Month: September 2022

Talk-Commerce Jacob Anson

Segmentation is the key to your email success with Jacob Anson

If you want to grow your business and increase your profits, you need to learn how to segment your email lists effectively. In this Podcast, Jason Anson explains the best ways to segment your email lists and provides you with some of the best tools, tricks, and tactics for ensuring that every one of those subscribers is engaged.

Look for the Free Joke towards the end of the podcast. We learn that most people don’t understand Brent’s Jokes.

Check out my article on Segmentation in email marketing here

3 Reasons Why You Should Care About Email Segmentation
3 Reasons Why You Should Care About Email Segmentation


Brent: Welcome to this episode of Talk Commerce. Today I have Jacob Anson, and Jacob is the co-founder of Agency JR. Jacob, go ahead and introduce yourself. Tell us what you’re doing day to day and maybe one of your passions in life. 

Jacob: Perfect. First of all, a pleasure to be here. So thank you for having me on. And yeah, quickly introduce myself.

Jacob: I’m the co-founder of Agency JR. We are an email marketing focused agency. I’m one of the two co-founders agency, and within my day to day, I’m mostly focused on the backend, like building out interest infrastructure, the systems, the processes, hiring, like all of the. Not so fun stuff as people say, but I love it.

Jacob: And in terms of some, what are things right now in this phase of my life, it’s mostly boric. I love it. It wouldn’t be that way. But outside of Boric, I guess there’s a bit of fitness and more of work. So fitness work. So that’s about all. 

Brent: Yeah, that’s, that sounds like my life. We won’t get into a lot of fitness right now.

Brent: We want to do it towards the end of the podcast. I could talk about running all day, but we won’t get, Let’s talk about email marketing and I know that that is something that you have a passion for. So tell us a little bit about some of the mistakes people make in email marketing.

Brent: Maybe we’ll start there. 

Jacob: Sure thing. Honestly, the biggest mistake is not doing email marketing. So let’s start there. But email marketing means it’s a broad term. There’s like a lot of verticals, a lot of niches that can use email marketing. But we see that a lot of them don’t use it or there’s not frequent use of it.

Jacob: For example, e-commerce even if you’re a small eCommerce store, you should be doing email marketing with email marketing is and can be very passive. Of course you can also, it can be very active, but you can do the bare minimum, set up some automations and it’s gonna be there and generate revenue while you sleep.

Jacob: And this also applies to any other kind of business out there, but it’s SaaS info product, whatever else that’s selling something. You need email marketing, even if they small scale. So that’s the mistake I see happening. But then to dive would be a bit more specific. So we, we ourselves are usually more eCommerce focused.

Jacob: We also have a couple of info or SaaS businesses as well, but than the eCommerce. Like the other mistake, which is a bit more specific would come down to campaigns. So campaigns, if you’re not too familiar with your marketing, are those one time email plus, for example, that in your Gmail. Those are like, for example, the Black Friday campaigns or like 4th of July sale campaigns and stuff like that.

Jacob: The mistake there usually comes down to the segmentation. So with your eCommerce shop, you have your customer list. Let’s say you have 10,000 customers, you have 10,000 emails. The mistake there is a lot of people think, Hey, I’m gonna get the best performance if we’re gonna take this whole list, these 10,000 people, and blast out an email to all of them.

Jacob: If you think about it in the first thought, it might seem logical because, hey, the more people see the email, the more people are gonna open email. The more sales I’m gonna get, maybe for the first email, yes. But if you continue doing that, they’re just gonna go into the negative spiral in your sales are eventually gonna go down to zero.

Jacob: Why? Because it all comes down to deliverability and list health. So first we’ll have to make sure that people you’re sending out. Actually wanna get your emails. If you’re onlay sending out everybody, a big chunk of the list usually is not engaged. You’re just ruining your del deliverability.

Jacob: And with deliverability, if you’re getting bad open rates, you’re gonna get even worse, open rates later down the road. So it’s important to segment your list. Target mostly to engage parts of the list, segment it and make sure you get, get good open rates as that’s gonna heap you open rates healthy. And then we’re gonna make sure your list stays healthy for a long time and you can extract more revenue and more profit out of it.

Brent: As you’re segmenting, is there specific engagements that you should look at? If a customer is highly engaged, Should you send them more or target it or I know that there’s a way of oversending, so if they’re over engaged, then eventually you’re going to Oversend and tell us some ideas around that.

Jacob: I’m gonna spill the beans of our agency strategy. Basically how we in inhouse do the segmentation. The first thing, it’s very simple. It’s very dumb down, so it’s easy to follow and easy to execute. So the first thing is the engaged customers.

Jacob: You can send them out more emails. So for example, within a month, if we send out 12 campaigns, Around eight to 10 of those campaigns are gonna go out, that Engage list, and that’s completely fine. And the engaged part of the list, it can be built out. We usually have three buckets. Engage 30, Engage 60, engage 90, and Engage 30 basically means someone who has opened or clicked. One of your emails within the last 30 days. Then of course the last 60 days, last 90 days. Those are the engagement tiers. Depending on your rates, which just basically choose one of those the open rates should, ideally for the campaigns be around 30%.

Jacob: If they use Engage 90 and see if it’s around 20% of, we might jump one tier down, test out, Engage 60, and see where at which of those stages it comes out to roughly 30%. And then rest of the campaigns. So for example, we send out nine campaigns to engage segment. The rest of those three campaigns, we can test all different parts the list to try to get them into the engaged parts, the list. So we usually like to do one re-engagement campaign a month. , which is focused specifically on the unengaged part, the list. So we take, all the people don’t open their emails and we send out one email specifically to them once a month just to try and reengage them.

Jacob: And then few emails usually are like smaller segments, a bit more specific segmentation. Might it be like a specific product upsell email or maybe like an announcement or whatever. Something with also like more specific segmentation. So that’s what we usually. Works like a charm. Easy to follow. 

Brent: Yeah, those are some very ironclad rules that they actually make a lot of sense.

Brent: So I would I think if there isn’t any listeners who aren’t paying attention, that would be one part that I certainly would implore people to pay attention to. How about the over engagement? Is there a point in which you can over engage? 

Jacob: Over engaging. Yeah, so like over engaging, like at least how I understand is like burning out the list.

Jacob: So if you have like 10,000 customers, let’s say half of them are like engaged customers opening up your emails, obviously they don’t wanna be over spammed and they don’t wanna receive two emails a day from you. Like the cadence of your campaigns also. Usually to make sure you, you’re not over spamming and over accentuating your list.

Jacob: We usually don’t go over 15 emails a month on regular months. Obviously all of that gets thrown out of indoor during q4. Then you can do what you want in terms of email frequency. But for like regular months, summer spring and so on, I would not go over 15 emails a month and that’s just gonna ensure you’re not over engaging or burning out your list essentially. 

Brent: Yeah. So I know you mentioned q4, so you’re talk a little bit about specific strategies for Q4 compared to the rest of the year. 

Jacob: Yeah. Within the eCommerce, so obviously Q4 is the most important part of the year. Hands down, that’s where all of the revenue profit was made.

Jacob: So within US agency and basically I think every other eCommerce through our agency, they take it very seriously. Like some of the key differences between Q4 and regular months, always these email frequency. If for example, during July, June, we’re sending out maybe 12 to 15 emails a month.

Jacob: During November, December, we’re sending up to 30 emails a month. So it comes down average one email a day. So that’s first thing. And the second thing is how you build out your sales structure. So here maybe also you can spill the beans of our agency tactics and strategies. So for Q4, what we usually like to do, we build out a specific sales cycle, sales calendar, if I can name it that way, and essentially how it’s structured is that we go through certain phases. The first phase, which you usually start around October, started October, is a re-engagement phase which usually lasts about two weeks and that during these two weeks, it is basically try to re-engage as much of the unengaged customers as we can to build up the engaged part of the list, which is gonna get spammed too during the next couple of weeks. Then the next phase is the warmup phase. So once we have reengage as many customers as we can, we really wanna nurture the engaged part, the list, build it up, warm it up. And we usually do that through value campaigns. We do that through educational campaigns.

Jacob: We do that through a very specific warmup campaign. Which is essentially focused on getting the customers respond to the email. So it maybe could be an email, like a text based email, Hey, respond to this customer. But yes, if you wanna stay in the loop for Black Friday emails and what this does, which is really cool if Gmail sees that somebody replies to you, they automatically

Jacob: flag or white list your domain. So like your, all your future emails are gonna go in the primary tab. So it’s like a small tactic to ensure your deliverability is very good for those customers. And obviously also value campaigns. Obviously you don’t wanna always sell to your customers. Give them some values, some tips so they know not just selling them.

Jacob: Build a relationship with them. And once we have warmed up the customer at the start of November, we usually go into a buildup phase, a hype phase where we try to get some early bird list signs for like early Black Friday deals and stuff like that. Really hype up the audience for Black Friday.

Jacob: Let them maybe tease some deals, maybe let them know about the Black Friday timeline and stuff like that. Really get them hyped up for the upcoming sales. And then obviously once the Black Friday week starts, then we usually have two to three email sends a. Like a main email resend up the same email, three non openers, and like a different email depending on how the offers are structured for the client.

Brent: I want to jump back to what you’re saying about sending a text to get him to respond to the email. Are you saying you’d send him an SMS text to do that? Or How do you mean? Can you just explain that a little bit? 

Jacob: Yeah, sure. Maybe I explained, maybe use the wrong word.

Jacob: So it’s an email, so it’s a text based email. So basically, actually this is a good talking point. So text, like in this case I’ll explain maybe this specifically and i’s talk about text based emails. I think that’s interesting as well. So like for the email, hold the warmup email, it is a text based email, so like an email you would send to your brand.

Jacob: It doesn’t contain any graphics. None of that. Basically usually sent out from a brand representative. It mentions something like that. Hey John we see within our list, et cetera, et cetera. In the next couple of weeks, we’ll have our Black Friday sale and we’ll really think you’re gonna enjoy the discounts, the offers, whatever.

Jacob: If you wanna stay in the loop and make sure you receive your emails or show you how excited you are for the deals, respond to this email. But for example, yes. And that’s basically just make sure the customer respond to that email. It’s something, it doesn’t matter, but what they respond, the most important thing is that they respond with something as that is gonna white list the domain and it’s gonna ensure that the future emails for them.

Jacob: Much, much more likely to land in the primary folder, which then is obviously gonna boost up the open range. 

Brent: Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. does it help to do social as well, to drive people to, Is there a way to use social to p get people to respond to emails? , 

Jacob: of course. This of course depends like how used is like social media for the specific brand.

Jacob: Some brands, they’re not that heavy in social media. For those, obviously, it doesn’t make sense to push people there if they’re not gonna do anything with. Those extra follows. But if the brand has like a good social media strategy, then of course we can push people from emails to sign up on social media to stay in the loop with what’s happening there.

Jacob: And obviously if the social media, females that takes care of the Black Friday and everything is synergized, then they’re just gonna be much more likely to stay in the loop because we are gonna remind them through emails. The social media team’s gonna remind. Through social media. So they’re constantly informed about what’s gonna be happening for that specific brand.

Jacob: So if the brand has good social media, then yes, of course. Good. 

Brent: All right. So tell, talk a little bit about some trends that there is in retention for marketing, for email, things like that. 

Jacob: Yeah, sure. Trend, So biggest strength I would honestly still see is SMS marketing. I think maybe it seems maybe the SMS marketing has gone by.

Jacob: SMS marketing was really hot a couple of months ago, may be a year ago, but that, that still is one of the biggest trends I see and let a lot of brands have not properly adapted to. There’s still a lot of brands lacking proper SMS marketing or SMS marketing at all, which I think is a very huge thing.

Jacob: But with SMS marketing, it doesn’t really matter how big or small you are, you can still set up like some initial things that are there that. Drive you extra revenue, extra profit. You don’t really have to worry about it that much. And then at a certain point, you can build out a team, hire an agency to do all of the active work there as well.

Jacob: But some of the other trends we see within the marketing world from our perspective is some more integrated things within, for example, marketing and Facebook ads. Like for example, some funnel build outs and basically just more synergistic marketing strategy. overall because for the last couple of years, like there’s email marketing, there’s Facebook ads, there’s marketing, but there was not a lot of connection between all of those channels together.

Jacob: Maybe even maybe more for, so for huge brands. For bigger brands. But right now I see a lot like, also like medium science brands to really have more synergistic marking strategies. Everything works together much more oiled .

Brent: Is there a difference between open rates on devices? I’ve heard that post iOS 14, that sometimes you may not be able to measure open rates on emails and that might skew some of your KPIs. 

Jacob: , Yeah. So with this, like I have slight slightly the front take on this, like obviously the tracking it is slightly off.

Jacob: So like each new change and adaptation in terms of iOS or like platform is, it’s gonna skew the data a bit. So like it’s gonna skew what we see that the effect of gonna see marketing is still gonna stay the same. If you don’t see maybe like the 10% less people, the emails, that’s what they see on our end.

Jacob: But then in the end, like how many people open up the emails is still gonna be the same amount. But of course if it can skew the data, it can also play around with the conversion data conversion tracking. Because sometimes, for example, some of the email softwares, they also use the open metric as the as one of the, within the conversion windows.

Jacob: So for example, if the open is falsely tracked, it can either not count a certain conversion to. For the email also count an extra conversion for email, if that makes sense. But with this, we have not seen a huge issue, like we mainly use Kavio. I think Klavio has done a smart thing to battle this. Not too technical about this, but I think one thing that they did, which is really smart, is that they noticed how Apple works.

Jacob: So here, nobody quote me on this, but if I understood correctly, So basically how it works when you send out an email to an iOS device or an email with an iOS privacy email once to send out email, there’s gonna be an auto open like within one second. Once you send out the email and Kavio just disregards that and they usually look for the second open.

Jacob: And the second open usually comes for the from the real person, or it maybe comes after five seconds that the, not immediately after the emails sent. So there are things that the. Platforms are doing also to battle this. So I’m not too worried about this, but of course it can play around and with the date and skew a couple of things.

Brent: Yeah, it’s interesting. I think that merchants aren’t gonna worry. Some bigger merchants should worry about this, but. It’s, the whole privacy thing has been such an interesting journey in the last year especially. Just talking about privacy from the US compared to Europe. Europe is much more restrictive on sending emails.

Brent: US has the same rules, but maybe not as well followed. Talk about the best way to grow your list, that’s legal.

Jacob: Good question. That’s legal . Yeah. So obviously Europe, gdpr like in terms of like list growth, generally the same tactics strategies are gonna apply both US and Europe. Within Europe, if you’re gonna be completely legal.

Jacob: Is it? Gonna be a bit less effective. But the best growth strategy for list is actually, is gonna be just driving more sales to your store. Focus on your customer acquisitions you like, your paid ads, Facebook ads, Google ads, whatever. Because most of your list, it’s still gonna come through the purchasers.

Jacob: So people that go to the checkout, if they purchase or don’t purchase, The big, biggest bulk of your list and the highest quality bulk, your list is gonna come directly through that. So that should always be your main focus email. Just basically thanks those customers and turns them into repeat purchases.

Jacob: But if you wanna focus on growing your list specifically, or implement different kind of funnels, which are email first, conversion second obviously popups are. , so have popups on your side as well but popups to give you some tips, some value, a big mistake. I see a lot of agencies, a lot of brands, , Maybe it’s not a mistake.

Jacob: Sometimes it can also be valuable, but most of the case, it’s not really wanted. It’s having popups at very short triggers at very short delays. So if there’s a brand within three seconds, if you’re landing on a brand page, you see a popup, it’s not a good thing for a couple of reasons.

Jacob: First of all, nobody can really make a purchasing decision in three seconds. So if you are three seconds, then you see a popup for 10%. What it’s gonna do, first of all, is gonna scare the customer base, gonna have a negative effect on your conversion rate. And second of all, for the customers that do end up buying, you’re just gonna give away 10% of your margin.

Jacob: Because nobody can really decide in three seconds, Hey, I’m gonna buy this product or not gonna buy this product. So that’s not the good thing. So what we usually recommend is having popups at longer delay. and that’s just gonna mostly focus on driving X revenue. Usually go around like 30 to 55 seconds as that’s what usually sees the average time spent on site.

Jacob: And that is maybe gonna be more cater towards undecided buyer. So maybe they’re still thinking about the product and hey, boom, there’s a 10% off discount and that just gets them over the edge. So that’s a. Better strategy there. And then some other things you can just run direct lead gen campaigns. So for example, for q4, what we are gonna be doing is running leg gen campaigns to, for the early bird list, we’re gonna have a landing page.

Jacob: We’re gonna have our clients basically run, pay that so their warm audience, that planning page, generate a bigger lead list so we can hype it up and push. More revenue through the q4 sales. So good. 

Brent: Yeah. I have an episode that is called Learn to Love Your Popup. So I would encourage listeners to go back and I can’t remember the guest right now, but it is learn to love the popup.

Brent: And I have to admit on my own Talk Commerce website, I need to get a popup rolling on there. Jacob, I’m gonna try something new with you today. Before we close out the podcast. Generally if you, if anybody listens to this they know that before every podcast, I give you a free joke.

Brent: So I wanna a free joke. There’s no obligation. You don’t have to laugh. In fact, I have a laugh track behind. But today I would like to try reading you the free joke and just getting your opinion on it. And I guess the reasoning is, should I charge for it or not? So let’s try it really quick. Ready?

Brent: Three men are on a boat. They have four cigarettes, but nothing to light them. So they throw a cigarette overboard and the whole boat becomes a cigarette lighter.

Jacob: I don’t think I get it right, , so 

Brent: I’ll read it. I’ll read it one more time. It might not think about what we call a cigarette lighter in the US It’s called a cigarette lighter to light cigarettes. I’ll read it one more time. 

Brent: Three men are on a boat, okay? They have four cigarettes, but nothing to light them with, so they throw a cigarette overboard and the whole boat becomes a cigarette lighter.

Jacob: Oh, gotcha. Okay. ? Yeah now I got it. Yes. It’s a smart board play, like the English jokes. They’re sometimes a bit, It’s okay. 

Brent: I completely, I side swiped you with this, so I apologize, but the opinion is should I continue to offer them for free or do you think I should charge for that type of joke?

Jacob: For charge for that type of joke? Good question. I don’t know. For me, It was hard to get. So maybe I’m too dumb. I would not, definitely not wanna pay for that kind of joke. So for now, maybe leave them for free and then later on maybe you can start charging them for them as well 

Brent: and charging.

Brent: That’s the joke. And I apologize, I have to explain all my jokes. In fact I spend a lot of time in Latin America and nobody gets my humor. So you’re not new. It’s completely normal.

Jacob: Okay, so charging is also part of the joke. Okay. I then I’m definitly out. No. Perfectly. Okay. 

Brent: I’m out the league. This is just the way, this is the way for me. I apologize. I appreciate you being a good sport on the joke. No worries. It was fun. No worries. Jacob, as we close out, I give everybody an opportunity to do a a shameless plug about anything you’d like to.

Brent: and a plug in English is a promotion about something you’d like to promote. And so if you’d like to promote, if you like to promote that jokes, I’m all for it. But you are welcome to promote anything you like to. 

Jacob: All right. Thank you for the opportunity. So yeah, in terms of the shameless, once plug, I think I’ll go with the agency.

Jacob: If you need email mar help with email marketing, whether you’re an e-com SaaS info you can check out Agency JR. So it’s agency jacob You can check out their case studies what we’ve done and talk with us to see if we can help. And also for agency owners we’re always open for new partnerships.

Jacob: So whether we have an e-com, SaaS or info focused agency you can also reach out through us, through Agency JR and see if a partnership makes sense and. Always have good, and I’ll make sure 

Brent: I get the links from the show notes and they’ll be able to get in touch with you through that as well.

Brent: So Jacob Anson, the co-founder of Agency JR. Thank you so much for being here today. 

Jacob: Thank you for having me. It’s been a blast. Thank you.

Talk-Commerce Jen McFarland

Entrepreneurial Empathy with Jen McFarland

Will your employee go a little further when times are tough? Jen McFarland ( @jensmcfarland )talks about entrepreneurship, marketing, and living in Kazakhstan. Listen for the size 45 clown shoes. Are they European sizes, US sizes, or clown sizes?

Mentorship, empathy, marketing, and NOT being a hater! If you are an employer, this episode is for you if you are an employee, this episode is for you.

If there is one theme to hear throughout this podcast, it is this quote from Jen:
“Smart Women in tech leave because of bad management.”


Brent: Welcome to talk commerce today. I have Jen McFarland coming from Oregon. Did I get that right? Jen, Oregon? Yep. Yep. Jen, go ahead and introduce yourself. Tell us a little bit about your day to day role and maybe one of your passions in 

Jen: life. Oh, wow. Hi my name’s Jen McFarland. I am a marketing coach, even though I don’t like using the word coach.

Jen: It just seems to be what people call me. I also do a lot of hands on work. My favorite thing to do in my role as a marketing agency is I work with the city of Portland’s economic development division through their inclusive business resource network and we help people of color with their marketing so that they can build their businesses.

Jen: And that’s one of my favorite things to do. I’m also passionate about travel. hang out with my friends. It’s lovely here in Portland, because right now it’s summer and I am not originally from here. So when the rain comes, that’s not really my favorite time 

Brent: and it never rains on, in, in the west coast, right in Portland.

Brent: It’s always bright and sunny, just like San Diego. 

Jen: That’s what I a lot of people get it wrong. See, it only rains once in Portland, it starts in October and it ends in late may. 

Brent: Oh, that’s better than starting in October and ending in September. 

Jen: well, that’s true. We’ve had that happen before though. That was summer was on a Tuesday and it was pretty fun.

Brent: Yes. I was in Duluth this weekend and summer’s done already there, so no 

Jen: way. I can’t okay. Checking that off the list. Not moving to Duluth. 

Brent: Yeah. Duluth is very lovely in the summer. So July some parts of August depends which way the wind is blowing. Off the lake or not. How all right. The only thing I know about Portland is Portlandia.

Brent: And so I know that you probably go to one of your local restaurants and get the name of the chicken that when you’re gonna sit down to eat, is that right?

Jen: They don’t always tell us the name of the chicken, but it’s, it’s 50 50, if you get the full lineage of the chicken. So yeah. Portland idea, totally accurate.

Jen: A hundred percent. 

Brent: all right. So Jen I know some of the topics we talked about in the green room were around certainly entrepreneurship, but how you went through the peace Corps and then got into entrepreneurship or how the peace Corps helped you get into it. Tell us a little bit about that.

Jen: Yeah. So I love travel. I am a unique person in that I did peace Corps with my husband. He also likes travel. So we went as more mid-career entrepreneurs. So we were both in our thirties and we, so when you go as a couple, you can’t go to as many places as a single person, they have to have a place for two people to live and all kinds of things.

Jen: So we went to Kazakhstan. It is it’s not like Borat he’s, supposedly from Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is a country south of Russia. It’s the largest land locked country in the world. And people there are insanely nice. So nice to the point where. It would be considered kidnapping in this country.

Jen: So I was walking, we were teachers and I had a long walk back to the host family. This is when we were training and my husband was ahead of me and somebody saw, it was like, oh, the American is alone. I want my niece to talk to the American. So basically they’re like, come on in. And I’m like I have to get home.

Jen: It’s dinnertime. They bring me in and this, I was so inexperienced that I didn’t know how long this process would be and they start cooking and I’m like, oh no, I’m in deep trouble. I don’t have the phone number to get ahold of my husband, the person I’m supposed to talk to. Isn’t in the house. I don’t know any of these people, what is happening.

Jen: I think I was there for about two hours and about halfway in this woman, young woman comes in and sits down and I can understand enough Russian at that point to understand that this is the person I’m supposed to talk to you. And she speaks English. And that is how I met my best friend in Kazakhstan so we talked, it was awesome.

Jen: We left that training place and then we ended up moving back there and living there for a year and Rahan saw me and was just like, oh my gosh, it’s you? This is so great. And that’s how we met each other. But like in America, these are things that never happened. You’re not walking along the street and somebody’s Hey, come on in.

Jen: Talk to my niece. Like you would never stop. You would never do it. And so that’s how I learned that sometimes you can take these risks that just seem insane and crazy, and it turns out really good. So this was somebody who I was really close to for that time. I miss her all the time, even though I’ve been back for a long time.

Jen: And I think business is a lot like that. Sometimes you have to take that chance. You have to be like, is this for real? I don’t know if this is for real or not. And then you. Yeah, it’s cool. And you take that risk. You take the plunge and it works that way. It just works out. And that’s really what happened.

Jen: I would say then when you fast forward and I’m an executive at the city of Portland and I decide to leave, but I don’t really have a parachute really set for myself. I knew I wanted to have a business, but I hadn’t really set it up. And I was like it’s gonna work out. And it has, it’s just crazy sometimes how.

Jen: works that way. You have to have a certain degree of trust in order for it to really work out and Peace Corp was we loved peace Corp. It was super great. 

Brent: Yeah, that’s good. So the peace cor in Kazakhstan. Wow. I have I’ve and you lived there for a year. Tell when was this? When did you do this? 

Jen: We lived there for two years.

Jen: Two years. Okay. It was in the early two thousands and it’s cold. it’s really cold there. I would say that the weather is probably similar to Milwaukee Wisconsin, except there’s no central heating. I remember sitting next to, we had, I don’t know what you would call it. It was technically supposed to be a heater, but it was like these bare wires that would just heat up I don’t know.

Jen: It was so cold that I sat so close to it, that I set my pants on fire and I didn’t notice it for a minute and I. I was like, do you smell smoke? It was breakfast. And I was talking to my husband. He’s like something smells funny. And I looked and, but I was like, I also felt warm, so I wasn’t complaining and then I looked down and I.

Jen: oh, I just burned a hole in my pants. I like you just no, it it’s a different experience there because it’s very cold and very snowy and like the vitreous fluid in your eyes freezes, and so you’re blinking a lot and it, it’s just an interesting experience.

Jen: And then it’s like insanely hot in the summer. And I think Milwaukee’s kind of that where, Minneapolis is like that too. Except you have a lot of mosquitoes there compared to Kazakhstan. So it’s a lovely, wonderful place that nobody’s ever heard of. And it was just a wonderful experience and it was very hard and also awesome.

Jen: We only had running water, I think about. we would leave the tap opened, cuz we weren’t sure when the water was gonna come on and we would fill the bathtub and then use the water. We had a water distiller, so it would be clean and everything. So it was an interesting time, an interesting experience.

Jen: And I think that’s why, my husband and I have weathered COVID really well. I weather uncertainty a lot better. I think that’s. I think that’s why people call me a coach, even though I’m really a consultant. And I do a lot of hands on marketing for people. It’s because I have this really grounded oh, it’s gonna be okay.

Jen: And I think after you have some of these experiences, like I’ve had experiences at the enterprise level where like we melted down entire. Servers and everything came to a grinding halt, and we had to match data among like hundreds of thousands of people. And we’ve, and I’ve lived in countries where I didn’t have running water.

Jen: Like it just, everything always works out. And I think that grounded feeling I have about things is really because I’ve lived in places without any creature comforts, I’ve had all kinds of experiences and at the end of it, it’s great. Everything works out. Everything works out in the end. 

Brent: So two comments, number one, I’m sad to hear that you associate Minnesota with mosquitoes, which we have a state bird. It’s not the mosquito number two. I did spend a lot of time in the eighties watching the show, Laverski and Shirliova. It’s a Kazakhstan program about two ladies in a beer bottling plant that in nevermind.

Brent: It’s a, that’s a tie back to Milwaukee Laver, Shirley and Milwaukee. Yes. I know I’ll stop. So do you please, do you think there’s a special risk factor or no, maybe not risk, but there has to be something in you or. Something you can’t quite quantify to be able to leave your job as a public employee or a city employee, and just jump off and go for it.

Brent: Do you think there’s something that most people can’t quite identify with? 

Jen: I don’t know. I certainly had the golden handcuffs on if that’s what you mean, had every, I was paid I had. still have my retirement from there. Certainly if you know all of the security in the world, I don’t think I was actually gonna lose my job.

Jen: But it, I wasn’t happy. So I think that when you look at your life and you’re like, this isn’t really what I want. I, I don’t know. Some people will decide to. and be miserable. And I just, that, wasn’t what I wanted for myself. And I wanted something different. I also have the experience that when my dad was around 50, he was being worked to get to death at the state of Idaho and had a bad situation.

Jen: And he ended up having a heart attack. And I was like, I don’t wanna be like that. He didn’t want that. And so I think that as I, got into my forties, I was like, yeah, I Don. This is not the road. I know where this road can lead because I had seen it with my dad. And I was like, I don’t want that road.

Jen: And I have been so much happier since taking the risks since doing something. But certainly I would say a lot of people don’t do it because maybe they don’t have the same sense of adventure. They don’t have these experiences where they’re like, Yeah, I’m just gonna go move to Kazakhstan now, ha that’s crazy.

Jen: Most people that’s crazy. So I do think that there’s a part of me that is really adventurous and willing to take these chances and take chances on myself. And I would say certainly I’m the person who gets the LinkedIn email, the little messages and I’m like, is this real or not? And I’ll actually research things that don’t.

Jen: real. And then that’s how I ended up I had a film crew at my house earlier this year because they read one of my blog posts and they’re filming a documentary and they wanted me to be in it. And it was just a random request that came into LinkedIn, but I’m willing to take the risk that that could work out.

Jen: And it did, it was fun. It. Unique. Doesn’t happen every day that I have a film crew at my house. So I do think that we have these opportunities as entrepreneurs where we can either be like, oh God, I get so many LinkedIn requests all the time. I’m just gonna ignore all of them. I don’t even know these people.

Jen: And I’m that. Odd person. Who’s oh, is this looks neat. If this is real, then I’m gonna pursue it. And I think that we have these opportunities all the time in our lives, and we have that choice. We have the power to make the choice about how we’re going to navigate and proceed. Do 

Brent: you think it gets more difficult as you get older to make that decision?

Brent: And I’ll just back that up with, I started as an entrepreneur in college, I went to college for eight years and decided. I wanna do something different. So I dropped outta college sure. After eight years and I started a business. But I really didn’t know what I was doing or getting into at a younger age.

Brent: Sometimes you can jump into those things and it just happened, whatever that I got some traction and it worked, but some people as they get a little bit older might think I’ve got a career and I don’t know if I want to, chance on not having a paycheck. Do you think it’s more difficult as you get older?

Jen: I do. And I would say that, at the time I was leaving my executive role, that all played into it as okay how much runway do I have? The truth is I had more runway because I had more savings. had more experience it. It was a different runway than if I had decided to do it right outta college.

Jen: Like you, that would’ve been a disaster for me. I know who I was and where I was at that stage that would not have worked for me. It was also not on my roadmap. Peace Corps was a hundred percent on my roadmap coming outta college, having my own business. That was something that kind of simmered later on.

Jen: And I think that you have to have that entrepreneurial mindset, that entrepreneurial spirit, and I guess I had it all along. I just didn’t identify it as that ability. Be adventurous and take the plunge. I don’t think that’s for everybody. I don’t think that everybody feels that way about life.

Jen: about what they want for themselves. Everybody’s different. So I do think that those decisions become a lot harder because we have families, we have more complicated lives than we do out of college or when we’re younger, there’s just not as much complexity. Maybe we don’t have a house. I had all of these things I had to worry about.

Jen: We have a house, we have, I have a marriage. I can’t just run off and join the circus. I could, but there’s not really a lot of circuses anymore. Size 45 clown shoes in case anyone’s curious, but I can’t do that without talking to somebody. I can’t just run. And do whatever I want anymore. So I think sometimes we get lost in that complexity and we decide it’s just not worth it because there’s too many elements to work out.

Jen: So I think that can be a hard stop for people when there might be gold there. If you did take that plunge, if you did go out there and do something new. 

Brent: Yeah. I can think of so many, like be your own boss. Do your own business. There’s so many people like that are pushing franchises or something like that.

Brent: And I think there’s a distinction between taking somebody else’s dream and going with it and doing your own dream. Maybe it’s harder to do your own dream because especially as you said, as you go along, you have more entrenched things that you want to stick with. And part of it being an entrepreneur is being able to let some of those things go and embracing change.

Brent: Oh yeah. You had mentioned earlier about being an accidental entrepreneur. How do you, how would you relate to that?

Jen: I said earlier that I wasn’t gonna lose my job, but my job was very uncertain. It was a year to year deal where I had to wait for the budget to go through, there was a lot of uncertainty around that and I was really unhappy. I really, at one point thought that I would bounce around at different roles at the city.

Jen: And it became clear that this role I was in was that was where I was gonna be. And I. Like it. I created the job. I created the entire department. I had been doing a lot of projects. That’s really what I would do that was my role at the city was I would create new programs and places and policies, and I would move around a lot.

Jen: And I became clear that this is, this was it. This was the landing spot. And I was like, oh no, this is not interesting to me. as I was making this entire. role and crafting this program. I was like, wow, I wonder who’s gonna have to do this all the time. And then it turned out to be me and I was not happy. So what happened then is in life outside of my work, I had a friend who had their own business and I began to see how I could help other people in smaller roles in smaller businesses.

Jen: Where it wasn’t an enterprise large business situation. And I started to realize that some of the things that I took for granted and thought everybody knew they didn’t, about marketing, about technology, about how to get all the pieces to fit together. And so I started helping people as side hustle, is what people call it now.

Jen: And. from that experience. I was like, I could really do this. It wasn’t the intention. It was all by accident, helping somebody in need. And then it became another person and another person in the meantime, during the day, I’m in a role that I’m really unhappy with it’s budget season. Again, do I want to go through another.

Jen: Will I, or won’t I have a job, even though I think I will. The program, it’s been years now and it’s still running, so yes, I would’ve had a role. So it all happened. Like the kismet, like all of the things started happening and I was like yeah, it’s time to go. I need to go.

Jen: I wasn’t happy. There were a lot of reasons. so I took the plunge, but it wasn’t some grand master plan. I think a lot of times when people go into, should I have my own business or not, they’re looking for some sort of bright light that they run to, or all kinds of certainty and knowledge about how it’s all gonna turn out.

Jen: it’s not like that. it just doesn’t happen. I don’t think for a lot of people, maybe some people do have funding set up ahead of time, or they have banked a ton of clients. That’s certainly not what I was in when I decided this is what I’m gonna do. This is what I enjoy more. And there’s just a lot of factors that go into it.

Jen: So it was accidental. And it took a little bit of time to decide that this was what I was going to do. 

Brent: If you were to think between say the employer role and the employee role you talk a lot about how you’ve helped others as an employer, do you want to encourage your employees who you recognize could be good entrepreneurs to chase their dream?

Brent: So basically you’d lose them, but they would have their dream. Is that something you think as a good entrepreneur, you should be doing? 

Jen: Absolutely. My role in companies, when I go work there is to work myself out of a job. I’m not real big on the whole, have a retainer for life kind of deal. Like I like people to move on, get out of my nest and move on.

Jen: And I feel the same way about the people who work with me, who work for me. Part of what we’re doing is we’re fostering the growth of others. And in that we have to allow them to blossom and grow. And one of the reasons I feel that way is because that wasn’t something that was an option to me at several different points in my career.

Jen: So I don’t want to inhibit the growth of somebody else because I know what that feels like. 

Brent: I can remember people that have helped me and people that have hindered me in the past. And certainly maybe the ones that have helped me the most are the ones that are more confident in the abilities for them to succeed in their own roles, knowing that they’ve now fostered somebody to go out and chase their own dream. Is there any advice you could give an entrepreneur to help them, maybe it’s insecurity where somebody feels as though that they wanna retain this person for the rest of their lives.

Brent: And I’m not saying that it’s bad to have an employee who’s gonna be there for the rest of their lives, because there are people that simply want to be an employee that are not interested in being an entrepreneur. Not everybody is cut out for that. No, but I do feel as though. Some employers could be a hindrance to somebody’s upward career if they were to, I don’t know, a stranglehold or something 

Jen: well, I will say that I haven’t had as many mentors as other people have.

Jen: And I think that sometimes what happens is, and by mentor in this specific case, I know that you can have mentors that. Anywhere. But a work mentor, like somebody who was above me in an organization, mentor me and helped, find another role somewhere else. I work really hard. It’s one of the things that I do.

Jen: So I didn’t tend to attract mentors who wanted me to leave. So they wanted me to stay there because they knew. Whatever they needed, it was gonna get done because Jen would do it. And I can tell you, by the time I left the city, there were like four people doing what I was doing. Like I was taking on so much and I would just get it done.

Jen: That’s what I’m good at. I’m an implementer, get stuff done. I can say that just because somebody is working really hard. And I think that we’re seeing it now with the quiet quitting is what they’re calling it, where it’s basically people who have really good boundaries. And they’re saying, I’m gonna come in.

Jen: I’m gonna do exactly what you want me to do. I’m gonna leave on time. I’m gonna turn my phone off. I’m not gonna answer your. And people are really upset about it. And I’m like, why they’re finding that you’re gonna pay them the same, regardless of what they do. If they work extra or not, and they’re not interested and you’re not helping them grow because they wouldn’t be doing, if you’re doing it, if you were actually fostering a better relationship, For entrepreneurs.

Jen: Yes. It’s hard to have somebody leave. I get it. You don’t wanna have to train a new person. It means that you have to take on more for a while you find a new person, train them and get them to that next place. I will say though, that in the long run, you have to think about all of these things in the long game.

Jen: If you foster somebody and send them on their way, and you have a really good relationship with them, meaning they don’t quiet, quit. There’s not a big argument. And they leave . That is a partner that you have in the future. That you can be working with. This is somebody that you can join forces with maybe at a later date, but you are building a community of people who are going to sing your praises, their potential contractors later on down the road.

Jen: You don’t know where that’s gonna lead, but you do know where it’s gonna lead. If you burn somebody out and don’t help them grow, that never ends well. Never. 

Brent: It leads to resentment and things that aren’t happy. So on the on the flip side of that is the employee relationship.

Brent: We talked about the entrepreneur, the employee how as an employee, do you see ways that you can encourage your employer, maybe to have this fostering role rather than working you to death. And I do agree that now today’s new world that they want to have that time to themselves.

Brent: And the motivation to just work for the sake of work is not there anymore. 

Jen: That’s true. I think a lot of it is that the new younger generations. Relate to work differently. And I think that they get just as much done as anybody else. , it’s just how they do it looks differently. I have, I’m still seeking a mentor from, generation Z.

Jen: I wanna know exactly how people feel and very curious, because it’s not my generation, but I will tell you. . If you come into an organization, you have to understand that you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. So that’s the first thing, right? You don’t go. You ask questions, you go in and you ask a lot of questions.

Jen: So you can be really clear about the role. You can be really clear about what the environment is like. You talk to other people who work there. That’s the starting point. If they pass over. Hurdle then the next hurdle is then you make it clear about your future goals. Like where is it that you see yourself going and you need to start having like conversations with the person you work for to help build those skills so that you can make it to the next place.

Jen: And I think that you will find people who are very open to that. You will also find a lot of people who are very, not open to that. And I think that. It really is about having those conversations early. It’s about meeting with your boss and talking through problems and solutions and what that career ladder can look like for you.

Jen: It does mean being brave and a little bit bold and. These things don’t happen overnight. and I know that we all want it. I remember when I was younger, I thought I knew everything. I thought that I should have this, and I should have that. Sometimes these things take time, not as long as your boss wants it to your the entrepreneur wants you around as long as possible.

Jen: So it. There is a little tension in that conversation, but I think it’s worthwhile for both parties to start really having these mentor mentee conversations, help building skills, because they’ll be a better employee up until they leave. Anyway, if you just open the doors and sometimes people will go, oh, there’s a lot.

Jen: I don’t know. And you might end up having them longer. The more, you open the curtain so they can see the mess of everybody’s business. Cause none of our businesses are perfect. You might actually find somebody who can help you in ways that you don’t know. If you start to give somebody more responsibility and teach them as much as possible.

Jen: And then as the employee you’ll wanna stay longer because you’ll see more and you’ll learn more than if you go elsewhere or if you go and embark on having your own business. 

Brent: I think. What you said earlier about burning bridges that applies even greater for the employee, because if you can leave on good terms yes.

Brent: And you can provide value to your previous boss. Now that boss becomes a conduit for you for your next job or your next role or whatever you’d like to do. What advice would you give to a a younger employee who’s trying to navigate learning how their boss is gonna react to, Hey my timeframe is 24 months and I’m gonna be leaving.

Brent: Right. some bosses are gonna say they’re gonna say to themselves, that’s great. I’m gonna look for a new person already, cuz I know in 24 months they’re gonna be gone or the boss may just come out and say, that’s not gonna work for me. There’s a certain amount of rapport that has to be there in the beginning.

Brent: But then there has to be. almost there has to be some not psychology, but there has to be some way to learn and feel out where each person lies without necessarily giving out your entire hand. 

Jen: Absolutely. This is about relationship building and a lot of what I believe in is honesty and transparency.

Jen: building those relationships over time. Now, as you begin to get to know your employer, , you might realize that they’re not interested in what it is that you want, and you may not be able to be all the way to look, I have a 24 month window here. Like you might not be able to share that part that might be too much for that person to handle.

Jen: So you need to. Feel it out. This takes time. You don’t know the person as well, as you think, particularly in the beginning when everybody’s on their best behavior, like things change and evolve over time. So certainly you have to be careful and strategic about it, but being honest, it, it really does pay off.

Jen: So you’re not just shocking somebody because that can be part of burning the bridge too, is if you’re just like, whoa, piece out and it’s over, you have to give, you have to have open communication. And that’s part of it is if Y and part of it can be covered in the interview process. If you’re getting a sense of, they don’t, they’re not really interested in having any sort of.

Jen: Mentorship type of relationship with you. If you are not getting the sense that this is a growth opportunity, that’s gonna be very telling and you have to be strategic about how you ask about those things as well. But it is something that I think you can feel out early on, and hopefully you can talk to other people who work there.

Jen: You can also look at things like Glassdoor and stuff to see what former employees say. It depends on how big an organization is. All of which to say, it’s not an overnight thing, no matter what, no matter how open somebody is, but you also have to take care of yourself. You can’t just stay somewhere because somebody needs you.

Brent: Do you think it’s a red flag as an employee that, if your boss clearly doesn’t care at all about you or your personal life, is that a red flag for you? You as an that’s a rhetorical question, isn’t it? I don’t even know why I asked it. I can say that as an employer, I’ve gotten much more aware of the fact that I need to know about my employees and there is a world outside of their job.

Brent: And simply asking some of those questions and being interested in what they’re doing helps you as an employer to build a better relationship with your employee. And it just does go vice versa. Is there anything that you can say to extract some of these things out of an employer as an employee?

Brent: I don’t think you can ever teach anybody to. I think somebody has to make that revelation themselves, as an entrepreneur, as an employer, if you’re narcissistic and you only see anything other than the end of your fingers, then you’re never gonna move past that point.

Brent: But there has to be some growth on both sides and as an employee, It is a delicate art to try to coax that out of people.

Jen: Absolutely. And I’m laughing because I worked for somebody who absolutely didn’t think anybody should be friends with people from work. And I will tell you that it wears on you after a while they’re talking about themselves and they have no care about what’s going on in your life.

Jen: I’ve worked for people like that. And I can. . I said, I worked hard and I do work hard, but after a while, you don’t wanna run into the fire with that person. If they don’t care about you, you will not run into the fire for that person. As the employee, you will go to a certain point and then you’ll be like, I’m done.

Jen: I’m out. This is hard. And because when it gets hard, you want to have somebody that is with you. and if you don’t care about anybody but yourself, and everybody’s just there to support you, but you don’t care if they like to go hiking or if they have a boyfriend or not like that’s, it’s gonna be game over sooner rather than later, because we all have lives.

Jen: We all have things outside of the business, outside of whatever it is that you’re expecting somebody else to do for you. 

Brent: Yeah, that’s a really good perspective. I make a point of in my day job, I make a point of interviewing or at least talking to everybody every quarter.

Brent: And I think it’s about 65 people that I do my best to talk to every quarter. Yeah. And I’ve gotten to the point of saying, are you happy? At least, I’m trying to build a relationship and I’m trying to learn more about. But I think that’s a good question. Do you think that I would go with you into the fire to take something out?

Brent: That’s a hard question to ask cuz they may not answer it truthfully and you don’t wanna say, would you come with me? Cuz of course they’re gonna, yeah, of course they’ll come with you. But that’s not the real answer either. You wanna somehow build that? As the employer, you wanna support your employee. You don’t wanna force their support on you. You would like them to support you because they enjoy their job. And they would like to continue on and build this momentum that you have as a relationship. And as an employee, employer, you don’t wanna say you have to run in there with this, into the fire regardless.

Brent: You would like it to be voluntary. . 

Jen: Yeah, okay. So this is an eCommerce podcast. We haven’t talked about that this is marketing people don’t buy from you unless there’s no and trust they’re buying in to what it is that you are selling. So as a leader, why isn’t it the same thing?

Jen: Why is it that we expect people to just do it? Because I’m paying you, they’ll go with you because you’re paying them. I’m talking about will they go a little bit further when times are tough? When things go sideways, are you nice mistakes happen? It, there are all of these opportunities that you have to really build that relationship so that your employees know can trust you.

Jen: And when things go bad, cuz they always go bad. Nothing’s perfect that they will say, yep, I’m here for you. I’ll stay late. I’ll do what it takes. Let’s make this happen. Let’s make the magic, let’s turn this around. And that’s really what it comes down to. It. It is that you have to build those relationships in the same way that you would with a customer who’s paying you.

Jen: It’s a two way street. And I think oftentimes as employers, it can be forgotten because we have so many things to do, but it’s really important to surround yourself with the people who are. going to support you, who are gonna help you and who are going to help you bring the people in that you need to keep the thing going.

Jen: And you have to look at that holistically. And if you can’t do that and people are leaving, sometimes that’s a you problem. It’s not always that everybody there’s that nobody wants to work. It’s that’s not always the answer. It’s that? You’re not providing a safe community for people to work in. 

Brent: I’m just gonna write that down safe community to work in.

Brent: That’s a good one. You, I would like to talk about let’s I would like to talk about your podcast. So women conquer business. Yeah, can we, and we were gonna talk about marketing too, but now we’re already at, we’re already at 38 minutes. I know. Do you want to take a little bit of time and talk 

Jen: about that?

Jen: Sure. So yesterday we recorded our hundred and 50th episode. I’ve been a podcaster since 2018. I will say that I’ve had probably four or five shows in that time. I used to do. interviews don’t do interviews anymore. I used to talk about all different types of things. Now we just talk about marketing it’s I think that over four years you change a lot as an entrepreneur.

Jen: What you talk about changes. and certainly the show is a reflection of that. So now what we’re doing are marketing howtos. So I help people understand concepts that can be somewhat challenging and drill into the essentials. I think yesterday we talked about course platforms and how to find a good course platform if you’re just getting started with online courses.

Jen: So a lot of my bread and butter. would be, if a CMO was, somebody came and said, we wanna do this thing. And you’re like, I don’t really know what that is. I can talk people through what something is and help them. And that’s really what the podcast is about is if you wanna do X here’s, how you get started or, and it can be at different levels of complexity.

Jen: So that’s really the bread and butter, and that is. And one of the opportunities. So when I was talking about opportunities, one of the opportunities I had really early with my podcast, I was approached by an organization I’d never heard of. And they said, we really like what you’re doing. Can we repurpose your show and pay you?

Jen: I was like okay, is this for real? I don’t even never even heard of you. So a lot of early solo shows have been repurposed and sold on another platform. I retained the rights and. that is how my new business epiphany courses was born. Like I have a lot, even though I don’t work at enterprise all the time, a lot of my content that I create and share is sold to enterprise companies as part of an eLearning platform.

Jen: And that is the baseline for epiphany courses because we know that all of that information and that content has been vetted. And is very popular among you. Fortune 500 fortune, 100 companies that are consuming it on this other learning platform. So we’ve started making a learning platform for small business owners where they can also learn in this container and get that information and then supply a community for people to talk through it.

Jen: So that’s really the essence of what I do around the podcast. They’re really these lessons. That then get repurposed elsewhere that then we turn around and make courses around. It’s an interesting concept. I never thought that what I do would evolve in this way. I think that when I started my business, if somebody had said you’re really gonna be into creating content.

Jen: I would’ve been like, I don’t even know what that. I didn’t, it was never on my radar, but as you can tell, I like to talk. So it seems to be working out for me. 

Brent: Yeah. I think that’s such a great way to look at marketing as well is repurposing content. And I now, there’s this content driven eCommerce and everything is around.

Brent: eCommerce and even no UX eCommerce, where it is all about a conversation. You’re gonna talk to somebody in WhatsApp and they’re gonna place the order for you or whatever. I think that you’ve taken the opportunity. You’ve taken that risk and that challenge and. Stepped up on it.

Brent: So one of the things that I’m on the entrepreneurs organization board here in Minneapolis, and I’m on the DEI diversity committee. Yeah. And we in Minneapolis, we’re not incredibly diverse. And in, even in the entrepreneur C. I think we’re 15% women and 85% men.

Brent: So if the math is right, is there a particular struggle that women, this is a rhetorical, I’m sorry, I don’t know how to phrase this, but , I know that there’s struggle in, in people that aren’t white, bald males to break into the entrepreneurial community.

Brent: Through all kinds of factors. . Do you talk about that, those struggles in your podcast? 

Jen: I did. I talked about that a lot early on as a woman in tech at a large organization, meaning the city of Portland. I experienced a lot. I had a lot of days where I felt like I should just walk in with a helmet on, I had people.

Jen: Call me, Jenny, like as a way, a very pejorative way of little girl I’m gonna pat you on the head and stuff. So it was . I dealt with a lot, and I have a bank of content that really talks through some of those struggles and how to get through it. And all of that.

Jen: I think that a lot. what I have learned is, if you go to my website, I there’s nowhere on here where I’m saying I’m gonna empower you because empowerment comes from within. If you even look at like the definition of it. So the truth is we can talk about it a lot, and I’m glad to talk to people about the struggles of women in entrepreneurship.

Jen: Certainly, I would invite that and also. we just have to put on our helmet and go in and do it. Anyway. I was at a networking event once they brought me in to speak. It was a small group. I was my friend who invited me and I were the only women. There was a man sitting next to me. I handed out my business card and I saw him playing with it the whole time.

Jen: He, I hate to say it, he was a bald white guy. So no offense to bald white guys. I. Including you, Brent. He was playing with it and all kinds of stuff, and we got to the end and he was like, I just, I gotta tell you, I’m never gonna send anybody to you because of your business name, women conquer business.

Jen: And I was like, okay. And I was really taken aback. And in the moment, I didn’t know what to say. I was like, really, I had just spoken. as you can tell, I’m fairly friendly. There’s not a lot here to really be angry about, I didn’t think. And I got home and I was like, you know what?

Jen: That’s really good marketing, cuz I didn’t really like that guy either. So if he doesn’t wanna work with me, like that’s an example of good marketing. And I think that women have to find those corners where we fit and people are willing to help us because there certainly are corners where people.

Jen: Aren’t. And I think though, that’s also the case with men. I think that’s the case in the transgender community. I think that this is fairly universal. It’s just that for women, there are a lot more corners where we don’t fit. And I think that really stunts the growth a lot is that, and so when we talk about, we’ve talked a lot about mentorship.

Jen: I do think that sometimes as women, we. men to be our mentors. They need to come and they need to say look this, Jen’s really cool. Like she knows what she’s talking about. Let’s how can we support you? I think that’s part of it. I think also as women, we need to say, you know what, a lot of people don’t like us, they’re gonna hurt her feelings.

Jen: Oh when we just have to keep going. So I think that it’s really hard and it’s difficult and. Over time. I have really strengthened my own helmet, to where I just don’t care as much. about, I don’t focus on the people who don’t like me anymore, because I have a hater every time I put something on YouTube, there’s one person that dislikes it.

Jen: I’m like. What it’s just, and I think it’s the same thing. Like they just, maybe I said something one time and I’m like, I could focus on that one person, but then I’m ignoring all the people who I could be helping. And I’m ignoring all the people who like me, if I just focus on the one hater.

Jen: And I think that as women, it’s a lot easier sometimes for us to absorb that criticism and focus on that when the truth is we have to focus on. all of the other people who are helped by us who want to help us. And I think there’s a lot more of that than the other. 

Brent: Yeah. I think a good lesson for every, a male, whether they have hair or not is empathy.

Brent: Because if as an example, that person that made that judgment based specifically on a name that maybe they lack some empathy, but if you have empathy and you put your, if you could put yourself in somebody else’s shoes and I run for a team called mile in my shoes where you’re running with people in homeless and people coming out of prison, that if you could put yourself in their shoes for a mile.

Brent: You can empathize with them. And I think there’s a tieback as being a good employer to have empathy for your employees because they’re going through their own struggles and you can’t thrust upon them your own. Like I can’t thrust upon. Anybody my own things without having some buy in from the other side.

Brent: So I’m trying to navigate the whole subject. And I believe that talking about it is better than not talking about it. I agree. 

Jen: And I think that there has to be some realities out there and, may speak to the male listeners for just a minute.

Jen: It’s easy to say we’ve made so much progress. That’s not really a problem anymore. The gendered issues, the differences in pay, so many things that are going on. And yet I can tell you that I’ll go out on Quora. And there are like executives from Google who are like women don’t like tech, so they don’t need to have jobs in tech cuz they don’t like it.

Jen: The truth is we leave smart women in tech leave because of bad management. because we’re smart. we don’t wanna put up with it. So we are interested. We’re interested in everything. We are smart. We’re capable. We can do all of those things. We’re not there yet. We still need. empathy and we need compassion.

Jen: And just like you do, I think men need it too. I think that those are the things that we need to realize is yes, we’ve made so much incredible progress and things are looking so much better for women and people of color. And we don’t have equity yet. We’re not there yet. So we just need to have that compassion for each other and build those relationships and we’ll go a long.

Brent: Yeah. So I, we are running up against the clock and I feel like we need to have a follow up conversation about marketing specifically. We’ve talked about a lot of great topics and I thank you. I know we talked earlier about my free joke project and I don’t want to, I this is a terrible segue, but let’s just talk about the fact that. My free jokes land very poorly. And you had a much better joke with the size 47 or 45 clown shoes. cuz I said 17 and I was just thinking American sizes, but you said 45? Yeah. And you weren’t thinking European, you were thinking clown sizes. That’s even better.

Brent: I appreciate that. And you caught me off guard so I’m gonna tell you a joke. And the goal from the joke is just to know if I can charge for it or if it should remain free. okay. All right. 

Brent: What did the tectonic plate say when it bumped into another, sorry. My fault.

Jen: I do like that. 

Brent: I have one more. 

Brent: My doctor says I’ve developed a German sausage phobia. I fear the wurst. Oh. I know that was just a, that was a free one. That’s a free one. The first one, I think the first one should it be chargeable or not? Yes, it should be. Wow.

Brent: All right. Yeah, I’ll 

Jen: give that an a plus. They’re both great, but I love dad jokes, 

Brent: all right, good. Jen at the end of every podcast, I give my guests an opportunity to do a shameless plug about anything you’d like, what would you like to plug. 

Jen: I would like to talk about epiphany courses. This is our new project.

Jen: It’s at epiphany It’s a course platform and a community where we talk about marketing and we’re focusing on service based businesses in particular people who are coaches, consultants, all types. I have acupuncturists, I have intuitive coaches in there. all different types of people who are building all types of service based businesses.

Jen: And we talk. marketing and how to build your marketing platform. How to we answer questions. We have some mini courses, our bread and butter are courses that are under an hour. Hence epiphany. We wanna give people in as brief amount of time as possible, all the information that they need so they can make a decision about whether or not it’s even a viable marketing tactic for their business.

Jen: And that’s all at epiphany courses. 

Brent: All right. And I will put those I’ll put the links in the show notes and and what’s the best way to get in touch 


Jen: you. Oh, I’m all over social media, but yeah, you can find me at LinkedIn on LinkedIn, Jen McFarland on LinkedIn. And then also through my 

Brent: websites.

Brent: All right. Thank you, Jen. Thanks so much. And I’ve enjoyed this conversation. 

Jen: Thank you.

Talk-Commerce Danielle Asah

Becoming Your Dream Self with Danielle Asah

Sometimes young people need a boost to overcome certain challenges that might be stopping them from achieving their dreams. We interview Danielle Asah, the CEO and founder of Day Dreams, a digital marketing agency that helps visionary entrepreneurs and professionals amplify their messages and build their brands.

Danielle coaches aspiring writers to publish non-fiction books and has a book entitled Becoming your Dream Self, Seven Keys to Own and Control your Life as a Millennial.

She is part of an NGO in the United Kingdom whose goal is to motivate people to follow their hearts and make a positive difference in the world via their own unique actions.


Brent: Welcome to this episode of Talk Commerce coming from Cameroon west Africa. Today, I have Danielle Asah. Danielle, go ahead. Introduce yourself. Tell us what you do on a day to day basis and maybe one of your passions in life.

Danielle: Thank you so much, Brent, for having me on it’s actually an honor to be here today. yeah I’m an author, I’m a marketer and I’m the CEO one founder of Day Dreams, a digital marketing agency that helps, visionary entrepreneurs and professionals amplify their messages, build their brands and drive mores to social media.

Danielle: And for over six years now, I’ve lazed a unique path, which is that of digital marketing. And my pursuit of new and challenging opportunities led me to become a developmental editor where I have aspiring artists to write and publish their books like nonfiction book in less than six months. And in addition, I’m a member and associate director of World Game Changers.

Danielle: This is an NGO in the United Kingdom whose goal is to motivate people, to follow their heart and make a positive difference in the world via their own unique actions. I am passionate about two things. First of all, I’m passionate about helping being visionary entrepreneurs and professionals.

Danielle: And secondly, I’m passionate about helping being young millennial to overcome certain challenges that might be stopping them from becoming their dream self or achieving their dreams, which is also the reason why I wrote a book entitled becoming your dream self seven keys to own and control your life as a millennial. 

Danielle: Thank you so much. 

Brent: One of the things that you do is branding, but it sounds like you do a whole lot more of that. Can we talk about the world game changer? That you’re part of a little bit it sounds like a fantastic program and you’re helping young people and a young entrepreneurs break in into entrepreneurship.

Brent: Tell us a little bit about that. 

Danielle: Yeah, the world game changer is is an organization in the United Kingdom, as I said, and we are just a group of people all over the world in all the continents in the world where we generally come together and talk about certain issues about how to improve maybe the product of living, how to make people follow their own path and their dreams and the little change we could.

Danielle: To actually impact our own people in the community where we live. So talking about the young millennials it’s actually a passion because I grew up, I remember 10 years ago, that was in 2012. I almost dropped out of school, like of college because my parents did not have money to send me to the univers.

Danielle: But I had this passion. I wanted to be an entrepreneur. So at that very level, I was forced to become an entrepreneur, and I also went after graduating from college, I went to the university, while some of my friends were taking some vacation. I was actually working to save money to consequently to achieve to go to the university to be able to pay for my school fees.

Danielle: and definitely, this also led me to working in different companies like doing some certain activities like those door sales working as the marketing agent in the building and construction company. And later on I actually learned about entrepreneurship when I a very young age and growing up and starting my own business.

Danielle: And also this also taught me something great. And I just had this passion of hurting other young people around me because I know, especially in Africa where I we have a lot of young people who are still confused even after their graduation from college are still very confused about what to do. They don’t actually know about what their passion is.

Danielle: So I’m actually that person, I’m that person that would like to help them to find their purpose, to embark on that particular journey and help them to achieve their. Through some of the training program I used to give online, like I train these millennials on spec, specifically digital marketing skills, which I’m more specialized in.

Danielle: It’s been amazing so far. Like I’ve heard so many people and even the people that I work with in the team, they are all millennials. Cause I just find passion helping working with them so that we can mutually help us serve and grow together. 

Brent: Do you think there’s a disconnect between the way older people think like myself and millennials would think in terms of how are they gonna get into the job market?

Brent: And even as an entrepreneur how you want to portray yourself to let people know what you’re doing and how you’re gonna break into the job market?

Danielle: I think, yeah, I think there’s actually that difference when it comes to young people, because, and I would say that it depends on the, like the community where we grew up, like the situation in my country and in the Western world is quite different. I remember one year ago I met someone on LinkedIn, a guy, I think he’s 18 years old. He was in the US. And he has found out his company since ever since he was 18 years. So I was like, wow, this is great. But it’s actually a big challenge in Africa and in my country Cameroon because we have most of us are just focused on going to school.

Danielle: They just wanna acquire a certificate, but actually they don’t think about a career after education, which is some of the things when I have an opportunity to empower young people and to teach them that you have to not only focus on going to school, but definitely you have to think about in life after education.

Danielle: So I think there is that difference. Cause young people, they feel like, okay they still have time. I remember high spoke with a father, like he’s about 70 years in mine and he told me that There’s one thing that young people have, which old people don’t have, which is time. And I really agree with him when you are young, you feel like you have all of the time on earth to do whatsoever, but when you are much older, you don’t have time.

Danielle: I’m sure like you, you have a very busy schedule. You need to schedule time for everything so it’s the same. We have time, the young people, they have time. So it’s important. As they have the time to develop their skills. But when you come much older, you have many responsibilities and we needed time. 

Brent: Yeah. I think there’s one more thing that older people don’t have that young people have and that’s hair. That’s a small joke about my haircut, but let’s keep moving. So I think that you’re helping young people build their personal brand. Tell us some of what you’re doing to help them on branding and personal branding, I should say.

Brent: And why that’s so important right now.

Danielle: Yeah, that bread. That’s a very interesting question because I can try to share my journey about how I got into building my brand. Even getting in contact with you, getting noticed by you, like with getting noticed by a top leader, like you.

Danielle: It all started in 2018 upon my graduation from university, I had my master’s degree and I was still confused. I didn’t even know what to do, but I knew that I had a passion in digital marketing. So I started taking some online courses, taking some certification program and also getting an internship.

Danielle: Or a job in a digital marketing company. So after this I was looking for a job in a company by then. I was less experienced. I didn’t I didn’t have any visibility. No one knew about me. And at that time I remember I was in 2019. I applied for a job after I have optimized my Linkedin profile.

Danielle: I applied for a. In a company like a digital marketing company in Germany. So it was an online job. And I remember the guy told me that he rejected my application from, because he said I was less experienced. And I couldn’t learn the job. So I tried to convince the guy like I’m ex I, even though I don’t have the experience I’m willing and I’m really zealous about learning this thing.

Danielle: And he was like, no you’re not the right fit for this job. And I said, okay. So can you just imagine that after one year of consistently building my brand later on, I got contacted by this same person and this same company. And he never wanted me because the first time he wanted me to be an intern is in, in his company.

Danielle: So the second time he wanted me to be the co-founder of his same organization. For me, that was a that was a big win. I like, I began to feel like, okay, this I have, I’ve been able to build my brand. So that is just to show the importance of building a brand. First of all, I want to say what personal branding I want to give a brief definition of what a personal branding is because people get confused about it. And I would say it’s about like developing a clear and an authentic image of in the mind of your targeted audience or targeted clients in order to achieve a specific goal. And the first thing is you have certainly heard about this code does says marketing is about yeah, marketing is about asking someone out on a date and branding is a reason for them to say yes

Danielle: Yeah. So definitely it, personal branding is a process of is a process of positioning yourself as an authority in your. As an influenza as it means it’s actually standing out from the crowd because there are 100,000 people just like you out there. So what makes a difference between you and that person is actually the brand.

Danielle: What makes you to be visible, to learn, be recognized as a top leader is the personal branding. And when it comes to personal branding, it’s about highlighting your strengths, your beliefs, your competency, and establishing that reputation and trust and communicating your unique value.

Brent: One question I have about the personal branding for anybody, but I think it’s more for younger people that they want to have this persona that is for their friends, that they’re going out and partying and they’re having a great time.

Brent: And then they want to have a business persona that they would like to give people as well. How do you advise people or younger people, especially to make sure. maybe on LinkedIn, they’re gonna have all business persona and then some other social media platform. They’re gonna have a, more of a fun personal persona, but sometimes in the past, people have gotten into trouble because they’ve posted too many things, maybe on Facebook or YouTube, that there are some mixing with your different personas on different social platforms.

Brent: And do you advise younger people? When they’re doing that branding that they don’t put too much out there on social, or they have one persona that’s one thing. And the other persona is another thing, but be careful how you portray them. 

Danielle: One thing I would say is that I think that’s a great question because definitely when it comes to young people only knows we have, they actually don’t overthink about what they post online.

Danielle: So they just go on and share. But definitely what you share is visible to everyone. I remember there was last year, I was invited to a show where I had about 50 people and I asked them who have ever Googled his name. And I remember out of the way, young people and out of. 50. I had just one person that said he has ever Googled his name.

Danielle: And there is one thing we ought also know, like when you Google your name, what pop up is exactly what the other people see. And I can imagine that for young people, their goals can maybe starting their business, as you said, and, or maybe learning a job in a serious or big corporation or company.

Danielle: Whatever you post online, whatever you share, you have to know that it’s all visible to everyone. And those exact same thing is what your target audience or recruiters. They will see what they Google your name. So personal branding here is about controlling or managing the narrative or the messages that are about you.

Danielle: And it has to do with what you post. And the first thing that you need to act yourself is what do I want to be known for? What do I people to know me for and start creating message that is in mind with that message that you want to communicate or what you want to communicate out there. It’s very important because whatever you put out there, other people are seeing it and it can either, it, that would determine whether someone should trust you, whether that someone should collaborate with you or whether someone should do business with you or not. And there is this great said Gordon. He once said, when people love you, they will listen to you. But when they trust you, they will do business with you.

Danielle: So it’s all about building that credibility and trust. because you want to collaborate and do business with people and you have to be serious about the messages that you are putting out there because it has a lot to play in there. 

Brent: And when somebody does post something, it is out there forever.

Brent: Some even sometimes if you delete it, somebody may have captured it. And so that posting is there indefinitely. So it is a good advice to say make sure what you’re posting and think about it. And and don’t post things that are going to well, it’s hard for a younger person to know what’s gonna be a problem for them in the future, but think about what you’re doing.

Brent: I myself post and think about how do I wanna be perceived? And I try to stay away from some of the controversial things. Also in the controversial things, it does raise questions and it helps to push boundaries and it helps to talk about some of those important topics.

Brent: There is important things around that. Exactly. Is personal branding for everybody. Do you think that everybody should have some thought about 

Danielle: this? We have all been sold on the idea that personal branding is just. influencers, it’s just for big corporations or top topnotch leaders, or I don’t know celebrities, but it’s, actually’s very wrong because I’m personal branding is for everyone.

Danielle: Everyone that wanted to stand out is for everyone. Now we need to, there is alight daily. She said we often think that branding is just for, it’s just done for large corporation, but it’s actually, has everyone has a personal brand, and brand, we need to keep in mind that you can actually begin developing your personal brand.

Danielle: The point in your career, regardless of whether you are successful, whether you are wealthy or whether you are well established as a business or not. So whatever you stage in life, you can definitely start building your brand. And I would tell you’ve been successful or having the skills does not automatically make you to stand out.

Danielle: because, like I said, there are 1000 people just like you, there are thousand people like like person thousand, like thousand personal brands, specialists, or professional out there. Now what makes a difference between you and the other one is personal branding, is building your brand consistently.

Danielle: And I would say no one else is the same match like you or combination or no one has the same exact combination of your skills and expertise like you. Personal brand is about demonstrating, trying to put out your personality or your professional and personal abilities, your skills, your experiences.

Danielle: And you have to know that we have the social media platform. I will not say it’s the only way to actually build your brand, but it’s one of the major things you can use in order to view your brand online. And so just to conclude, I’ll say neither fame no worlds will actually make you to pan out as an authority or to be noticed in your niche, but just try to stand out, just try to stand out by building your brand.

Brent: What advice do you give people to help them stand out? 

Danielle: Yeah. When it comes to standing out our, first of all, say there is only one view and building, building a personnel brand is like creating a unique you. And in addition to that, building a person that brand requires just more than just creating.

Danielle: Some quality content, building relationship with colleagues and friends. It requires more than that. So when it comes to personal branding, I would say the first thing to do is first of all, craft a brand vision which is similar to a statement generally the like classic way or the classic example here is I have eight Z Y.

Danielle: like me, I would say I help entrepreneurs and professional build their brands with growth marketing strategies. So leadership begins because of all communicating your why, when it comes to you have to start cause all by communicating your why we, you know, of this popular author Simon Sinek, he said start always start with your why

Danielle: and he say, people don’t buy because people don’t buy what you sell, but people buy people buy why you do it. that’s quite amazing. So once you craft your brand vision, you can decide what you want to be known for, which I already explain. And the next thing developing a consistent message, which you’ll be sharing and communicating on your different social media.

Danielle: Your logos, your brand colors, everything has to be in sync, right? They have to know you for your brand colors. For the message you share and maintaining that consistency and also be genuine and authentic, it’s really easy to identify who is fake. You need to be true to yourself, true to other people.

Danielle: And be honest, don’t try to be like anyone else. When it comes to brand building, be yourself. Try to be unique. Try to be genuine. Then we can also do like building or social media presence, build your social media presence. It can be establishing a LinkedIn setting up your different social media profile.

Danielle: and account like on LinkedIn setting up and optimizing your LinkedIn profile. Cause this starts from there. One thing I do with my client most of the time is making your LinkedIn profile look like a landing page. Like when I went to your LinkedIn profile, I was able to find out about you because LinkedIn is the biggest platform for professional.

Danielle: And it’s both the personal and professional representation of who you are. So definitely you want someone to get into your LinkedIn profile and be able to find exactly what you do and how you can help them. And and also I want to insist on being consistent, like when you are sharing content online, you need to stay consistent because that’s what will make people to actually remember about you.

Danielle: Because there are 100,000 people just like you, you wanna break through that noise. So stay consistent and people will admire you for that. When you want to build a brand, those are some of the steps by step process you can actually take in order to build a powerful brand online

Brent: Being consistent and then being engaging as well. I think for your social media, especially if you’re just posting and never responding. Then people just think that you’re a bot or you’re just not listening to them. Yeah. Because part of that is the message you’re putting out. But part of that too, is knowing and listening to what people are saying to you.

Brent: And if they have a specific question, knowing that you should respond to them. And I think on LinkedIn, if you’re frequently posting, but never responding, then people stop listening to you because they know you’re just posting and not listening 

Danielle: back. Exactly. So people generally want to make sure that you care about them.

Danielle: And if they ask the question, you have to be capable of responding and also engaging like you, you care about them engaging on other people’s profiles, who are the people you want to reach out to. And when I think when I talk about posting on them, it’s about adding value. It’s not about selling. Most of the times you hardly see me selling, like on my profile, I don’t sell because people are there.

Danielle: When someone can actually see that he can help him solve a particular problem, he’ll reach out to you for help. So what I do generally is normally they say we need to apply the 80 20 rules when it comes to content posting content online. 80% of your post should be about adding value.

Danielle: And the other 20% should be about promotional content. But generally I would say 5%, only 5% of your content should be promotional content, right? People hate when you are always selling to them. So why not creating values, like sharing content, sharing stuff that can help people and you. Stand out as an authority because you cannot call yourself an expert.

Danielle: If you are not adding value in people’s life, if you are not constantly trying to help people, if you’re not sharing valuable content. So you have to not only engage with your audience, but also see how you can constantly be sharing contents to add value in their life and try to be like getting interested in what they are doing.

Danielle: By you can also do networking. So apart from content, there’s also networking, trying to reach out to people, ensuring that you care about them finding about who they are, what they do and what are their challenges on the daily basis? Yeah. And how you can help in very interest. 

Brent: I think that’s one of the hardest things to realize when you’re building your personal brand.

Brent: And it’s part of it is about yourself, but when you start to add value to others, that’s when the branding really takes off, because there’s something that others see that they get in value from you. Other than just a really fancy looking page. Having that value added is one of the biggest thing that you could impart on a younger person to help them understand why any, even an older person like me, anybody like that, they can understand.

Brent: Then if it’s only about yourself and you’re never adding value to somebody else, then there’s really no point in somebody wanting to look at your brand or think about why would this person add anything if they don’t add any value. Exactly. You had mentioned asking why, so I do wanna ask about your book.

Brent: Why did you write your book and tell us a little bit about your book. Yeah. 

Danielle: I wrote my book, which is sightful becoming your dream soul seven kids to own and control your life as a millennial, Because of my experience in life, having almost dropped out of school when I graduated from college because my parents did not have money to send me to school and later on becoming an entrepreneur, doing all types of job, because I wanted to save to go to the university.

Danielle: And also starting my business as a millennial, I wanted to help other people like empower other young millennials and tell them it’s possible to become whoever you want to be. If only you can take the necessary steps, which I explain in the book. So in the book, I just highlight the seven steps I took in order to become my dream self, because this has always been what I wanted to do to have my own business working with young people.

Danielle: In this book, I just try to align as with the mission of helping young people out there. And that is my why. Everything I do. My objective is to help young people. And also these visionary entrepreneurs. I know the struggle that entrepreneurs are going through, like setting up a business and it’s not working most of the time.

Danielle: It’s because they don’t have the know how to actually run a business. So if I can be like that person to get up with my team, helping them to support their. Businesses build helping them build their brands and grow, but that is not part of the book. So the book is more focused on the millennials by helping them, empowering them, giving them some great tips that they can use changing their mindsets, setting goals, long term and short term goals.

Danielle: What do they want to accomplish networking with people? And lemme tell you something. LinkedIn has been a game changer for me. What I’m doing today because of the relationship, the network I’ve dealt online, the people I connect with on a daily basis and I exchange with, and, it’s the book is actually there, anybody that is struggling, that it be a young that is struggling and doesn’t even know what his

Danielle: purpose is because I found myself at this stage. I didn’t even know why I was created in the first place. What is my mission? What is my purpose on it? Why am I created? So I just came to the realization that I was created to use my, give my skills. Am I talent to serve other people?

Danielle: And ever since then, I’ve been helping people all over the world, like in the US and UK and in Canada. To build your brand together with a team, with team of young people. And it’s been super amazing. And whenever I have the opportunity to help young people I really want to do it because young people they struggle a lot cause I’ve been there and at times they just need someone that can tell them what to. They just need someone that can encourage them, mentor them and tell them, okay, this is what you can do, because this is exactly what I went through. And this is how I overcame this. And so my book is on Amazon and I read during the pandemic.

Brent: Yeah. And I’ll make sure I put the links and the show notes for your social media and your book. Danielle, we have a few minutes left. I do want to just you had mentioned that you help people to write nonfiction as well, is that correct?

Brent: Yes. Let’s just briefly talk about how would you help somebody like me write a non-fiction book and how would you come up with a topic? And do you have a exercise 

Danielle: that you’d go through? Yeah, definitely. I work with an an expat and also being someone that have written a book and have also ghost written or helped other, like for now I’ve heard five people write their.

Danielle: I know that for older people, they don’t have time when it come to it. They don’t have that time to write a book, but they have the know how, which can definitely help other people out there. So what we do is that we try to listen to your story and see which one is the message that you want to communicate out there, which is definitely from the experience you’ve been through your personal experience.

Danielle: And then we craft a message around there, like a title around there. And then we work on the title of the different topics, the different chapters, and they start writing the process. So literally what I do is that I do sessions meeting sessions, where we meet, and then I ask you some questions and you answer them.

Danielle: And then I sit down with the recording and I try to develop a story chapter by chapter, but I make sure that everything that is written in the book is from you. Because one thing I say is that the best person that can teach you something it’s someone that have been through a particular situation. Yeah. So that is a process of writing the book but why I say non-fiction book and focus more on transformational book, like books serve her books, where you can just read and then gain one or two things that can definitely transform your life. 

Brent: We have a few minutes left now. I give our guests a chance to do a shameless plug, which is promoting whatever you’d like, what would you like to plug today? 

Danielle: I would like to share about my experience working with the entrepreneurs and young people and how they can build their brands online. Talking about personal branding, I would say it is very important and for everyone that wants to make a difference out there, whether you are a professional, whether you are seeking for a job, whether you want to start your own business, I would tell you it’s very important to start building your brand because when you build your brand, you start attracting the right people with the same goals and vision.

Danielle: And this is a game changer in your career. It can help you to get opportunities that you would’ve never, ever imagined in your life. if you don’t know how to grow about it, I can help you. Together with my team to start building your brand online. And also I’ve been able to help about 50 professionals who wanted to land a job, like setting up their LinkedIn profile and start building a brand for them.

Danielle: So if you are a professional, that is, that needs a job. So we can help you to build your brand, set your social, your LinkedIn profile. And if you are business owners and you have been struggling with your business and you don’t even know how to go about it. I urge you to just reach out to me at Danielle Asah

Danielle: and I will definitely see how we can help you to, but if you can also follow my content, because I share content on the daily basis on how to build your brand. If you want to do it yourself, or if you wanna reach out to me just for a strategy session, I can give you one or two tips. You must necessarily not work with me.

Danielle: I can give you some. And also share with you how I was able to build my brand. And in less than two years, I was able to stand out as an authority in my field. Thank you so much. 

Brent: That’s probably exactly how I found you. I think I found you through LinkedIn and I think I found you through the world game changer.

Brent: Danielle, thank you so much for being here today Danielle Asah, I will put your LinkedIn profile in the show notes so people can contact you that way. It’s been a pleasure talking to you today, and I wish you all the best. Thank you.

Talk-Commerce Dymitr Diejew

Making a Breeze out of Magento with Dimitry Diejew

Welcome to the new Breeze theme. Consider it the new base instead of Luma to build your next theme. SwissUpLabs created their new open-source template to improve customer engagement and make your site the search engine’s top priority.

With the Breeze theme, it becomes easier to provide an excellent user experience and higher sales conversion. The Breeze Blank theme is designed for all devices and by multilingual clients. The minimalist design is great for any type of website, and the Blank options maximize your customization opportunities. The theme maximizes Your Google Light House Score.


Brent: Welcome to Talk Commerce today I have Dimitry Diejew. Go ahead and introduce yourself pronounce your name much better than I did. Tell us what you do on a day to day basis and maybe one of your passions in life. 

Dimitry: Brent. Thank you very much for your invitation to your podcast. My name is Dimitry and I’m from SwissUpLabs company.

Dimitry: I’m a co-founder and product manager. Recently our company is focused on Breeze Front End. And I think we can talk about this a bit later on. And if you are interested in my interest, I think that the most beautiful part of our life is simply traveling with people. You love hiking cooking taste food, and eating it together.

Dimitry: Something like. 

Brent: Thank you for that. So today we’re gonna talk about speed and why speed is important. And specifically around Magento two maybe talk a little bit about your experience around Magento two and some of the issues that we’ve seen after it’s been seven, eight years.

Brent: We’ve seen the Magento Luma theme. Tell us a little bit about why you decided to start this initiative and what you’re doing? 

Dimitry: Yes. Frankly speaking. Yes. Magento two with us from 2015 and it’s now for seven years and Luma theme frankly speaking, I think there were no updates to it for this seven years and world really changes for last seven years.

Dimitry: We a lot of bad chance simply face it new requirements from Google. It’s like it happened three or four, four years ago that Google announces that it’ll rank search results, according to page speed of each page. So slow pages, slow sites will be shown as a bottom part of the page and the faster sites we’ll have some positive results, and for the last two years, people are starting to ask how I can my make my Magento site faster and get better run in Google. And I think everyone in Magento two ecosystem faces the same problem that making Luma fast is not easy. And here we, that is why we decided to create breeze.

Dimitry: And share 

Brent: it with 

Dimitry: the community. 

Brent: Yeah. I think that if we look at the broad scope of how many Magento websites are out there, it has to be 90 some percent that are incredibly slow. So was it the speed issue that prompted you to create breeze or was there other underlying things that made you want to start it and then maybe speak a little bit about the fact that it’s it’s open source.

Dimitry: Ah it’s better toward the extent why we created Breeze you will look at the history, how we created it. First of all, at SwissUpLabs we’re offering extension and templates and our customers, usually when they install our products, they’re checking. Okay. What will be page speed of our sites after using that product.

Dimitry: And they constantly were asking why it’s slow, how we can make it faster. So first we came with page speed extension, and I think that every extension vendor on the market ha have extension like this that is. Offering like image optimization, Java script bundling like critical CSS and many other like small tricks to make

Dimitry: lumas seem faster. But after several years we simply stack into the wall and said, okay, we can’t make it faster because there is a lot of CSS and default luma theme and you can’t remove it or throw away. There is a lot of Java script. Knockout JS is like simply killing the page score. Even without any extension, it was critical as flow.

Dimitry: So more than one year ago we decided to play and like experiment and we created extension that was killed was named bridges. So we simply thrown away all, almost all Javascript tag that came with Luma. And we code it and used several libraries that allow it to make JavaScript part of Luma much smaller.

Dimitry: But in the end, we had the same Luma styles, the same templates, but Java script was controlled by. And initially it was not free. It was like provided only for our customers and. Later we saw that it’ll bring a lot of profit for community if we will make it free. So we decided to make it free.

Dimitry: And people started using it was still slow because it was not complete solution. It was just replacement of Java script. And then we said, okay, we need to make it in the right way. So we decided to create the. That will show the full power and remove and all other issues from Luma frontend.

Dimitry: And that is how we created Breeze frontend. And now we are also offering Breeze evolution Theme that is also free and our main idea because of that stands behind of Breeze is that Magento is open source. And we think that frontend that used by many people also should be open source that anyone can contribute it, that you can fork it, you can offer your features.

Dimitry: And that is how open source community simply works. 

Brent: I just want to be clear, is it is a re it’s a replacement of Luma, or are you basing this off the Luma? 

Dimitry: It’s complete replacement right now. We are only using Luma out because it’s like, it’s a really complex part of front end and we are still not sure what to do with it because like every payment extension shipping extension, it’s based on KnockoutJS and it’ll be like, Which this will be very careful with checkout, but as far as we know, Google simply doesn’t measure the speed of checkout page.

Dimitry: So for now we replace all pages and it’s not based on Luma zero inheritance from Luma. 

Brent: So later on then is there gonna be a lot of work for developers to get extensions working with Breeze or is it essentially a breeze to get it working together. That was a small 

Dimitry: joke. Okay. Is okay. Yeah. We really wanted to make it breathe, but anyway, you still have JavaScript code that is based on the KnockoutJS and all other libraries that came came with Luma.

Dimitry: You need to rewrite your JavaScript code and that is most time consuming part of migration. Then you have to update your less style a bit, and that it after that your extension will work frankly speaking key, you will simply install an extension at the Breeze evolution team or Breeze blank scene.

Dimitry: You will see all main blocks, simply functionality, Java script will not work. So that is how it. 

Brent: Can you talk a little bit about the difference on this theme and what Adobe is pushing under PWA and why would somebody still want to use breeze over going with PWA?

Dimitry: Yeah. Okay. Yeah, it’s a good question. PWA is really great technology. And I think that a lot of big companies will benefit from it, but it’s as far as, remember, it’s already two years on the market, like with PWA studio and we don’t see like a huge List of stores that are using it.

Dimitry: If you will check the number of store that are using Magento two, it is like it’s hundred of thousand, something like that. Probably less, a little bit more. But with when you are looking for a list of stories that are using PWA studio it’s not as big as number of Magento two stores.

Dimitry: So it’s really looks that a lot of Magento two store owners simply afraid or simply don’t have enough money to migrate to headless solution that is why I think that it’s like, it was quite a clear with message from community that was sent one year ago. His open letters that We still need monoliths front end.

Dimitry: And that is why we came into this direction. And we think that from, for small store owners and even medium size businesses, it’s still okay to use monolith front end because it’s easier to develop. It’s easier to maintain 

Brent: You’ve made a really good point about the ease of use.

Brent: And that PWA requires you to have two different separate stacks and maintain both of those. And also having a separate place or could be the same place. But hosting would also be a little bit more complicated with PWA. Do you think that Adobe is missing something here by only pushing PWA?

Dimitry: I can say for sure, but I think that Adobe has its own role. It’s serve its own clients’ interest. And for people that are using Adobe commerce it’s much easier to use PWA and it’s within a reach of their budget, but I think it’s if you will see at the numbers, like 90% of all Magento users is open source and not everyone will be able to use PWA.

Dimitry: So there is really need for good and fast and easy to use monilith front end, frankly, speaking, working with Magento from day one when it was variant studio as far remember. And when it’s just it was published, it like, it was a lot of people and everybody was happy. Cause it was to edit everything because he was able to like story owner with low technical skill was able to create store around it and modify it according to their needs with Magento two.

Dimitry: And Luma frontend, it became a bit more complex. And our old clients that us, for 10 years, they say, okay, we are missing times from Magento one when we were able to simply edit template files. And it was easy for us. We were able to do that without expensive developers, I don’t understand Adobe positions that they are pushing the PWA technology, but I think that the risk space and the risk requirements for different types of front ends, 

Brent: I’m gonna ask a question about the Magento association or the Magento community in general.

Brent: Do you feel as though. Either Mage-OS or the Magento association should take over the responsibility of the open source product. So things like breeze will continue to grow and and go out into the marketplace. Or do you think that what we’re doing already and how open source is positioned with Adobe that there’s enough behind it for them?

Dimitry: I think that mag association should simply create a place where different companies developers can offer their solution for real needs of store owners. So there be diversity, if you want to choose this solution, you can go visit probably you will like breathe or probably you’re still okay with Luma.

Dimitry: Because it’s like cheaper because every extension or themes that you can buy because I was reading a lot about current state of Magento to community. And I see that there is a lot of talks about how things should be from position of agencies and like quite big companies that are using Magento two.

Dimitry: But I still see that almost no one is speaking in the behalf of small story owners, there is still a lot of I think it’s thousands and thousands of store owners that creates their stores by them own like it all day. So Magento one and they are doing updates. They installing extension Magento two I think it’s simply one of the best eCommerce platforms on the market, simply because of that, it simply gives you a lot of power right out of the box.

Dimitry: No other platform will give you that for free. And that is why I think it’s simply a great chance for any small merchant that has right set of skills to create and run successful store with a low budget. If you know what you’re doing, you can do that. It’s just I think so.

Brent: Yeah. So as you grow or as breeze grows what are the things that are coming out? What are the features and what are the new things you’re gonna be releasing under the breeze logo or breeze brand? 

Dimitry: Okay. As I said right now we are still not covering issue with checkout because. Check out at Magento two is also, it’s not fast.

Dimitry: If you will check discussion at Reddit or Linkedin, and many people complains that there is a lot of request the page can load for several seconds and you need to optimize it. So we think that we will take care of that issue. But my issue here is that we made Breeze. Mostly because we need a really good feedback from community because developers.

Dimitry: And store owners really understand what’s their problems. And as soon as they will start implementing Breeze start using it they will come to us and 

Dimitry: then they will tell, here is the problem let, cause is Luma, because it was published at seven years ago, and for that time there was no update of front end, and for this time, there were a lot of changes on the market.

Dimitry: For now, we have a front end that simply outdated. And with brief, I think we want to go with the way of evolutions that we will have requests from community. We will add it. Probably somebody will push some ideas, push some commits, and we’ll also include it in terms of Breeze.

Dimitry: So community will decide what to do with Breeze in one or another. 

Brent: Yeah, that’s great. From a I want to just go back a little bit about the the Adobe PWA. I think Adobe is arguing or would say that it’s easier to integrate experience manager with a PWA. What would be your reaction when somebody says something like that and how hard is it to integrate a, another CMS platform into Magento as a monolith?

Dimitry: I think that I’m wrong person to answer that question, but I think every technology or stack has its strong and weak sides. As I said, we working with small store owners and they simply don’t have such need cause if you want to implement other platform, okay.

Dimitry: I have a good example. We really like implementation of integration of WordPress with Magento two that was done by Fishpig company. I think we are using it in almost every second project. So if it’s can be done with WordPress. So I think it can be done with any other type of CSM, but as. Our goal is to serve small small business and medium sized business.

Dimitry: And percent Magento open source. 

Brent: Yeah. And I think that you’ve identified a really, a large portion of users of Magento two that I think Adobe has forgotten about and that is the small business user who’s simply using Magento two for their store, and they don’t want to invest all the money in all the other Adobe products that maybe Adobe’s trying to do.

Dimitry: Tell us Adobe will be really surprised to see how many offsite stores in 

Brent: the world. Yeah, it is a incredibly popular platform still. So tell us how do they find you? How do they find the, your company and get in touch with you?.

Dimitry: Simply word of the mouth. They found us in the Google. It’s find sync, if you will check Magento or Adobe marketplace. I think there are just five or seven template on the marketplace and just like six of this seven template are from our company. So they’re simply going to marketplace.

Dimitry: There the main vendors that sell in here templates, then they go into our site, checking our products, reading our reviews, and now I really hope that more and more people will start using Breeze frankly, speaking via publish it evolution and Breeze blank on marketplace and receive that popularity.

Dimitry: It’s keeping growing. And we see like quite many installation every 

Brent: day. Yeah. That’s great. And just your the website for the theme is breeze, right? Breeze B R E Z E 

Dimitry: Yeah. We, yeah. And yeah, that is correct. We created, 

Brent: Separate side. Great. And the, your company is Swiss up

Brent: Yeah. Great. So Dimitri, as we close out on every podcast, I give a guest an opportunity to give a shameless plug about anything. What would you like to plug today?

Dimitry: Okay. I don’t want to talk about our company or Breeze because discuss that. I just probably want to ask everyone if we will listen to simply help Ukraine our companies through from Ukraine, developers, from Ukraine, and now really like in very difficult situation. And we really appreciate any help business support from countries all around the world.

Dimitry: And. We will appreciate any 

Brent: kind of help. Yes. And are you in Ukraine right now? 

Dimitry: No. No, I’m not in Ukraine. I’m in Poland for the last seven years, but many our developers are still living in Ukraine. Good. 

Brent: And how are they doing now? Are they, are you still be able to function and get most of their work done?

Dimitry: Yeah. Yeah, it’s quite strange, but that people are still going to work. They’re still having their life here and It’s difficult. It’s tough, but people are standing. 

Brent: That’s great. And I know that there’s lots of places that you can help out and contribute to the Ukrainian cause.

Brent: Dimitri, thank you so much for being here today. I appreciate your time. And again, I encourage people to go to breeze and see it. I’ve seen some of the lighthouse scores. Your theme is scoring. Fantastic. And I’m so excited that there’s more and more people that are building and growing their Magento two practices and that you’ve offered this fantastic front end as a replacement for that very slow back end.

Brent: And I just wanna add it’s probably more than seven years. The ver very first version of Magento two was supposed to be out in 2012. I don’t know if anybody remembers, but. It has been 10 years since the launch date was announced. Yeah. So the theme is probably older than seven years, but it is very, what you’re doing is very well needed.

Brent: Thank you so 

Dimitry: much community about our product. I think that it’ll really help a lot of people out there. 

Talk-Commerce ryan alford

Building Marketing Loyalty Through Community 

The brands winning today are building a community that drives repeat purchases. Loyalty is gained in drips and lost in buckets because there are so many layers of competition. We interview Ryan Alford with The Radcast agency in South Carolina He has been radical about marketing advertising for 22 years.


Brent: Welcome to this episode of talk commerce today. I have Ryan Alford, as opposed to all Chevy. Which we’ve made the joke in the back room. Ryan is a entrepreneur and a super popular podcast host for Radcast Ryan. Go ahead. Introduce yourself. Tell us a little bit about what you do on a day to day role and maybe one of your passions in life.

Ryan: Sure. Brent, it’s great to be here with you. Yeah, I mean I own, my main course of business is radical. You’ll notice the rad theme throughout a lot of things. And I’ll go ahead and give you the insider baseball secret. Ryan offered digital is where that started, but I just like the word radical better.

Ryan: Radcast the agency that I own in South Carolina, it’s a digital ad agency called radical and that’s the day to day and been in marketing advertising for 22 years. Working on some of the largest brands in the world before I started radical. And even with radical now working on large brands and I’m a father of four boys.

Ryan: So my passion seems to align with my children and my wife, Nicole God rest her soul. Who is she? Or bless her souls. She’d say not rest. She’s very much alive, but she’s a assistant principal in a middle school doing one of the hardest jobs in America. In today’s age. My passions revolve around family and when they’re happy, I’m happy.

Brent: that’s awesome. Yeah. We are also a family business here and my kids all worked in the company that my wife and I started. Everybody’s moving on, including myself and my wife, but yeah, I totally get it. Kids are at the cornerstone and I think one of the things we talked about in the green room is how are kids influencing what’s gonna happen into the future?

Brent: Maybe you could talk a little bit about that. 

Ryan: My boys are. 1111 and 12. We’re a blended family. I don’t have twins but we’ve been together since our boys were two and four. So we’ve grown up together as the modern Brady bunch, but I will say this I’ve watched them daily. They’ve grown up in what I call digitally native.

Ryan: I’ve grew up and yourself, probably in what I call analog native. Even though I’ve worn both hats because I’ve grown up in the technology and agency industries, which are very tech heavy and owning a digital agency. I like to say I’m split down the middle, but our kids have grown up in a digitally native first world.

Ryan: What I mean by that is. Both video games, social media, smartphones the medium with which they are both consuming content and being marketed to has all been digital. It’s a world they know, and they place value on digital things that you and I and others probably in the gen X or boomers or whatever place value in physical things.

Ryan: My 12 year old son could really care less what he walks outta the house on, but if his avatar on Roblox doesn’t have the perfect pair of shorts, the perfect Nike digital shoes, and a spiky haircut. He’s not had a good day. And that blows my mind that he cares that much about it, but he’s grown up in that world where they place value very much in digital things.

Ryan: And being digital natives. So our children we’re watching them. We’re watching that value transition from physical to digital doesn’t ma mean that they have no value in physical things. We do experiences as families. We go on trips, but they don’t necessarily care about stuff in the physical world, the way that they do digital things.

Ryan: Especially in video games and social media and other things like tokens and different things. And you see this. And it’s really transitioning into that metaverse slash digital world where you’re gonna start to see a lot of marketing transpire and where marketing’s gonna need to take place.

Ryan: Because again, when things are happening digitally is we’ve moved digitally, the place with which to get eyeballs, to get reach, to get frequency. In the future and already now is in these digital worlds. And so marketing is being very much headed down that path pretty quickly. I’m not saying it’s here and now, and certainly for smaller businesses, they don’t need to be spending thousands and thousands of dollars on speculation.

Ryan: But again, you can see this happening in front of our eyes, in front of our children, with where they’re putting value. And so that’s how I summarize that Yeah. 

Brent: So I think that kind of ties into NFTs and how popular they’ve become or are becoming, how do you see that in relations to how your younger children and kids are growing up and moving into marketing and being marketed too?

Ryan: Yeah. It’s interesting right now it’s a lot of hype and a lot of PR you’ve got digital artwork and things, and so I’m not as. I don’t high on the, the apes that are digital art that are, value that may go up or down. Mine is more in where the basis of the NFT, which is the smart contract that’s happening on the blockchain.

Ryan: And also the data transition for first party data that you’re gonna see happen on the blockchain. And all these things are interrelated. The NFT is the start of it because it’s that digital. A contract that I have a piece of art and I own it, and it’s creating that ledger. And what you’re gonna see is when we move into the future, again, a lot of this advertising and marketing is happening on the web and what’s happening is people are getting more concerned and closing in on that privacy.

Ryan: It’s gotten a lot harder to market on Facebook and other channels, because privacy concerns are there and what you’re gonna see with these smart contracts and your ID, you’re gonna have a wallet. ID on the blockchain, that’s gonna be more you giving permission for data usage. And so it’s gonna play really heavily in targeting in the future in marketing.

Ryan: And so the NFTs are scratching the surface of the technology used. And what you’re gonna see is that transition. And I do think we’re gonna move into a world the next 10 years. Think about. How ridiculously hard it is to get title work done on a house sale, if that was done on the blockchain and that digital ledger was there, you could immediately find that information there and it’s recorded there.

Ryan: And instead of now we’re fumbling around and back offices and paperwork from, 50 years ago on certain transactions, I think you’re gonna see all of this, all these things live within the same data and technology, and they’re all gonna be related to both marketing and just commerce in the future.

Brent: That’s that’s a really good point especially for title work for, so going back to kids what are some indicators that you see that kids are shaping the way marketing is 


Ryan: Yeah. The biggest thing is if you start with the fastest growing social media platform in the world today is TikTok.

Ryan: and that started as the teenager platform, 13 to 23. And so they’ve advanced this platform, but now, and I just did a talk about this so they’ve set the standard and set the popularity and set the interest level for this channel of social media and content and really entertainment.

Ryan: And where our source of entertainment, our source of news, our source of knowledge. Our children are setting the standard for things that are taking off. But then I say that 50% of the growth on TikTok today is happening in 30 plus. They’re age 30 plus and 30 and 50% of that engagement is happening.

Ryan: So what started as the 13 to 21 year old platform TikTok 2, 3, 4 years ago is now becoming the mainstream. So you’re seeing the youth set the standard and the knowledge base for some of these platforms. And then it transitions. And it’s not that actually different from like Facebook, Facebook started as a younger platform, 15 years.

Ryan: Even 10 years ago. And now it’s the fastest growing platform for 45 to 65 year olds. Everybody thinks Facebook’s dead. Facebook’s not dead. It’s just older. It’s just graying. . Yeah, 

Brent: definitely. Facebook seems like it’s the place for older people. Let’s just say. I think that I think you’re right.

Brent: Especially on the TikTok front I started using TikTok. I’ve been trying to use it more for business things, but I’ll be honest. My Jack Russell posts on TikTok are definitely the largest viewed items that I could possibly have. How do you think that compares to something like Snapchat? I see my kids still using Snapchat every day.

Brent: But the advertising angle for Snapchat, I think is much lower than it is for TikTok, but Snapchat remains super popular. 

Ryan: Yeah. It’s super popular from a messaging platform specifically. I’m not that high on them as far as they’re long term proposition right now. They’ve gotten passed by as a mainstream content platform by TikTok, Instagram, with reels and different things.

Ryan: It’s certainly a player and it’s certainly used, but it’s primarily messaging from that younger audience. And I don’t wanna discount that value, but I just don’t think they’ve done as good a job. I feel like they’ve gotten on to very trendy like things like AR and certain things that are interesting, but the mainstream appeal of the platform has never really taken off.

Ryan: Where TikTok has grown is growing in a more mainstream fashion with content and engagement and the style of video that it progresses. I feel like Snapchat is faded behind by just remaining that messaging vehicle and not necessarily content

Ryan: consumption and video, I say, content is king, video rules and that’s the problem. Video is everything now. And I think that’s where Snapchat’s gotten left behind. 

Brent: I know that you had you, you talk about some ageless truths in marketing and you started off with your son, I think, and his avatars.

Brent: I think one of those ageless truths, though, especially as kids get into their teens, are they going to point at you as the father and say, you cannot wear that today. Dad, you look so whatever 2010s or something, there, there are some ageless truths truths around marketing and the way our kids are

Brent: influencing us as parents. So maybe speak to some of those ageless truths and the diversity between that digital life and that real life. Yeah, 

Ryan: I’ll go through, I have seven. What I call undeniable and ageless truths are creativity, reach, consistency, distinctiveness, attention, emotion, and motivation.

Ryan: Those are the seven. What I call undeniable truths. They’re all necessary even today, whether it’s digital, whether it’s promoting to children, promoting to adults, whatever it is. And I’ll say this no matter what you do, reach and attention are important. So back to the TikTok analogy right now, that’s where attention is growing there in an Instagram and other channels.

Ryan: YouTube. This is where the eyeballs are, linear TV is certainly not dead, but it’s faded for the number of attention and how much, how many eyeballs are there. And at the end of the day, reach is really a measure of media, which is the number of people that see your message. And no matter what, you’re, whether you’re selling t-shirts on e-commerce supplements, whatever it is, you have to have a baseline volume of reach the number of people that see your message.

Ryan: That’s an undeniable truth in anything that you do, unless you’re in accounts based marketing, and you only need to make four sales a year. You need extensive reach in order to meet your sales goals. Cause me media is divided by reach plus frequency. That’s where it gets into consistency. And the biggest thing I see and the biggest challenges I see today are people that veer off their core messages too quickly.

Ryan: And so people, there’s a, it’s interesting to me on social media, everybody thinks I’ve already posted that. How many times do you see the same commercial over and over again? Because that consistency is what drives. Awareness and consideration and intent, and I’m gonna getting into the purchase funnel here, but ultimately what drives a sale is that consistency of message.

Ryan: And the frequency that it happens. So I don’t know that I’m answering your question exactly, but I think there’s just certain things that even as the medians change, even whether it’s children, whether it’s adult, whether who you’re marketing to, there’s just some age old truths. And one of my other favorite ones is emotion.

Ryan: Even in today, people think with their head and they buy with their hearts. And so emotion can be humor. Emotion can be sadness, a lot of different things, but emotion drives purchase behavior. 

Brent: So when we’re going to some of those ageless truths, I think you had mentioned there’s seven of them.

Brent: You had mentioned reach consistency, emotion. What are some of those other ones 

Ryan: on that distinctiveness? That’s the differentiation. So Again, ageless here. If you want to sell more, you have to stand out. So distinctiveness, consistency, emotion, motivation. So again, this is if you go from the top of the funnel to the bottom, motivation are things like sales periods.

Ryan: What triggers your action that you want the consumer to have and take today. And so even you can have a brand promise and you can have a solution that you provide to someone’s problem, or just a great outfit that someone wants to buy. But what’s the motivational trigger that, that drives them to action today.

Ryan: Lastly, creativity, I don’t know if I mentioned that that will never die in marketing, at least on my watch. 

Brent: So creativity, I think is, that’s always the big one out there that people look for. So the name of your firm is radical. What are you bringing to the table that’s radical that follows along with that creativity?

Ryan: Yeah, the biggest thing is we preach what I call B to H business to human. Whether we work with probably equal parts, B2B and B2C. But what we do is we create it. We drive creativity through the human lens because on the other side of the, whatever, the platform, whatever the medium is, a human that’s buying, whatever you’re selling.

Ryan: And so we use that as a premise for a lot of our creative thinking and what we’re trying to do again, back to those triggers. At the end of the day, what happens when you create an agency called radical. Is your people hold themselves to a different standard. Not only do we hire people that I consider creative, but we also challenge our clients to think out of the box and to know that we’re gonna bring solutions that may not always be obvious.

Ryan: and for example, today in social media, you need to educate or entertain. And so we challenge and we literally have a comedy troop that works for our agency that we’ll do comedic funny, irreverent skits for common sales pair. We had a flooring company that, we did a spoof off of Ron Burgendy.

Ryan: We did the Floor-a-thon, and, it was just irreverent and had a guy up there who was drinking while he was on set and selling flooring. And so again, we when people go left, we go, we just challenge ourselves to think differently and then push the envelope.

Ryan: And again, part of the, I don’t know, the craziness of calling yourself radical is it’s funny what it empowers both your clients and your people to push a little harder. 

Brent: Yeah, that’s good stuff. Do you find it difficult to get B2B customers to think outside of what their norm is and I’m thinking there’s a lot of

Brent: boomers. I’m not a boomer. I’m not quite that old, but there’s a lot of boomers out there that, that were around before computers or before before the internet, let’s just say there was probably computers, but they, it’s harder for them to embrace some of these things in B2B cuz their thing is working.

Brent: How do you push them outside of their comfort zone and get them to do some of those things? 

Ryan: The first thing is back to, when you hire an agency called radical, you’re gonna get what you paid for. So we set the table early, and at the same time, it is difficult. So Brent, so you’ve totally nailed what can be the challenge, but at the same time we do get that license to press them just when they hire us.

Ryan: We’re pretty upfront in the process. We’re gonna push you to consider things. And I also think what’s happened though, is you’ve had this convergence of B2B and B2C channels coming together a little bit, especially with the pandemic and stuff like that. A lot of people are at home on social channels, doing different things, embracing content through different ways.

Ryan: So you’ve had a little bit of a lightning and, or easing of, I call it maybe the executive level content, like everybody’s left their hair down a little bit. And realize that, Hey, I don’t have to wear a suit and tie every day and do stodgy boring content to be effective. So I think that the realities of today have helped lessen that expectation.

Ryan: And, again, B2B companies are seeing, and finally realizing that the age old stodgy Content and overly produced stuff doesn’t work. You’ve had a D social media, whether it’s TikTok, and I’m not saying that’s where B2B brands necessarily belong, but it does have influence. And LinkedIn has even grown as a content platform.

Ryan: People have gotten more comfortable and there’s been a decentralization of content being overly produced. and I think B2B is caught on in the companies that wanna work with us, that we push certainly have caught on. And again, preaching through that B to H business, to human language.

Ryan: They understand that. And that doesn’t mean that, your website can have any fewer legal standards or things like that. But I do think there’s an understanding and a place in this convergence of marketing and media that’s coming together. 

Brent: Just sticking with B2B.

Brent: Do you help some of these companies who’ve come to you and they’ve maybe they have a baseline or they’ve tried something and it hasn’t worked, it’s gonna work cause you’ve seen it work for their companies. Do you create a baseline and then really help them understand how, whatever that audience is?

Brent: Let’s just say it’s YouTube as a simple one for B2B. To explain, Hey, let’s do this and let’s at least try it and then measure it and see how we’re doing. And then they have to also continue on with it for a certain amount of time to see some success. 

Ryan: Yeah. That you’ve nailed it right there.

Ryan: That last part we just won’t, we choose not to work with people that wanna see definitive results in 30 days on anything marketing and the channels and the complexity are too great. It’s not because we won’t hold our soul to expectations. It’s because you have to trial and error, so many different things, and you have to be able to test a lot of different variables so that you see what works.

Ryan: So we like to run two or three tests at a time with different content and different mediums and then compare and cross over those things. And that’s the challenge, but that’s also the opportunity. And I think the brands that kind of buy into that see the success. 

Brent: In our green room, we talked a little bit about that you spoke at a FedEx event.

Brent: I would like to talk about social selling and live social selling. Let’s dive into that. I’m interested in that and I think you’re right. That’s where it’s going right now, or at least a trend. Why don’t you explain what that is to our audience and help us to understand better how people can get into 

Ryan: it.

Ryan: yeah, there’s two parts to it. Overall social selling is just exactly what it says. Leveraging Facebook, Instagram, TikTok Twitter, whatever the platform may be. These all have integrations into the eCommerce platforms. So social selling we press a lot of clients either towards Shopify or Magento when we’re working with clients on e-commerce.

Ryan: And all of them have these integrations built in where your product catalog pushes the social media so that the sale happens within the social platform. So that again, social selling you’re pushing or promoting whether it’s stories, whether it’s posts, whether it’s whatever that content channel might be.

Ryan: You’re but the actual technology that takes place in the transaction happens within the social channel. The biggest trend though, and that’s certainly growing and what’s happened is you’ve had two worlds come together that have allowed that number one, the demand for consumers within the channel, and then the technology’s gotten a lot better.

Ryan: It used to be clunky as heck to try to integrate your product channels within like Facebook and Instagram, like two or three years ago, it’s gotten much easier. As well as the kind of transaction gateways is much easier. So you have demand and technology coming together around the same time. But then the biggest trend in all of this has been live social selling.

Ryan: So this is when you leverage the it’s really, when you think about it’s the QVC effect in 2022, but what we have now is the technology for anyone to broadcast you are your own media channel within these platforms. So whether you’re on Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook, You can go live and start promoting your products.

Ryan: And so we’ve seen a lot of success for brands that literally built studios, whether they’re a, furniture store or a merchandise t-shirt store, no matter really, whatever you’re selling set up studios within their own facilities that are just small facilities, where they have someone come on, they go live and they’re promoting product.

Ryan: It brings in that human element. So that you’re you put a face with the brand while also just giving someone that kind of channel with which to ask questions. Cause you’ve got messaging that can happen between there. And this kind of started in Asia, two or three years ago started really growing.

Ryan: And I think we’re at the right at the mass kind of adoption here the next year or two certainly a lot of brands have already using it, but I think you’re gonna see more mass adoption and it’s an incredible way to create another channel with which you can market and grow sales. 

Brent: Yeah, I think Instagram certainly started some of that trends in Facebook, of course, in their in

Brent: buying directly from the app. But I think what you’re saying more is you go to the actual eCommerce store and they’re selling it to you live and maybe even doing a studio call where you can, where people are talking to you like on QVC, but you can also interact with those people directly through the channel

Brent: I think that makes it very exciting. And it makes for a broader audience via multiple social channels as well. Yeah, 

Ryan: that’s right. And it’s another way to build community. The brands that are winning today are building not just selling, unless you have a truly differentiated product.

Ryan: The brands winning today are building some type of community which drives, repeat purchases and some amount of loyalty and brand. Loyalty’s very difficult to I say they it’s it’s gained in, in, in drips and lost in buckets because you. There’s so many layers of competition now. So it creates another layer for building community and building again, that dual communication channel on your product services or no matter really matter what you do.

Ryan: And yeah, I think it’s it’s a really big opportunity. And I think the channels the companies that are doing it are seeing a lot of. 

Brent: I like that. You mentioned community and I was at ShopTalk a couple weeks ago and saw a great presentation. I can’t remember the brand right now, but it was a clothing brand and they’re, they built a lot of their brand around a brand building community and having, not just influencers, but the community of people purchasing that brand that are advocating for that brand consistently.

Brent: Do you think a lot of Let’s just say eCommerce only merchants are missing out on that opportunity to build community within that brand. Yeah. Within their own brand, I should say. Yeah. 

Ryan: I, every brand is unique, so it’s hard to pass judgment per se, but I do think it’s a level that with the social channels now with influencers with different opportunity path, It’s a lost opportunity if you aren’t and it’s so hard to stand out and create, repeat purchases, unless you’re doing it again, unless your product is just so differentiated.

Ryan: But if you’re selling cosmetics or t-shirts or any kind of apparel, You better be building community because that’s, what’s gonna hold you up through the test of time is that community channel that it’s glorified word of mouth in a way, but it’s also creating and bringing together like-minded and it’s back to targeting, bringing the right target together and so that you’re building

Ryan: both the awareness channel, but the loyalty factor, because then they’re loyal to you for more than just the product itself. 

Brent: Is there risks in e-commerce merchants or even any merchant embracing this I idea of community and then working on their social channels to promote their products?

Brent: What are, what risks do you see in this. 

Ryan: There’s risk in anything, but I think there’s the upside is much greater. The risk could be you certainly don’t want to alienate especially if you have a broad mass appeal product, so you might risk, bringing together.

Ryan: Certain audiences that are maybe not reflective of your brand, that’s certainly a risk, but I think if you do it right, and you organize around your beliefs and principles and bring the right people along the upshot is much greater than the risk. Certainly with social media, in the live forum and in other things, the risk would be just imperfection.

Ryan: But what’s interesting is consumers sort of embrace that realness and that rawness, I can’t speak towards every legal liability. So you again, need to empower your people with the knowledge and the safeguards that they need. But I think the biggest risk might be.

Ryan: I think it’s more, the fear brands are fearful of imperfect situations or content. When in reality, that’s actually. . 

Brent: Yeah. And I can speak to experience on some of the risks around the idea of trying to automate too much of your social media. I can remember. I’m a very ferocious tweeter when I’m at an event.

Brent: And I can remember setting up some bots that would auto tweet a hashtag if it was. Some combination of hashtags and somebody figured it out and was retweeting some inappropriate content based on the hashtags. And I quickly realized it was very early on, but I realized that was not a great idea to try to to try to promote some of those things

Brent: so I suppose some of the risks are around automating things and not monitoring that automation. And I think another risk too, that I see is is brands embracing social media, but never answering. Yeah, people sending you a message that says, Hey I want, this is, this has been a horrible experience.

Brent: What are you gonna do about it? I think Delta airlines has done a great job for me anyways, on responding to me on those type of things. But there’s other brands that I won’t mention that never get back to you. 

Ryan: yes. If you don’t have support to do this, you’re better off not doing it. So you can’t do things that spark conversation and not have

Ryan: the hands on the other end to then answer it. That’s a total no-no and I think what you’ve also said, you brought up the automation factor, again, these channels are so ripe for customer engagement building community. And so you’ve got to commit the resources to them appropriately to take advantage of that opportunity.

Ryan: But if you don’t embrace it completely and you try to automate too much, that can drive a whole nother set of issues, some of which you’ve just described, but also there’s just an authenticness that consumers now expect from brands. And again, if you can’ embrace that fully and it doesn’t mean you have to be perfect, but it does mean you have to truly have engagement

Ryan: and someone assigned and ready to speak and act and be empowered on managing that.

Ryan: And the other challenge is on the automation side, lot of people get into that and I, there’s a big push in marketing to use more automated tools, but right now consumers really crave that authentic expression from brands and they don’t expect perfection.

Ryan: So if you weren’t set up to have the resources and human people. Responding to these things and empowered to do it. Automation just can’t complete the circle for what’s needed to use these channels appropriately and I’m and look, I love technology and software and automation. Like certainly it’s made a lot of our jobs easier and more manageable, but on social media, it’s social.

Ryan: That’s the name of the word? It’s not robots. It’s social. It’s, there’s a two way channel for engagement. You gotta be able to keep up with that. 

Brent: Yeah. And I think I’m gonna key in on what you said earlier, you said spark a conversation. And if you put that in real terms, like you’re walking into a room and you’re gonna start talking to somebody.

Brent: If you start talking to somebody and then you simply never respond or worse, walk away as they’re trying to respond. It’s the analogy for social media is exactly the same. You’re basically calling somebody and leaving the phone off the hook. And never answering anything they’ve just said , 

Ryan: that’s exactly right.

Ryan: It’s a great analogy. I love that. It’s true. You can’t, spark the conversation and then not be there to answer it. 

Brent: Yeah. And as, as bigger brands get, the more they should think about answering those things that are coming at them from social media. And if they’re not going to, they should explicitly say we don’t answer this channel.

Brent: Or I would just say don’t use that channel at all. If you’re not gonna 

Ryan: answer. That’s right. I would definitely say that or use it in a way that it’s clear that you are pushing out, but not expecting something back in. 

Brent: Yeah. But Ryan, we had a couple minutes left here. I wanna just, if you want to close out on a, something you said earlier about customers need to stick with a marketing initiative that you’re trying.

Brent: Even if it seems like it’s failing after a month or even two months if there’s a plan in place, is there a recommended amount of time that somebody should stick with it or is it pliable by the marketing campaign you’re doing? Yeah. 

Ryan: That’s a hard, one. Marketing is so complex and so specific to individual companies.

Ryan: That’s a hard one to answer like universally, but I’m gonna give it my go here. Again, I believe in setting 12 month plans, but making them very mialable, like bendable moldable as needed, cuz you need to be able to read and react to the market. But what I do think you have to stick with is number one, you need to focus on a target and that target can’t change every 30 days.

Ryan: So you need to spend, because a lot of I do some master classes and things like that. And the first thing you have to do is nail your. Because otherwise even a good friend of mine, Andy Murphy says this analogy that even if you’re five millimeters off, if you plot that out over a hundred miles, think about how off course you actually end up

Ryan: And again, getting that target nailed in getting the message to that target dialed in and sticking with it long enough that you have true actionable data. Because 30 days really isn’t enough. So I like to see 90 day campaigns that are testing across one or two different variables that might be the media.

Ryan: It might be the message, but again, there’s a consistent target and there’s a consistent kind of brand promise and theme across all of that. And so I think campaigns in 90 days, I think years in planning, like as far as a year or 12 month plan. And I just think you have to nail that target and you have to at least nail the overarching solution or brand promise that you can provide.

Brent: I would add one more thing that maybe a lot of companies don’t listen to as well is that there has to be enough traffic to make that data actionable. If it’s a, let’s just say it’s B2B and they have very low traffic. It’s gonna take a little longer to prove whatever hypothesis that you’ve put out there.

Brent: I think it’s a mixture of traffic and time that all merchants have to embrace or at least trust that they have to be able to see it through. 

Ryan: Yes. I think you nailed it. And the reality is we’ve done all this talk about social media. Organic social media, except on TikTok and a little bit on LinkedIn is pretty dead.

Ryan: you gotta pay to play to get the reach and the frequency that you need. To drive the traffic that you were just describing. So paid ads are a necessity unless you really have patience and know that organic traffic and growth is gonna take time, cuz SEO efforts on your website, take time. Organic posts get your about 7% of your followers.

Ryan: See them Facebook and Instagram. Twitter and others have figured this out. They’re just not gonna let you grow a business or a brand without paid approaches again, unless you’re leveraging influencers or other things, but those are paid as well. So again, if you want the volume that you need back to reach one of the undeniable truths and marketing it’s pay to play.

Brent: Yeah. And I think too that it’s not as easy for pay to play as it was 10 years ago, you really have to work on your campaigns and even look at more of those long tail searches in when you’re doing pay to play. It’s not just open up the spigot, but you’re gonna get a bunch of garbage nowadays, I think as well.

Brent: So as a merchant, you should pay attention to making sure that you’re looking at whatever’s happening and changing, like you said, the course to make sure you’re on target to hit that. Exactly. Ryan, this has been such a good conversation. I appreciate you being here. As we close out, I give every guest the opportunity to do a shameless plug about anything you’d like to plug.

Brent: What would you like to plug today? 

Ryan: Yeah, obviously, hopefully this has been enlightening. My hat here, the Radcast. Love for anyone to go. Listen, if you look up the Radcast, we do own most of the SEO. You’ll find our show on all the channels. We’re a top 25 marketing and business show on Spotify, top 100 on apple.

Ryan: And then I am launching a master classes, a different in different things and a mastermind under the radical formula, the radical So I’d love for you. If you’re an individual or small business, that’s a great place to work with me. And learn from, 22 plus years in the business.

Ryan: And then if you’re a larger brand radical company, online, Brent really appreciate it. This has been really enjoyable. And you’re a great host. 

Brent: Yeah, I’ll make sure I’ll get all those show notes onto the onto the podcast. And again, thank you so much for being here.

Ryan: Thanks so much.