The only two things that matter in your business is if you’re selling product, you need the right people to see your product, and then you need them to actually buy it. Hopefully, if it’s consumable, they’ll buy more than once. Marketing magician Seth Greene of the Sharkpreneur podcast says they encompass successful product marketing in the traffic and conversion departments. Whether traffic and conversion is taking place online via a marketing funnel that takes people through a series of steps designed to get them to punch in their credit card, or whether it’s taking them to a physical bricks and mortar outlet to punch in a credit card, however they end up consuming that purchase, that runs the gamut of what they do in terms of taking a company and driving their sales as high as they want them to go.
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I have Seth Greene who is the ultimate marketing magician. He has seven bestselling books, including Market Domination for Podcasting, which is on the shelves. That’s how we met. I wrote an article about him for Inc. and we were talking about how podcasting had help boost his business, of which we are one of those people who wholeheartedly believe in. Seth is one of our partners that we work on in our podcasting business. He’s also one of our referral partners that we bring lots of our product clients too. I want to share him with you. I also want you to know about his podcast, the Sharkpreneur Podcast that he co-hosts with Kevin Harrington. Let’s get a little background on Seth. Tell me a little bit how you got to doing a lot more product work and you do a lot more product work than most of the marketing people that I’ve approached.
We drive trafficking conversion, which are the only two things that matter in your business. If you’re selling product, you need the right people to see your product and then you need them to actually buy it. Hopefully if it’s consumable, they buy more than once. We encompass that all in the traffic and conversion departments. Whether traffic is online advertising, whether that’s Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google or LinkedIn, all the way down to good old-fashioned, wonderful direct mail. Whether that conversion is taking place online via what we call a marketing funnel that takes people through a series of steps designed to get them to punch in their credit card. Whether it’s taking them to a physical bricks and mortar outlet to punch in a credit card. Either way, however they end up consuming that purchase, whether they mail in a check via the mail or through an order form, that runs the gamut of what we do in terms of taking a company and driving their sales as high as they want them to go.
This is a big problem for a lot of product companies. They think, “Great, I have my product on Amazon. I’ve got it listed or I’ve made it to the shelf.” They don’t realize that they still have to drive a lot of sales in themselves. That’s where you come in, these types of marketing tools and other things. Let’s talk a little about them a little bit after. We’ll get to that. They’re so critically important in the process and we maybe don’t budget for them and realize that. That’s one of the reasons why I’m bringing you on as an early resource for them to consult with and understand what you can do for them.
We were writing some promotional copy for Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington, one of my business partners and podcast co-host. He was involved in a company called Celsius, which is a negative calorie energy drink. You burn calories by drinking the drink, which my wife is like, “Give me a case of it.” It’s funny because he talked about sometimes the worst thing you can end up with is the deal where you now have shelf space at Walmart. If you’re on them or don’t have a marketing plan to move it off the shelf, then your test is going to fail. Walmart’s going to ship it all back and you never get a second chance.
Whereas what’s important is not the shelf space in the first place, but the plan, because Walmart’s not going to move it off the shelves. How is anyone going to know to go look for it? How is anybody going to know where to find it? The $8 an hour greeter at Walmart isn’t going to steer anybody over to go buy it. What are you going to do to make sure that people buy it off the shelves or off Amazon because having it on Amazon isn’t enough? It’s probably not the only product of its type in the world. None of us have a monopoly unfortunately. You probably have competition. How are you going to get your ideal buyers to find it on Amazon, where they erode your margins to next to nothing? How are you going to get them to find it and buy it as opposed to your competition I think is critically important?
Timothy Bush is one of our experts on the platform in hand along with Joe Tarnowski from ECRM. We are the retail experts if you want to call us that. We’re the ones who have had the most products on the shelf or without clients have had the most products. We understand that getting on the shelf is a feat in and of itself, but staying on that shelf is harder. Getting a test can happen, but getting that test to be successful is difficult. It used to be harder than it is and that’s the trick that most people don’t understand. We have so much geo-location tools and we have so much ability to do marketing that the retailer doesn’t even know about.
We can make a test fly in a particular region. We couldn’t do that before, there used to be all sorts of exposé about companies who would finally get their tests. They’d go in and they would send people to buy it so that it would turn. They would get caught and then they’d get booted out completely. There are no rules about not doing a geo-location Facebook program. It’s letting people know that you’ve got this special product for a limited time only in a particular region. You can do that and send them to Costco. Send them to Walmart. This is something people should be planning as a part of their launch of any product or a test run of any product.
Not only can you market to them in a specific area and send them to, for example, their local Costco or Walmart who take advantage of your offer. You can even geo-target down to the people whose devices are actually in the store and you could literally run ads on people in Walmart who you know by device IP address are literally in Walmart saying, “Go to aisle seven.”
It’s a little creepy on one hand, but it’s amazing. We didn’t have this technology before. We didn’t know who was going to be the ideal shopper. The other part is that you can drive in the shoppers you want. The ones with the targeted demographic, the ones who like in your case of negative calorie, want to lose weight. When it starts working, they’re going to rave about it to their friends and they’re going to provide those essential reviews that are so hard to get. There’s too much nefarious programming going on there, on that end. To do it right, this is a great way to do that. That’s fantastic that you are experienced in all of that and doing all of that for your clients. Let’s talk a little bit about Sharkpreneur and your relationship with Kevin Harrington. What does that look like and what can we expect if we listen to and subscribe, and we should, to the Sharkpreneur podcast?
Kevin and I do an episode every week together and then I do additional episodes on my own journey throughout the week. It depends on the week because we’ve got a long waiting list of people who want to get on the show. Kevin is speaking somewhere every other day, so it’s extremely limited. We’ve done interviews in airports, we’ve done interviews in Ubers, even via Zoom Wi-Fi on a plane. What does that look like? We interview amazing entrepreneurs about what it takes to grow and scale their businesses. We interview people who are successful and talk about how they got there, how they did mistakes that they made so we can avoid them. A whole lot of amazing entrepreneurs and amazing lessons on how to take your company to the next level whatever level that might be.
Learning from these models of how people did things, do you dive into some of the nitty-gritty now and again about how they made it successful or is it more mindset-focused?
Every single episode, I think we get down to the nitty-gritty. There’s a percentage of the show that is mindset-based. It’s a small percentage, a lot more is very specific questions like, “What was your biggest challenge? What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it? How did you get from A to B in and when we know what A to B are?” I was doing an interview and we were asked, “How did you decide when to hire? How do you recruit and train? How do you scale?” They’re all practical hands-on questions. The interview I did right before this one, I have a page of notes, those are writer downers. I have so much fun doing it because I get to learn from amazing entrepreneurs too.The higher the price that you're asking people to pay, the more education they need before they're ready to buy. Click To Tweet
That is my favorite part about my job as a columnist. The membership group is getting to learn something new every day. It’s a deeper dive into any particular area. What we learned and what we gathered from all this information though, we turn into refining our resources, refining what we sell to people, and what our services are. I want to dive a little bit into those details like what you were talking about before. There are lots of marketing things being thrown around. Funnel is a good one. Let’s talk a little bit about that. What does a funnel look like for a product company and how does it work?
A funnel is a multi-step process. If you think about it, picture a funnel in the kitchen and you pour in a whole bunch of stuff at the top. Out the bottom comes a smaller amount of purified stuff. In our example, so we would pour it in a lot of traffic of your ideal customers at the top, they would go through multiple steps to qualify themselves. Then at the bottom, out come the paying customers. Depending on the product, they might need to consume a lead magnet that might be an educational video. That might be a white paper, that might be a webinar, that might be an opt-in for a discount coupon offer or get on our VIP notification list. We’ve done funnels for everything from physical products to services, even food.
For example, we have a restaurant where the lead magnet is text in to get 20% off your first bill and you’re now on our VIP text message list. We have physical product companies where we will do a social media contest and the lead magnet is, “Enter to win this contest to win the product that you want.” Then one person wins and we have thousands of people enter. We then will offer a consolation prize and say, “Sorry you didn’t win but here’s 20% off or 10% off.” Those people are interested because they entered; a significant percentage of them will now buy at a slightly discounted offer. The cost to acquire them as customers was way less than it would if we tried to sell every single one of them directly. It can be as simple as that to as complicated depending on the price point of the product. The higher the price that you’re asking people to pay, the more education they need before they’re ready to buy.
That’s when you have lots of steps, right?
Yes. That Celsius energy drink that might be $1.99 or a free sample. You don’t need too much education, you drink it, you lose weight and it tastes good and it gives you energy. You were like, “Sign me up.” Whereas if we were asking them to buy a product, a physical product, it might be $2,000. Then we might have them watch four or five videos and attend a webinar to get educated enough to the point where they felt comfortable punching in their credit card to a stranger online for $5,000.
We find that some of our clients who have maybe $300 products or things like that, you do have a much more longer education piece that has to happen. In any way in which you can get them to go through that process and watch a video here and learn a little bit more and see it in use. We try to do it in a service way. I’m sure that you did too. It’s like whatever you can, whatever your lead magnets are, whatever those stages are, the more service that they’re providing, the more informational it is. For example, “The drink is $1.99 and we can give you a sample, but you do want to lose weight, can we give you some tips? Can we give you some of these things?” Those things are not that complicated to put together. There’s lots of wonderful information that most of the companies we have develop their product on and they’re not utilizing it. They have a lot of assets.
It’s the question of what are those assets and do they need to be rewritten, re-purposed? Do they need to be redeveloped? What is the proper psychological formula? The ways in which those steps are distributed. What is the order of those steps that ultimately stacks those psychological triggers so that people actually take action?
Let’s talk about that because there’s a term in marketing called A/B testing. We have that same term here at Product Launch Hazzards. We talk about it all the time. We do A/B testing in product different because we are always trying to test the product market fit because we want to make sure. We get a lot of people come in with great product ideas but they don’t know where to sell it, how to sell it, who to sell it to. They don’t have any idea and that is a lot more costly and a lot more time consuming and goes wrong, 56% of the time. I surveyed a startup failure across the board and product market fit were wrong, 56% of the time. It’s not funding, it’s not the wrong resources, it’s that.
It’s funny that you came up with that number with a quantifiable survey. My marketing mentor, who I learned everything from in the beginning, Dan Kennedy says 50% of the success or failure comes down to the target market message to market match. I’m sure he made it up. Turns out he’s pretty close.
Dan Kennedy is a genius so I’m not surprised he got pretty darn close. If we have this, we always have to be testing it. In your case, assuming they’ve already got some amount of product, they shouldn’t go as far as your service is. If they don’t know if people want to buy it at all, however they might want to test market through a marketing funnel. They might want to test market before you ever put it on the shelf. Doing that A/B testing strategy. Can you describe what A/B testing is for those that don’t know it from a marketing perspective?50% of the success or failure comes down to the target market message to market match. Click To Tweet
Kevin Harrington has a saying that I have heard a million times where he says test before you invest. When he was purely infomercial, it would cost a couple hundred thousand dollars to produce an infomercial. Buy enough air time in one city and get the business all set up to find out if people would buy it. You can do all of that same thing for a fraction of the cost online. Before I spent millions of dollars producing inventory and trying to get on the shelves at Walmart, you could spend $10,000, $20,000 $30,000 and know if you had a hit or not.
A/B testing to us is changing one element and then finding out what the impact was. For example, there’s more than one version of the market domination for podcasting book. There’s a version with a different picture of me. There’s a version with a slightly different title. There’s a version with a different back cover. There are versions with different calls to action that we ran to ultimately we arrive at this version that is the best performing version that generates the highest amount of revenue for us. One of the easiest ways to A/B test is online. For example, creating Facebook ads for a client, we will test versions of the headline versions of the body, copy, we’ll test versions of different images. We will then test versions of. We will aim it at different target markets and see which ones respond. On average we run about 250 different split tests to find out what is the ultimate winning formula of the perfect title.
If you’re in the design world, if you’re in the engineering world, you have to understand it’s like a design of experiment. You can only change one element at a time or you don’t get adequate results, you don’t get pure results and you don’t know what went wrong or what went right.
We’ll run 250 to find the perfect combination and then we scale that and put all our traffic money behind the one that won. We have a much higher percentage chance of success than if we took our first guests. We had a campaign that we ran for a company that was an app company and it was in the meditation space. We had dozens of images. We split tested and the one that we had picked that we thought would won, we had picked two or three images of people meditating. It’s a meditation app. Look at pictures of tranquil people, and they bombed.
They didn’t work. What we found was we had picked some random images for the heck of it, and one of them was an angry guy eating a lemon and you could see the whole lemon is his smile and flies buzzing around him and he’s angry. That one won and we never would have guessed. I never would have picked it. When the designer said, “Let’s try this as one of the images.” I said, “There’s no way that works.” It’s a pissed off guy eating a lemon with flies. What does that got to do with meditation? Why is he doing it? It makes no sense, and yet because maybe pissed off people resonated with that image and go, “I feel like that guy, I want to meditate.” They saw it and were so curious, what the heck is this guy doing eating a lemon with flies that it worked. You never know until you test, which is why we test a lot.Marketing to the dog is very different than marketing to the owner. Click To Tweet
We also say the same thing here at Product Launch Hazzards, which is that when you’re testing you can’t assume you know. We are too in our heads, we are too in our business, we are way too in our product. It’s our thing and we can’t get out of that to understand that there’s a perception issue. It does not matter what we think of our product. It only matters what the market thinks of it and whether or not they’re ready to plunk down many for it right at the end of the day. We always say that that’s the important part to do, is to test whether or not the dogs will eat the dog food and the owners will buy it for them. That’s the key. You’ve got to get the owners to buy it and it’s something totally different in terms of an image.
Marketing to the dog is very different than marketing to the owner.
We say the same thing in all kinds of areas, juvenile products and everywhere that it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you get past that gatekeeper of who’s actually going to be doing the buying, and in the consumer product world, that’s women. Women have a whole lot of power here. Estimates run anywhere between 80% and 90% depending on the category of influence or control over the purchases in that business. Do you see that thing happening in marketing? Do you see a gender difference in breakdown in your marketing?
It depends on the product. For example, we have a client in the supplement space and we’re selling a neurotropic brain supplement for brain fog. We recently found, if you have brain fog, I’m men don’t want to admit they have brain fog. They don’t want to admit they’re forgetting things, they don’t want to admit they need help stereotypically. The ads that were run to men failed the ads that were run to women that had pictures of men and it didn’t do as well. The ads that are being run to women for themselves and women on behalf of get this for your man magically worked.
You may be right about your target market, but how you get to them might be a completely different path than you think it’s going to be.
I would not be selling a directional before Apple maps eliminated Garmin and gave away their product for three. I wouldn’t necessarily have run Garmin ads to men because we don’t want to ask for directions. Even if it’s of a computer until Siri and Apple maps made it normal that you put your address in, even if you’re going somewhere where you know already how to get there.
Besides funnels, what else do you have in your magic hat?
We have a lot of things in our magic hat. For example, it all depends on where your target market’s hanging out, where are they, that’s the most important factor. That’s going to inform whether we need a funnel or not. That’s going to inform what social media platform or advertising on. You might be advertising on Facebook or it might be the worst place for you. Maybe you need to be on LinkedIn, maybe you need to be on Snapchat depending on the product and the age range of the people that you’re going after. How many steps that funnel takes, what the graphic design of that funnel looks like, how it functions on mobile devices. All of that is completely based upon, again, who your target market is. That’s the most important decision is who you’re selling to. Then we can start crafting a message that will work in media for delivering that message.
I think this is a good case to mention to everyone out there that if you are looking at an on the shelf model, if your goal is to be on the shelf somewhere and you’re going to utilize the services to do this marketing test in a way, you need to be clear about that from the beginning. If you don’t make a match to let’s say Target’s market or Walmart’s market or Costco’s market, which is slightly upscale. If you’re not doing your test in that market that you think you’re going to be able to sell, that information is not going to be as valuable when you go to make a buyer presentation. That is something you also have to be clear about that this is one of the reasons that we advocate wholeheartedly. You must have a plan. You have to know where you’re going and who you want to talk to when you get there. Test that all along the way.
I am going to apologize in advance if I have offended any of your readers with this personal experience story. I normally try and avoid shopping at Walmart, personal customer service experiences don’t want to go there. At one point for whatever reason, my wife had sent me to go to Walmart and she needed something. I think it was a present for a kid’s birthday and it was much cheaper at Walmart than Toys R Us, back when Toys R Us was around. She said, “No, go to Walmart. You only have to get one thing.” I said, “I can handle one thing.” Then I realized when I was in there I need razor blades. I went to the razor blade section and I am reaching up to the top shelf because the mac three Turbo Gillette whatever blades that are $20 are on the very highest shelf and I’m reaching up to get them.
There was a guy next to me and the guy next to me kneeling down to get the very lowest item on the shelf, which is the twelve-pack of disposable razors for $0.99. I grabbed mine, he stands up. He can’t see what I’ve grabbed because the way I was facing, but he looks at me and says, “If they make these things any more expensive, I may have to give up and start growing a beard.” I looked at the $0.99 pack of twelve disposable razors, single blade that he was holding. I’m like, “I have $20 for two razor blades.” I walked away.
It’s a totally different audience. The thing that we have to understand from the beginning is, “Is our product market fit going to be right?” We can’t test that product without knowing more about the market and getting more market information. That’s where someone like you comes in handy. That’s the number one reason why I wanted to bring you on as a resource here for everyone to recognize and understand it have access to. Let’s talk about the one thing that we always do at the end of all of our videos here is let’s talk about the hazards of product launching. Where we talk about the biggest failures of the failure points that you see happen too often when things don’t go right with your clients, what’s usually wrong? What happened earlier on that before you got to them that it wasn’t able to be successful?
Unfortunately, nobody’s perfect. We do have a few of those. I’ll give you a couple of examples. One, we had another app company and the most significant thing that I couldn’t get them to do is Facebook will allow you to run an app install ads where you pay per app installed on the app store on iTunes for example. They refused to do those because they wanted people to get the app on their website and opt-in on their website. When you get on the app store, that company is customer, your Apple’s customer. You don’t get the data. I wish I totally understand why they did it that way, but they limited themselves by the fact that people are used to installing apps from an app store and we couldn’t run those types of ads.Test before you invest. Click To Tweet
Sometimes they have restrictive criteria.
The other one we had was we had a client who had developed a physical direct to consumer product and it was in a certain niche. We took it to Kevin. I tried the product, I loved it. I’m. Kevin took the product, he tried it with his wife. She loved it. He was sold. He took it to QVC. I want to do it on a test on QVC before I do an infomercial. QVC liked it. We did a meeting with the client. QVC said, “We’ll give you a half an hour prime time, you will be a millionaire overnight type of spot. We’ve done similar products in this space. Your product is higher quality, we freely admit that, but our viewers are used to this price point. It can be premium because it’s a better product, but we need to get to this price point. We knew what the client’s margins were and he could afford to drop to that price point.
It would drop his margins a decent chunk, but he would still be profitable and selling a ton of units on QVC leading to an infomercial where they could sell at higher prices. He’d be set for life. He said, “No. I refuse to budge my price. It’s already for sale in certain physical outlets in this industry at that price. It’s in certain catalogs at this price. I won’t undercut it even though it’s for a 30-minute test on QVC.” I said, “You better budge. You’re going to blow the deal. Do you want to be a millionaire or not?” He said, “I’m not budging.” QVC said, “Then we’re out.” and Kevin said, “If QVC won’t do it, we’re out.” We ended our relationship with the client over that and he ended up not being successful because he refused to listen.
Pricing is our second phase and our second stage in our process. Seth, I’m going to recap. It’s prove it, price it, plan it, prototype it, protect it, produce it, and then promote the heck out of it.
Then profit from it. We made an online funnel for that product after QVC and Kevin said no, and we drove traffic. We had probably 1,000 people who opted in for the lead magnet, watched the video, watched the consumer guide and said, “Yes, I wanted but didn’t buy.” We emailed, surveyed every single one and said, “You liked it enough, you said you wanted it. Why didn’t you buy?” Every single one of them said too expensive. He still wouldn’t listen. He said, “If you won’t listen to Kevin, QVC, and your target audience, there’s nothing I can do for you.”
That is why we have price at so early in the process, because we want that price to not be a market objection. We want to design the product to the target price because at the end, if you can’t get on the shelf, if you can’t get QVC, if you can’t do the things in the price expectations that are out there and set by the market, it does not matter how great your product is. It will cost you so much more to change the market paradigm.
It will cost you a whole lot more to change people’s perception than it would be to fix it right in the first place. That’s why they need the Hazzards.
Anything else you want to share with us about the things that you do or how people can reach you? They should subscribe to the Sharkpreneur podcast and they can buy any one of your seven books.
The books are on Amazon or in the case of number seven, Barnes & Noble, Walmart and Target If they want to download a kindle version, a PDF version, MarketDominationLLC/podcast. They can get one for free. Sharkpreneur is on iTunes and YouTube. If they want to talk, they can go to MarketDominationLLC.com, there’s a place where they can request a free consultation. We’ll spend fifteen to 30 minutes on the phone with them or on Zoom talking about their business and whether or not we’re a good fit, and if we’re not, we’ll steer them in the right direction.
The marketing console is the key part and there are so many stages in which you can use marketing along the way in conjunction with refining your product. It’s something that you shouldn’t plan for the end, even though, yes, I say promote the heck out of at the end. Keep in mind to reserve 50% of your overall budget for your promotion and your marketing. Some of that you should spend in little bits and pieces on the way because you don’t want to wait until you’re ready to launch to decide to go for it all. You want to have some of that testing refined earlier.
Find out that they’re interested in it before you spend the rest of your money.
You do your little bits and pieces and testing along the way.
- Seth Greene
- Market Domination for Podcasting
- Tracy Hazzard’s Inc article about Seth Greene
- Sharkpreneur Podcast
- Kevin Harrington
- Seth Greene on Amazon
- Seth Greene on Barnes & Noble
- Seth Greene on Walmart
- Seth Greene on Target
- Sharkpreneur on iTunes
- Sharkpreneur on YouTube
About Seth Greene
Seth Greene is a Nationally Recognized Direct Response Marketing Expert. Seth Greene is the author of five best-selling marketing books, and his latest book, Market Domination for Podcasting hit Barnes & Noble in January 2017. He is the only person in history that Dan Kennedy has nominated for marketer of the year three years in a row. Seth has been featured on real media like CBS MoneyWatch, CBS news, Inc magazine, The LA Times, The Boston Globe, The Miami Herald, and the #1 morning radio show in New York City. Seth has shared the stage with Steve Forbes, John Mackey of Whole Foods, Dan Kennedy, Jeff Mask (Infusionsoft), Dave Dee, Darcy Juarez, Sam Bell, Dustin Matthews, Dave VanHose, Perry Marshall, Brad Martineau, and many other luminaries. Seth has been written about in three best-selling business books, the top industry trade journals, and in Dan Kennedy’s NO BS Newsletter. Mike Koenig’s put him in his launch videos as one of his all-stars. He represents everyone from local bricks and mortar businesses to 4 Fortune 500 companies. Seth is the founder of one of the fastest growing direct response marketing firms in the country, www.MarketDominationLLC.com, that will make new customers appear for your business like magic!
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