Gaining Traction in Digital Marketing: Tips from a Top-Rated Marketing Agency with Erik Huberman – 215
Today on the AM/PM Podcast, Tim Jordan welcomes Eric Huberman, a marketing genius that’s worked with brands like Alibaba, Pepsi, and Nike.
Eric is an expert in Amazon-centric digital marketing and though he’s got a very impressive A-list of clients, he says that his tactics are as effective for a single seller just getting started as they are for major brands.
The company that he founded, Hawke Media now has over 150 employees in multiple countries and is valued at more than 75 million dollars. Still, he says his first-year sales totaled only $350.
Here’s an opportunity to learn marketing techniques that you’re not going to grow out of.
In episode 215 of the AM/PM Podcast, Tim and Eric discuss:
- 02:09 – Eric’s Beginnings with Digital Marketing
- 03:39 – Starting Real Estate Just Before the Recession Put Him on the Back Foot
- 05:25 – “Be Where Your Customers are Looking”
- 07:51 – Creating an A La Carte Marketing Menu
- 10:41 – How to Access Top-Level Marketing Strategies on a Small Budget
- 13:45 – In-House Marketing or Outsourcing? It’s Not a Binary Choice
- 15:33 – A Partnership with Facebook Makes it Easy
- 18:00 – His Average Customer Has Doubled Their Revenue Since COVID
- 20:00 – Coronavirus – 3 Weeks, 3 Months, 3 Years
- 22:00 – After Coronavirus Began, Advertising Costs Decreased 30%
- 22:40 – Is Digital Fatigue a Thing?
- 25:19 – Finding the Right Digital Balance
- 29:26 – Here’s Where to Sign Up for E-Commerce Week, Los Angeles
- 33:17 – How to Connect to Eric
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Tim Jordan: It’s not every day that you get to talk to a marketing genius who’s helped brands like Alibaba, Pepsi, Nike, and some of the other bigger brands that you’ve heard of throughout the world. But this episode, that’s exactly who we’re talking to. We’ve got Erik Huberman, the founder of Hawke media, and he’s dropping some really good knowledge on us. Like how to keep audiences engaged when frankly, they’ve been looking at their cell phone screens too much this year, at the time of COVID anyways. He’s going to look into his crystal ball. He’s going to be talking about the way he projects for 2021. And he’s also going to be talking about stuff that applies to big brands, as well as small brands to bootstrap the small guys that got to work in a garage, the startups, this is going to be a really, really cool episode. Lots of content. Make sure you check it out. Here we go.
Tim Jordan: Hi, I’m Tim Jordan and in every corner of the world, entrepreneurship is growing. So, join me as I explore the stories of successes and failures. Listen in as I chat with the risk takers, the adventurous and the entrepreneurial veterans. We all have a dream of living a life, fulfilling our passions, and we want a business that doesn’t make us punch a time clock, but instead runs around the clock in the AM and the PM. So, get motivated, get inspired. You’re listening to the AM/PM Podcast.
Tim Jordan: Hey everybody, it’s Tim Jordan here back with another episode of AM/PM Podcast. Today, we are talking about marketing. It’s an interesting topic because the majority of this audience are marketplace sellers, right? We’re selling on eBay or we’re selling on Amazon, we’re selling on Walmart and those platforms frequently have a lot of embedded marketing, right? So, I know a lot of Amazon sellers that are complete experts in Amazon PPC, but if they had to run a social media ad to a Shopify site or a Magento site, they would completely be lost. But we all know that the Holy grail of having successful e-commerce business is not being dependent on one platform, but becoming platform agnostic. So if we are a marketplace seller, we have to understand general digital marketing for e-commerce brands to grow to scale. And so that we’re not dependent on a business that we can arbitrarily get suspended or the marketplace changed the rules or something like that. So our guest today, he has sold over, or serviced over 2000 brands. He’s worked for companies like Red Bull, Verizon, Alibaba. His marketing agency here in the US has been valued at over $75 million with 150 employees. But it didn’t start like that. Did it, Erik? You started with like $350 in sales that says your first year in business and you’ve grown from there. So if you would give us a brief intro of who Eric is and start with how you got started in digital marketing, why this became your passion, this is your calling and how you’ve scaled from just getting started to what an international business, you’ve got 150 employees, you’re in multiple cities and you’re working for some of the biggest brands in the world.
Erik Huberman: Yeah. I mean, I guess it’s the upbringing side of it. It really started as a kid. My dad’s a successful entrepreneur and his dad was an entrepreneur. And so anytime I wanted anything, even as a six year old, my dad would be like, well, get a job, go work for it, figure it out. And so I was just– and I say that because I definitely have to give credence to the fact that like, though maybe not the best teacher, my dad definitely just made me think that’s how you make money in life and how you make a living is you go figure it out and make money. It’s not like you don’t ask other people for it. Getting a job, the only time I had jobs when I wanted to learn something. I mean, as an eight year old, I started a beanie baby business and bought and sold beanie babies and made a few thousand dollars as an eight year old. I bought like a BMX and an electric guitar that I wanted and saved money for a car. But so I’ve always just took for granted the idea that I’d run my own business. And not to, I make too long of a story short. I try to shorten this a little bit, went through college, took different jobs, learned different things.
Erik Huberman: Started my first business while in college, which was filtering storm drains. Realized that I wasn’t that passionate about it. I liked the fact that we’re cleaning our water, but like, I didn’t want to be jumping into storm drains the rest of my life. So got out of college, went into real estate thinking like real estate development and everything sounded really interesting. And I started one week to the day before the entire economy collapsed in 2008. And, yeah, you mentioned it briefly, but that whole year living in Los Angeles, I made $350. And again, even though I come from a successful family, my dad was pretty adamant that I get nothing and like I’m on my own. So, lots of credit card debt trying to figure it out. I remember during that time, I got to the point where it was maxed out and I’d find ways to make money on the side and would like pay off just a little bit of that debt. And then like at the end of every month, it’d be looking at my fridge at a loaf of bread and some cheese and some ketchup. And like, that was my dinner. So like, went through that, which actually I think is a really nice thing to go through because fear kind of goes away.
Erik Huberman: You’re like, sorry, maybe like painful as that might sound. It’s really not that bad while you figure it out. You get through it. And it– when you know what the bottom looks like and like really not making any money and being broke and trying to figure out how you’re going to pay rent, then you can take big risks because the bottom isn’t that bad when you know what that’s like, and there isn’t an unknown, it was helpful. So anyways, I started scrambling to try to figure out what else I would do, because that obviously wasn’t working and ended up launching an online music company. It was one on one business coaching for musicians. In college, I made fun of marketing majors. Because I was like, what do you do? Draw pretty pictures and get an A, if it’s got the right colors, like that company on that business coaching, I had to figure out how to acquire customers. And I actually figured out a hack for Craigslist, where we were posting in the gig section to get musicians, to want to learn business. And it worked. And we ended up with 15,000 artists on the platform and it really taught me the idea of just being where your customers are looking and giving them a value proposition. I just learned by doing the next com, I ended up building that for two years, hiring a CEO to take it over, who ran it for another three profitably and then just realize it was never going to be a big business. We ended up sunsetting it. And then I started a teacher and subscription company. And that’s when I actually started reinvesting some of the income into Google ads. There were no Facebook ads yet. We did some different PR. I really learned how to do PR at that point and built that company for a year and then sold it and then ended up launching our brand out of the same incubator that had just launched dollar shave club. And we blew it out of the water. I mean, we did two million in revenue in the first four months. It was a rocket ship and then, we had a budget. So at that point, all the things I wanted to do with my last company that was bootstrapped down, it’d be scrappy with, I just got to open up all this stuff that I had learned from being scrappy and spend now. And that just skyrocket and I’ve worked. So once I built that we sold it a year later to Bally total fitness. I started advising and consulting for a bunch of brands on how to drive revenue growth, using marketing. I built a reputation in LA of knowing what I was doing. I had some good assets and so I was advising.
Erik Huberman: And then I just realized how broken the marketing ecosystem is. Because when it comes time for a brand to execute on marketing, you have two options, either hire in-house or hire an agency. And what I found was hiring in house for most of these companies, it’s not cost effective because good marketers cost a lot of money because they can drive good revenue. And if you can actually get good marketers to join your company, which 99 out of a hundred times, they don’t want to join your brand. They only want to be at the big companies or be independent or something. And then if you somehow accomplished to attract them, afford them, et cetera, you’re still operating in a vacuum. And my favorite example of this is the CMO of Pepsi, went on stage at a big marketing conference a few years ago and said agencies are BS, nobody needs an agency. And then they launch that brilliant Kendall Jenner ad, where she solves racism with a can of Pepsi. And they did that themselves. And so that outside perspective, as well as the relationships agencies build with the platforms, et cetera, there’s a reason they exist. The problem on that side is there’s no barrier to entry to start an agency, any 17 year old with a Facebook account or a TikTok account, considers themselves a marketer. And it happens all the time. And the few that are any good tend to get really expensive, want long contracts, high minimums or something else that makes them hard to work with. So I just got sick of the whole ecosystem, grabbed some people I knew in the industry that were really good at their individual skills, like a Facebook marketer, an email marketer, web designer, et cetera, went back to these companies and said, Hey, everything’s a la carte month to month cheaper than hiring in-house. But now I’ve got this team of seven people that’s like my SWAT team that we can spin up and down what you need when you need it. So, that’s how we started. And then frankly, we’ve grown it like it’s a lot of reactive growth where it’s like, Oh, now word of mouth kicked off. People knew about me. My brand helps tick it off. And so all of a sudden we started getting business in and then what we needed to email marketers, we needed a second Facebook marketer and we started to scale it. Then we needed management. And I mean, now we’re almost seven years later in 160, 70 people don’t know the exact head count. I have a venture fund as well. We invest in a lot of marketing technology and we’ve really tried to build something big here because our true mission is to create accessibility to great marketing for everyone. And that the idea there is, it doesn’t need to be mutually exclusive. You can have an amazing marketer team that will work with a small business or an unsexy business that usually couldn’t attract those people. And so that confluence has allowed us to work with some of the biggest brands out there we’ve worked with, as you mentioned, some, but Nike, you know, Weaver, Estee Lauder, et cetera. But we also work with little startups out of people’s garages and up and coming and law firms and companies that normally can’t get this time. We just signed one of the biggest real estate development companies in the country that normally wouldn’t be working with an agency like ours, because they would go into some hole in the wall, real estate agency that frankly doesn’t do great work. So that’s what we’re trying to build and continue to try to build. We’ve accomplished it in a lot of ways, but yeah, global expansion, as you mentioned as a big part of the plan, we already work over the world, but actually opening offices, pre COVID. We had plans to open another three to five offices this year. We’ve hired people in those territories, but we’re going to probably get brick and mortar once things start to subside. So yeah, building it out strong.
Tim Jordan: So you’ve done a lot. And currently right now, one thing that stuck out to me is that, with these big capabilities that you have, you’re helping service some of the biggest companies and brands in the world. But you said you’re also helping some of these bootstrap working out of the garage, these small startup businesses, right. Which is unusual because a lot of companies, they stick in a certain lane, we help this type of brand and we help this type of avatar. We help this type of client, but we don’t mix and match. But I think it’s very interesting that you get kind of this bird’s eye view on what’s going on that works for small companies, large companies, brand new startups to establish brands. And you know, if you’re doing well, you must have a really good sampling of different techniques that work across the board. Right?
Erik Huberman: And we know the life cycle. That’s the helpful part too, is like, we’ve been where you’re trying to go because we’ve worked with the biggest brands in the world. So like we know every step of the way, what’s next, what you need to start investing in. And that helps too. You don’t really outgrow us.
Tim Jordan: Well, if I’m a small company and you have that bird’s eye view understanding of what that life cycle needs to be and how to move through all the stages. How, if I’m a small company, can I access that fortune 100 marketing capabilities on a small budget? Tell me how I go about doing that as a small business startup business e-commerce business?
Erik Huberman: Again, we don’t bifurcate our staff. So, the same people working on these bigger brands are working on smaller brands too. So there’s not like a junior role and a senior role. It’s that it’s all senior. So it’s fractional. That’s how it’s affordable is they’re going to work on six companies at the same time. And so you’re dividing your cost up amongst six companies, which allows it to be more affordable because you probably couldn’t afford to pay six times what we charge, but you’re going to afford that price. So that’s how it is. It’s not a complicated business model. It’s just, that’s how we do it. But we do — we had a thesis that proved out where high level expertise part time will trump full time, low level expertise in marketing every day, because the opportunity cost of actually managing that marketing properly is such a higher ROI than having someone that’s just grinding on it. There are roles in marketing that take that, which we don’t really offer. If someone needs to just have someone that’s grinding day in, day out, they’re better off just hiring someone internally for that. And we will coach on that. We’re not shy about saying, don’t hire us for that, do this. And one of them we don’t offer right now is PR cause we’re starting to figure out ways to sort of compliment an internal team, but there’s a part of public relations. That is a grind. And if you have a grind position, that’s better off in-house because you aren’t paying a markup on heads, that’s the business model. So, but when you need high level expertise, part time, we are the best option and that’s how we’ve built it.
Tim Jordan: So another thing that you’ve talked about already a couple of times is the difference between in house and outsourcing and in the entrepreneurial space, whatever business it is, there’s really a great divide on mindset about which one is appropriate or which one is not. Do we build this big team and you know, do they completely own everything for this company? And you know, is this all they live, work and breathe. But another thing that you said makes a lot of sense and I have some experience in marketing and I’ve also noticed that one, everybody thinks they’re a marketer most aren’t, right. But the few marketers out there are really expensive. A decent marketer is going to be typically a six figure salary here in the US and you’re right. They don’t necessarily want to invest their time into a small brand or a startup company because they don’t know if that company is going to be lasting year, but they’re getting job offers because they’re in such high demand by these big established brands and you know, it’s sexier and it’s more appealing in those things. So it is hard to attract really, really good talent. It’s also hard to afford really, really good talent. So, it sounds to me like you have this, or you’ve developed a whole business around this, so I’m sure you’re convicted in it, but you would offer the advice of outsourcing this because, and I’m going to simplify this and correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like what you’re saying is if you can’t afford a really high level person, you don’t need to afford really high level person. You just need to be able to afford them a few hours because a really high level person could probably do in three or four hours a week. What a novice grinder that is trying to figure this out might take 40 hours a week. Is that right? So, how would you, what’s the advice you would give to people when they’re making decision outsource or in house?
Erik Huberman: I’d say it’s not binary is actually my answer. It’s sometimes you do like, it depends on the stage of your company. It depends what your needs are, but there, and that’s why you have to understand the benefits and drawbacks of both. And don’t get emotional about it. That is the biggest failure I see in brands is they get emotionally charged by the idea of owning it. And so they decide to hire mediocre people, but they own it. I’m dealing with this with a client right now that is brought someone in-house. It’s like a junior marketer that is now firing a team of five experts because this junior marketer is going to supposedly handle everything. And it’s like, things are working really well. And this has happened over and over again. We hear, Oh, we’ll come back. When things don’t work, we can always come back. And I try to explain like, no, that’s when it’s too late, we just had this happen where we took a company from three to 130 million in revenue in two years because they got so big, they decided to build it in house. They went back down to like 50 million in revenue, which sounds like, well, they’re still doing 50. Sure. But when you do that in a business, a lot of you know, is your product owners. You have all this inventory of all these things. Like you end up underwater when they were firing us. I said, is that our fees? They’re like, no, we actually have a bigger budget to hire in house. Cause we are, cost-effective like, is it performance? No, obviously you guys have skyrocketed us. We just feel better to have it ourselves. And they hired a bunch of idiots basically.
Erik Huberman: So I’m just going to, I’m not calling them out, but you get it. That’s why I’m not naming them. But it’s just, I’ve looked at, they had me come in and take away from what they’re doing. And I was like, cause I try to do the right thing, even though we weren’t working together and help out. So the answer is generally, it’s a balance. It’s at some point you’re going to need certain things in house and you’re going to need an agency. And it’s all in different stages. And it always dependent on how you’re structuring your business. But usually you want both. And the example I always give is like, first off you can’t compete with my Facebook team. I have an amazing team of Facebook marketers that have been doing it since Facebook launched their marketing platform. We have a full time team, senior team at Facebook on Slack with us full time, helping us with any campaigns we’re doing monitoring our campaigns with us, helping us through problems, telling us when new products are coming out. Unless you’re a fortune 500 brand, they won’t do that for you. So that alone, we can easily increase ROI on Facebook. That’s just one example, but there’s, we have that partnership with most platforms. So a lot of times we’re just, we are going to do better by nature because we’re more valuable to the partners than you are an individual brand versus an agency. I come with 500 brands. They’re going to give me a little different service than one of those brands.
Tim Jordan: Yeah, I get it. So another thing that I want to keep utilizing is this bird’s eye view, right? Because you’ve talked about enough things that I’m realizing, Hey, you’ve got kind of this, your finger on the pulse. In 2020, things are changing fast, right? And we all know that businesses, especially online businesses, if I had to pivot, fortunately, a lot of that has been a pivot to absorb the amount of growth in demand, right? Because people are coming online to shop as opposed to brick and mortar stores. But a huge increase in growth can be a bad thing. It can create a crisis for a company. So whether you’re helping small brands, big brands, you’ve had six months of pandemic to try to work through this. How are you suggesting people adapt and react and become flexible in the crazy world of COVID?
Erik Huberman: Yeah. So, when it first hit, this has been really cool. We actually created a practice. We have a full time content person on our internal marketing team. And I basically told them like, once a week, I want you to aggregate our partners’ data, our data, everything we’re seeing and put out a weekly report. We now just change it to our weekly or Hawke media, weekly report, just on what’s going on in the market. And that report helped me and our clients and everyone see in real time what’s happening. What is actually trending because when March 13th hit and everyone went into quarantine, or 16th was when everyone’s a quarantine in LA and New York, et cetera. We had so many people wanting to shut down their marketing and cut everything off. And we were trying to say like, everyone’s stuck home right now, but they’re all making the same amount of money because those layouts are really restaurant workers who are now making more money on unemployment than they were before. Like logically, this shouldn’t be a problem. So give it a second. And us being month to month, which is a big part of our value proposition. We’re like fire us when you’re doing bad. Don’t fire us ahead of time. Just if something goes wrong, then you can let us go. And that ended up being a blessing because we did have people that just got ran scared and had to cut it off. We also did marketing for things like Planet Fitness and our chain of car washes and stuff that we’re like, we have no customers, we have to stop marketing, but we were able to keep most, and our average customer in Q2 doubled their revenue. As most people on Shopify did. Shopify itself almost doubled its revenue was like 96% revenue growth in Q2 two.
Erik Huberman: Shopify has data. We own the biggest business intelligence tool on Shopify. We’re a big investor in a company called Yaguara, that Shopify also invested in directly. So we have all this different data that we’re able to work with our partners on that we can really see like, what is happening right now. Let’s make a decision right now. Not we think some things like anticipation and planning ahead. Sure. But when you have an unprecedented event, you got to just work with the data you have, or you’re going to end up backing emotionally. And we have that to where we did have few clients that didn’t listen to us, that cut off all their marketing in March, they’re half out of business. They can’t recover because these days digital marketing is the lifeblood of these companies. And if you cut that off, you’re just cutting off your oxygen. Like, yeah. That’s a self-fulfilling prophecy and that’s what we ended up seeing. So that’s how– so in terms of COVID in general and like six months later, we just saw that. And I– we actually through a conference in October or sorry, October and April 7th, that we had like 4,500 CEOs show up. We had like Daymond John speak and Anthony Scaramucci and all these big business guys. And what we, what the consistent thing across all of them was in a situation like this, the strong survive in a sense of like, you have to go on the offense, you can’t get defensive and pull back and get, play scared and run away. You got to pivot, adapt change. There’s some very large companies that can afford to just hold off for a little while. But most businesses can’t afford to just go dark for six months. So, you have to find an alternative. And we, in the beginning of this retaining the idea of like the three week, three month, three year model where it’s like, COVID is going to last three weeks, three months or three years. So, let’s just assume those are the buckets. Because we have no idea at three weeks, nothing’s going to happen. Doesn’t matter. It doesn’t even, we don’t even have that discussion. So, let’s assume it’s three months at three months, you got to probably make some, you have to adapt a little bit to make some money, to figure out how you’re going to get through three months, three years. I was like, if this thing like shuts down the road for three years, the whole world’s changing. It’s not even a topic either. So, let’s just assume that three month thing again, I thought I was really smart back then it turns out that this might last 18 months or whatever the hell it’s going to, but this was when everyone thought quarantine was going to be for two weeks.
Erik Huberman: So yeah, at three months I was like, we have to adapt. And we pushed a lot of our people. I was on the phone many times a day with the CEOs we work with just talking business strategy. That’s how I made myself available. And to this day, what we’ve seen is crisis is, will happen. Like COVID-19 a global crisis that affected everyone. Let’s take the biggest companies in the world right now, like Apple, Google, Amazon, all getting threatened with antitrust lawsuits, trade problems with sanctions on China and blah, blah, blah. Like they’re dealing with massive problems. And those are the biggest companies in the world. So any entrepreneur that thinks it’s going to be different is high. And the real truth here is whether it’s COVID or a lawsuit or an angry employee or someone quitting or your manufacturer going out of business or someone’s screwing you, it’s always going to be something. So just get used to it and learn how to adapt on the fly. Cause that’s running a business.
Tim Jordan: Yeah. Completely agree. So now that we’ve gone from like the, maybe this will be three weeks to, Oh, this is more than three months to, we don’t know when this is going to last, we’ve gone through some cycles of things like one was and you mentioned it. Everybody was at home. What are they going to do? They’re going to sit on their laptops. They’re going to sit in their cell phone. They’ve got more screen time. Right? So the power of digital marketing massively increased because we’ve got more eyeballs looking at media that started to adapt.
Erik Huberman: Also, fortune 500 cut their marketing. So the cost to advertise on Facebook dropped 30% in Q two. The people that stuck with it max like crushed it because the market share. So e-commerce the pre COVID eCommerce had about a 13% share of consumer spending to brick and mortar was 13 and 87%. during COVID it’s jumped to 30% from 13. So the market share over doubled, the spending did not decline. And the cost advertise decreased 30%. That’s why, like, if you doubled, you were just kind of status quo in the past quarter.
Tim Jordan: That’s crazy. But now that we’re moving on to like five or six months, I’m starting to see it in some realms. And I want your opinion on this. I think I suspect them, right? We’re almost running into a period or maybe a phase of this thing where people are getting digital fatigue, right. So where I’m seeing it, isn’t like the world of webinars, right? I used to do a lot of webinars and a lot of online content and people are just sick of it because all of the different content that everybody was doing in different formats have all moved to one format. So, there’s a little bit of webinar fatigue. There’s some ad fatigue. People want to actually put their cell phones down and walk around, walk around their front yard ticket, take a hike, ride their bikes, something. So as things have changed, like this attention deficit is actually increasing. How have you started to pivot digital marketing to retain that attention and retain that focus on the digital marketing that you’re doing?
Erik Huberman: Yeah. So you nailed it in terms of like webinars, zoom meetings, that kind of stuff is starting to, there’s a lot of fatigue and zoom fatigue is like a term I’ve heard a hundred times now, which is valid. I’ve started taking less video calls and just getting on my phone. And even if I’m just pacing around my living room and our laptops right here, it’s like, I don’t need you to be staring at me, but I know I’m like, it’s even subconscious. Because I’m like the least insecure person on the planet. But I’m sitting in of my computer, staring at my camera and I can’t move because– and I normally do pace when I talk. So I think that even subtle things like that cause it. And so what we’re talking about is like going past the idea of broadcast into the idea of true engagement and interaction. So like, even for brands that are like, we’ve recommended mass cooking classes, there’s like– we’ve talked about this a lot with the idea of making lemonade out of lemons. Here’s a situation where we know everyone’s home. No one has anything to do. It’s changing a little bit now, but up until recently, nobody had anything else to do. So we did an every other week event where we had a cooking class, we had a poetry night, we had a whole bunch of other things I actually joined in on a painting class where I’m helping host a VR event. Burning Man was in VR. And like, these are things that it’s not just sitting in front of them. It’s still screen, which is hard to avoid right now. Because you just can’t really do stuff outside. The only other things we’ve seen is like encouraging people to do things on their own, in a competitive social way. So, even internally for our own staff, we have an operation “Keep It Tight,” we call it. We’ve had it for years in different formats. And we basically just check in on Slack with your workouts every day. And everybody was competing for who can work out the most. And then we put teams together and whichever team works out the most and just small stuff like that, that gets people out and moving, but still engaging. Because I think a part there’s a lot of loneliness happening right now, too. So that human connection is important. But I think also getting people away from their screens is important because people are consuming like 70% more content that they did before.
Tim Jordan: Exactly. And I think that one thing that you said resonates, especially when it comes to the marketing is yes, there is fatigue. But I think that fatigue is kind of counterbalanced by loneliness, right? So yes, people are tired of staring at Facebook constantly, but people are still staring at Facebook cause that’s how they connect with their friends. That’s how they connect to their coworkers. That’s how they connect with audiences. So we as digital marketers, we have a kind of this responsibility to pivot, right? Because we have to stay digital for the most part. But I think that we can take advantage of the community, take advantage of connections, take advantage of connecting people. So I know that you have an upcoming event, e-commerce in LA, something that I’d like to hear briefly about, but I want to know, like we’ve already discussed this fact of webinars, fatigue and zoom fatigue, and sometimes just marketing fatigue. So, you obviously must have a few tricks up your sleeve and a few ideas if you’re still going forward with an online event for e-commerce sellers and e-commerce brands, as you’re going into this event, how are you differentiating it to make sure that people still are interested in not just running away from it?
Erik Huberman: Yeah. A hundred percent. It’s a challenge cause it’s not perfect. Because there’s still the fact that zoom is one of the platforms we’re using. But yeah, just to give a little insight into that. So we’re hosting e-commerce week LA it’s a partnership with the city of LA and mayor Garcetti. Basically New York fashion week, but LA and e-commerce. So pre COVID the intention was, and this is going to be the first annual. We announced it a year ago was to have events going on in all the major e-commerce brands, all over town and the partners and just making it a whole LA ecosystem thing where we hopefully as time builds on and years go by. People want to fly in every year, this week, it’s the week of October 1st, every year. And we’ve been throwing an annual brand summit up until now called Hawke Fest. So, we’ve done that three years in a row and had 600 or so brand owners at that. And so this was basically the next step of building an into a full week of events that are not just hosted by us, but hosted by a whole community. So, instead because of what’s going on, we decided to go virtual with it. And the way we’ve been playing with it is everybody that’s hosting events, whether it’s Fab Fit Fun or a bunch of different people. We have an aspect of like a panel or discussion that’s, let’s say 30 minutes of like good content that they can, their thought leaders in about like, you know, how Fab Fit Fun is building subscriptions or curating brands or however they’re doing it. And then we have another 30 minutes to an hour of activity. So Fab Fit Fun is an example is having people pitch them their products to include it in a box that they send out to 1.5 million people.
Erik Huberman: So, it’s reached for the brand. We have a VC pitch competition. We call Hawke cage instead of shark tank. Haha. But we have a flower arrangement class that we’re doing where you can actually buy their flowers for a discount and then they’ll teach you how to actually make a flower arrangement. We have them for, with Me Undies, we have an underwear design competition that whoever designs, the best pair of underwear gets a shopping spree on Mondays. we have a competition to win a Peloton. We have all these fun things we’re doing to try to get people to do things, not just watch because I think again, it’s not perfect. There’s still going to be watching a screen. We also have a Slack channel we built for this called Brand Club LA that is basically all brand participants to be able to connect on Slack, have an ongoing community. We already have, I think 1300 or 1400 people in it. We’re expecting over 10,000 people to e-commerce week. And so it’s all these different ways that we’re trying to create engagement and outside stuff happening. And frankly, over the next two weeks before it we’re going to be working even harder to create more of that. We’ve got the core content done. And so that there’s a lot of our attention is going to, how do we go above and beyond? And we also have a cocktail making class that the first hundred signups got a free cocktail kit. We have a cooking class, same thing. First hundreds items got a free ingredients. So it’s those kinds of things where it’s a little more than just staring at Zoom. And I think, again, it’s not perfect. We’ve talked about this a lot. It’s hard to be perfect when you’re actually locked inside in a pandemic. It’s not going to be necessarily perfect, but getting close to there. And then frankly next year will hopefully be back to normal events. And that’s the goal is I build this as a jumping off point for next year where we’re going to go back to hosting events all over town, et cetera.
Tim Jordan: And if someone wanted to get signed up, you said, this is free. How would they sign up for this event and be notified?
Erik Huberman: Ecommerceweek.la, yeah. ecommerceweek.la I almost said.com, but it’s literally just a URL.
Tim Jordan: So, you’ve some adjustments, the way that you’re helping brands market and the companies that have accepted and have kind of adopted this increased screen time and increase ability to be digitally marketed to and decreased cost of ads. Because it’s not competitive. Things have gone well. If you could look into your crystal ball right now for 2021 for e-commerce brands, what do you see 2021 being like?
Erik Huberman: Yeah, I think it’s going to be a real, I actually, just before we got on this podcast, I was talking to our head of strategy about this. I think it’s going to be a great year for e-commerce because I don’t think the market share is going to go back. I think that what, and I don’t think I know what happened. The biggest growth in e-commerce in the past six months has been baby boomers adopting it more than they used to, millennials and gen Z were buying on e-commerce ready, but baby boomers that were still in their habits of going to the market started to like really adopting it. So I don’t think we’ll see a trend the other way. There’s going to be a lot more focused on it. A lot more money is, I mean, it’s literally almost tripled like a lot more money’s invested in that ecosystem. I think we’re going to see some really exciting stuff coming in 2021. Because we just basically jumped five years ahead in terms of innovation and with innovation like adoption and finance are the big limitations there, and adoption just accelerated five years, which brings finance with it. So I think we’re going to see some really cool stuff come out of that idea. And I do think that a lot of people will go back for impulse buys to run to the market. You will run out of, catch up, you run down the street, but most of people have now gotten the habit of just buying online. So I am curious to see how– you were talking about Amazon, Amazon owns 55% of online purchases in the US it’s insane. I am curious how that switched out from antitrust. I’m curious how people compete with that, but Shopify came out of nowhere and took 5% market share recently and Walmart has shot 5%. I think that there’s still a huge market for independent brands getting out there. And again, our own brands that we work with are all crushing it right now. And so, I think that they’re going to now be able to build off of that momentum and 2021 were it’s– right now people are still like apprehensive of what’s happening. I think Q4 will really see if this is here to stay and next year is when people are going to reinvest and you’re going to see a lot of cool stuff come out of it.
Tim Jordan: Absolutely. I completely agree. And I hope you’re right. And I’m sure everybody listening right now, e-commerce sellers, hope they’re right. But, I would say this to the listeners, don’t take your foot off the gas. Don’t do it. I know that, and we’ve talked about this earlier in this episode, it’s kind of natural human conditioning, when things start to change, we slow down. The car speeding up and we don’t know what’s around that next corner. It’s probably smart to slow down, but at least in e-commerce every time we have rounded a corner this year, the road has gotten smoother and straighter and faster and there’s been more opportunity on it. So, I know this Q4 is going to be crazy, but keep pushing.
Erik Huberman: Running a business is going to battle is what we always talk, like act that way, own that. Own the fact that like you’re getting and going to battle, you don’t get to retreat. You retreat, you die. That’s it. So like anytime there’s a challenge, run at it. Full speed. If you do that, you won’t regret it. Because if the outcome either is the same, which is you fail either way. So you might as well take, give it a shot or it’s not, but you guarantee your outcome when you retreat or hold back, you guarantee failure versus giving yourself a shot, even if you’re apprehensive or scared.
Tim Jordan: Absolutely. So, we’re getting close on time. We need to wrap it up. I know that you’ve thrown a lot of stuff out, but it’s going to take me a day to digest and I appreciate all this good information. I appreciate this information, especially coming from that bird’s eye view that you have of working with small brands and large brands. That being said, I want to make sure that if anybody wants to reach out to Hawke media and find out more about what you do for small brands, large brands, anywhere between how would people find you and how people get more information?
Erik Huberman: Yeah, a couple of easy ways. One is just hawkemedia.com. We will give a free consultation to anyone. So, we’re always looking to help brands and gives us advice. So always happy to chat, connect, and if you want to reach out to me directly, any social media channel @erikhuberman, Erik Huberman on any of those channels, it’s easy to reach me kind of quick, pretty accessible.
Tim Jordan: Awesome. Well, I’m getting excited for next year to come out in LA to your event. I’ll definitely sign up for the e-commerce in LA, a free online event this year. And those of you listening, I appreciate you sticking it out for the episode. Hopefully you’ve come up with something valuable, but I also hope that you’re encouraged because every time I talked to somebody in digital marketing and e-commerce, and I asked that question about resiliency and how do we survive these pandemic, everybody kind of like smiles and shrugs. You’re like, what do you mean survive? Like, it’s not about surviving. It’s like keeping up, cause things have been so good. So, as I watched the news headlines this year and everything is so depressing and so discouraging, I turned that off and look at my business and look at the business and my friends and all those around us in the e-commerce world. And that encourages me. It gets me excited. And I definitely think you’re right, Eric. I think that even when the lockdown stop, people are going to be used to shopping online. And I think that that just really accelerates opportunities and gives us a great chance. So e-commerce is awesome. I guess this is the final word here and continue to be creative, continue to be innovative, continue to be flexible. And the world is our oyster. Our reckon would be a good way of saying it. Right.
Erik Huberman: Absolutely.
Tim Jordan: All right. Well, thanks Erik for being on. Thank you for listening and we’ll see you guys on the next episode.