The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 1 year ago

Leading Marketing with Empathy and Storytelling w/ Evan Knox


Business owners are approached by so-called marketing ‘experts’ daily and pressured to buy unrealistic solutions.

This can be exhausting, costly, and valueless.

But what if that wasn’t the standard?

Marketing can be profitable, have a return on investment, and give insights to make data driven decisions.

Today, I caught up with Evan Knox, CMO at Caffeine Marketing, to discuss the power of marketing and what you should look for as a business owner.

We also talked about:

  • How Evan started his career and why Caffeine Marketing was created
  • Understanding the similarities and differences of Marketing and Sales Funnels
  • Self-sabotage and how to avoid its pitfalls as a prospect
  • Key attributes to successful marketers, business owners and clients

For the entire interview, you can listen to The B2B Revenue Executive Experience.

If you don’t use Apple Podcasts, we suggest this link.

We have this tendency to kind oflike be cheap in the wrong areas and scared to invest in others. You'relistening to the BDB revenue executive experience, a podcast dedicated to helping executives traintheir sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategieswere tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerateyour growth in three, two, one. Welcome everyone to the BDB revenue executiveexperience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking about ahost of topics ranging from sales funnels destructuring your messaging the common marketing mistakes you'reprobably making, and to help us, we have Evan Knox, founder andCMO of Caffeine Marketing Heaven. Thank you for taking the time and welcome tothe show. Hey, what's up, Chad? I really appreciate you havingme. Yeah, it's going to be good. So we always like tostart with a nice breaker. I'm curious to know what people are passionate aboutand specifically, what you're passionate about. That maybe our audience might be surprisedto learn about you. Well, earlier we're talking about motorcycles. I usedto ride a little bit of motocross and I really love that, but Ieventually broke two vertebrae, so that's not my hobby any more. Yeah,that's all, but it everything has a season, I guess. And Irecently have picked up Brazilian ng it to, and so I really enjoyed learning.I've never done a martial art or anything like that, and it's incrediblelike just learn. There's so much there's never ending to this. There's alot of discipline required and I really like it. It's fun, excellent.Is that? Is that kind of your Finnish routine in the way to get, you know, decompressed and distress? Well, interestingly enough, I thinkyou can definitely make Brazilian Jiu Jitsu like a fitness routine, but for meit doesn't feel like a like a legit enough workout. So I generally will, you know, either work out, work out in the morning, eitherdo like a hit work out, some sort of like modified crossfit work outwith it without many weights round, or I'll go to run. So anyof that is fun, and then I'll generally go do bjj, as it'sreferred to in the evenings where I can, or the middle of the day.So okay, excellent. All right. So let's kind of jump into thetopic and I always like to start kind of contextually so for audience,kind of help us understand your perspective or view on marketing in general, maybehow it differs from others out there and maybe what you, you know,see other people tend to miss. So two things come to mind when youknow you're saying that. One for sure is that most people talk about themselvesand their marketing and as a storybrand guide. I just love this idea that you'rereally a guide in the story. You're not the hero, and soultimately you don't have to talk about how awesome you are, what year yourcompany was sounded, whatever that often is. You know, it's a big mistakethat people make. So anyway, there's that. And in the otherone is that I'm learning there's two different camps. You know, I've beendoing this for for four years or so now on the agency side and there'sthe I was just called the good people, right, so like the people thatare cell and want to really care for their clients. So in thegood people's space there's two different branches. There's almost like a creative agency thatjust makes everything to look really good, which is totally valuable. Often Iwant to work with these people when we're rebranding projects. And then the otherside is more of a direct marketing so I our company really tries to focuson making marketing profitable and getting our clients the highest result that they can.So I like to study that the marketing should pay for itself and she delivera great return on investment. So I guess that's a little bit more ofwhat's important to caffeine. I love it. And so what's on the others?If forget the good people on one side, what's on the other?Well, I don't want to bash anybody, but there's obviously this kind of twoapproaches. One is that, well, I don't know, some bath peele. But there's the offer a suite of services. Okay, so somepeople expect an agency to function as all...

...right, I'm going to come toyou and I'm going to pick and shoes what I'm gonna say. This isa bad but this is, let's go middle and then bad. Right,the middle of the ground is, Hey, we just offer a bunch of servicespick whatever one you want and it will just do that service for you. But there's not a focus on delivering the client or return on investment.There's just, Hey, this is this is an exchange of services. You'regoing to pay us for doing your social media and then you know you're goingto pass sex EMER dolarger month whatever, and it's on the business, thisowner, who is not a marketing expert, to come up with a strategy.And so they're kind of left guessing and throwing stuff on the wall andhoping that something is actually going to be profitable for them. But in reality, what we try to do is take a holistic approach and build a marketingfunnel unique for each one of our customers. And then the bad side is justpeople that sell snake oil. I mean it is yeah, it's kindof sad honestly, and it what we would call in a business strategy world, there's a low moat. So it's not hard to like think of acastle and a moat. It's fairly easy to start a digital marking agency,right if you can get someone to start paying you to do some sort ofmark the activity and you can get more clients. Like it's not hard toget into this space, but it's hard to be really good at it andmake, you know, your clients a lot of money. And so whatwe find is there's a lot of people that essentially have burned. A lotof the businesses that we've, you know, eventually become our clients, but beforethis they'd, you know, paid somebody thousands and thousands of dollars andnot saying a single dog back. And if just been told, oh,look at the clicks that we're getting you, or look at the impressions, orhere's your search engine ranking, but yet that's not actually translating to ourturn investment for them. So that makes me sad. It hurts for thosebusiness owners because they're kind of left in this where it's bought, where it'slike they don't know enough about marketing to decipher who's the good guys who canactually deliver them return investment, and then who are those people that are outthere just taking money from you know, eventually just setting up Google analytics andsending them report every month and then of course they burned. So they havea bad taste in their mouth. So then any agency that works with themin the future has a bigger hurdle to get over. I've run into thata lot, where we're less than ethical individuals or SSS, I'm trying topick my words carefully. Like you, that they have a tendency to createthis seriously negative impression and then it's just almost twice as hard to get thebusiness owners understand what is possible and that, hey, this is more of apartnership. We want to help you solve these problems. We're not justgoing to throw in voices over the wall. I Yep, a hundred percent.And there was a time when I was a marketing I was a chiefmarketing officer at organization and one of the contracts that I inherited was with thissocial media agency here in Atlanta and I tried to work with them. Youknow, I within them for the whole month that I was like first aregetting on boarded on into the company. I was like trying to work withhim, trying to get some a Lineman, trying to get them to do stuff, and they would just blatantly like do the opposite of whatever requested andI remember just going what the heck, and these guys were pretty well that. But eventually I was frustrated because they were just adamant about holding to thecontract but yet they were not delivering it. So it's very frustrating. So Inever wanted to be that whenever I started campain. Yeah, absolutely.So, all right. So when it comes to building that sales fine,off, we're not talking about ourselves. We're not screaming from the rooftops howcool we are, which I'm one hundred percent agreement with. How do youhelp these companies under and the kind of the connection between marketing and sales andbuilding that sales funnel that, it sounds like, needs to really mirror thebuyers journey. So I often think that we can make things as complex aresimple as we want to be. So that's all right. So it soundslike you a great at a really, really high level. In my ownhead, this is this is the way I picture this. Is Not rightor wrong? Is that? Well, maybe it's wrong, I don't know. But there's in market. Let's imagine a marking funnel, oversimplified as threeparts and imagine it's a, you know, the top of a funnel that you'regoing to pour roll into your car with, or imagine it upside downtriangle if you don't, if that sounds...

...foreign to you. And so atthe top of the funnel is brand awareness. The first problem that we're trying tosolve is we need to make people aware that we exist. The secondphase is consideration. So now that they know that we exist, we haveto remind them what it is the problem that we offer are, what's theproblem that we solve and how are we going to make their lives better onus set of working with us and what's at risk if they don't work withus. So we have to communicate this messaging to them over and over andover. Often it takes to people eight times just to fully digest what itis you have to offer. And so that's just the consideration phase. Andthen lastly, there's the conversion phase, and this is the point we wereally all want people to get to. You know, we went from toborrow product or service with them to download the free PPF on our website,and each of these can kind of be switched out for whatever. And whatI mean by that is a a free guide on your website or somebody subscribingto your youtube page or someone following you on instagram. You could consider thata conversion and it it's okay. It depends on what your goals are,but at the end of the day what we really care about is delivering returninvestment and making sure that you're marking is profitable. So I really like tothink of conversion of sales. I will try to focus on sales and thatregard. So if we go back and we go back to sales and how'san integrate, I think of a sales funnel like a automated sequence, aseverything that's not advertising, so everything above paid ads, attracting new traffic.That's the existing form in place. So you've got a marketing sales funnel andthen you actually have a true sales funnel, so like, if you're a salesperson, creating those automated emails, the templates, everything that you have likethat to help people along that journey with them, if that makes sense.Yeah, absolutely. And so part of this, when you go through awareness, consideration, conversion then into the sales funnel itself, all of that requiresdifferent types and structures and approaches to the messaging it is that would assume bringingthem through this journey. Do you then use that kind of format? Thosethree areas on the marketing side to help structure the messaging, or is itdo we go a layer deeper in kind of ways to structure and deliver thatmessaging? Well, it's interesting, I think from the sales perspective, obviouslyyou're very aware that you're trying to identify it is, the pain point thatthey're experiencing, and so if you don't know what that pain point is,often you're not able to get this person to buy our products or services becauseit's not hitting a you know, something enough in them in order to movethem towards action. And ultimately people are a lot more likely to take actionto avoid pain than they are to move towards something good. So I saythat as a preface to go. We might have a lot of messaging inour marketing funnel. We might try to hit a couple different audiences. Wemight paint a couple different pictures of success, we might paint a couple pictures ofhow we help them avoid failure. But ultimately, when you hop onthe Fella with somebody or when you're on an email conversation, you're now gettingto know what are their actual pain points, and so we might have more macrolevel in the marketing framework, but now that we're in the sales processwe can really articulate. Okay, well, Joe, you said you're having problemsgrowing your company. You feel like you've tried everything. You paid someSeo guy thousands of dollars every month and obviously don't want that to happen toget you want to make this profitable right, you want your website to make alot of money, and so I think we can tweak in the salesprocess, but it comes in the same framework. We're always thinking what's theproblem that they're experiencing? How can we uniquely solve their products? Are theretheir problem? And then, ultimately, what the success and failure look like. And then you can use the story round framework a little bit more towhere you can identify how to put yourself as the guide. So how canyou have empathy and authority? So I love coming alongside clients and being like, Hey, I understand your frustration. When I was a seeing about thisorgization, here's what I experienced. It was the worse. That's why Istarted caffeine, was to help entrepreneurs like my dad and Granddad make marketing profitableand successful. So you can use those little bits of that marketing framework inyour actual sales process, and it's great...

...because if you make your marketing andsales messaging the same, you're reinforcing the same idea over and over and you'rewalking people through an exercise and memorization. Nice, Nice. And so whenyou look at some you know companies today, especially given the current lovely environment,what are some of the biggest mistakes you're seeing them make or opportunities thatthey're missing? I would say that not tracking their marketing or not having anysort of analytics in place is a really being missed opportunity. So I'm alsopart of a group called Tactos and what we do is we acquire our partnerwith small companies that are around a million or two million or so, andthen we turn around in four or five axs them. But one of thethings I love doing is that a lot of these companies, even though they'reat a couple million dollars a year, they often don't have the right analyticsin place to understand how to scale their company, and so we end upputting all the right Google analytics, you know, install facebook Pixel, let'shave a tracking software and there, so that we can make sure that we'retracking people all across the marketing and sales fun all. So that's key,because if you don't know what's broken, you can't fix it and then you'regoing to do a bunch of stuff to try and fix it and you're goingto break some other stuff. So that's unfortunate. It's part of the journey, though it sometimes. Sometimes you have to break something to figure out howhow best to use it. So when you think about you know, youjust mentioned a whole bunch of attack right. So they sbook Pixel and you knowthere's a whole bunch of tech out there to do this. Do youdefine that? It's a big leap for those small business owners that are saymillion, two million, you're, to really wrap their head around all ofthe data that, once that stuff is deployed, can actually provide, orare you also helping them make sense of it? Yeah, we're definitely happeningto make sense today and it could for sure feel everyone because that's not wherethey started their company. Generally, they started their company because I wanted acertain lifestyle or they wanted to be just focus on their craft. Like oneof my partners is a flat fishing guide and his dream was to just beout on the water every day guiding people from trips, and so he hatesaccounting and also, you know, any of the analytics stuff. You know, he just wants to guide trips, I guess, is all I wantto do and make money. So yeah, we for sure helped them make senseto it. And because what they really need is that it. Theyneed a partner. They almost even though they can't afford to hire a trueCMO in house, we functioned more so as a fractional CMO that can actuallyexecute the services that they need. If that makes sense. Yeah, no, and I think it's I think it's great because I'll be one hundred percent. I started my own business because I was tired of making money for otherpeople. This is sales executive, but I also I'm great at that's sellingand doing, you know, the marketing and that kind of stuff that weneed to do. I am with your fly fishing friend. I Hate Accounting. I outsource my back end. I outsource all of it to a fractionalCFO company and let them just do it. I don't I'm just need to knowwhere we are, cash flow, like, margin like. I don'tI don't want to. I don't do any of that and but I alsodon't want to get in trouble with the government. So yes, yes,I feel you. So just keep me from getting in trouble and I'm happyto pay and and we have, you know, regularly scheduled check ins andall that stuff. It's one of the things I think a lot of smallbusiness owners or just business owners in general. They're just certain things that you're notgood at and you should focus on the things you are good at andnot hesitate to bring in the partners are bringing the support in the airs,because it's the time you basically getting look for Roy on your time and ifI'm trying to do it counting, that's a crappy Roi and it's going totake a lot of time. So I'm better off focusing on the things thatI'm good at in the business and finding those trusted connections. And it soundslike that was kind of the spirit of how you set up caffeine, ifI'm capturing it right. Yeah, it is, and it's it's very interesting, though. This is how you were...

...we're asking about mistakes a few minutesago. This blows my mind that this happens, but sometimes people or businessowners will self sabotage and the weirdest ways. And what I mean by that isone of our our clients who we brought on maybe four or five monthsago, literally is on track to double her company and more. And we'reI mean hardly spending anything in advertising, maybe three thousand dollars, and mostof her you know, sales service, like her actual services are like Fifteenzero. So she is crushing it. And yet I got an email from hertwo days ago and she was like, Hey, I don't know, we'rejust kind of readthinking this whatever, and then I was like, I won'tsay her name, but I basically even on our back and I was likelet's up on the phone because literally the last call that we had you're likethis is unreal. Couldn't you know, super grateful and blown away. Butit's funny, and I said that not as like a trying to make herfeel bad or whatever, but we have this tendency to kind of like becheap in the wrong areas and scared to invest in others. And when Ihear you say Oh, I'm like, I've got a CFO. I thinkthat's a great example of how to do it is to go you know what, I have somebody that I trust. He's doing a good job and thisis ultimately going to help me focus on stuff that's going to drive our bottomline. Yeah, and it's you're right with the self sabotage, because I'lleven use I can go back further and say, well, when I startedthis business, when I started my business three plus years ago and I startedthis podcast, I was smart enough to know I didn't know what I didn'tknow. So I hired sweetish media right at to do help me get itoff the ground and then, like an idiot, three months in, Idecided how I could figure this out. So I took two months and Iwas like I was doing all the audio processing, I was doing all theleveling, I was doing all the graphics. Is Right in the blog post.And then it just dawn on me that I'm like, this is freakingstupid. I this is not generating we didn't start the podcast to be arevenue generator. It was, it is, a content creation in a way forme to feed my head. Yeah, I spending way too much time onthis. So then web, you know, took a two month pausefrom sweetish and now we're back. He's now you're back and I don't andI'm like, okay, I learned my lesson. I've apparently sometimes need toslam my face in the brick wall before I realize I need to, youknow, get some help. But it's it's that thinking about our time asthe asset that allows us to focus on growing the business and where can webe the most effective. Not Everybody can do it all. There's just thethings have gotten way too complex and diverse and any of the fields out therefor somebody to master at all and be able to, you know, juggleit all. There's just too much to do. There is and there's almostso much information and STEPP changes so quickly. I think some days I'm thinking,man, I mean I'm very thankful we're having the marketing skill set andbeing a master that and really enjoy that is gotten me. But like alljobs, right there's a day where I'm like, I can wish you couldjust going some jet skis right now or something, and then I think.Then I say that because marketing is always changing. It's always changing. Youknow, Google can release a new update, instagram can decide at what's to dosomething different tomorrow. It's going to change their API and the tracking.Apple says, Hey, we're going to enact this new privacy thing. Yourfacebook doesn't have the same access to, you know, whatever targeting that wehad before. So you have to always have a sharp edge and marketing andif you're not willing to continually grind that edge, I don't think that youshould try to master marketing. It's really it's not exhausting to me because Ireally enjoy it, but I see so many people that heard something they they'reall looking for the hot tip, but no one really wants to master thecraft. Yeah, nobody wants to nobody wants to do the work right andand it's really what it comes down to. And that's where I see a lotof organizations, whether they be small, you know smbs or enterprise. Yourun into people who just think, okay, if I just show up, this will happen. Well, you know what, no, it doesn'twork that way. There's a grind to everything and in order to stay ontop of stuff, you have to invest. Like there's I started my career marketing. I spent nine years and marketing. I got my advanced degree in marketing. That was eighteen years ago. I have no freaking clue what's gonemarking. Yeah, I know, I...

...know enough to be dangerous and enoughto ask some intelligent questions, but I have there's no way I could.I could do that. I chose to focus on the revenue, on therevenue collection side of it, on the sale side of it, and businessdevelopment things like that. Now that's my wheelhouse. There I'm good. Iknow enough on the marketing side to be dangerous. But I also think someof it comes down to security, like self security, like I might secureenough to admit I don't know that. And I think some people struggle becausethe personality it takes even start a business. That's pretty big, you know,pretty big jump for a lot of people. You gotta have somen havesome selfbelief or no other options. I guess. Yeah, it. Youknow what? That's so funny? You say that. I don't know why, but there are some people out there, and if not most people. Igenuinely think that if you really are discipline and you know how to grindand you're willing, if you're humble and you're open a feedback, you couldprobably started really good miss us, and those are good indicators that you cando it. But if you are don't, if you don't like working for people, then you would I think you're going to have incredibly hard time ofbusiness because most business is just not having one boss. It's like having threehundred bosses. It's like the customer client is a boss. Yeah, awesomeperspective and and I know I'll be honest that you know I work. I'vealways been a type A workaholic, but in running my own business I'm workingharder than I ever have before, although I don't mind it. I don'tmind it right I because I'm passionate about what I do. So there's definitelysome trade officers. They call it work for a reason. I haven't hitthe longer yet. When that happens we'll have a different conversation. So,yeah, a little bit different podcast would be a totally different podcast. Sowhen you look at next year, right when we go into we covid kindof change some things. We're going into the end of the year. Nobodyreally knows what's going to happen. What are you what do you see orpredicting for two thousand and twenty one in terms of things or elements of marketingthat small business owners should be aware of a really keep an eye on.So today I was perusing linkedin and I just have been seeing more and moreof a mindset which I love, which is that for entrepreneurs, small asits owners and business leaders, this is a great time. I mean it'sobviously for certain industries it's a very, very hard and I even, youknow, some of our our companies actually had to shut down because their shelterin place order. So we there is no flat fish guiding, you know, like that was no go for those like forty five days or something likethat. But most times of trial, I think, present opportunities. Andso if less people are spending on Google and facebook, well then man,that means that your costper did is going to be a lot lower and youhave the potential to make a lot greater return on investment. So I thinkthere's little things like that where pee people are not moving, that your competitionmight be paralyzed. Right, I think you can really move and take actionand gain ground and the market place, and so I feel, overall,really excited. Is there one particular APP or, you know, software thatI'm really excited about? Not Really. I think that if we look attrue story base, like the story brand marketing, I think that is reallyincredible and I think you have to have that now because there's so much marketingnoise out there that if you don't have a message that cuts directly to yourcustomer, you're not going to connect you and waste money and or advertising.But other than that, I mean that direct the tracking, direct marketing,all of that, I think will still be true a year from now.Excellent. All right, so let's change direction here a little bit. Weask all of our guests to standard questions at the ends of the interview.First is simply as a CMO and founder. That makes you a prospect for alot of sales people out there, and so I'm always curious to knowif somebody doesn't have a referral and I could trusted introduction. What works foryou to capture your attention and earn earn the right to some time on yourcalendar? Well, it has to feel personal, but at the same timeI know that I probably get a handful like, for example, on Linkedin. Right if you're going to mention my company name, that's not personal enoughfor me. But if you say something to the fact of like, Hey, I listen to this podcast that I really love, you know the storyred framework, I'd love to connect with... about you know, Xyz,that I guess my attention and you know, obviously, being busy, my mycounter is super vival to me and even I guard it really well.So if there take the time to be that personal, I think I'll definitelyhave that call. But then also, I think if they can hit directlyon a pain point that I have, because I will actually go on facebookand watch you, mainly facebook and Instagram, and just look at ads. AndI love looking at ads because I'm looking for somebody to solve my problemand that's probably because I'm just, you know, a marketing guy and I'mfascinated by it. But I mean really, I bought everything on my desk.I bought because it was an ad for the most part, and soI love when someone's going to solve a problem that I have and I'm willingto pay money for it. So it's just got to be there. Youknow, if you actually are talking to a pain point that I'm experiencing,then for sure I'll call. Love it, all right, so last question.We call it our acceleration in sight. One piece of advice you could giveto marketing professionals that you believe would help them hit or exee their targets. Just one. What would it be? M Why? Okay, so Ialready said be the guide, so you can't do that one. Iwould say it would be to really think about making the stakes clear in yourmarketing. So what I mean by that is what's at stake if they don'tbuy your product or service, and I know I've kind of mentioned that already, but like what's going to be one or lost? What are you goingto ultimately gain? I think if we can really paint a picture of anideal outcome as well as what's at risk, I think that makes it really compellingfor people to actually take action and your advertisements. I love it.All right. So if a listeners interested in talking to you more about thesetopics or learning more about caffeine, where would you prefer we send them?First, Caffeine Dot Marketing, so not NOCOM, just caffeine, that marketing. Or if you want to connect with me personally, you know Evan knockscomis great too. All right, Ivan, I can't think enough for taking time. It's been an absolute pleasure to have you on the show. Thanks, oh Shrav me chat. I really appreciate it. All right, everybodythat does off this episode. You know the drill be to be real exactcomsure, we friends, family, Co workers. Let your kids listen toit so they're not looking at the IPADS all day long. And until nexttime, we wish you nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening tothe BB revenue executive experience. To ensure that you never miss an episode,subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you somuch for listening. Until next time,.

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