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Zach Boyette of Galactic Fed: “Don’t compare yourself too much to competitors”

Don’t compare yourself too much to competitors: it’s okay to look around at what others are doing, but ultimately, find what you have to offer the world and maximize on that. Draw on inspiration from historical icons: look back at people who did/are doing what you want to be doing and dissect how they did it. Be […]

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Don’t compare yourself too much to competitors: it’s okay to look around at what others are doing, but ultimately, find what you have to offer the world and maximize on that.

Draw on inspiration from historical icons: look back at people who did/are doing what you want to be doing and dissect how they did it.

Be fun and memorable: people can tell when you’re doing what you love. Make an impact and leave an impression.


As part of our series about how to create a trusted, believable, and beloved brand, I had the pleasure of interviewing Zach Boyette, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Galactic Fed, a multinational, fully-remote marketing agency with employees all around the world. Previously he worked at Google, Toptal, and Procter & Gamble.

Given the remote nature of his work, Zach is a “digital nomad,” living full-time out of Airbnbs, and moving locations every few weeks (with the exception of current COVID lockdowns, of course). In the last 4 years alone he has visited 50+ countries, from western Europe to Morocco to Japan to Colombia and everywhere in between. Zach is also an alumnus of Remote Year, a travel program for working professionals.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’ve dabbled in a few areas — software engineering, tech startups, prominent corporate advertising. What I found I liked best, time, and time again, was the digital marketing component of making businesses grow. It’s so scalable! And important! I really fell in love with marketing while building my first startup, Recsy, while a junior in college — and carried it through my career at Procter & Gamble, Google, and unicorn tech startup Toptal. So, starting an agency made a lot of sense because I have a background in this space. I told my colleagues at Toptal that I was leaving, and discovered that my colleague, Irina Papuc, was also going to start her agency in the same space — so it was a perfect fit for us to join co-founders. I focused on paid media; she focused on SEO. With our similar approach, it made sense for us to join forces, and Galactic Fed was born.

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?

The first encounter I had with Google Ads was when I was working a high school job at a pizza place in Chattanooga, TN. I was the pizza mule in the back of the kitchen, shoving pizzas into an oven, but not allowed to eat any of them. I got to chatting with the owner, and he said he was trying “The AdWords,” and asked if I could take a look. So I ended up running his Google AdWords account for that summer and probably did a terrible job. Just bidding on broad match keywords like “pizza,” I had no idea what I was doing. But I thought it was the coolest platform ever, and it opened my eyes up to the power of digital marketing.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

There are a billion other marketing agencies out there, and I know that. One of the everyday things we’ll hear is when companies come to us and say, “We just had a terrible experience in this space with the last agency we hired, how can we trust you? How can we believe that you guys are different? You might have a slick sales pitch, and you sound like you’re good, but how do we know?”

Our focus has been in the like Silicon Valley startup type mentality. That’s where my Co-Founder, Irina, and I grew up, working at companies like Toptal. But if you take this sort of approach of testing small, scaling from there, being creative and thinking outside the box, that’s the kind of approach that we try to take to everything.

And it typically works well. And again, just being honest and open and transparent with our clients has been helpful for us. We found that trying to have a cookie-cutter, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work in this space. You need to make sure that you’re customizing your approach while also having best practices.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We recently submitted our papers to receive our 501(c)(3) for the new, non-profit arm of Galactic Fed, called Galactic Good. The mission of Galactic Good is to work with partner agencies and freelancers to provide nonprofits with pro bono marketing services at scale. More to come on this exciting new venture soon.

Ok let’s now jump to the core part of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define the difference between brand marketing (branding) and product marketing (advertising)? Can you explain?

Brand Marketing is the story you tell about your brand. It’s how you position who you are and what you stand for. It’s not always directly related to specific products and engages your audience at a high level. Product marketing is much more detailed, more technical, usually with more concrete details. It typically addresses your buyer’s specific pain points. Brand marketing is who you are, and product marketing is what you do.

Can you explain to our readers why it is important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, in addition to the general marketing and advertising efforts?

The days of consumers blindly making a purchase are in the rearview mirror. Typical consumers do way more research into a brand before buying/hiring, and we are seeing that they educate themselves much more. They want to get the full story, learn company values, essentially, the face behind the machine. Buying has become more emotional and less transactional and ensuring you’re telling the right story about your brand can attract or repel potential customers.

Can you share 5 strategies that a company should be doing to build a trusted and believable brand? Please tell us a story or example for each.

Invest in good design: the look of your products speaks volumes about your brand.

Use digital marketing: it’s clear that digital marketing IS the future of marketing, so staying up to date on trends, testing things out, and finding what works for you is crucial.

Don’t compare yourself too much to competitors: it’s okay to look around at what others are doing, but ultimately, find what you have to offer the world and maximize on that.

Draw on inspiration from historical icons: look back at people who did/are doing what you want to be doing and dissect how they did it.

Be fun and memorable: people can tell when you’re doing what you love. Make an impact and leave an impression.

In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job building a believable and beloved brand. What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?

HiCharlie.com — a former client of ours — I love that their whole brand is built around an anthropomorphized penguin who gives you financial tips. I love the idea of taking something complicated and giving it a friendly face to simplify it.

In advertising, one generally measures success by the number of sales. How does one measure the success of a brand building campaign? Is it similar, is it different?

There are a few ways to do this, like measuring brand sentiment, setting goals and benchmarks, and utilizing brand surveys. We also use data to identify reach, engagement, and social shares while tapping into social listening.

What role does social media play in your branding efforts?

Social media is a crucial element to brand marketing. It tells your brand story while weaving in product marketing through content and ads. It allows you to build and grow an online community with like-minded individuals and gives a platform to teach your audience who you are and have a direct line of contact to review feedback and identify sentiment.

What advice would you give to other marketers or business leaders to thrive and avoid burnout?

Work remotely. And if you can travel the world while you work. Why not? Nothing makes me feel more alive than firing up my laptop in an exotic cafe in a new country.

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. 🙂

I’m incredibly interested in climate change. After Galactic Fed, I’d love to start a business in this space, particularly addressing the inevitable mass human migration due to climate change that will occur in the coming years.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“To sit home, read one’s favorite paper, and scoff at the misdeeds of the men who do things is easy, but it is markedly ineffective. It is what evil men count upon the good men’s doing.” — Teddy Roosevelt. There are plenty of people criticizing and poking holes in the institutions of today, but far fewer people going out there and building novel things to change the world. Be that person.

We are blessed that very prominent leaders in business and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a lunch or breakfast with? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I’ve loved following along on Sam Altman’s journey as he’s taken over Y Combinator and made a big name for himself in the startup world. I’m sure he’d have a lot of great advice to share.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Twitter: @zachboyette, LinkedIn

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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