Branding is Your Defensive Moat

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Branding is Your Defensive Moat | Darren Moffatt and Simon Severino | STRATEGY SPRINTS 165

In this episode, Simon welcomes Darren Moffatt, the director of SEO Services and Digital Strategy of WebBuzz. Darren Moffatt is an award-winning businessperson, public speaker and podcast host who is passionate about entrepreneurialism. He is a recognized leader in both the financial services and digital marketing industries, and over a period of twenty years has helped hundreds of businesses grow. Since 2014 Darren has been Director of Digital Strategy & Content at 5-star digital marketing agency Webbuzz-The Growth Marketing Agency, which is a company that helps businesses acquire new customers and increase sales via the online channel. His contribution was recently recognized by the Australian Government. Darren was invited to be filmed as the digital marketing expert as part of his involvement with the Digital Marketing Champions program which educates and supports small business. Let’s listen to Darren’s sharing on branding is your defensive.

3 Valuable Insights:

  • Branding is a defensive mode in business
  • Go for a truly scalable marketing infrastructure
  • Remarketing can make a huge difference on your business if you encounter limited budget

(00:01) -Simon: Three, two, one, roll the footage. Welcome back to the Strategy Sprints podcast. I'm your host Simon Severino. And my guest today is an award-winning business person, public speaker and podcast host, who is passionate about entrepreneurial-ism. He's a recognized leader in both financial services and digital marketing field. And over a period of 20 years, he has helped hundreds of businesses grow since 2014. He has been director of digital strategy and content at webbuzz. Welcome, everybody Darren Moffatt.

(00:47) -Darren: Oh, well, thanks to Simon. Thanks for having me on the show. It's just great to be here.

(00:52) -Simon: Yeah. You know, the number of Australians on this show is growing week by week. It's so fun. I don't know why, but there is a big Australian cluster on the strategic sprints podcasts. Right?

(01:05) -Darren: I I've heard that. You've, you've got a lot of aussies tuning in, um, obviously, uh, people with very good tastes to listen to your show. What can I say?

(01:14) -Simon: I'm a big fan. Your country brings, brings really brings out incredible people. And, um, we will talk about how you should really solve real problems, how you can defend your business and how and why you should invest in a truly scalable marketing infrastructure. Super excited about this thing. I have my notepad here. I will write down these things for my business. And, um, tell us what are you currently up to?

(01:49) -Darren: Ah, well, that's, that's an, that's a pretty, uh, interesting question in itself. Um, look, there's a bunch of things going on at the moment here. Um, I've got, as I alluded to in the introduction, I've got two businesses, so I've got a finance business that's been going for about 15 years and then web buzz, which is the digital marketing or the growth agency. And, um, so it's been a busy year. Like I'm sure a lot of people can relate, you know, like COVID obviously threw a massive curve ball to everyone. And if you were in certain industries, particularly in travel or hospitality, uh, you really felt the hit the pine. Unfortunately you really felt the pain. And, and, and I, uh, uh, you know, like a lot of business owners and entrepreneurs, I was very worried around sort of March. Um, I thought, Oh, this is, you know, uh, this is very serious, but, um, you know, we've, we've had our ups and downs, but we, we got through that and both businesses I'm very relieved to say are doing quite well, uh, in this environment.

(02:47) -Darren: So I like a lot of entrepreneurs, I would say that a lot of the year has been steadying the ship and, um, making sure that we get through the choppy seas, so to speak. Um, uh, but, uh, we're fortunate. We've, we've got through a lot of businesses, unfortunately, haven't I saw I'd, I'd like to sort of acknowledge those businesses that have been doing a tough, um, because it's a lot of it. It's not, it's not their fault. You know, it's just, it's very difficult conditions for everyone. Um, but what am I working on right now? Uh, long digression, I'll keep it really short. Um, really we on the agency side, uh, we are coming up with some new products for next year and we've just launched what we call, buy now pay later digital market. So what that allows people to do is to in Australia, it's not internationally available, unfortunately at the moment, but in Australia it allows small bit small, medium sized businesses to partner with us. And, um, you know, they can get marketing services, but not have anything to pay on that for up to three months. Uh, and then, um, and then, you know, they can start paying it down after that period of time. So, yeah, that's a bit of an innovation in the digital marketing space and there seems to be quite a lot of demand for it.

(04:06) -Simon: Beautiful. And let's dive into your first CEO team. Um, why should we solve real problems? What would be the opposite?

(04:16) -Darren: Why should we solve real problems? Yeah. As well. Um, Really goes down to the what, what entrepreneurial-ism is all about. I mean, I'm a big believer that at the very heart of business, it's all about solving problems, right. Uh, if you're not solving a problem for someone that, um, uh, is a meaningful problem, that enough people have didn't, you simply won't have a good business, right? So you need to be identify a problem that is a significant problem that people will pay for your post yeah. Pay for, for, for a solution to that problem. And also at scale. So there's enough people to sustain the market. So, um, we've become pretty good over the years at identifying those problems, both for ourselves, but also for our clients. We've got one client at the moment who is, um, into telehealth. And so we're helping him set up a whole digital general practice, uh, you know, Dr. GB kind of a business. And, uh, that's a lot of fun. Uh, but that's also about understanding problems and consumer psychology. So yes, if anyone's out there, they're listening. If they're thinking about starting a business or they've got one already, um, focusing on those problems that people have and solving those before you worry about anything else, uh, is in my view, that's the very first order of business for any venture.

(05:40) -Simon: The next CEO tip is really relevant right now because it's about how to defend the business end. It comes from a place that I was not expecting. So it's really interesting, but before we go there, one word from our sponsors.

(06:06) -Simon: So you say we can be fanned our brand, our business by doing branding. That's interesting. Can you unpack it?

(06:14) -Darren: Yeah. So, um, you know, there's a, a great book, um, by Tita Peter field that, um, who's the famous, uh, Facebook, uh, investor and venture capitalist. And, um, and he describes he, uh, a concept called, uh, the defensive mode. So branding is really a defensive mode. So once you've got a business going and you're out there and, uh, you do have some sort of brand awareness. And so on the more you then invest into that brand, um, then you'll really building a defensive moat around the business. Um, if you've got very high brand awareness, uh, brand engagement, that will essentially mean that you've got very, uh, you're building your brand equity and that is difficult or more difficult to disrupt, um, you know, from a competitive point of view. So, uh, it's a very good defensive mechanism for the business. And that's why, for instance, I'm, and you'll often say businesses that are getting ready for a sale, they'll go and invest a lot of money in branding and PR and all of these things. You'll all of a sudden, you'll hear you hear a lot about these businesses in the media. It's no coincidence that they're pumping the brand up so that they extract a higher price per sale.

(07:32) -Simon: And how can small businesses do it? Let's say this quarter, what have you seen that is strong? I guess it's simple, simple, small things that to increase brand strength.

(07:45) -Darren: Yeah. Look, I mean, for small businesses to they've got limited budgets, um, there's one or two things that they can do that will make a huge difference on a, on a shoestring, right? And the first thing is remarketing. So remarketing are those ads that stalk you around the internet. You know, um, you might click on a, on a, on an ad and you're looking at, you know, a nice, uh, new set of shoes or something, and you'll leave that. And then half an hour, you'll jump on Facebook and sure enough, there's the ad for the same set of shoes you were looking at, right? That's remarketing. Now, any business can do that. And it's incredibly shaped. Those ads are very cheap because they're only showing to people that have clicked onto your website or onto that part of the page on that page, on the website about what that does, if you set that up properly, not only on Facebook, but on Google display network, maybe on LinkedIn, maybe on Instagram and so on, you can create what's called a brand wall. So that means that, uh, everyone that's been on your website just sees you everywhere. Um, and I think you're huge when you're not. Um, and to give you an example, you know, we, uh, we did, we did an experiment, um, a couple of years ago and we we'd remarketing. We got onto the front page of, um, the New York times, uh, and, and the Harvard business review and it cost about 60 cents. So yeah, remarketing is great for branding or creating the perception of a bigger brand than what you really are

(09:11) -Simon: Cool. And I'm also curious who you nominated for the strategy award. So let's jump in, you can pick only one person that gets the award, who is this person.

(09:29) -Darren: So this is just strategy award. So this is someone that I'm admiring at the moment I'm admiring their moves, you know, the moves that the business and the, and the strategy moves as they pull it. Yeah, well, in my podcast, uh, called nerds of business, uh, I, I've been very fortunate to interview some really successful entrepreneurs. Um, in fact, in the first series, I interviewed people from companies worth two and a half billion dollars. Um, and I would nominate the CEO of one company, uh, a guest on my show, Fred Shasta from that I, you, uh, now the reason I'm nominating Fred is that he's just recently done something extremely gutsy and he has disrupted himself. So what I mean by that is that he's got an incredibly successful business here in Australia, too valued at around 300 million. And, um, you know, happy days, you know, they're, they're a mature business, but he, he wasn't contentious to let it ride. He actually has developed an app, which disrupts to some extent the existing business, and a lot of entrepreneurs won't do that. He's done it because he knows that if he doesn't disrupt himself, someone else will firstly, but also on a broader level, a constant transformational change is how you grow and scale a business. So, but it does take guts to disrupt your existing business model. That's what he's done. And that's why I nominate Fred Chavista from that I use for this strategy,

(11:14) -Simon: Beautiful and back to branding and what we can do. So one thing is retargeting remarketing when somebody is interested, follow them along, because now they are warm, uh, and that's, and that's an effective and efficient way. Um, are there any other things that you see that are working

(11:33) -Darren: For branding? Yeah, yeah. Look, I mean, it depends on what stage you're at with the business, for instance, you know, public relations PR is, is always great for branding, but it's, um, you, you need to have a little bit of patience, a little bit of budget for that. Um, and depending on where you are, that might not be, the other thing that you can do for branding is, um, you know, old school marketing, like everyone talks about digital where, you know, I run a digital agency, so it's easy for me to talk about SEO and per click and so on. You know, if you're in a local market, for instance, if you're a restaurant or your a you're running a very localized business, then what you really want to do for your branding. There, a good thing to look at is some local sponsorships partnering with schools or other local organizations, um, sporting teams and so on.

(12:27) -Darren: Um, that can be a great way to get the brand out in a local market. But here's my tip for that, that if you're going to do some sort of sponsorship or local brand, um, um, marketing, uh, to that effect, you need to have a call to action and you need to have an alpha. And so you need to be able to measure the return. You're getting off that sponsorship for the local brand campaign. It's not a good just to spray something out there and, you know, hope that something comes back. So what you really want to do, if you're going to do a campaign like that is have a unique offer and call to action, maybe a particular page on your website, so that when you're running these, um, local sponsorship branding campaigns, uh, you're incentivizing people to go to a certain page on your website and get some particular offer.

(13:13) -Darren: And that way you can then, you know, reasonably accurately measure the efficacy of that campaign, because if only people from your local branding sponsorship campaign are coming to this page, if you get like 10 people a month going through that funnel and converting, or you know, that they're coming from that campaign. So that's what I'd recommend there. If you're gonna invest in any local branding stop any sponsorship, you've really got to have a call to action. You've got to have an offer, and you've got to have a mechanism to measure so that you know, what return on investment, you're getting

(13:45) -Simon: Your third CEO tip is also something really interesting why we should go for a truly scalable marketing infrastructure. And I want to know so much more about it. First one word from our sponsors,

(13:59) -Speaker 3: Hey, if you like the tools, go grab them for free at slash tools.

(14:08) -Simon: So unpack it because first, what is a scalable marketing infrastructure and then how do we build it up?

(14:16) -Darren: Yeah. So that's a great question. So when I'm talking about a scalable marketing infrastructure, what I mean is that you built all of the collateral and the infrastructure around your marketing, such that, uh, it already works and, and for every $10 that you pour in the top, uh, it spits out, you know, one extra customer or what it all one sale or whatever it might be, those numbers, obviously, you know, just by way of illustration, but a scalable marketing infrastructure is, uh, is, um, you know, it doesn't have to be digital, but these days it often is because digital has the best measurement mechanisms. Uh, it's all about data. So you're building a system essentially of inputs and outputs, you know, you know that, okay, if we spend, yes, this amount through this channel, it will pre because we've got data on it and we've iterated it.

(15:13) -Darren: And we've, we've got an established conversion rate. We know that it will reduce, you know, 5% conversion or 10% conversion of leads or sales, whatever. So might that the whole point is around getting the data sets, right, getting the infrastructure in place, um, having those conversion rates stable. And once you've got all that, then it's just pull more in the top. You know, you can then be confident that for every extra hundred thousand, $10,000 you spend, it will produce, uh, X outcomes. So that just scalable marketing infrastructure. And to do that, essentially, you need to invest a little bit in, um, accurate data. So you need a good, really good data and reporting, and you need to work either with people on your team or an agency that, uh, you know, know how to build this for you. And, and most importantly of all know how to test and measure

(16:09) -Simon: Who should use Google, who should use Facebook. What's your perspective.

(16:16) -Darren: Okay. Um, that's a, that's a very challenging question because it's, obviously it's not binary there's no, yes or no, or black and white. Um, it's a lot of gray in that, but I can, I think I can answer your question. So essentially the difference falls more on the buyer journey. So what I mean by that, on the sales funnel, right? So Google is very proactive. People are physically going into a search engine and they're searching for what they want. And for that reason, they tend to have more of what's called purchasing tent. So they know what they want, or they, they, they're closer to knowing what they want and they're going in. And you'll often find that Google is better for those late stage funnel, um, opportunities. So people who are down towards the being ready to purchase. Now, Facebook is the opposite of that.

(17:14) -Darren: Um, it's a browsing platform. And so Facebook tends to be, if we're generalizing, which we are, this is not always the case, but Facebook tends to be better for mid and higher stage funnel, um, opportunities. So people who are gathering information, they might not even be problem aware. So that just to recap, the sales funnel, the classic sales funnel leads problem, unaware. They don't even know they've got the problem. Then the next site, Jan, is problem aware. Then the next stage down is solution aware. Then they're getting down to solution comparison, and then they're buying, right? So you tend to get more people down the bottom here. It's a solution aware and solution comparison down on Google. And on Facebook, you tend to get more people at the top. That's a very broad generalization, and there are many exceptions and it all will also vary depending on the initial vertical in which you operate.

(18:05) -Darren: Um, so that is to bring it right back to your initial question. What's best. Who's the best for, um, if you're looking for fast sales, um, then often Google is better. Not always, if you're looking for, um, take the people out of the market early, and you're looking for, to build a database, uh, and you're looking for more demographic detail on your potential customers and sales, um, then Facebook, uh, it might be better because the targeting is better in terms of the demographic data. But as I said, that, you know, it's different, it's different for every campaign. I mean, we might in our agency, you know, we'll use both of them in interchangeably, but for the same client, it really, it just Mark them up. Different campaigns might have different objectives. So, um, yeah, there's no right and wrong answer on that, but hopefully that's given you some sort of broad overview.

(19:04) -Simon: Absolutely many of our clients are thinking now Christmas time is coming. Should I stop my campaigns and restart February? What's your take on this?

(19:16) -Darren: Yeah. We have some pretty, a firm views on this actually. Um, our view and we say this to our clients is that, um, uh, you know, and again, it depends on the industry, but, but broadly speaking, you probably want to stop a lot of your marketing by about mid December. Um, people start to get very distracted with Christmas. Um, and if you're in a service business, if you're in a service industry, uh, and you're trying to generate leads for a service business, once you get past a 15, it's very hard then to keep those conversations going over Christmas and new year. And so often you'll find a conversion rate on those leads. Won't be very good to sale because you've had to navigate all those holidays and that extra time. So that's the main, main reason we tell people to stop there. Obviously, if you're an e-commerce business, it's very different.

(20:05) -Darren: You know, Christmas is the time to make high, you know, like that's, it's a really busy retail, um, um, period, so will vary from vertical to vertical industry to industry. But here's another tip I can give you, um, early to mid-January can be an excellent time, uh, to advertise online and because a lot of people are in, what's called a change state. So, uh, you know, people get comfortable and all through the year, they're in their comfort state, they're working, they're going home, they're eating dinner, they're going to bed, they're doing what they do on the weekend, rinse and repeat, okay, now they get to the holidays. And in January here in Australia, this is the big summer holiday period. They're not doing that pattern anymore. They're in a different pattern. They're in a shame state, which means they're open to new things psychologically.

(20:59) -Darren: So that's why January is a very good time. Also less competition, wireless advertisers, uh, spending a lot of money in January. So my tip to businesses out there who might be watching this is that mid, early to mid-January on can be a very good time to advertise. Um, not least of which, uh, because many people come back from Christmas GT with a news resolution and they want to do things, you know, they've, they've got it in their head that they they're going to do X, Y, Z, or they want to buy ABC, whatever it is. Um, and so that presents a lot of options,

(21:32) -Simon: Trinity, to advertisers. What's your experience when people try and build a scalable marketing infrastructures, what are some things that they do? Some typical mistakes that they do?

(21:48) -Darren: Okay. Well, the most obvious mistake we see is, uh, they've got a really crappy website. So people will often try and spend money on advertising or doing marketing. Um, usually themselves I'll have a crack at it or whatever, or they might engage some, some, um, you know, sort of agency and the agency won't, uh, might not have be courageous enough to tell them that it's not going to work with the current website. Um, we recently had a client like this, or a group that we're talking to and a similar thing, you know, they're very keen to get out there and do digital marketing, but we took one look at the website and we're like, look, it's not gonna work. The site is not terrible, but the way it's designed and set up in the content, we just know from experience that it will not convert traffic into leads and sale opportunities and so on.

(22:36) -Darren: So we literally said to them, look, we really like to work with you, but we're not prepared to start a campaign if we have to work with that website. So either go away and fix the website or let us fix it for you, but, um, it's not going to work otherwise. So, uh, you need a good, really good website or landing page or a series of landing pages. They'd be the main mistakes we say. Um, you know, Facebook in particular has made it very easy for small business to advertise online. These days, it's harder on Google, uh, but Facebook has made it easier, but in most cases, the user still needs to point somewhere to a landing page or to a website page. And that's where a lot of businesses fall down. They think they can just send the traffic to their contact page on their website or their home page. It's way more complicated than that. That's just not going to cut it. You need a really, really well-designed page with a clear offer, a call to action and, um, uh, and you know, really highly evolved design. Um, otherwise you're just going to leak ad spin. We've had plenty of people come to us since I I've just been $7,000 on Facebook and I didn't get one thing out of it. You know, it happens all the time. And the main reason is the website or the landing page.

(23:49) -Simon: Super relevant. What did you recently change your mind about?

(23:55) -Darren: Uh, what did I recently change my mind about, um, that that is a D now, does that question, can it be about anything or is it just about marketing and business or, okay, I'll keep it quite broad. Uh, I'm a very much a political junkie. I follow politics, uh, both nationally here in Australia and also globally, particularly in America. And, um, I was convinced, uh, you know, over the last kind of four to four years or so that emotion had trumped and that is a deliberate pun by the way, had trumped rationality in politics and in the media. And so, um, you know, but we've been proved, I was proven wrong in the sense that the, uh, by Joe Biden won the election. And that in my view is a clear indication for rationality over emotion, although others might disagree. But I think that these are the two, the yin and yang of the, of the human mind and of the, of what it means to be in a human community, you know, the emotional pool versus the rational mind. And, um, yeah, so I, uh, I was a little bit worried if for the, uh, the rational mind, but it seems to have made a bit of a comeback. And so I'm, I'm now backing the rational mind to, uh, eventually, um, uh, win the battle.

(25:26) -Simon: Beautiful. And, um, there, where can people find you and stay in touch with you?

(25:35) -Darren: Yes. Um, well, the best place to is our website, which is web buzz or one word web Um, that is the best place to go. Um, if they want to check out the podcast, um, which I would recommend, cause there's some amazing guests on the podcast, then it's forward slash nerds. So that's where forward slash nerds. And, um, we're in our season two of the podcast on product development. Um, so yeah, that, that might be something that interests the entrepreneurs out there, how to actually create a product that will, um, you know, take a business from just an idea, potentially all the way, all the way to the top.

(26:23) -Simon: Absolutely. And who should be my next guest,

(26:28) -Darren: Ah, who should be your next case. There's so many names I could nominate and, and it's, that's a, that's, that's a very tough question because it's sort of like, you know, it's a Sophie's choice. Like who do I choose? Who do I leave out? Um, but look, I would say Simon that the, um, the person I would like to nominate, uh, is MENA Radha Krishnan. Now Mina Radha Krishnan is the CEO and founder of a PropTech business called Um, and they've raised about $30 million in capital from some really serious venture capitalists here in Australia. And she is awesome. She was a guest on my podcast and, uh, the re there's so many reasons, uh, that mean, uh, uh, is, is so impressive. But, uh, here's a few, she was a product designer for Google and also, uh, at Uber when they only had 20 employees.

(27:26) -Darren: Right. So she's, she's been right at the start of some of these really big companies. She's really, really bright, but very humble and approachable. And she's got some great insights. So I think, um, if you had her on the show, uh, she'd probably leave me in the in terms of, um, you know, offering value to listeners. Uh, you know, if I can leave you with, with one thing I would say, yeah, try and get made her on the show. Uh, she's got a great story to tell, and she's very, very generous with her knowledge. And I think, I think your audience or listeners will, we'll certainly take a lot of value out from, from having her on the show.

(28:05) -Simon: Beautiful. Thank you so much there. And for being here and everybody who was listening, if you want to optimize your campaign, strengthen your brand, use the January transitional period, go to there and webbuzz and rocket everybody.

(28:22) -Darren: Great. Thanks a lot time. And thank you.


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