How to Get a Million-Dollar Marketing Contract | Podcast 37

How to Get a Million-Dollar Marketing Contract | Podcast 37
Interview by Nikola Djuric
Published: March 08, 2024

What does it take to destroy mediocre marketing?

In episode 37 of the DesignRush Podcast, our editor Vianca Meyer talked to Tom Shapiro, an agency owner assisting businesses to skyrocket their revenue with the help of neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral intelligence.

Tune in to the show to learn:

  • What is a decision matrix and how it helps businesses remain creative
  • How to evoke an emotional response in your audience
  • Why the format of your content isn’t as important as its shareability

Who Is Tom Shapiro?

B2B marketing agency Stratabeat delivers services across SEO and content marketing under Tom's leadership, driving growth by dismantling mediocre marketing practices. Tom's prior success includes scaling operations and securing major clients for Fortune 100 clients. An acclaimed author and speaker, he shares his expertise at top industry events, offering insights into lead generation and business growth.

To achieve outstanding marketing results, sometimes doing exactly the opposite of what the rest of the industry is doing seems like the right choice.

Tom grew one of the companies he worked for by 700% in just five years.

The strategy his team implemented focused on redefining the company's engagement with potential clients. Shifting away from the industry norm of large, impersonal events, he introduced a series of intimate, localized roadshows.

"Historically, the company focused on very large events, thousands of attendees. We would get a booth and send 10 people out to the show. That was good, but the problem with that was in the conversations you had."

"Because potential clients just go booth to booth, they're having the same conversation with 30 other competitors."

"So we said, what if we had an event where we didn't care about how many people were in attendance, but all we cared about was the right people where we could have deep conversations?"

"Instead of having a two-minute conversation, we could have a 30-minute chat with them."

The first of these events, hosted in Chicago, might have seemed underwhelming with only ten attendees. Yet, the results spoke volumes, with major contracts secured from these seemingly small gatherings.

"Coming out of that one event, we got a multimillion-dollar contract and a six-figure contract."

"At the second event, we got another multimillion-dollar contract, which quickly spurred growth. It accelerated lead generation so this became our number one strategy at the company."

Riding on this success, the company moved from a self-centric to a client-centric narrative. The team abandoned the conventional playbook of self-promotion, opting instead to tailor every pitch to the client's needs.

How is this possible?

It’s About Having Regular Brainstorming Sessions with Your Team

"If you ask any marketing team, what percentage of your time is spent brainstorming? What percentage of your time is spent on something completely new? Oftentimes, the answer that you'll get is 5% at best."

"Companies are just doing it the way that they've been doing it for years. Any company that copies the competition or just continues doing marketing the way that they've always done it lacks innovation."

"Your growth will be restricted because you're putting these artificial guardrails around what you're doing. Whereas if you lean into brainstorming and creativity, and spend time on the new things, innovation will naturally come out of that."

So how much time should marketers dedicate to talking about innovation?

"Every Wednesday, we spend a full hour talking about new things that we have learned. One person might do the entire session talking about something new and training the others. We have a communication channel that's all focused on what's new and trending."

"A tool that I love to use is a decision matrix, where you might brainstorm 50 ideas. Let's say you can't execute all 50, you have to prioritize, so this matrix is invaluable as part of this creativity process."

An example of a decision matrix
Parisian Experience restaurant decision matrix example | Source: ASQ

"You put all the ideas in the left-hand column, and then you measure them for cost, speed, ease of implementation, timing, and how much revenue you think is going to come out of this. If it's not revenue you're after, it could be leads or some other desired outcome."

Learn What Is B2B Marketing (Examples Included)

Without Emotional Engagement, Consumers Struggle To Make Choices

This is thoroughly explained by neuroscientist Antonio Damasio.

Delving deeper, Tom tells us what's the role of neuroscience and behavioral analysis in digital marketing.

"If emotions weren't playing into your decision-making, it'd be impossible to make a decision. People that had damage to the part of the brain that triggers emotions didn't feel angry, happy, or sad – they didn't have emotions."

"They couldn't feel strongly enough about any option to make a decision. For instance, even something as simple as: What are you going to have for dinner tonight? Do you want to have meatloaf or salmon?"

"They'd be like, meatloaf tastes so good, but salmon is good for you. But meatloaf, my grandma used to make the greatest meatloaf, but salmon, those Omega-3s... They'd just waffle forever."

There's a necessity to elicit emotional responses from users on your website, as this is vital for guiding visitors toward desired actions, such as signing up for a webinar or downloading content.

The main issue here is that most companies are designing their websites with "dictionary marketing" an uninspiring tactic where companies merely list their offerings. 

The better approach here would be to do storytelling and present information that resonates emotionally, triggering chemical changes in the brain. This fosters a deeper connection with the brand and enhances user engagement.

"Neuroscientists in Parma, Italy, found that when you show a future state, we as human beings fire the same neurons in our brains as if we were the ones achieving it. Not what's happening on the screen, not what's happening with other people – we physically feel as if we are achieving that."

Monkey Example of Mirror Neurons
A visual on how mirror neurons work in Monkeys | Source: Badin Soft

Demonstrating future benefits can lead individuals to experience success vicariously. By showcasing potential outcomes, such as the transformative effects of your product or service, companies can enable customers to feel a sense of accomplishment and alignment with the brand.

"You want to show your customers the future state of them achieving success because that will trigger mirror neurons and they will feel great. They'll feel like they're successful because of you and associate this feeling with your brand. This way, they're much more likely to take an action on your site."

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