Ep. 142 – This week, Chris covers how one size does not fit all when it comes to marketing automation and how to navigate this with different businesses. He takes you on an objective exploration where he proposes two equally great options, for you as the service provider, to best support your clients. This is an episode to listen closely to because taking these golden nuggets of wisdom and applying them more consciously is sure to improve the results for both your business and your clients.
You’re listening to the all systems go podcast, the show that teaches you everything you need to know to put your business on autopilot. Learn how to deploy automated marketing and sale systems in your business the right way with your host, the professor of automation himself and founder of automation bridge, Chris Davis.
Chris Davis 0:30
Welcome to another episode of all systems go podcast, where we invite startup founders and digital marketers to discuss software and strategies to help you scale your business. I’m your host, Chris L. Davis, the founder of automation bridge. And in this episode, I want to talk about how one size does not fit all when it comes to marketing. And this has been a popular topic, right? Software as a Service, or SAS is created as a one size fits all. That’s, that’s how software really expanded is you had your Microsoft offices and your Adobe products that you all had to install on your device locally. And the cloud technology evolves, the cloud opens up and now it’s like, hey, wait a minute, we can now provide the same software to everybody. Right? This software is for everyone. And there’s something to be said about the one size fits all approach. Because in it is scalability, which we love, we love and automation, scalability, that’s one of the the main results and reasons why we even go down that path. But I want to talk about how that differs a bit. It may be okay. It may be okay for particular software to be the one size fits all. But we’re even seeing that that doesn’t work. Yeah, I remember a day I remember they Photoshops, seven, maybe 7.0 or something.
Chris Davis 2:16
It was very, very hard software to use. And over the years Photoshop really evolved. And I remember the interface changing and Adobe really putting a lot of work into streamlining their product suite, right, because they Adobe Premiere for your video editing after effects for your your
Chris Davis 2:39
movie effects. Photoshop Illustrator, they became they became the standard, right. But if one size truly fit fits all, then you wouldn’t have had all of these other products come out like Canva that saw this, this this major needs saw Adobe fitting this major need, but then said, well, well actually, you’re missing some things, you know, let’s take a more simplified, more streamlined, more easy approach, right. So when you try to apply one size to all you’re, you’re never going to cover everything, you could be profitable, you’re never going to cover every everything. And you’re going to also expose some things. And that exposure either provides an opportunity for you to split focus and say, Hey, we need to do this as well. Or you’ll leave it up to someone else to capitalize on the holes that you expose by trying to fit the entire market into your into your your offering. So this is this is not debatable. By the way, all of that was just fact. You can go and look at his history. You can study software and startups and you can see that even in CRMs they try to be the hey, we’re the CRM for E commerce marketers were the CRM for email marketers there. I’m not gonna say there is not but let’s just pose the question. Is there a one size fits all specifically when it comes to marketing and technology? Okay. And what you have to include is that there’s two factors when it comes to marketing automation. Like I said, marketing technologies, let’s just say marketing automation. This all says was go podcast, let’s just keep it what it is.
Chris Davis 4:28
And the two things that you always have to remember are the business strategy. Now actually, there’s three things now online online, there’s three things, the business strategy, the the collective acumen and the business model. Okay, model strategy and collective acumen. I talked about this in the All systems go episode number 27. The skill of assessing technology and I just talked about how you can’t just go in there saying, hey, use this, use this, I bought this, we love this. Or you really have to sit down and understand the business, the strategy, and also the collective acumen. What does the collective acumen mean? If the company collectively cannot execute on the technology that you’re assessing or suggesting, then it’s a bad suggestion could be great technology. But if they’re not in a position to take action on it, then it’s a bad suggestion. And if you’re not in a position, or you don’t have the business model, that takes the acumen out of the picture for them. It’s a bad recommendation. So you have you have those, those three things that you’re always thinking about, when it comes to identifying the type of technology that you will use for business. So when I’m talking about one size does not fit all. We know I gave the SaaS example and some other stuff, but we’re talking specifically about marketing technology, right? You can also force a stack and strategy on the company. I talked about that in all systems go, Episode 67. For those of you watching on YouTube, you see me kind of looking and scrolling, I’ve got all my episodes in front of me. And in that one, I talk about how that one’s entitled, it’s not about technology. It’s not, you have to understand the model and the strategy. Now. This what what I’m proposing to you today in this in this podcast is that you really have two options. There’s two options, you can stick with what you know, you have a stack, you have a set solution, a set means of technology to produce a particular result, you can stick with that and only serve the people whose immediate need fits your stack. Or you can be more agnostic and flexible, be able to be a little more dynamic and say, hey, look, I really specialize. And I really like Active Campaign, let’s say, but I see that you’re using Zoho. I work with that. You guys are comfortable with it. All right, I’ll be more flexible, right? Neither way is right or wrong, per se. We’re not looking to label them. Okay. But they all have considerations, they all have considerations to take into mind. So my goal is not to tell you right and wrong on this one. There are times where I will tell you right and wrong. That’s not this podcast. This is an objective exploration of both paths. Right. So when you look at sticking with what you know, it’s scalable. Let’s be honest, it’s one step closer to Software, Software as a Service stick, we want our hey, look, this is what people need. And I’m only going to serve people who need this. It’s quicker. Right? It’s more control. Because you don’t have all of these variables. Every time you introduce a new technology, you introduce a boatload of variables. Right. And it’s easier pricing wise, because there’s not much that change is it’s in in the agency space, they call it productized services. And that’s essentially, putting your services in a scalable means that the deliverable is streamlined and not customized. As a as a marketer, as a automation service provider. When you provide the service of automation that involves technology being applied to a marketing strategy, well, what if you want to take that approach, you have to ensure that the correct strategy is existing, or you can implement the correct strategy that leverages your stack. Right. But you can’t just go in and say, This is my stack, this will work. That’s the flag that I want to throw
Chris Davis 9:22
you if you’re going to if you’re going to take the stack solution approach. That means you have to do that much more in assessing and qualifying the client. You have to because their need has to meet your stack, which already proposes that there’s a specific strategy that needs to be in place. All stacks, technology stacks, if you don’t know what a stack is, it’s just a collection of software that you’re using in your business to produce a result. We call that a tech stack. So hey, I’m using Thrive Alright, I’m using MailChimp, I’m using whatever that’s your stack, your tech stack. Stacks cannot be applied to every business. And I’ve seen a lot of sloppy marketers do just that. A I’m a, I use will say go high level, because that’s a real popular one in the industry right now. So it’s a great tool, right? But there’s certain businesses what what if their businesses need is a little more XYZ? I don’t want to give an example. Because now my goal high level would be like, hey, I can do that. Nope, it can do that. Right. But I’m just saying, once you, once you understand the capabilities, and the limitations of the stack that you have, you’re able to better assess who you will deploy the stack for all stacks are not created equal. And just because the tool works for you, and you can make it bend and do certain things, you still have a responsibility to assess the model and the collective acumen to ensure that they are in line. Right. So that’s sticking with with what you know, you know, that’s more of an off the shelf solution, I support it. Second, is agnostic. Now, agnostic does require more expertise. And when I say requires, what I mean is this most junior marketers will come out agnostic that, hey, I can use anything. Now, they’re naive, because you have to have expertise to use everything. Now, if they’re in the beginning of their career, you have to use everything to get expertise. So on the founder side, do you want to pay for their education? Or do you want to pay for an expert implementation? It’s up to you, right. But to take an agnostic approach, it does require expertise, you will not be able to produce results consistently without expertise. So if somebody is experimenting on you with new software without expertise of producing results, you can’t accurately hold them to a standard of a result. Even if it’s agreed upon, even if it’s agreed upon. This is this becomes the the the mud. This is the gray area with marketing in hiring marketers working with marketers and automation and all of that, right. Agnostic is more challenging on both sides. But more so from the Digital Marketer side, it may be more challenging because you you may have not used that software, or, or you may not be as familiar but but this is where it could also be fun. You’re like, oh, let me figure out how to do this. There are a lot of times I take an agnostic approach. And it’s to to test the limitations of software, it’s to identify considerations, why would not use this tool? And I don’t have an answer. So I’ll test it. I’ll say, Okay, I’ll come into the business. And see, all right, let’s, let’s use this, we’re not going to use the CRM that I know would work. Let me just try this up. And then I’ll walk away with all types of considerations. And that’s the expertise we’re talking about, right? And then I’ll say, Okay, this is why I will never use that tool again. Right? Agnostic is more customized, where sticking with your stack is more so static, agnostic is more dynamic. And it can be applied to more businesses. Right? Carefully, if you have the expertise, I’m not telling you to just go Oh, yeah, I can do anything for anybody. I started like that. And in fact,
Chris Davis 14:05
it’s natural to look for which one is the best. And again, I’m here to objective neither one. In fact, you’ll find yourself doing a portion of both in your career forever. You may start out stacked and end up custom or you your stack may be able to take a business to a certain point, and then you say, hey, look, you’re gonna have to get someone else to do that stuff. We don’t do that. It’s perfectly fine. Is this this all goes under the pretense that the foundation of everything that I’m saying is this. Most businesses do not need a special or advanced solution in the state that you meet them. Usually 99% of the time, most of their problems exist at a very basic, fundamental level. If there’s something fundamental, foundational in their marketing that is not in place, they’re missing that piece. So as long as your stack, your proposed stack solves that, right, as long as your agnostic approach considers that. My problem is that a lot of people would stack solutions provide advanced solutions. They come in, look, we can do this, we can do that. They’re talking about capabilities and possibilities, not looking at the business model, the existing strategy in the collective acumen, the collective acumen is extremely important. If anything that may be a differentiator, the main differentiator of which path to choose. And again, if they don’t have if the business itself does not have the collective acumen needed to produce the result, you either have to take on that acumen and say, Okay, we’ll be your strategy will be your execution will be you know, you take on that entire load. Or you help them, raise it internally, hire it, whatever it looks like, train, so that their acumen matches the technology. Now, where agnostic agnostic, this agnostic approach comes in, is that sometimes the if the, the collective acumen is low, and if you introduce a stack that they can handle it, or execute it, it becomes cumbersome for everybody, then everybody loses. And this is where you may find someone who is more expert in their career, take on a lesser technology. And essentially, it’s meeting the meeting people where they’re at being able to meet people where they’re at using the tools that they’re using, and helping them build or get to the point where they can truly leverage better software, better technology. And this is coming from personal experience. This isn’t I didn’t pull this out of my you know, out of a hat nor just in thin air saying I’m gonna do this, I have vacillated between both of these approaches. I have a stacked solution for the marketplace for digital marketers called the amplify my automation package that comes with automation, Service Provider Program, premium community access and everything else. I can name off everything. It’s a packaged solution for digital marketers, I don’t have anything else for digital marketers. That’s my offer. That’s my value add to the space. Now if I wanted if we talk about consulting, I usually operate more agnostic. I’m coming in, in in since I work with tech startups coming in looking at your existing technology, looking at your team dynamic, because I’m trying to identify the collective acumen. And I’m looking at your goals. What are you trying to do, I’m looking at historical performance. I’m looking at baselines, I’m looking at data, looking at all of that to determine, Okay, if I introduce a new piece of software, what variables in my also introducing. Right? This, this, this is why at times you will find I will go agnostic, because even though I may not like the software that you’re using,
Chris Davis 18:44
I may have to deal with it for a time until I get my bearings, until I kind of understand how everything is working. And then we can start to migrate away from it if need be. Because remember, I’m starting out basic, I know that all businesses have fundamental problems, they don’t have advanced problems, they can grow to advanced problems. Most of them have basic issues. Now, it’s easier if some of the technology that they’re using they’re not deeply integrated with and data is not deeply a date, a lot of data has not been produced. That that that lets me go closer to my stack solution. So even as a consultant, I have a stack I have my recommended tools that I want to use every time I’ll tell you one of them. I mean this is no secret. Anybody that knows me knows this. My tool that I won’t live without and I’ve never used a project without will never do a project without won’t run a business without won’t start a business without won’t recommend somebody operating their business without is airtable is just is just too functional. It’s too powerful. And it is very easy. For any and everybody to pick up, you may not be able to configure an out air table. But pretty much everybody can use it because most people are familiar with spreadsheets. Right? So that listen, bread and butter, you may not ever see the air table database. But I’m always creating one for business always just helps me stay organized. And there’s other tools for mapping and, you know, messaging and tracking and link creation, all of that I have a stack, don’t get me wrong, I have a stack. But again, I’ve, I’ve done this enough, I’ve seen enough, I’ve experienced enough to be able to come and say, Okay, I see where you are, I see where you are, you don’t have the team in place to be able to execute all of this, I don’t necessarily want to take on this low, I could resell you an account and take on everything. Not right now. Because your needs are extremely basic. And I can pull off what needs to be done with a couple tools, and a couple tools of my own, and all of the tools that you’re using. And we will grow into necessity, we will grow. You may need a more robust CRM, I don’t know, you may need a more robust ecommerce platform, I don’t know. But we’re about to find out. We’re about to find out. And I’m going to take us a calculated approach. I love it when it aligns. When all star on when the stars align and everything is perfect. It’s like look, your business is perfect for all the tools that I use. Great. That’s perfectly fine. That’s perfectly fine. And if you operate your business as such, to where that is who you take on, and that’s only who you work with, do it, I would never tell you not to do it. Again, taking a different approach, more customized, more challenging, takes more time and at times more patience. That may not be the route you want to go for some people, you love the thrill of figuring it out. That’s I gotta raise my hand. That’s where I find myself at times, I find myself the the automation service provider in me wants to streamline. So we can. So we can automate and scale I want to keep things as similar as possible leverage efforts, all of that, right. But then I’ve got this, this engineer, Tinker, figure it outside of me. That’s like, Man, I see a challenge. Can I can I do it with that too? Right? Like, it’s just what it is, if you can’t have fun in your business? What are you in business for? So I don’t do it by force, I do it by choice, and I enjoy the thrill. I enjoy the learning, I enjoy proving my own theories and assumptions wrong. For me, when I take an agnostic approach, it just helps me be better. That’s me, Listen, I am not in any way, trying to tell you to be like me, I’m just having an open conversation so that you can see where you fit. That’s all
Chris Davis 23:39
you’re gonna, you’re gonna you need your bread and butter tools. Because when somebody doesn’t know what to do, and when somebody’s using absolutely nothing, you need to have something that you can that you can put forth that you’re comfortable using. In my spare time, I’m always playing with other software. So there’s not a whole lot of software that I’m not comfortable using, which is one of the reasons why the agnostic approach doesn’t turn me off. Now, if you want if you wanted to ask me, can you scale that? No, you cannot scale the agnostic approach because it’s customized. No, I so I don’t do it for scale. That’s why I’m saying is kind of like two sides of me. It’s the non scalable services approach. And then the scalable service approach. I have both. You don’t need both. By the way. I’m just speaking from both. And it’s important. It is important for you to identify who you are holistically, and specifically with clients, you in the marketplace, you may be the stack solution, but with this particular client, you may be agnostic. The the problem would be if you’re not aware that that’s what you’re doing. Or the problem would be is it If you’re forcing an approach and the business, it doesn’t help the business. So this is all about awareness. At the end of the day listening to this podcast, I hope that you become more conscious, and more aware of the implications of, of not identifying how you’re operating in the marketplace, because it also identifies who you operate with. Which again, ties to your ability to produce results. So as layered, you know, it’s layered. And I hope that this clarifies some things and empowers you, in either one or both, or both. Hopefully, this gives you permission to have fun or to, to say no to certain clients or to be a little more sharper with assessing whatever the case may be. I know that taking what you’ve listened to, in this episode today and applying it and just being more conscious, you will be better for it, your results will be better, which means the businesses yours and theirs will be better. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of The all systems go podcast. If you enjoyed it, make sure that you’re subscribed at the time of recording the all systems go podcast is free to subscribe to, and it can be found in Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts new episodes are released every Thursday, so make sure you’re subscribed so that you don’t miss out and while you’re at it, please leave us a five star rating and review to show some love but also to help future listeners more easily find the podcast so they can experience the value of goodness as well. We’ve compiled all resources mentioned on the podcast, as well as other resources that are extremely valuable and effective at helping you grow your marketing automation skills quickly. And you can access them all at allsystemsgopodcast.com Thanks again for listening. And until next time, I see you online. Automate responsibly my friends
- [4:28] 3 things you must consider when it comes to marketing automation
- [5:11] The importance of understanding the collective acumen of a company
- [6:32] 2 very different approaches to serving your clients
- [7:49] The benefits of and considerations you will need to take with the stack solution approach
- [9:26] What a tech stack is
- [11:22] How the agnostic approach differs from the stack solution approach
- [14:12] “Most businesses do not need a special or advanced solution in the state that you meet them.”
- [15:12] The most common problem with stack solutions
- [19:24] The 1 tool that Chris won’t recommend a business operating without
- [23:39] Why it is important to have your “bread and butter tools”
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About the Show
On the show, Chris reveals all of his automated marketing strategies he has learned from working in fast growing marketing technology startups so you can put your business on autopilot quickly and without error.
Discover how to deploy automated marketing, sales, and delivery systems to scale your business without working long hours to do so.
Chris L. Davis
Chris is an Electrical Engineer turned entrepreneur who is the Founder of Automation Bridge, an international speaker and facilitator, and startup consultant