Transcript: Welcome back to your 20 minute podcast with David Brower and our special guest today is Casey Stanton. Former professor of marketing at Tulane University in New Orleans and a trusted authority in the field of marketing. And uh, you are on the road as we speak, right?
Casey Stanton: Yeah. Hey David. Good to be here, and yes, absolutely I am, uh, back in May I left my post at Tulane. Where I was a uh, adjunct professor of marketing and um hit the road full time with my fiancé and our mutt, our dog Pepper.
David Brower: (laughs)
Casey Stanton: And now we’re traveling for 2 years to see if we can find um, a new home. A new place to live.
David Brower: Good for you. Good for you. One of the things that caught my attention on your profile was just your website. Tech Guy Who Gets Marketing.
Casey Stanton: Yeah.
David Brower: Right. So tell us about that. What’s that mean?
Casey Stanton: Sure. So uh, our business is tech guys who get marketing, and tech guys is um, a really interesting team. So um, typically what happens when a business owner wants to do something with technology, they want to build a CRM, they want to build some kind of business intelligence tool so they can see reports. Um, they want to uh, leverage technology as a benefit in the organization. What they typically do, is they hire someone in house and that person … I always look at them as being poets. These tech people are so good at writing code. They’re so good at solving complex problems and they solve it in the most poetic way possible. The least amount of complexity, you know, the least API calls.
David Brower: Right.
Casey Stanton: Um, just as nice and, and, and, and, and pretty as possible. The problem is is that they don’t actually look to the business implications of the technology. So where a good technologist uh, who is just concerned about technology would say, “Ooh let’s do it this way,” Tech Guys That Get Marketing say, “Ah.” It’s okay that it’s a little inefficient or we have double the API calls or it’s a little clunky on the back end, like uh, on the systems integration side, because the front end is a better customer interface. Because it delivers more value to the customer. It generates a higher cost per, uh excuse me, a lower cost per sale. A longer lifetime value of a customer. So it really thinks through the marketing and business aspects of technology.
David Brower: So you’re the big picture guy. I mean you get it-
Casey Stanton: Yeah.
David Brower: From, from both sides, both sides of the fence and bring it all together to work together, right?
Casey Stanton: Yeah. Absolutely. So, in tech guys we really have two major disciplines. We’ve got uh, marketing and we’ve got technology. Some of our clients come in marketing heavy. They’re great smart marketers and they need technology that works. So we’re talking about one click up sells. We’re talking uh, you know our team actually, Mike our CEO uh, wrote the first one click up sell code and was doing installs of it for 10 thousand dollars a pop years ago. Now that’s technology that’s already integrated in a lot of different platforms. So we were really on the cutting edge there.
David Brower: Wow. Absolutely. [crosstalk 00:02:52] How do you stay? How do you stay ahead of that? How do you stay ahead of, of uh, technology for the next latest greatest thing that’s going to help your customers?
Casey Stanton: That’s a great question. So, um I think the best answer is, our team is hungry um, and we don’t really uh, sell any commodity. We don’t really sell anything that we’ve sold before. Every new sales opportunity is something new for us to discover a new and better way to do things. So we’re always looking at new tech. We keep um, we send emails to the entire team. We’re, we’re on slack and we use the slack channel for it. And we’re just always discussing new things that are coming out. When Amazon Chime came out, uh, earlier this week, our whole team got on it and we tested it out. So we’re always testing and playing and it’s just like this insatiable curiosity of our techs specifically and our marketers that uh, allow us just to play with new things and see what works.
David Brower: How fun. Absolutely. I mean if your, if your tech guys are having fun, your marketing guys are having fun and people like you that can put everything together, that’s, that’s a unique, unique opportunity it sounds like.
Casey Stanton: Yeah. Absolutely. And my business coach, uh, Dan Sullivan, he said, “You created the game, so don’t create rules that allow you to lose.” And-
David Brower: Love that.
Casey Stanton: Right? So, we’re entrepreneurs. At the end of the day we’ll all, we, we are all entrepreneurs and you know, we’re all a little weird and we have the things that we like. So the rules that we created are, let’s have fun, let’s make sure the things that we’re doing are new and different and exciting. And that we’re always pushing the envelope of what’s possible. You know we just launched a campaign for a client and we thought we were gonna hit a home run on it, and I’ll tell you out of the gates we did not do very well. And it was a great learning opportunity. It was a big risk to take, and now we’re refining it, and over the course of the refinement, now it’s starting to produce well. So what we launched with didn’t work but what we refined to is working better than their previous marketing control.
David Brower: And you had a client it sounds like who had complete faith and trust in you because he didn’t walk away.
Casey Stanton: Yeah. And risk tolerance is really interesting. So, when you start a business you can grow it up to the ceiling of complexity that other entrepreneurs have grown their business to, but if you want to break through that ceiling of complexity, you have to try new and different things. So we propose, we kind of do the thinking and say, “All right, uh, David, in order to do this, uh, here’s an idea that we think, and it’s the best idea that we can come up with and here’s the minimum viable product.” We’ve got a guy on our team who loves these prototypes.
Casey Stanton: He’s even calling it a confident prototype where he helps you produce the smallest leanest way to launch a new technology um, implementation. And it’s through those iterations and through that testing and looking at the data that allows our clients, you know some of our clients, to be um, have small businesses that are extremely profitable. You know people that are doing uh, seven figures take home from a 3 person team.
David Brower: Oh my gosh, that’s-
Casey Stanton: Right.
David Brower: That puts a smile on your face. Doesn’t it?
Casey Stanton: Huh, absolutely.
David Brower: (laughs).
Casey Stanton: It’s a fun game to play right?
David Brower: So how do you keep your customers engaged to keep em around for life, I mean, keep em in for the long haul?
Casey Stanton: Yeah, that’s a great question. So we have a tenant in our business at Tech Guys, which is customers for life. And really what that means is, we take the responsibility to figure out how to make them more successful. Now most of our clients have some strength in some discipline, you know, some of them are, let’s just say marketers, right? They might just come with the discipline of marketing.
David Brower: Sure.
Casey Stanton: So they’re selling marketing products potentially. Others uh, are selling fitness products. Others are selling um, negotiation strategies. Others are selling um uh, education products. So all sorts of different things, and they’re really good at producing the content or doing one thing, typically. And they have a team to surround them to do some of these other things, but they’re leading, and, and they’re leading their business and giving direction. We take a level of ownership where we step in and say, uh, just recently I had a call with a client, and said, “Oh, hey, um you’ve got X number of members and it looks like your current uh, average membership length is about 4 months. I’ve got some ideas to increase that to maybe 4 and a half or 5 months. Multiply that by what you’re paying, or members pay you, et cetera, I think that this is the potential value of that. Can you green light this proposal? And it’s going to cost this fraction of the return.”
David Brower: Wow.
Casey Stanton: And they’ll look at the numbers and come back and be like, “Yeah.” Like, there’s no downside to trying and the upside is typically huge.
David Brower: That’s fabulous. I love that, I love that approach. So when, how, how do new businessess or businesses in general really. How do they find you? How do they reach out to you? And why should they?
Casey Stanton: Sure. So um it, it, techguyswhogetmarketing.com is the website or if that’s too long, which it absolutely is-
David Brower: (laughs)
Casey Stanton: You can also go to the website techguys dot C O, that’s techguys.co, and that’ll take you over to our site and um, we’ve got a couple of different things that we do that I think are really unique. So we’ve got direct response designers and marketers. These are the designers, we’ve got a designer on our team, our senior designer, Tom, he’s … When he makes a design for a client, it’s it, it, it’s better, it produces more sales through the design effort than, uh, the designs that are there. He can just look at it-
David Brower: Wow.
Casey Stanton: Redesign it. Not change a word on the page, but just change the way it looks, change the way that, um, the user interacts with it and that level of like UXUI, um, dramatically increases conversion. So that’s one great talent that we have. We’ve got marketers who are driving traffic and ideating new strategies. Um, that’s huge coming up with, what’s the right approach to look, to solve the problem. Our technologists, I think are some of the best in the business and you know they’re certified across the board in a number of different, um, platforms, but you know there’s like Saleforce and then Fusionsoft and OfficeAutopilot and custom development of different CRMs and these kinda things. The tech team is well versed in that.
Casey Stanton: Um, and then we have project managers and they’re driving the project to completion. We don’t bill for our project management time. That’s there just to push the project through as quickly as possible. So that’s the tech guy side and it’s, it’s awesome. Um, I really think that we’re the best custom development team for organizations that are doing at least 250 thousand dollars a year in business. I’ll say that our typical client is doing around a million um, but that’s kind of our sweet spot. Where we can step in and help, and we’re really offsetting the capabilities inside of an organization. We’re not in there to steal some developers job. We’re coming in and saying, “Hey, you’re the developer. We’re gonna build it and then we want you to maintain it.” So we’ll build it and then we’ll step out. And that’s a really great experience. So-
David Brower: So do you help them build the staff to be able to, to break the cord from you?
Casey Stanton: Yeah. Interesting question. So the tech guys business model in general, which we call tech guys implementation is billed at 195 an hour and that’s just what it is. We custom quote projects. We do the work and then we step out. Now what can happen, is the organization actually needs someone to help them along the way. They need someone that’s gonna achieve a strategy, hold them to it, make sure that they’re pivoting correctly when new technologies come out, when there’s a desire to launch a new product or whatever. And in that situation, we created a company called Engaged Officers. And you can look at Engaged Officers as an outsourced chief technology officer and chief marketing officer, and that’s a great resource for people who want to know the right thing to do. Know when to do it and to get their team to have the capabilities to do it. So at EO, Engaged Officers, we help our clients find the right people. Sometimes the right person is Tech Guys, sometimes the right team to do it is Tech Guys cause it’s quick and it’s easy and it’s done right. But if you want that ongoing capability in your organization, we developed EO, Engaged Officers to support that long term. So we work with clients for 90 day commitments and uh, that’s been going really well.
David Brower: What a fascinating idea. I love that. [crosstalk 00:11:00] It sounds, I mean it sounds so, I hate to use the cliché, but it really does sound so cutting edge. I, I haven’t heard of anybody doing it that way.
Casey Stanton: Yeah, and the reason that we’re doing it is um, the reason that the Engaged Officers came about was um, our clients would come to us at Tech Guys with a problem and they would have us solve the problem and then they would go and make small decisions that were bad.
David Brower: Oh, wow.
Casey Stanton: Right, they would make, like a tiny decision that was bad. “Ooh, let’s do this video player instead of that.” “Oh let’s build it on this, let’s use this server or this hosting company, or let’s go take on this, um, software, uh, for our CRM.” And when they make those decisions, they’re typically making them because there’s a really effective sales person on the other side who has a commission to make from it.
David Brower: Yep.
Casey Stanton: And, and that person isn’t vying for the entrepreneur success, instead they’re vying for their own pocket book, and you can’t blame them.
David Brower: Well, no, that’s their, that’s their job description, but when you’re, but when you have that business in your, in your fold and your hand, then you’re part of the team, they’re part of the team, it’s not a, it’s not a separate road. You’re there working together.
Casey Stanton: Yeah. Absolutely. And I think it makes all the difference as far as confidence is concerned. Uh, we’ve had clients um, some big clients doing, you know, multiple millions a year, who had their technology in an utter mess. And it’s because they would continue to point to someone and say, “You, I want you to build the site. Okay, you, I want you to build this one.” And they would get all these fractured pieces of technology and they would get themselves to a position where they were compromised, where they were paying way too much for their servers because they were disjointed and they had a dozen different accounts. And they couldn’t manage it. And one site would get infected and it would cross infect another one, and they couldn’t figure out how.
Casey Stanton: So we can step in and we can solve that. Now Engaged Officers helps with that ongoing. We’re not incentivized for you to buy a specific piece of software. We mindfully have no affiliate relationships. We don’t want to make money. I’m giving it a, uh, uh, I’m convincing you to choose a certain technology. We just want your business to be successful so that you continue working with us.
David Brower: What a fabulous idea. Good for you. And how long have you been involved with this, with the Tech Guy Marketing?
Casey Stanton: Sure. So, uh, Tech Guys Who Get Marketing was founded by Mike Cline. He was um, living down in Florida and he pulled together some of his buddies from college, which were down in Florida and then from his hometown in Indiana. And I was actually on a date in Ann Arbor, Michigan at the Eightball Bar, uh, really seedy.
David Brower: (laughs)
Casey Stanton: Kinda trashy bar and I bumped into Mike and we were both drinking out of pitchers of Pabst Blue Ribbon and we kinda hit it off. And this was, oh, this must have been seven years ago, eight years ago.
David Brower: Wow.
Casey Stanton: And we hit it off from there, and uh, I joined in with Mike and became the Chief Marketing Officer and then through Mike’s relationships and really Mike’s great vision. Um, that’s one thing that I love about him. He’s like a, he calls himself a mechanic, and today he’s actually in the British Virgin Islands on top of one of the last boats from Pearl Harbor that was bombed, that was just kinda sitting there. He purchased it, and he’s building a kraken on it. So he’s sculpting a kraken out of steel and mesh-
David Brower: Oh my gosh!
Casey Stanton: And then they’re gonna go, they’re gonna go sink this historic relic and make it a dive site. It’s absolutely surreal. So that’s the kind of vision Mike has. He can think of-
David Brower: Wow.
Casey Stanton: These wacky weird things and he’s done it in such a way that, you know, he’s having a lot of fun out of it. Other people are going to get enjoyment out of it. Um, you know, he’s going to be able to break even on it. It’s absolutely wild.
David Brower: Good for him. Good for-
Casey Stanton: Yeah.
David Brower: That’s a, that’s called a PBR success story is what that is.
Casey Stanton: What does that stand for?
David Brower: Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Casey Stanton: Oh, Pabst Blue Ribbon. Oh I gotcha.
David Brower: (laughs)
Casey Stanton: [crosstalk 00:14:57] Absolutely. Absolutely.
David Brower: So you’ve got a book coming out called Functional Marketing. Tell us about that.
Casey Stanton: Yeah, so I’m working on a book right now for, called Functional Marketing and, and, and as you can kinda tell my passion here is around helping people make the right decisions. And um, typically in the marketing world, and that’s really where I exist in, you know, my colleague Bill Ferrante. He’s the technologist that I’ve paired with at Engaged Officers. Um, so what we notice is that people have a tactic. They go and pick one tactic, they go say, all right, I need to go spend a thousand dollars a day on Facebook. Or a thousand dollars a month on Facebook. Or they say, “All right I’m going to be the person that does direct mail, or I’m the person that’s gonna do YouTube videos.” And they identify these tactics and try to wrap a business around it, which is not the way um, a business should really be, like, understood or managed. So I think back to Peter Drucker saying, “The point of a business is to get and keep a customer.” And that’s the most important thing at the end of the day.
David Brower: Absolutely.
Casey Stanton: To get and to keep the customer. So Functional Marketing is my approach to marketing, which says, “How do we get and keep that customer?” “What’s the most important thing in the business?” So I do three distinct phases. I look at the history of the business and in that I’m looking at, what are the assets on the team? Whose in the team? What are their capabilities? What’s their capacity? I look at, what are um, the other assets of the business, like mailing lists or favors owed, or passed marketing campaigns. I’ve gotta past marketing campaign snapshot that clients fill out and I get caught up with all that they’re doing and have done, and what was successful and what wasn’t and why. And get a better understanding of the foundation of the business. Do some do diligence then around their competition. What are they doing? And then at that point, the Functional Marketing approach says, “You know where the business is, let’s get creative.” And the creative aspect is, let’s grow something.
Casey Stanton: So I’ve identified four key areas for growth in any business. We either need to increase the number of people that are educated that were in the marketplace, we need to acquire them, we need to then retain them, and then we need them to refer their friends and family. Pretty simple. Educate-
David Brower: Pretty simple. Yeah.
Casey Stanton: Acquire, retain, refer.
David Brower: Yep. Absolutely right. How can folks reach out to you Casey?
Casey Stanton: Great. Uh, thank you for that. So um, you know, there’s 2 ways, 1 if their a business and they’re looking to solve a complex tech or marketing issue. Uh, we start at about 10 thousand dollars. That’s our starting package. They can go over to techguys dot C O. That’s techguys.co, and if they want to learn more about Engaged Officers, which is that outsourced CMO CTO consultancy. You can check that out over at engagedofficers.com and then lastly I have a personal daily email that I send out and this is kind of, uh, my approach to marketing and what I’m seeing, and it’s kind of an over my shoulder. And you can go sign up for that if you’d like. It’s a free email, uh, over at caseystanton.com.
David Brower: And that’s S T A N T O N.
Casey Stanton: Yep. Casey with a C. C A S E Y S T A N T O N.
David Brower: All right man. Well congratulations on everything you’ve done so far and obviously uh, the world is your oyster as they like to say. So you’re gonna travel around for a couple of years. Get married along the way and continue to grow your business and help people grow their … grow theirs, right?
Casey Stanton: Yeah, that’s the plan. So thank you so much for having me David. I appreciate it.
David Brower: All right man. Really enjoyed it a lot.
David Brower: Folks this has been your 20 minute podcast with David Brower and our special guest Casey Stanton and be sure to reach out to him at caseystanton.com and uh, continued success to you man.
Casey Stanton: Thank you. Take care.
David Brower: For, be sure to follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/your20minutepodcast.