As a part of our series about “Marketing Strategies From The Top” I had the pleasure of interviewing Marco Hernandez of Kaizen Social. Marco has 14+ yrs of successful Sales & Marketing Telecom, SaaS and eCommerce with a track record of over 100MM in sales over 10+ countries, and 3 continents. He’s an accomplished, forward-thinking, and goal-focused entrepreneur with an extensive background in sales leadership, business development and marketing.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, or readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Destiny. I say that as a joke at first, but 5 years ago, I was at a “Date with Destiny” — a development seminar from Tony Robbins — and the conversation centered our human needs.
I realized then that I had met a few of my needs — the need of certainty and the need of significance. However I was not happy, professionally and individually.
It was then that I asked the Universe for a change and to give me more variety (uncertainty) and provide me with a vision of growth.
Little did I know that the Universe would listen to me and shake my world, take away all my finances and force me to start from scratch. In a timespan of 3 months, I lost over 250,000 dollars. In less than 18months, I lost over 350,000 dollars.
I had to tap back into my resourcefulness to survive and that’s where I met my current mentor, Cat Howell, who taught me the ins and outs of building a successful marketing agency.
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I think publishing an ad with the wrong headline and wrong photo, and the ad becoming the BEST producing ad at a 30x return. This story demonstrates that you can’t say the wrong thing to the right audience. I mean when a tribe loves the brand, it doesn’t matter!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We invest a lot in our training. We’re connected with the top piers in the marketing space and updated on the latest techniques that yield the best results. We’ve been taking care of a few clients a month but now are transitioning into a major role into scaling. We are looking to grow to 5–6x our size in 2020. I would like to keep the company as personal as possible. I never liked big agencies that do not have that human touch with customers.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes!!! Very exciting projects. Two projects actually. The first is the expansion of the agency. We want to be able to serve 25–30 clients consistently which will demand growth and investment in human capital. I want to bring onboard media buyers, web developers and branding experts to the table.
The second project comes more from my bio-hacker and health side background. I’ve always been passionate about hacking the body and learning nutritional and meditation techniques and overall health and wellness. Knowing the “insider secrets” of how-to marketing and building brands and empires for others, I decided to launch my own e-commerce brand. I’ve partnered with strategic farmers and manufacturers and launched my own Product Line — HOOPLA™.
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
I’m not a balanced individual, to be honest with you. I swing quite hard on the pendulum from going all in to crashing and burning. Then I would take a few days off and get back on track.
We talk about being balanced, but when I look at the billionaires in the world and the richest people, they didn’t get there by being balanced. I believe in priorities. There are stages in life where you have to give 10,12,14 hours a day. Businesses are like a baby: they need time, food and comfort.
The thing that helped me the most is forgetting about a Monday to Friday 9 to 5 routine. In the entrepreneurial online space, there is no Monday, or Friday or Sunday. We are always open for business.
I serve clients in Australia and sometimes I work Sunday afternoons. Sometimes I get messages at 10p, 11pm, 1am because the world is awake!
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. There are hundreds of memorable marketing campaigns that have become part of the lexicon of our culture. What is your favorite marketing or branding campaign from history? Can you explain why you like that so much?
I’ve always liked campaigns that speak to the consumers and their dreams. For example, the iconic De Beers “ a diamond is forever” has stuck through generations and changed the direction of an industry. For me, I like practical advertising like XX Lager and “The Most Interesting Man in the World”. I mean, who doesn’t want to be like that guy! It’s like Chuck Norris 10x’ed. I think it taps into the male personality of the Alpha and who we would all like to be when we grow old.
If you could break down a very successful campaign into a “blueprint”, what would that blueprint look like? Please share some stories or examples of your ideas.
I attribute this blueprint to my good friend Curt Maly. I cannot take ownership of this framework, although I think it’s the most brilliant thing ever. It’s called B.E.L.T. (or Belt Method) which stands for Belief, Engage, Lead and Transact.
We believe that customers show up in front of a brand and buy. That is totally wrong. There is a customer journey that we need to interact and guide along this process. Each stage represents relevancy and content
Companies like Google and Facebook have totally disrupted how companies market over the past 15 years. At the same time, consumers have become more jaded and resistant to anything “salesy”. In your industry, where do you see the future of marketing going?
When you study the stages of advertising, we are reaching a tough era where consumers are savvy ,they can Google, or search for products in an instant and at the same time get distracted within a few seconds of interacting with you. We are seeing more touch-points are needed to get a product through to the consumer and of course that raises the costs. We need to be in front of them MORE times now which costs MORE.
We are seeing successful brands thrive by being relevant. In the past I would see brands pitching “look at us we are cool with these products”.. then it switched to “you can be cool using our products”. Now it’s not that much, it’s all about consumers telling stories of how products have changed their lives..
Marketing campaigns that have an underlying story that connects to similar audiences explode brands.
Can you please tell us the 5 things you wish someone told you before you started? Can you please share a story or example for each.
1. Building a business to reach freedom will not make you free. We leave corporate jobs to build our legacy thinking “no more boss” only to realize “being your own boss” is actually tougher. We spend more time working than before, sometimes for less recognition and revenue, with the hope that we one day flip it around.
2. Enjoy the journey. We look at the end-goal but we rarely stop and be present. On multiple occasions, I have stopped to realize a year, two or 10 have gone by. Sometimes I regret that I haven’t enjoyed it to the 100%.
3. Invest at early age. I wish I started investing in my own business or other businesses at 20. It would be a different story now at 38.
4. Failure is inevitable. Behind every successful story there are hundreds of unsuccessful untold stories. We hear the positives but rarely hear the journey and the hell these people have gone through. Everyone wants to be Michael Jordan, few show up early to practice.
5. Talk More. I grew up old school where you shouldn’t talk to other students, you shouldn’t copy, you shouldn’t question things. I think the world has evolved. We are in a connected society. You have to see what others are doing, duplicate it if it works, talk to other people all day long (isn’t that sales?). I had a lot of patterns to change and replace to keep up in this new world
Can you share a few examples of marketing tools or marketing technology that you think can dramatically empower small business owners to become more effective marketers?
Easy, learn Neuro-Linguistic Programming and study the work of amazing copywriters like Jay Abraham, Gary Halbert and David Ogilvy.
The information is there, and human mind and emotions have not changed in the last thousand years. The same triggers move us. Learn how to properly tap into those emotions and you’ll be wealthy.
What books, podcasts, documentaries or other resources do you use to sharpen your marketing skills?
Principles by Ray Dalio is my latest go-to book about business, investment and personal finances.
For marketing I keep myself up to date with content from great marketers like Cat Howell, Depesh Mandalia, Tim Burd.
Joe Rogan is a great source of cool information!
Lately I’ve been listening a lot to Patrick Bet David. I think he’s super smart and gives a lot of value on his YouTube Channel.
Who is your hero? Can you explain or share a story about why that person resonates with you?
Tony Robbins, hands down. I will never say he fixed me or rescued me but I’ll say he unveiled the secrets of the mind, psychology and how to create a lasting change by being in a peak performance state. Every time I encounter a tough situation, I ask myself “what would someone of the caliber of Tony do? How would he react and what actions would he take?”
I think that he’s living proof of the potential of creating daily rituals and habits that can push your limits.
I admire Wim Hof — I’ve practiced his teachings and I take cold showers now everyday — I don’t like it but it pushes me to become better by doing things I don’t like to do. I think Wim is uncovering secrets of our body and the amazing things we can do. I highly respect him.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
The movement of being better every day. My company is called Kaizen because it is based on the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen. Kaizen means continuous and never ending improvement. I would love if everyone would dedicate a few minutes or hours a day to improving themselves. Unfortunately we don’t and I would like to change that.
How can our readers follow you online?
To follow our agency: facebook.com/kaizensocialmarketing
To follow our brand on Instagram @simplyhoopla
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.