Today’s episode is all about how to create a marketing avatar, with your hosts Chris Bruno and Travis Ketchum.
We break down:
- What is a marketing avatar and why are they important?
- Why do you have to focus on people that are going to buy?
- How to be honest with yourself about your business.
- and explaining why a pivot is not a sign of failure.
We’d love to help our listeners with some free reviews and advice, so feel free to reach out to us, you’ll find all the social media links down at the bottom of the description.
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Full Episode Transcript
Travis Ketchum 0:02
That’s why I like going super detailed because if you understand where they hang out what they buy and what they’re motivated by, it’s going to be a completely different marketing message.
Chris Bruno 0:12
Welcome to the all about digital marketing podcast, the show that dives into the best strategies, tactics and tools for entrepreneurs and marketers looking to exponentially increase their results online. Hello, everybody, and welcome back to the all about digital marketing podcast here. We’re here just episode three, season two. I’m excited, Travis, how you doing today?
Travis Ketchum 0:35
I’m doing great, man. It’s always early for me and evening for you. So that bedtime differential hours gets to us. But I’m super happy to be here.
Chris Bruno 0:43
I’m trying to keep my energy level as high as possible, because you are just starting your day. But I’m definitely coming to the end of my day. But here we go. I’m gonna give it as much energy as I can today, especially as we’re going to be having a conversation about avatars, not the movie with the big blue people, but avatars that are used in marketing and why these are so so important. So let’s just start off Travis again, remembering everybody who’s listening to this. Not everybody may have done this already, or an exercise like this. But how would you define or how would you explain what a marketing avatar really is?
Travis Ketchum 1:12
Well, you know, this, the this idea came about because just last night, I was talking to my wife who’s a nurse educator, right? And so she’s, she does she’s really smart person did really well in school, really effective communicator. But she she posed the question to me about an organisation here in the States that’s having kind of a marketing problem, right? And it’s like, she asked me, how do they work their way out of this? And I and I tried to describe avatars and why marketing to a specific avatar, and making it feel like everything you do is purpose built for a specific kind of individual is amazingly powerful. And it brought up this interesting conversation about well, but how do you make your marketing or your organisation or your product as inclusive as possible? And I was trying to make the argument that you have to almost be exclusionary, out of need at the beginning, because it’s exclusionary, or to be inclusive inclusionary, but die. So do you want to be inclusive and die, or exclusionary in the beginning to succeed so that you can then add parallel pathways to grow your inclusiveness over time. And it’s an unfortunate piece of the puzzle, I believe. So to me, an avatar is just really the core. Who is the person? What do they look like? What are their favourite hobbies? Where do they hang out? What are their preferences on what they buy? Maybe you have to be as, as un-pc, as it says, what’s their sexual orientation? What’s their religion? Like? as descriptive as you can be? The better at least that’s my definition of an avatar. First off, some of your friends are better. But do you see it differently?
Chris Bruno 2:48
I have nothing left to add now. Like that’s it. I’m redundant in this in this episode today. No, I look, I think it’s 100%. Right. And I think one of the key things that we always start when we start talking to companies about this is, who is the person that’s most likely to buy your product right now, like cutting all the bullshit out like to start with what’s the most likely person that you can convert right now into a customer. And then from there, this is, again, another really important thing as well. Most businesses won’t have just one avatar, very few businesses will have just one avatar, but I have a series of avatars. But I think that there is that real demand for that one group of people right now, that could change your business by a factor of 10. Right. And this is what you talked about, in one of the last episodes, the idea of getting a 5% bump is nice, but what about something that could actually 10x Your business, and actually hitting the right group of people and only hitting them and creating marketing for just for them can create a massive shift in that. And I think that’s what’s really important about this.
Travis Ketchum 3:50
Yeah, so like one example, I think examples are the best way to sort of illustrate this right and, and I agree, most businesses like I remember working as a retail employee at BestBuy, which is an electronics retailer here in the States for those who don’t live here. And they may disclose his mandatory training and they have these these different types of shoppers, right, like there’s like basically the stressed out mom with a bunch of kids and, and they was trying to tell you their income levels, right. So that when they would come in, it would try to advise you as a sales, you know, retail sales associate, to match them with something that fits their needs, maybe modest budget, right, focus on value, value value, but then there’s like, another avatar, which you can, you know, I sort of intuitively picked up on like, if a guy comes in in a custom suit with a Rolex, like, he doesn’t want you to show him the house brand t he wants to see the sleep, you know, at the time plasma. Now the high end OLED, right, like, and I used to score almost 0% on secret shopper, but I would sell way more than everyone else, because I would make these kinds of judgments Right? Like if I offered financing, for example, which there was like offer financing and everybody offer financing to everybody. But if someone came in with a Rolex and a custom suit, if I offer a finance Saying they may actually be offended, and it may kill the sale. Right? It’s like what do you mean, you think I can’t afford a $3,000 TV, you know, like for them as a point of pride to be like, boom, here’s the cash, right? And so understanding that like, what triggers them to buy, what triggers them to be offended is a big deal. And the specific brand that I’m super hyped about because I’m a nerd, I love EVs. Because the brand called rivian. And you and I have talked about this before, but in a landscape where Tesla in North America absolutely dominates the electric vehicle landscape. We’re all legacy Automotive is trying to create this sort of vanilla one size fits all. rivian said, Hey, we’ve got this cool electric platform. But what if we make it by they call it an electric adventure vehicle, it’s already by definition, the product naming has differentiated itself to the more the REI, outdoorsy crowd. And all of their messaging, all of their illustrations, all of their word choices, all of the places they choose to invest and give back, like instead of spending money on marketing, they invest in conservation and solar and all of this like, sort of, you know, as Motor Trend, colic, granola, munching, outdoor enthusiast, but that speaks to a specific avatar, which I haven’t fallen into, to a certain degree. And so I’m like, Yes, I don’t want an f150 Lightning, I want an r1 T, he’s, you know, saying so it speaks to a specific demo, that tends to have money is willing to spend money on priorities that they think are green, clean, right, and those kinds of things. And that’s a really great way to take a product that could have been used for anything, right, it’s just a skateboard, just a flat battery pack with some powerful motors. That could be literally anything. But by choosing that market direction, and understanding that the entire landscape was leaving it behind. They gave them a sort of, you know, shoe in the door to speak to specific avatar.
Chris Bruno 6:57
So I remember correctly as well that for this particular truck, and if I can find the picture, I will put this up on the video version of this on YouTube. If I remember correctly, there is a version of this truck that has like all bells and whistles for camping. But like to the point where there’s like a pullout kitchen, and stove and all this do I remember this correctly,
Travis Ketchum 7:14
you think of the road trip, unfortunately, like there’s this screwed up something with the production of this of a camp kitchen, and there’s some legality on the tent for the truck blocking your brake lights. So I can’t like not allowed to sell it. Either. Everyone puts a tent on the back. But yeah, then when they demoed it, it had a slide out kitchen with a sink and a five gallon water pump, induction stove and, you know, a rooftop tent, and you can accessorise it with all kinds of crazy stuff. And the idea it’s like the dream of going overlanding with this amazing all in one setup that in like under five minutes, you could collapse it all back up and be on your way through the you know the back country or out in Moab somewhere. And then in five more minutes, you could pull everything out and have the most luck sort of glamping experience out of your expensive electric truck ever. Right? It’s it’s ticking all the boxes,
Chris Bruno 8:02
they definitely had a specific avatar and you definitely fall under that I’m
Travis Ketchum 8:06
a sucker for cool stuff that’s expensive and fun.
Chris Bruno 8:09
That sums it up nicely. But okay, well, let’s have a look at this and try and hopefully help people whilst they’re listening to this episode, to understand how they can actually apply it apply this story to their own businesses. Now, obviously, we’ve talked about this truck and how they built this product for a very specific group of people. Some people already have their products and not necessarily have spent the time now to really break down and understand who their audience really is. What would you say are the key starting points right now for someone who’s listening who they’d like said this making some sales, but they’ve never actually sat down and done the exercise? What are the some of the key points that they should be thinking about and that they should be writing down as part of their avatar?
Travis Ketchum 8:47
Well, you know, I’d like to actually kind of do a SWOT analysis, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats to a certain degree. And part of it is not only understanding who’s buying your stuff right now, because a lot of people default to my product can help everyone, right, like, as someone who runs an email marketing email service provider, right, like it’s very easy to fall in this trap of everyone can use email. Right? And so it’s very easy to fall in that trap and therefore hard to stand out. Because all email service providers wants to try to say, we can help everybody. But if you look at the ones that have done the best, they usually pick a niche right ConvertKit goes after the creatives, the blogger types. Clay vo goes after people that specifically have Shopify stores. And so part of it is just understanding the landscape, right? If everyone has a grey vehicle, maybe I want mine to be red, right so that it sticks out in the line. And so you think about okay, what is something that I can apply? My basic premise my foundation 99% of what I do, but how do I go 1% further, to make it speak to an underserved section of the market that might have attributes that are desirable. For example, I’ll use one of my competitors. Clay vo that went after Shopify stores. They chose that because in E commerce, you’re selling something. So already out of the gate, everyone that that signs up for your service, or gets you become a subscriber for one of your customers is a buyer, the quality of that lead is already way better. Right? So now you just reduce your burden on your deliverability side of things, right? Your infrastructure and your compliance, that that stress goes way down. Well, how do you make that really amazing? You think, Okay, well, what would what would someone who wants a Shopify store need, they would need these kind of integrations, these kinds of metrics, like there’s a couple of little add on features, that if you zoom out is only one to 5% of your entire feature set. Really, right, because all the hard work is creating the automations and broadcasts and segmentations all these other features that every ESP must have. But if you go one to 5%, harder and one vector, suddenly you can start creating all your messaging around that. How is it better for Shopify owners? How can Shopify owners track their metrics better? How does Shopify owners succeed more? How does Shopify owners make more money, right, and you just go down and down the list. And so when you start incorporating that into your marketing, when someone who has a Shopify store shows up on clay vo site, they’re gonna go, Oh, my God, these are my people, they made exactly what I needed, they made exactly what I’m looking for. And they understand my pain points precisely. So now the belief that the system work does goes up, because it is a better feature set probably for their specific needs. And then suddenly makes everything else feel like an also ran. So you know, no longer even in consideration. And that is the power of carving out an avatar and then creating your feature set, your product offering and your messaging to precisely align with that. It’s a really
Chris Bruno 11:55
interesting concept. And I think most people don’t get it. We talk about this a lot from content point of view, when you’re trying to create content, whether it be tweets, emails, doesn’t matter website content that you want to talk about. Most people really do approach this 100% By saying, you know, I could work with anybody. I could, you know, that could be an agency for every industry in the world, and for any company of any size company, and I don’t care if they build really cool that electric adventure trucks, or whether they make beauty creams, or whatever it might be. And I think what really ruins people and they don’t realise it is that what happens, they end up spending six months, a year, two years, five years until they go bust, usually creating and spending money on marketing. And literally, none of it works. And for me, it’s this idea of trying to be so vanilla, because you think you can catch everybody catch all kind of interest, and never actually taking a stand on anything. There is nothing wrong. And I’d like your opinion on this. Actually, I’m saying it as a statement. But I will turn it into a question at the end. There is nothing wrong with putting something out that makes a group of people that you’re not trying to attract and that are never going to buy your product, say I don’t want to work with them. Do you agree?
Travis Ketchum 13:13
Oftentimes, it’s actually good for business. I mean, God, look, look at the cybertruck for Tesla, cybertruck. That thing’s hideous to most people. Yet 1.5 million people have given up at least 100 bucks, per se. Yeah, I’d like the opportunity to buy one of those someday, please. And then some someday, somewhere here, probably in a year or so. But But it’s so polarising that it becomes a statement, right? People making a can build identity just off of that division alone. Which is interesting.
Chris Bruno 13:50
Yeah, and I think that even though I often look at this, in the UK, we have Marmite, I don’t know if you have this in the US or not. But basically, it’s like a yeast extract that we put on toast. This is a really weird one. But the product itself, their marketing campaign for the last 25 3040 years, as long as I can remember has always been you either love it or you hate it. They literally encompass this whole idea into their adverts, and they would have people making the toast of one thing or another and they’d have a bite there. I love this sort of thing. And their partner or whoever in the advert would look at them and be like that. It’s disgusting. How can you eat that crap? This literally to me and I use this expression a lot. We talk about Marmite, especially for the UK companies that understand the reference. But literally, they baked it into their actual marketing. It’s okay. Not everybody’s going to like your business. That doesn’t mean that your business won’t work. And this is I think the key thing where lots of people want to, I don’t know, I want to try and say like be the Nikah or they want to kind of achieve that level of, well, everyone could wear a Nike t shirt. That’s fine. That’s absolutely great. But you’ve got to, especially in those early stages, When you’re starting a business or when you’re building a business, you have to focus on those key people that are actually going to buy and that you could move quickly to become a purchaser or a client or a sign up or whatever it is that you’re trying to do in terms of convergence.
Travis Ketchum 15:15
Yeah, there’s a couple of things there. You can also dig a little deeper there to where I think that a lot of times, you know, in your, in your Nike example, people are comparing their chapter three to chapter 300. Right? So you look at these big companies like, well, you know, everyone uses Google search. It’s like, Well, okay, are you Google? Probably not. Everyone can wear Nike shoes. Okay. Are you already Nike? Are you? Are you looking to fill every last crevice in the void? That is the outdoor athletic wear? Probably not, you’re probably somewhere earlier in the stage. And that’s okay. A lot of these companies that are super successful, they had to start, you know, by by basically crafting our back corner. The other piece to remember too, is not to be overlooked is the concept of market sophistication, which I think goes hand in hand. With with avatar. So if you think about, there’s several examples, like there used to only just be toothpaste was toothpaste, right? Well, then, oh my gosh, now you can get mint toothpaste. That’s pretty cool. That might like that. And then it becomes mint toothpaste. With whitening? Oh, that’s pretty cool. Oh, well. Now, it’s meant toothpaste with whitening and enamel, you know, reinforcement. And then it has to become meant toothpaste with enamel reinforcement that widens your teeth in 30 days or less. And so every market you see keeps going down this further and further rabbit hole because your market over time becomes more sophisticated when something is brand new. I think about when the iPhone first came out, people Apple had no problem selling basically every iPhone that they could make. She was coming to the store and be like, is this where I buy the iPhone? And they would say yes, would you like one. And that was the entirety of the conversation, right. And now it has to be Oh, it’s got an amazing OLED display. And it has this different kind of face ID and it has an improved camera and it has different materials and it charges faster and it has magnet, right? So over time, the market becomes more sophisticated. The same happens with freakin barbecue sauce. Like, I’m old enough to remember that when you when I was kid you go to the barbecue sauce part of the grocery store here in America. And there’d be like three or four brands, just whatever flavour that they came with. That was what that was their their deal. And now it’s like a whole dang aisle. And each brain has about 45 different you know, Hickory, smoked, Cimarron, whatever, right like 18 million variation, because the market sophistication has gotten to a point that people want to find that 1% That speaks to their particular tastes, their particular preferences, their particular identity. And you find this over time and everything. So really, your avatar has to also take into account market sophistication, because of the way something launched originally, may not be the reality of the market today. And you can’t compete the way that they found their success.
Chris Bruno 18:15
How would you feel people should approach the idea of avatars but also taking into consideration their competition at the same time? Because I think there’s a lot to be said for taking a look at who you believe your avatar is also doing a bit of market research never hurts anyone. That’s that’s a freebie for anyone listening seriously. There’s a lot of information out there, go find it, go look at it, read it, Google it. Maybe even asked chat GBT if you really want to. But the main thing is, is actually looking at that it’s going to give you some real insights into what other people have done. And also understanding where other people maybe have made pitfalls where other companies haven’t been so successful, where other people have tried to target particular customers or whatever it might be. What what do you think about trying to figure that out with the avatars and the competition and trying to really understand where you are and where you lie?
Travis Ketchum 19:01
Yeah, well, I want to start by saying I think competition is actually a really good thing, not just for consumers, but I think it’s also good, because it gives you a strong indicator that a market exists. So often, you see people that either want to shoot for the moon, right? They want to be Nike, or they want to say I’ve got this really weird shoe that no one else is making I can you know it’s gonna be huge because well, okay, you don’t think it’s you’ll spend a lot of money on r&d. Is there a reason that something so different doesn’t exist? It might be because the market doesn’t exist they may have already market tested that Apple for instance, famously, when people come in for an interview and they asked well how would you improve XYZ product and as people rattle off all their ideas Apple’s basically like yet we tried that here’s why didn’t work Yep, we tried that. Here’s why didn’t work yet. We tried that. Here’s why didn’t work all these internal things, right. And it’s, it’s because they’re doing a lot of decision making internally. We just don’t see it as a public but they’re going through and spending a lot of resources so something not existing at all. doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good idea. However, there are step changes in technology, specifically right or, or trends or styles or buying preferences that older companies may be slow to adopt. Right. So like last episode, we talked about AI, right. So if you take something that already exists is already established, and as may be growing 100% year over year, you may have an opportunity to basically copy that. And then insert a new technology or a new trend or a new preference to basically create the better mousetrap. And that may allow you to enter an existing market that shows signs of success, and potentially still win.
Chris Bruno 20:39
Before we wrap up. How much detail would you suggest people go into when they’re building out an avatar? I know you mentioned a list of things at the very beginning. But I think it’s really important because the detail of understanding who your potential customer is where they hang out, etcetera. We talk about this a lot, especially marketers that have been around for too long, just just the right amount of time. But we talk about this as if it’s like, yeah, it’s easy, like everyone knows this, right. But I think it’s something that’s really misunderstood. Sometimes, you know, it’s not just saying, Okay, well, it’s mainly females between 18 and 25, that are going to buy my clothes, because they’re the ones that are interested in fashion. Therefore, let’s go. That’s what it is. How much detail do you think people should be doing? How much time should they be investing in trying to really identify and understand who their avatar is,
Travis Ketchum 21:27
I like to kind of think of it as two different lists. There’s the list that you want to basically publicly show and talk about. And then as the list that defines it in your mind, that influences the way that you write about your things, the way you talk about things on sales calls, the types of private decisions that you think would be meaningful. So you said, you know, females 18 to 25, that’s not nearly specific enough for most things. Right? 1825, they went to a university, they live on the West Coast, right? They, they like to buy these other ancillary brands to try to give you you know, piggyback on some of their market research. And that can even be some of your targeting criteria, by the way, when you’re running ads amazingly useful. And then you think about okay, well, how long do they like things? What Did anyone else have to write down? What are their motivations for buying things, because different market segments buy for different reasons. There’s another conversation I had with my wife last night is like, there was a customer, of someone else’s, but in this group I’m in and they were selling a high ticket thing, many 1000s of dollars. And they had put together a webinar. And they had a lot of social proof leading up to it, right, but then they do the kind of typical value stack slide and the Russell Brunson style, like, you’re gonna give this really shiny marketing name thing, $5,000 value, you’re gonna get this really shiny marketing thing. $10,000 value, right, it’s like, get to the bottom lists, like we’re giving you $80,000 in value for 15 grand, right. And if you act now, we’ll double the order and throw in some steak knives. And my point to them was, someone who’s buying a sub $100 thing, they may actually be looking for that quote, silver bullet in bulk, and they may be motivated to buy something that they think can cost almost nothing can fulfil everything. And he’s going to do it in 24 hours. However, the avatar that they were actually selling to, was a more sophisticated, higher end buyer. And all that style is a turnoff. So instead, instead of giving a glitzy marketing name and giving it a high value thing, instead you present it as like, I know, you may have some doubts about actually being able to accomplish what we’re trying to help you do in this course, coaching, whatever. So to fill that we’re including bonuses don’t don’t include the dollar values, because it’s cheesy, but it’s like if you are afraid of pain point, right, Jackson in advance, we like let’s say, you feel you aren’t a good copywriter? Well, we’ve we’ve included the bulletproof copywriting course, where you know, so you can learn how even if you don’t know copy, if you can paint by numbers, you can overcome that that fear, right? And so everything becomes objection handling, instead of increasing perceived value. With a with a almost unbelievable price anchor to it, right? Even if it is real, it seems unbelievable when you when you stack it up, because those two different avatars have very different buying behaviours. And so that’s why I like going super detailed, because if you understand where they hang out what they buy and what they’re motivated by, it’s going to be a completely different marketing message. So the more detail you can be internally, the better. But externally, you may just say something as simple as you know, the email platform for Shopify store owners. But in your own internal thing you may have 100 criteria, their Shopify store owner that does a million dollars a year that has 45 skews that has 15,000 subscribers already you see, I’m saying so it’s more descriptive internally than externally.
Chris Bruno 25:04
I think it’s huge. And, again, for anyone who is listening to this and hasn’t spent the time doing this, it’s an exercise that doesn’t matter if it takes you all day to actually be honest with yourself, or if it takes you a week to do this. Be honest with yourself and actually look at this, break it down, figure out who your audience is. And I’d also say and I might might be a bit harsh, saying this, I don’t know, Travis, you might have to tell me off for this. I would also say that if by the end of that exercise, you realise that you’re pretty doomed, and you’re not particularly making a lot of money. Currently, there’s nothing wrong with realising and in fact, it’s a good thing, if you realise it as quickly as possible, that the product that you’re trying to sell to a particular audience doesn’t have a fit, it gives you the opportunity to actually be able to pivot and try something different to either find the right audience to be able to sell that product, or to be able to update your product, change your product, there’s nothing wrong with that as well. It’s a huge part of, I think a lot of people don’t realise I’m going to start my business, and I’m going to sell X. And this is what I’m going to do for a living. You know what I currently do? Yes, I technically still own an agency. And I have done for 15 years, I don’t do anything even remotely similar to what I did, like first started 15 years ago. And there is nothing wrong with that.
Travis Ketchum 26:19
Or, you know, if you do this avatar analysis to it may show you that, that very similar thing, if adapted very lightly, could appeal to a different avatar that has much more buying power, much more willingness to pay, which are two different categories. And actually value what you do or provide at a higher rate, because they may see it as exchanging money to return time, they may see it as exchanging money to accelerate speed, right, as opposed to always the thing I have to have and I got to labour over I think we’ve all had this experience at some point in our lives, especially if you’ve been doing running a business for a while. The customer you sell something to for $5 is going to want to get on a three hour phone call every week, this customer that you sell for 50 grand, says great money, I wired the money basically never talked to me again, just give me what we promised. And we’ll move on with our lives. And so how do you find similar pieces, obviously, usually, I find there’s not that much difference between the actual products for either one. You know, there’s usually more included in the bigger piece. But it can usually be more automated more self service, because they will just want to assign to their team and move on with their life. So there may be a huge step change, right? We talked about four or 5% gains or boring, we want step changes. And so sometimes that honest analysis of maybe I’m attracting the wrong kind of people, how can I reposition it? And sometimes it may be it isn’t even consumers, right? Like, I think you’ve worked with stuff where the avatar is an investor, right? And that looks wildly different, all of the same. So
Chris Bruno 28:01
no startup would ever tell you that they’ve market just for an investor, Travis, come on. Yeah, and it is a really tough one, right? When you are creating a startup and you need to keep your, you want to be in the news, you want to be all over social, you want to be growing a community. And it’s all based on a promise of a product, which makes it very interesting. But the reality is, if you’re actually looking at your objectives, that’s when your avatar slowly looks a lot more like the next, the investors for the next round, rather than the the actual customers you’re gonna look at. I’m not saying it’s the right thing to do, by the way, either. Let’s just be clear here. But these are some of the examples that do come along and things that you do see, I think every company is different. And at the same time, every company is the same. We’re all in the same boat in this sense. And I think when you realise what you mentioned earlier about the value. My worst customers in the sense of the ones that have given me the most headaches have been the ones that have paid the least amount of money. The people who pay me the most amount of money are the best people to work with because they’re receptive, they want to do things, they want to get cool shit out there. They want to just keep innovating on different ideas, etc. And actually, the ones that want to pay as little as possible are always complaining. Why didn’t I get more results? Why hasn’t this gone viral? And you’re like that? I don’t have time for this. So
Travis Ketchum 29:18
are to be kind of cheeky about it. They may say, Why isn’t my marriage better? Why don’t my kids call me you’re like, Man, you bought an SEO package. I don’t know what you what you want from me here
Chris Bruno 29:28
is chat DBT you’ll be fine. Bye. Gotta go. Look, it’s just one of those things. But like you said, it’s true. When you start looking into this and you do start doing the research and understanding a little bit more about the avatar, you might actually find that that step up is potentially a game changer, right? It really is that step change. And I think that’s something that’s really important for probably fair few people that are listening to this, hopefully that realise, hang on a sec, I could do with that step change. It would make the difference between having a struggling business and having a business that you could then actually think about growing and I think those are two things that are very, very different. And again, we don’t usually find our way out by working harder and harder and harder, we usually find our way out by working smarter and working differently to how we have been doing it all these days.
Travis Ketchum 30:11
Yeah, I, I mean, I have to remind myself of the same lesson over and over. So don’t think that just because, you know, we’ve been doing this forever, that we just automatically walk into any market and crush but I would, I would say that you and I are probably much quicker to come to this realisation and start that adaptation process, right, because I mean, to be completely transparent, Campion refinery almost died in early 2020. Because I had the wrong positioning, I was attracting the wrong person, my margins were garbage. And I had to spend over six months completely pivoting the whole company and the entire proposition on the entire feature set and was, you know, flying really close to the sun, so to speak. But now, an average day for us is more than the entire last month before the pivot in revenue. So we do more per day now than I did in the entire month of June 2020. Because the pivot launched on June 30 2020. And so that’s how much of a difference that I can make because the bones were the same. I’d spent years building the bones. And so it was a slight pivot to a different avatar for a different proposition, and just spoke a different language. And that has meant the difference that in just, you know, little over two years, to two and a half years, we’re now have multiple full time employees that we’ve added on and all these other things in finally cashflow positive, you know, but like, these are the lessons that have to be learned and oftentimes had to be learned the hard way. So it makes me much more readily willing to to reevaluate the avatar and the positioning on any any product or service I have in the future.
Chris Bruno 31:49
To be honest, again, working on your business is as important as working in your business. It’s a super cliched phrase, but there’s a reason to super cliched and is because to be honest, is true. And it’s been true for a long time. And I think that’s something that a lot of people forget, you’re just so busy trying to make ends meet, trying to find the next sale trying to do whatever it is that we never actually take a stop and go hang on a second, what am I actually doing here? Why
Travis Ketchum 32:13
am I doing it? It might even end the right business. Yeah. And
Chris Bruno 32:17
then actually looking at it going, does this business even make any money? So, you know, understanding that and actually taking the time to work on that, I think it’s hugely important. And again, there’s nothing wrong, we’ve pivoted at least three times, maybe four times big, big pivots. In the last 15 years, I have no qualms about that. What we charge today and what I charge specifically for my time today, in comparison to what I did in 2008. When I first started, worlds apart, find I really do mean worlds apart, we’re talking going from hundreds of pounds for a monthly package to now charging 1000s of pounds for a daily consultancy. It’s a very big shift. And I think that’s what people don’t necessarily realise I still do very similar work fine, I’ve got a bit more experience under my belt, but we’d still do very similar work to what we’ve always done. And some of the principles of these things have never changed. But there’s nothing wrong with saying Hang on a second, this model doesn’t work. That doesn’t work for me or for the avatar that we’re selling to. And literally redefining that and reorganising your business so that you can take advantage.
Travis Ketchum 33:23
I think it’s important to for entrepreneurs to recognise that the doing this kind of internal analysis and in willingness to shift is not admitting failure. Because the landscape changes hypothesis, get hypotheses get tested, and ultimately inform you with data, what to do next. So you’re reacting to information. You’re not necessarily a quote, failure. And one thing I wanted, you said, you started in 2008. You that’s sort of when the iPhone started to take off. Let me ask the audience, when’s the last time you used to pay for things, things change? And that’s okay. But the adaptability is what makes you survive, right? You look at companies that have been around, you know, forever, or seemingly forever. They’ve oftentimes gone through significant transformational restructures. I mean, look at IBM, right, they were the king of personal computing. And number of years ago, they sold off their personal computing division became a complete enterprise cloud, AI computational company, selling super expensive long term contracts have completely different sales cycle completely different customer, and that saved their company because all the other PC companies are barely squeaking by on you know, 1% margins or selling their hardware at a loss and trying to backfill it with you know, McAfee anti virus promo trials CPA like garbage, right. So it’s a business that was became a bad business, even though it was revolutionary, revolutionary at one point, so things change and doing that pivot is not a sign of failure. It is honestly, in my opinion, a sign of wisdom and being in humility, being able to shift to the reality of the current situation you’re in.
Chris Bruno 35:07
More often than not as well. Not pivoting doesn’t end well, either. And, you know, we can think about quite a few examples. But I’m thinking, you know, digital cameras, Kodak, who were actually the developers of the very first digital sensor to be able to capture images, and then decided that they were going to keep focusing on their film, photography business, that didn’t work out so well, you’ve got the likes of Nokia, and Blackberry. And again, multiple reasons why both didn’t maybe do as well as they would have liked to have done. But at certain points, they were world leaders at what they offered and what they did. And suddenly you see these things change, the world changes, new technology changes. And it’s something as well, I think we mentioned this in the last episode. From my point of view, as well, I’m looking at an agency that does social media does marketing content, and copy etc, things like that, we have to change now, chat GPT, the new series of tools that are coming out, and I’m just finding new ones every single day, which is just fantastic. It’s super interesting to see. But even that means that what we currently do as a day to day business is going to change as well. And I’m looking forward to it in a certain regard. And also at the same time, I’m really happy to watch certain people just use chat GPT as, as the be all and end all. And maybe that might not work out so well. But I think this is something that everyone can take on board. And hopefully, if you haven’t done it, you will do it. If you’re not doing as well as you’d like to do, maybe you’ll review this and maybe this will go show you a little bit of a crap, I haven’t thought about this in a while I should really be focusing on this. Then again, maybe check it in your diary every six months. Check in with yourself, check in with your business, check in with your avatars, try to make sure that you understand where we’re actually at.
Travis Ketchum 36:46
Yeah, how’s the product market fit? How’s the sales cycle going? All those kinds of things can can definitely be big indicators. What you know, is my offering and is the market receptive to it? Like, is everything working and healthy? And if it’s not, how can I improve it?
Chris Bruno 37:01
Awesome. Travis, is there anything else you want to say? I was gonna say before we wrap up for today. The only
Travis Ketchum 37:07
other piece that I wanted to throw out I know we’re going a little bit long. But I talked about entrepreneurs early in the process, not not feeling like failures. I think it’s also worth noting that if you’re a more established business, being willing to cannibalise your own sales, potentially, with a new pivot is also an acceptable thing. I bring up Apple often because they’re sort of the kings that some of this right, but like, Apple killed, iPod sales, iPod sales didn’t die. Right. They killed it with iPhone, Apple Watch air pods. They shifted the narrative forward. And they said if we don’t replace our product, someone else well. And so you see, sometimes you’ll make that decision. And sometimes they don’t like Kodak didn’t replace themselves. So they died. I think legacy auto in North America is having a really hard time giving up their you know, internal combustion engine sales, and going truly going all in and EVs. And so that’s, that’s going to ultimately hurt them down the road. So be being willing to look at not only what’s working right now, but is there a slight decline? And is there that new trend emerging? And how do we make the leap from one to the other and be willing to let go of some of what’s working now, because it’s probably not going to work long term.
Chris Bruno 38:18
And also not being afraid, right? It’s gonna maybe hurt your bottom line, short term. But if it gives you a much more sustained and or sustainable business model and more income long term, it’s something to be thinking about as well. I think I know, way too many entrepreneurs and small business owners that hold on desperately to revenue doesn’t matter if it’s a toxic relationship with a client or doesn’t matter. And I know that you and I are having had many conversations off, offline or off air. We’re both the first people to literally tell people to jump and do one, because life is one way to short, but to the amount of time and effort energy that gets stolen by those customers that aren’t happy that aren’t going to help you build your business that aren’t going to want to pay more or buy more or anything else in the future. Those people actually ruin businesses, I think anyway. And by getting rid of them, you can then start focusing on the people that do love your business that do want to work with you. They do want to tell other people about it, and you can find more people like that cosign well, on a cosign, I’m leaving it there. That’s fantastic. Everybody, thank you so much for tuning in. I’m hoping you’re enjoying this new series that we’ve currently put together. If you have any ideas or you have any comments or any thoughts about things that you’d like us to cover and things that you’d like us to talk about, please don’t hesitate, drop a comment below. Or check out the website. You’ll find all the information and contact details there to be able to get in touch with us. Travis, thank you so much for your time today. We’ll see you again next week.
Travis Ketchum 39:51
Sounds good man. Thanks
Transcribed by https://otter.ai