29. Turn Your Adversity into an Opportunity [with Tony Guarnaccia]

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Tony Guarnaccia grew up in a small business.

With a passion for marketing, he found the company “Big Fish Results” in a mission to Democratize Marketing.

His experience includes a $400 million ad spends on Google and working with companies like Ford, ADP, and GM.

He came from a background where his mom taught him how to convert adversity into an opportunity, but he himself has been exploring things in the world of entrepreneurs.

His experiences include building an organic content strategy, how to overcome a crisis, building a profitable business through successful marketing funnel building, and more.

It’s always good to have a conversation with people like him, where it’s not just about marketing, but I also get to talk about management, leadership, and more. Now, hit that play button.

Show Notes

  • [2:43] The background of Tony.
  • [4:26] Building an organic content strategy.
  • [5:19] Red flags that signal a business is in trouble.
  • [7:18] 3 tips to grow during a period of crisis.
  • [9:55] Category: Competing vs creating a new category.
  • [12:32] What would be the first marketing hire would look like, what metrics to measure in the first 6 months?
  • [17:20] At what point should you hire an agency vs doing that inhouse?
  • [19:49] How customer retention can help you to up-sell or cross-sell?
  • [20:57] How can you measure the metrics of building a community around your business?
  • [23:30] Why his mission of Democratize marketing is relevant now?
  • [28:15] Customer advocacy, what can we learn from the B2C companies.


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* There is a chance that this transcript may have some errors. But, we’ve tried our best to keep it 99% accurate 😎

Shiva  00:01

Hi, you’re listening to driven e-commerce at work. The podcast where we bring in conversations with the e-commerce experts. We also put together some interesting content from different places, including our monthly sessions, Speaker Series, and anything that’s related to e-commerce for manufacturing and distribution. If you’re here for the first time, I would highly encourage you to go and subscribe to our show on Apple podcasts and Spotify.

Shiva  00:35

Hey, what’s up everyone? Welcome back to another episode of driven e-commerce at work. I’m your host, Shiva Kumaar. Today, we’ve got an interesting guest. And that’s  Tony Guarnaccia Founder of Big Fish Results. The one main reason that I actually wanted to talk to him is because of his expertise in Aspen. So he has a huge experience in managing or dollar 400 million in you know, Aspen and also earned that Google Partner of the Year title 2009. I guess. So Tony, welcome to the show. And thank you so much for accepting to be our guest.

Tony  01:08

Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to chat with you today. And yeah, let’s get going.

Shiva  01:14

Cool. So how is the morning so far? And how’s your business going?

Tony  01:18

Going? Well, it’s been, as I mentioned, you before we jumped on, I have six kids. So it’s always a little crazy, juggling all that with homeschool, and everyone, you know, with Coronavirus, and all that. So it’s kind of crazy. But business is good. We’re making a lot of changes a lot pivots to adapt to the new environment we have today. So we’re coming up with some really interesting products that have really gotten a lot of traction very quickly. So I’m very, very happy about that. And happy to talk about that as we get into things.

Shiva  01:44

Good. So how do you usually start your day? So this work from home thing is not actually new for you? Right? So now you read books or listen, podcasts are? How do you usually start your day?

Tony  01:55

Yeah, it’s a great question. So I think it’s important to always start with a positive mindset. And so for me that starts with, I read a Bible, some scriptures, some inspirational verses, I pray, sometimes I’ll read non-fiction, and even short things like a chapter, or there’s even kind of like, I like Peter Drucker. And so a whole lot like a little, you know, three page thing, almost like a devotional type thing where you can read it every day. So I’ll read something like that, that’s short, that I can consume something that I can apply, because the way I look at is if I learn one new thing every day, by the end of the year, it really drives exponential growth and the limits of my team and my company is really my limit. So if I improve, everything else is gonna improve by extension of that.

Shiva  02:43

Mm hmm. So just to give a brief about you to the listeners, why don’t you give us some walkthrough? I mean, like, what you’re doing and your business and other things?

Tony  02:52

Yeah, sure. Yeah. So I focus on several areas, I have an agency called Big Fish Results, which I started that roughly, over 10 years ago, I started essentially, as a freelance when I was in the corporate world, and then moved out on my own roughly eight years ago, that was kind of what funded everything I was to do afterwards. So I really use the agency is kind of a jumpstart to kind of fund my real initiatives, which was to start a software company to do training, consulting, and coaching, and, and really create a framework. I’m really very visual. So I like to create frameworks and strategies and things like that based off of everything I learned. And so that’s kind of where I’m going and pursuing now, because that’s very much my passion.

Shiva  03:37

So you also wrote a book on Big Fish Results, is that correct?

Tony  03:41

Yes, I had a book, initially a big fish. And now I’m focused on launching another book, which is really kind of my seminal work. I’ve this has been something I’ve been working on for, really, it’s a life life effort, honestly. And so I’m teaching all the principles I’ve learned over the past 20 years of doing digital marketing with, you know, 10,000 companies, and a whole lot of great companies like Google, ADP and Ford and companies like that. So what I’ve taken is a lot of what I learned in those worlds, that I thought was missing with the small and medium sized companies, and that books called Small steps to grow profits, that’s gonna be coming out. I originally was going to launch it this fall. I’m working on very significant virtual summit, I’m probably going to most likely launch it after that happens.

Shiva  04:25

Okay, cool. So I’ll start off with something that’s interesting. So like I said, I think we can go for the Google ads, but AdWords, that’s been a great topic forever. So should an e-commerce business rely only on the Google AdWords? I mean, for starters, what other content marketing strategy they’ll have to follow, you know, to rank better in the Google and at the same time, you know, you’ll still grow organically over a period of time, right?

Tony  04:50

Yeah. So I think you should always have a diversified strategy. You don’t want to put all your eggs in the one proverbial basket. Reason being is, you know, Google changes his algorithm. If Facebook changes, you know, AdWords ad costs go up dramatically overnight, which has happened to me in different niches before, then that really puts your business at risk. And so as difficult as it can be, you want to have a variety of different channels that you can rely on.

Shiva  05:18

Okay, okay. So what are, you know, some of the red flags that can signal that business is actually in trouble.

Tony  05:25

Yeah, so particularly in times like this, you really want to be keeping an eye on two things, one, your profitability, so how much money you have coming through, that’s profit, which is really the difference between your costs and you know, all the costs associated with delivering the product, whether that’s a fixed cost, which is kind of, you know, something that’s always going to be there, like your your warehouse or things like that. And also your variable costs, which are really the cost of product things that change. So you always want to get a handle on what is your profit margin on each product, at the end of the day, the key thing is your profitability, like how much is available after everything is said and done. That’s the first thing. So how much and then when, and when is a lot of times what businesses will miss.

Tony  06:09

So they might say, Hey, we’re profitable, but especially in the B2B space, you might not have the cash coming in for months at a time, you know, if you’re an agency, you know, if you’re, if you’re having been around a while, a lot of agencies will bill after the fact, you know, they’ll deliver the website, they’ll do the work, and then they’ll bill and then they’re chasing clients. What I always did, and what I learned from working with great companies is you collect your cash upfront. So before I do anything, whether it’s consulting, a website, anything, I get paid in advance.

Tony  06:39

And so that really helps control your cash flow. But no matter what scenario you’re in, whether agency, manufacturer, you know, B2B, or even consumer, you always want to make sure you’re getting the cash as quickly as possible. And that’s those really two drivers. So when is it coming in, and how much of it and really keeping an eye on that is important, because if you’re starting to see either one of those become a problem, you’re getting paid later and later from your customers, your clients, or you’re not getting as much, you know, you have to look at reducing your costs, which unfortunately, you’re seeing so many companies do right now. But those are really the key ones I would look at in this environment.

Shiva  07:17

Good. So you hopefully know, thousands of businesses survive crisis for many businesses, you know, this is definitely a rough time across the world, right? So if you’ve got to give them at least like two or three tips to grow. So what would it be?

Tony  07:34

Yeah, that’s a great question. So I have focused on building, one of the things that goes in that book I mentioned before small steps to grow profits is is one of the frameworks I created, which is called the results loop. And the results loop looks at the six factors that drive growth across any industry, any company, any stage in any situation, whether it’s crisis, or they’re looking to scale. And so those six factors are really what I was looking at, in terms of growing in any environment. And those are number one, your market you’re serving. Number two, the products and services, you’re providing those markets, number three, your value proposition, followed by four or five, and six, which are how many new buyers, you’re having the size mean lifetime value of those buyers, and finally, the loyalty of those buyers, so getting them to come back and giving you referrals.

Tony  08:24

And so if you’re an established company, I would focus at the end of the loop and say, okay, out of my customers, how many of them can get to buy another time? You know, if every customer bought twice? Theoretically, you could double your revenue just by doing that, right? Or can they give you a referral? So the lowest hanging fruit if you’re an established company is usually at the end of the loop. So starting with loyalty, and then going into lifetime value and lifetime value saying can I sell them more? You know, if you know like McDonald’s you go in they supersize it, you know, so can you can you get a higher value from each order and ultimately the lifetime of that customer. So getting the buy more and more frequently larger purchases, etc. If you’re a newer business and you’re still trying to get your footing or if you find yourself in a position where you have to pivot you have to adapt and go into a new market, then you want to start to begin a loop and you want to say okay, am I serving the right market for where things are today and more importantly, where things are going.

Tony  09:20

So, do I have to change something there? So, I go up market and target higher end market because they have more money. So, I go down market and kind of splinter my product off and sell smaller aspect of it at a lower price point. So you have to make those kinds of decisions, which then naturally goes into factor two, which is your products and services. So your market and your products services are very much tied together because your pricing comes into account, you know, the geographic targets your your your targeting comes into play, all that is is playing off of each other the markets and the offerings.

Shiva  09:55

So, I mean, when we talk about marketing one interesting thing that I always Have in mind is the categories and I’m not sure how you know, every company’s is actually treating this sometimes it can be oracle as well. So what’s your take on the category creation? I mean, do you believe in competing with businesses on the same category? Or should we create one where you know, we’ll be an early adopter?

Tony  10:21

Yeah, that’s that’s an interesting question. So the way I look at it is more from a value perspective. So there’s, you always want to look at can I provide value to the market, that should be the guiding force, irregardless of competition? So to look at that, you want to answer the question, how am I going to serve the market in a way that’s unique? And so you know, if you’re, if you’re looking at a very competitive market, then yes, a lot of times you have to go in from a different perspective, and get a smaller as splinter that category. So the best thing to do regardless, is to create your own category.

Tony  10:56

So how do you do that? Well, this goes back to loop. So for instance, if you’re in an area, so say you’re selling e-commerce, you know, say you’re Magento, right? You could say, Yes, I’m Magento, that’s a category, but then all of a sudden, you could take your markets and your offerings, and create something totally new and say, look at, we’re the only Magento agency for, you know, this particular niche, or we only do Magento, you know, in this timeframe, we can, we can build a Magento site in 24 hours, as opposed. So in other words, your guiding forces, what’s missing in the market your value, so you always want to be a category of one, if possible. And it’s a matter of reframing what that is. But it all starts with a value and value at the end day is an exchange.

Tony  11:39

And so at the base at the most fundamental level of value, there’s an exchange of money for a result. And so I always start there and say, what’s the end result that my target my audience, my market my buyers is looking for, and that will be the guiding force of how you go in? And then from there, you can say, okay, once you’re established, how do I expand my market share, which is really looking at that category. So when you’re a category, you want to say, How do I dominate that market share? So if there’s already a player in there that’s got, you know, 99% of the market? Do I create a new market a new category, or if it’s a smaller, more segmented market, so say it’s, you know, dry cleaners, there’s a million dry cleaners in the world, and they’re all very fragmented, you know, can I go in and be a category killer, so it really is starting there. But regardless, start with value, that’s really the key thing is the value of delivering to the market you’re serving.

Shiva  12:32

Good. So I’ll just come back to the B2B distribution, and then the e-commerce especially, you know, this is the time for every company to handle, you know, the employee side of things. So one thing that opened up is, we’re actually ready to hire from the current non location as well. So let’s say for based out of California earlier, we’ll have to stick with California, but because of the current situation, or actually open hire, even from non USA as well. So that’s the same thing that’s been working for as in India as well. So if a B2B distributor is making his or her first hire for the marketing team, right now, so what would be the next two hires would look like when you know this person comes in? And what kind of metrics do they have to measure? At least within the next three or six months?

Tony  13:21

Yeah, so what I was looking at is really it’s a it’s a matrix, basically, you want to say, Okay, how strategically, strategically important is this role? And do I have the in house capability today, and that will leave you with really four different outcomes? The first one would be, okay, I don’t, they’re not strategically important. And I don’t have the in house capability in that situation, you want to outsource, you know, if they’re strategically, strategically important, and you have the in house capability, then you have to reassess the importance, you know, if it’s strategically important, but you have in house capability, that maybe you invest more. So that’s the first thing is saying, basically, to kind of distill that make it simple. Do I have the resources in house if there’s someone that can do it for me? And if it’s important, you know, and I need to do it continually, do I hire that person? So as an example, because examples make this clear? If this is something very important, I don’t have in house capabilities, but maybe I just have to do it once. What would be example that well, a website, right, if you’re going to build a website, maybe get a third party to build a for you, because you don’t want to build that in house, because that’s going to effectively be more expensive.

Tony  14:33

But if this is something you have to do and continue, like so for instance, say you need to continually create blog content. And you have to do it every single week in social media content, maybe that’s something you want to bring in house if you don’t have it. And so that’s the first thing you want to say I’ll say is say, is this strategically important? And is this an in house capability and should it be? Really that’s the thing you wanna think about? Should it be on either one of those, once you have that define, when it comes down to marketing is really four different roles. The first one is the planning and strategy. And that’s usually the owner of the company, the manager director. So I’m assuming that whoever is hiring this role has that, that responsibility. Underneath that, you can really silo it into three areas, one, things related to your website, to your media, and the distribution of your content, which is a third thing. So you have your content, you have your website type activities, and then you have your media. And so again, you want to assess the same way, okay, is this stretch strategically important, and is it in house capability that will give you kind of the guiding principles, what you want to do. And so for the first hire, if you’re a smaller company, the other thing to keep in account is there’s really two kinds of hires.

Tony  15:45

There’s generalist who know a lot of stuff, but not fantastic at any of them. And then you have specialists, if you’re a smaller company, you want to hire the generalists, because that means they can do more stuff, they may not be an expert at spending $400 million in ad spend like me, but you don’t need me for that necessarily. You want someone that’s an expert in that area that you can hire a consultant, for instance. And so where I would start, if I’m doing the first three hires is get a generalist that can do a bunch of things, and then focus on on training that person.

Tony  16:18

And that’s where training systems come in play, whether it’s online or coaching, that’s very, very important. And that way, you can hire the right person and really focus on is it? Are they a cultural fit? Do they have the right behavioral patterns, because all this stuff can ultimately be taught? That’s not as critical, you want to have the right synergy with your team, and the right capability on their part. So they actually can learn it. And what does that mean? Well, are they analytical, if they’re analytical, don’t give them creative stuff, you know, maybe that’s the person is looking at the stats, you know, if they’re creative, don’t necessarily put them in the data area. And so there’s a lot a lot of things to take into account with this, which is why I’m taking a little time to explain it, it can be a little complicated, but that’s the principles is a Do you need them or not? Do I outsource to do it in house. Two is it going to feel content website or media? And then three? How do I find the right person? I would look at their culture fit their behavior and their really their mindset. And then the skills are kind of the last criteria, because that can be taught.

Shiva  17:18

Mm hmm. Good. So I’m glad you talked about the agency thing. So I actually want to give them a little brief answer as well. So let’s say they’re ready to hire the agency, like you said, strategically, whether it’s important for the inhouse, or do we really want to, you know, have an agency to handle this. So at what point do you think they’ll actually have to have an agency for a long period of time? So let’s say, instead of doing that for, for, like six months or one year, we can just have them during those timelines, right. So once we know that we can pretty much handle that in house, do you actually recommend them to hire someone for in house after like two months or three months, even if the agencies actually doing a phenomenal job? Are? Can we just go ahead and continue with them?

Tony  18:05

Yeah, I would lean towards probably keeping the agency just because a lot of times when you bring inhouse, if they’re capable, and they’re doing a great job, once you bring inhouse, there’s a lot more risk there. Because if you think about it, again, I’m talking for a smaller company, you know, if it’s a much larger company, it’s less, but you have to take into account the full value proposition of the agency. I’m not even selling agency services anyway. So I’m not my skin is even the game, I’m just telling you the truth. So what the agency brings to the table is a they have multiple resources. If you hire this generalist, and they’re rock star, it’s not going to be long before they’re looking for another job. And when they leave, that puts your company at a tremendous amount of risk. The other thing is the agency has multiple perspectives, because they’re looking at multiple companies, they’re gonna see things that you’re not because a lot of times, once you bring in house, everyone has groupthink, they start thinking the same way.

Tony  19:00

The other problem that you’ll get is, you know, costs. So a lot of times agencies can buy the best tools and systems and spread that cost across multiple clients. When you’re doing in house, you’re covering all that. So you have to really evaluate the true costs of having a higher versus the agency and taking care of all of it, you know, there’s HR, there’s replacement cost, so say that person does leave, you know, on average costs, what 30% to hire a new person, you know, by the time you get recruiting, so I would take a count all those costs, and somewhere, I have a guide on this, I actually create one I had agency let you know, when I was really focused on agency like five or six years ago, if someone connects to me on LinkedIn, I can see if I can drum it up and send it to them.

Shiva  19:47

Cool. So I think that’s good too. And then I actually want to jump back to the customer retention part. So tell us a little bit about you know, how customer retention actually works and how you know, that can actually lead to up sell are, you know, like crossover kind of things?

Tony  20:03

Yeah, so the fundamental thing with it’s funny, I had this conversation like a week ago. But it’s kind of obvious, but not always thought about the first stage of customer retention is have a great product. You know, a lot of people skip right over that. And they go right to the tactics. And so one of the frameworks I created was called the customer pyramid. And this is really how to drive loyalty. But the foundation is always your product. On top of that, you can build other things in like a big thing right now is community, can you bring community around it, because if other buyers are all in the same group, they can help support each other, it gives more retention hooks, because, you know, statistically, if someone else, if you know, if you have a friend in the community, for instance, just like if you have a friend at work, you’re less likely to leave that environment. So more and more that you can bring into that. Yeah, the more powerful your your business becomes.

Shiva  20:56

Good. And like you said, I think one of the thing that distributors or the e-commerce store owners are not considering is building and community they think that it’s not going to work. So maybe on a short term, or pretty much, they were not sure like what kind of metrics we can actually take it from there, like building a community, what what’s gonna bring in the kind of value that’s going to bring in in the next six months or 12 months? Or, you know, even after like two or three years? How can we actually measure that? Do you have any sort of like, one or two metrics over there?

Tony  21:25

Yeah, well, the first thing I look at is your retention metrics. So, you know, kind of a fancy word is churn, what’s your churn rate. So if you know you have, you know, 100 customers in every year, you know, 10, leave, what’s that metric, you should be looking at that and trending it over time is that number going up? You know, we go, we went, we talked about before red flags, that’s another fantastic red flag. So if you’re looking at it, and you know, you particularly have a strong conversion rate, or I’m sorry, not conversion rate, but churn rate, and you’re seeing that number, trend up or down, you know, whichever direction you want to be aware of that. So churn rate is certainly one. And also looking at the churn rate in terms of revenue. So you might be losing certain customers. But the segment of customers you’re losing is a low value may not be as concerning, but if you’re learning losing your top customers, that should definitely be a red flag.

Tony  22:18

So it’s not just looking at your churn rate as a general metric, but taking it to the next level and say, look at looking at it in terms of the impact on revenue, and the segments within your revenue base. So you need to know your customer base, all this can be tracked in systems like a CRM, you know, some of it in analytics, Google Analytics, things like that are very, very important to be looking at a dashboard or regular basis to say, okay, are the numbers going in the right direction or not? And then what do you do about having an action plan? when, you know, gosh, when I was in the corporate world, we would have, you know, dozens of people in a room with a spreadsheet, 30 tabs, you know, across the board, and, and spending a lot of time discussing this and doing contingencies If this happens, where are we going to do it, this happens? What are we going to do? most business owners and managers, they kind of wing it, you know, we’re gonna do this the numbers trend, we’ll figure out when that happens, we really want to be thinking about this in advance, have a plan on what to do. So if if my churn rate is going up? Can I you know, improve my customer service? I have a touch with them, do I send my customers something as simple as a birthday card, you know, things like that you want to be looking at in advance, and kind of being proactive, as opposed to reactive?

Shiva  22:32

Mm hmm. So I’ll just come back to one interesting thing that you’ve been trying to do. So your company, I mean, this is more like purpose statement for you, I would say. So, you know, why is your mission to democratize marketing, you know, is actually relevant right now?

Tony  23:45

Yeah, it’s never been more relevant. And the reason why is I really start with the marketing revolution. So the world of marketing has completely change over the past, forget about 40 50 years, the past year or six months, you know, keeps changing. And so it really started back years ago, you could place an ad in a newspaper, and boom, you get some results, you know, then things got a little bit more complicated. you place an ad and radio or TV, which is called broadcast media, you could still get some results, then things got more complicated. The web came and was birth. And all of a sudden, you have thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of websites. And you need a director Yahoo to organize all this, then that was too much then yes, search engines and you get to a point where you have Google, you know, the kind of the king of search engines, then all of a sudden, what’s happening now, social media, right? People are creating their own content.

Tony  24:40

Things are even more complex to the point now, people have mobile phones and your competition is even your competition anymore. You’re now competing for attention. And so really, there’s three things that came out of this marketing revolution. Number one, there’s a lot of fragmentation. Years ago, you had a couple choices for your marketing, which are called channels. Yeah, a few channels to worry about, you know, this TV station versus that one. Now you have thousands of options. So the first hurdle the first mountain is which one do I choose? If you can get past that one, the next one is okay. Even if I’m in a niche, a channel, there’s tremendous competition no matter where you go. So the next thing you have a challenge with is your clutter. So how do you stand out? What’s your value? How’s it getting presented to the market with your messaging to stand out? And then the third one is, okay, I got through the, the fragmentation I got through the clutter.

Tony  25:34

Now, there’s a technical challenge, you know, how do I deal with the pixels and the code and everything else? Do I hire someone? Do I do it? outsource, you know, like we just talked about, those are three serious challenges. And the problem is, most of the times only the best companies, the biggest companies, the most funded companies have the resources to actually tackle those three areas. Because it’s three things sounds easy, tremendously difficult, as most people listening this know. And so the whole mission I have is to democratize marketing to enable every company to be able to handle three areas, just like the best companies do. And I do that by providing the strategy, tools and resources and tactics that these best companies have to the small and medium sized companies.

Shiva  26:18

Okay, that’s actually good to hear at this point. So, you know, what are some quick ways a business can turn adversity?

Tony  26:28

Yeah, so I think this goes and hits on what we talked about before regarding a pivot. And so myself, what I found with my agency, is we happen to have a lot of clients and events and travel, and weddings and things like that, pretty much the worst industries you can be in right now. And so I pivoted part of my agency to really focus on serving of all things is kind of funny podcasts.

Tony  26:50

So I created a whole division that provides tools and resources for podcasting, specifically, things like planners and software as service, you know, systems for designing, you know, cover art and things like that. So I pivoted that whole area. And the reason why is because it’s easier to ride a wave that’s already kind of unleashed, as opposed to create your own. And so if you’re not getting traction in a certain area, find a way to ride. So for instance, I rode the wave of SEO 20 years ago, then I rode the wave of AdWords, because that was really hitting, then guess what social media was hot. So what’s the new thing that’s really hot, they can position yourself to be in front of, because even if you’re not a great business person, if you’re in the right industry, you’re gonna grow just by virtue of the of the the industry growing.

Tony  27:40

So it really takes a lot of risk off the table for you, in terms of execution, because there’s a lot more leeway. When you do that, when you try to go into an area that’s already established, or that God forbid, is in decline, you’re really battling uphill, and it’s really not a good thing to do. So you want to adapt, how do you adapt? This is where the results live comes into play, what markets are going to serve, kind of change the proxy services, I’m giving them the value and so forth and so on. You want to kind of have some kind of framework, whether it’s the one I create or your own, you want to say, Okay, how do I adapt to where the market is going? Hmm. Okay.

Shiva  28:14

So, before we wrap this up, I just want to touch upon one quick question. Because you know, this is something I actually see a big difference between B2B and B2C. So you know, how to turn a customer into an advocate, especially, you know, what B2B companies are actually missing here? And what they can, you know, just go ahead and implement it from a B2C company.

Tony  28:34

Yeah, so one of the things I created was a framework for customer advocacy. And so what you want to understand is there’s levels of advocacy. So just like there’s levels to sales, and marketing, like a funnel, people call it a funnel, there’s different levels, you want to go right to a sale necessarily. You want to start off with maybe a content strategy, or maybe engagement, the same thing comes into play with your actual customers and clients. So do you go right, and ask someone for a referral? Sometimes it does work. But a lot of times you can work people up to that. So, you know, can they give you a rating or review? Can they give you a testimony, you know, working out the different levels, and what’s particularly important in B2B as opposed to consumer although it can be used very effectively in consumer B2B skews much more towards having stories with case studies.

Tony  29:26

So, you know, along the paradigm, you’re really, you know, a great thing to do is get someone to endorse you first. Once they endorse you actually does two things. A, it gives you content to work with, but also helps their own retention because when someone speaks, that they endorse you and they like you, they’re less likely to kind of go against their own word and leave so that helps the loyalty but ultimately, that also sets you up for referral because once they say they love you, then you go back to them say okay, can I get a rating a review, great can now get a testimonial. And then so forth and so on to the point where you’re saying, Okay, great, can I now have a case study, you get the case study, all of a sudden, are they going to want to do, they’re going to share that with their own audience, potentially, because it could help them, or you get the permission. And you use that as a means to get the referrals. So in other words, instead of going right to the referral, I advocate to kind of start with micro commitments gained them work their way up, and using a content strategy on your behalf. Because it’s, it’s powerful to get referral from a customer, it’s even more powerful when they give you a referral, and attach that referral is a case study with them in it their story with you tie to it.

Shiva  30:36

Okay, perfect, Tony. So, tell us a little bit about your upcoming book, small steps to grow profits. So what he actually covered in that book and what you actually want the listeners to, I mean, gain from that.

Tony  30:51

Yeah, so small steps to grow profits is very much a passion project of mine, it kind of looks at how to have success in the midst of adversity, which is really important, especially in this environment, because I originally had this book coming out the beginning of this year, and I completely pivoted, you know, speaking of pivot, I pivot from talking about scaling a company to talking about how to overcome adversity. And and the story I added was really my mother’s story. So my mother grew up in a time very much like we had today. She grew up during a, you know, essentially a pandemic, she contracted polio, I just the age of nine months old, couldn’t walk until she was 14 years old. And so growing up before all this even happened with Corona, I asked that, how did you actually do that? How did you mentally survive that and really thrive and get to the point where she could wear high heels, which was her her vision. And she really told me, it took three things, which is where the small steps comes in play. First, she had to know what to do. And so the hospital staff really showed her, you know, kind of the next steps she had to take for her, it was to work on pottery to green her muscle movements and nervous system strength there, then it was to go in the pool, and fill up more muscular strength. And finally, to a point where she could walk between two poles and take the small steps. So that’s kind of where the name small steps comes from. It really how that applies to business. It’s the same practice.

Tony  32:16

So to have success, you need to create a flywheel effect. And so there was a seminal book called, by Jim Collins Good to Great, and talks about how great companies get there, he talks about the flywheel. So it’s where you get momentum, and you really get success. Problem is most businesses never get to a point, they don’t get the momentum, they don’t get the success. So I asked myself, why is that the case, it really comes down to three things. Number one, they don’t know what steps to take. So they don’t have a strategy, they have a plan. Secondly, they don’t know how to take those steps. So they might know their strategy for that would work for them is to do SEO and social media. But then they don’t actually know how to execute on that. So that’s the second problem is how to do it. And then finally, the third one is actually doing it. You know, so if I was to make a, you know, if I said I need to have a birthday party, right? I know, strategically what I need to do, I need to have, you know, I need to get the candles and the cake. Great. I’m gonna make a cake. Now, I need to know how to make a cake. You know, I might know you put, you know, eggs in it and butter. But like, how does that all go together? That’s why I need to know how. And the third step is I actually have to make the cake. Same thing in business, you have to have the how the what are really the what the how, and the action. And so my whole book is about how do you do that in a way that you’ll get Why call results flywheel, so actually not just get flywheel like Collins talk about. But a flywheel effect actually drives momentum in your business, and get you to your goal.

Shiva  33:46

Great. And yeah, I mean, I’m actually excited to buy your book. So where do you want the listeners to go? Give some links?

Tony  33:53

Yeah. So the good news is, even though the books not out yet, I took a lot of the best parts of the book out and put it in a manifesto that giveaway complete for free, free, meaning there’s a form there, because I really want people to consume this information because I think it’ll make a difference in people’s lives. And if anyone wants to download that, they just go to the website, smallstepsmanifesto. com, download it, you get the information. Again, it’s completely free. Now even asking for your contact information. So that’s the first way. The second way is if you do want engagement with me, then the best thing to do is go on my website, meet Tony G. You scroll down to the bottom, connect with me on LinkedIn, and I’d be happy to chat with you answer questions and find that guy that had somewhere buried on my desktop. I can I can get that for you. The one regarding hiring.

Shiva  34:43

Perfect and I’ll put both the links in the podcast description and thank you so much for doing this. Tony. I had a fun and I’m sure you know we’ll meet sometime after you know this thing is or maybe 2021

Tony  34:58

Yeah, that would be fantastic. Not too far. I’m in. I’m in Connecticut. So it’s a little bit trip to Austin. But you know, if I ever get down there vice versa, more than happy to meet up.

Shiva  35:07

Cool. Sure. And yeah, thanks again. Take care of you have a good day.

Tony  35:10

You too. Thanks.

Shiva  35:12

Thank you so much for watching and listening to this episode of driven e-commerce network podcast. This show is brought to you by DCKAP, the company well known for its e-commerce product, so it’s for B2B distributors. Make sure you subscribe to our show on Apple podcasts or Spotify. Catch you guys very soon, but another interesting episode. Until next time, see you.

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