You must know that the 2 main digital marketing change

World Health:(tech beat)- So Rand, pleasure tohave you here at NextCon.- Great to be here.- Thank you so much for making it out.- Yeah, my pleasure.- What do you think about NextCon so far?- I mean, it s incredible.You have brought togethera phenomenal audienceand some truly impressive speakers, too.- [Yaniv] Including yourself.- N...

May 29,2020 | Brianna


(tech beat)- So Rand, pleasure tohave you here at NextCon.- Great to be here.- Thank you so much for making it out.- Yeah, my pleasure.- What do you think about NextCon so far?- I mean, it's incredible.You have brought togethera phenomenal audienceand some truly impressive speakers, too.- [Yaniv] Including yourself.- Not including me, I wouldnot group myself into that,but we'll see how we do.- You're a marketing legend,and I know you know this.How, first, how does itfeel to be so well knownin the marketing community,and have accomplished so much,and impacted so many businesses and peoplewith Whiteboard Friday, Moz,and now SparkToro and your books.

- Yeah, it is, there is definitely somecognitive dissonance at play, right,because I don't think of myselfas having a very big presence,but then in marketing universe,it's sort of like I'm acelebrity to a small numberof very specific nerds on the internet.And that, it's fun, right?I think it's exciting tobe able to have an impacton a marketplace, and ona field, and to be able tohave access to a lot of people and ideas,and then synthesize thoseand help other people learn.Recently it's also beenreally interesting for meto be able to sort of thinkmore deeply about that,and reflect on how I wannahelp the next generationof marketers, right?So, you know, when youand I were coming up,it was this kind of goldenera for web marketing, and--- It was just getting off the ground.- Yeah, it was justgetting off the ground.Google was sending somuch traffic, you know.

They were an ally tovirtually everyone on the web.The social media platforms as well, right,they drove tremendous amounts of traffic.Facebook and Twitterand LinkedIn and Redditand all of these placeswere spots where you and Icould build brands.- Yeah.- And they're becominga little bit less that.- Tougher.- Yeah, all of those placesare becoming tougher.And so, I think a bigpart of my work these daysis not just trying tohelp marketers understandhow these platforms work,but also urging theseplatforms to be more helpfulto marketers, right?Trying to apply some of the, you know,whatever clout and pressure I can applyto a Google, a YouTube--- I think that's important, right?Because we want a leveland fair playing field.

And we don't want it to necessarily beonly the big companies or certain peopleor certain companies to get,you know, special treatment.- Yeah, I worry about that.I don't love the idea thatthe internet is becoming,that internet marketing is becominga pay-to-play environment.- [Yaniv] Right.- I don't think that'shealthy and good forany of us, right?I think that there'ssomething magical aboutorganic, the ability toorganically build a brandbased on what you doand how well you do it,and the information and helpthat you provide to others.That inspires me to want tohelp a lot of people do that.And I worry about us pullingup the ladder behind us, right?- But do you feel like it'sbecoming more pay-to-playthan ever before?- Yeah.- Like 15 years ago, itwasn't as pay to play,I'd say, right?- Well, I mean, one of thestatistics you can look atis what percent of the advertising marketdoes online control,what percent is controlledby just Google and Facebook.- Right.- And those numbers keep climbing--- Right.- In pretty concerning ways.

So I worry about that.I also worry about the percent of clicksthat go to paid versus organic, right?- [Yaniv] Diminishing.- Paid just keeps on growing,and organic is shrinking the opposite way.And then there's Googlethemselves capturingso much search trafficand sending it back totheir own properties.The biggest beneficiary toGoogle search traffic is--- Google, or YouTube, right?- Alphabet, right?The Alphabet brand of companies.I mean, maybe that'sbecause they're really good,I don't think that's true.I think it's because--- And I'm sure universal search,Google wants to keepthem on Google, right?- 

This is the big problem--- So traffic is staying.- That search and... Idon't know if you watchedthe Congressional hearings, right, whereSundar Pichai was testifying and thenAdam, whatever, their...Google's representative,was testifying in frontof Congress, right.You've got this panel,tons of people there,and one of the Congressmenasks point blank,right, point blank,"A few years ago"Larry Page said that"Google's mission was toget you to Google and then"send you off to where youcould get the information"as fast as possible."Is that still Google's mission?"And you can see, right, thisAdam guy just kind of crumblingand providing a total non-answerand trying to dodge the question.And essentially, the honest answer is no.That is not our mission anymore.We want to keep people on Googlebecause that's how we monetize them.- 

And then we even sawthe recent Genius dilemmaor situation, so there's alot coming out with Googleand definitely the world's changed.You know, looking back,let's say 15 years or soin the game, would you havedone anything differently?Was there a move or anythingthat you did, would you,knowing what you knownow, would you have doneanything differently?- So many things!"Lost and Founder" isbasically a guide for Randof things you should'vedone differently, right,and I think that the reason it's resonatedwith other entrepreneursis because this bookis just filled with,- You really un--- "We did this, it did not go"the way we wanted it to go."Here's what I would dodifferently this time."- And what are some of thosethings that you really,you know, have stuck withyou still that you're like,"You know what, more businessesneed to think about this"and know?"- 

Yeah, I mean--- And not necessarilyfollow the kind of normsor the ideas that have beenkind of pushed onto us.- Yeah, I mean one of theideas that's been popularizedin startup world and techstartup world, in particular,is this concept that venturecapital is the end all be all.That if you build a greatcompany, or a companythat could be great, youwill be interesting to VCand therefore that makes you some sort ofsuperstar and that's whatwe should all be aiming for.And that is,I think if younoodle on that logicfor just a few minutes,you will quickly see,"Oh no wait, I think that'sjust venture capitalists"and the tech press workingto amplify that, right."They say, "Oh, VC is wrongfor 99% of companies"but the implication is, ifyou're a really great companythen VC is right for youand that is not true.I believe two things are false there.One, I think that VCkills far more companiesthan it needs to, right.So by raising investment in this manner,you know, 90% of those,95% of those companieswon't return the investment amount.That is I think because of the pressureof being forced to grow fast, right,or die fast.- It's almost like businesses,sorry to cut you off,but most businesses think,or entrepreneurs thinkthey need to, in order tostart, you first need VC money.Like you don't--- 

That's another myth.- Before you get a domainname, you need VC money.- Madness, right?That's madness.I think that is part of the problem.I think there's alsoa big focus on growthand growth rate overprofitability and survivability.And so a lot of entrepreneursare trying to build companiesthat show rapid growth so thatthey can attract investmentrather than trying to showprofitability and survivabilityso that they can weatherwhatever storms come.And the thing about growthis, if you don't dieit'll come.- Exactly.And this is a marathon, right?- This is a marathon!- It's not the short game.You know, Nextiva's story.We started off self-funded since day one.Bootstrapped, but also in Arizona,which was different, right?- Yes.- So there's also thisbelief that you needto be in Silicon Valley or a major cityin order to start, grow, scale a business.

But even that's a myth I would say.- I completely agree and Ithink that there is actuallya lot of smart moneylooking at alternativeinvestments in secondary, tertiary marketsall over the world and thatis a really smart thing.I also think, you know, one ofthe big mistakes that I madeearly on was trying to beeverything to everyone.Right, so, I am of the strongopinion that focus winsin a lot of marketing andsales and product arenas.Right, that a ton of the timewhen you look at a productor a business that is plateauedand it is not growing anymoreit is because they movedaway from what made thema great product in the first place.They stopped serving thecustomers they were supposed toserve as well as they couldand now they're back in eithersearching for a new customer to serveor they're gonna be slowly dyingand you can see a tonof companies like that.- Whether it's like chasing the moneyor moving away from youoriginal guiding principlesor foundation or vision, youneed to know your customerat it's core right.- Yeah.- So how 'bout some,you're seeing a lot in the worldof marketing today, weall are, but what aresome of the problems that you're seeingthat marketers are doing?What are marketers doing wrong?- I mean I think thatthere's a, I want to say,a binary problemaround measurement andlack of measurement.So there are channels that marketerscontinue to invest inand put new money into.

Channels likebrand,influencer marketing isa really heavy one right now,a lot of brand advertising,a lot of events and sponsorships,and those dollars are poorlytracked and poorly connectedto overall mission and vision and goals.And then I think we have another problemon the other side of the equation wherepaid ad spend, organicsearch, content marketing,and a number of other practices,email marketing, lots of organic channelsare overly obsessed withproving their ROI valuebased on last click.- Right, that's a problem.- This is madness.- Right, this is madness to likeunderweight any type ofmeasurement in this whole sectorof marketing, and wayoverweight it over hereand so you lose yourability to be creativeand thoughtful in thesevery tactical channelsand you lose your ability to prove ROIand to invest long termand make these sort of,I don't know what exactly to call them,almost subject to thewinds of change and the,how the CMO is feeling that dayin terms of whether they continueto get investment or not.- [Yaniv] Or what you VCtells you or the board.- 

Sure, exactly, right, soI think we need more structure,more measurabilityover in channels like brandand influencer marketingand we needwillingness to be creative and to letmarketing practices runeven without proving ROIin places like content,SEO,podcasting, video,email, a lot of those places.- What is that one channelthat you're most excitedabout right now, that'smaybe untapped or justin it's early phase or stagethat has immense potential?- Let's see, so I'll answer that two ways.I think the most underrated practicein marketing is positioning.I think that is somewhere,I don't know how,but over the last 15, 20 years marketers,myself included, somehow--- We didn't think about it.- We didn't think about it!We somehow forgot it existed,forgot it was important,didn't realize that positioning,how we describe ourproducts to our customers,how we position them in themarket against other products,how we talk about theproblem that people haveand our solution to it,that is hugely missing.And tons of productmarketers, especially in tech,completely ignored it, which is dumb.So that one on the strategic side.In the tactical channel, I think thatthe most excitingstill under-invested in channel isbuilding a strong email list.

So, you build a channel in search.Google can take that awayfrom you in an instant.You build a channel on Twitter,on Facebook, on YouTube,on LinkedIn, on Reddit,you build a channelthrough advertising, your competitorscan quickly take those away from you.The platforms can quicklytake those away from you.If you have someone's email addressand they love getting your emailand they open that email every time--- [Yaniv] That's powerful.- You are so hard to beat.You are so hard to compete against.And that can build on itselfin a flywheel type of mannerthe way few other practices can.- And that's where, youknow, building a community,building, you know, having a direction,and not necessarilychasing your competition,but really thinking aboutyou brand, your positioning--- And your marketing,think about your marketingas a product, right, as a productthat, I want people to want my marketing.- Exactly.- How do I make aproduct that is marketingbut that people wantand they are willing tojump through hoops like marking Gmail asthis is not spam, don't putthis in my promotions tab,send this to my main tab.Like I want to get this email.- Well, Rand, you're truly inspirational.We're so thankful tohave you here at NextCon.I know our communityand everyone at NextConis super excited to have you here.Thank you for joining us at NextCon Studioand looking forward to what'sahead for you and SparkToroand wish you all the best.- Thank you, no it is my honor to be here.Thanks for having me man.- Thanks.- Cheers.(tech beats)

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