Get Your Brand Discovered Through Third-party Validation


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Are You Ready For Your Close Up?

Getting the word out about your business can be tough, and while there are many marketing and advertising strategies that can help you reach your goal, one extremely effective strategy can be validation by a third-party expert. After all, isn't it more effective to have a credible source brag about your product or service compared to a company social media manager?

Mark Crawford, a partner at TechMeetsTrader, sat down with our CEO to give his expert advice on how to use consumer data to get your brand in front of the right third party. In this blog, Hollywood Branded discusses how to make sure your brand is able to be discovered completely through third-party validation from information that exists online and not some information you put there.

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A Little More About Mark 

Mark is a partner with TechMeetsTrader, an investment service that specializes in early-stage ventures and market-neutral trading companies meaning, he works with those super trendy companies like blockchain, fintech, crypto, and VC companies. Mark specializes in implementing data-driven business development designed to drive growth on a global scale.

He previously worked at the Interpublic Group, where he managed accounts for Fortune 500 companies like Charles Schwab, J&J, and Fiat Chrysler Automotive, and at IPG, where helped outlay $50M worth of digital investments across a portfolio of over 20 companies, including Meredith Corporation, Hulu, Roku, MiQ, and Amobee, and served as a CMO at Amplify Exchange where he launched their cryptocurrency brokerage across 150 countries. He is now an advisor for several blockchain startups.

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Interview Transcript Highlights

Question: You have a very impressive resume, you have worked at some very large big companies, and you have worked with a lot of marketing and assets, but what was the drive to get you here today?

Answer: I've been busy. You read it all as a list as well; it sounds so exciting.  But really, for me, I always followed in my career wherever I felt I could actually move the needle the most. So even when I started out in my career, I picked a very niche job at IPG, which was a big holding company, because the role itself, I knew, had a lot of responsibility and was going to be able to have a lot of impact. And then, throughout my life, I just always been looking to pick up more responsibility, pick up more things to do, pick up more, you know, ways that I know I'm going to impact the bottom line of our customers, the bottom line of our companies, and you know ultimately also it doesn't hurt, but my bottom line as well.

Question: You made some really good points about how complex it is, and what you and I were chatting about before is that there is actually a secret to helping these brands establish themselves and build their identity, and that was through the utilization of getting other people talking and other content and third-party validation to build a brand. Where is it that you see brands should be using this?

Answer: I see it from a number of perspectives, and one of the things that we start with very early on is just the concept of branding the entrepreneurs themselves, right? Because in the early days of any company, any startup, right, really, if you're looking to raise around, if you're looking to, you know, get people involved—certainly in the crypto space—but in those early days of early adopters, it's not only your product that they're looking at, they're really looking at the team. And if the founder and the actual entrepreneur who's behind the organization isn't living, breathing, sleeping, and constantly talking about that organization across his or her own social accounts, interviews, and appearances, what have you, it all goes out the window. So we stabilize that very, very quickly, and we do it through speaking engagements and interviews with reporters and press and podcasts, and you know, conference appearances and organizing their social, right? And that starts the snowball because then you start to develop the halo effect. And what we really monitor more than anything else is you can go out and pay for anything, right? Everything. That's pretty widely known at this point is that you can go out and buy your way to the Forbe's List if you really want to...There's a contributing writer who will write about you somewhere, and that would be a very helpful tool. But mapping out a strategy of using paid placements to generate organic content is something that's not often done. Because people will go out of the gate and say, "You know what I'm just gonna do one of these packages, you know. I'm going to get featured on all of these news things it's gonna cost me." But you see them all the time people reach out, and they're like, "Get your thing featured on CNN," and it's like a local news station that you've never heard of somewhere...and people think that this is going to move the needle, and it really it doesn't unless you already have so much web traffic and so much interest that that's going to convert them. But the reality is that that's not going to generate new interest. It's just going to, potentially, it could convert existing interest.

What we do is we sit down and say, "Here's a storyline. Here's a story arc. And here is like basically a series that we can do of paid placement, you know, contracted engagements, you know, articles, podcasts, what have you, all the gauntlet that's going to tell a progressive story that then we can pitch out throughout the process of it and start getting a sort of industry buzz and industry chatter. And then through that, through UGC campaigns like user-generated content, where you would do campaigns and giveaways and stuff around these sort of milestones in the story arc, you get a halo effect that doesn't just convert people who are already in your pipeline. It actually draws new people in because the places where you're going to be featured have actual eyeballs. It's not a local news channel that is technically operated by CNN that lets you slap the logo on your website, right?

Question: What are the first steps that you suggest when you're working with them? Now I know that you've created this whole collection of inner agencies and consultants and team members who can do your beckoning. But what is the first approach?

Answer: I say map down a story. I say you sit down and outline what you want to be talking about from right now all the way out through as far as you can think, right? And I understand that like you're developing a product, the product timelines are going to become very difficult. So with a product-based business that's not fully out to market yet, we always recommend to be anywhere up to 80% of evergreen content and only 20% timely, so that you can use your labor hours to produce stuff that's not going to immediately expire, A, and, B, if the product doesn't hit timelines, you can still move forward with the story, right? That becomes important. But go through it and say, "Okay, we're going to start talking about this launch. We're going to start talking about this like the ethos of the company. We're going to do a CEO interview. We're going to do this. We're going to do that," as if you have all the resources. 

Make that whole plan, and then eventually, even if you are only doing it on your owned media channels, you will still be familiar with working with the process. And let the content actually drive everything that you're doing, right? So if you, if you're starting with a blog or you're starting with an article, you write the article, or you have your copywriter write the article, whoever's doing it, extrapolate all of your social as clips of that article. Right, pull pieces out of it, pull infographics out of it, pull all of this stuff out of it so that you're always driving people to an article. You're collecting their data in the link clicks. You're collecting their data the second they land on a page. Right? Then you can put them in a retargeting audience. You can do native ads for your future articles to make sure that they see them so that they know what's going on in your storyline, right? But then you can start to rinse and repeat that process with growing your audience. And then, when you are ready to start paying for PR, we are ready to start actually doing these placements in different areas, you have a big audience of people who, you know, are somewhat familiar with the brand because they clicked on an article once, and then as long as you're refreshing it within your ninety-day rolling period for all of your all of your laws, you're good, and you can talk to all of them whenever you want, through retargeting ads, and you'll be happy that you set it up for when you ready to spend.

Question: What are the mistakes that you see that people make in this space along the way?

Answer: I actually think that one of the saddest things that I find is people who don't set up any kind of a CRM or audience tracking, or anything like that, or in the early days. Like if you have a website, you should have some type of download. It's a really simple thing, and it's not like hugely what we do—obviously, we'll throw Google Analytics on your site if you don't have it, it's not a problem. But I can't tell you how many companies I've met with like five-ten years into being in operations, and they don't even have their email subscriber list. They don't have a retargeting pixel. So they don't even have Google analytics, they don't know where their site audience is from. Any product you're developing, anything that you're marketing, anything that you're doing, the more you can identify your consumer and be able to identify from day one what your audience is, the more effective any of this is going to be. Because if you come to us, and you say, "Okay, I'm ready to start," if you haven't already done that sort of homework, right, where you know who your consumer is, that's the first thing that we have to sit down and do. And we do it all day, don't get me wrong, we'll find them. But it's a lot simpler for all of us to get started faster if you can say, "Here's my consumer. Take a look at my Google Analytics. Here's my data look through it. Here's an email list," we'll find more people like that, right? We'll be able to find and put you in front of opportunities, put you on the right podcast, on the right articles, on the right social channels, in the right Twitter spaces, all that kind of stuff with your audience at the forefront of everything that you're doing rather than saying, "Well, let's figure out who they are first."

Question: What advice would you give to your audience?

Answer: I'm gonna say it again. Do your homework. If you don't know how to get it all set up, and you don't want to pay someone big bucks, get someone on Upwork just to go get your analytics and everything set up. Just don't leave it on the table.

Check Out The Podcast!

Mark has so much great information from his experience and background in marketing and as an advisor. Check out the podcast below to learn more about utilizing third-party validation to get your brand discovered. 

Every week we have a marketing professional on our show to share their tips, tricks and lessons learned from their professional experience. Check out some of our other podcast blogs from earlier this year: 

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