like, look, attribution might not be there, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. And so if you have the ability to, you know, anyway, I can digress because I can talk about it forever. But no understanding, you know, what are all of the little dials that you can turn on with a brand, you know, there’s so many really that
Daniel James 24:07
comes down to it. Yeah, it definitely is, you know, and yet to emphasize the point, it’s there’s there’s so many, and it’s it’s all interconnected. And my philosophy to marketing is always, you know, it’s got consumer first. Let’s not forget what we’re trying to do. You know, we get so wrapped up in Marvel we want to do like the tools, the platforms, the data, like super important stuff, don’t get me wrong, right? But the person you’re trying to sell your stuff to doesn’t give a shit about any of that. They’re living their lives. And they go on Amazon to do their shopping, and they go on Facebook to chat to their mom, and they go on Instagram to like pictures and tick tock to watch. They do not think consumer first. The platforms are tools. Everything else is like that’s their tools for us to use. I think we get very insular, as marketers, and I see it all the time. But it’s like, don’t get me wrong, you need to be a specialist. If you’re running paid ads, you need to know as much as you can know about how to maximize that algorithm. Right. But broadly speaking, I think we’ve become too insular of the channels and how we think, as marketers, in terms of the platforms, the tactics, the stuff, and we don’t think enough, or maybe, maybe that’s wrong, we should always be thinking, first and foremost, the consumer, right? How do we capture attention? If you
Andrew Morgans 25:37
do not enough emotional thinking as marketers and more logic, like, you know, this is so dialed into the data and attribution Trail and the media, that we’re showing the content that we’re showing, instead of like, how does this make them feel? You know?
Daniel James 25:52
Yeah, how does it make them feel like tweaking your messaging accordingly? And, and, you know, I mean, attribution, you mentioned it, I don’t know, if you want to go off on that tangent, like, attribution never has never will be perfect, right? It’s actually interesting to me. You know, post iOS 14, we lost, obviously, was a ton of data. Amazon’s always been difficult with Minister-like, as they’re the black box of data analysts improving at the moment; I’d actually be keen to get your thoughts on some of that stuff. But it’s like we have more tools available to us now than we ever have. Collectively, we have more data that may not all be going into Facebook like it used to. But was it accurate, then, like, if I think back to 2004, or five, six, like the early 2000s, in marketing, we have more collected data available to us now than we did to make decisions? But I think always thinking consumer-centric is this super important. To round out the story piece, by the way, meant because I know we’ve mentioned this before we started recording, but Mint actually just got acquired today. Now, flight performance. So the company that acquired us was founded by Steven Bartlett and Oliver Yan CEV. So Steven Bartlett founded a social chain agency in the UK, sold and exited from that business, and co-founded flight story with all of the young children who were an MD of the social chain; he grew the US business. They now run a company called Flight Story, which is a marketing media comms agency group. They have a Content Studio team; they have a press. I should say we now, as of today, there’s a PR agency, a Web three agency, and now a performance agency. And as we’re on a podcast, if anyone is into podcasts, Steven runs the podcast over SEO, which is massive. I think one of the world’s
Andrew Morgans 27:56
definitely seen it. Like, I consume that one. So yeah, yeah, then I’m not all over the place. But he has a great podcast.
Daniel James 28:03
Yes, Puck’s podcast is incredible. I recently launched one called bite-sized. And, you know, when I’m talking to Steve, who runs, I think, the biggest podcast in Europe. And it’s not far from being the biggest. I don’t want to forget his data wrong. On my little podcast, I’m showing him my very small metrics. He’s got a team of 30 around him just to manage the podcast. The episode is an incredibly big day for us as well. Just we share the same philosophies on marketing and building teams and agency culture and everything else. So that’s kind of with the jacket off. But that’s my story from what
Andrew Morgans 28:41
I absolutely love, and what a compliment or an accomplishment, you know, it’d be acquired by founders that have created great companies before, you know, so I think who the team you join is equally as amazing. Before I go into some of the next parts here, I got some questions for you. Shout again to our sponsor; finding expert software developers doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you visit fullscale.io. We can build a software team quickly and affordably. Use the Full Scale platform to define technical needs, and then see what available developers, testers, and leaders are ready to join your team. Visit fullscale.io to learn more. Okay, so talk to me a little bit about the difference between performance marketing and growth marketing. And you can break that down as if like you’re not talking to, you know, another marketer and really like to anyone listening like, we hear these terms kind of turned around. You’ve mentioned performance marketing several times. But to someone that might not know, today’s title is How to dominate your growth marketing strategy. And we’re talking about, you know, flight performance being a performance-based agency; what kind of difference in these two things? Are they the same thing? How do they work together? What do you think about that as a brand? Yeah, you
Daniel James 29:52
know, it’s interesting, actually. I mean, first and foremost, performance, right, the way I think about performing ones. Performance is, I mean, I don’t know the dictionary or, like, classification of it, but the way we think about it is performance is producing a result. Right? That result doesn’t, I think, in the world of performance marketing. And yes, it’s a big part of what we do. It’s very linked to that sale. Right. And that’s true like our job is to, is to grow a brand’s revenue and grow profitably and sustainably. But performance can also be brand awareness; it can also be just what I mean. So performance, for me, or the way we think about performance marketers, is we try to elicit a result off the back of what we’re doing for our brands. So that’s kind of my philosophy on taken of how I think about performance and my web, you know, flight performance. We’re trying to drive outcomes, like business outcomes for the brands that we’re working with, I think, the way I would think about growth and performance marketing, you know, I don’t I don’t know the to get thrown around kind of interconnected. And I’m probably guilty of doing that. I would say it’s a bit of a mindset thing. Right. And if I think about agencies overall, there are agencies that deliver services, and there are growth performance agencies that are hyper-focused on delivering outcomes. Right. So I think growth and performance are probably very interlinked in terms of what they are. I don’t know if this is necessarily true; like growth agencies, typically, their mindset is kind of like holistic growth; you see a lot of, like, growth CMOS, or kind of like fractional growth CMOS is it’s the holistic growth plan. Right? Whereas a performance team could just be your Facebook performance team on this team. Right. So, you know, I think, a couple of things there, like you’ve got agencies that are we deliver a service for you, right, and I think that’s a lot of the big incumbent agencies, they’re not hyper-focused on performance and growth, even if they say they are, I’ve worked with them. Not to say they’re not good at what they do, right? They fit the need for what they have. And there are great people there. But for me, growth is that omni channel integrated, holistic; how do we grow your brand? And then, for me, performance is was it’s any aspect of driving an outcome for your business.
Andrew Morgans 32:27
Got it? I think that makes a lot of sense to me. And I think it makes sense to anyone listening to just understanding like, Okay, you’re looking for growth, what performance agency or what, what, you know, who we’re going to work with to grow that area, right, that specific area. So let’s go in, you know, and I think one thing that that Daniel was saying is the performance could be sales, but it also could be brand awareness. It could be impressions, it could be email, signups, it could be newsletter, signups, it could be subscribing on the YouTube button, it can be, you know, any number of things as far as the outcome, you know, that you’re wanting. And I think a lot of times when when brands get, you know, upset working with an agency or with a team, let’s say that, like both teams are actually working, one of them’s not ghosting, or something, but like, let’s say that they’re working together, and they’re not happy with it, a lot of times is around communication around what those performance indicators were, you know, so a lot of it just comes down to not being able to speak to some of the things that we’re doing and getting on the same page and really being dialed in to like, what those performance things are, you know, a smaller brand is very much focused on sales, and ROI and direct ro eyes am I spending $1 To make 10. And the bigger brands have a completely different aspect to them. And they’re like, Look, I’m just here to make friends, like, you know, I don’t really need them to buy from me; they’re like, I just want people to know who I am. I just want people to, like, think positively about our brand or think positively about me, and I’m just throwing this party because I want everyone to have a good time. And, you know, I’m making an analogy here. But like, you know, the bigger brands that have the budget and the dollars are thinking in that way, and the smaller brands are thinking like I need like, people walk in and buy. And so it really comes down to communication; I think around these topics, it definitely
Daniel James 34:16
it definitely does it, but it also it’s that kind of catch-22. Right of, like you’re a smaller brand, and you need sales to be able to continue as a brand. But you’re but to do that you don’t have a big audience. So what you’re having to do is annihilate a small pool of people with very low funnel activity. Right? So trying to justify to a smaller brand, like the benefit of building brand awareness. And I’m not saying like to run. I’m not talking tactics in an ad platform here of like traffic campaigns. I’m talking just conceptually from a marketing standpoint. You need people to know about you to have any chance of someone buying from you. All right. And so you have to think that through in terms of in terms of your marketing strategies, your creative executions. But smaller brands don’t like to do that because some of those tactics aren’t as immediate ROI driving. Right. But that’s, that’s where a lot of people get stuck. And, you know, as a performance agency, you know, I think we’ve been really successful in unlocking that. Helpfully, but it is about the communication is about. And it goes back to that integrated aspect, right? If you’re, if you’re building awareness and intent but not harnessing it down to sales, what’s the point? You have to do the two in tandem. So it’s like smaller brands struggle with that, then the bigger brands have to be doing that. It’s a little bit easier because they’ve got their revenue machine. But again, they should be looking at, well, how is that informing, you know, if you’re a bigger brand, and you’re doing brand awareness, kind of big kind of partnership stuff, or brand awareness, activity, and whatever else community building, there are lots of different buckets of it, but you’re still doing it to ultimately get more. Yeah, like, anyone who says that knot is lying. You don’t just do it, just to be nice.
Andrew Morgans 36:19
It’s like a silly analogy; I like to relate a lot of what we do in business and marketing to dating. And, you know, thinking about, like, it’s all good and gravy, you go on a date with a girl, you know, go on day one, day two, day three, they’re getting to know who you are, they’re getting to know they’re aware of you, they like you know what your style is, they know what you’re like, you know, food preferences are, and maybe after a couple of dates. But every guy knows that you can only go like, you know, three, four or five dates without making a move, and you’re going to be in the friendzone. And you’re never; you’re never going to get the kiss right or whatever. So the same thing on the other side, it’s like. Eventually, you have to go for that sale. So it’s one thing to be known and be seen, and like, you know, get a chance to get the customers. But at one point, the point of all of it is to get the kiss, you know, so in that way to be known and see if it’s a fit. So, yeah, I think that’s where a lot of times when you get that big, big top-of-funnel brand awareness, you’re spending a ton of time on those things like in digital has made it easier than ever. But then, like, okay, so like, what are we actually doing with that traffic? What are we actually like? What is our intent behind that? Is it to grow, Subscribe and Save numbers on Amazon? Is it to get a bunch of, you know, get our first viral posts as an agency? Is it to drive sales? I think, at the end of the day, it’s always to drive sales. And for me, it’s been a very confusing thing, like 10 years ago, when I was freelancing as an E-commerce manager, I was working with Adidas and Suiza. And some of these European brands that had massive agencies, I was just getting white labeled behind one of them to do Amazon, you know, back in the day, and I just, I mean, it blew my mind because I’m someone that’s a band guy that can exist on like, no money on the road on tour, like you know, that’s how I can run a budget. I’m a simple guy; I don’t need a lot of material items. So I’m obviously always good with my money; I always manage my money correctly, like, you know, efficiently. And to be behind some of these big agencies, these big companies and see that like, Well, they didn’t really care about ROI ROI as they really just wanted. They wanted awareness on the platform. And they needed to spend $100,000 a month in December, or they were going to lose that budget next year. And my mind was like blown because I’m just like, well, I could, you know, get the same amount of sales with $20,000. Like, yeah, I’m seeing so many inefficiencies, let me like, tweak it, let me fix this. Why would we waste $80,000? Why would we do that? You know, and it was just like, they cared their performance was that they cared about eyeballs, they need to spend the money they need, they cared about impressions and clicks and eyeballs, the sales was like an after effect. And I remember just being kind of humbled in that moment, when like, I had put all this information together and kind of made a presentation about what I thought was going on. And they simply were just like, well, we just don’t really care about sales. You know, and it was a little silly, but at the same time, just like an eye opener to a new marketer of like, you know, there’s different goals that people have out there. You know, better or worse as a brand. One, how do I communicate better what I think they should be doing to understand that not everyone operates like a small brand? And you just have to think a little bit differently if you’re trying to work with an Adidas of the world,
Daniel James 39:29
right? Yeah, yeah. 100% Yeah, I’ve been in those exact same situations.
Andrew Morgans 39:34
Okay, so question for you. Like, we’re talking about growth, marketing and talking about performance marketing, like what are some, you know, what are some actionable advice or insights you can give to like a newer brand? That’s that’s trying to come up with like a growth strategy, like growth, marketing, what are some actionable things they can do to kind of be better?
Daniel James 39:54
Yeah. I mean, from a growth strategy standpoint, I think it’s really it’s is a lot about knowing your numbers, right? Knowing knowing your margins, knowing your customer acquisition costs LTV, I know there’s a lot of conversation about the right metrics to look at contribution margin, all these things. I think if it’s a newer brand, right, the place to start and the thing that will have the biggest impact is two things. Like I always think about foundation first, website, email, SMS, right? Before you turn taps on for paid and start trying to track driving traffic and stuff. You know, really think through your brand positioning? What is your website, say? Is it easy to buy from? Is it very clear against the desired kind of consumer or customer is very clear what you’re providing, right? Then having the right email, SMS, the subscriber stuff, so when you do acquire customers, you know, I’ve got this phrase of like, never, never paying for a customer twice. Once you’ve got them, how are you building loyalty? How are you looking to retain them? And then from there, as you look at influences pay kind of the acquisition, the outward marketing side of things. It’s all about the creative; it’s all about the creative, and creative is dictated by your product. Your positioning, but also who’s your target consumer? You know, it’s like, if I’m a fashion brand, well, everyone wears clothes. So, everyone, I’m a food brand. Well, everyone eats. So it’s everyone. And I think you have to break it down into these personas because that dictates your creative, which then gives you a platform for creative testing. Right. So I think, know who you’re going after, from a consumer standpoint, use that to inform your crazy strategy for when you are looking to work with influencers when you’re looking to build ads and run paid. But initially, it’s really making sure the foundation’s in a good place. You know, I think that’s, yeah, I’ll go back to something we mentioned. In terms of the brand awareness piece, I also think there’s a difference. And I, there’s maybe this is a hot take. It’s like there’s; I’m a fan of building brands. But there’s, there’s, you know, people say you don’t know. Who cares about building a brand unless you’re 20 million? I think you’re building a brand from day one unless, maybe, you’re a utility. And actually, that’s where that’s where you can get into if I’m at a no, just functional utility in people’s lives, that’s very different than selling lifestyle brands or something else. So depending on the type of brands you are or what product you’re selling,
Andrew Morgans 42:50
like a wastebasket or something, you know,
Daniel James 42:52
that’s like, yeah, I was trying to think of a good example; I was gonna say, like, a Dyson
Andrew Morgans 42:55
fan, I think of a fan, right? Like Dyson is a brand known, and fans like you know, it’s a thing in your house that cools you down. But we know of the higher-end ones. Think of them like, you know, Dyson fan is like the high-end. But I don’t think there’s not a trashcan or a wastebasket brand that comes to mind; there isn’t, there might be an opening. But you know, just the utility thing there is, it serves a purpose. It’s, you know,
Daniel James 43:21
exactly, exactly. So, you know, I think based on based on your product, what you’re selling, it might differ. But yeah, foundations first creative really understand to your target consumers. If you don’t have at least two or three variations of your target consumer, I think you’re just being too broad; you’re being too broad with your messaging. And these days, with the way that platforms do work. It’s gonna be it’s gonna be quite difficult to know what’s working and not because you’re not giving yourself parameters. You want to loot; you want to lose creativity because it showcases the winning creativity, right? Like, that’s what you want early on. And that’s like a concept that we talk to our clients about, like the creative test, and the losers are really beneficial. It tells us what not to do. It’s like; it’s like narrowing the funnel down, right? Any brand, when they start saying they’re going to, they’re going to do a lot of things that don’t work. You can fast track that by working with teams like I’m sure if a brand comes to you on Amazon, you can fast track their learning because you’ve got so much retained learnings. We can fast-track brands and learnings across Facebook and Google email influences for all those lenders, but you’re still going to have to do some stuff that doesn’t work.
Andrew Morgans 44:35
Because it gave you some learning curve. Oh yeah,
Daniel James 44:38
yeah, yeah. Yeah, exactly. You’ll shorten that learning curve pretty aggressively. Yeah, that would be my starting I
Andrew Morgans 44:47
I think that’s amazing. And on the advertising side, you know, it’s a big part of what we do on Amazon. For brands, Sure. There’s the setup, and there’s the operations. We literally help them with the supply chain getting products prepped right price, right? You know the right It bags, the right keywords and listings. But the PPC and the advertising which is really direct response marketing, where someone types in, you know, men’s black hoodie size large and men’s black hoodies that are large should show up, right? It’s like exactly what they’re typing in. It’s not like, what’s the best? What are the top trending urban hoodies for men like that’s, that’s a Google query, you know, or something like that, or Pinterest, but like on Amazon is men’s black hoodie or life story hoodie, for example, the one you’re wearing, you’re gonna type that indirectly to find it. But we know when we start out with a brand, let’s say they’ve got 20 different skews starting with 20 different designs. Each of those might have 100, 200, 1000 keywords that we’re starting with, you know, and we’re starting with these broad buckets. And, you know, two months in that 1000 has gone down to 100. You know, we remove 900 bad ideas. So just Yeah, yeah, and it just gets better as you go. You start getting it dialed in, sometimes even your you type in men’s black, large hoodie, and it’s exactly what you’re selling, and people are clicking on it and not buying. What’s that telling you? What’s going on? Is it your price point? Is that your image? Is it the model? Is it, you know, the reviews on it, like, you know, something else is going on? So the noes and the fails. Teach us just as much as the ones that are doing well in converting so very similar process, even if it’s, you know, kind of visual versus direct response, they they definitely have an impact in the failure to the nose teach you as much as the yeses.
Daniel James 46:32
100% Yeah, what one of the worst questions. And I understand it, but one of the worst questions a brand can ask, can ask me is when do we stop testing? If there’s like, Okay, we’ll test a little bit, then we’re done testing. We just always, you know, you’re always looking to pit things against each other to see what, what elevates and what, what doesn’t. And you just minimize the act of the stuff that doesn’t, right? Like, obviously, you’re not going to run things that aren’t but always always be testing.
Andrew Morgans 47:09
Honestly, I speak on Amazon a bit. And that’s something that almost always comes out of my mouth at some point or another is that, like, at least Amazon, this is a testing platform if you don’t have the stomach for testing, trying new things. Trying the new things, Amazon comes out with posts or live or Amazon inspire or try and attribution or trying. Let’s try this photo versus this photo. We switch out photos all the time; we’re trying different keywords; okay, we got these 10 keywords ranking, but these two aren’t doing well; switch them out. Let’s try something else. If you don’t have a stomach for that, it’s not the platform for you. This isn’t the game for you. This is, you know, you’re not. You’re definitely you’re asking me not to win immediately. You know, and so I think that’s something very good that you shared. As we’re rounding up on time, I’d love to be in the show, like with a little bit of personal, just a personal question. One is just like I know. Obviously, you got acquired today and are now flight performance. But I love asking, like, what’s something that you’re working on this year that you’re really excited about? And that could be like perhaps what’s going to happen next with, you know, joining a bigger team and things like that. But what’s something in the business that you’re excited about? What are you working on? And then what’s something as Daniel demand, you know, the human being and living in LA, what’s something that you’re focused on this year that you’re working on? Are you excited about it?
Daniel James 48:27
Yeah. So start with Daniel, the person. I mean, lots, but I think one of my one of my big goals is, is putting out more content, doing things like this. Like I said, I just launched my own podcast about a month ago, bite-sized talking to brands, and the whole concept is to provide actionable, actionable things that people listening can apply to their businesses today. Right. So doing bite-sized, more podcasts, more speaking events, and putting more content out. You know, I’ve been working in this industry since 2004. As a MySpace, AOL turns work with some huge brands, grew an agency sold an agency. I feel like I’ve probably got quite a bit of knowledge to impart to people who are maybe in some stage of the journey that I’ve been through. So that’s a really big aspiration of mine, just to help others. Through all the things that I’ve learned, the things that have gone right, the things that have gone wrong, you know, so that’s a big one. And yeah, from a business perspective, I mean, it’s a really interesting time to ask me that on day one of live performance, but you know, I’m obviously super excited about about that and all we can achieve, I think, you know, Steven, all in the fight story team. They’re incredible entrepreneurs, incredible marketers, incredible operators. So I kind of I feel like we’re attaching our little rocket ship onto their massive rocket ship. And so I’m looking to ride that wave. And really, for us, it’s like it elevates our, it elevates our own kind of ceiling of what we think is possible within the company. You know, the type of work we’re doing, the type of brands we’re doing, just that just our vision becomes bigger. And as well, just to talk about the singular vision now of, like, selling a company is, is hard and time-consuming. So I think as well, just being able to have that, have that finished, you know, it’s like a five, six-month process. So getting back to just doing what I love, which is, yes, building businesses, but you know, it’s really talking about marketing, talking about building teams. And, just really giving, giving my full focus behind everything we’re doing at five performances.
Andrew Morgans 50:58
I love it. Thank you for sharing, Daniel; it’s been awesome having you on the show and the opportunity to bite size and see what you guys are doing. It’d be cool to see just like you telling and sharing some of the stories about what’s happening after getting acquired as an agency and joining such a big theme team joining, the rocket ship. I hope you share some of that on there. Because as another agency owner is something very interesting to me. And something very real and relevant to I think there’s a lot of people out there that would really like to hear just kind of like what that means like to bolt onto a big rocket ship and what that looks like and how you got there. Thanks again, Hustlers, for tuning in. And thanks again to our sponsor FullScale.io. You need to hire software engineers, testers, or leaders. Let Full Scale have the people in the platform to help you build and manage a team of experts at Full Scale. They specialize in building long-term teams that work only for you. Learn more when you visit fullscale.io. Daniel, thanks again for being on the show. We’ll see you next time.