In this week’s episode of Growth Interviews, we invite you to join our podcast conversation with Ryan Kulp, an extraordinary insightful marketing expert with an unmatched worldwide experience.
Welcome to Growth Interviews!
Welcome to Growth Interviews, the fun, stimulating and engaging series of conversations driven by digital business growth. Our mission is to provide valuable insights from the eCommerce arena, and each episode is a fascinating quest into the best-kept business secrets and money-making strategies of an insightful world-class expert.
Ryan is a marketer, musician, and self-taught developer. He’s built more than 30 web apps in his spare time and hosts a live stream series where he builds new products from scratch in a day. In addition to running Fomo.com, he has a portfolio of small apps that generate over $1.6mm per year. His latest project, MicroAcquisitions.com, is an extensive course on learning how to buy, grow and sell small companies with little to no money upfront. Ryan has been traveling full-time for 8 months but has been based in NYC since 2013.
Growth is the hottest subject of the digital world in 2020 and everyone’s focus is on finding the best recipe for it. From our podcast with Ryan Kulp, you will find exactly where you should focus and how to innovate to get the best results. Just press play. There is a lot more waiting for you!
Here are the biggest takeaways:
- How digital in widening the physical experience – 03.13
- What growth means for professionals in the digital space – 07.03
- How to identify growth barriers – 16.23
- Customer Retention in e-Commerce. An expert’s point of view – 25.41
- Growth Ideas – 35.43
Digital is Widening the Physical Perspective
The world is shrinking. Having the possibility to reach every corner of the planet in a matter of hours at affordable prices creates a new perspective. On top of that, all the digital tools that we have at this point, that help us manage ourselves, our travel, our money, our households, our business are giving us a sense of security of independence and especially of possibility. An avid traveler, our Growth Interviews guest Ryan Kulp shed some light on how digital is widening the physical perspective and how traveling and experiencing different cultures narrows down the most important things to focus on.
A marketer, a traveler and enthusiast digital thinker Ryan Kulp observed the world from other angles, started seeing the gaps and, at the same time, the opportunities of leveraging what he knows to what is missing in a specific place. Innovation in his perspective is not only about creating something new that really responds to specific human needs but also to bring something that already exists to a new place where it is needed.
Many businesses faced along the time the problem of meeting an unprepared market, a market that was not ready for a product, an idea, a service and so on. Many entrepreneurs failed and many have been stubborn enough to survive and see the day when their market matured and the adoption of their product or service grew exponentially. Far from being just a legend, the timing of entering a market is of the essence and Ryan Kulp emphasized that many times during our talk: ‘timing is a critical aspect and you can think of timing as marketing.’
What Growth Means for Professionals in the Digital Space
‘As marketers were so in love with tools’ said Ryan during our chat and we agreed with him. We live in an age of martech where there is a tool for everything. Every marketer can plan, test, approximate leads and conversions and scale before launching a campaign without even starting to write a brief. For many, it feels like magic but Ryan Kulp considers it a pretty dangerous and superficial road. No matter how good and performant tools can be, they are as smart and good and performant as their operator which, in most cases is the marketer. Going further with our talk from this perspective, Ryan sheds light on the human side of things. Marketers are emotional beings that are actually trying to help other humans find what they want and need in the best possible way. If marketers miss the empathetic aspect of the entire shopping journey, they miss the most important point. Data is just an effect. A causality. Most important is creating the right trigger. And the right trigger is always emotional. Data is the easy way out, but real marketing means real human experience and willingness to be of service at your best.
Most of the tools are not used at their full capacity. Being at your best professional self, being informed, thoughtful, enthusiast and always reaching for new experiences regarding the customers, also means that there is a better understanding of the target and a deeper need to use the tools at their full capacity.
Effectiveness does not come from the digital world but from the professionals in marketing as every machine gets ten times better the moment its operator ads a new layer of thinking and creates new perspectives. In the end, it all comes down to a great question Ryan Kulp asked: ‘how can we change ourselves so that every lever we pull as a growth marketer is more valuable.’
Barriers of Growth
Growth in the digital business landscape is a very hot subject right now. Many practitioners that found their niche and found a great recipe in their industry are sharing their knowledge at conferences, talks, through podcasts, articles and books. Many have common points, experienced the same turning points and their conclusion might be similar many times.
After working on many different projects that had different low points, needs and addressed to different industries and markets Ryan Kulp concluded a most interesting aspect. Growth cannot be truly achieved on the outside until it is not achieved on the inside, meaning a digital entrepreneur must find a way to become more efficient as a person in order to have the capacity of creating a more efficient organization. He confessed that, in order to achieve healthy growth, he needed leverage and scalability for himself first. ‘So when you work on multiple projects in parallel, it forces you to work on each of them a little bit differently.’ Different projects involve different processes that have to be treated separately but they all have a few things in common and those are the points that have to be leveraged. Those are the points that helped Ryan scaling his processes and figuring out how to get people a unique customer touch in a scalable way. Finding the common points and scaling on them is the first step. Is the basis. “But how do you serve a lot of customers really well? , asked Ryan during our chat. The answer is through the “personalization scale”.
In marketing, unlike other industries, everybody is sharing information, knowledge and best practices. But even with all that, success is not a guarantee; on the contrary. I simply because marketing is also art not only science and it comes down to people, their skills and ultimately their talent to create something different. For a great digital marketer to become really successful, the most important thing is to scale the unique mix of knowledge and talent, to scale a personal and unique approach.
Points of View on Customer Retention in e-Commerce
‘Well for e-commerce specifically you know the whole world is moving towards subscription everything not only in the sense that you pay every period but subscription everything in the sense that we no longer own things.’ stated Ryan Kulp at the beginning of our great chat on customer retention in e-commerce.
The world economy is moving towards being an asset list and no one will not be really owning anything anymore in a short while. For Ryan ‘it doesn’t make sense every time I want something to google around and click a bunch of Facebook ads and go to the third page of results and comparison shop. I should find things I love subscribing them and not think about it again because humans have better things to do.’
No matter how good marketers get at manipulating audience targeting, performance media and advertising, for Ryan Kulp everything seems far removed from ‘why a lot of us get into the business, which is to help people and in the process when you help people to get paid.’
And he continued ‘every conversation you had with the customer treat it as a pre-sales conversation because the average customer today in any business especially as a subscription business, their lifetime value is usually 10 times whatever they paid you the first time they become a customer. So, therefore, you need to treat every conversation like you’re not even close to tapping into the value.’
The focus should be on the client and how to help them solve their problems in such a smooth way so that they will want to become a subscription customer, forget about their problems and see the product as the greatest permanent solution for them.
Growth Ideas for E-commerce
There are always great complex schemas of channels and CTAs and ideas on what works better in e-Commerce but in Ryan’s vision, before going big with the communication the focus should be on the direct response to the customers which mainly happens through email and newsletter automation, and how that response feels like.
After almost 4 years working with e-Commerce, Ryan’s observations and critiques do not focus on the timing of the mailing but on the quality of the message which lacks empathy and interest towards the customer. ‘You just get the vibe that stores don’t care about you’ In his opinion, every e-Commerce that wants to grow must focus on customers and especially on how they feel about the products and the shopping experience before, while shopping, and especially afterwards. The after-sales process, with all the messaging, does not only create a good feeling and memory about the shopping experience but also gives the online store the opportunity to create an up-sell program and to leverage every relationship with every customer. This is a lacking aspect that is a must-do from our guest’s perspective.
The second growth idea goes to observing the customers more closely and observe their patterns and behavior trends. Consumers are savvier than ever these days. Everybody is looking for the best products at the best prices with the best services included. Even if the customers find exactly what they wished for, they will always make comparisons and they will always look for a better deal that fulfills their need to win the so-called shopping battle. The difference an eCommerce can make for winning the price battle is in storytelling and branding and Ryan has a wonderful point of view reminding us that that there is no price tag and comparisons between stories. No one can doubt a price on something that already shows value.
Growth is the main theme of 2020 and all digital entrepreneurs are looking for the best solutions and trying out the best practices to figure out what works best for the business. But no matter how good and complex the marketing mix is, the most important aspects of succeeding will always be two, actually very simple things, no one should ever take their eye off: great customer care and products of undeniable quality.
We hope you enjoyed our video interview with Ryan Kulp.
For more valuable insights, make sure you come back to check out our next Growth Interviews as well.
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