Ryan Deiss titled his opening presentation at the 2019 Traffic & Conversion Summit, “It’s the End of Marketing as We Know it.”
Typical hyperbole to build buzz and curiosity, and kick off his massive conference with some manufactured controversy.
Of course, I can’t stop thinking about this song now (because I’m old):
It’s the End of Marketing as We Know It and Ryan feels fine because he’s got the antidote. A lot of you aren’t going to like it. I’m not sure I like it. I wouldn’t describe myself as a misanthrope, but I wouldn’t blame other people for thinking that I am.
The last thing I want to do is start conversations. I don’t even talk to or text my friends and family often, why the hell am I going to do that with people I don’t even know?
Ryan makes a case that if marketers don’t do conversation marketing, they will be out of business in the next few years.
Do the unscalable!
Gary Vaynerchuk said it in the 4Ds Mastermind video. And Deiss says it here.
It’s an interesting juxtaposition to the very real movement toward harnessing artificial intelligence and machine learning to scale your ad campaigns.
Marry the two for magic.
Save time by letting Google’s AI find those people, who will convert at your Target CPA.
Let Facebook’s algorithm do the same with Campaign Budget Optimization.
Then, take the time you saved from not having to manually optimizing your accounts and put it into personally starting conversations with your customers. I know that math doesn’t make sense if you’re more than a one-person shop, but you get the drift.
Deiss Puts His Thesis in the Context of the Technology Cycle
The cycle of technology goes something like this ...
- Discovery - succeed by being in the right place at the right time.
- Proliferation - the gold rush. First mover advantage.
- Standardization - includes regulation, and you need to get with the program.
- Consolidation - the rich get richer.
After these four phases of the cycle, the technology isn’t pushing innovation forward. Technologies that fail to innovate get disrupted, while innovators in established technology can start new discovery phases.
Deiss says digital marketing is a technology that will wrap up its consolidation phase this year (2019). So, you’re going to need to innovate or die in the next few years.
Digital Marketing Technology Cycle Timeline
- DISCOVERY: 1994-2000 — the Internet marketing pioneers exploring the uncharted territory.
- PROLIFERATION: 2001-2009 — Kicked off by the dawn of Google Adwords (self-service ad platform ... whoa!)
- STANDARDIZATION: 2010-2014 — The starts with Google's Quality Score, where both the content of the ads and landing page need to be high quality.
- CONSOLIDATION: 2015-2019 — Google and Facebook control 84% of online advertising spend. Amazon transacts 50% of eCommerce.
- INNOVATE OR DISRUPT: 2019 — It's up to you!
Venture capital funded startups spend 40% of their capital with Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Crazy.
Ad prices are up.
Landing page conversion rates are down.
Engagement is down.
“Everything kind of sucks.”
This is what happens when consolidation happens. This is what happens when the rich get richer.
Okay, don’t start crying and give up your digital marketing dream. There’s hope as long as you innovate and adapt. But, first more bad news … 🙂
In a February Adweek article, Ronan Shields declared “today, digital becomes king.”. He estimated that in 2019 for the first time ever digital marketing ad spend will top offline spend.
Great, huh? Well, not really. That means competition has never been more fierce.
Deiss says, “we won now where’s the opportunity? We won where’s the inefficiencies?”
Time to Change! Your Road Map for Innovation
Well, they aren’t there if you keep doing what you’re doing. You have to change. Deiss says do the opposite of what you’re doing now. He suggests …
- Shift from funnels into journeys.
- Shift from automation to conversation.
- Shift from doing only things that are scalable to focus on things that aren’t scalable and you can’t track.
Deiss was an OG in the funnel world, when the driving motivation was figuring out “how to extract value as quickly as possible from as many people as possible.”
He admits it worked, but has run its course. The marketing of the future has to evolve.
His maxim, which he borrowed from Dan Kennedy, who probably cribbed it from someone else, went like this …
“He or she that is able and willing to spend the most to acquire a customer wins.”
Not wrong, but it’s only focusing on the funnel. In 2019, you really have to start focusing on the customer journey. Marketing should not stop once the sale is made, just like, if you’re a husband, you shouldn’t stop taking your wife out on dates.
You have to think about the lifetime of the relationship. Customers come to businesses in an incomplete or even sad state. They have a desire, want, need, or void. As a business, your goal shouldn’t just be selling them something. It should be to help them become successful.
Deiss says, we need to shift from getting more leads, getting more subscribers, and converting more sales to producing successful customers. The new KPI should be "how many successful customers did we produce today?"
Successful customers are excited about your brand. Advocate for your brand. And some even become active promoters. They can’t do that unless they experience success using your products and services. Marketing can help facilitate this “ascension.”
“Happy customers don’t refer. They say nice things. Successful customers refer and they do it at scale.”
Deiss is convinced if you don’t do this you will be “disrupted by people who care more.”
Of course, Digital Marketer (DM) has resources to help you figure all this stuff out. Here’s a post on how to develop the Customer Value Journey.
“The future of digital marketing belongs to companies that are willing to invest in real-time, one-to-one interactions.”
Deiss claims he said this at the 2018 T&C Summit, and that he’ll probably need to say it in 2020 as well, because it’s so antithetical to the prevailing “will it scale” mentality.
This stuff doesn’t scale. You can’t measure the ROI.
“How much does it cost you to acquire a conversation?”
How much is a conversation worth?
Ryan hates the "will it scale" question.
“We want to have a holiday party … it doesn’t scale!”
It’s kryptonite to good ideas.
But, but, but …
“How do we know it’s working if we can’t track it. The promise of digital was that I could track everything.”
Seven Unscalable Ideas You Should Try This Year
- Send emails without links. Just invite replies. You get unvarnished feedback including requests for exactly what they want you to sell them.
- Launch a managed Facebook group. Community management. No better way to keep customers engaged and moving toward the goal of becoming successful.
- Post unrelated content. Sometimes posting interesting stuff without any sort of “promotion” angle helps break the daze a prospect or reader is in. It brings out a new side. Opens new pathways to liking you and your company, and triggers engagement.
- Answer stupid questions. It can get boring answering the same ol’ questions over and over. Particularly the beginner’s queries. But, your helpful answers aren’t boring for the newbie. So, keep answering them.
- One-on-one onboarding. Assign a team member to each new client to make sure they're locked in to your product and primed to succeed.
- Write a book. Takes forever. Can be grueling. But, it exposes your brand to new audiences.
- Publish a podcast. No one can give you definitive data about their podcast numbers, beyond downloads and a few other basic metrics. But, it works for engagement and authority building. [NOTE: I can attest to this. I didn’t even know Digital Marketer existed before I started listening to their Perpetual Traffic podcast. Now, I write 1000s of words about the wisdom spinning out of that company's content marketing. The good will that Perpetual Traffic has created in my heart and mind can never be undone. It’s so good!]
Segmentation Helps You Engage More Meaningfully
Digital Marketer has added more fields to their forms, and installed ways to get interested visitors to segment themselves. This enables DM to send more targeted information and move prospects toward products that best match their position/job role.
Deiss is willing to trade higher conversion rates for better data.
This obviously doesn’t happen overnight. You have to do a lot of research (i.e. talk to your customers), planning, and development to have a full-blown suite of product offerings perfectly suited for different groups of customers.
But, when you have that, and the diagnostic tools to match visitor to content and products, you have a next level system.
Here are DM's different product offerings and the customer avatar they are built for:
- Lab is for business owners, employees, solopreneurs, and freelancers. Each Lab member is worth $1,000/year.
- HQ is for business owners and marketing executives. Each HQ member is worth $5,000/year.
- Service Partners is for agency owners, and solopreneurs on agency side. Each Service Partner is worth $10,000/year.
Need help figuring out how to create different categories in your business? Deiss suggests the book Play Bigger by Al Ramadan.
Create a Movement
Deiss wraps up his talk by exhorting the audience to create movements.
This includes shifting from telling stories about our products to giving customers a platform to tell their stories of success with your product.
If you want to matter start a movement. In the near future if you don’t matter, you won’t exist.
He says follow the work of the following three thought leaders to figure out how your company can start a movement:
Rachel Hollis, author of Girl, Wash Your Face, has built a massive movement connecting to women.
Jay Shetty certainly knows a thing or two about creating a movement. He’s built a massive following, including 20 million Facebook followers, dishing out words of wisdom.
Sally Hogshead has two books on making your brand fascinating: