Kevin Urrutia, Founder, Voy Media, New York City, NY
Kevin Urrutia is Founder of Voy Media, a “growth marketing agency” focused on helping marketing executives grow their online businesses – but not from the “ground up.” Voy Media does not help companies that want to get started in online marketing, build clients’ businesses, or act as any client’s marketing team. Instead, the focus is on scaling successful client companies and taking them to the next level, moving them from 6 to 7 to 8 figures in monthly sales . . . and doing it fast.
These clients already know what they need to do to build a business and they’re doing it. They already have mature systems and processes in place for emailing prospective buyers and getting online content and reviews. Voy takes this collected information, breaks it down, and uses it to feed the creation of new ads, new videos, and new images for clients’ social media – their already existing Facebook pages, Google Ads, and LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and TikTok accounts.
Kevin’s background is in computer programming. During college, he started a web development consulting company. After he graduated, he moved to Silicon Valley to work for Mint.com (Intuit). In that fevered e-commerce boom era (global e-commerce sales topped $1 trillion in 2012, up 21.9% from the previous year), “I kept building things. I kept going to hackathon startup events.” Frustratingly, all that “building” and networking did not result in sales.
Then Kevin discovered “marketing.” He researched SEO, found it “interesting,” and concluded that “Everything around you is really marketing, but it’s great marketing when you don’t think it’s marketing.” He jumped to a startup called Zaarly, and then moved to New York and did what none of his programming buddies wanted to do: He started starting his own businesses. His buddies wanted “jobs.” He wanted to own something bigger and was willing to take the risk.
Kevin started an online-scheduled cleaning company. and thereafter, a number of e-commerce companies, learning the lessons on switching products to drive sales and growing teams that he, today, passes on to his clients.
In this interview, Kevin discusses how the recent iOS update, iOS 14, allows individuals to turn off tracking and limits a lot of ad options that used to be available for advertisers. Now, instead of looking at the individual platforms to get information, companies must ask the questions: “How much revenue did we make from new customers this week? How much did we spend on ads? What is the ratio between new customer revenue with ad spend?” Kevin says things are more “fluffy” in one sense, but companies do have a better grasp on their profitability. He says, “People are actually building brands again, versus like, ‘Hey I just want to make quick buck online.’”
That’s a good thing, he believes, because “Building a real business takes years.” Companies need to “reinvest into the branding. You got to reinvest into ads, copy, photography.”
Kevin can be reached social platforms and on his agency’s website at: https://voymedia.com/ where you will find case studies, courses, and Kevin’s blog.
ROB: Welcome to The Marketing Agency Leadership Podcast. I’m your host, Rob Kischuk, and I am joined today by Kevin Urrutia, founder at Voy Media, based in New York City. Welcome to the podcast, Kevin.
KEVIN: Hey, Rob. Thanks for having me. Super excited to be here.
ROB: Great to have you on the cast. Why don’t you start off by giving us an intro to Voy Media. What do you want to be known for?
KEVIN: Voy Media . . . we’re growth marketing agency. Pretty typical, but the difference between us and other agencies is my background is in computer science programming. We’ll talk about a little bit more of that later on. The way we help founders is by we come in to help you scale. We’re not here to help you get started in online marketing. That’s a different type of agency. We’re more here for founders or other marketing executives that want help to grow their online business with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Creatives are also a big part. We’re doing that now with the whole new iOS update and we’re seen trying to switch around and again restructure agency to fit the market’s needs too.
ROB: (Laughs) I see. So, this is not, “I have an idea. I want to get the word out there.” This is “I know who my customer is but help me because I still don’t know how to reach them.” Is that where you play?
KEVIN: It’s a little bit after that, too, where you already spent some money and now you’re saying, “Hey I have a marketing person in-house but we still need help because we want to scale” and you don’t want to bring somebody new on again. So, I tell people all the time, we used to do what we said before . . . “Hey, you have a brand new idea. Let’s help you” . . . and then it turned out that this was just a different type of client or customer that we didn’t want to educate about what marketing was. It was just very difficult. I see some agencies do that. It’s like I’m prey to you. Those clients, the ones that pay you that much, they’re calling you every single day to give you an update. I think it’s so funny, but like you’ve probably heard before, the more they pay you the less they call you. It’s so true.
ROB: That’s amazing. What is it about a business at that stage that aligns with your talents? What’s the playbook that starts to make sense at that stage that maybe isn’t available sooner?
KEVIN: I think the playbook that’s available is that these businesses already have systems on how to get content, how to get reviews, how to do all that stuff – just feeds our creative team to make new ads, to make new videos, to make new images for their social media, for their Facebook page. It’s not like we’re saying, “Hey, you should send an email out to get customer reviews.” They already are doing this, so their mindsets are already in this – “Yep, this is what we need to build a brand or a company.” It’s just a different business shift of a person and for us, it’s less pulling, like “Hey, we need this from you.” It’s more like “Yep, this is already in our pipeline. You’re gonna get it next week.” If we can, we get user-generated content every week – We just get that in the Slack channel – “Hey, guys. Here’s this week’s content.” They already have a process in place and we’re here to help them. I tell people all the time – a lot of times business owners, in the beginning, want us to basically build their whole business for them. I say, “No, I’m your marketing team. I’m not here to build your company.”
ROB: This is our customer. What do you think?
KEVIN: Yeah. I’m like, “I don’t know. You have the product.” They’re like, “Isn’t your team supposed to do that?” Yes, but like, “I don’t know exactly what you’re doing” :Hey, it looks like this product. . . .like customers are complaining about this. Are you going to switch your product?” They’re like, “No.” I’m like, “All right then. If your sales aren’t going up, then you need to do something.” So, for me too, this comes from not just doing marketing, but because I’ve also had my own e-commerce companies too. So, I’ve had to switch products, I’ve had to grow a team, and that’s where for me, it’s like, I see you sometimes, I mean before like we work with founders, I’m like, “Hey, people are clearly complaining about this. Why aren’t you switching or doing something?” And at least for me when I had my outdoor gear company – we recently sold it — we made three to four versions of a trekking pole based on customer feedback because that’s what you do as a business. You iterate over and over again. Sometimes people say, “Hey, this is a perfect product.” I’m like, “Is it a perfect product? You need to switch things around if people are complaining about it.” So, I don’t know, for me, I’m trying to find people that, like I tell people all the time, the best people that we work with are people that have done it once, failed, and like, “Okay now. I know what to do because everybody has been through the trenches in the fire.”
ROB: Sure. What it sounds like they have is they have a steady pipeline of content that speaks to their audience but . . . I think a lot of people’s natural format is more long-form and not marketing copy, right? So, you can kind of take what they have, break it down, atomize it, align it to different channels, test some things, and then layer on a set of known tactics that work when you have legitimate content.
KEVIN: Exactly. That’s what it is. It’s like, “We’re here to use tactics to help you grow versus help you figure out these tactics are. We can help somewhat but there’s only so much time we can tell clients, “Hey, you need you see.” and they’re like “Oh? why? I don’t know how to go get it.” I’m like. “Send an email out.” They’re like, “Oh okay I forgot this week.” I’m like, “All right. (sighs) I can’t press this send button for you.”
ROB: Right? Step 1 is send an email this week. Then come back and talk to me.
KEVIN: So yeah. I get it. I think for me, our agency – at least I tell people all the time – it just depends on what type of company or business you want to build. There’s people that want to be in that zero to 1 stage, where it’s like, “Hey, we’re gonna build this system and process for you. But for me, I just don’t want to be doing that. So, we’re saying, we’re shifting more towards – “Hey you have something and you have some sort of team. We’re gonna come here implement, help you and supplement you and be that agency.”
ROB: Sure. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention, I heard you mention briefly iOS 14. Obviously, the kind of individual targeting, opt-outs, all that is changing how ads run, how ads are tracked. What has been changing for you and how are you responding or suggesting people respond when it comes to the options that are no longer available to them due to those changes?
KEVIN: I think iOS 14 . . . it’s interesting. I see both. For us, bad side for a lot of agencies like us is . . . I tell people, like we were, you could track everything. So, our incentives are very like, “Hey look! We spend more money. We make more money.” We see revenue going up, we can spend more money.” Because it’s tracked and now that has really affected our ability to scale as an agency and again clients as well because they were spending 15k a month, now they’re spending 20k, and they’re just like, “Well, the results are even worse and we’re not getting any sales.” So, I think, what has changed a lot is the way we’re tracking because now we’re so used to just looking at the platforms, Google, Facebook, say, “Yep, this is a 1 to 1 or at least pseudo 1 to 1, where right now it’s even worse. I don’t even know where it’s coming from. So, tracking itself has changed and, at least for us, the way we’re doing it now is like what people should have been doing or at least sort of had done. Which is like, “Hey, this week, how much revenue did you make from new customers? How much did we spend on ads? What is the ratio between new customer revenue with ad spend?” It’s a bit more fluffy, but at least you’re saying that, yes, you are profitable. So, more daily profitability sheets/ weekly profitability sheets or even monthly – like your P&L. Go into your account each month and say, “Yep, reconcile all the expenses. Were we profitable?” Great, business is still good. That is something that, at least before iOS 14, people didn’t really know, which is interesting. I think any business, you have to know this stuff. People are getting a little more savvy with these numbers. At the same time, something that I’ve seen shift is that – I think it’s good going back with my background. I think now people are actually building brands again, versus like, “Hey I just want to make quick buck online.”
KEVIN: That was something that we saw so much because it was so easy to track, like, “Hey, you like pet stuff, right? Let me make this pet niche store and for the next 3 months let me make 20K.” It wasn’t like a brand where, right now, similar to any business like you probably seen . . . Building a real business takes years.
KEVIN: And there’s gonna be years where you don’t make money. Everybody had this weird mentality like, “Hey, if I spend a thousand bucks, I need to make 5k this month” . . . or else “You suck – not me.” This is not how you build a company. You got to reinvest into the branding. You got to reinvest into ads, copy, photography . . . I just saw this crazy, quick-flipping of businesses where ten years ago, you were actually okay, “I’m gonna mess with your cake(?) and I’m gonna make this thing a big brand and try to build something. I think that’s coming back again, which is great because it’s gonna be entrepreneurs that I think want to build true businesses for the long-term.
ROB: Right on. I think I may have heard this. I may have heard it wrong, but there’s also an increasing challenge with now with the attribution window. Is that right? That there’s actually a short, you can’t, I think it’s like used to be able to see if . . . so you ran an ad and somebody bought in thirty days. Mow you get what 7?
KEVIN: Yeah. You got like 7 or even like 1 day. Sometimes it’s just so much tougher? Yeah.
ROB: So, it is more empirical. It’s, “I spent money, am I making money? I increased my spend a little bit ago, am I making more money now?” It’s trickier.
KEVIN: It’s definitely trickier, like I said. I think you now need to have the stomach for it, like, “Hey, you’re hoping to make money,” and I get both sides. You know there’s always the side of like, “Hey, I’m not a VC-funded company.” I’m like, “Yeah, I know.” Most people aren’t, but there’s a reason why companies like Facebook and Google – obviously those are outliers, but other companies such as them that spend . . . like Uber, right? literally in business for ten years and every year lose money, right? There’s a reason why it’s like – again, that’s a bigger scale but you sometimes need to think yourself as a smaller scale, say, “Hey, you’re in this for the long run.” You’re like, “There’s a reason why everybody knows Uber, like, “Hey I’m gonna get a cab because all the brand equity of the advertising.” So, a lot of times you’ve probably seen business owners don’t want to do that because like, “No I need to make money.” I’m like, “Yes, you should make money – but there is something to be said for reinvest into your business and saying, “Hey, I’m gonna do this as ‘quote-unquote’ my life’s work. It doesn’t do your life, but like the next 5 to 10 years, right.
ROB: Sure. I think it’s helpful. I think people are starting to get this understanding a little more – to know when you’re doing brand marketing and to know when you’re doing performance marketing because getting those things twisted is also a real source of misunderstanding if you . . .
KEVIN: Oh yeah, there’s definitely performance marketing everything and there’s also brand marketing. A lot of people just want to do performance marketing but you still need to have great Instagram accounts, great Twitter accounts, great social media people. I tell people all the time, like, “Why do I need a social media manager– they don’t make any money?” – But you still want people interacting with your community, talking to them. You know, some of the best companies out there do both performance and branding. Branding is one of those things that you see it when you see it. But when you’re doing it, you don’t see it. It’s tough to put into a balance sheet but you know it when you see it. It’s like Uber, you know? Lyft, you know? So it’s hard. I know that for sure.
ROB: And when sometimes it’s even just a negative signal you’re never going to see right? Somebody looks up your company. They look up your Twitter or your Instagram or your Facebook or your LinkedIn and if there’s nothing there or if it’s really dead, people judge that. I mean, they do. I do.
KEVIN: I know I do. I always think marketing is so funny because, like I tell people, “What do you do when you look up a business?” I know you’re gonna go like look up reviews. I know you’re gonna look at Instagram and then I’m like, “How come for your company you don’t think you need to do that?”
KEVIN: They hate when it’s like, “Oh, yeah. I don’t know what I’m saying.” They feel dumb but I just hate saying, “I’m like you. You do this same thing, too. So why don’t you do for your business? I’m like “Hey if . . . I also tell people this. I’m on calls. I’m like, “If you weren’t on your website, would you buy?” And if it’s a no, then, “Why do you think other customers would buy?” – So like, “I don’t know.”
ROB: Take us back a little bit in time here, Kevin. Where did Voy Media come from and what led you to jump off this company-building cliff.
KEVIN: Voy Media is my newest company that I started. Basically, my quick background is computer science. I was a programming major in upstate New York . . . Binghamton. All throughout college I knew I wanted to do my own startup – since I was17 – it’s something I wanted to do for a long time. So, in college, I started doing one tiny bit which is my web building. I was 19 or 20. I had 2 employees working on web projects there. We were just getting customers through Craigslist – so developing stuff. For me it was mostly like I’ve always wanted to build a startup. After college I was like, “Okay I gotta go to Silicon Valley.” I went to work for Mint.com as a programmer and then I went to work for another startup there for 3 years. During this time, I wanted to build stuff so I kept building things. I kept going to hackathon startup events. One of the things that happened for me during this time – I have always was in this mindset of like, “Hey, if you build it, they will come.” Because, hey, if you have a great product people just naturally find you. That was the thing that programmers in Silicon Valley just said to each other. Like “Hey, if people build something great, people will just find it” is one hundred percent not true looking back – but the mindset was very different back then. So, I kept building stuff. Eventually, I was like, “Man, how come I’m not getting any customers?” And then, I started looking up “what is marketing.” I was like, “Okay, this is actually a thing.” That’s when I started learning more about marketing. My initial foray into marketing was SEO, like black-hat, world-affiliate marketing, CPA stuff. That was for me very interesting. When I first discovered it, I was like, “Oh, this is very interesting.” The reason why I found it so interesting because these affiliate guys were getting these twenty dollars like, “Hey, you can make twenty dollars off this widget that you sell,” so they had to sell it for a hundred twenty bucks to make profit. So, I was like, “Oh, these guys are using cutting edge tactics.” You would join these underground forums or Skype groups of people saying like, “Hey, try this marketing message.” I was like, “Whoa!” I didn’t realize marketing is like that – it was like performance for me. I always thought marketing was this branded thing. I didn’t know there’s this other type of marketing that was purely based on sales. That’s what got me at least . . . at that point I wasn’t doing ads. It opened up my eyes to this marketing world. I was like, “Oh, everything around you is really marketing, but it’s great marketing when you don’t think it’s marketing.” Behind the scenes, there’s guys pulling the levers that’s doing the marketing. So, it’s like one of those like realizations that you have. I was like, “Okay, this is kind of what I need to do anyways.” I came back to New York because I missed my family. I started my cleaning company called Maid Sailers and here, for this cleaning company, is where I did almost all the marketing. I did SEO. I did reviews, blogging, PPC, Yelp ads, kind of everything. I did that for about a year-and-a-half. I wanted to keep growing it but people that have a service-based company – even some like Moy media – service-based businesses can only grow as you grow people – humans, right? So, it’s human capital intense kind of business, which is great to get started. So, I think I tell people, times like these are great businesses start. But if you want to grow it, I didn’t think I could grow it that big. So, then I started ecommerce because at that time too I saw all my friends are doing FBA, Amazon, I was like, “I got to jump into this, right?” It’s one of those things with FOMO — I got to do it. Then I did my Montem, which is my outdoor gear company. This was more scalable because, at the time – it was much easier back then with e-commerce products like Amazon. You’re selling. Then, again for Montem, when we did e-commerce, I learned so much more. This is kind of where I first started doing more Facebook ads, Google ads, review blogger reviews. We were like number 1 on Wirecutter, so we were able to do partnerships. We did retail. We were pitching retails with the events – kind of like everything involved and, at least for me, that’s why I like entrepreneurship in startups because I like all this stuff I just described. If I worked for somebody, I would never be able to do it all. Because you’re only stuck in 1 thing where it’s like a founder you could just say, “Okay, I’m going to do it all like,” and you figured it out somehow, which is either exciting or not exciting for some people. For me, it’s like, “Oh, this is awesome.” I went to China 3 times up to my factories. So that’s kind of where the concept of Voy Media came – because I was doing this e-commerce stuff. And then I was like, “Okay, I want to help other founders achieve success,” – that’s the inkling, the idea of Voy Media. Of course, what we are now is very different than what I thought initially because you iterate your business based on what you see. But that’s how Voy Media started.
ROB: How did you navigate away from those assumptions of the business, from those predispositions that you had? I mean, candidly, folks who come from a software developer background a lot of time have a hard time taking their hands off the keyboard. They want to be writing code, right? So how did you kind of navigate to the truth of the business instead of where you started?
KEVIN: I always tell people that one of the main reasons why I always wanted to do a startup and it’s something that I’ve always like wanted to do since I was 17. But one of the things when I was in Silicon Valley, at least for me when I was 21 or 22 – I don’t know, I was probably 23 at the time – very naïve. I was looking at a lot of my friends in the space, like the programmers there, and they would just talk about stuff and I was like, “Oh, wow! These guys are really smart. I don’t think I’ll ever be that good. I need to do something else because these guys are just awesome programmers.” My roommate, his name was Adam. We worked at the same company and he would talk about a concept. I’m like, “Dude, I have no clue how you just got that!” I thought I was smart but that’s kind of what for me I’m like, “I got figure out something else in my life because I want to make money but, clearly, you’re on another level.” I was like, “Let me just do business stuff and that’s kind of it for me.” Another relationship for me was that I would talk to him or talk to other people like, “Hey, why don’t you start a company. You are really smart,” but they’re like, “No, I just want to be an employee.” That made me think, “Hey, there’s guys like me that want to have a company and then I can hire guys like him that don’t want to take the risk,” and you’re gonna hire these super smart people that are gonna work for you and that’s where the realization came to me, “Hey, I don’t have to be the smartest but there’s a lot of smart people that don’t want to take the risk I want to take, and they could just work for me. Yeah!”
ROB: Yeah, so that’s a good lesson to pick up along the way. As you reflect on the journey so far in building the business, what are some other key lessons you might want to go back and just tell yourself if you were starting over? Some good advice.
KEVIN: Good advice is so obvious. But like hiring people – I think once you feel an inkling that a person’s not going to work out, you really got to let them go because it’s a drain on the company and drain on yourself. That’s probably the one people always say but it’s also the hardest because people with emotions and working with them. But that’s really tough. I think it’s getting better, at least for service-based companies, it’s just getting really better at vetting the people you work with just because it’s a really personal relationship and, if you already feel like they’re gonna be a very demanding, upstart, they’re probably gonna be demanding the whole relationship and it’s just gonna be a battle to please them. That’s something I tell my sales team all the time. Like any red flag. I could see an email and I’m like, “This is a red flag. I can tell already this is gonna be a terrible partner to work with. Let’s not even sign them,” and they’re like, “Why?” I’m like. “Trust me. This one word they said, I pretty much know what they’re looking for.” I think another one that’s super important, I think for me at least, it’s like, “I couldn’t do my theme(?) companies. Every company I’ve done it, it’s been with a partner.” You need somebody there to talk to, to help you with the problem, because like any business they’re gonna be high highs and low lows. Sometimes you need somebody else to talk to them about it because sometimes you can’t tell your employees how you’re feeling because then it’s like, “I work for you,” and then they’re like, “Oh well. If the founder’s feeling this way, I can’t feel that way either.” Having a partner that’s on the same like equal level as you or around that area – you can like tell them the real issues and how you’re feeling, so I think a partner is gonna be great. And again, it helps distribute the work depending on what you’re doing and how you’re splitting the stuff with the business because it’s a lot of stuff to do.
ROB: Yeah, is that somebody that you had early in the business or is that somebody you brought in? Is that somebody outside the business for you? What’s that look like?
KEVIN: For Voy Media, it’s Wilson. I’ve known him since college. We’ve literally known each other for over ten years and we’ve going back to everything before like one tiny bit the Ruby on Rails company. He was my partner there, too, in Silicon Valley. When I moved there, he was in college and I just graduated. And I was like, “Yo, Wilson! I’m moving.” He’s like, “I’ll move there with you.” So I’ve known him for a long time. I tell people it really depends. There’s these relationships are very . . . You need to be careful because there’s a level of trust you already have so you can’t really get mad at each other. But again, it’s careful. Sometimes things go wrong, you get mad at each other but you know that “Hey, we’re doing it because we both” . . . I I think you both need to know the goal of the business. So, it’s like, “Hey, this is why I’m like upset with you. It’s not that I’m upset about you personally, it’s because I’m upset about the business and we both want to achieve this and we’re not achieving it together. How do we get there?” So, it’s a careful relationship, like any couple. Things are upsetting us. Why? Because we both want to be happy. How do we fix that issue so it’s not like I’m attacking you personally?
ROB: Right. And if you’re partners on that, you got to solve it one way or another. You can’t stay grumpy and you can’t stay stuck in the mud. It can go sideways pretty quick. So, you had Wilson there really early on in the business.
ROB: What was another kind of key inflection point that you noticed, where you felt like you had to level up the capabilities of the firm? The people in the firm, the processes – were there any kind of chokepoints so far that you had to kind of reevaluate in a significant way?
KEVIN: Yeah. I mean like honestly, at least for Voy Media, one of the biggest things that we made was hiring an operations person to really help clean up everything at the agency. Because from reporting to hiring, I think that really helped us. I think it’s one of those things where . . . I consider one of those positions where you want to be so involved sometimes. But you need to bring on someone that can do the work for you, that’s smarter than you, that you can give complete ownership. I think, with any business, that’s probably the hardest part – giving up some part of the business to somebody else to run and just trusting them. That’s probably some of the best things that we’ve done because now the agency has grown quicker. With that comes a few points. One is cash load. You have to have the money to hire somebody good or can you take a little hit on income? That way you know that this person is going to hopefully pay off in six months. As a bootstrap founder, you think about these things but hiring people like that is super helpful.
ROB: Where was the business in terms of size, however you think about it, when you made that operations move?
KEVIN: We were probably like 5 to 6 people. Now we’re about 30 people. So, it’s definitely grown a lot more now. But yeah, hiring those people – like higher level people are helpful because there’s only so many people that are doing the work. Of course, you need those people as well. But you need people thinking about strategy, thinking about processes and systems and that’s why it’s helpful and again, at least for me, it’s the biggest . . . honestly, one of the biggest things too is thinking about yourself as the founder, as the person running the company. What do you want to be doing? I don’t want to be doing all this stuff. I want to hire somebody else to do it because that doesn’t give me energy. It drains me. I want to be doing what gives me energy, which is podcasting, sales – that’s exciting for me. So, I know I’m gonna do a better job and I know I’m gonna be reading books about it whereas like – “Hey, accounting, – I don’t want to look this up.” Find somebody else to do it because it’s going to drain you and that’s going to affect your whole day.
ROB: Wow. That all makes sense. As we look ahead for Voy Media – when you look at either what the company’s doing or what will be necessary in the types of marketing that you do – what’s coming up that you’re excited about?
KEVIN: What we’re excited about right now I think, again going back to what I said before, we’re working with founders building these great brands. Better for us to work with founders out in the long run – before I was quick. Like, “Hey this month sucked. You guys suck.” It’s like, “Oh god, this is a stressful relationship.” It’s more like, “Hey, let’s build something big and great together,” and again a big thing for us too. It’s gonna be the creatives. People are really open to having great images, great creatives. People are more open to trying new things now because they’re seeing that Facebook isn’t the only platform. There’s now Facebook, there’s TikTok, there’s Instagram stories, like there’s all this new stuff out there. It’s exciting again to make content. I see that as exciting. Where before people were just like, “I just want to do Facebook ads. Okay.” “Well, TikTok.” “No, I don’t know that platform.” Where people are, I think . . . I don’t know . . . there’s a shift there where people are more open to new stuff now.
ROB: Yeah, it’s certainly a shift. It’s certainly interesting in terms of openness. How do you think about the difference between what should be legitimately out of bounds for a particular brand versus what is their being flexible in a way that that is actually necessary? People have their experimental budgets. It can’t all be experimental but some of it has to be.
KEVIN: I think it just depends what level you are. I think, for example, when we work with consumer companies, all the consumer platform is always great – TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook of course. But if you’re a consumer company, Linkedin doesn’t make sense because that’s more like professional. So, there are certain industries where it’s very clear cut like, “Hey, if you’re a SaaS or software or marketing company, you should be on LinkedIn because that’s where quote – unquote professionals are. We think about it like that. As you get bigger and you’re scaling your business, you need to think about platforms outside – like billboard ads are something that’s more branded but there’s a lot of ways to access those now in like easy platforms stuff. Some of my friends do that because they raise money and they say it’s not effective. But I think something that brands need to think about right now is that, before, it was “you just sell online.” Now I’m seeing a big shift of online plus retail as well. So, getting into the Walmarts, the Targets, the Amazon’s, the stores – everything like that is so important because it’s more omnichannel versus like, “Hey I’m only direct to consumer.” I’m seeing that big shift now, too.
ROB: Right on. When you say the billboard stuff is more accessible, what does that actually look like? Can I go like buy a billboard? Can I buy it where I want it? Can I set what time of day I want to see a digital like, I don’t know . . . What can I do?
KEVIN: I forgot the exact website. I’ll try to find it later. But yeah, basically you can do exactly that. I think it’s ClearView, one of those company that owns it. They now have a website similar to what you said where you can just say like, “Hey, for 100 bucks I want an ad near Times Square.” It makes it super simple and easy. You can just upload your creatives. Before it was kind of what you were saying . . . even subway ads now in New York City, you have to spend 30K minimum to get like one car of subway ads, where it should be self-serve, right? “Okay, I want one car, one creative . . . how much is it gonna cost? All right?” Subway ads are harder because you actually need to print the thing, where some of these new billboards are digital. So yeah, you could do it. I forgot the exact platform but it’s cool. I’ve seen some friends do it just for experimental. It kind of works but it’s one of those things where you just try it out and see.
ROB: Sure. I’ve thought about it. There’s some ways . . . maybe it’s too creepy . . . but you can almost get account-based marketing. You know a bunch of people for this company come this way, light up this billboard during the commute, leave it shut down during lunchtime – like who knows, right?
KEVIN: Yeah. It’s funny you’re saying that because there’s this company . . . they were a remote job board, right? Facebook announced, I think a few months ago, that like, “Hey, starting in 2022, everybody needs to go back to work in the office.” So, then this company took out ads on that highway to say, “Hey, don’t want to go back to work? Apply for new jobs here.” But exactly what you’re saying. You can know where these things are, they’ll pinpoint the area, and then you can do account-based marketing that way. People do this when they launch a Walmart or Target in the city. There will be billboards around there so say, “Hey, look! We’re now available at Target down the street!” So, you can do that type of stuff.
ROB: Very interesting. So much to do. So much to learn. Still, Kevin, congrats on the journey so far. Thank you for coming on and sharing with us as well. I wish you well and I know our audience will enjoy what you had to share.
KEVIN: Thank you Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.
ROB: Thanks, Kevin take care. Bye