Should You Really Go for Paid Ads?

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Should You Really Go for Paid Ads?

Should You Really Go for Paid Ads? With Vince Warnock

Sean: Here’s my next question for you. Marketing is something that we do and something that all business owners should do, but there is confusion happening, whereas people are thinking, okay, how am I gonna follow Vince’s advice and tell who I am to other people without running ads. Do I need to spend on ads? And how can I spend on advertising when the pandemic is there, the lockdowns are there, what do you think about that? Was it smart for them to cut their marketing slash advertising budget during the lockdowns?

Vince: A hundred percent, I mean, there are multiple reasons that it was a smart thing to do. First of all, because in some cases it’s inappropriate, depending on what it is you’re offering, depending on what your services and your product sound and things like that.

To market it to people in a time where everybody’s in chaos. To market to people in a time where everybody is fearful, they’re losing their jobs. They don’t know what’s around the corner. They’re in a sense of heightened anxiety and there’s an ethical aspect to not marketing to those people. And I’ll give you a good, like over here in New Zealand, we live in a really peaceful country.

We live in an amazing country, but from time to time, we have these disasters that happen. We had the Christchurch earthquake, which was absolutely devastating. A lot of people lost their lives. A lot of people lost their homes. A lot of businesses went under and everything.

The moment that that happens, just about every single business in New Zealand, certainly all the corporates I was working with, we all killed our budgets and we said, we’re not marketing to anybody right now. Right now, our only focus is to make sure that people aren’t vulnerable and we don’t want to be marketing to a vulnerable individual. We also had a while I was at Cigna, we had a shooting at one of the mosques in Christchurch, but burrow crushed it.

So they had the shootings in the mosque there, and it was an absolutely devastating, terrible time. A lot of people lost their life due to just ignorance and stupidity from, from an individual. And as a result, we immediately killed all of our budgets. We took our ads off the air. We took our digital budgets offline, all these kinds of things as well. Because, and there’s a state where people are emotional, where people are anxious and there is a moral obligation to you as a marketer to go, you know what? Let’s let them get through this, before I start trying to ram things down their throats. 

So there’s that aspect to it. The other aspect to it though is actually taking a step back and finding out who you are. And this is the one thing I did love about this global pandemic. I know that sounds terrible saying that. I know I’m very aware that there’s an incredibly stressful time and a lot of people lost their lives through it.

But as a planet essentially, as a globe one of the things that happened was it taught that basically got people to take a moment and take a step back and find out what’s important to them. When you no longer think you have a job or you’re having to work from home, or you’re trying to balance you know, your family and your work life, all these kinds of things, and all of this chaos is around you.

It forces you into a position of going what’s important to me, but I think that is at a personal level that should also have been at an entrepreneurial and a business level. So actually taking the time to go. I’m planning; I’m putting these ads out there. I’m doing all this marketing and a lot of cases, what happens is you do it and you just keep doing it over and over again, you keep doing the same thing and you get diminishing returns and diminishing returns.

It’s actually a time to go stop. Like who are my audience? And how do I connect with them? It’s going back to the core principle of marketing, which is going, I have this individual over here. So we’ll call it Joe Blogs, right? Joe Blogs is over here. That is my target market. This is a person that basically has this giant hole in their life. And that hole in the need that I fill.

That’s the hole that my product, my service, my offering is designed specifically to fill. So you’ve got this customer over here for Joe Blogs and Joe Blogs. Your job as a marketer and as entrepreneurs to go, Hey Joe, right. Tell me about like, does this sound like you, Joe, have you ever been in a situation like this, Joe, have you ever encountered this before to get Joe to come to the conclusion himself?

That he has this whole in this need in this life, right? It’s not to ask to go, Hey, Joe, you got a hole in your life. Hey, Joe, you’ve got a giant need in your life. It’s him to come to that conclusion themself and we can guide them on that pathway as marketers. So there, you’ve got Joe over here now, aware of what his current status now aware of this gap, or this needs this in his life.

Then your job as an entrepreneur is really simple. You are then to get him to imagine what that preferred future looks like. That is the state after they’ve used whatever you’ve got to offer, whether your product, your service, your offering, but it is to imagine a life where that whole, that need is no longer there.

And when you get Joe to imagine that and to picture what life is like after that and to not just like superficially picture it, but actually to imagine what will be unlocked and released in his life after he has filled that need in that hole, then your job as a marketer is almost done.

Because you go, right he’s very aware of where he is right now. So he’s very aware of this need, this pain, this gap, that’s in his life. And now he knows that there is a preferred future out there. And then, because you’re the one that has guided them on this pathway, made them aware of coming to the conclusion of where he’s at, making them picture what their preferred future is like, then you’re naturally the bridge between those two states.

So you are the one that’s going to get them from point A to point B. So that is something that you need to come back to as an entrepreneur and work out. Who is that person? What is that need? Am I actually filling that need talking to people, getting in front of those customers, finding out what the language they use to describe their need, the language they use to describe their preferred future?

Taking that moment to deeply understand that because if you do that if you can nail that aspect of marketing, Facebook ads, Google ads, all of these things aren’t necessary, right? Because you immediately are talking directly to a customer in the language that they use themselves. So there you go. This is a no-brainer for me, I need to buy whatever it is you’re offering Sean. I need to buy your cool figurines in the background there.

So whatever it is you’re selling, but for it will Star Wars droids. Now, they buy what it is that you have to offer. So once you’ve done that, once you’ve got to the point where your offering is so compelling and speaks so directly to your target market and to your target individual, that point, that is the only point you should start looking at now. How do I scale with ads?

Because otherwise what you’re doing, and this is what was happening pre lockdown in that as well as people would throw money at a problem. So they would go, okay, I’m not generating leads. Okay, I’m going to throw money in there.

I’m going to create ads. I’m going to put it out there. And what they were doing is basically pouring all of this ad juice. So all of this, you know, like marketing juice there, into this bucket, which is your funnel, which is your website, which is your process. Whatever that is, you’re pouring all this juice into that bucket that’s riddled with holes. And those holes are, you’re not using the language that they really understand.

 The holes are, the process is really difficult for them to convert, or actually their not really a hundred percent sure they need what you’re offering, or actually, you’ve got a product here with about 50 different features, but only one of those actually directly serves your target market.

So you’re throwing all this marketing juice into this bucket, and it’s just leaking out everywhere. But if you can make that bucket solid first, by understanding like I say to you, understanding that customer, what their need is, and getting them to go, this is a no-brainer for me. That’s when you scale by pouring lots of marketing juice in.

 And I realized just how many metaphors I use there. So I’m becoming the king of mixed metaphors. It’s really weird.

Sean: Loving it, by the way. I love the metaphors. Don’t stop on those metaphors and the stories that you got, but I’m wondering you got the book Chasing the Insights. And I’m wondering if what you just said is part of the book because you mentioned that you have a marketing framework in the book.

Can you tell us a little bit about that as well?

Vince: Definitely man. To do that I’m going to take you back a little bit. So one of my previous companies was a high-growth tech startup. So when we launched a common ledger, this was something a friend of mine came. Yeah. And he said two things. He said, Vince, I’ve always wanted to work with you.

And I said, all likewise, my friend. And he goes, and number two, I have an opportunity, which I think is a big opportunity. And it was in the accounting space and it was basically, he had a father-in-law who was an accountant and would bitch and moan about how much of a hassle it is having clients on all these different systems.

And all the press was telling us how amazing it was that Zero, which is a New Zealand company doing incredibly well, the great team, but Zero was out there. It was making lives so much easier for businesses and accountants, because they’re all on the same platform, blah, blah, blah. And all the accountants are going, no, it’s not.

It’s making life easier for the clients that are on there, but actually Zero doesn’t suit all its clients. And we have clients on old desktop software that we’re still going to drive out to their place. Take all the data files, put it onto a USB, or burn it to a CD in some cases, get it back to the office, put it in in our system map the chart of accounts, just so we can get the data into our system to run a report.

And they were getting really frustrated at the fact that Zero and all these other companies out there going, Hey, life is wonderful. Cloud-based solutions, everyone’s all sorted. Now business and life is easy and they’re going, it doesn’t feel easy at all. So he came to me with this challenge, this problem.

He said I think I can solve this. He’s a genius developer. And I’m going well if we’re going to do this mate, that means we’re going to leave some very high-paying jobs to create our own thing. So I’m going to do some research. So we did a lot of market research and basically, we just talked to as many accountants as we could.

We got them to tell us their processes. We’ve got them to tell us their pain points and always went along these lines, by the way, Sean. They would go, “oh man, it’s really, really easy.” Like we say like, how do you deal with your client’s data? And they go, oh man, “it’s so easy Vince. It’s really simple.” Like, well talk me through what you do.

Well, I just got to get the data. And I say, how do you do that? And they go, “well, sometimes they email it to me, but usually, that corrupts actually, no, sometimes they send me a CD and that’s a pain. Actually, sometimes I’ve got to go out to the, actually Vince it’s a real pain in the ass getting the data.” You’re like, okay, tell me more.

What do you do next? They go, “oh, next is a simple, but we just get this data into our system. But actually, our firewalls caused lots of problems there. And actually, no, you know what? It’s a pain in the ass for us.” Ah, okay, well, what’s the next thing you do well now is the easy part. We just met the chart of accounts.

Great. Well, talk me through that process. How long is that take? “Oh, man. In all reality, it takes us about half an hour. In fact, this whole process takes about two and a half hours every time we want to run class customer data.” And I was like, right. So all of that information and listening to their frustrations, even though at first, they didn’t know they had frustrations.

They were like, “Vince, this is easy because that’s something they did all the time.” So it was that right. Okay. Well now, they have come to the conclusion themselves that this is really, really difficult. Anyway, this was what we built. We built a solution that was going to beat all that and meet all those needs.

And we built a solution, that’s going to give them that preferred future. The problem was how do we get it in front of all these accountants now? And that’s where marketing of course comes in. The problem we had though is we now have jumped boots and all into this company. Right. I said to my wife, “you know, this high-paying job I’ve got” she says; “yes?”

And I said, well, the opportunity’s too big. I think I need to do this. And she goes, yeah, I agree. But it’s going to mean six months of no income. Cause we were going to bootstrap it ourselves. And then we were going to raise a million dollars worth of seed funding after six months. And then she’s going, yes.

Interesting timing. Because at the same time, by the way, she was trained as an early childcare teacher and she knew that she had this calling to help people with addictions. And she had a real passion to help people that were going through addiction issues and some of the mental health issues that came along with it.

So she knew at some point she was going to have to change career, which means retraining. And she’s like, yeah, but at my age, it’s going to be difficult. What if I fail or these kinds of things. And she finally felt really right at the time I’m leaving my job. So basically both of us lifted our high-paying jobs.

That’s it. We’re going to have no income whatsoever for six months and the fact higher earner in the house was my son with one of his little start-ups. And this guy “hey, do you guys want some money, you come and speak it to me” and be like, you’re not the mafia, man. Like we, we’re not taking a loan from you.

So we embarked on this journey, but when you’re bootstrapping the company yourself, and when you’re aware, you’ve got a very limited roadmap to, before you have to get to this raising a million dollars and also being very aware that, you know, that’s a dream. You may not achieve that.

 So being aware of that, we had to be incredibly careful. About how we use the limits of money we had. And so what I got down to was I wasn’t going to just throw money at ads. I wasn’t going to throw money at an event. I wasn’t going to throw money at a sponsorship deal or all these different kinds of things, or getting printed pins with our branding on it, all these kinds of things.

I wasn’t gonna spend money on all these, I was going to be very, very cautious. So I needed a way to be able to test something, to be able to test if something was going to work before we threw money at it. So I came up with this framework called the chaser method and it was just basically like a more robust experimentation framework so that we could test different channels.

We could test different methodologies, we could test all these things. And then from that, that being kind of birth into the book itself. But again, it is the thing that’s enabled us to kind of strip right back to what’s important to the customers. And I’ll give you an example, Sean. So Zero, you know, they’re an amazing company, as I said, but they would do these conferences in Australia and New Zealand called Zero Con and, you know, Zero Con these things were huge.

And we were like, well, this is way a whole pile of our audiences. So traditional marketing would tell you, simple here’s what you got to do guys; you got to go and hire a booth there. So it costs about, I think it was about 10 grand or something for a booth. So you’ll hire a booth there and then you’ve got this booth, but nobody’s coming over to your booth.

So what are you going to do? Well, you got to come up with some compelling reason for them to come over you. Okay. Right. Okay. We’ll do this. We’ll create branded pins, but everyone’s got branded pins. So can we do something different? Maybe we have branded water bottles. Oh no. Some other brands as some of the companies got branded water bottles, but you would have to have a really compelling reason for people to come to you.

And then you knew there was going to be another challenge, which is they’re just coming to you to get the freebie to go in the drawer, to do all of these things, and then they will go away. So we thought experimentation time, maybe we don’t buy a booth. Maybe instead we just take our iPads with us. We create a survey that goes on that iPad.

We go up to the lunch line, which has always this like a huge line of people that are stacked because they’re waiting in line to get their lunches and things. What if we walked the lunch lines and we said, “Hey, do you want to, and fill out a survey to go in the draw to win a bottle of whisky?” And we discovered that – by the way, accountants love drinking, especially in Australia.

So it was like, okay, this is a no-brainer. So we would walk this lunch line and get a hell yeah from everybody. So we would ask them these seven questions and these seven questions were all designed for very specific reasons. One of them was designed to understand the person that we were talking to. So to basically do, do a bit of profiling to understand what size of the problem that they would have.

Do they actually have a problem that we solve, how many clients are all these kinds of things? So we designed these questions specifically around that. There were also be designed to give us basically free press. And what I mean by that is each of those questions in itself would be something that we could put out there for the press.

So, for example, as I said, everyone thought that you know, cloud-based accounting solutions were going to solve all the worst problems. And every accountant in the world loves them because it makes life so much easier. But when we go down and we’re interviewing, you know, couple of hundred people in a line and we find out that 70% of those people actually think it’s more of a hassle now than it was before then that gives us a contrary viewpoint that our reporters going to go, “hello I want to be the one that breaks that story.”

So it made it really easy for us to get in front of the press. But then the third reason that the third thing is those questions were designed for was really simple. It was to start a conversation. And for like it became the easiest sell ever, man, like, seriously, I’m standing there going, “okay can you give us an example that any challenges you have with cloud-based accounting solutions?”And then they go, “oh my God, don’t get me started Vince. You know, I’ve got all these clients on all these desktop solutions and, you know, I’ve got 1500 clients, all these different things. So it’s actually a real pain in the butt”. And I was like, really? Well, what would be the ultimate result for you? Like what do you think – and this is just me chatting with them and what would be the way to solve this?

And they go, I have no idea. All I want is I just want all the systems to play nicely together. I said, “what if I told you, and this is crazy, but we’re literally beta testing that right now.” And they would turn around and honestly you would get people begging to be on your beta test list. They’re like, please include me.

I will pay you to get on that beta testing because I need this as a solution. So we essentially were creating just through understanding these customers, through looking at the insights that we’re gaining from them. Looking at the language that they were using when we were interviewing them, looking at all these different aspects, we will get them begging for us to sell to them.

So that’s where the book came from. That’s the methodology I used in there and then expanded it to go, right. It’s the method. But also implementing a method is fine. If you’ve got a methodology, that’s all good. But most people can’t implement that successfully because they don’t have the right mindset for it.

And experimentation is one of those things where it comes with a whole pile of fear. You know, when I put it on stand and experiment, what if it’s not going the way I want it? Oh, no. Should I abandon it? And you talk yourself out of an experiment rather than see it through. So I want to do a whole section of the book on the mindset required for it.

And then lastly was just practical experiments that people could use.

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