Search Interviews:

Jeremy Weisz  13:00 

When you say, when you describe it, for some reason, it pops in my head that it’s a lot of manufacturers that would move is that accurate? And are there types of genres of business that you tend to work with that are moving going international?

Cameron Heffernan  13:17 

Yeah, I mean, that’s we do have clients in that space, we’ve got a couple of clients that do either manufacture, they make their own products or components, or service providers to the manufacturing sector. So we do have clients in that space, pharmaceuticals, as well. We’ve done work there with clients that do contract drug manufacturing, which, you know, it’ll still another side of manufacturing, not the same as industrial manufacturing, but that concept of a product with a with a services providers, I still feel that with those kinds of companies, the challenge is more because you don’t actually make anything. So your content, your marketing, your programs, your campaigns need to be related to the value add that you bring your knowledge, your thought leadership talking about trends. Why would you come and work with us when there’s X number of other service providers? You know, no one makes or does anything that’s completely unique. Even Tesla has companies that are now doing something similar. I’m seeing more of Pollstar these days and looking at how is that different from Tesla no company is the only company

Jeremy Weisz  14:26 

that does that. What are some, I’m sure that people come to you and some are proactive, and some are not proactive, and they’ve tried going into these markets and it’s not working. So what are some of the mistakes you have seen that people make when they try to go international?

Cameron Heffernan  14:45 

One would be doing what we’re doing here. Let’s take the example of American company that wants to do more in Europe, doing exactly what we’re doing here and thinking it will work and apply for the European market. Not working with local Alan so the first thing that I would do if I was setting up a company in Western Europe, find someone again, Who Not How from that book, find someone or a group or a team or an entity there that already is positioned and knows the European market knows those challenges knows the market preferences and desires. It’s most tangible when you think of b2c types of companies. So it kind of takes that same mindset and apply it to a b2b environment. I remember when I was first in Belgium little things that would be different that would get you a trip you up, you know, stores are not open very late six or seven in the evening. You’re done. Banks are not open at lunchtime. It’s become more common now recently with all the and Little being in the US. For the first time I was in those stores, I wasn’t used to bringing my own bag or having to put the euro coin into the trolley. So again, little small examples from a b2c environment. We think with the b2b business, how can this being different affect what we do, what we deliver, your value proposition has to be kind of tailored for that market?

Jeremy Weisz  16:08 

Yeah, I could see how, let’s say someone opened a grocery chain in the US to where you were, and they’re expecting it to be open at 10 or 11. At night, it may be hard to get a workforce to stay there, because that’s just not what they’re used to there. Right.

Cameron Heffernan  16:23 

Right. And you know, it does work. And I remember, I was living in DC, Virginia area, and as a popular hamburger chain called Five Guys. And five guys eventually went to a franchise model was all over the world. So a Five Guys, either in France or Belgium, I thought that that’s really strange. And it worked, you know, because the model was so simple. People loved it. And it just expanded and grew. So it’s a great way to organically grow your business. A lot of companies think, well, we’re either going to acquire something, or we’re going to just keep doing what we do better and more efficiently. Going overseas, again, right out of the 10x sort of playbook is a way to step up, do something different, unique, and you’re growing your business in a way that your competitors might not have thought about.

Jeremy Weisz  17:09 

Let’s talk about an example of how this plays out. And what your recommendations were is there was a company in Mexico that you did some work with.

Cameron Heffernan  17:20 

Yeah, that’s a longtime client of mine. I worked with them with my previous agency and still are working with them currently, there are services providers that don’t do manufacturing themselves, but their clients do. And they specialize in sort of the mid-market space for manufacturing, which can be a huge range, you can still be an $80 million dollar company within that size range. And what we did, I don’t want to give a number because it ages me dates my aid. But I wouldn’t say a few years back, we looked at their outreach, and we looked at their website and the materials and thought it’s too much focus on what we’re trying to convey and express. Remember the book gearing things one of the first books is Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, when that ratio was very deliberate, it’s give, give, give, then ask a three-to-one sort of mix. You want to give more information and knowledge and expertise than you’re asking for someone to buy your book or go to your webinar or buy a widget. So we kind of overhauled their communications. In that vein, everything was about the pain points of midsize manufacturers, many companies now it’s even more acute with the China situation and global trade and all those different things. But a lot of European and American companies wanted to have a presence in Mexico, to shorten the supply chain to realize this cost savings and to not have to mess with some of the challenges in China. But it’s hard to do it if you’re a mid-market company to do it on your own. Because you don’t know what you’re doing there. It’s the first time you’re in the country, the cost to start up is significant. So you go with a service provider that can help facilitate that transition. What we did with my client was to help articulate the relief to those different pain points, white papers, materials about that transition about what can happen if you don’t know what you’re doing, but the length of time it can take you about violations you can get if you haven’t figured that out. And again, focus on common emotional pain points of those companies and how our clients solve them. So we turned around all of the pieces, the outreach the website and to customer-focused into solution that my client offered to those common pain points. The next year, they also do this the timing, the market, the economy, etc. But for the first time they got three new clients in a year. Typically a great year was one new client because they’re not a huge company. But it’s their big investments for mid-market-sized companies to make me multiple millions of dollars over many years period. That was a good way.

Jeremy Weisz  20:04 

And that’s pretty huge.

Cameron Heffernan  20:05 

I mean, they were happy with it, we were happy with it.

Jeremy Weisz  20:07 

So a lifetime value client for them is in the multiple millions.

Cameron Heffernan  20:11 

That’s right. That’s right. And it was also that, I think it also reinforced the concept of this is the pattern, this is the approach we’re going to do going forward. I’m a big fan of set it and forget it, yeah, you got to go back and iterate and tweak and refine. But if you can set up a true sales and marketing flywheel, that things are happening, it’s predictable, predictable number of leads, and prospects coming into the funnel. It’s much better to, for everybody, for planning for budgeting for the team, and it’s a real win.

Jeremy Weisz  20:41 

I can see Cameron, how you focus on the pain points, the emotional pain points, the messaging, and creating these assets that can be deployed, what are some of the levers you pull to get them out into the world to get exposure for the company?

Cameron Heffernan  20:58 

I think it depends on a lot of factors, we would always start with engage with a prospect of, what are your goals, we would work with them understand those goals. We know how, what are the KPIs and metrics that we need to put in place to achieve them? What does success look like to you? We would also evaluate where they’re at now, you know, is their messaging clear? Is their value proposition clear to people understand what they’re offering. And we would look at any of those needs to be modified, evaluated, improved. And then we were almost always going to do a multi-channel approach. I love doing conferences and events. I think that these days in marketing, there’s value there. Because so many companies have shifted to a full digital approach. There’s still a value in being on the ground meeting with prospects. We try to tee up as many meetings ahead of time as we can, you know, this think of the team is they travel, one of my clients has a conference coming up next month in Europe, you know, three or four people out of the office for a week heading over there. It’s a big investment. So we want to do all we can to set up meetings ahead of time to ensure that the right people coming to me too. And so not everyone wants to or has the appetite to do events and conferences, so we would make a mix of things that are tailored for the client. I think you’ve probably worked with more b2c companies than I have the marketing and the outreach efforts are going to be different between the two sides. I think b2b companies can learn a lot from b2c companies. Do they typically have bigger budgets, better known brands, better longer track record brands that people have heard of? Can we apply any of those campaigns approaches ideas to a b2b landscape, so whether it’s LinkedIn, email marketing, a cold email, warm email, collateral, so much these days relies on the social proof that you have a stat and I love to try out is that by the time people have made their buying decision, 70% of people have already decided they want to purchase a certain thing, definitely go out and start to look at what they want to buy. Right. So what’s the last thing you’ve purchased? The less technology purchase? You’ve made Jeremy? Probably an iPad. Okay, well, you know what he wanted, but you probably did some figuring on

Jeremy Weisz  23:25 

Oh, yeah, I mean, I wanted somebody to take notes. I’m like, I’m taking notes right now on this. And I’m a high Fact Finder. So I actually looked at a bunch of options, not just an iPad, which is the remarkable people recommend the racquetball and some other stuff, but I went with the iPad in the apple pen.

Cameron Heffernan  23:45 

Yeah, I got enough time on the same device, I’m nerdy about this stuff, I’ll spend time just poring over, my son just bought some air, not AirPods, but they’re a JBL sort of competitor. Let’s try those out. If you lose them, it’s not as costly. But we did research we did we spent time on. And I think companies that don’t consider that or they have almost a nonexistent digital footprint or the website that doesn’t really convey what they do, they’re doing themselves a disservice.

Jeremy Weisz  24:14 

100%. Um, you mentioned conferences and events, I’m sure you do a lot of advising on that, Cameron. What are some of the mistakes people make? That you people work with you probably help them navigate around those, but that you’ve seen people make over and over again, with when doing those because it is a big investment?

Cameron Heffernan  24:34 

Yeah, I think that’s a good question. I’m assuming that people understand what you do and what your value proposition is. And I think it doesn’t just relate to conferences and events. I always use this metaphor of when you’re driving down a freeway at 65 miles an hour and you see a billboard. That’s the level of simplicity I want in our materials, whether it’s above the fold in the homepage, whether it’s a banner, a show, a simple brochure, a digital ad, whatever it might be that level of simplicity, I could explain it to someone who has never been to this industry before and is going to get it. And so messaging needs to be simple, and again, has to tie to what is their pain point. So companies that don’t understand or know, their targets their prospects, that’s also a challenge, not fully understanding the needs that your buyers have your potential buyers.

Jeremy Weisz  25:41 

Are there any favorite you know, when you talk about this, and I geek out on copywriting direct response, because it goes back to the fundamental of, of messaging, and speaking to the customer and the pain points of that customer? Are there any resources or people that you’ve studied throughout the year, whether it’s direct response copywriters, marketers, who do you like and use? Who have you learned from?

Cameron Heffernan  26:03 

I think there’s a couple, I think, the story brand approach Donald Miller and his books, and he built a whole industry around that. And that’s really our focus. Focus on the pain points. People care about their own emotions, so much more than anyone else’s emotions. I mean, that sounds really simple. But keep that in mind. And I try to then challenge the team, when we put something together does that Does that satisfy that requirement that we address the readers pain points, you look at it on a b2c landscape, it’s really simple and you got thirst, get a Coke, dinnertime, go to Pizza Hut. And because there’s simpler needs, but how can we apply these to a business, a business sort of a b2b environment, fear of failure, inability to grow your business, lack of clarity, and you’re doing all things that we should address from our solution. But you focus first on the pain?

Jeremy Weisz  27:01 

How do you go back to the agency part for a second? You know, you have I think virtual teams, right? How do you navigate and create a culture with the virtual team that you have?

Cameron Heffernan  27:15 

Good question, I think with my last agency, too, that was part of the equation from the beginning. So we’ve been doing that, and it didn’t seem, it wasn’t foreign to me. So I just kind of went with it. And that’s what we do now, we get together. With our last strategy planning meeting was in September, we get together three or four times a year, we’re going to do a brand workshop in December. I’ve got one teammate who’s in South America, so she’ll join us remotely. But the others, we come into town, and we get together for a couple days. And I look at it like we wouldn’t be spending more time regularly if we were in the same place. So I try to replicate that environment as much as I can. And it’s the talking about the divisive issue. I mean, it’s like pineapple on pizza, it’s some people, myself and older people really value Hey, be in the office be together build that cohesion. In younger generation, it’s a harder thing to sell and persuade on there’s value in both. I do love a hybrid environment. And so I tried to give a little bit of both to my team.

Jeremy Weisz  28:22 

So one thing you do is you’ll meet a couple times a year actually in person, what do you do from a virtual perspective? Like, what is the weekly meeting cadence look like? What do you do on a weekly or monthly basis, wherever you are virtual?

Cameron Heffernan  28:38 

It’s kind of it’s a similar to EOS kind of approach, we do an L 10. Meeting, we just had it earlier this morning. So we get together once a week with that l 10. Meeting kind of step through it. And we didn’t have we haven’t, you know, implemented traction or anything like that. But we’re doing some of the steps. And then we have a sort of shorter we call it a stand-up meeting, because you’re supposed to be short enough that you can stand to the whole thing later in the week on Thursday. And my team is now small enough where I really I’ll go to them and say guys, what do you want to do what works for you? And I think there’s little things that we can do as agency owners that the team really values that aren’t a huge cost or on a monetary cost that are really valued. So I think that they wanted to add another meeting. They wanted to add a longer sort of strategic brainstorm meeting so we’re going to do that at once a month to go.

Jeremy Weisz  29:30 

Yeah, so you’ll go to them but there’s a daily stand up you have a level 10 meeting if people don’t know what that is, there is Gino Wickman. There’s a video online that explains actually everything that you do in a level 10 meeting and setting rocks etc. So you can check that out. I want to talk about other examples. We talked about Mexico. There’s another client in Austria and some of the things you did with them.

Cameron Heffernan  29:55 

Sure. That was an interesting client in some ways. That’s a good almost like a poster child sort of client for us. It came through a lot of people are really down on LinkedIn as a channel, I can understand why I totally can. But also like email marketing, you and I have talked about how terrible email marketing can be. So if you do it with any person, you know, any amount of dude somewhat decently you kind of stand out, right. So I had reached out to somebody on LinkedIn, and he got back to me, and it kind of just evolved from there, his company is based in Austria, they make Internet of things, sensors, and we hit it off. He’s in Chicago, he’s got a sales team. But he doesn’t have marketing, he doesn’t have communications, he has a challenge where he is not the top focus of the European headquarters. So to him, we give a good solution where he has access to the whole team. It’s not just me, in fact, I do very little hands on with that client, the team really runs it. But that’s one of those things, if you’re looking at should I work with an agency or she’s going to hire somebody new this there’s pluses and minuses of both as an agency you get access to more senior person works to your isn’t, hopefully guiding the strategy. And you have a whole team of people that supporting them. So that might mean you’re doing you have a copywriter at your disposal, someone who knows ads, someone who could do video, someone who’s doing more long form copy, a whole team to build that will be cost prohibitive, and you probably couldn’t get a one on one entry level or one mid-career person to go all those things. So that’s a nice advantage of working with an agency. And that you they can also pull in their expertise, successes, learnings from other clients and bring those into the equation, hey, should we consider this? We did this with a similar client and it worked. Maybe we should look at tailoring that for you.

Jeremy Weisz  31:54 

What were some of the things that they were coming to you that they wanted?

Cameron Heffernan  31:58 

I don’t know if this is a common thing that you guys hear. But oftentimes, when we work with clients, they’ll say, you’re the marketing agency, you guide and direct us. And that’s a great thing to hear. Because it means they’re showing they understand the confidence in us. And they’re gonna give us, at least somewhat autonomy to go and try stuff. And I’ll be honest, too, and say, marketing is not in advertising, you place an ad and it runs and it’s out there. We don’t know what’s going to happen. So in some ways, marketing is similar, but we don’t know what’s going to work. So always say, let’s try A B and C options or versions. Let’s iterate, let’s try what worked, let’s try different things out, let’s not be afraid to see something that didn’t work. So with them, we proposed their audience is engineers, very wonky, sort of technical audience. So we did a couple of white papers, we built a couple of decent media partnerships with very esoteric kind of publications that were fruitful. And that’s a nice pattern that I like to do, too. I know that we’re all from my past in journalism, and it was a good fit with the readers. And as long as the content is valued, as long as the content really has interesting, good takeaway.

Jeremy Weisz  33:20 

Yeah. Cameron, first of all, I have one last question before I ask it, just thanks for sharing your journey your stories in and I love your global perspective, because at least for me, I’m always locked in thinking you asked, and there’s a big world out there so and you help people kind of navigate that big world. And so I want to encourage people to check out and learn more about what Cameron’s doing. My last question, Cameron, you mentioned a lot of great books, which I’m definitely gonna check out. So thanks for sharing those. My last question is about those valuable groups. One of them being EO, we’re both in EO, what are some takeaways that you’ve gotten from, from EO being in a group of like-minded entrepreneurs.

Cameron Heffernan  34:10 

I’ve gotten so much out of being an EO, I joined 2019. It’s other people who know what you’re dealing with, who can identify with struggles that you’re facing, and people who have overcome what you’re now struggling with at the moment, you can go to them, and it’s a very open and accessible community. It’s a great way to get insights or suggestions or tips and people in EO don’t give advice. It’s about sharing experiences. So I’ve seen that this has worked. I have seen that that didn’t work. Yes, you can get new business from it. But it’s not about that. It’s about a community that understands where you’re coming from, could help each other out and sort of has been there before. So I found it a fantastic learning experience. I think the last couple of years I’ve really committed to ongoing learning know you’re always going to be focusing in iterating and improving and try to do better.

Jeremy Weisz  35:06 

I love it. Cameron, I wanted the first one. Thank you everyone, check out and more episodes of the podcast. And thanks Cameron. Thanks everyone.

Cameron Heffernan  35:17 

Thank you Jeremy. Really appreciate your time. Thanks a lot.