Episode 29 – Understand your market holistically to understand the importance of metrics.

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Episode 29 – Understand your market holistically to understand the importance of metrics.

understand the importance of metrics

My guest on the show today is Mariano Di FabioMariano Di Fabio is CEO and Founder of Aveilent, Digital Marketing agency. Marian is an Application Development expert with leadership qualities, excellent oral and written communication skills, and strong technical skills seeks business opportunities in the New York/New Jersey area. Highly adaptive to any business process, with the ability to present out-of-the-box solutions to high-level professionals and effectively communicate these solutions to developers resulting in a streamlined workflow process. Particularly adept at Oracle technologies.

Highlights from this Conversation

Focus of Conversation: Understand your market holistically to understand the importance of metrics.

Related to Digital Marketing

    1. What has worked well for you?
      1. Bringing customers data to make smart business decisions
      2. Understanding client goals more holistically
      3. Because this one size fits all approach doesn’t work
  • Bridging data to meet the clients specific goals
    1. What hasn’t worked well that we can learn from?
  • Data is not a way to defend your work.
      1. You can’t just geek out on the data
      2. Shortcuts don’t work
  • You must define data within the context of the organization.
  1. What are you excited about?
    1. Ever Changing field
    2. New technology always coming
    3. Increased mobile connection
  2. Links to Video Gear Adam was talking about:
    1. Phone Holder – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B076FQCWQG/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    2. Shotgun Mic – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015R0IQGW/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    3. Cord to connect mic to phone – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00L6C8T22/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    4. LED external light – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00K2EP4NM/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    5. Mini Tripod – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B018UP7Z5O/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Interview Transcript

Adam: [00:00:09] Hi and welcome to the Good People Good Marketing podcast, a podcast about nonprofit digital marketing and how to make it better so that good people at good organizations can have good marketing as well.


[00:00:18] I’m your host Adam Walker, co-founder of Sideways Eight, a digital marketing agency that specializes in nonprofit work, and 48in48, a nonprofit dedicated to hosting events that build forty-eight websites for forty-eight nonprofits in forty-eight hours.


[00:00:30] My guest today is Mariano Di Fabio. He is the CEO and founder of Avelient, a digital marketing agency. He is an application development expert with leadership skills, excellent in oral and written communication skills, which we will test on this podcast, by the way, and strong technical skills. He is always looking for business opportunities in New York and New Jersey area.


[00:00:51] He’s highly adaptive at any business process with the ability to present out-of-the-box solutions to high-level professionals and effectively communicate these solutions to developers, resulting in streamlined workflow processes, particularly adept at Oracle technologies as well. Mariano, thanks for joining me on the podcast. How are you today?


Mariano: [00:01:12] Thanks very much man. I appreciate that intro and I’m doing just fine.


Adam: [00:01:17] Anything we need to add to that intro?


Mariano: [00:01:20] No, nothing you need to add. I’m feeling a little bit of pressure now because-.


Adam: [00:01:25] Because I said the communication skills thing, right? I put you on the spot.


Mariano: [00:01:28] Exactly. You’re putting me on the spot and I have to tell you also that that intro was great. I really loved listening to it while I was waiting.


Adam: [00:01:36] I appreciate that. That’s excellent. Well, then let’s dive in, man. I’m really excited to hear your perspective on this stuff, especially since you’re an agency owner/agency leader and a friend really enjoy talking to you about this, so let’s chat. Related to digital marketing, tell us something that’s worked well for you.


Mariano: [00:01:56] One of the things with digital working that I think has worked well for us recently especially is that when we engage new customers, what I really want them to understand is we’re going to try to bring them some data so that they can make smart business decisions about where to spend their marketing dollars.


[00:02:16] Whereas before we were focused on kind of saying the services that we offer are going to be good for SEO and bringing you up in your position in terms of Google, I think we try to play it as more of a consequence of getting to understand your business and how you acquire your customers.


[00:02:36] By the end, you feel like you’re working with someone who really understands what your goals are. Yes, your placement gets higher. Yes, you have more consistent representation throughout different websites on the web. But really we’re able to get to know your business within six to twelve months and start making recommendations that really kind of hone in on those specialties that you have in particular. I think that’s been successful for us.


Adam: [00:03:07] I think I’m hearing you say that you try to have a more holistic understanding of your customers so that you can figure out a more strategic way to better serve them rather than sort of throwing something at them that may or may not work because I think that’s the habit, right? “This worked for so and so, let’s try it over here.” And that’s not necessarily the best way to go, right?


Mariano: [00:03:28] Yeah, I think that’s exactly right. I think a lot of my experience in the field – I mean we’ve been doing this probably now for about six or seven years. A lot of my experience in the field is, “Hey, how can we show metrics that show that we’re successful.” They’re really kind of techno geeky type of metrics initially that business owners don’t really understand, “Okay, well, I don’t understand how this translates into our business.” Those metrics are important to us. We have to remember who we’re presenting them to and why they’re important.


[00:04:03] You have to kind of come up with a communication strategy for those business owners so they understand, okay, why is what we’re doing important to the business and not necessarily, “Hey, your website has great position.” It’s kind of figuring out how to communicate that information to them effectively.


Adam: [00:04:21] So it’s bridging the data to what actually connects with their real goals not just data for the sake of data?


Mariano: [00:04:30] Exactly, exactly.


Adam: [00:04:33] I love that. I think you’re right on that. Related to that, are there any specific tools that you use for measuring that data that’s like a favorite tool perhaps?


Mariano: [00:04:45] Well, right now we’re using Google Analytics, obviously that’s a pretty common industry standard. Then we do use Raven Tools for some of the data.


Adam: [00:04:57] Oh, yeah. I love Raven.


Mariano: [00:04:58] Yeah, Raven Tools is great. We’re also starting to look at some of the other tools that are out there that promote a little bit more business intelligence. Some of the tools that we’re exploring, Agency Analytics, we’re looking into a little bit more, which is really expensive but could provide us with some good data.


[00:05:22] Google also has a tool that we started exploring – and you have to forgive me, the name is escaping me right now, but it’s in beta and relatively new beta. It’s not like one of the perpetual Gmail betas that they’ve had in the past. But it’s a way to kind of take raw data from Google Analytics and present it in such a way that gives you a little bit more business intelligence like, “Hey, this is what the data is actually telling you about how people are using your website and what you should be doing to increase engagement.”


Adam: [00:05:58] I love that. Since I asked you about tools, I’ll mention two as well. We like to use Optimizely for A/B testing, makes A/B testing really easy. A/B testing for any listeners that may not be aware is something as simple as does a red button work better than a green button and then you test against those and see which one wins. Optimizely is great.


[00:06:19] Then also Lucky Orange we use for heat map analysis, also for video analysis. It’s really fascinating. You can actually see videos of how users are going through your site and you can watch their mouse on the screen and where they’re scrolling and then begin to get a better understanding of how they’re actually operating within the context of the site. Those are two tools that I really like from an analytics standpoint. It’s really interesting.


Mariano: [00:06:41] I am familiar with the heat mapping tool. I have to say I’m a little bit more on the marketing side of our company than the website development side of the company. I do know that they use A/B testing and heat mapping to see how people are using the sites. By the time it gets to marketing that has all kind of been worked out but definitely important tools for a complete website development strategy.


Adam: [00:07:12] Yeah 100%. Okay, so now for the fun question related to digital marketing, tell us something that has not worked well that we can learn from.


Mariano: [00:07:21] Oh, well, like I said kind of in the beginning, one of the things that we’ve learned over the last probably couple of years ago, if you start to present data as a way of defending your work it doesn’t translate well to the business owner. That’s why I kind of emphasize what is important for the business to understand so that they see that you’re doing good work.


[00:07:53] If you start to geek out on the data, which, believe me, as a technical person that’s something that we may have a tendency to do or if we’re talking to another marketer that’s fine, but a lot of these business owners, especially the ones that we deal with, they have core competencies that they really need to focus on. They need a marketer that’s going to come and tell them kind of straight out executive summary what’s going on.


[00:08:16] That’s one of the reasons why we changed our focus a little bit over the last I’d say a year and a half, two years is because we were getting into the weeds a little bit too much and not kind of helping the business to understand how we were really helping them in terms of dollars, in terms of increased people coming into the business, where to look for these clues that what we’re doing are helping. That was something that we definitely learned and learned the hard way in a couple of cases.


[00:08:52] Another area that we’ve been very cautious about is shortcuts. There are plenty of services out there that purport to be the shortcut to getting your reviews for your business quickly or getting your volume up in terms of search. Those shortcuts, generally speaking, don’t work.


[00:09:22] We take a very careful approach in looking at some of these shortcuts and making sure that we understand how they acquire the data or rankings that they’re getting and making sure that we kind of steer customers away from things that we don’t think are good. Sometimes customers are like, “Well, it’s cheaper to go that way and I’m going to do it,” and then they usually will end up getting burned in the end.


[00:09:50] Those are things that we fortunately never had to go too far down the path to discover that they didn’t work because we’re very kind of cautious about implementing things that seem too good to be true. So in terms of advice that I can give customers, just always be careful because there’s a lot of black hat techniques out there that don’t work and eventually we’ll be penalized for participating in them.


Adam: [00:10:17] Yeah, that’s right. In all honesty, you do get what you pay for with this stuff. I mean, you could try to take a short shortcut, and try to go the cheap route, and more often than not you’re going to pay for it. Either you’re going to pay for it by lack of results or you’re going to pay for it in negative results.


Mariano: [00:10:33] Right. Right.


Adam: [00:10:34] But you’re going to pay for it for sure, it’s just a question of when. I love what you said at first. Data is not a way to defend your work. I love that because what I’m hearing you say in the context of this whole conversation is that you start with the goals and then you figure out what the data says about those goals. I feel like we want to work the other way, right? Like, “Okay, well, we must be doing well because our bounce rate is down.” Well what does that even mean? And why? Why do we care that the bounce rate is down? How does that tie into the goals of the organization?


Mariano: [00:11:05] Exactly. Exactly. Bounce rate is a perfect example. Most people who aren’t in the industry don’t understand what a bounce rate is or they don’t even really understand the difference between sessions and unique visitors. Like I said, when you say geek out, that’s all data that people don’t understand.


[00:11:27] Google Analytics is this wealth of information but if you don’t know how to define that in the context of the goals of the organization then it’s really a lot of noise for you. That’s what I feel the role of a good digital marketing agency is, is to say, “Hey listen, tell me what your goals are. We’ll take this data and we’ll explain why these are reaching our goals.”


[00:11:52] Three key metrics that we look at for a lot of the organizations that we work with roll down to this, acquisition through a form that can directly translate into ROI. By that I mean, so you have an appointment request form, you have a contact us form on your website that if somebody fills that out, it’s a qualified lead for you. We can say based on the number of people who fill in those forms, “Okay, this is how much potential revenue your website saw this month.” That is attaching something that’s going on the website to a dollar value so that’s valuable for the business, right?


[00:12:34] We also do something similar for phone calls. We’re able to do some phone tracking. Then we do have the metric of how many visitors came on your site because that’s something that’s kind of easily relatable to somebody. We can say, “Hey listen, there are more people visiting your site now, one year from when you engaged us, than there were a year ago and that shows that we are successful in terms of bringing more people to your website.


Adam: [00:13:00] Right. I love that. Now for the fun question, related to digital marketing, what are you excited about?


Mariano: [00:13:08] Oh, there’s a lot of stuff that we’re excited about. I think one of the things that’s really interesting is that it’s an ever changing field. I’m a guy that I don’t like kind of sitting still.


Adam: [00:13:24] Like every entrepreneur.


Mariano: [00:13:29] Exactly. I think that’s what it is. I think that’s what defines an entrepreneur. I like that digital marketing is an ever changing field. I like that there’s always something new to read, always some new techniques that are going on.


[00:13:46] I don’t know a lot about the internet of things but I think that’s something that’s very exciting that’s potentially coming to us in the future. I’m excited to see that there’s a lot of development in terms of mobile and in terms of being connected.


[00:14:04] The things that I’m kind of cautious about in terms of all of that is that I want to see that these things are being continually developed as tools for us to live our lives more simply and more easily, but I don’t want them to overtake our lives. I think that’s kind of the balance that you have to strike when dealing with technology is there’s a lot of exciting things coming down the pipe, but not necessarily all of it is good. You have to at least be controlled about it.


[00:14:38] The other thing – I’ll confess I just got my iPhone X a few weeks ago. There’s a lot of potential there in terms of augmented reality, virtual reality, the way photographs are being generated for these phones now are just unbelievable. You basically don’t need a separate camera; you just need to learn how to use your phone for those things.


[00:15:18] Those could definitely apply to digital marketing as well like, taking some photos of your customers as they’re getting a great experience at your business and then using that on social media to post. You don’t even need a professional photographer to do it, whereas you did before. There’s a lot of (15:37 inaudible) things going on.


Adam: [00:15:40] Yeah, I can relate. I also have an iPhone X and I just recently got what I would kind of define as a mobile video rig for it. I’ve got a way to attach the iPhone to this sort of larger handheld sort of bracket and then I can attach a separate shotgun mic on top of that to get better audio quality that plugs straight in. Then I’ve also got a light that I attach on top, it’s an LED light that’s dimmable, so I can get a better view and I can even put filters on that and all that sort of stuff. I’ve got like a mini tripod so I can do time lapse or whatever.


[00:16:18] Now I can basically – I can go to an event and I’ve actually done this in the past for my church and I’m actually going to do it for 48in48 events. But I can go to an event and I can use this gear to interview people and take time lapses of the event and all this sort of stuff. Then I’ve got some apps on the iPhone to just throw together a quick three-minute video. I can have the whole video done in maybe fifteen minutes max and ready to share out.


[00:16:44] It’s really, really high quality. It’s obviously not as good as if like an actual videographer did it, but it’s real close and especially when you realize that you’re doing all this – I think the whole rig, aside from the iPhone of course, costs like $120 or something. It’s not a lot.


Mariano: [00:17:02] No, it’s not.


Adam: [00:17:02] So for 120 bucks you can shoot amazing videos.


Mariano: [00:17:05] The advantage to something like that is that, especially since we’re talking about nonprofits, it makes something that’s normally way out of the price range of a nonprofit or at least cost prohibitive, a lot more accessible. Granted the phone itself is expensive, but a lot of people have the phone to begin with anyway. To have some of this material and the kinds of quality video, and you have to admit something to me, you’re that Dad at those sporting events, aren’t you?


Adam: [00:17:44] It’s possible. I’m like the guy they have to like, “Sir, you have to get off the field. Sir, you cannot be on the field.” Like, “Come on. I just want to get a video.”


[00:17:56] Also for our listeners, I’ll mention this I will add the links in the show notes to all of the gear that I’m talking about, if you want to go check it out and possibly get some of the stuff for yourself. It’s pretty interesting stuff and it’s really working well for me.


[00:18:12] Mariano, let me see if I can recap everything we’ve talked about so far to make sure our listeners have some good takeaways and then you can tell me what I got wrong and what you want to add to it.


[00:18:22] Related to what has worked well for you, you said bringing customers data to make smart business decisions but not just data but first understanding the client’s goals holistically and then fitting that data into those goals to understand what data matters, what doesn’t, and what it tells you about how things are actually going because a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. I think specifically the term used there that I highlighted was bridging data to meet the client’s specific goals, which I really like that sort of tagline idea.


[00:18:52] Under what hasn’t worked well you said, data is not a way to defend your work, which is also in bold in my notes because I completely agree with you. That’s a fantastic statement. You can’t just geek out on data; you have to really use it for what it’s there for. Shortcuts don’t work and in fact they will end up costing you more money. I wrote this down. I think this is a verbatim quote from you, you said ‘you must find data within the context of the organization,’ which I think is brilliant and really, really well done.


[00:19:20] Then for what are you excited about, you said the ever changing field of marketing technology. Also, just all the new technology that’s coming up consistently and increased mobile connection and all the stuff that you can do with the mobile devices related to augmented reality, virtual reality and even what we just talked about, video, photography, all kinds of amazing stuff right there in the palm of your hand.


[00:19:41] Did I miss anything in all that?


Mariano: [00:19:43] No, no. I think that you sufficiently stroked my ego. Thank you.


Adam: [00:19:48] Listen, there were some really good quotes in there. I really did write them down verbatim.


Mariano: [00:19:54] Thank you.


Adam: [00:19:54] It was really, really well done. I appreciate that. Well, before I wrap up here do you have any kind of last thoughts you’d like to share with the listeners?


Mariano: [00:20:03] I think the only thing that I would say from a marketing perspective is when you engage a marketing company just be sure that you’re fully engaged. A lot of marketing companies will come to you and they will show you every reason why they’re going to help your business and many marketing companies out there do. I’m not saying that they don’t. But a lot of them need your engagement.


[00:20:33] If you want marketing to be successful, the effort that they need from you is not a lot but they can’t do everything because, remember, that part of marketing is marketing your business and only you are an expert in your business. They need that help in order to get you to the success point that you need to be. That’s the only thing that I would say will make or break a marketing deal.


Adam: [00:21:01] If you’re going to engage, engage fully, be present. I love that. Mariano this was amazing. Thanks (21:08 inaudible).


Mariano: [00:21:08] I was going to say the marketing companies will save you time. I don’t want people to take that away. The marketing companies will save you time by doing the kind of down in the weeds work, but yes, definitely engage.


Adam: [00:21:21] Well, they’ll save time and improve quality, right? We both run marketing agencies. We both do that because we know we can do high-quality work that’s highly valuable to the people that we provide it to. I totally agree with you.


[00:21:34] Mariano, this was really great, man. Thanks so much for being on the show.


[00:21:37] And thank you listeners for listening to Good People Good Marketing. To get more resources about nonprofit digital marketing, make sure to go to goodpeoplegoodmarketing.com where you can find more podcasts, blogs and other fun resources.


[00:21:49] Also, if you want to find me Adam, your host, you can find me on Twitter @AJWalker and on my blog at adamjwalker.com, where I blog about leadership, productivity, habit building, and the craziness of having five kids. Thanks for listening and tune in next time.

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