Here is the transcript page for episode #11.
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Rick Mazur: How you doing, Len?
Len Ward: I’m doing well. How are you?
Rick Mazur: Awesome. Glad that you were able to come to the show here. I think we got a lot of interesting stuff to talk about that’ll help folks. And I just wanted to start in the beginning before we get into it with how you got started and everything.
Did you go? You went to school for criminal justice.
Len Ward: I, yeah, I started in criminal justice. That’s how that was. That’s my degree. Yeah.
Rick Mazur: really? What were you going to be, a lawyer?
Len Ward: I was going to be a lawyer. Yeah. I was thinking about being a lawyer. I was thinking about getting into the FBI. So it was looking at the right path to get into the FBI. And everybody told me being a lawyer was probably the best way to get into the FBI.
Rick Mazur: Me too. Not at the FBI. I wanted to be a lawyer. And then, I decided not to do it, but I realized that it was probably better for me in the long run.
Len Ward: We were the smart ones. You and I Yeah.
Rick Mazur: I guess, I don’t know. I heard. And so if we go back to before 2004 range, you also worked in finance credit
Len Ward: I worked at Credit Suisse. They were credit Suisse First Boston, and then halfway through my journey there, they dropped off the credit Suisse.
Yeah, so I was part of the institutional banking side, but I was more of what’s called a sales trader. So I was in, I was the vice president of equity investments as well.
Rick Mazur: Okay. Did you like stockbroking too?
Len Ward: I yeah. How I got into the institutional side is started at Morgan Stanley. And then I had a connection in, at credit Swiss. I was lucky enough to get an interview. So I went through the whole credit Swiss training program, which there was a book written on called Liar’s poker, which is similar to that.
So I went through the whole institutional training program, and the next thing you know, I was on a sales trading equity desk, and I learned a ton at a young age, in my mid-twenties, about the world of finance.
Rick Mazur: How long did you do that for.
Len Ward: was across the west for about six years. And I was at Morgan Stanley, I guess, for about two. So my wall street years were about eight years, I think, seven, eight years right around there.
Rick Mazur: Yeah, that seems to be people’s pain point, but if you’re not a lifer, it seems to be six to eight or ten years. And we do more day trading, and that’s pretty much the life of a day trader, too, if they make it that far. But well, why did you decide to say it was time to quit and move on to something.
Len Ward: It was one of those things where I think a lot was going on. So we just went through a merger with DLJ. Some people may know that name from way back in the day. And there were a lot of shifting changes happening at the bank. Unfortunately, I had a child at home, and we were having some medical issues and talking to my wife. We just felt it might be the right time for me to take a buyout and move on. I was offered a couple of other positions, but other banks offered it to me after I left, actually a couple of clients, but I said, you know what? I’m like; I think the wall street thing is just not for me.
So I took a step back and said, And let me take the buyout. And I walked away.
Rick Mazur: And that’s when you started your first entrepreneurial journey and with the rank Mia.
Len Ward: No, believe it or not, before ranked me SEO. I probably should put that. I was part of an e-comm startup and e-com; yeah, I don’t have that in there. I should let people know that more, but I was part of an e-comm startup for the better part of about two, three years, and we focused on high-end event tickets.
So you’re thinking things like Broadway, you’re thinking things like first or second-row tickets in concerts. And I did that because of the number of times I had to go to certain New York brokers. Chicago brokers, Philly brokers, and get high-end tickets from my clients. And I remember somebody approached me, Hey, would you want to buy a ticket brokerage business?
Cause I was hanging out for about a year, figuring out my next move. And I was like; I won’t buy it. But I started looking into the numbers. I’m like, why don’t I just start it? And that was the advent of the internet and where you can start buying things online and purchasing things online and Yeah. So that’s how I got involved in digital marketing as I jumped in as an e-comm startup, and it was all on high-end tickets, and that was my next phase.
Rick Mazur: Boy, you and I used to scalp tickets. I used to go to buy the tickets back in ticket master. They used to have the machines where you went in life, and we used to go; I think they had three different systems in the Midwest area. I was in Illinois to Wisconsin, and they would let you tap into that system and buy tickets for Chicago. So we used to go across the border.
And we used to do pretty well doing
Len Ward: it was a huge business. There was, so I shouldn’t say this, but years ago, you could buy machines out of California guys were building spinning machines. You would set up these networks of computers, and you would spin tickets. So that’s how a lot of brokers back in the day got their tickets.
And these computer tickets would go in and grab the first row, second row, third row. And that’s how a lot of the scalpers would grab their tickets. So, we became pretty good at looking at arbitrage situations. So we build out a small team where we look at prices on eBay. And see what the prices were.
And then, we would go in and try to identify where we thought the next buying level would be. In other words, we’d see a concert that was half sold out, and we realize, Okay.
This concert will sell out because every other venue sold out, and then we would identify, and we’d say, Okay. Let’s start going in and buying those tickets.
So we jumped ahead of it. So literally, we apply. Cause everybody who was part of the startup was part of wall street. We used it as arbitrage trading tactics and applied it to buy tickets. And it’s it worked out well for
Rick Mazur: And see, I was, and I was grump that was in the, and buying the tickets and we would have guys calling us from like all over the place saying like what you said they had identified what was going to sell. So they would call us and say, look, we’ll take anything you got for Jimmy Buffett and, whatever, so we would just go. Take it, everything we could get, and it would be like, yeah. So I was on the other end
Len Ward: Yeah. So it’s like we were the traders, and we were going down to the floor. You were like the floor guy grabbing the tip. Yeah. It’s funny.
Rick Mazur: It is. It is funny. I didn’t know that. I didn’t
Len Ward: very.
Rick Mazur: you. So then, at some point, you got out of that, and then you started the online
Len Ward: Yeah.
What happened was we had a full website presence. We had a full e-commerce presence. We had we’re running about four or five websites. One of our main focuses was Broadway tickets. We were focusing on Broadway. We hired, we knew that we had to have more of an online presence. There were exchanges and stuff like that, where people were buying to sell your tickets back then.
Other brokers would call, and we could do that, but Yeah.
The internet was growing. It was getting the poorer people are starting to buy tickets. And so we hired an SEO company. We hired him out of Ohio, and we watch what they do. He did for about three or four months. Cause we’re hoping, Okay.
Here comes to dollars.
They’re all going to start pouring in, and we could start scaling our bids. We realized after three, four months like nothing was happening. And I started to peak in my head in and oh four about SEO and looking at stuff. And I’m like, okay, what these guys are saying is not what they’re doing.
And anyway, so long story short, the partner I was involved with when we stepped back, he’s like, why don’t you try to learn a little bit? So I stepped up. What is my basement? I learned every single thing I could learn about digital marketing. I went back to county college and learned how to code certain websites.
And I’m like, I want to figure out this thing from a to Z, because luckily for me, this is where the wall street thing comes back in. I was part of those roadshow teams where I used to sit down and watch companies like Google and Amazon and the rest of them before they went public. They just do roadshows, and I was listening to them talk.
So back in 98, 99, This whole world’s going to change. What we are looking at right now is never going to be the same. And I remember coming out with, tell some people about stuff that’s common, or Hey, get the hell out of here. It’s not going to happen. I’m like; it’s common. So, I realized that we would never turn back from digital marketing, and I realized we’re never going to turn back from digital commerce.
And it was only going to become larger. So I taught myself. Oh, eight came, the housing bubble went boom. A lot of people were not buying high-end tickets anymore. Wall street got devastated. And I was like, look, I got a wife, kids, and a mortgage, and I need to figure something out. So I reinvented myself, and I said, okay, I’m going to try to do digital marketing.
I see there’s a need for it. I put ads on Craigslist. I will even put an ad in the local paper to optimize your website under computer services. I learned how to do SEO. I learned how to fix websites a little bit, but I was by no means a coder. And that’s how I started.
I started as a freelancer, and I built up a little agency. I always said I walked out one day. I turned around. I walked in, and 20 people were looking at me, and that’s how quickly it blew up. And it was the iteration of, were coming into where I’m at now.
But that’s kind of how I got.
Rick Mazur: We talked a little bit offline before we started, and we had internet, an ISP, and we used to have people that would call us for SEO and different things like web design. And we did pretty much everything, but SEO back then was weird because everybody wanted to be on the first page.
And, I felt like that people thought they could just do it themself a little bit; they didn’t want to pay. And we got a lot of pushback on that, but it seems like you guys did pretty good with that
Len Ward: Yes. Yeah, it was our core focus before I got into the whole myriad of digital marketing, but yeah. I think SEO was, people always say, well, it was a lot harder back then.
I’m like, no, it was a lot simpler back then, so the thing was that, well, back then, you were optimizing for more than just Google.
You had to look at Bing Yahoo. I forget what big was called before the MSN network. And but anyway, there was a, quite a few other search engines you were optimizing For, But back then, if you wrote a good title tag, if you had the right content, if you were doing interlinking on the website, and if you were able to grab a backlink right.
There was no reason why you weren’t getting a client to start ranking one. Right? What changed in the SEO world was when Google started growing, and wall street got involved, and they were like, how else are you going to make money? And they’ve always been pushing their pay-per-click and pushing their ad dot, that platforms.
It was at that point, you quickly realized halfway through that, Okay.
SEO will fall back, and Google’s trying to push it as far back as possible because they’re trying to make this ad-heavy. Ad heavy type of the first page, second page of search results. So what happened was that it became a business model, And no matter what you did from an SEO perspective, it didn’t matter.
Rick Mazur: And what year was that
Len Ward: I started noticing the change in SEO where the paid was becoming a major issue right around oh eight. Okay.
Rick Mazur: Okay. Okay. All right. Yeah. That makes sense. So then you, that ran its course how did you then convert? Cause right now you’re you have com axis and what led you to pivot from the rank me to come back.
Len Ward: it’s two other iterations. I feel like I’m constantly changing, but what happened was you realized that SEO wasn’t driving the leads and wasn’t driving the business that we needed it to; for some companies, it was for e-comm companies. That was. But we realized that companies need to go all in.
They needed to do pay-per-click. They needed to do social paid social media, which was very new back then. And various other types of things to work with their traditional. So we said to ourselves, Okay.
We can’t pigeonhole ourselves in car sales rank me SEO because everybody would just think we were an SEO company right around nine.
Ten people started SEO started getting like this bad name because there were scam artists out there. Oh yeah,
we’ll do this. We’ll do that. Nothing was getting done. So we decided to rebrand as Connexus and ope, which was communication excellence. And we opened up. With our breadth of tools across the board from a to Z, we can handle anything from a digital perspective.
At that time, I got close, and I identified an individual running a really small branding and creative agency. And I saw a need for website design. And I ended up merging with him. It was called mustard C creative, and Connexus then hit its next iteration, which was a full-scale service agency that could pretty much offer anything from a digital perspective that was before the. I just recently made, which is where I think a new thing is emerging out there, which is where we’re pushing into now.
Rick Mazur: well, I believe that many businesses are falling short on this. Many are just aren’t spending. They’re trying to do at least I talked to, they’re trying to do free posts, there’s a place for that, the hashtags and all that kind of stuff. But I think the budgeting kind of the budgeting spend scares a little scare them a little bit.
They don’t know what’s going to work. They don’t know how much to spend. It’s difficult to track it for some people to know what’s working and what isn’t. So it seems like with what you do, you can help them get a bit more clarity on how to
Len Ward: Yes. I think the biggest issue we faced was the same issue a lot of agencies faced. And that was, agencies and really smart branding and creative people, PR agencies were getting blamed for campaigns failing. And we all took it. We all took our lumps, and we also, Okay.
Well, maybe we’re not doing a good job, and we’re, maybe we’re not doing well, but you know, I, I started looking at stuff, and there was a couple of clients that we had that were past clients.
And I remember when they—one client. I’ll never forget. I say this time; I’ll say this all the time. He’s an attorney, nice guy, bright attorney, but never get getting bought our whole team in. And we knew we were doing well for this guy, but you know, he put us up, and he did on a whiteboard.
Like he said, Okay.
Here’s how many cases I got from you. And the client named like two other things and he looked at it, he came back to us. He’s like, all right. So I got six cases. So he invested with us $60,000 for the year. And I think he spent another, like 50 and paid, and we’re looking at it, but he made something in the neighborhood of three 50 to $400,000.
I forget the exact numbers. And he’s Okay.
That was a failure. I was like, Yeah.
COVID my investment background. I said, you just spent $110,000, and somebody gave you close to $400,000 return in 12 calendar months. And you just you’re telling me that’s a failure. So was that another client that was complaining about lead volume?
And I went down a rabbit hole, and I started looking into customer acquisition costs, lifetime value ratios, lifetime values of a client. And I said, why can nobody come up with a financial plan or financial model to say. Invest in this if you have the right message, and your rate of return should be this. And that’s the iteration we’re at right now, where we get people away from stop worrying about your rankings, your traffic, your bounce rate.
Forget that, that leave that to your agency. We’re trying to get you to say here’s what your investments should be. This is what your marketing budget should be. And predicated upon you having a good product and your agency is doing the right job, and you’re investing the right amount of money.
This is the rate of return you should be looking for. So it’s that conversation, the financial conversation that nobody wanted to have, that we’re now forcing our way in. And this is an industry that I believe is emerging out of the SEO out of the digital world. And it’s like space in between the CEO and over to the CMO.
I think this is where we’re emerging right now is; we’re talking directly to the CFO, and then they know how to allocate the money better if that makes sense. So that’s where convection.
Rick Mazur: No, it does it’s. So do you find that varies by the industry that percent return that you target? Or is it
Len Ward: so I think it varies. I think companies like e-commerce companies know this cold. I think that they’re very smart with it. I think that they understand everything’s digital marketing. They know they have to put a certain amount of money in, but when you start moving in a certain beat, B2B service-based businesses.
Other types of B2B sectors, education, medical, they don’t know what that rate of return is. And they are always trying to do what we call the Cardinal sin of marketing, trying to optimize a bad spend out. So that’s what we’re finding. So I think it is a global problem from a business perspective, but some niches truly understand it.
Rick Mazur: Well, and I think that what you do is great it’s one of the reasons I wanted to have you on was because, when you start talking about things like ROI, and you start talking about things like customer acquisition costs, those are terms that are thrown around a lot, but I just don’t think, and I did a little advertising on Google myself with some things that I had.
And they’re quick to tell you; here are the clicks you got; here’s how many people went to your website, but there’s just not an easy way to track. There’s a way to do it, but there’s not an easy way to track it from end to end the what your true cost besides just what I spent with Google is? Because we all know there’s more than that.
And then somebody went to your website, but, okay. Did they buy something? What did they buy? Then you got to go to a different report to find that. And maybe it’s still that way to some level. I don’t know if you guys have a portal with what you do to help integrate it. We’ll get to that in a bit, but.
Yeah, it just seems to me. And then when you get to ROI or customer acquisition costs, it’s the same thing, okay. What does it cost to get a customer? It amazes me like, if you ever watched that show shark tank on TV, that’s what they always ask, Kevin O’Leary, what’s your customer acquisition costs.
And nobody knows barely, and it’s even when they’re on shark tank,
Len Ward: it’s amazing. And I think it’s funny because Kevin O’Leary is big with it. And Mark Cuban just dismisses out of hand, if you don’t know.
It. Cause I don’t ever get to watch one episode, and it was funny because as I was doing my research and trying to figure out how am I going to reinvent Connexus?
I’m a big fan of shark tank. So Yeah.
When you say, the rate resonates with me right away, but yeah. I love it when people don’t know their customer acquisition costs. You see mark Cuban’s eyes roll in the back of his head. I’ll never forget. He went at one guy. He was like, how can you run or scale a business if you don’t know what it costs to acquire it, and the guys who get it don’t make any difference.
And he’s I’m done. He goes, I don’t even want to hear what you have to pitch anymore. But, and I think that fundamentally is one of the biggest issues. Cause if I bring you back to the attorney that I mentioned, who said, Okay.
It’s $110,000, and I got four 50, one of the things I started going into is I don’t think you understand the number of costs going into your acquisition.
You, I don’t think you understand that. It’s not just Google. It’s not just ad words. It’s Jenny, who’s picking up the phone upfront. Are you mailing out anything to the individual? Are you doing any traditional marketing? There’s a myriad of differences. Are you sponsoring events? Are you networking?
Because. The mistake they’re making Right,
now on digital marketing or any type of advertising platform, they say I got a rate of return on that. Well, you got a rate of return because how much money are you investing in that in the entire customer acquisition cost? So if you spent a thousand dollars on lawn signs and your customer acquisition costs to acquire a client is 50,000, I’m throwing numbers around.
Well, how can you decide whether those lawn signs are effective? Right.
And I can; I’ll get into how you have to balance that and how you have to weigh it in a minute. But I think too many companies are deciding whether their marketing campaign is working based on individual parts of the customer acquisition costs instead of the entire customer acquisition cost ecosystem.
And that’s the problem we’re facing.
Rick Mazur: Well, we know that this is a problem that people need and need to solve, and they need to be advertising. I read I think it was on your site the phrase “companies going out of business because they can’t afford to advertise.”
Len Ward: Yeah, I agree.
Rick Mazur: it’s coming.
And I, if you can, I agree with it too. And, we have to get those people to the point where, okay, I know I have to advertise, but they want to do it smartly. Hey, I’m willing to invest X per month, but is there a way I can know what’s going on? So I know that I’m getting that ROI. Again, the traditional tools out there aren’t going to give it to you unless something has come up within the last couple of years that I haven’t seen; unless you go with a company specializing in that.
Len Ward: I agree. And you know what I think the fundamental problem is when trying to establish a budget is everybody’s like why have XYZ dollars in which to invest in marketing? And we hear that repeatedly. And again, it’s one of the reasons why we’re pivoting over to this type of business, as opposed to just doing straight digital marketing and implementation. Your budget is predicated on your funnel needs. So if you’re a company out there, a lawn maintenance company, or you’re, let’s say, a lawyer, a startup law firm, and you need leads, let’s say your referral base isn’t too big, but you need leads. And you come to me and say, okay, well, I have $10,000 to invest in leads.
Well, the problem is that if you need leads, that means you need to start filling the middle of the funnel. Now the top of the funnel is your brand. That’s your awareness of where you get people in, but the leads are like qualified leads in the middle. So you have to spend on pay-per-click or something like that. Let’s say you need 50 leads to get to the revenue, and I’ll walk back to the numbers in a minute, but let’s just say you need 50 leads. Well, what if that costs you more than $10,000? What if that’s like a $25,000 investment or a $50,000 investment for certain types of attorneys it can be. So, your marketing budget is predicated on what your funnel deficiencies are. And then what the platforms are telling you the bidding environment is it’s not, I’m going to walk in and say, I have this much to spend. It doesn’t work that way anymore. You come in and Google and Facebook and Twitter and TikTok, they’re going to tell you how much you have to spend on where your funnel deficiencies are, and that is the fundamental problem 90% of companies have out there when they’re trying to establish a marketing budget. That? The point, right.
Rick Mazur: is that something that if they have those deficiencies in those other areas, is that something that you can also help them with, or do you direct them so
Len Ward: Yeah. So what we do is we do a complete funnel audit. We take a look at it, and we start with the number one thing. And this comes back to, and I don’t know what my ROI is. And the number one reason people don’t know the ROI is is that you need something the way it goes. Weigh against it means your current revenue or the revenue goal you’re shooting after?
So let’s just say you have a revenue goal. You’re going after it to get to that revenue goal. The next step down, no matter what business you’re in fundraising, medical lawyers, you have to have a sales process, a sales funnel, even if you don’t consider yourself sales. You have to look at the funnel deficiencies and say, what’s stopping me from getting to my revenue goal.
What are the hindrances that are getting to my revenue goal? Once you have that? Identified, then you drop down the next step and say, what do I need to do from a marketing perspective? And what will it cost to address those funnel deficiencies, which ultimately will get me to my goal? This is the process that we walk clients through.
So, believe it or not, we can consult with clients without even doing their digital marketing. We can have it teed up and ready for other agencies teed up and ready for their internal team. Then, their campaign is growing and going along, and we’re constantly coming in on a monthly or quarterly basis.
With these teams and saying, Okay, The ROI is not being hit because of this. Or let’s move this around. Let’s move that around, and we can get the ROI. Our goal is getting that client to their revenue goal, and in the ROI, they’re looking for everything else. We leave it up to the branding people, the marketing people.
Rick Mazur: So you’re giving them the initial assessment determining what you believe the Roe ROI should be at based on what they’re doing. And then you’re following up with it, a recorder and saying, okay, we hit it. We didn’t hit it.
Len Ward: Yeah. So now we have an ROI dashboard that’s live. So basically, clients, what they do is they come in, and we send out a weekly email, a monthly email to quarterly email. It takes them five minutes on each email and basis. It makes sure that their online dashboard is live where you’re making sure that we know the revenue numbers, the sales, the leads, right.
We make sure that their customer acquisition is up to date. Those types of things they’re working on or that they’ve invested in that maybe they haven’t mentioned to us. So when they, as long as they update that email on a weekly or monthly basis, that dashboard will always be live. We come back, and every quarter, some companies want us every month. We go through the numbers and little things like if they have a price. With certain types of funnel deficiencies, we say, okay, well, why are you investing so heavily in billboards and radio ads?
When it’s clear that the problem is your funnel at the bottom, you can’t close business; your close rate is zero. You need to allocate your money there. And when you know where to allocate the money on the phone, well, that’s said this, that’s where it puts you in the space of, I know what type of content I need.
I know what type of platforms I have to invest in. I know what my money is. Yeah.
Where it needs to be allocated. So we’ve developed this entire system down from a to Z to get clients, to start thinking like, Okay,
there’s a playbook here. There’s the actual offense that we can call. It’s not just, Hey, let’s do some Facebook ads.
Let’s see what happens on Google. No. There’s a playbook. You can open up, and you can start calling plays. And when you get that, now you’re starting. Now, things are starting to make sense, and now you can justify your spending. And that’s why, if you look on our website right up front, we put, we make sense of your marketing numbers.
And that’s what we did.
Rick Mazur: well, that was one of my questions. So, what is the financial impact of digital marketing platforms like Facebook and Googles have on businesses that are looking to move
Len Ward: asked that question a lot, and I tell people all the time people always go out there, and they say, We are concerned about Facebook’s privacy. We are concerned about Google’s privacy. You shouldn’t be concerned about privacy. The minute you turn your phone on, your privacy is gone. So you can get as upset as you want.
As a business owner or potentially a consumer, you should know that Google and Facebook control the customer acquisition cost. Again, a company means I won’t go through the whole thing again, but they are telling you that this is how much it will cost to advertise on our platforms because this is where everybody is.
When you control the customer acquisition costs of family-owned shops or corporations at that point, those prices will be pushed back on the consumer. Potentially, we put in at one thing where we said companies grew out of business because they can’t afford to advertise there.
And let’s just say they, maybe it’s a one-person shop or, two women-owned a shop and they can’t go out and do grassroots marketing. Well, how are you going to market it? How is your business? How do you get your clients? I think it’s time for people to realize why Google and Facebook stock prices are so high.
It’s not because of Google home. And it’s not because of the Facebook portal. It’s because they’re controlling these customer acquisition costs. And until other platforms arrive, arrive in a big way. Those stock prices are going to continue to go up. They’re going to continue to go through. They’re going to continue to smash our earnings records, and it’s not going to stop.
So, the one thing I say, which is funny, Google just rolled out a core algorithm update Saturday, and every it’s got everybody in a panic. You might remember that.
From Nestio back in a day: Oh, Google has an update. Google has an update means it means we need to beat our numbers on earnings. So let’s take a look at what earnings are going to be this quarter.
And I guarantee you they’re going to be fantastic. Because the update hit companies that don’t spend a lot pay-per-click, but now they’re going to, so
Rick Mazur: So let me ask you this. I know that you probably have a certain type of client that you deal with. Everybody’s got their core type of customers that they go after. But let’s say you’re a company that is just starting. And you’re concerned you can because maybe you listened to this podcast and say, look, I have to be prepared to spend some money to get where I need to be.
But they’re concerned whether or not they can afford it. Is there something you can do for them in a sense where, Hey, I’m just starting? This is what I’m going to be doing. Give me an assessment of where I need to be. What do I need to be at so that I can
Len Ward: Yeah. If, well, if they’re calling you mean there, so this individual becoming in the cold with no,
Rick Mazur: Yeah, let’s see. Yeah. I’m going to start a company selling subscriptions online, some course, or whatever online. And I’m willing to spend some money. I have no idea, and I don’t want to waste my time for a year doing this. If I
Len Ward: yeah, that’s where you dropped
Rick Mazur: you So what
Len Ward: I think that comes down right. If you are a new company, you want to give yourself enough runway to invest in your brand, that top of the funnel. So if you are not bringing a database of past clients over, maybe you had another job, and you have a database of clients you can market to from an email marketing campaign; they may be what you need to do is invest your money in the branding strategy.
And by that, running certain types of ads on Google and Facebook is considered awareness, which. Your entire job is just letting people know you exist. Letting people know you’re out there. As well as doing things like networking, you should be doing sponsorships and lawn signs and so forth.
I know that sounds remedial, but you need to do that. So it’s getting people to understand. Okay. I’m invested enough. I have enough money to start a business, and I end to do a marketing campaign. I know that I have to establish a digital footprint and invest at the top of the funnel.
It’s the companies running in and trying to open up a new business and saying, Hey, no, Len, I need like 50 leads right now. And I got 500 bucks. Well, that’s not going to happen. So, they’re the ones that are not in trouble. So if you are going to open up a new business and you’re thinking about a new business, and let’s just say, you don’t have a database of anyone.
Yeah. In the past, anywhere, give yourself enough time and leeway to build that brand out and make sure that you are building the top of the funnel and once you’re doing it. And if you do it the right way, then you’re going to drop down, realize and see. Okay, well, then trying to acquire leads will be a little cheaper for me because now I have people who’ve been following me.
Maybe they follow me on social media. Maybe I’m running a retargeting campaign. Do they know?
Who I am, So I don’t have to spend $55 per lead to get them. There’s a whole map that we can build, but hopefully, that answered yours.
Rick Mazur: Right. Yeah. You mentioned content strategy. So what do you see as the
Len Ward: well, content strategy is trying to identify what type of voice you’re looking to discuss. Like what part of the funnel are you looking to write content for or video content for? Are you trying to develop a strategy around people who don’t know?
Who you are, and you’re trying to put that out there, or are you trying to develop a strategy for qualified leads and your sales has, they’re talking to these qualified leads or lastly, are you developing a strategy around trying to help close business?
And here’s a good piece of content to put out there. Content marketing is taking that strategy. What you’ve created it and then go out there and market it. So do I put money on that content on Facebook? Do I put money on Twitter with a sponsored posts? Should I create an ad to lead people as content?
On YouTube marketing. So that’s the two, that’s my take on what I think the two are
Rick Mazur: And we mentioned this before a couple. Sales funnels. Can you describe a little bit about the sales
Len Ward: yeah, so I think the sales funnel is
Len Ward directly lives on what lives directly underneath the sales funnels, the buyer’s journey. Some people understand it, some people don’t, but the buyer’s journey is you go through five stages. You go through five stages in a buying cycle, and everybody does this.
You either are in the awareness stage, the consideration stage, the purchase retention advocacy stage, and historically as a client, you’ll probably go through all stages. Sometimes if you find yourself in an emergency, you may go directly in the purchase stage—a pipe burst in your house.
Maybe, you’re a jogger, and you were never aware of this running sneaker that was out there; they were advertised to you, and now you become aware, Hey, there’s a new pair of sneakers out there. You’re right there. I have a problem. When I look at it, how you allocate your ad dollars across the buyer’s journey is predicated on what your funnels look like.
So historical sales funnel top of the funnel, which is the brand awareness stage. But many people call it a brand. The second part of the funnel is leads or qualified leads. And the bottom of the funnel is conversion. That’s like the close rate. You can break your funnel up any way you want to. However, you want to do it.
I’ve seen funnels 15, 20 layers deep, but the standard is brand lead conversion. So how you allocate your money across the buyer’s journey is predicated on your weakness in those funnels. That’s how it is.
Rick Mazur: Yeah. Okay. Excellent. That’s a lot of good information for people. So why don’t you tell us a little bit more about your platform? What you have, with Connexis and what, walk me through where you start with somebody, what the platform offers. Are there integrations that you have in the platform that people can integrate with?
I saw that on your website, that interests me a lot,
Len Ward: the way, The way our thing starts
Rick Mazur: me a little more information about it.
Len Ward: let’s say a client wants a climb and engages with us. We start by basically starting with it with an audit, with a campaign financial audit. And we say, Okay.
Let’s try to identify. Let’s try to identify an ROI. Let’s try to identify where you are.
A real ROI, not an ROI, not a ROAS rollout is, by the way, driving the wall return on ad spends. If you’re an e-com company, I’m. But if you are an attorney where people go through like an ecosystem to purchase through, you realize it doesn’t work. It just doesn’t. You realize that quickly as you’re losing money, but we do a financial audit.
We say, Okay.
What, what are your current numbers that we’re what’s with? What’s the current revenue? What are the funnels look like? What are you investing in across the buyer’s journey? Like, how is it allocated? Underneath. We say, how much has all that cost you? And then, basically, we do a mathematic equation.
So, okay. This is what your rate of return is. So you can either say here’s your return. Or we can say, here’s your lifetime value ratio. We put all of that on a dashboard. So we then talked to the client, we look at them, and we say, are you happy with your rate of return? And if they say we are, we can say, great.
We’re glad we can be of service to you. And some, I believe we’re not; we have had that. And that’s great. So you can bring us back in quarterly, and we’ll look into it again. But if that doesn’t happen, we then talk to the clients and say, okay, you have. You’re not happy with your numbers, and that’s not meeting your goal.
And they’ll say, well, no. And we’ll say, well, there are three reasons why you probably failed in. The first reason is that you’re not spending enough money because, let’s call it the way it is. You’re probably not spending enough. Let’s look at your customer acquisition cost. You’re spending 2000 a month on digital.
It’s not going to cut it. Let’s just say they are spending enough money. Then we go to the second reason why they’re probably failing. And that’s because they’re operating in a silo; you’d be amazed. How many businesses. Put their digital marketing, one end of one poor part of the room, their traditional marketing, another part, their sales in another part.
And they’ll hide their marketing manager, Jenny, all the way in the back. They don’t want anyone talking to her instead of bringing everybody in, saying our goal is $1 million. How do we cohesively work together and ensure our brand message is being properly allocated, or I’m sorry, properly interpreted across all platforms.
Let’s just say that they funded enough. Let’s just say that the silos are not there. And the last thing would come back to. You have no value proposition or no. So that’s the thing that we get them talking about, and you’d be amazed how many companies they’re spending it. They’re spending the right amount of money. They’re not siloing. They feel like they’re really good. Everyone’s cohesive. Well, they know what’s going to happen now; it’s innovation. So that’s the great thing about digital marketing. It’s forcing you to innovate. It’s forcing you to come up with something different because if you’re selling a hammer and they’re selling a hammer, there’s nothing that separates you.
Nothing. It’s just who’s going to outspend each other on marketing, if that makes sense.
So once we yeah. Once we get them to believe that, we dropped down and said, let’s build a roadmap. And that’s what our
Rick Mazur: Yeah, it makes sense.
Len Ward: We then say, here’s your revenue goal. And then we say, here’s your funnel deficiencies.
And then we say, this is what your buyer’s journey should look like across all platforms. Here’s what your investment should be. And then, we do a little backend number and identify what their operating expenses are. We’ll type where their margins are running on. And we say this is the rate of return that you should be shooting for.
So when we had it established, our campaigns up and running, we can run it from a digital perspective. Have no problem allocating that to their digital agency or their internal marketing team. At that point, we then have a conversation quarterly. As I mentioned, it’s okay; let’s see what’s going.
Right. Let’s see what’s going wrong. And let’s see if you’re hitting your ROI. And the thing we say is before you fire your agency before you fire your marketing manager, you should understand the finances of your investment. And I would say 50, 60% of businesses don’t know how they’re investing.
Rick Mazur: I agree. If you ask somebody, they would say, oh yeah, I got to be advertising on Facebook. Well, what does that? Oh, yeah. I mean, it could mean a million different things, and how do you know what, where you’re at? It’s just not enough to throw some ads on Facebook anymore and hope for the best, like throwing a dart at the dartboard.
And I think that some people might not know where to go, which is why I wanted to have you on because there are companies out there that will. Help you through all of this stuff. Now, do you help also with like campaign assets and things like
Len Ward: no, believe it Or not. We’re a full
Rick Mazur: that on their own?
As far as actual
Len Ward: we can do everything. We do. I have all in-house video websites, design, creative content strategies. We run SEO. Pay-per-click paid social. We do all of it. We’re a small agency, but we do all of that. But we, I think our core offering right now is the ROI.
The art, the ROI piece, and its look. Let’s just say you’re going to start a business, or let’s just say, you’re a business owner and you say, you know what, I need to make a push in the marketing, or I need to make a push in the digital or I knew I need to invest more money or I don’t know where my money’s going.
We’re the company you bring in. We’re the company. Any that you talk to before you talk to an agency before you come up with that brand new branding message, like before you come up with all that great stuff. We’re the company you want to bring in to say, Okay.
Now that I’m armed with all this, I know where to advertise across the buyer’s journey.
I know what my funnel is like. Then go after those companies. Too many companies are just saying, I need to meet, do $2 million a year. Let me go call up Jane’s digital agency. Jane doesn’t know what $2 million a year means to you. And she has no idea what your finances are, but she’s going to paint a bunch of pretty pictures and put them all over social media.
Let’s just hope it. It works out for you. That’s not what marketing is. That’s the best thing I could tell anybody listening right now is that the wild west is over. There is a cadence and a protocol, how you succeed in marketing and think way beyond just generating leads and putting ads on Facebook. There’s a science behind this, and it’s not that difficult. If you just read the tea leaves and know what’s going on.
Rick Mazur: Yeah, it’s worth it. They give you
Len Ward: yeah. Yeah, they can contact us directly. And we have a conversation with the I think the beauty of us is we limit our clients to about 25 clients a year. And that’s a mix of consulting. It’s a mix of digital agency and creativity because we like to make sure that we can allocate our assets or our resources properly.
And we’re the kind of company where I own it. I have clients that text me a client to give me a call and say, Hey, what do you think about this? Think about that. And we like to keep it that way. I have zero intentions to become an agency with 50 to a hundred employees. That’s not the way I want to live.
Rick Mazur: Get more personalized service and know the clients a little bit better and stuff, which I think is important in this line of work because people want to know. Hey, they’re not relying on you, but it’s basically Hey, this is the plan. And if the plan is not going well, they have to know how to fix it.
And they need
Len Ward: Yeah, I think the thing we’ve created, and I think we’ve, we call it an open-source. If other people want
to build on top of the strategy we’ve built or the plan we built, we have no problem with it, but I do believe, and I know this is a big statement. I don’t mean to come across as an arrogant jerk.
I don’t, but I do think that what we’ve created here, I believe, solves any single solitary marketing problem out there. You’re either not investing enough, you’re in a silo, or you have no value proposition. If you know, those three things. And if you and your heart of hearts look at why you fit. One of those three things is the reason it will always be the reason, and I think that is what we’re trying to get clients to understand whether they become a client or not. So. Yeah.
Rick Mazur: Yeah, for sure. Well, I want to thank you for being on, and I think you gave us a lot of good information here. If anybody wants to know more, you can contact Len and his website commexis.com, and again, we’ll put all the links, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, in the description.
Len Ward: good. I appreciate you having me on
Rick Mazur: And it’s been great. So I hope that we’ll get some people over to you. Thanks, Len.