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What The Interns At Facebook Asked Me About Digital Marketing, And What I Told Them

By Kevin Simonson, CEO/Co-Founder, Metric Digital

Brody Karmenzind, our Facebook Partner Manager, recently asked me to conduct a 30-minute Q&A with his group of interns. They asked some great questions about agency specific topics, industry trends, how we win new business, and about entering the workforce after school.

As I've gotten older and Metric Digital has grown, it's been fun to talk to people interested in digital marketing, so it was exciting that a lot of the Facebook interns were more interested in work life outside of digital marketing in general.

After intros, we dove right in...

Q: What are the basic fundamentals of your pitch process?

We typically run an audit, which is like a CSI show about a company’s advertising accounts. We look through the ad accounts and recommend opportunities around two major themes: Cutting costs and growing revenue. Our process is what we'd call question based selling. Whether we ask them the questions, or whether we ask the questions based on the data and the account. In fact, pitch is kind of a formal word.

We approach it more as, “Here’s what we found and here’s what we think the opportunity is,” and usually at that stage, we have a high rate of winning the business.

Q: What do you think is the most important thing to have in a pitch?

Conviction about what you are pitching. A search for the truth about how things could be better, and then drawing from experiential knowledge, aka, things you’ve actually done, to inform how you would achieve their goals. As for the pitch itself, it's much easier to sell things you believe in, and if you have proof to support that belief. Every marketer will try to sell you the world and probably bullshit you in some ways, and that won't end well from a long term relationship perspective.

For example, a lot of agencies sell propriety tech that gives them an edge on Facebook marketing, and it's mostly a lie. I worked at a company that had a custom algorithm they sold to clients and when I asked about it, I found out that the algorithm was me!

One of the ways you set yourself apart as a marketer is through your track record, and more importantly, who that track record is with. Our clients range from small brands, brands you've never heard of, to brands who became massive and got bought or went public, (Bonobos, Canada Goose). We have a wide range of companies across pretty much every vertical.

And so, if a marketing agency claims expertise in a certain area, but you’re not convinced, simply look at their client page. That will be your measuring stick. Remember, transparency, which is partly where conviction comes from, is the differentiator.

Q: How is the practice of transparency shifting in the marketing industry?

Many agencies aren't very transparent about what they do. We even coined a word for it, badvertising, which we’ve written about extensively. For example, an agency might work on the ad account, but not the brand. Meaning, the brand won't have access to their data, which I think is unethical. Agencies should be very transparent about what is happening, what they think about what’s happening, and what to do about it. And yes, transparency can be kind of a buzzword, which is sad. But it should be more important and it's moving in that direction.

In these cases of no account ownership, agencies basically have leverage over the brand because brands don't know what they're doing. They just see the ad purchase so they don't have to be involved in the process.

Think of it this way. If the only reason a brand is working with an agency because they have to, i.e, if they stopped, they lose access to their data, that's not a good reason to work with an agency.

Ultimately, the industry is becoming smarter. Marketing executives grew up in an era where they didn't have to be held accountable for digital, or maybe digital didn’t even exist for what they did. But now that it does, it's at the forefront of what they need to know. It’s shifting, and it’s getting better.

Q: What are some industry trends that you are noticing?

The digital marketing agency landscape is constantly shifting, which is a good thing.

It's like this.

Back in the day you had the village doctor. You would go to him because he was the only doctor and you had a headache and he would say, "You have a ghost in your blood, so you need to drink this cocaine!" And you're thinking to yourself, great! Because you don't really know how to measure illness.

Now there are specialty doctors for specialty conditions.

In the same way, digital has become so specialized, it doesn't make sense to go to the old timey doctor who treats every disease with the same potion.

Having the agency that buys your print ads in a magazine also buy your Facebook ads is insane.

And so, our industry is getting more specialized, and that's a good thing.

Q: What is one of the most difficult aspects of Facebook that brands sometimes have trouble with?

The biggest problem across the board is, brands want to know how they can spend more money while keeping their cost per acquisition low.

How do they spend more money and get more customers without paying more for them? That’s typically the starting point.

From there, here are several other questions to ask. How do you get your first 100 customers? How you grow from 50,000 customers to 100,000? It all depends on the maturity of your brand. You must have different bid strategies based on your goals based on the maturity of the business in your ad account.

And let’s not ignore the creative aspect of performance marketing as well.

Brands who want to drive more revenue need to test and respond to audiences for every objective. They also need to build a diversity of creative assets by style, using value proposition driven copy.

*(We recently shared exclusive content in our 2018 Facebook Ad Creative Playbook, check it out!)*

Q: Are your clients hesitant to work with Facebook, if so, what is one of their leading concerns?

As a channel, no, but as a company, there is some trepidation. Here’s the distinction.

Working with a channel is not typically the issue. Maybe back in the day when there was more confusion around it, but we’re long past that early adoption curve. Now it's become the norm.

Brands might have questions as to the specific tactics, but they're not unsure about whether or not they should be using Facebook to grow their business. At this point, it’s not a matter of if, but how. But if you do find someone who doesn’t think their business should be marketing on Facebook, call me!

Q: Any final words of advice?

Going back to what I said earlier, find something that you have conviction about, and follow it.

Whatever you're selling, whatever you’re communicating, for client services or as an entrepreneur, giving a shit about what you're doing will take you farther.

It really matters, and people smell through it eventually. Maybe not the beginning. But eventually, if you want to separate yourself from the pack and you're intellectually capable, conviction makes all the difference.

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Kevin Simonson CEO & Co-Founder, Metric Digital The Metric Digital Blog A Blog on All Things Digital Marketing