Ep. #1180 - The New Era of Keyword Research
In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, Andrew Morgans welcomes Daniel Fernandez, Founder and CEO of AMZ Clever, for a conversation about the new era of keyword research. Listen to these Amazon and marketplace experts discuss the evolution of product and keyword research and why focusing on your product’s value proposition is more important than ever. Andrew and Daniel also talk about Walmart’s platform and the rise of AI in the marketplace.
Covered In This Episode
Organic ranking on Amazon is “kind of dead,” according to Daniel Fernandez. But what does this mean for brands? Should they go all in PPC? AMZ Clever has the answer.
Listen to Daniel and Andrew as they discuss the new era of keyword research. Their conversation includes the latest marketplace strategies to rank higher and convert more on Amazon, Walmart, and other marketplaces. In addition, Daniel emphasizes the importance of focusing on the offer and product. They also talk about staying driven as a business owner and how AI is here to help instead of replacing humans.
Get more insights about the new era of keyword research. Join them in this Startup Hustle episode today.
- Intro to Daniel and topic (0:05)
- Daniel’s entrepreneurial journey (2:47)
- Getting introduced to Amazon FBA and started starting an agency (11:03)
- Going to China and staying in Bali (13:49)
- Staying driven as a business owner (16:30)
- AMZ Clever offerings (20:27)
- The evolution of product and keyword research (22:11)
- Focusing on the offer and the product (25:05)
- Keywords and search on the Walmart platform (31:55)
- What makes AMZ Clever better in the Amazon and marketplace space (37:10)
- AI is not replacing people, but it saves time (43:35)
- What Daniel is excited about in the business (48:48)
- What Daniel is excited about in his personal life (50:24)
- Where can people contact and follow Daniel (51:56)
We either get influenced by our environment, or we influence the environment around us, right? I think it depends a lot on the inner chatter, right, and that awareness. I’ll tell you, Bali is beautiful. I love surfing. So I definitely had a lot of reasons not to be focused. But this was 2020-2021. The e-commerce was just super intense. And I did buckle down and hustle like no other.Daniel Fernandez
The new wave is Amazon themselves have now opened up the gate of the data of search volume, right? I’m talking about search query performance and brand analytics. So now there is no guesswork. Now, Amazon tells us exactly this is the keywords. This is how many times they got clicked, added to the cart, and how many purchases there are. So now it’s not a matter of which keywords. I think now, more than ever, is focused on the offer, right? Now we know where the sales are happening. In my opinion, all the efforts should be making the best offers, right?Daniel Fernandez
You can’t just throw a label on a product anymore and be successful. You have to really think about being unique, value proposition, getting people to return, and quality. It matters over everything else because you need them to come back. Or, you know, you can invent a product no one else has potentially. But that comes with its own challenges, you know, specifically on Amazon, especially if there’s no demand already built. You have to go create that generate that demand. So just capture it.Andrew Morgans
It’s one thing to come up with a game plan, like, this is how we’re gonna go win the game. It’s another thing to have that plan, and that plan gets shot to shit. You’re not winning the game. And how do you adjust from there? How do you problem-solve? And that only comes with experience, right? And I think being able to lean on a team that has experienced that has seen some of those problems already, that has seen some of those things, can be the difference in getting the solutions that you need or not.Andrew Morgans
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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 as today’s host of Startup Hustle, we’re going to be talking about the new era of keyword research. You know, this podcast is by founders for founders. And today, I have another founder with me, a friend, and a colleague, Daniel Fernandez; welcome to the show.
Daniel Fernandez 0:22
Hey, I’m super excited to be here, Andrew. It’s been. It’s been a long time coming. So yeah, ready to hustle.
Andrew Morgans 0:32
I’m ready to have you here. We’ve been working together even before being on the show, both in the Amazon industry. Before I introduce Daniel even more and get to know some of his story. Shout to today’s episode. Sponsor FullScale.io. Hiring software developers is difficult, Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably and has a platform to help you manage that team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. Daniel, hailing out of Florida. New dad, is that correct?
Daniel Fernandez 1:01
Andrew Morgans 1:02
Is this your first one?
Daniel Fernandez 1:04
First one? Yes.
Andrew Morgans 1:05
Awesome. And the name, what’s your name?
Daniel Fernandez 1:08
His name is Vinnicio.
Andrew Morgans 1:10
Daniel Fernandez 1:12
Yeah. With a be like that, like the after.
Andrew Morgans 1:16
Yeah, but nice. Yeah, I liked it. So four months? Did I get that right?
Daniel Fernandez 1:21
Little bit. Yeah, it’ll be more than four between four and five. I love he is a lot of fun. There have a goal. And it’s, you know, during an intense day at work or after an intense day at work. There’s nothing like, you know, spending some time with him. It really, really puts everything into perspective and resets everything. So,
Andrew Morgans 1:47
No, I couldn’t agree more. I think being a father is one of the most noble callings we have as men. Not that you have to be a father. But I think that it’s a very noble calling. And something that definitely puts everything into focus and gives you perspective on what matters. And when you’re feeling bad about yourself or the day what’s going on, and you just kind of get that reset, that dopamine release of just, you know, seeing something so innocent, and congratulations. I think it’s beautiful.
Daniel Fernandez 2:17
Andrew Morgans 2:19
Well, let’s typical to Startup Hustle episode, especially here with me, Andrew. I love getting to know more about Daniel. I know I know some of your backstory. But I’d love to share that with today’s listeners. I know that you didn’t just start out. I’m going to find the AMZ Clever, a marketing agency for Amazon Marketplace. I know you’ve traveled around the world. You’re an international guy. Where’s your story began in regards to business and entrepreneurship?
Daniel Fernandez 2:47
Yes. I’m originally born in Racing, Lima, Peru. And grew up really, you know, thinking I would become a lawyer would have a very traditional, traditional career. One day, you know, I, you know, in Lima, a lot of kids don’t work until they finish there, you know, the university. It’s not very common. And one day, I don’t know where it came from, we just asked my dad to buy new books. And he, I think, must have walked by a bookstore and grabbed the ones that are by the door. Like didn’t even browse, he just grabbed like 10 books and brought them home and gave them to me, and he probably regrets it to some extent because one of those books was Rich Dad, Poor Dad, okay. And I was. I think I was 10. I was preparing to study, to take a university preparation exam to come here to the States to study here. And then that book just clicked, you know, I missed class that day, didn’t go to that class, just stayed in reading. That was that moment. Like, I knew I wanted to start a business or business, grow a business, and become an entrepreneur. You know, immediately from there, I started in sales. You know, there in Lima theta for a few years. I ended up moving here to this.
Andrew Morgans 4:18
So you were 10 years old? Right? Is that right? 10 years old?
Daniel Fernandez 4:22
is the timeline a little bit older? Sorry. I must have been around, you know, for 14. 10th grade, maybe. 14 years old.
Andrew Morgans 4:32
Okay. Okay. Yes, yes.
Daniel Fernandez 4:36
And then, you know, I think when I read that book, it kind of opened my eyes, and then months later, I forgot the exact date. But I, you know, a friend of mine was, you know, making money selling supplements, things like that in the community. So, I asked him if I could do that with him and, you know, that’s started. Yeah. And it was a, it was just an amazing, you know, personal developments, you know, overcome fears, bringing a little bit of money. So I think that was my first exposure to entrepreneurship.
Andrew Morgans 5:16
I love it. So what point did you leave Lima and come to the US?
Daniel Fernandez 5:24
Yeah, I was. I think I was 19, 19, about a turn 20, I think. And just through my mom is from here. Okay. So, you know, I grew up coming here back and forth sometimes. But that was the time I, by myself, decided to move here to start, you know, follow my dreams, follow the American dream.
Andrew Morgans 5:50
Yeah, I, my story is not that different, you know? Well, it isn’t. It’s not, but I’m Caucasian for anyone that’s just listening. You know, I’m Caucasian, but I grew up as a missionary kid really moved to the United States.
Daniel Fernandez 6:04
I was. I was wondering if you were Kenyan or something. I’m kidding.
Andrew Morgans 6:08
No, I people think South Africa because I grew up in Africa. But that’s not where I grew up. Cameroon, Botswana, Congo. But really, the American dream is real for me in my life, too. I come from a poor family, you know. I took my way through college, got my car myself, was on my own, you know, working three jobs trying to get through school. And, you know, have been chasing the American dream ever since, you know. I think so a lot in a lot of ways; while I’m Canadian-American, I have dual citizenship. You know, I started with nothing and, and, you know, wanted to have freedom, wanted to create a business. I grew up around African entrepreneurs that just had so much tenacity and work ethic and just, I knew what blessings I had, whenever I, you know, came to the US, and I was like, it was never like, oh, man, why don’t I have this, I don’t have this, it was always just like, I’m gonna get it. Like, you know, and I didn’t see it as an entrepreneur or being a business owner; I was just going to be the best or whatever I did. But talk to me now, talk to me how from 19 you get to where you are today. Take us through that.
Daniel Fernandez 7:21
Yes. So, you know, I land here, a family friend, you know, offered to host me for some time, which was really, it taught me a lot. It taught me a lot about having a, you know, big heart and, you know, giving back to people trying to get other people to, you know, become what they want. So, that immediately was an amazing, amazing gesture that I experienced. I did come with very little money. I think I sold my few things. I had less cash. I had, it was $400. And then I went to Minnesota; that’s where I landed. That’s where this family friend was. On the first day, the weather forecasts showed that the worst snowstorm in over a decade was coming. So the first day, I went to buy a winter jacket; I came with flip-flops, right? And, you know, immediately, half my net worth was wiped out. But a $200 North Face jacket, you know, for to survive the winter. So that was that was a beginning but you know, got a good job in sales. They started doing very well
Andrew Morgans 8:39
Can you speak English at that time? Like pretty well.
Daniel Fernandez 8:43
No, I wouldn’t say so. But I was, you know, just to talk about technology. I don’t know; we’ll cover that. Soon as I got in, the first money I saved I bought the I remember the iPhone 4 had just come out. And it was incredible. That just helped me with the dictionary. I was just looking at everything. It really allowed me to learn, you know, plus, I was doing sales and was talking a lot talking every day. So that was also very helpful. I think within a year, I felt very comfortable. You know, speaking English. And but yeah, fast-forward from that, you know, I, my brother, had moved to San Francisco for university, and I decided to move with him. I got a job also there doing sales, Tech Tech sales, and then you know, did that for, for a few years, but always in my heart, you know, I wanted to go back to, you know, doing business, and I had started little things here and there. Probably the weirdest one is I started this course on buying scrap gold and silver. Okay, from state sales, right? People have passed away. You know, some of the families sell some of their possessions to buy them to resell that to refineries. It was a, you know, I started doing that start meeting with random people from Craigslist, on coffee shops, there was always a, you know, adrenaline rush. You never know who you’re gonna meet. And I did me very strange people, I’ll tell you. But anyway, you know, none of these side businesses really worked. But, you know, when I was, I was in San Francisco, a friend of mine sent me a podcast, I started getting into podcasts, you know, at that point, they became very, very popular early, early 2010s. And a friend of mine sent me one of the first podcasts about Amazon FBA. And it wasn’t even; it wasn’t even that in-depth. They were just sharing what they were doing or how they were sharing how an FBA works. You know, and it just, I fell in love with that business model.
Andrew Morgans 10:58
What year was that, do you think?
Daniel Fernandez 11:00
Andrew Morgans 11:02
Okay, early, early.
Daniel Fernandez 11:03
Yeah, yeah. So, you know, obviously, the shop that I launched the brand, just learning from that, learning from YouTube. The brand is very well spelled out all my stock in days. started freaking out, right, because ranking, you know, my, the ranking that I gained was was lost. So, restart a lot more product. And then that time, I was like, Okay, this time, it’s going to work much, much better, and then sold out again in a week or two. And so, at that point, I decided, like, you know, I probably should try this full-time. So, that’s when I decided to leave my job. You know, it was a very tough moment. I remember it took me 10 minutes to write my resignation email, and it took me an hour to just hit the send button. Yeah, I was shaking, but I eventually got myself to do it. And excuse me, I was still in San Francisco, restocked again. And then, this third time around, I already had competitors on that product. And it didn’t even work anymore. Right? It got stuck.
Andrew Morgans 12:22
Worst nightmare, basically.
Daniel Fernandez 12:23
It was, it wasn’t, it wasn’t fun at all. I had hired I had joined a Business Mastermind with with with also business coaching. And then that’s when this person knew I had a, you know, face-to-face meeting with him. And then he told me, you, you need cash right now. You’re living in an expensive city; you already got in debt to grow that business. You know, I had taken other courses; I knew it was I knew I was in good debt because they were investments in me, right? But I was. I still had a big credit card bill and probably got as much as 70 grand under, right? It was; I wasn’t sleeping well, I’ll tell you that. But this guy, Nick, he told me, look, you know, use what you learned and you need cash flow right now. So, sell it as a service and start an agency. He had done a Facebook ads agency back then. So that’s what I did. I started it, really got a first client, second client, and you know, started seeing the light from there.
Andrew Morgans 13:31
I love it. I know that you have lived internationally. Is that kind of a new story of that agency? Is that when you decided to go? I don’t know if it was Mali or the Philippines. Where did you end up?
Daniel Fernandez 13:49
So I think it took maybe a couple of years to get stable revenue in this agency, recurring revenue, right? With the jargon, we use MRR, right? The moment you get stable. I also got a friend of mine that is amazing at networking. You know, I think I’m decent at networking. But you know, there’s, you know, people that they just have somehow they get to know everybody wherever they go, right? Yep. And this friend had moved to China. And he just one day texts me or calls me to say, Hey, I met a brand here. They are struggling with Amazon. I tell them about you and what you’re doing. And they want to bring you here to help them. Do you want to do it, right? And then I had never been to China, but you know, just after a few conversations, flew me over. I stayed there for a few weeks working with a team. And I thought maybe I could move here and, you know, this would be my niche, you know. The Western guy is helping brands over here. So I did a couple of more trips, Canton Fair, all that good stuff. And then, on the third trip, I decided to stay. So I live, I live three years in total in China. At the end of the day, the plan didn’t pan out. I started working with even more Western brands while I was there, you know, Western people that were living there to source products or going there for the events, Global Sources Summit and you know, Canton Fair, all of that. I didn’t really I worked, I did a lot of training with Chinese companies, but they didn’t want to outsource. They just wanted to send you the training day. Yeah, yeah. I wasn’t, I didn’t, I enjoyed it. But it wasn’t a good business model for me. And then grew, I grew the business. When the pandemic started, I decided to leave China, and I started looking at which countries, the, from the city I was living, which countries, you know, the flight routes were shut down by the day, right? So I saw which countries I had left to go from that city. And one option was Bali, Malaysia. And then the other option was, I think, Doha, Qatar, I want to say. And I had been to Bali, I loved it. So I just decided to try to live and ended up staying there for two years until I came here to stay here again.
Andrew Morgans 16:30
I was in Bali, was it was hard to stay driven as an agency owner, as a business owner. For me, I’ve traveled the world. And there’s these places that I absolutely love. But in my mind, I feel I’m afraid I’m fear that if I stayed there, I might get lost in like adult Disneyland, kind of like just waterfalls and beaches and chill culture and vibes and music. And, you know, it’s different being somewhere like that. And being successful at business, you have to like going to the gym, empty gym, you know, and just working out by yourself, or going to a gym that’s got a lot of other people like getting after it. And it’s just kind of motivating, like, I’m gonna workout as hard as the guy next to me kind of thing. I have some friends that live kind of, you know, they’ve been to loom different places, and they just talk about, it’s beautiful because almost get stuck there. Because it’s just, you know, a different mindset. Tell me about that a little bit. I’m just curious.
Daniel Fernandez 17:23
Well, there’s a, we either get influenced by our environment, or we influence the environment around us. Right? I think it depends a lot on the inner chatter, right? And that awareness, I’ll tell you, Bali is beautiful. I love surfing. So I definitely had a lot of reasons to not be focused. But this was 2020 and 2021. The e-commerce was just super intense. And I, I did buckle down and hustle like no other. I was part of a shout-out to a Tropical Noma co-working space, in my opinion, the best co-working space in Chengdu, and people were, you know, going to the beach at five, and I remember staying, you know, all the way into the night. And, I think that that grit was contagious. And then we became like a small group of friends, four or five people that were just really good. Yeah, yeah. And it became fun but also became a, you know, like, it is something special, I don’t know how to explain it. It was, like what you were saying, like, their energy was feeding off of mine, and mine was getting off of them. And we were all, you know, working on businesses, yeah.
Andrew Morgans 18:55
I love that I have a roommate; we own a couple of businesses together as well. And it’s a big part of my success. Just being around somebody else’s as driven as me that’s staying up late. Working late nights, you know, focus on the business. The energy is definitely like multiple multiplies. You know, the hustle, the focus, if you’re around people that aren’t focused, can be easy to not be focused, you know, so just curious, like, because my environment definitely affects me. And, you know, my drive, my ability to focus, my ability to get things done, my ability to stay, you know, committed. I don’t have any of these issues a lot of times on my own, but I found it through the pandemic through different time periods where things change quite a bit. You have to really take note of that and, you know, dial it in, I’ve got I got a couple, I got some questions that are more related to our actual title because I feel like you’ve caught me up to the story of where you left Bali. You came back to Florida, I believe. And that’s where we met. That’s where our journey began as far as colleagues. Before we jump into that, shout again to our sponsor Full Scale,io. When you visit FulScale.io, we can build a software team quickly and affordably. Use the Full Scale platform to find your technical needs and see what available developers, testers, and leaders are ready to join your team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. So your agency. We’ve talked about your agency, AMZ Clever. What services are you offering now as an agency?
Daniel Fernandez 20:26
Yes. So since day one, we’ve been full-service, full-management, managing brands on Amazon. Down the road, we added more Target, we also launched Grow Brands on Walmart. And then we’ve also added Google Ads to Amazon, which is an attribution. And then Amazon DSP advertising as well.
Andrew Morgans 20:26
Okay. Today’s topic is about new and emerging trends in keyword research. And I think one thing as agency owners that I love is, you know, we’ve been doing this a long time, we’ve seen what works, what doesn’t work through thousands and thousands of hours on the platform, you know, but there’s a lot of new things that that brands have to learn. We recently were visiting with the brand doing a four-hour workshop on just breaking down the basics of what matters on Amazon and why. And SEO and keyword strategies were a big part of that. Why do they need to think about relevant keywords within their titles or bullet points? These are, these are brands that are 100-plus years old, in some ways, or at least the overall company. You know, they’re used to writing what they want. Brand voice, brand, you know, and we’re trying to educate them on why that matters. But along with Amazon SEO, and why we should care about both. What are the changes, like in today’s environment, that sellers have to deal with? How is AMZ Clever, you know, approaching keyword research or using AI to use some of the traditional tools like Helium 10 or Merchant Words? You know, what are things that sellers or Amazon brands should be thinking about in regards to the changing landscape around keywords?
Daniel Fernandez 22:11
Definitely. So I want to talk about the concept of the evolution of product research, keyword research, and I won’t stay spend too much time on the old stuff, right? But, you know, very OG, at the beginning, the way to research just looking at BSR, right, the Bestseller Rank for Products, you could see what was at the top, and then you could just launch similar products, and then they will do well. But that was how we were tracking what was selling and what was not. Then the next wave was the wave of the Chrome extensions. We had Jungle Scout and then a few others that came out. And these tools were there themselves. They were estimating how many sales, and the products you typed in a keyword will show a bunch of results. And then they were they estimated how many sales these products were getting per month. Right. So that was big, that was a breakthrough. Right? A lot of product research was done that way. Then from that, I think the next wave, and I would love to hear your thoughts on these. But the next wave was that search volumes wave, right? And that’s when tools started to use a hack and loophole. And they were pulling search volume. And when I say search volume is how many times a keyword, such as scented candle, how many times that keyword gets searched on Amazon per month. Right? There was a loophole there. We’re getting that through the app from Amazon. Then Amazon shut down the loophole, but they continued with their own algorithms that were estimating that, and this wave, you know, it just made an enormous amount of millionaires, right? Arguably, this is one of the has been one of the longest wave aggregators and all that. I think, I think, we’re past that wave now. I think the new wave is Amazon themselves have now opened up the gate of the data of search volume, right? I’m talking about things like the product opportunity explorer, I’m talking about a search query performance, brand analytics. So now there is no guesswork. Now, Amazon tells us exactly this is the keywords. This is how many times they got searched this month or this week, or this quarter. This is how many times they got clicked, added to the cart, and how many purchases there are. So now there is not a, it’s not a matter of you know which keywords. I think now more than ever is focused on the offer, right? Like, now we know where the sales are happening. The first party, right, from Amazon, from the source itself. In my opinion, all the efforts should be making the best offers, right? How to convert that traffic right?
Andrew Morgans 25:05
Tell the story of the product. You know, yes, educate them about what they’re buying or they’re not buying. The more of more sales copy than ever before.
Daniel Fernandez 25:15
Yes, you know, yes. And what I want to refer to as intrinsic value, right? Like, you know, and you speak with a lot of brands and a lot of brands each week. And, Drew, how many times have you heard, like, oh, my brand is premium? So we charge a premium price because we’re premium, right? And then we asked, okay, well, how does your brand is better than the others exactly, right?
Andrew Morgans 25:42
But why is premium premium? Yeah.
Daniel Fernandez 25:45
Exactly, and then it’s like, well, why what I can hear better ingredients, better quality, there is not a that could be very much true, but there is not a very what Dan Kennedy calls an irresistible offer. Right? Or something that is very, very clear, like mine, does this.
Andrew Morgans 26:08
That mine does carrying pouch, yours doesn’t or whatever, you know, alright, mine comes. Yeah, mine’s leather, yours the plastic, like, you know, just clears day.
Daniel Fernandez 26:18
Yeah, away from abstract, right? Very, very tangible difference. So I think that is, that is where the opportunity lies. Another thing is to, and look, I’m gonna open up a can of worms here with you that the organic ranking on Amazon is, is kind of dead. Now, if we look at the search results page, the number of ad placements is higher than it’s ever been. More than, you know, half the page is, is sponsored, is paid to play. The days of profitable ACLS for launching a brand for most, in most cases, are gone. We’re now talking about, more than ever, the CAC to LTV ratio, you know, strategy, right? Like you, you make money, not on the first sale, but down the road if this customer is buying again and again. And you need to plan your ACLs and your advertising accordingly. Knowing that that ratio, right, this is for consumable products, if we talk about, you know, one-off type of purchases, then it’s a little bit different. You need to rely more on that retargeting time, like that really is where the money lies, but, but you need to have, you need to be able to get revenue from the same customer more than once. So if your product is like the microphone you have, you need to be able to monetize with all their peripherals or the next thing
Andrew Morgans 28:12
Or cover to make money, different chords, stands, you know, software and maybe reoccurring software fees. you have to have something right to keep coming back.
Daniel Fernandez 28:22
This, again, is just my opinion. This year, traffic on Amazon is down compared to before, cost per click in some categories or many categories are higher. You know, there seems to be, you know, just sellers fighting for a little bit less traffic, therefore, are beating each other. Amazon has been very smart about this, they just, you know that diversify the outlets I placements. But then, now, the only way to really succeed is to be obsessed with performance marketing. Net, you know, more than ever before. And yes, this transcends, you know, Amazon, if the brand has multiple channels, you know, that’s also something to keep in mind, you know, case studies, and I can, you know, mentioned some specific specific examples. I’m seeing DTC websites that are adding an Amazon tab on their website, right, because they’re realizing that customers are going to the website but leaving to buy on Amazon. So why not remove the friction? They want to keep them, but at the end of the day, the customer will do what they want to do.
Andrew Morgans 29:44
So do you think that’s like a Buy with Prime type of is that what you’re referring to kind of having an Amazon Buy with Prime portion of their website?
Daniel Fernandez 29:52
Buy with Prime more and more, but it has some limitations. Also, if Amazon converts, assurance is just very solid. Could even with Amazon attribution, just prefer US-based companies. Because of the brand referral bonus Amazon is paying right now, it’s very attractive. But it Yeah, like, just to kind of recap right, the guesswork is, is, is gone. It’s not needed anymore. We have exact data on where the demand is. I think what we’re lacking now is thinking, really, in terms of intrinsic value with products, with brands. Thinking about, you know, growing a product line more than ever,
Andrew Morgans 30:44
How to build a relationship with them on a platform like Amazon. Yeah. Talk to me about
Daniel Fernandez 30:50
Private label private label idea is it just became so competitive that it’s not enough.
Andrew Morgans 31:00
Yeah, you can’t just throw a label on a product anymore and be successful. You have to really think about being unique, value proposition, getting people to return, and quality; it matters over everything else because you need them to come back. Or, you know, you can invent a product no one else has potentially. But that comes with its own challenges, you know, specifically on Amazon, especially if there’s no demand already built. You have to go create that generate that demand. So just capture it. Love to hear your thoughts on keywords and search on the Walmart platform. I know that’s something that you offer there at AMZ Clever is Walmart marketing. At Marknology, we’ve grown into that as well, and really our marketplace agency instead of just an Amazon agency now at this point between Walmart and Target. The same principles apply to Walmart as Amazon generally.
Daniel Fernandez 31:55
What is more, there are more, quote-unquote, loopholes right now. Also, Walmart, Walmart has, I think, some human curation element where the rankings are. I think there’s some strings being pulled on what’s appearing was showing. A lot, but also, what I love about Walmart; for the people listening to this, first of Walmart is just an add-on and is not going to make anybody rich. Amazon is really the monster, the cash cow. But it’s very possible to replicate some of that success you have on Amazon on Walmart. You know, I think anywhere up to maybe 10% of Amazon sales can be replicated on Walmart, in some cases. One thing I like about Walmart is they’re more transparent about what their algorithm wants. Okay, there is a section where they give you the listing quality, and they tell you we’re penalizing you for this. We’re rewarding you for this. There’s another section about a pro-seller batch, and they’re telling you exactly the criteria to get it. Lately, it’s been a little bit funky. But you get this is, you get these checklists, these checkboxes, right? And your ranking will improve compared to the 89, which is more of a mystery, correct more like from on the outside, just experimentation and whatnot.
Andrew Morgans 33:40
Yeah, there are a lot more factors that go into your search results, like return rate, click-through rate and conversion rate, and all the things.
Daniel Fernandez 33:47
We had, we have a brand they were gonna get you know this, for some people, these numbers are gonna be a lot, some people it’s not very much, you know, these friends doing 5000 a month on Walmart. Amazon is doing hundreds of thousands a month. Right. But then somebody started playing with their listings, and then that 5000 a month went down to less than a thousand, right? And they just didn’t know why; they didn’t know what to do. They wrote the listings to st nicer now they wrote them for the humans, but they didn’t write them for the robots, right? We want to write for both, yeah. What had happened is that listing scores, which, once again, Walmart is very transparent about, was down the toilet. So we, you know, they brought us in. We work specifically on fixing those listings course and in two weeks, I think, sales have jumped up to about 8 thousand a month. It doesn’t just recover, but it surpasses what was there before. And you know, yeah, As you know, I mean that the team did an amazing job, but it’s what we’re very grateful to Walmart that is giving us that transparency, which I, we don’t see from Amazon specifically.
Andrew Morgans 35:12
I think one of the hardest things I’m gonna do is make a silly comparison here, but, like, I don’t mind working on cars. Okay, I can work on cars. I didn’t grow up with a dad that worked on cars and really can change the brakes, the radiator, windshield wipers, you know, rotors, whatever, like basic stuff, in my opinion. But it always came down to, like, I didn’t want to work on it till I knew what was actually wrong. Diagnosing the problem was always my thing. If you’re not a pro, diagnosing what’s wrong with the car can be the hardest part. I think the same thing with a business. It’s one thing if someone says go in there, do exactly this, here’s your steps. It’s 100% the radiator; here’s the YouTube video on your radiator on the parts you’re getting on your car. We’re going to walk you through all the steps so that you’ll be in good shape, and then you’re like, oh, wow, I feel very confident that I’m doing the right thing. Here are the steps on how to do it; I’m gonna go do it. Right. I think whenever, for me, the daunting pneus of working on my car has always been, what if I fix the radiator and it’s something else, it’s a starter or, you know, it’s the motor, its transmission or something else, right? I think that can kind of be the case when it comes to just e-commerce and in optimizing these marketplaces in general, as well as like, am I working on the right thing? Am I doing the right things, like, Amazon wants, what kind of size for the storefront header and, you know, everything becomes just kind of this like guessing game. A lot of times, and I know that’s where our confidence comes from, from thousands of hours on the platform of just knowing what that is. But for everybody else, there’s not really this guide that just says, this is exactly how to fix your problem, you know, go and do this, or at least don’t know where to look. You know, what really, you know, sets you guys apart as an agency in the Amazon and the marketplace space. That sets you apart as being a good firm to work with to solve some of these things. Just giving you a chance to kind of talk about some of your value differentiation and where you guys find your success.
Daniel Fernandez 37:10
Yeah, it’s, I think, an obsession with performance marketing, really moving away from the abstract. And then just what the data shows us, oftentimes we have, like comments we get from clients is like, I’ve never tracked that that KPI. I already knew that existed. A little bit of what you’re saying is, by being upset with performance marketing, by us having a process that goes around performance marketing, we can troubleshoot, we know where the problem is. And that’s, that’s the, the beginning to solving something, right, is knowing what the problem is, where the problem lies. So I would say that that is one strong characteristic. Also, we hire a lot of very, on the DISC profile, very high C, high conscientiousness, which is just really we’re obsessed with data. I love that things have to have a reason for them. And I think that that’s something very strong. You know, there’s, there’s, there’s all the things like obviously experience and just time on the platform. At this point, we’ve seen so many product launches, so many products that succeeded, products that didn’t succeed, all kinds of ad budgets, and many categories. I mean, we’ve really done from industrial products to, you know, we have clients; I would love to hear this from you. We have clients selling high high high tickets on Amazon, like, I’m talking 1000 to $2,000 products on Amazon do very well. So we had that experience in the bag, as well as the $10 products. It’s a whole completely different strategy on how to grow these two. So I think there’s no replacement for that. As you know, Andrew, like nowadays, everybody can be a consultant, right? Everybody can be a freelancer, but there’s just no replacement for all for experience. Like we’re there and done that, like, literally from zero sales. And this is not a famous brand, like, there’s no branded traffic. From zero sales, getting them to over a million in a year. Been there and done that multiple times. And not just back in the day when it was easier, like, recently. I think that is something our clients appreciate a lot.
Andrew Morgans 39:49
No, I 100% agree. I think it comes down to, you know what, it’s one thing to come up with a game plan like this is how we’re gonna go win the game. It’s another thing to have that plan; the plan gets shot to shit, you’re not winning the game, things are going wrong. And how do you adjust from there? How do you problem-solve? And that only comes with experience, right? You can be the best designer or the best copywriter, but what if it’s not working? What happens then? And I think being able to lean on a team that has experienced that seen some of those problems already that seen some of those things can be the difference in, you know, getting the solutions that you need or not. And I love that thing you said about, you know, having a lot of your team members with C for conscientiousness, a love for data, I went to school for computer science, I love the data scientists part role of what we do, and especially the Amazon platform, so many people said there wasn’t enough, they’re not giving you enough data. And I always was just like, there’s so much data here, you know, you just have to make sense of it. And they continue to release more and more. But you’re right; it’s less of a guessing game. We don’t have to guess. We don’t have to argue with clients. It’s let the data talk to us, you know, between PPC and SEO and attribution, and are you willing to be patient, make small changes, and see what happens? I recently released a YouTube video with Mina from Trivium Group, a PPC firm, and I was doing a live breakdown; it’s about an hour. If anyone wants to look us up on YouTube, just type in Andrew Morgans and Mina, Elias, and they’ll find it, but I’m breaking down a brand that was, you know, negative 6000 for a couple of months, and within 30 days kind of turn that brand around like 1,000% turnaround from not just negative, but getting positive. And what we did, what I saw, what I was looking at on the profit loss, what kind of changes we made to see that the nitty gritty of kind of the data. And, you know, I think the reason that when 2020 happened, and the pandemic happened, and aggregators came into the Amazon space, the reason why we got so much attention during that, that time was where other industries were shutting down based on speculation. Okay, we were building businesses that were profitable. And so you know, they might be smaller than a million dollars, that’s nothing compared to $100 million company, or $500 million companies and these big ones that make the world move. But if you had enough of these together, so to speak, and profitable businesses that are paying attention to the data, it can be very, very powerful. We, you know, we’re starting to implement AI into what we’re doing, which I love because for the longest time in the Amazon industry, software has been talking about smart learnings, AI, automation, you know, your PPC is intelligent this and that. And I’ve argued that it’s not AI; it’s just rule-based; it’s not getting smarter; it’s just making rules, right? And as humans, we can make rules and have humans follow them. So now we’re starting to actually get AI, where the data can learn and build on itself, which to me is an exciting thing. I was never against AI; I was against automation being labeled as AI. Because it’s not the same thing, right? I, as a human, can get smarter; machines are just going to repeat the same rule over and over and over; I can learn from my mistakes, and I can learn from my wins. Talk to me just as we close up on our hour here. If you guys learned dabbling or implementing AI, and then two questions to see if you can remember them, one, what’s something you’re working on within AMC Clever that you’re excited about? Like something new within AMC Clever, and then something outside of your son in your personal life that you’re excited about as we close out the year?
Daniel Fernandez 43:35
Yeah, that’s a good question. So touching the AI, I think the image generation is very interesting. Yeah. The concern we have is if the sharper the audience can tell whether it’s an AI-generated image or not. Another concern we have is if Amazon will implement an AI content filter, right, that will penalize ranking or some kind of scoring if AI content has been used. And then also even if that doesn’t happen, I personally, I don’t know about you, Drew, but I personally, if I go to a website, and I see the images look like aI generated or I read the copy, and then I see some maybe not mistakes, but I see some sentences that read strange not from a translator that maybe doesn’t dominate English, but rather more like a machine. It loses trust in, you know, for in my eyes. I lose trust in that brand. I see it as a little bit lazy. So we’re taking that carefully because of those. I think it’s fantastic for throwing reviews and then asking to write some statements that overcome issues from those reviews. I think that’s very, very interesting, very useful. As long as long as the person is now at the end of the day to produce, not copy-pasting, but actually internalizing, actually trying to really understand what the product is, what the shopper wants, right? I think the AI cannot really put itself in the shoes of the shopper. Oh, I think, kind of kind of went back and forth there. But I don’t think it’s replacing people. I think it is saving time. But, you know, the gatekeeper. I don’t know where I heard that some of the best-paying jobs now are going to be what’s called AI operators. Are the people that have the best prompts to feed the AI to get the desired outcome? I don’t know if it’s true or not.
Andrew Morgans 46:05
I mean, it’s crazy. But if humans took that much time to ask me questions, I think they would get better prompts to, you know, just being funny. But you know, people don’t take the time to ask good questions. People just go through life kind of half-assed in our conversations in our discussions instead of being very deliberate in what we ask people how we’re asking them. You know, if you’re saying, hey, you know, what do you think about my brand? That’s a very generic question. If you say, hey, what do you think about my content on my brand on Amazon? Do you think that each image is, you know, directly speaking to the value that we’re selling? Okay, not because it’s long-winded, but because that question is specifically asking me if I think that the content is speaking about the value of the product in an emotional way. You’re gonna get a lot better answer out of me, just like you would AI, for example, than if you just say, What do you think about my brand on Amazon? We get lazy, I think, in human interactions. And the AI, the AI guys, and gals out there are those techy people. Those people really thinking about how to get the most out of something, and in doing so, are creating great prompts. But something that I just thought to myself when I’ve read some stuff like that is that, like, man, I do a lot of emails all day long. And people asking me questions, me asking them questions. I mean, that’s my day, in a lot of ways, making decisions in that way. And oftentimes, I just sit there and kind of smirk or laugh at myself or chuckle or even get frustrated because I’m like, what a lazy question. Or I have to fill in all the blanks myself, or I have to follow up with another question to waste more time because they didn’t give me enough clarity or ask the right questions. They’ll ask something I have to ask them. Did you mean it this way, this way, this way, this way, this way? You know, I just think it’s an interesting time right now, kind of watching it unfold.
Daniel Fernandez 47:56
I like that, like what you say, that people are asking the AI more than then they were asking whoever was there the authority for them before. Yeah, their boss or their mentor or their teacher, professor? Maybe now they’re asking more to the AI. But have they been asking that much intensity
Andrew Morgans 48:19
They are not worried about asking a dumb question if that makes sense. You know, they’re going to ask the question, get the response to be like, that wasn’t a smart enough question. I’m going to ask again, do a better prompt, do a better prompt, do a better prompt?
Daniel Fernandez 48:29
Yeah, it’s a very interesting point you’re making because then maybe they don’t feel judged by the AI. Right?
Andrew Morgans 48:36
Exactly. Well, as we round out the show, what’s something you’re working on just quickly, in your personal life and in the business that you’re excited about?
Daniel Fernandez 48:48
In terms of the interests of the business, I think we are; there are a few things we see as opportunities, and DSP is showing a lot of promising results. We want to we want to integrate more brands to start doing it. Like the retargeting with it is just, it just makes so much sense. And it is a very quick ROI in most cases. So we’re working on integrating more brands, starting more brands, and doing the Amazon DSP advertising. For the people listening, Amazon DSP advertising is a different app platform. It’s not available in Seller Central and allows you to do Target on and off Amazon. Specific audiences, right? Audiences are people that bought your product but haven’t bought it again. Or competitors, obviously the people that bought from your competitors have the specific age in these specific locations, you can get very nitty gritty. I think that that is a very good opportunity still. So, I will say that’s, that’s something we’re working on in my personal life; I think
Andrew Morgans 50:21
This a very hard one for a new dad. Right.
Daniel Fernandez 50:23
I think it’s just too hard to become a better father. So there is a lot to learn about education, you know, raising another human with good morals and good ethics. I did not try to protect myself from the struggles that I had because, arguably, those struggles made me who I am. How to create that controlled environment for, you know, for him to have an opportunity to build courage and grit and all that good stuff, right? Yeah, that’s a rabbit hole. There’s a lot of books and a lot of information, a lot of opinions. But, um, I think very, very interesting, very fascinating on that.
Andrew Morgans 51:15
I love. And I think that’s something I’ve been working on for the last 10 years or so. You know, I’m married and divorced and went through a very low time in my life about 10 years ago, and I’ve been on a journey to prepare myself, I think, to be a father. And I don’t think it’s something that you just all of a sudden, you’re ready to be a father. I think it’s something that you have to prepare for and intentionally work toward and work on skills that maybe you wouldn’t have needed to work on if it was just you. But, you need to work on them if you’re gonna raise another human, you know. So I love that it’s a simple answer but a beautiful one. Lastly, just for anyone listening on the road, where can people come into contact with you, or where can people follow your journey or contact you online?
Daniel Fernandez 51:56
Definitely. So, I’m on all social media, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Daniel Fernandez, and AMZ Clever. But if anybody listening wants to reach out to me directly, you know, questions or just want to connect, you like what you heard. You want to do some business, whatever it may be. I try to get back to everybody. My email is Daniel@AMZClever.com. Again, Daniel@AMZClever, remind my friends in other parts of the world. AMZClever.com
Andrew Morgans 52:33
Awesome. Daniel, looking at my podcasts, my show notes here from the team send them over before episodes. Was the business originally founded in Virginia?
Daniel Fernandez 52:44
It was, and I have moved; now, we’re in Florida.
Andrew Morgans 52:49
Okay, I was just staying there this weekend in Falls Church, Virginia. So I was just there was a chain of events. We were speaking about it earlier. And I was like, Well, maybe he lives in Arlington. You know, in another life. So, just curious.
Daniel Fernandez 53:04
I did. I did. I did. I lived in Falls Church for a little bit.
Andrew Morgans 53:09
So cool. Small world, just small world. My first time being there. We stay in a beautiful Airbnb, and the beautiful neighborhood is very pretty, placed near DC.
Daniel Fernandez 53:20
That’s awesome. Yeah. You’re probably in Arlington a lot, right?
Andrew Morgans 53:24
Yeah. So awesome. I was just, I didn’t know, maybe, you know, it’s where you got started. But it’s been awesome having you on the show. Me and I talk even off the show offline. Here and they’re just catching up on agency stuff, shooting brand stuff, always have great advice or wisdom to share. So really appreciate you coming on the show.
Daniel Fernandez 53:46
It’s a pleasure and an honor. So thank you for having me on.
Andrew Morgans 53:50
Yeah, of course. And thank you again, Hustlers, for tuning in. Shout out to our sponsor FullScale.io. They have the people and a platform to help you build a manage a team of experts. When you visit FullScale.io, all you need to do is answer a few questions and let the platform match you up with fully vetted, highly experienced team software engineers, testers, and leaders. At Full Scale, they specialize in building long-term teams that work only for you. Learn more when you visit FullScale.io. Thank you, guys. Thank you, Hustlers. Thank you, Daniel. We’ll see you next time.