This year was an AMAZING year of podcast guests.
Today, I wanted to reflect on and recap 12 of my favorite lessons from this year.
1. Creative Thinking as a Competitive Advantage - Million Dollar Mindset (Ep 231)
This episode was the most shared episode of the year. It ended up in a few forums and got a lot of love.
What helped Will and the team grow Organifi from $18M annually to over $100M? It wasn’t just hard work. It was creative thinking and problem-solving.
Learn the secrets of Moneyball, the Hollywood Black List, and more!
2. You Can 13X Through Creative, Data-Driven Marketing - Brendan Bannister (Ep 221)
In a similar vein to the podcast with Will Hughes, this interview with Brendan Bannister was a banger. Brendan ran paid media for William Painter during their years of meteoric growth. We talk about the power of design and simplicity.
3. What You Don’t Know About Your Customer Is Costing You. The Missing Piece to Your Attribution, CRO, and Marketing Is Customer Insights - Trevor Crump (Ep 250) / Jeremiah Prummer (Ep 262)
I’m completely sold on the idea that when done properly, customer surveys uncover tremendous insights that will shift how you advertise, position, and optimize your products. I cover my 4 favorite questions to ask in post-purchase surveys.
4. Why Your Price Is Likely Wrong and What to Do About It - Byron Myers (Ep 255)
The way you set your initial price is not the way you determine your optimal price. There’s an optimal price for rev maximization and one for profit maximization.
How does demand and conversion rate shift when price increases or decreases? After you get some data, you need to get scientific. Chart out your demand curve and conversion rate to find your ideal price.
This isn’t static, though. You should be testing at least 2 times per year or likely every quarter.
5. Customer Value Optimization Trumps CRO Every Time. And It Informs CRO. - Drew Sanocki (Ep 245)
Not all customers are created equally. You have some whales (your most valuable) and some minnows (your least valuable).
What’s more important than almost anything else you do is identifying whales and attracting more of them.
This is a key part of understanding that there are only 3 ways to grow your business:
- Get more new customers
- Get each customer to spend more (raise your AOV)
- Get customers to buy more often (increase LTV)
6. Organic Growth on YouTube. 3 Types of Content. - Liz Germain (Ep 234)
YouTube is the 2nd most visited site on the planet.
Users spend a TON of time on the platform. If you’re good at creating content, you can build a large following and drive awareness and traffic for your brand.
In this episode, I talk to YouTube pro, Liz Germain, about the 3 types of content you must create to build an organic following.
7. Brand is Everything - Person Rutherford (Ep 260)
Want a huge exit? Want all of your advertising efforts to improve? Want greater retention and higher LTVs? Want to charge a premium? You need to focus on brand building.
The good news is you can do this profitably.
If you want customers to seek you out by name, tell others about you, and feel pride in associating with your products, you need a BRAND.
Preston Rutherford, one of the co-founders of Chubbies who had a 9 figure IPO, knows all about this. Brand building can’t be done overnight. It’s a long play, but it compounds over time.
8. You Can Achieve Exit Velocity on YouTube - Jacques Spitzer (Ep 243)
This was the episode I personally heard the most comments about. It’s PACKED with ideas on how to think about YouTube and how to make it work for your brand. We discussed a bunch of important concepts. One is “People don’t have short attention spans; they have short consideration spans.”
9. Amazon Is Trying to Go Beyond Search for Product Discovery. Maybe They’re Making Modest Strides. - Liz Saunders (Ep 253) / Brandon Young (Ep 251) / Gracey Ryback (Ep 249)
Product discovery is still primarily driven by search. With the Amazon influencer program and initiatives like the Inspire tab on the Amazon Mobile app, Amazon is trying to “inspire” new product discovery. It seems to be going OK, but just how much new product discovery this generates is TBD.
10. Stop Obsessing Over Vanity Metrics. Focus on Core Metrics. - Rabah Rahill (Ep 222) / Preston Rutherford (Ep 260)
What are vanity metrics? How about ROAS and Revenue? Both important to be sure. We look at both metrics all the time. But they aren’t CORE. So, what is the core of your brand? Well, Preston Rutherford lays it out!
11. Retention Marketing Is Your Key to Stability and Profitability. - Nick Flint (Ep 248)
Few things can impact your brand as much as email and SMS. In this episode, we covered 8 email tests to make, plus one of our favorite all-time emails that a client ran.
12. Are you experimenting with AI? - Steve Chou (Ep 233) / Fred Vallaeys (Ep 256)
AI likely isn’t replacing members of your team. It shouldn’t be replacing you. But it should be assisting you.
- Writing better email subject lines
- Working on better SEO titles and bullet points
- Transcribing and summarizing meetings and more
Well, hello, I'm Brett Curry and it's time for another Spicy Curry Hot Take the part of the show when I get just a little bit spicy. Now, if you are not reviewing and reflecting, I believe you're wasting time. I believe this applies as we wrap up a year like we are right now in 2023 if we're not reviewing and reflecting on what we learned, how we've grown, what lessons we want to take into the new year, and what lessons we want to reject. But I think this also applies to things like books as an example. I'm a big believer that it's more valuable to key in on a handful of really impactful business books and review, reflect, and implement than it is to hit some kind of unnatural one book a week pace or something like that. So reviewing and reflecting and hey, this has been a unique year, right?
I think 2023 has exceeded most expectations from a business standpoint. I know the vast majority of our clients had great years, strong years record, black Friday and Cyber Monday events. There was always that recession that was right around the corner that just never really materialized. Inflation was still there, but maybe was kind of a lid was put on it, so to speak. Interest rates kept going up, but the consumer was resilient and for the most part, D two c e-Commerce and Amazon grew this year. But now it's time to reflect, and that's what we're going to do on this podcast. We're going to look at 12 ideas, one for each month of 2023. And these are million dollar insights because I believe that just one or two of these insights can unlock seven figures of growth for you. And so with that in mind, let's get after it.
First lesson comes from an episode with my buddy Will Hughes. We met when he was the head of growth at Organify, and he took Organify from 18 or so million a year to a hundred million dollars a year run rate, and he did it in just 18 months. And so his episode, this was episode 2 31, this was the most shared, the most talked about episode of the year. I saw this in forums. Lots of people were talking about it. And basically we looked at is million dollar mindsets. So using creative thinking as a competitive edge, because if you're going to grow from 18 million a year to a hundred million a year in 18 months, that doesn't just take working harder. It doesn't just take more effort. It takes creative thinking, it takes breaking some molds that exist. And so on this episode, we talk about several things, but a few things I want to key on.
One is finding undervalued and overvalued assets. Think Billy Bean and the Oakland a's popularized by the movie Moneyball with Brad Pitt as Billy Bean. But the Oakland A has had one of the lowest payrolls in all of baseball, and yet they were able to go on one of the largest winning streaks in MLB history because they found players who were undervalued and therefore affordable. So knowing where to look to find undervalued assets. Another great example, the Hollywood Blacklist started by Franklin Leonard. And what Leonard did was he approached all the major studios because he believed that there were some things broken about Hollywood. So he approached all the major studios and said, Hey, what are the top 10 movies that you had to reject? And of course, all the producers had ideas. And so from that, then Franklin Leonard is like, Hey, I'm going to start finding a way to produce some of these movies.
And you could Google it, Hollywood Blacklist, Franklin Leonard, and see all of the movies that were rejected by everybody else but ended up being produced because of the Hollywood Blacklist. And the list is a doozy. I would do a disservice to try to name them all, but movies like 21, which I love that movie, three 10 Te Yuma, the Bucket List, lots and lots of movies that won Oscars and brought in a boatload of money at the box office. But that was looking at, Hey, what are I think the model's broken here? I'm going to do the opposite of what everybody else is doing. And that's what Franklin Leonard did. And so using creative thinking as a strategic advantage. And one of the other things he talks about is, Hey, look at problems from different angles and different altitudes and different directions. And when you do that, you'll be able to solve problems in a unique way because hey, it's not easy to scale and to scale profitably, but that's exactly what Will did.
And so highly recommend this episode. There's so many things to quote and unpack, but go back and listen to that episode, episode 2 31, next episode 2 21 with my boy Brendan Banister. This is kind of related to the first one, but you can 13 x your growth through creative data-driven marketing. Now, I met Brendan when he was the head of marketing at William Painter. Brendan went through my Google and YouTube course, and that's kind of how he taught himself how to run traffic on Google and YouTube, and they scaled William Painter kind to the moon. And so what Brendan and I talked about though was a couple of cool concepts that I think are really, really valuable. One of those is the idea that design is hack. And what that means is really elegant, really thoughtful design is often more powerful and has a greater impact than any kind of hack that you could create.
And so if we think about this from a product standpoint, pr no one has done better than Apple, right? The simplicity and the beauty of the design and the ease of use of an Apple product. But we can also think about some of our favorite e-commerce websites to shop and explore those that are just simple and easy to dig into and buy. I think even Amazon. And while no one would say that the Amazon site is necessarily beautiful or artfully designed, there's some breakthroughs and there's some design elements that just make it really easy to shop. Now, one of the other concepts that he brought up related is that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. So as humans, as marketers, as business owners, we want to make things more complicated, but making things simple, that is the ultimate sophistication. There was a Leonardo da Vinci quote.
An example there is, think about Yahoo in the early days, and think about Google when they first started, Yahoo was the leader in search marketing and one of the most valuable online companies at the time. And if you looked at the homepage, it's similar to kind of the way it's now. Lots of stuff, lots of banners, lots of articles, lots of places to click. It was completely full. What did Google do? Google said, well, hey, what if a good ad is really just the answer to a question? And so instead of all the stuff on the homepage, our homepage is going to have a search bar and our name and that's it. And then we're going to be wicked good at delivering you exactly what you're looking for and freakishly understanding based on your keyword, exactly what you're looking for. And so that was simple.
There was a lot of sophistication on the backend, but simple for the user. So simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Moving on now, I love the two episodes I'm going to talk about. These are closely related episode two 50 with Trevor Crump and he is from Bestie, and basically they run customer surveys. So post-purchase surveys, and then a related episode, Jeremiah Brummer from No Commerce, similar service, episode 2 62. And so understanding that, hey, probably the missing piece in your attribution, the missing piece in how you need to refine your marketing, the missing piece in what you need to do with CRO is data that's coming from your customers and insights coming directly from your customers. And so three of the questions that I love that both of these guys talked about are one, where did you first hear about us? So trying to understand, hey, what channel, what type of ad allowed you to hear about us first?
Maybe it was word of mouth, maybe it was Facebook ads. What brought you here today? So what did you click on? What motivated the visit today? And then how long have you known about us? And what's really interesting is that on that, how long have you known about us question. What both platforms have found is that a lot of people knew about the brand for months before they took action, and this was going to run contrary to what you see in platform and what you may see in Google Analytics and other places. And that just illustrates some of the deficiencies that exist with pixel tracking and other forms of tracking. And so Jeremiah Brummer from, no, they did a breakdown, a couple of different breakdowns where they look at, Hey, over 50% of purchases come after a month of hearing about a brand. And actually the biggest segment was in the one to three month category, but 30% are in that three to 12 month category.
And we've even seen this to be true. I heard one of the guys, the CEO of classic tees talking about this great T-shirts, just a T-shirt, right? But a lot of people see it for a year before they purchase. Since this was a reminder that hey, investing in organic growth, investing in top of funnel efforts, that's likely playing a bigger role in your success than you think. Next one, from the same episodes from Trevor, this was a question of, Hey, what are the main reasons you bought? Why did you buy and use the example of a brand called Pajamas? It's training pajamas for kids when they're potty training. And the owner of the business thought, Hey, you know what? The main reasons people buy our pajamas is one, cost savings because diapers are expensive. And two, I'd say the planet because it's environmentally friendly, and now you're not filling landfills with diapers.
Well, when they ran the survey and asked their customers, they found out that those in fact were not the top two, not even close. The top two reasons were one shorter potty training window. And all of us parents can testify, yes, if we can shorten that window and get this kid potty trained faster, my life will be easier, their life will be easier, it will be magical. And then two, improve a child's confidence because it's embarrassing, right? When kids wet the bed and stuff like that, we hate it as parents, we want them to get more confidence. And so those are the reasons people actually spent money. Yes, being saving the environment important. People don't want to not do that, and people don't want to not save money, but those were not the reasons they were buying. Next up from episode 2 55 with Byron Myers, your price is likely wrong.
And in this episode we talk about how we're always optimizing our ad performance and we're optimizing for CRO on our landing pages, and we're optimizing our email subject lines for open rates, but we're not really optimizing our price. How do we think about price? Well, often we'll just price based on what is the competition charging or we'll do cost plus is what it costs me to make it. And so I'll work to get this certain margin. So that's how I'll price my product. And there's nothing wrong with either of those methods. And then in fact, those are often great when you're first starting to price your product, but not once you have data. Once you have sales data, now you need to look to optimize for price, and there's actually a price you can optimize for to maximize revenue. So if you want to get the most revenue, there's a price for you if you want to get the most profit, which that's what we all want.
We want to maximize for profit. So there's also an exact right price for that. Ultimately, this is based on a couple of things. This is based on your demand curve and think price elasticity of demand. So how elastic is your demand? If I raise my prices, does demand stay the same or is it elastic? Does it fluctuate? We use the example on the pod of, and I actually got this wrong to begin with, but then I corrected myself. But if you look at gasoline, right, that demand is very elastic. If price moves a little bit, I'm driving across the street to save a couple cents a gallon heart surgery, you could make the price anything you want if I need it, the demand's going to be the same. That demand is inelastic as it comes to price. So understanding your demand curve, but then also understanding conversion rate.
So how does conversion rate change as we impact the price? And so what Byron talks about is, Hey, you have your control price, and this is the price you set in the beginning, but then test something higher, test something lower for 30 days, and ideally 10 to 15 to 20% higher and lower. And then you'll be able to kind of chart the demand curve. And there's some formulas you can run. And again, you can go back to episode 2 55 and you can determine the right price. Now, this is not something that's static. Byron recommends, Hey, do this and then re-look at this quarterly if at all possible. But hey, this is another thing that if we want to maximize profits, this can be absolutely a million dollar unlock for you if you start to optimize price. Next up, customer value optimization is more important than CRO or conversion rate optimization.
This was episode 2 45 with the famous Drew Sinski of post pilot, but he's also the turnaround start has helped turnaround multiple nine figure brands. And so he talks about a couple of things, but he talks about looking at how do we identify whales? How do we identify those customers in our business that are delivering 80%, 90% of the overall value in the company? And so as we can identify those whales and create cohorts and segments of those whales, and we better understand how can we go find more? And we really unpacking this episode, this concept from J Abraham that there's only only three ways to grow your business, get more new customers, raise your A OV or get them to buy more every time they purchase, and then increase the frequency of repurchase or think LTV. And so the cool thing is to double your business, you don't need to double any one of those things.
You don't need to get twice as many new customers. You don't need to double your A OV, you don't need to double your LTV, but if you just create a 30% increase in each of those three areas or 33% increase, that will double your business. And so thinking about how do I optimize for customer value, that can really speed up and enhance your CRO as well. And overall really rapidly expand your business. Next up, we're talking about organic growth from YouTube. And I interviewed Liz Germaine, episode 2 34, and she talks about three types of content to start with on YouTube, and I believe YouTube is still one of the largest untapped growth opportunities. We'll talk about YouTube ads in a minute. This is specifically though about YouTube organic. And one great recent example of this is Alex Orey. If you're in the entrepreneur space, which I'm sure you are, you can't miss Alex Orey and he's gone to millions and millions of followers on YouTube in short order.
Not that we can necessarily all achieve that type of success, but it just shows the power of great content and on that platform. But the three types of content that Liz recommends first is help. And this is kind of some of the old school type of content that YouTube is known for. So it's FAQs, it's listicles, it's how to do this, it's how to build this type of ad campaign. It's how to increase your average order value in Shopify. It's how to fix your dryer, your washing machine or whatever. It's how to. It's help articles, and those are going to be largely driven by search on YouTube. Then there's hub. So think about episodes. These are interviews series. It's basically a never ending series of content. So some people put their podcast on YouTube, some people have a show on YouTube. That's kind of what hub content is.
It's just never ending, and it can attract people to come back to your content again and again. The third type is what's called hero. This is deeper dive into more personal information. It's a deeper dive into more of a personal look, but this is where you get emotional, you form an emotional connection, an emotional reaction. This is something you need to do less often potentially on your channel, but it can have a huge impact. So help hub and hero. You need to get the right combination of that. Listen to episode 2 34, Liz Germaine to hear more. Next up brand is everything. And this is episode two 60 with Preston Rutherford. He's one of the founders of Chubby nine figure IPO from Chubby. And this episode was so great, so great in both the product design discussions and some of the discussions around ad performance, but also around brand being everything.
And if you think about it, we all want to build a brand that people search for, that people go out of their way to find that a brand that people love being associated with and a brand that people love recommending to others and a brand that people buy because it says something about who they are. And if you really want something valuable, if you want to have a valuable exit one day, if you want your ads to work better, if you want everything to be multiplied, then focus on building brand. And that's what Chubby did. And they did this with their content, this with their website. They did this with the design of the product, but brand is everything, and brand is what ultimately led to that nine figure IPO. Next up, one of my favorite episodes of the year to record, and I think this was the episode I got the most comments directly on.
So episode 2 43 was Jacques Spitzer achieving Exit Velocity with YouTube ads. And a couple of real highlights here. We talk about how consumers have short attention spans, but that's not actually true. Consumers have short consideration spans. So think about it from this perspective. If we have a Netflix series that we love, or there's a YouTube video that we love, we'll binge watch that thing for hours, right? We will binge watch 15 episodes in a row on Netflix. So attention span is not the issue, it's just what holds our attention is more difficult. So that's where consideration comes into play. So you've got less time to win someone's attention, and you got to work harder to keep someone's attention. So our consideration spans are much shorter, but attention spans, they're fine. And the other key takeaway from this episode is that brands that really crushed it, brands like Dr.
Squat and Manscaped and Organify and many others, they knew that direct conversions were only part of the story. Fewer people click on YouTube ads and click on Facebook ads. A lot of people will view a YouTube ad and then search later. So with YouTube, the nature of the way people interact with it, it does drive more brand lift than it does direct conversion. So you got to understand that and measure that properly. So check out more episode 2 43 with Sha Spitzer. Next up three episodes about Amazon. And I believe Amazon is really trying, desperately trying to move beyond just search for product discovery because that's how most people anything on Amazon is through searching, but Amazon's trying. So a couple episodes to check out episode 2 53 with Liz Saunders. We talk about Amazon influencers and how she is creating content that lives on Amazon that helps sell products.
We also talked in episode 2 49 to Gracie Ryback also about Amazon influencers. But there's a couple of features, a couple of things that Amazon is doing. One is called the Inspire app, and basically it almost looks like TikTok, but it's from Amazon influencers, and it's a way to discover products that influencers love. Now, I think Amazon's probably only making a very small dent in this, trying to move beyond just a search platform. And of course, Amazon loves search, but they want you to be able to discover and find new things and increase your consumption on Amazon. Another episode that related to Amazon is 2 51, Brandon Young from DataDive. When we talk about doubling your traffic and conversions on Amazon, and this goes back to the tried and true, this goes back to merchandising. So how do we make the product fly off that digital shelf, so to speak?
How do you make the product really attractive on that Amazon shelf? But then what are kind of the methods to optimize for greater search traffic? And so Amazon, as we look at our brands, our D two C brands that are also on Amazon, Amazon was the fastest growing channel for a lot of them this year, and we anticipate that will be the same next year. This one strikes me to my core passionate about this one. This comes from Robba Rayhill, episode 2 23, but also Preston Rutherford from Chubby talks about this too in episode two 60. Stop obsessing over vanity metrics and instead obsess over core metrics. So what are vanity metrics? Well, revenue is a vanity metric. It's something we pay attention to, we should all pay attention to, but it's vanity roas return on ad spend. It is a vanity metric. Of course, it does inform some things, and we look at it all the time, but it's still a vanity metric.
So what should you be focusing on? Well, according to Preston Rutherford, you should focus on contribution margin. How much profit are we contributing to with the sale of this item? And the way to look at contribution margin, it is the price minus all of your variable costs. So cost of goods sold, this includes your ad costs, any variable cost. So what is the contribution margin for this product? Also, profits slash ebitda, right? How are we optimizing for profits? Goes back to the pricing discussion as well. How are we thinking about LTV and how are we maximizing LTV through subscriptions or through repurchase programs or loyalty programs, email and SMS and things like that. And then also, how are we looking at brand search growth? And this is actually one of the clearest ways to understand, is my brand growing? Is my brand gaining traction? You'll know if branded search is increasing, so stop obsessing over vanity metrics and instead, obsess over core metrics.
10 down two to go. Next up, retention marketing is the key to stability and profitability. Episode 2 48 with Nick Flint, resident email expert here at OMG. He's our lead email strategist. And so we talk about eight of the top email tests that you should run to improve your email marketing efforts. And hey, this is one of the easiest, fastest ways to unlock new revenue growth. Profitable revenue growth is by enhancing what you do with email and SMS. But a couple of things is one, maybe it's time to drop that spinning wheel thing on the homepage to try to get people to opt in. Maybe it does increase your opt-in rate a little bit. But the question is, does this increase the value of the flow of people when they opt in there? And you'll probably find that the spinning wheel is not doing that. If it is great, but probably it's time to test something else, and maybe it shouldn't be a 20% off discount there either, right?
So what can we do to increase opt-ins but not give away the farm and increase opt-ins in a way that maximizes the revenue from that flow? Let's talk about, hey, test making someone work for a discount. Make them opt in for something and then when they get an email, click on something and then go from there. Because if we actually put in a little bit of work to get a discount, we'll appreciate it more and we'll be more likely once we start taking action to complete the process and continue and actually purchase. One of our favorite email campaigns of the year came from a client everyday California. They launched a brand new website and they wanted to get people to test it and use it and look for bugs or look for issues on the site. And so they sent an email saying, Hey, break our site and you'll get 50% off.
So find a bug, find any kind of flaw, find any kind of issue on the website. We'll give you a 50% off coupon. Now, this was extremely fun. This got people fired up. It was one of the most successful emails they sent all year. They got tons and tons of people shopping the new site, giving them feedback. Actually, they found out that the new site was pretty good. There wasn't a whole lot of negative feedback, but some people were actually disappointed. They wanted that 50% off discount. But anybody that responded, they still got some kind of discount, even if it wasn't 50% off. And so be creative with your email marketing. Alright, and then finally, and I would be remiss if we wrapped up 2023 and didn't talk about ai. Now I'm a big believer that AI is very much in the augment, the support, the enhance the speed up type of thing.
It's a help. It's not really replacement only. You can go fire your staff and just use ai, but I think AI can make a lot of things better. So a couple episodes I'll recommend episode 2 33 with Steve Chu from my wife Quit her job, one of the top podcasts in our space. He's also founder of Seller Summit. He talks about how he uses AI to write subject lines and even to come up with some SEO content, you got to be careful. Can't just let AI do all your SEO content, but how to make that work. Then also, if you really want to go next level and take your AI game to the extreme, listen to episode 2 56. Frederick Valets, founder of Optimizer, one of the original 500 employees at Google, but he talks about all the ways he uses AI in his business. And this dude, he's so smart and he knows how to leverage ai.
But a couple of the tools that come up, of course, open ai, but also fireflies, notetaking app tactic, notetaking and transcription app, Claude, CAUD, ai and Frederick talks about that, how he will, as he's looking to create content, he'll walk his dog, dictate stuff on his phone, upload that audio to Claude, then he'll get summaries and text versions and all kinds of cool stuff. He really unpacks that in that episode. But what I'm committing to and what I encourage you to commit to as well, is experiment with ai. Use it on a weekly basis. Some stuff's going to work for you, some stuff isn't. But begin to use it because I think those that don't will likely get left behind. So that does it for the year in review 2023. Thank you so much for listening. Thank you for coming in and week out. Thank you for sharing.
If you share this podcast regularly, thank you. If you don't, hey, if you know somebody that would find this episode or another episode interesting, please share it. It grows the community, it helps people out, and hey, you'll get a hearty thank you from those that you share with. If you've not left a review on iTunes, we'd love that as well. It helps other people discover the show, makes our day, makes me feel good, and our producers feel good. And so with that, here's to an amazing 2024. And with that, thank you so much for listening.