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The Journey of Growth: From Small Projects to Bigger Companies

An Interview with Adam O'Leary

For this episode of E-coffee with Experts, Matt Fraser interviewed Adam O’Leary, President at Encite Branding, Marketing and Creative. Adam shares some surefire ways to take your business to heights and throws light on the importance of networking, volunteering, and building authentic relationships for gaining a competitive edge. Watch now!

As an entrepreneur, you have to be comfortable with uncertainty and be willing to take calculated risks.

Adam O’Leary
President at Encite Branding

Hello.

Hello Everyone. Welcome to this episode of E-Coffee With Experts. I’m your host, Matt Fraser. And on today’s show, I have with me the President of Encite Branding, Marketing, and Creative, Adam O’Leary. With 15 years of experience in the marketing profession, he has built insight into an award-winning marketing agency with a team of professionals who work collaboratively with clients to help build their businesses through effective branding and marketing strategies. To help today, Adam will share his insights and expertise on the marketing industry, client relationships, and the future of marketing. Adam, thank you so much for being here. Welcome to the show.

Matt, thanks for having me. I’m excited. Thank you.

Yeah, we’re not. Hey, so, Adam, how would your university professors describe you as a student?

Mediocre? I think that right out of the bat, I was just a mediocre marketing student in the business college. I don’t know that I found my passion while I was in college. I wanted to stay under the radar, not rock the boat, and not necessarily be that leader in college, which is funny because it’s changed 100 % for me.180 degrees.

Yeah, I think they’d say that, he’s got the goods, we just can’t get him to focus.

Okay. What did you major in in university?

Absolutely. Because you’re now leading an agency. What drew you to go into marketing in school university, or post-secondary?

I like the fact that it’s almost storytelling. You’re telling the story of a brand, a product, a service, a person, whatever that is. It has the storytelling element to it, but it’s also putting some things in front of people that maybe would benefit from it. I think there are a lot of marketers that are just trying to get awareness. At times you’re just trying to get awareness and you do some things that are less than, I guess, nice, I suppose, just to get out there. But I always thought it could be nice to take a business and put it in front of take their product and put it in front of customers that would benefit from whatever it is that they’re doing. It’s just a matter of getting it to them. So that inspired me.

All right on. With that being said, what are some of the biggest mistakes marketers make then?

I think the biggest, especially on the client side, from the businesses that we work with, is I think today’s day and age is so very much about action or tactics that there is less strategy going into those tactics. Everybody’s excited about, Hey, let’s get a Facebook page and we get a website up and we get this message out there and we start this campaign. And then they come to figure out, We’re not selling anything. It didn’t work. Number one, that’s part of marketing, right? Part of marketing is hypothesis and revision. But then they come to find out, Oh, we’ve been targeting the wrong people all along. We’ve been targeting the wrong segment all along. And it’s like that strategy is so key to being successful. So you either do it upfront and you do that work upfront, or you learn from it during your marketing. But when you learn from your marketing, you’re spending hard dollars.

You’re spending dollars.

So it’s a hard lesson, I think. And I think that one of the things that we always talk about is making sure a brand strategy is in place. And part of that brand strategy is identifying very specifically who that audience is and how you’re trying to get to them.

Yeah. It’s so crucial, isn’t it? One of my indirect mentors who probably doesn’t know I exist, but that’s okay is Dan Kennedy. And in his book, The ultimate marketing plan, he talks about the three M’s of marketing that you need to have the market message and medium. And it seems that everybody wants to just jump right to medium for figuring out who their market is and what their message is to that market and then taking those two things. And that’s where people get it. But do you think then your experience that sometimes clients are responsible? I have a little bit of ownership to take in that regard of pushing marketing agencies to just get me the leads. I worked for a car dealership. They didn’t give a crap. It was amazing. It’s a large OEM that I could mention, but I won’t because I don’t want to get sued. They didn’t even know who their buyer personas were on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis. And I was trying to thumb through the CRM to find out because they were in business for 10 years. I could have gone through and just pulled out all of the data of just female buyers for a particular model and done a scope persona and who those people were and so on.

They didn’t even have that data. So it’s so hard to figure out how to write ads. But the dealership principal didn’t give a crap. Just give me leads, just give me the face. The thing you’re all talking about, pushing for that, not allowing me to slow things down and find out who the market was, create the messages, then do the… Now, I still had success doing that because I have things I did. But the point is, again, do you think that clients sometimes have a hand in that because they’re rushing to get this?

Yeah, 100 %. And I know we work with what we call midmarket small businesses, the medium-sized businesses. So we typically work with small businesses that are established. They have a revenue stream and they have a product and they’re that thing. But yes, I find that very common that sometimes they don’t care how you get there, or they don’t want to know the details. They just want the results. But the problem is number one, we’re happy to jump into that, and we want to jump into that. We’re going to be more successful that way. Not to say that we can’t be successful the other way, but look, it’s going to take more time, it’s going to take more money, and then the owners and principals don’t like that either. But the problem is we always try to discuss what all those things are from a brand strategy standpoint. And if they don’t have them, let’s explore them. But then they come back to say they have all kinds of different things. We don’t have time, we don’t have a budget is big one. It’s like, I don’t have the money to do that. Time, budget, I always do that.

Yeah, we’re just trying to be as candid with them as possible. I’m going to guarantee you’re going to spend the money either way. We just spend it upfront and we do that research and we do all of that work, or we’re going to spend it and wasted that cost.

And you’re going to end up firing me.

Blame it on me.

Yeah, that’s exactly the challenge that we have. To that point, there are times when we’ve talked with clients where we haven’t brought them on us. I was like, We’re getting set up for failure here because these pieces aren’t in place. From our experience, if we don’t have these pieces in place, it’s not going to work. Sometimes they enjoy the candidness, sometimes they’re not all that entirely happy. Your job is 100 % harder when you don’t have those things in place and you have much more propensity to fail.

Absolutely. It’s why I see a lot of rise in agencies going the pay-per-lead route and developing their brand assets to do that work and then sell the leads to the client. Do you think that’s a future trend that’s going to happen?

Yeah. I think as a marketing agency, our new business development is a pretty well thought-out, strategic, and tactically integrated machine. I think that in some particular industries, creating those leads themselves for clients could work. I guess getting back to what I was saying is our leads are a machine, but we’re deep into that marketing agency. We could speak to that super intelligently. We could talk about all aspects of branding, marketing, and creativity. But if I started getting into the architecture space or a SaaS space for health care insurance, there is an additional sales channel in there that we couldn’t speak to intelligently, but could we find those leads? Yeah. And I think could we put that in front of them? So I think there’s a lot of things that are changing and a lot of things are evolving. The marketing space has always evolved and always changed. The change is something like that. I think it’s possible.

You said that in university, you were mediocre. That’s a pretty candid, humbling thing to say because not a lot of people would say that about themselves. How did you find your passion for marketing? Could you tell me the story behind that?

Yeah. so as soon as I got out of college, I went into a telesales position. So this is the late 1990s, early 2000s. And then my job was to dial numbers, smiling and dialing, making phone calls inside sales. I didn’t like it.

I hated it. It doesn’t surprise me.

As you were talking about earlier, I think some people are born for certain auto sales, and some people aren’t. Some people are born for that position and that was never my thing. So I knew that I had to get out of that. Then I tripped and dabbled in a few outside sales. Still, it wasn’t my thing. I’m not a pushy, really, that type of attitude, I suppose. So I knew what I didn’t want to I’m not a pushy, really that type of attitude, I suppose. So I knew what I didn’t want to do, but then I ended up being recruited by a consultant, one of our by job. He was an outside consultant, but he was a partner in a small little agency here in Colorado. And so I started working for them. And that was the moment of working for them that I knew that the way they approached it was value add, benefits, benefits, and really trying, really helping businesses. Then they had that creative point. I knew right then and there this win when I wanted to be in the agency space. After that, I went to work on the client side and was the VP of Marketing on the client side for banking software for county jails, go figure.

Oh.

Yeah. That’s interesting. Yeah, pretty interesting space. But they created a banking software for inmates to buy commissary items, like anything that the jail doesn’t provide. You buy candy bars and chips and all that stuff. And they had a bank software that tracked their bank accounts and people could put money on their bank accounts. And then they fulfilled those commissary orders and delivered them to the jails. So go figure out how I stumbled on that.

That’s a unique business model for sure. Probably not a lot of competition either because I don’t know if a lot of people want to do that. And once you get integrated into the system, the attrition rate is probably pretty low because you’re already there. It’s making the switch is probably difficult.

It was all RFPs stuff. So it’s like government contracts, RFPs, ten-year contracts, that thing once you’re in.

Yeah. Wow.

But that was when it changed. I knew it. I always wanted to do the agency thing, and I was doing a little bit of that creative, a little bit of that messaging and marketing within that space. But then I just felt so cramped into one, like I’m fit into one small little box. Commissary banking, inmate software, I just, Wow. The creativeness was constraining. Then I got laid off from that job. When I got laid off, that’s when I started the business.

So I decided, I got to go forward. I was going to ask you, what inspired you to start the agency? So it was the layoff? Yes. What happened was that in 2008 when the recession happened?

Great recession. Yes. Technically, I had started the business three years earlier while I was working on that client side, and I had a buddy who owned a painting company, the little pub downtown. I do little things here and there. You do posters for the bands that are coming in for the weekend, or you did a poster for them to hang some marketing material on doors and that thing. But I started in 2005, but that was always just extra income, making a few extra bucks here and there. But in 2008, when the Great Recession happened, I was called into the office with the HR director and the President. And I said I knew as soon as I walked in the room, I was like, Here we go. And then the job market was just nonexistent. I thought, I said, Let’s go full-time with this. Let’s see what happens.

And the rest is history.

The rest is history. Started as a one-man shop. Wow.

So you took a situation that was not good, to say the least, and turned it into if they’d never let you go, you maybe would never have started your put up your shingle.

Yeah. And that’s the catalyst. And I just needed the push. Just needed that small push. And after your initial shock and freak out, you start to think, Okay, look, I’m a smart enough person. I got some marketing skills. I’m not going to starve. I may be out of work for a while or whatever, but I will get through it. So after that, I was like, Wait a minute, we could do even better than that. Let’s not just get a job to survive. Let’s start doing some cool stuff and fun stuff and maybe doing it on your own. I think that was the push. And after that, if that hadn’t happened, I don’t think it would have happened.

Did you get your first clients as a result of friends and family?

Yeah.

And how did you expand beyond that?

You know what? Referrals and I just started hustling. At the time, I wasn’t married, no kids, just me. I lived in a small apartment. This is like the entrepreneur’s journey that everybody talks about. I started in a garage, I started in an apartment. I remember my mortgage for this little condo that I bought was like $400 a month, $450 with my mortgage. So it was nothing. Not very much. Yeah, super cheap. But I just started to puzzle. I was going to get involved in volunteer work, and business organization.

Okay, tell me about that for a minute, though. The volunteer work, what volunteer opportunities did you look for? Maybe that’s a pretty good idea to get a portfolio and to get your people to say, Who designed that?

Yeah, exactly what I did. So I did some things. Who was one of the first volunteers? Yeah, it was for the alumni association of this school. I went to Colorado State, and so it was an alumni association. We started volunteering there. And then I started doing some more charity stuff. I joined the American Cancer, the local chapter of the American Cancer Society.

So did you approach them to be on the board or something?

Yeah, they just had opportunities to plan and be on the board. That’s how I started just meeting people. Then you just started meeting people, shaking hands. But it was super exhausting because I was at a meeting or a happy hour. It was probably four to five times a week I was out just hustling, shaking hands, getting people to know me. My personality was never like this forward salesperson. I wanted to build relationships organically, and authentically, and have that when people come around, then, Hey, let’s have that talk. And how I still approach it a little bit, we try to be our authentic selves, right? Yeah. I think.

You have to.

Yeah. Rather than you think that trying to sell hard to sell somebody into something. That just never was my personality.

You know what? I don’t think you need to be. And I read the book by Blair Singer called Sales Dogs. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of that book or not, but it’s a phenomenal book. And he talks about the different types of dogs that there are. And I’m trying to Google it right now. And one of them was a golden retriever, which was a service-based salesperson. They will do everything to make you happy to be of service. And the other is a bloodhound. And I can’t remember what they all are. But one of them is the pit bull. He talks about the pit bull being the stereotypical car salesperson. He says you don’t need to be that. The pit bull just burns through people and everybody thinks that. It’s amazing how everybody thinks that’s what sales is about. I don’t think that’s true. Now, he did say something, you do need to be a pit bull at times when you’re going to close the sale. For instance, when I was selling cars, I knew when I had to be a pit bull, but I still could be a nice pit bull. But it was when we were negotiating the price of the car in terms of the purchase.

That’s when I had to be a pit bull and go for the sale. So when I was standing up, I was their friend. When I was sitting down, I was in business as a pit bull. Now, it doesn’t mean I was rude. I was just asking for the sale.

And you do.

Right? Yeah. And I think sales is all about relationships. I don’t think people want to do business with someone they don’t like or don’t respect or don’t have a relationship with. So you said it got pretty scary, pretty hectic. Was it worth it, though? Did you have to at some point pivot and say this isn’t working, or did it end up working and lead to any business?

Yeah, that’s how I started. It started very gradually in little small projects for entrepreneurs or people that needed a logo or somebody. After that, I started telling myself, I need to have some working knowledge of design. I never had a working knowledge of Photoshop and Illustrator, so I went back to school and night started going to classes. I did do some of that in the beginning. I did do some of that design work. But then you come to the understanding, it’s like, I can’t be a jack of all trades because I’m going to be the master of none. I can do certain things, but what I needed in the sales process was I need to have a working knowledge of how it works. If somebody’s asking me to do this, I can speak in my tongue and I know how the process works. I did do that and I started building out our team and started working with our creative director, who had a lot of experience, decades of experience working with branding companies and design and branding and that stuff. Like you were saying earlier, I need to find somebody smarter than me or better than me at that particular thing.

Otherwise, I’m going to be very mediocre in a lot of little things. I can be very mediocre, but I wanted to be good. You just eventually started building out the team. You started to build the team away from that market of entrepreneurs, really start a small business thing and moving into bigger companies that have bigger budgets, that have more resources to put behind it because I’m building out our team as well that have all those people that have those specific skills. Because otherwise, I can mess around with the WordPress website, too, but is it the best WordPress website? My team that has the skills, one’s going to make it that really good website.

How did you know when to first hire that person and bring them on?

Yeah, it was a hard transition. I don’t know if it was a moment of clarity or something, but I knew at some point, I don’t know the exact time, but I remember getting to the point where looking at some of the things that I was putting together and just looking at it going, I was like, This isn’t good enough. I have to have somebody that is an expert in that skill set. I don’t know if it was like I said, a moment of clarity or whatever, and I don’t know the exact moment, but I remember starting to think that it was like, We have to do these kinds of things. Then you started doing those things. Look, I don’t have the time to do all of it. I don’t have the time to work on new business development and build relationships, processes, and companies. I need to get what they say, get out of running.

Instead of working in your business, start working on your business.

Working on your business and then working in your business. And that’s where we’re still transitioning on some of that. But at the same time, it’s definitely out of the production portion.

Of it. Yeah. So it’s hard because I know from running an agency that how do you figure out… I know one agency that grew himself broke. He grew the agency so big and he didn’t read the book profit first, and I can’t remember who wrote it. And he didn’t know what his margins were and so on. And he just kept on bringing client after client after client after client. And he was making the money and eventually had to shut it down. And how did you know, for instance, to be able to have the capital to afford that person and to keep it? I’ve talked to lots of agency owners, and entrepreneurs and kept it running in the sense of, okay, I got to sell this much to make this amount of money to pay this person’s paycheck, and I got to make a paycheck. That’s the business side of things that’s hard to figure out for a lot of people. Can you share any insights on how you figured some of that stuff out for those who may be listening?

Yeah. I think I learned early on from undergrad that those accounting processes and profit margins are key. I started tracking that early on exactly what we were making, charging, profit, all of these different things. In the beginning, I was tracking it in an Excel spreadsheet, just some ridiculous spread thing. We’ve continued that strategy. We’ve evolved and gotten a lot more sophisticated with that, with all of the things that are out there. But now we emphasize that because that’s key. It is great that we continue to bring business in, but we all now have at some point, we have a pretty good idea of any, from a creative standpoint, any creative project that comes on board, how long it’s going to take us to do that creative project, how much that’s going to bill going to cost us. And we turn business away because it’s just not profitable.

What formula do you use? It’s fascinating to me because I know you bring on a project, let’s say someone is selling hemp-made products. They’re not products made from hemp, like clothing and textiles. And they want you to build an e-commerce site and we have to go and quote them. And we have to think in our minds, Steven Covey said, begin with the end in mind and figure out, okay, how long is this going to take? What do they have? What do they need? And it’s almost like we’re creating, we’re manufacturing, and selling at the same time. That’s one of the biggest struggles I find in running a marketing agency and figuring out what is the cost per action. Because getting it down to a cost per action based on the SOPs, it’s not easy to do.

It’s not easy but we put together a process. We start to ask these questions of clients, for your example, from our website, e-commerce website, how many products are there? What’s the entire functionality? Go through all those checklist pieces to say, Okay, and then we know that for each product page that we develop, it’s going to take X amount of time. You have 100 queues and 100 products, it’s it. And then you just build in some fluff there.

Some.

Movement room because there’s always the unthought-of things that come up, the unforeseen. Absolutely.

A buffer. A buffer of money.

Yeah. But then for the budget. Again, we’re pretty candid with the clients, too, and say, look, if we get to this point and we step back, that cost, we’re doing it very literally. Here’s what we look like from a structure standpoint on a website. Here’s the functionality. If we get down the road here, then all of a sudden you have to add another functionality piece, or you just decided you’ve added your product line into 50 more skews, guess what? That price moves. And you have to be super candid with them, super upfront about them, super transparent about it.

But it’s never easy.

Some of them don’t like that.

No, they don’t like it, do they?

No, but it’s never easy. But you always try to say, Again, we’re trying to have authentic relationships and candid relationships, but at the same time, it’s like, Look, I’m still a business, too. We’re still trying to make money, too.

And then we’re trying to collaborate, but at the same time, I value it to you, but we need to make money.

Yeah, exactly. We turn away business from time to time. We just did one, I think it was a week and a half ago. Their budget just wasn’t there. And I wanted to build that relationship and maybe build that out. I was like, Hey, I’m losing my pants on this thing.

I’m not one for free. It’s not going to happen. Yeah, it’s interesting. Good design, good development, good functionality, good marketing, it costs money. Yeah.

And I think that the problem is the perception nowadays is marketing is so easy and it doesn’t cost me anything. And hey, I can go on Squarespace, and for $50 a month, I could create a website and I could click and drag it. Or I could go to Facebook, make a business Facebook page and I could start marketing. It’s not the reality.

No, it’s not. Many clients end up trying to do that and then realize how hard it is and then come to you. And then they don’t have any money. There are certain businesses, that just don’t have money. You need to figure it out yourself then. You need to go on with life and learn.

I also thought that I think that the barrier to entry to starting a business today is so much easier.

Low. Yeah, it’s low. The barrier to entry is so low.

I can start, I know how it works in Canada, but you can register with the Secretary of State. That cost you $10. Now you have a company, you can put a website up. You don’t have a physical store, you can put an ad. Back in the day, you had probably had that you most likely had to have an office, had to have a warehouse, you had to have products, you had to have salespeople, and someplace to go. So I think that the perception that it’s so easy is detrimental to a lot of businesses.

Because it’s not. It’s also an intangible product. We have an intangible product that we’re selling knowledge.

And.

It’s hard to communicate that value to people. Even now, I’m having a hard time with someone communicating the value of what I proposed to do for them. I’m in a position where it’s, you know what? If you don’t like it, go find someone else. I don’t care. To be very blunt, I don’t because I know what I’ve acquired and the knowledge I’ve acquired over the last 17 years is what you’re getting from me, and the past results of what I’ve gotten for you, are significant. I’m not going to go into any details but go hire someone you think maybe can do it.

Your Nephew’s 14-year-old kid and see how that works.

That’s it. Yeah, that’s it. My cousin was a photographer for a while. Okay, go see how those pictures turn out. That’s another industry that people think it’s so easy to do. But there is a stark difference between our photographer when he’s composing a photograph and lighting and the whole bit than somebody just has a $500 DSLR.

Or their phone. There’s an art to it. Or their phone. Yeah, there’s an art to it. There’s knowledge to it. There’s a difference between a skilled professional and an amateur. So how do you communicate that value and position yourself that way? Is it based on your portfolio? How do you overcome those challenges of people thinking that what we do is not hard, shouldn’t be as expensive, or shouldn’t cost as much money as maybe we’re pitching? What are some of the things you say to overcome those hurdles?

You mentioned portfolios, right? Like, our portfolios, testimonials, referral, and stuff from current clients. But there is, again, the candidness and the openness and the transparency of, Hey, this is how we operate. This is our experience. That comes into our pitch, if you will, as well. But look at some of these well-known companies that we work for or some of somebody in your city we work for and look at all the things that we’ve produced to get there. At any point, any smart, seasoned business professional, I think, will know that. And I think that there was a market shift from our ideal client profile, like the psychographic to somebody that has already gotten that, that we’ve moved away from trying to explain that to somebody, to explain our value to the people that know hiring a professional, somebody who has a lot of experience in this space is to my benefit. I’m going to have to do that. So we’ve moved away from that shift of trying to have that conversation because we just found that it’s a losing conversation. If somebody has the perception that it’s so easy, me trying to convince them that it’s not I don’t know that it’s worth my time because I’m not convinced.

It’s worth trying.

At some point, they’re going to realize. At some point they’re going to realize and be like, Hey, this is a lot harder than I thought, which is where we put leads like that into our A, B, and C buckets, which don’t keep it in contact with them because there’s so many times they come back and be like, Hey, I tried that and it didn’t work. Can we do this? Sure we can. I’m just not going to beat myself over the head time and time again trying to change your perception.

You’re stuck there. Absolutely. What do you think are some of the most significant opportunities and challenges facing the marketing industry right now? And how do you see Insight evolving to meet these changes?

A good one that’s been in the news quite a bit is AI, right? Yeah, chat GPT. It’s something that I think we have to address, not only from the chat, and GHB side, but also some of the artwork and creative side. The market has always evolved, right? You told somebody in the ’50s, Madman days, that you’d have computer design programs on computers and you can mock up things in a matter of hours instead of matters of days, they would be super concerned. But it evolves. I think so how do we use some of those things to our advantage? How do we integrate them into our processes, maybe something like, I don’t know that is where it is right now that it would work completely on its own, but how do we integrate that into some of the stuff that we do and use that to our advantage? How do we integrate some of that artwork piece to our advantage? I think that is a challenge. I think that there’s a challenge in the design world of some of these unlimited design subscriptions for people. Say, I’ll do as much graphic design as you want for 100 bucks a month or whatever it is.

I think that’s a challenge. But I think for us, that’s something that people that want that product that’s our target market. And that may be that one person that is starting off their basement and they wanted to start something, they just have a few bucks and that’s a great start for them. But for us, that’s not how I feel you’re going to be successful if you don’t have something unique and custom.

I think there will be people out there. I think as agencies and marketers, we can leverage those tools. I was talking to someone, I was reading a story about coders, and the vast majority of coders who are using chat GPT and AI to write code are seasoned coders and programmers and software engineers because it helps them speed up the output and they’re easily able to spot mistakes or is a junior coder can’t necessarily spot those mistakes or find those things or know how to leverage it as much because they don’t understand code as much? I don’t know how to use chat GPT to launch software code. I have no idea. And yet I know how to use it to write copy, and I know how to use it to write damn good copy. But that’s because I’ve spent a portion of my life learning about sales copy. After all, Bill Glaser, who is Dan K’s partner, said the number one skill that every entrepreneur and small business owner or business owner should learn is copywriting. Even if you’re not going to write it, you should learn how to identify good copy from bad copy.

So I spent time learning copy and I know how to use it good copy. So I think maybe copywriters might be in a little bit of trouble. But here’s the thing. I’m trying to get a good copywriter, just like I talked about that season programmer, who can use it to output more copy than he knows how to do it. I read it, I wish I had recorded the story with this guy who’s making a million dollars a month. He’s using copy.AI to write sales letters for people. He started doing it. Then he went and found seven of his friends who don’t even know how to write copy. He taught them how to do it using copy. AI just replicated himself. Now, I don’t know if that’s a long-term successful business because it’s people-based and resource-based and so on. But if you want to make some money, sure, it’s pretty smart. But as I said, it’s the tool. The point I’m trying to get at, Adam, is it’s a tool. Just like a mechanic knows how to use a hammer or a wrench.

I’m a moron when it comes to mechanics. But you give him a toolbox, he knows what to do with it. I have no idea. And it’s the same thing, I think, for these tools. If you’re a crappy marketer, you’re still going to be a crappy marketer if you have AI or not. You’re still a crappy marketer because you can’t tell the difference between good marketing and bad marketing, rude copy and bad copy, or whatever the case may be. Oh, no. Do you think I’m out to lunch? What are your thoughts on that?

No, I agree. Again, as I said, any industry is going to evolve to get better, to uncover new technologies, to uncover and discover. For us, is it new marketing channels? What is that? You knew 30 years ago who knew Facebook is going to be an Instagram or a huge marketing channel for us, and who knew that the yellow pages are nonexistent? In madman times, that was the thing. You got a business, you got an office, you put an ad in
the yellow pages.

Or in the newspaper.

The newspaper, yeah. See, there you go. There’s another one. So it’s all going to evolve, right? But what’s next? We just don’t know what’s next. I think that some industries, copywriters, yeah, they may be in trouble, and that may go away, not be as big of an industry for people. But what’s next? What are those people to go start the next Facebook or start the next whatever?

Use your copywriting skills to start a business, a business that’s not based on copywriting, but use your copywriting skills to start the next big plumbing company. I don’t know. I’m just throwing that out there. I’m not saying that. Use your copywriting skills to make plumbing sexy.

Yeah, but you never know. But I guess that doesn’t comfort a lot of copywriters right now. In the long term, though, hey, let’s use the word pivot. What are you going to pivot into the next thing? And use those skills and move into something else. We were talking the other day to my wife, let’s go disrupt the car rental industry because that is always frustrating.

Yeah, absolutely. And use Chat GPT to help you come up with ideas to disrupt some of those industries. That’s what I’ve done, by the way. I’ve gotten some pretty seriously cool business ideas from telling them what I want to do is, Whoa, that’s a cool brand name. Is the domain name available? Yeah. Boom. Snatch. Got it. Are social media handles available? Yes. Boom. Bang. Got them.

What.

Advice would you give to someone just starting in the marketing profession? And what are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned in your career?

I think you would surround yourself with people that are smarter and better than you. Go up a pay grade. Not only from a mentorship standpoint but from just a networking portion of it. The more people you know that are decision makers that know more than you, that can teach you more, the more your career is going to skyrocket, or you’re going to uncover something else that you want to do. So here in the marketing profession, I definitely would be above your pay grade. And everybody told me that in college, to go to your network. But it was an awkward thing. You go to an event and you don’t know anybody and you don’t know what to say, and it’s really weird. But there are other ways to do that. Join other organizations. Join organizations where you’re still organically getting to know people. You’re not forced or you have an activity or it’s a sports club or whatever that is. But just make your identity that the people within that club or in that organization are people that I want to know. So let’s go do that.

Yeah, absolutely. Hey, it’s been fascinating talking to you today. I’m so glad you came to the show. What’s one big takeaway you want listeners to get from this episode?

I think that we talked a little bit about it coming out organically, but I think that there’s always a way to pivot. I think there’s always a way to take what’s happened where you learned, where you didn’t learn how you fail, and turn that around into it’s pretty cliche, any learning opportunity. But if you take that and know that, Hey, this may not have been what I wanted it to happen, but if I could turn it this way, it identified a different path. Yeah, it’s always a positive thing. So keep the focus on the positive.

Absolutely. Hey, how can our audience connect with you online if they choose to do so?

You can always check us out on our website at insight international.com. Then all our social handles are Insight, and BMC on all the major socials. But you could always look me up on LinkedIn, @ Adam O’Leary, based out of Denver, Colorado. I’m always there too. You can just Google me.

Okay. Make sure to put that information in the show notes. It’s been an absolute pleasure having you here today. Thank you so much for being on the show and hope to have you back again.

Matt, I appreciate the time. Thanks very much. I enjoyed it.

Right on.

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