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The Growth Hacking Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurs Revealed (Episode 31)

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Oren Greenberg is the founder of Kurve – a modular growth marketing consultancy. 

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The Ultimate Guide to Website Traffic for Business

 

He has an impressive track record of results including; 

  • Managing over £10M in annual marketing budgets. 
  • Juggling paid search campaigns with over 13.7 million key phrases.
  • Growing organic traffic from 2.3M a month website page views to 3.1M a month for a single client. 
  • Scaling paid search delivery by 139%. 

He spends his days helping FTSE 250’s and funded startups to navigate the perilous waters of growth and marketing.

Oren’s highly regarded digital strategy and commercial expertise have been instrumental in the growth of client brands including Investec Bank, Peakon, Wonga, Wink Bingo, Nutmeg, Funding Circle, MarketInvoice, and innovation incubation projects within Canon and HomeServe.

Oren has been featured in The Telegraph, Social Media Examiner, and the HubSpot blog and is an instructor on Skillshare and Jolt. 

He also teaches meditation after a long stint in the Himalayas practising not talking for ten days, an incredible feat if you ask anyone who knows him; he also sculpts and has a pet yodel called Bobbi.

What you will learn

  • Why the integration of three growth hacks; Design, Data, and Coding are a superpower
  • Is the era of the “Mad Men” advertising over?
  • The secrets of SaaS companies
  • Why you should think global
  • The importance of “Product Marketing” first
  • Insights on using data to guide your business growth strategies
  • Why you should be implementing outbound “and” inbound marketing tactics
  • The importance of focusing
  • The 7 foundational steps to growth marketing:
    • Who’s your customer? 
    • Where do they hang out?
    • What are their pain points? 
    • What’s the compelling message to solve that?
    • What’s your offer?
    • What are the numbers and is it working?
    • Who is doing it? – The specialists

Transcript

Jeff Bullas

Hi everyone, and welcome to The Jeff Bullas Show. Today I have Oren Greenberg with me. Now, Oren is currently in The Bahamas, actually he isn't really. He couldn't get there because the COVID just killed that. But it's a lovely virtual background. And welcome to the show, Oren.

Jeff Bullas

But a little bit about Oren before we get into asking him some questions and hearing his story. Oren is the founder of Kurve. Kurve with a K, K-U-R-V-E. A modular growth marketing consultancy, he spends his days helping FTSE 250s and funder startups to navigate the perilous waters of growth and marketing. Oren's highly regarded digital strategy and commercial expertise has been instrumental in the growth of client brands, including Investec Bank, Peakon, Wonga, Wink Bingo, Nutmeg, Funding Circle, MarketInvoice, and innovation incubation projects within Canon and HomeSURF.

Jeff Bullas

That's very interesting names actually. I'm actually curious about what some of them are. We're going to hear more about that. He has an impressive track record of results, including managing over £10 million. And for the Americans who are listening, that's something to do with England marketing budgets. And juggling paid search campaigns with over 13.7 million key phrases, organic traffic growth from 2.3 million a month to 3.1 million.

Jeff Bullas

Oren has been featured in The Telegraph, the Social Media Examiner, and the HubSpot blog as an instructor of Skillshare and Jolt. He also teaches meditation, I look forward to hearing a little bit more about that because I do meditation five days a week. After a long stint in the Himalayas practicing not talking for 10 days, so obviously it's his day off, and an incredible feat if you ask who anyone knows Oren. He also sculpts and has a pet Yoodle called Bobby. Now, okay, this is the first question I want to ask you. So, a pet Yoodle, what's a pet Yoodle?

Oren Greenberg

It's a Yorkiepoo, half Yorkie, half Poodle. But Yoodle is another way to call them.

Jeff Bullas

Right. I thought that was a martian pet of some type.

Oren Greenberg

It is a martian, yeah. If you saw her you'd see she has interesting habits, that kind of are a bit interstellar, a bit galactical sometimes.

Jeff Bullas

Okay, right. So welcome to the show Oren, and-

Oren Greenberg

My pleasure, thanks for having me.

Jeff Bullas

And Oren's in London and I'm in Sydney. So we're physically distanced and our politicians would be really happy about that and the thought police and the politically correct people and people that love wearing masks. So welcome to the show Oren, it's great to have you here.

Oren Greenberg

Yeah. Thanks so much. You actually missed the most important publication I was featured in, it was the Jeff Bullas blog actually. I think that was really the highlight of my career, so to me it's a-

Jeff Bullas

Yeah, you're right.

Oren Greenberg

I should really mention that.

Jeff Bullas

So when was that? I'm sure one of my editors is looking after that.

Oren Greenberg

Yes, that's one of my guys. I think that was three years ago or something. One of my guys got it, one of your editors knows about it. Yes, someone somewhere knows about it.

Jeff Bullas

Okay, right. So I just wondered how you... That was going to be my next question. How did you actually get your people to talk to my people? Because...

Oren Greenberg

Yeah, sure. I think content marketing is really critical for businesses nowadays and I have a dedicated team. I've been featured in about 82 publications. Honestly they do outreach and they interview me, thought leadership. They prepare the content and then they pitch it.

Jeff Bullas

Right, okay. So that's why we're here today, because you believe in content marketing, which is something I discovered myself about 12 years ago. So it's very dear to my heart. So Oren, what got you into this whole sort of modular growth marketing consultancy, and we want to take a little bit of a slant on software as a service type businesses today as well. So what got you here?

Oren Greenberg

What go me into the growth marketing side of things?

Jeff Bullas

Yep.

Oren Greenberg

I think growth marketing is half future, like projected future on a linear graph and the half, I guess rehashing of traditional marketing. I think in many ways, a lot of today's digital marketing are based on principles that were mentioned in the Mad Men era, brand building and differentiating yourself and writing engaging copy. I think growth marketing is different in the sense that we've shifted into marketing as a more technical competence. I think data has become really critical, especially in VC backed businesses, and scale-ups. And also, I think there's an integration of the functions on the growth. So if you take the data guy and you take a designer and you take a coder, and you kind of compress them into a small little boiler room together and force them to work really hard underneath the marketeer, then you get growth function.

Oren Greenberg

And I reckon that's where growth is heading. And so I think there's a lot of buzz around it, I have to admit a lot of people are looking for competitive advantages. So they're looking for fads, growth hacking, growth marketing, product-led growth. There's so many variations now with terms that are, to be honest, quite subtle. And a lot of the foundations haven't changed. You need to produce a freaking fantastic product that engages your customer and solves a problem, and then you need to find your audience and you need to broadcast creative messages and content that adds value to them. And you're going to do that at scale, effectively and consistently. You have to do better than your competitors. And those principles are not going away, all these fads and definitions and topics, even though they're cool and interesting and they have utility, they are over-hyped as if they were a silver bullet.

Oren Greenberg

So just wanted to kind of put a grain of salt with this, my obsession with that, and I instruct on Skillshare about it and I've gone very deep into it. How do I get into it? I guess, probably just a career full of working with venture backed businesses. So you're dealing with large amounts of data, very complicated tools, the tech stacks, ludicrous, 30 to 50 pieces of COPS software, you got to integrate them. You have to motivate a team of high performance, very smart individuals to deliver. So I guess you gravitate towards communities online and you start following influencers like this Jeff Bullas guy, and then they tell you about the stuff that you should be doing.

Jeff Bullas

So it's basically stealing the best shit from everywhere all around the world, really isn't it? So it's-

Oren Greenberg

Yeah. And then like, pretending as if it's your own, and just rewrite it. Oh, I'm a thought leader in that. This interview's funny, because I've been doing it for 17 years, and you go, "Oren is an expert." I get referrals, like last week, I had three different people refer me, and everyone said, "Oren is a marketing guru." And I'm like, "Oh, that's not part of my brand." So that was cool. They perceive me that way. And then, I've just done that for a very long time and I've made a lot of mistakes, very expensive mistakes. But to be honest, I don't consider myself an expert, because I'm aware of how much I don't know and it's kind of ludicrous how much I don't know. I guess we're all just trying to figure it out, and will try my best, hopefully.

Jeff Bullas

Well, it's a very complicated space. I remember starting off in social media, the competency skills were tweeting, posting on Facebook, and that was about it, really. And then on your website, you just want to get more traffic. So this was when things were really simple. And I came from a digital background, being a teacher before that. So when did you first get onto platforms like Twitter and Facebook?

Oren Greenberg

So it's funny. When Twitter came out, I was like, "This is a joke. This is going to flop." I was one of those guys, the guys who obviously gets it all wrong. And when Facebook came out, I actually thought, "Wow, this has a huge potential, but their advertising platform is absolutely pants." It was really in its infancy. And I just remember thinking, "This is really crap." And just year on year it got better and better and better. And then suddenly just like 2013, 2014, 2015, I was like, "Well, they have like 10, 15% of share of digital." I wasn't paying attention, because I've been a Google ads guy and I've been an SEO guy for so long. And then Google just continues growing. And I'm like, "How is the growth for Google even coming from?" How are they able to every year break their target? It's pretty incredible.

Oren Greenberg

Because I thought, okay, Google's going to reach some saturation, back in 2010. 10 years after that, they're still growing. It's pretty incredible. I reckon I kind of underestimated the speed, the size and the impact. Because I'm always on the cutting edge, I'm always like, "Okay, this is now outdated." But then I forget the rest of humanity is lagging behind, and it just takes them freaking years to catch up. And then it's kind of, I've got a bit of a skew, I guess with them, because of who I work on my work. But yeah, I think back then back probably 2010, 2011 probably started doing social for different clients and different mixes. Yeah.

Jeff Bullas

Right. So what'd you originally start from, what was your training?

Oren Greenberg

Yeah, I was about five years old and I started selling yo-yos to neighborhood kids. Glow in the dark yo-yos. I'd make a margin on them. My dad was like, "Yeah, make a mark up." And I was like, "What's a mark up?" And they're like just make more money than you bought it for him. It's like, "Oh great. This is fun." And then a year later I was renting out my Sega Mega Drive to kids in the local pool. And it was like Altered Beast and other great games for those of you who actually know what I'm talking about. Yeah so that was back in the day. Actually my SEO session started when I was with AltaVista. Most people probably don't recall, what's AltaVista. Its before Google. It was like Google, before Google.

Oren Greenberg

And I remember the way... You were saying, it's simple, you just put a tweet, put a Facebook message out. Back then you just spammed the META tag and just put as many keywords as possible. And I was ranking number one for dragons. I predated Game of Thrones. If it wasn't for me, there'd be no Game of Thrones. No no, not quite that. But yeah, I started back ages ago with spamming AltaVista. And then 10 years later I was ranking online bingo, payday loans. And I couldn't actually find work. I remember I was a 3D animator. I couldn't find work. And then I sent out my CVs to about 130 companies. I'd get interviews and people say you're not suitable. And then I'd follow up like relentlessly. And it said like, with that attitude, you're going to get far, but we're still not hiring you, so bugger off.

Oren Greenberg

Then I had the break, obviously I had the break because it was online gaming and no one wanted to do gaming because ethically dubious. The gaming companies have huge marketing budgets and they just invested in... I remember every day, I'd be there until 6:30PM, the CEO would come by and they'd be like, "Oren?" I'd be like, "Yes?" "You can go home now." I'd be like, "I've just got a little bit more work to be done." That went on for like, two years. Until I got them number one for bingo. I was like, "Okay I'm king of the castle, I'm going home at 5 PM." SO yeah I mean I got very lucky, I think the truth is there was just a shortage of digital talent and if they can spot someone who's affordable, smart and ambitious they're going to give you an opportunity and I just got lucky that they took a punt on me.

Oren Greenberg

I mean I'm still lucky that business would take a punt on me because it's really hard for founders, they really need to rely on someone trusted who understands the stress of what it's like being up till 3 AM because you're missing your KPI and your VC is blowing down your neck. It's a very difficult, very stressful emotion, you put all your eggs in that basket, you're totally emotionally invested and you want to make sure you've got a stellar team that can deliver. The problem is that the people they're probably just not up skilled enough, it's specialized. They don't teach it at uni, it's very hard out there, it's very competitive. You need a lot of different skills and you need a lot of experience and the truth is there's not many people been around long enough to develop those skills. That was long winded, apologies for that.

Jeff Bullas

So you're working for a gaming company, when was your first serious customer as a consultant? What...

Oren Greenberg

Yeah so 2013 I had a unicorn business and I got them to one of the top ten most competitive terms in Google, number one. They grew, so I was employing a lot of people and they grew to 1,000 employees in two years. That unicorn business, I had two options. I've always had an entrepreneurial itch since my yo-yo days and I wasn't sure to be a specialist or to try this entrepreneurial route which I ended up doing. I effectively talked to the CMO and I said I'd like to try my hand as a consultant, are you happy if I continue to service you and do the work. He said sure, I mean really great guy, he's one of the most successful CMOs in the UK at the moment in Fintech. He was just like yeah, he gave me a break. It was amazing. Yeah so since then I've just been doing my own thing independently, I kept getting referred. I kept getting referral organically from small businesses and that's where the itch really came from, all these other people are telling me they need help with their businesses, why don't I try it? I've kind of been doing that for the last seven, eight years now.

Oren Greenberg

But then about probably four years back I started doing work for the mega corps. The Canon, the Investec, the Lenovo, the HomeSURFs, that's a very different beast. So actually now I'm split. So 50% of my time is spent helping corporates with effectively digital transformation and innovation, like implementing a CRM or auditing a B2B function and then my other half is helping VC backed businesses and founders, either as an advisor, an exec. Or in the interim or part time CMO.

Jeff Bullas

Right. So one of the areas that I'm fascinated by is “software as a service” (SaaS) type companies. So what's you've been experienced with, consulting to software as a service companies because we've moved from a world of local to a world of global and that's what excited me in 2008. When I discovered social media going, hang on I can just reach the world with a tweet, and I can share a post on Facebook and it can be viewed by anyone, globally. I was very much into local marketing and business opportunities in the past and now I’m going, "Wow, I actually can reach the world." As we know that yes you can reach the world but in a world of noise and data that just continues to grow that you can just be lost in the noise. So where do you see software as a service companies, and I have a range of views on that. So software as a service companies can be local or they can be global. Or they start local and then go global. So what's been experience with software as a service companies?

Oren Greenberg

Yeah so all the ones I've worked with are global, by far. I've worked with, there's another, SaaS is quite big, there's like 3900 companies in Europe, 15,000 in the world and SaaS categorically, it has some uniqueness to how it works compared to other industries. But there's a lot of SaaS out there, there's HR SaaS, I've done fintech SaaS, I've done social media SaaS, I've done lots of different SaaS's. I think the challenge with SaaS, I think it's product marketing first and I think that's un-intuitive for most marketers because most marketers are acquisition focused and awareness focused. Definitely most marketeers that I've worked with, CMOs, they're brand focused which is not relevant for SAS really or at least mid stage SAS. So when you're on your B round and C round. I think product marketing is still a very new discipline relatively speaking and focusing on how to really tie the product features.

Oren Greenberg

I think from a marketing point of view because I'm not going to talk really about the fundamentals of SaaS about how retention is critical for the business model or measuring users using a mixed panel or insight. I think that's all, I think, a given for a lot of the listeners. So I'm going to focus more on the marketing aspects of SaaS. If you think about the best SaaS marketing in the world, I'm thinking Intercom, Buffer, Paddle, Profit Well, they all have one thing in common. They use their unique data to provide insight that's not available anywhere else in the world and that for me is probably the most effective marketing strategy for SAS. Saying that, I do see a lot of SAS business making a lot of mistakes like posting on Instagram and really focusing on that.

Oren Greenberg

I'm like why are you on Instagram? Is that where your audience is? B2B audience is not going to buy procurement related software because it's on Instagram, [inaudible 00:18:02] hard for you to crack that. So a lot of them are trying to be everywhere all the time to build brands and I don't think that makes a lot of sense. I think they really need to think about where their audience lives, how do identify their audience, how to build custom audiences and how to really cut through. I'll give you an example, tangible examples.

Oren Greenberg

Had a SaaS client, their marketing director junior, super smart, very ambitious. Earning about 20, 30 K a month, doing prospecting on Facebook. I go okay, "what's the cost per lead." "£450." "How much does a customer offer, annually, your ACV, annual contract value." "£50." "You're paying £450 to acquire a customer worth £50?" "Yeah." "That's not good." "What are you doing?" "Prospecting on Facebook." "What does that mean?" "I've got an ad on Facebook." "Okay great, what happens when I click the ad." "It goes to a blog." "Okay great, what's on the blog post?" "What do you mean?" "What's the call to action?" "There's no call to action." "So what are you doing?" "Oh, prospecting." I'm like, "What the hell, screw this. Take them to a free trial page, get a free trial. Bam, cost per lead is £18."

Oren Greenberg

I mean this sounds simple, right? Took like three weeks to do it and a lot of the team are convincing and trying to explain why we need to do it et cetera. So not so easy, but once they got it they were like, "Oh blimey, this guy actually knows what he's talking about." So it's very simple, but a lot of business, they're missing the fundamentals. I still see this obsession with SEO. It's like, "What are you doing?" "SEO." "Why?" "What do you mean, you don't pay for the clicks." "Yeah we don't have any search running through your terms." "Yeah we should do SEO." I don't think you understood what I just said, I said no one's looking for the terms you're competing on, if you did SEO it's a complete waste of money and time and it's a black box. "Yeah so we should do SEO, It's like what the hell is going on here?

Oren Greenberg

It's shocking how often I'm in these conversations where the founder, they just don't have the experience and the context to really understand, and a lot of what I do actually is education and they hate it because they just want results, they don't want to be educated. But I need to help them veer the ship in the right direction, they're very eager to go really quickly. I'm like, if you move twice as fast in the wrong direction you're twice as further away from your destination. It doesn't make any sense, yeah I've got a few other SAS stories but we don't have four hours today on the call.

Jeff Bullas

Well no, well that's one of the biggest challenges as a consultant, you've actually got to spend a lot of your time educating. Typically a CEO or a founder or even a CMO isn't been in the game a long time, isn't digital, they just want results straight away. Like I only got two leads today and you're going, oh right. Okay. So you want instant results. I find it the most frustrating. I was doing consulting quite a few years ago and I went, "I actually can't give you instant results because that's not how content marketing works." You educate first, you create credibility and then, especially selling a high value product, they mightn't buy from them for six months and this is one of the biggest challenges I find with the consulting gig, that people want instant results. They are ignorant in terms of how the whole digital space works.

Jeff Bullas

I found that the most challenging thing with consulting, that's why I decided not to pursue that. That's the thing too, I've observed this, just what you mentioned was, people go, "Well we're paying for ads and we're driving them to a blog post." Going yes, that's good. Why don't you drive them to a landing page where you actually educate them straight away, acquire an email list, get them to log in, download something of value. It blows me away still today. But the trouble is that you're dealing with an audience that is not in the digital marketing space, they're not in the content marketing space, they don't get it. So as a consultant, how do you deal with that education process? I've been listening and I can get the whole frustration bit, so how do you deal with the education process in terms of, "Look you've got to be patient, we've got to do this, we've got to do this. A, B, C, D, E, F, G." How do you deal with that?

Oren Greenberg

Yeah so there's a couple of answers to that. I think the truth is the frustration is part of my eagerness to deliver value, really I'm frustrated because I want to see... What they want is transformation and growth in their business, they want to increase the value they deliver and the value of their business and I get frustrated because sometimes I'm blocked because of lack of trust or issues that are unnecessary, they're inefficient. I just get frustrated for inefficiency. I love efficiency and effectiveness. So that's just I guess the pre-cursor to that.

Oren Greenberg

So the meaningful way I do it is I align my remuneration with a performance component to the result, so they realize I'm interested in the outcome that they want, I'm not just there to bill and piss off, I'm actually there to really see change in their business and they, I guess, need to believe that my business is dependent on my reputation and that's referral and reviews and we live in a world that's changed, it's no longer how good I say I am. It's entirely what other people say about me, everything about my profile and how people buy me is based on that. That's the first thing.

Oren Greenberg

The second is I'm not an inbound only guy, I'm also an outbound guy, so I believe in results. For me I don't care what that is, as I'll do whatever it takes. If I'm immediately to Facebook or Google or LinkedIn ads or whatever it is, then I'm going to do that and I'll drive some sort of movement or traction and show we're moving in the right direction because people need to see evidence that they're not just burning through their cash because they have a limited run rate so it's stressful, they have to achieve a static goal with a flexible bank account, that money is depleting and you've got to hit that KPI and if you're not heading in the right direction, it's a terrible feeling. It's very stressful. So I think those are the main two ways I do it, I try and drive results as quickly as I can without waffling too much on strategy, without trying to nurture an audience for too long and it's really hard because it's the exact opportunity of what your ideal is.

Oren Greenberg

Your ideal is to produce exceptional content, nurture a community, build passionate advocates and that takes time. A start up is the opposite spectrum where they need to generate revenue to be able to invest in community building and it's going exactly against the grain of how people, human psychology works and trying to hack it. I think that's a big part why some of these startups fail. They fundamentally fail because of the main reason, and you know stuff and if they don't like hearing it, that's why we say it. They're just not delivering enough value, the product doesn't solve a meaningful problem and the customer's not willing to pay enough money.

Oren Greenberg

So funny enough a lot of the challenges I have, they're not marketing related, they're product related and I'm trying to sell something people don't want to buy. It's like, well if you were really good you'd sell something to someone who doesn't want to buy it. It's like, have you ever convinced someone to do something they don't want to do. Because if you know how to do that you'd be a freaking billionaire by now. It's your goal, your job, as a founder to build an incredible product and the truth is, marketing becomes a hell of a lot easier when you've got a great product. I mean you still need to do marketing, you just need to invest in awareness, drive the audience and explain the value but if the product's not there, marketing is not going to solve it. And a lot of the time, it's just the world's changed. You used to be able to do this, and that's where the conditioning is off. People used to be able to get away with great marketing and sales with an average or low quality product. You just can't do that now because we live in a world of radical transparency.

Oren Greenberg

Where if you're a B2B sales business, people are going to go to Google, they're going to type in HR surveys, they're going to type in human capital resources, they're going to type in whatever payroll management platform or whatever it is and they're going to go to Capterra, they're going to look at the reviews and if you're not there and your competitors are, you're not going to win that business because you're not part of their customer journey. You're like, "But we have a great product." It's like your customers don't care, they haven't experienced the benefit. Your key is, how do you really get your customer to experience the core benefit of your service as soon as possible in the most economical way possible, relative to your lifetime value. How do you get your crack the LTV ratio right?

Oren Greenberg

VC magic formula of a third, that's the key. That's the radical focus, it has to be around getting to that as soon as possible. So that's I guess my philosophy or how I view it, that's how I go about trying to do it.

Jeff Bullas

You talked about the product not working for the customer, so just recently I talked to a digital startup, which has been running for eight years. His biggest problem when he built the software was that he thought that he was trying to... His job was to provide the cheapest price, that was selling lawn care services, uber for lawns. Brian Clayton from GreenPal. Anyway, so what he discovered was that the product that he was trying to create actually wasn't solving what the customer wanted, that's the product. So number one he thought he was trying to provide five ways to get five quotes, cheapest price. Customers don't, in this particular market place, where he's trying to get people to mow lawns for people. In other words, demand and supply. Demand, want my lawn mowed. Someone who wants to make money out of mowing lawns. They go, "Well I've rung all these people and no one shows up and mows my lawn. I've spent all this time, I don't want to go through five quotes." So cheapest price, five quotes, no one cared.

Jeff Bullas

What they wanted was reliability and speed. So in other words, they show up tomorrow and I get a response quickly and I get my lawn mowed. That's it. In a world of the world we live in today, no wasting time. We are time poor, that's the biggest challenge a lot of us have. Now this is a software as a service but a B2C model. So they assume that it was the cheapest price wins, which is actually a race to the bottom in a software as a service type application. But they wanted reliability and they wanted convenience. That was it. So they assumed incorrectly. So how do you find, like do you turn and find people when they're looking for a product. Do you find that all the time with a company that's built a product and going, "It's what everyone wants." What have you discovered in the journey?

Oren Greenberg

Yeah so I'm selective with who I work with so I only work with companies that I believe are delivering meaningful value although SaaS businesses that I've worked with, they're incredible. One of them has 450 employees now, one of them just got backed by one of the most reputable VCs in the UK specialized in SaaS. Yeah I've worked with some pretty fantastic SaaS names and they have an incredible product and it was a real privilege to be able to support them in growth. Gave them some incredible results, the one with 450 employees I chopped their CPA (cost per acquisitions) by about 43% within about three months,

Jeff Bullas

Okay yeah, so a lot of people that are listening will not understand the acronyms.

Oren Greenberg

Yeah apologies, marketeer mode. So marketeers for SaaS, we're focused on bleeds in marketing qualified leads. That's really the typical remit of a marketeer, a growth mindset or a growth leader obviously is full funnel, and then it goes all end to end, in terms of all the way to retention. But a lot of SaaS businesses are still in kind of a more traditional mindset and the key KPI that marketing evaluates is how much did it cost me to get a lead. I effectively chopped their cost per lead by 43% and that's a material impact on the acquisition of the business and it was on their biggest acquisition channel, so it was a big win. It's actually funny enough just doing the basics. When I say basics I mean the basics in Google ads which is very specialized. It's like if you've been doing plumbing for 20 years, a really complex job is relatively straight forward for you. Because we do a lot of paid ad stuff, it was relatively straight forward. But for someone whose never done Google ads it's practically impossible to achieve that result.

Oren Greenberg

So it's simple because the foundations that we had to put in place to get that win were just best practice. But a lot of businesses just don't have the foundations in place and it's very simple why. I'll give you just an example in the last three weeks. So I support different businesses and as a non-exec and an advisor and very consistently I'll get asked questions about the marketing manager and I literally I've had multiple cases in the last three weeks where the marketing manager's like, "Can you recommend a freelancer who can come in and help train and up skill me in Google ads because I want to manage it myself and bring it in-house." I'm like, that's a terrible idea. They're like, "Well what do you mean?" I'm like, "Can you just give me a quick list of your responsibilities?" "Okay here's a list of 14 responsibilities. I'm doing content, I'm doing blog, I'm doing email marketing, I'm doing Google ads, I'm doing analytics, I'm doing our events organization. I'm doing all that KPI reporting." "Okay you've got 14 things you're doing, do you understand how complex Google ads is? And you understand it can take you up to 12 months just to get to a basic understanding of how to run it?" Then they go, "Oh right, I didn't know that."

Oren Greenberg

Yeah I guess a good thing I'm here. So don't do it. Then I'm like, "What's your marketing budget?" "£2,000 a month." Why, it's not even your biggest marketing channel. Are you going to spend full time learning Google ads and drop all your other 13 responsibilities? "No." So when are you going to learn? It's like, "I just didn't know it was that complex." Then I realized, that's the problem. We're so inundated with blog posts now that everything's available online, the problem is it's generic, it's not tailored to that business, that's why the company that was spending £30,000, £40,000 and burning it on Facebook prospecting, when you ask her why did she do prospecting, it's because she picked it up in a blog post she read. In a way it's amazing that we have access to all this information but it's like a DIY kit, if the DIY kit you're reading is giving you the wrong advice, you're going to end up with your toilet seat in your living room. It's not a very pleasant situation, it's a shitty situation as you can imagine.

Oren Greenberg

So it's like if you don't know what you're doing and it's complex and intricate and specialist, which digital marketing now is, it's not like it was 20 years ago, then it's really hard. I think that's the problem, I think the problem is how do a SAS founder identify who's good and reliable and trustworthy. But also it's about value for money, how do you know the person you're paying isn't just doing like 20 minutes of work and charging you for three days. I think that's a fear or concern that founders have as well. I think it really all comes down to trust. So yeah that's some of the challenges I've seen. I mean Facebook and Google ads are particularly complex, it's paid channels, you know. She said, "I want to do Quora ads, I want to do Reddit ads." I'd say okay, that's fine. I reckon you can do that in house because they're not mature as platforms yet, but some platforms are really intricate.

Oren Greenberg

If people could understand, if I go, the programmatic landscape, oh you just run ads right? No you've got an exchange, you've got an SSP, you've got a DSP, you've got a DMP. Do you know what these acronyms are? These different platforms, that technology you need in your stack to run programmatic? They go, I don't know what any of that is. I go, why do you think you can run it without knowing or understanding the topic?

Jeff Bullas

Okay, so we've got acronyms just flowing.

Oren Greenberg

Yeah sorry, acronym land yes.

Jeff Bullas

As you're talking to the marketing manager, you're blowing his mind. So how do you just... Okay, I'm going to be brutally, how do you dumb it down? How do you actually go, what is the structure, what are the steps you need to do to get growth marketing really happening. So you walk into the client, you're going, okay we want to grow your business, you do a quick audit I'm sure. So what would be your steps to actually make sure one, they understand. Two, they actually get stuff done without blowing their budget and I totally agree with you, digital marketing has got so complex. Are you going to do Instagram marketing, that's complex. Facebook marketing, that's complex. Google ads, that's complex, SEO, that's complex, email marketing, that's complex. Okay. Someone says they've got a 2K budget, okay. So how do you just distill it into the essence of what they need to do and then what are the steps after that? That's what I'd like to explore a little bit.

Oren Greenberg

Got it.

Jeff Bullas

Okay that's what I'd like to explore a little bit.

Oren Greenberg

So there's only like six foundational steps, and I mean I'm not elaborating on the complexity of each step, the principles are simple.

Jeff Bullas

Good.

Oren Greenberg

Who is your audience, do you really understand who they are? A lot of SAS businesses get it wrong, they go, "Who's your audience?" "Everyone's my audience." "Everyone's your audience? No one's your audience." You've got to get very clear, who's your ideal customer profile.

Jeff Bullas

Number one. Yeah.

Oren Greenberg

Yeah. There's this way to think about ICP is a LinkedIn company page.

Jeff Bullas

Sorry, ICP?

Oren Greenberg

Yeah, ideal customer profile. It's like a LinkedIn company page. You go to a company page on LinkedIn, number of employees, industry, who am I talking to. Okay. Where are they based geographically. Persona, the job title. Is it a marketing manager I'm talking to, an HR manager, director, CFO. WHo's going to benefit from my product offering. Right, so you now know your audience, so who they are. Where are they? How do you engage with them? Where do they live? Is it LinkedIn-

Jeff Bullas

What platforms are they on?

Oren Greenberg

Exactly, what platforms are they on. What's my message to them, what's the pain that they have, that I'm solving, that's meaningful. What's material in terms of how I solve a problem that I believe that they have, what's my [crosstalk 00:36:42]-

Jeff Bullas

So that's number three. What are their pain points.

Oren Greenberg

What are their pain points and also how do I communicate my benefits to their pain points, they have to be coupled. So you've got your audience, you've got your message, you know where they are. What's your offer? You've got your message but you've kind of got to hook them in, and there's a lot of evidence now that shows in SAS, you've effectively got two main models, free trial and freemium. It's very interesting to see the economical benefits of both, with a free trial you get more volume and you can nurture and you get more backlinks and it's more helpful for ICO, so if you have volume there it's more effective for marketing but then the problem is you get a lot more noIse and crap in there. Then freemium you get more product-led growth where you're focusing on nurturing people who are a lot more engaged.

Oren Greenberg

So I think that's where a lot of the analytics in your product is really critical. Understanding engagement, how do you re-target people with ads, how do you send them relevant emails. Right? So these are kind of the foundational fundamentals of the strategy. This is actually something-

Jeff Bullas

So is that number four? You said there were six.

Oren Greenberg

Yeah number four and number five. I think it's number five now. So the thing is, there's kind of a couple of things. This is probably the two areas that are really critical to deploy those five and that's where a lot of things go wrong. So who is doing, the people, the actual resources specialist and what is their technology stack that they're using, the software that they're using to do it. That's where most of the complexity is, people choose the wrong tech stack or they have the wrong people doing specialist work or they have the wrong specialist doing the wrong thing. What people don't understand is there's about 16 types of marketeers and if you get one of the wrong types of marketeers doing another marketeers job, even though they're both marketeers, it's still wrong. It's like a heart surgeon who's not a brain surgeon, it's not the same. You don't want a heart surgeon doing surgery on your brain, you don't want your SEO guy doing a PR. Well SEO and PR are quite close but you don't want your SEO guy doing your Facebook paid ads. It's quite a different universe of complexity.

Oren Greenberg

So hopefully that's a simplified easier mental model to understand in terms of the foundations of what needs to be evaluated and the key steps that are critical to success.

Jeff Bullas

So if you could sum them up, okay number one. Who's your customer.

Oren Greenberg

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jeff Bullas

Okay so that's number one. What are the next five steps that you believe that companies need to be, in digital marketing, really need to understand.

Oren Greenberg

Yeah so your ideal customer profile, the audience, where do they live, what platforms are they on, how are you going to access them. How are you going to get to them. Their pains and the benefits of your product, your messaging and how you communicate that. The offer, how are you going to get them in the door, get them engaged because they're not going to go and just directly buying, you have to create that engagement. Then because it's SAS, your product analytics are really critical for how you send emails, engage in push notifications and get insight and usage for target people. I think those are kind of the five foundational strategic pillars. There's a few little things I've missed out like the creatives and how they execute is really important.

Jeff Bullas

Well they're all important but it's just trying to... because I think the biggest challenge for most businesses is trying to understand the complexity of digital marketing, whether you're a SaaS, it really doesn't matter. But for most small businesses I think the challenge is, okay, you want to do it all. You can't do it all.

Oren Greenberg

No, you need to focus.

Jeff Bullas

You need to focus, who is your ideal customer, what's the biggest pain point and where do they hang out. So if you're targeting a B2B, well they're going to be more on a LinkedIn platform rather than a... But Facebook is really good because you can target it, are we going to try and do every type of digital advertising, no. We've got to choose one that works, are we going to do Snapchat, are we going to do TikTok, no. So that's the challenge isn't it, that you've got to take that complexity and distill it into simplicity and give them structure to work with so they actually get it. That's the challenge, isn't it.

Oren Greenberg

I'd say that's the definition of strategy. So if you asked me, what do I think strategy means, I'd say it's everything you don't do. A good strategy is everything you don't do. So if you're just very focused on how and where. I think the problem is we don't always know where growth is going to come from.

Jeff Bullas

No, you've got to test different things.

Oren Greenberg

You've got to experiment, that's where growth hacking and growth marketing as a philosophy comes about because it says look, we know we need to focus, but we need to focus on one thing at a time. That one thing at a time we focus on needs to be well defined and very clear. We need to have clarity about how we're doing it. When you're running campaigns on digital marketing, you need to have your attribution in place, your measurement. You need to have your right creative, you need to have the deployment of those creatives, you need to have conversion tracking.

Oren Greenberg

So because each channel has its own SDK or Pixel and this complexity technically, there's a limit to how fast you can go, just speed or velocity. But also you have a limited marketing budget, very often I see businesses spending their very small marketing budget and spread too thinly in belief that it's going to grow. But what they're doing is they're not really utilizing the platform effectively. If they're doing for example, if you're on Facebook or Twitter and you're doing organic social, it's very very hard nowadays. The days of organic social media are gone. The reach of organic social on Facebook and Twitter are very, very limited.

Jeff Bullas

It's getting so close to zero it's not funny.

Oren Greenberg

Because the platforms want you to pay to get reach, because that's how they make money, that's their business model.

Jeff Bullas

Well this is the thing. We are now in... What excited me about social ten, twelve years ago as you could actually grow an audience by adding value to them. You grew an audience and you could reach them. When Facebook went public in 2013, they went, sorry we've got to make money now so it's pay to play, and that's why it's totally gone on social now, is that organic unless you're a megastar, you're stuffed. It's pay to play. In other words you've got to be damn good at digital targeted paid to reduce the goal you want, whether it's views, whether it's leads, whether it's sales. Or all of the above. This is the challenge is that you've got to distill it and going, okay, this is how it's played today and that's the challenge for the consultancies is you're going okay. You've got to tell the customer this is how it's played.

Oren Greenberg

Yeah I mean what I do is I bring experts in. I don't pretend to be an expert on Facebook and Twitter and Google and everything, I work with experts, I bring them in and they deliver the work. But I know the good ones and I've got enough experience in these channels to know if they're bullshitting me or not and I know what's realistic. The truth is, I've been doing this for a very long time and I've been doing it very deeply, I know when my guys get it wrong as well. I had that the other day, I had a Google ads guy, really specialist and he suggested to the client to do Bing and Google and I said, "No. You've given them the wrong advice." That's where I think I add the value is... Actually funny enough I add value by telling everyone what not to do, that's really the core of my job. That's really expertise, expertise is knowing the...

Oren Greenberg

It's like Bruce Lee did with a six inch punch, the minimum amount of effort to deliver the maximum impact and I think that is really excellence, and that's what I strive for is that minimum amount of marketing budget to get the most amount of sales, the minimum amount of channels to get the maximum. I mean it's not just me, this isn't just anecdotal evidence, there's a lot of research to support that 85% of growth for a startup comes from one channel. So 85% of growth for most startups come from one channel. You know that, so you've just got to find that channel. So what's the methodology that you deploy to find the channel and that's it. But people over complicate it, we have to be everywhere all the time.

Oren Greenberg

It's like, no. You just have to be excellent and known as the best for one thing. What's the one thing that you do exceptionally well. I see it in products as well in SAS, they have too many features, too many features. Why? Because we have to compete, but you're not in a feature war, you're in an outcome war. What are the problems you're solving, solve those problems better than your competitors. Look at Apple, does Apple win because it has the most amount of products in the world? No. It wins because it has the best products in the world. When Steve Jobs came around and turned around Apple, I mean it's not just Apple, Starbucks did this, PWC did this. There's lots of companies that have done this, they constrict. They don't expand. They limit.

Oren Greenberg

He went from 450 SKUs, (products), to about 15. It was actually that transformation that got Apple back and it was actually less, not more. The key really here is specialization and excellence.

Jeff Bullas

Yeah and the book linked, Start Up is brilliant on that, and I'm going to use an acronym here and then I'll explain it. Minimal Viable Product, MVP. So you know it's we do not over-complicate this, what do we really want. And I know that, I'll go and use Word for example, actually I'm using Google Docs a lot more. I use 2% of the power of that platform, I just want A, B and C done. That's it. But don't confuse me, do not confuse me.

Oren Greenberg

Yeah, why do you use Google Docs and not Word? I mean look at the simplicity of Google Docs compared to Word, I mean Word has so many buttons now, you don't even know what it does. It's just overwhelming and then Google Docs is eating up market share.

Jeff Bullas

That's right, and the other thing I like about it too is I can take it anywhere with me. What I see you as then is the conductor, trying to simplify and to bring out the best in your customer, and I think you sound like you're doing a great job on that Oren, so that's what I was just trying to get to the essence I suppose of what you do. Is going, keep it simple, let's not make it complicated. I know where the reefs and the rocks lie, I know where the problems lie and we're just going to get you the result you want which might be leads, sales, views, you really don't care. You just need to be clear on who's your customer, what does your customer want and just take it from there.

Jeff Bullas

It's been fascinating to hear your passion for what you do, it's really been great Oren.

Oren Greenberg

Sorry about the acronyms, apologies to everyone.

Jeff Bullas

It's just a little-

Oren Greenberg

It's hard craft, it's like-

Jeff Bullas

I know, it's part of the industry. I suppose I have veered a little bit about my view on acronyms is that anyone outside your industry will have no idea what you're talking about so it's like talking in tongues. I have a little saying about acronyms, if you see an acronym, shoot it because for me I just want to make sure we keep it simple. I think we got to the essence of what it was about, simplicity and what you do. Your passion shines through and it's been great.

Oren Greenberg

Oh great, that's lovely to hear. Thank you.

Jeff Bullas

Great. Sorry a little bit on the acronym side. I just want to make sure my audience understood what we were talking about.

Oren Greenberg

I know, I just go into default. I spend so much time with my team talking about marketing terms and we use these because they're shorthand, they help us articulate the concepts faster, that's really why we use them. But you just get conditioned to using them, then the other person doesn't understand you and I'm like, I hate it when I talk to an IT guy and he starts talking to me about technical things. I'm just like, get me the result, I don't care about the specificity of the IP protocol, like who cares about this. He's like, "But it's really important." I'm like, "I know that it's important for you, it's just not important for me." Just go and fix my problem. As you're an expert, you get passionate about solving the problems and it's a problem we always have when it's a technical specialism. So yeah just apologies, hopefully they understood what I was saying.

Jeff Bullas

It's absolutely fine. I just needed to wrap it up a little bit.

Oren Greenberg

Yeah great, you did a great job. You really dumbed it down. That's good.

Jeff Bullas

Man, simple is better than complex for me, I'm a simple guy. I just want to make sure people understand what we're talking about. Thank you very much Oren for your insights and your passion, that's great to hear. I'm glad you moved on beyond yo-yos, it was one of the things I loved doing as a kid. Doing the walk.

Oren Greenberg

Walking the dog.

Jeff Bullas

Walking the dog, all that stuff. I loved the Coca-Cola, classic that was brought out as a bit of a gig back in the... It must have been the 70s actually.

Oren Greenberg

Yeah, Coke, yeah. [crosstalk 00:49:47].

Jeff Bullas

60s and 70s. So I was a passionate yo-yo expert in my own imagination which was fantastic. So thanks for joining us, it's been an absolute pleasure Oren.

Oren Greenberg

Thank you so much for having me.

Jeff Bullas

Enjoy the rest of the day in the UK, we're going into the evening here in Sydney and we live in the future here, I know most people don't understand that. So if you want to know what the lottery results are, just ask me. I'll be able to help.

Oren Greenberg

Yeah I'll ping you an email. Got it.

Jeff Bullas

All right mate, great to chat.

Oren Greenberg

Great, thanks so much.

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