There’s no doubt, Matt, when people ask me what’s the ROI of social, I ask them what’s the ROI of trust and what’s the ROI of loyalty. These are two things that everybody in the C-suite understands. They all understand average order value, frequency of purchase, lifetime value of a customer, and all of those can be affected every single minute of the day if you’re engaging people and building a deeper connection.
Matt Coffy: So today we have Ted Rubin who’s got a platform. He calls it Return On Relationship and this concept is basically about working with social media strategy to build out trust within the engagement process of using social media channels to help brands with building out their business. What’s really interesting is that he’s got some really interesting concepts. I think one of the things we talk about that really makes sense to me and where I’ve seen it before is that he’s understanding that the tide is starting to change in the way that we provide strategies to business and there is certainly a difference and there’s also a change in the mantra for a lot of the folks that we’re working with: to look at the different channels. Traditionally, we’ve really delved into Google and used that as our main force to help customers gain relationships by advertising but there’s a whole new suite of services that really are affecting how people do business. Obviously, Facebook is one but the combination of looking at all these social influences as a way to lead up to this overall trust of brand and consumer is becoming more and more relevant. And even though this is more about the larger scope of branding, it also does affect small, midsize businesses in the same way. Let’s get on with Ted and don’t forget to stop by agencybloom.com for all those wholesale digital marketing services you may need. We have Ted Rubin on. And Ted, I guess you can call him a social media maven. What would be your title these days?
Ted Rubin: I call myself a social marketing strategist. I try to stay away from the maven, guru, expert titling but basically it’s whatever anybody wants to call me. I’ve learned a long time ago that you can call me Ted. You can call me Theodore. You can call me anything. Just call me.
MC: I got you. That’s a good way to put it. So this has been an interesting dialogue. There’s a lot of discussion around this business and I want to get into your specific stuff but I do want to ask you, which is sort of our namesake for the show, is what would you recommend to someone like myself or someone who listens to this show who’s typically involved in digital marketing, digital agency businesses? What would you tell them to do to step up into their business or into their role of greatness?
TR: Well, I have two answers for that. One of them is a more general answer and that’s something I try to live by is do for others without expectation of anything directly in return. Obviously from a direct business perspective that’s difficult but what I’m trying to say is support others. Be there for them. Answer their questions. Get on calls with them. It doesn’t always have to be about closing the deal. I think that’s really important from a perspective of the agencies who might be listening or the people that you work with. I would say that, right now, everyone really has to immerse themselves in these social platforms and understand what’s going on because I see too many agencies and executives handing this off to people that don’t have the relationship experience to handle it. To me, what’s the biggest opportunity here is to engage, interact, and really build long term relationships with people. I see such horrible advice coming out of most agencies and a horrible execution. I understand the agency business. It’s based around campaigns. It’s based around getting paid for your time. But that definition just has to expand a little bit in my eyes.
MC: I think the issue and this is my direct experience because we’ve been doing this quite awhile now with the social piece, is the customers themselves, although we try and educate them, don’t see the force through the trees and no matter what we do to try and levitate the ability for this connective economy and connective communication now level that’s out there, they seem to only be concerned with what’s in front of them and that’s typically just that next conversion. And so I think, inevitably, this will become more of a story that is similar to Facebook when it first came out where people just didn’t get it and over time it just becomes part of society. What do you think about that?
TR: I think that and, this is really easy for me to say not being in your shoes and from the outside except that I have been in your shoes, is that you got to step up and push through what you really believe. I mean look. I get it. I get it you got to execute and make money. We were building Collective Bias and being in meetings with John Andrews all the time. People would be telling us what they want to pay us for. I’d be sitting there trying to explain to them how much more there was and John would look over at me and say “Dude, if they want to pay for it, let them pay for it. I got to run this business. I’m the CEO. I got to make sure revenues come in. Thanks for your thought leadership but let’s just sell them what they want to buy so if it’s Twitter impressions they want to buy and they want to pay CPM and just give it a haircut to come up with it.” You know people are selling it to them but to me, there’s got to be a time where you step up and say, “we’re not just going to execute for you. We’re going to tell you how to do it right or we’re not going to do it.” Again, I’m not for any agency. I’m not bringing in the dollars. I do understand that and certainly as an individual deliverer of media and content and evangelism for brands, there’s a time when I have to draw the line. There’s times when I don’t but I’m trying to draw the line more and more.
MC: What got you into this? Can you give us just a few thumbnails sketch of what you’re doing today?
TR: I’ll give you a thumbnail sketch of how I got into it without going into my 57 years because you certainly don’t want to hear that but, back in 1997, I discovered the internet and I came upon an article written about Seth Godin. This was before he had any of his bestsellers. He started a company called Yoyodyne, the first online direct marketing company. I loved what he had to say about brands. It was the original part of this thinking towards permission marketing before he coined the term and wrote the book. He said that he has no openings but he’d hire anybody who’s smart and I raised my hand and said “That’s me. I want to start doing this.” And I joined him and I was very fortunate. I moved up without my family. I made the mistake of moving in with my in-laws. Don’t ever do that even if you have other bills that you have to pay. But what it did was it caused me to get out of the house every morning before everybody woke up. I got to spend a lot of time with Seth when we were the only two in the office. That’s where I got my original thinking about permission marketing and the idea virus which led me to the whole return on relationship concept that I live by. From there I went through a lot of digital companies. I was at Bottle Rocket. I was at 1-800-Flowers. I ended up with a company called elf Cosmetics in the recent times. EyesLipsFace.com. It was 2008. Social platforms were starting to scale. I had no marketing budget. I was intended and hired to build the brand by using my ingenuity and just making deals and I’d jump them headlong into social media. I saw a great opportunity. Social for me was manna from heaven. I’ve always been a connector but I’ve also been a community builder and it gave me the tools to do both. I’d like to say that a network gives you reach but a community gives you power and I found that I was empowered by these platforms to do that. So that kind of led me through. I ended up with a social commerce company in the early times trying to be a social commerce company Open Sky and John Andrews and I ended up with Collective Bias building social content at scale using bloggers and user generated content and now I speak around the country in the world about a concept that I preached which is Return On Relationship. It was my first book. It’s the hub of everything I do. My new book is called “How to Look People In The Eye Digitally” which came out of “Return On Relationship.” The next one I’m working in is called “The Age Of Influence” which is another subset of this whole that I like to say that relationships are the new currency and we really need to start focusing on them.
MC: I would say attention is the new currency but I guess you could say that really comes from relationships.
TR: I believe it does. People like to say content is king. I like to say, think if it is, then connection is queen and you know who rules the house. It’s never the king. Women rule the house and, for them, it’s all about connection. It’s all about emotional connection. It’s all about, like you said, getting their attention but really paying attention.
MC: I understand that. It’s interesting. So you’re main influence, I can just tell from a lot of the dialogue, you could hear Seth Godin on the background there kind of jumping up and down. It’s funny that he’s very pervasive in our industry. One of the things that comes across to me about the book strategy, so your main platforms now is the stage and books for your general mode of living, is that correct?
TR: I don’t earn a living of my books. My books are really just my online resume. So, yes, I earn money from speaking. I’m on a number of advisory boards and I do a lot of consulting for start-ups and I also work with major brands around the country including Mary Kay. I’ve worked with Subaru. I’ve worked with Mastercard. I’m working with Cox Media, Cox Business, Loews Hotels, Perialis. I speak at these companies. I consult for them. I do high level strategy basically around how to empower employees, to empower your brand, and how to really engage, build relationships and use these platforms, for me, how they’re most valuable rather than just an advertising means.
MC: I understand that we’ve been evangelized in this discussion for a long time and I’m just curious. What motivates you to take this course? You’re obviously well down the path, been involved in this for quite a while. Is there something that really comes from underneath all the driving-to-succeed mantras? Is there something that motivates you? It’s almost as if you seem like you have some sort of quest in mind.
TR: I think it’s what it is. It’s just who I am. I’ve always been a connector. I’ve always been someone who not only networks but builds communities at every place I’ve ever been in my life. Elementary, junior high school, through all my education, through every job that I’ve ever had, through every organization I’ve been involved in, I’ve always built a few really key relationships and then I’ve taken all those people my whole life and brought them together. I never really understood what I was doing. I didn’t call it community building but all my friends know each other. They all come together in different places way before we had these platforms to make it easy to do. So when I started discovering all this and seeing the ability to really scale relationship building 24/7 and connect with people and, unfortunately, at the same time I see people not using the platforms that way. I see them devaluing the word “friend”. I see Facebook do a miraculous job of branding the word “friend”. Close your eyes. Think of the word friend and, instead of a friend, the Facebook logo comes up. So I’m on a quest to take the word “friend” back and give it value again. It’s something about who I am and I’ve always worked really hard at it. I’m a divorced dad. I had to fight to keep my daughters in my life. Some part of it is also showing them and demonstrating for them the importance of friendships. When they were younger, they’d look at me and say “You know daddy, you have so many friends. There are so many people we meet. And you’re always doing that.” I said to them, “Well, I just want you to understand that’s not because I’m a nice guy, although I am, but that’s not really what. It’s really because I work hard at it. I reach out to people, I connect with them. Before we could do it easily on Facebook. I was always connecting with people on their birthdays, on holidays, finding an excuse, a way to connect and engage with them so it’s always been a passion for me. It’s just part of who I am and now I have this ability to spread the word and, all of sudden, I started writing. A mentor of mine encouraged me to start a blog back in 2009. I resisted because long form writing is not really my forte. I loved Twitter because I found a way to express myself in short sentences and get pats on the back for it instead of people saying “That’s all you got.”All of a sudden I had the ability to do this. I’ve been wanting to do it forever. I constantly reach out and connect. I’m obsessive about responsiveness and being in touch with people, calling them by name. I mean, you know, this is Dale Carnegie for the digital age. That’s what to “Look People In The Eye Digitally” is really about. I tell people wherever I am, whatever stage I’m on, whatever meeting I’m in, that the best social media book ever written was written in 1936 by Dale Carnegie and that everybody needs to have a copy of it and understand that people want to be engaged about things that are important to them: calling them by name, knowing what’s important in their lives. That’s how you build relationships and for me that’s what’s given me all the good feelings I’ve ever had.
MC: It’s an interesting paradigm because we live in a world that’s driven by money and, as Vaynerchuck would say, “Marketing ruins everything.” And I always say that it ruins at least the components of the marketing one at a time. I would say that even to the point where you look at Facebook and you look at sort of the people who have now left that platform are the younger people who are not even attending that platform. It’s almost as if we’re in a flux state as we create these relationships and people will have their decision on what and where they place their energy and their attention. I think from the marketing standpoint, it’s segmentation on where the people you market to are in order to really have an effective strategy to turn into your or dovetail into your last conversation about this which is that you’re really driving home the point that the currency factor that companies want, whether they’re a small business or large corporate entity. There is a level of trust that is being built and I think that’s really where this ends up to me is that how we’re building trust between these platforms and the people that are on them depending on what their social or demographic is.
TR: There’s no doubt, Matt. When people ask me what’s the ROI of social, I ask them what’s the ROI of trust? What’s the ROI of loyalty? These are two things that everybody in the C-Suite understands. They’ll understand average order value, frequency of purchase, lifetime value of a customer, and all those can be affected every single minute of the day if you’re engaging people and building a deeper connection.
MC: Well, yes. The trick is to do it at scale where the same sort of propensity has in the relationship, right?
TR: This is where I think a big disconnect comes for a lot of companies. I think it’s easily done at scale because most people don’t want to interact and engage with you directly. They do it what I call vicariously. They watch you and I engaging and if we engage in a genuine, authentic way, if I engage with you that way, then they’re going to feel a part of that conversation the same way they do when they’re at a cocktail party and there’s only four people speaking but three hundred people there and everybody else is gathered around people but they talk as if they’re a part of that conversation because they were there and they felt a part of it. I think the vast majority, over 90%, and you know that most people do not communicate in social but that doesn’t mean they’re not there participating. They just participate by watching and listening and that’s why I tell companies don’t worry about getting more people commenting in your page. Number one, just continue engaging with the ones that do comment and engage because everybody else is watching and listening to them. Number two, stop worrying about who’s coming to your page and start going to their pages. I mean everybody’s inviting us into their living room and there’s not a brand out there that’s going. I speak around the world. I ask audiences of all levels of marketing people, “How many people in this audience visit the pages of their friends, fans, and followers and see what they’re talking about?” Not a hand goes up in the room. So I take it a step further. “Who’s assigning other people in their organization to do that?” “Oh, we’re using listening software.” Oh please give me a break. I’m not talking about sentiment analysis. I’m talking about actually going there and seeing what they’re talking about and it’s not hard to scale that. Assign people in your organization every day to go to peoples pages. Get a feel of what’s going on. Come back and talk about it. Start talking to each other instead of just emailing and get in a room and say, “what are people talking about what’s important to them?” Not just some 45 year old guy telling me what’s important to an 18 year old girl.
MC: I agree with you. I think our strategy has been maybe a little bit different than other agencies from a social perspective and that’s to really develop the relationships from a company to company to level. Our strategy has been to engage, to build community that makes sense, how can we deal with smaller businesses so it’s not like we’re dealing with multimillion dollar national brands, although, we do have a couple but the reality of this is that most people just need to establish themselves as actually part of the thread and not just part of the drive of the thread. I think that’s what you’re kind of getting at.
TR: I am and that was perfectly staged. Thank you, Matt. I’m going to start using that.
MC: We do this for a living but it’s very difficult to convince customers to continue to think a larger scale and a larger game with this but what’s happening is that we are throwing in the right hooks or left hooks. However, you want to say it once in a while. And we are being able to now get some level of acuity on return on investment back to the client once we’ve established a decent sized base. I think it’s like anything else. If you do this stuff for a period of and, then I don’t mean to stuff as in marketing, but I mean as in relationship building for a good period, like a period of a year of when you have a decent, you’ve built decent audience and you got something to market towards and I think it’s that visionary dialogue that you probably better at than I am in describing the stuff to your audience but I think it’s the long term objective of the company to put that in perspective when you talk to people about what they are trying to accomplish. Running Adwords all day long is great but as soon as you shut it off it’s done. You’ve built nothing.
MC: But that ties back into the whole strategy where we’re sort of leaning a lot for the activity into which is to tie social together with getting email addresses and to have a drip-feed campaign and then wrap it back up into building out again. I’d love to hear your opinion on that because to me that seems to be where you can prove a really valid strategy to a business customer to build your multiple ways of contact as well.
TR: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I believe there’s a lot of value in email to really communicate but I think what everybody has to keep in mind, the problem is that in the translations sometimes. It gets lost and all the brand is hearing is “Oh, lets bang them on their heads in twenty different places.” Instead of understanding that you need to communicate with consumers where and when they want you to but also in the format that they want. I see so many companies trying to drag people from one platform to the other or from speaking to them on Facebook to email. I will take you to email, Matt, if you’re seeking to do business. If you come to me and say “Ted, I want to d business with you. Lets communicate.” I’ll say the best place is email but if I’m trying to get you to work with me then I’m going to try to figure out if it’s Facebook where you like to communicate and that’s where you get your messages then I’m going to communicate with you there. It’s no different than the lesson I learned with my daughters. Again, I’m a divorced dad. I call my daughters and there are people in this audience who have daughters, especially teenage or teenage sons, try calling them on the phone sometimes. Within seconds I would get a text that said “WHAT?!” It was clear they were available for my call. They’re just telling me, “I don’t want to talk to you on the phone”. And it took me a little while to understand that if I really wanted to have a dialogue with them, I had to do it where they wanted to have it and, so again, I agree with you. And I think it’s important to establish multiple points of contact and it’s great to set up a way because some people absorb different information via email than they do via other forms of communication. But always recognize and understand that they’re going to communicate where it’s best for them and don’t try to drag them where it’s best for you.
MC: What do you think the biggest challenge is for the industry?
TR: (laughs) Are you talking about the ad agency business or are you talking about the marketing business in general from brands?
MC: Well, let’s take brands off the table. Let’s just say in general. What do you think is the biggest challenge is to have people recognize that this new multiple communication formatted platform which ends up in someone’s visual or ear at some point. What do you think is the hardest challenge for business owners to get their heads around?
TR: That’s simple. The biggest challenge right now is getting beyond the campaign mentality. Everything in marketing, whether it’s agency or brand is around the campaign mentality. We’re doing this. It’s today. This is the battle. Yes, there’s an overall thing but everything has a start and an ending instead of the fact that it’s continuous and it doesn’t end and, to me, that’s the biggest mistake being made on social platforms. It’s the biggest mistake being made by most marketers today. They’ve got to change that perspective into a constant open line of communication back and forth and again relationship building, not just based around what I’m trying to sell you today.
MC: I think that’s the best way I’ve actually heard it put within a minute or two.
TR: Well, thank you.
MC: I really want to move on to more about you. You seem to be able to have a very effervescive discussion on this. What do you think would be the best thing to say that would be about why you’re successful? Are there routines you’re doing? Because there seems to have an unending energy stream and I’m just curious.
TR: You know, it’s funny. I can be as tired as the next guy. I think one of the questions that you set me in advance was “What makes you jump out of bed in the morning?”and I was going say I don’t always jump out of bed in the morning. When I get involved, I get very passionate. I find that it’s like anything else once I jump in. I think we all know this. It’s hard to get to the gym but once I’m there I almost always stay longer than I intended. And it’s the same way I get online socially and I just start getting caught up on the whole frenzy of it. You know, this is easy to say and I tell people all the time I’m so not a Tony Robbins guy. I don’t believe anybody can do anything and I hate most of those quotes. But I do strongly believe that it’s all about attitude. Number one is try to do something you’re passionate about. Not all of us can do that. We have to earn a living. We have bills to pay. There are things we have to do. But if you can’t do for a living everyday as your main job something you’re passionate about. These days there’s no excuse not to be doing something separate from what you’re passionate about because we all have these connection tools and the ability to start something whether it’s as simple as a Twitter presence. You move on up to engaging on Facebook to a blog that everybody can have a place to express themselves. I think that once you have that outlet, it allows you to really say, look I love a Dr. Seuss quote that I tell my daughters all the time and it’s “Be who you are and say how you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Between that and another quote that I live my life by which is “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” Look who said it best Nike, “Just do it.” Get out there and do something you love one way or another either for a job if you can, God willing, or on the side at night. Like Gary likes to say, “there’s always time. Just don’t sleep as much.”
MC: It’s interesting. I had a conversation this morning with another agency and we were talking about that. We’ve joined some mastermind groups and we had some products. What both of us are finding is that there’s a new sort of breed that’s coming at us which is the employed wannapreneur. I know that’s probably not the best way to describe it but you get the idea. There are people who want to leave and start their own world, become a business owner and leave the confinements of the 9 – 5 but I think there’s a general trepidation that’s still inaccessible by me because I’m way beyond it but accessible by people who are in there cube listening to this right now maybe. But my question is more related to what you’re feeling is because I’m seeing this from the fact that these employment agencies have been growing extremely strong and it looks like they’ve kind of just de-sizing the entire working population and forcing them into a different sort of mode. I think this is going to be, you know, you can look at it positively or negatively for the economy but I think what it’s really going to do is force more people into the spaces where I think that you’ve kind of come through this, you’ve worked for some larger brands and you understand the corporate mentality, by really forcing people to get into the four hour workweek world where they have to invent themselves.
TR: Matt, I think it’s just a different world. I think you’ve hit on some of the points. It’s not just that people want to. It’s that they have to. You can’t rely on a company to take care of you for the rest of your life anymore. This has been changing for a long time but it’s become really evident the last few years but, at the same time, thank God, all these opportunities have arisen for people to do their own thing. Welcome to the age of influence where anybody can build an audience, affect change, advocate for brands, build relationships, and make a difference without ever leaving their bedroom. I’m only kidding about not leaving your bedroom but the point I’m making is you don’t need the money to go to networking events, to travel, or to go big conventions. Everybody can do this from their home. And people have to start. Tory Johnson. I don’t know if you know who she is but she does these Spark and Hustle conferences and trying to inspire women to just go out and start their own business. Not necessarily leaving the job they’re at but to prepare themselves for the time when that job might leave them. So I just think everybody, I tell every college student how could you possibly not have a blog? I mean you are paying $60,000 a year to institutions for them to allow you to create content and then you’re not doing anything with that content. Take that all content, repurpose it, put it in a blog and start a place where people can start getting to know who you are and how you think. You come out, you want to get a job, you want to do anything. People want to see that. Start using social platforms and building your brand. There’s no excuse to wait until you need it because then you won’t have it. How many companies have you worked with, Matt, you spoke to a year or two before they said “No, no, that isn’t for us.” And then they called you and then said “Okay, we need this yesterday” and you said “you can’t build it yesterday.” I can certainly spend a lot of your money and buy you tons of media and do a lot of campaigns but I can’t build you followers that are valuable that want to hear what you have to say. It takes time to do that. So I think on the one hand, we have a new choice because if you’re going to rely on a job that you think you’re going to have forever and then retire with a pension, forget about it. But the other side of the coin is that you can start a business with a nickel today. A nickel. What you really need is to dedicate time to it and everybody can find some time.
MC: I think you’re right. I think there’s a missing piece to your equation though that isn’t brought out and that we run into which is skill. I honestly think you have to develop a skill that’s valuable in the market. You just can’t come into the market and show up. You have to bring value.
TR: But how do you develop a skill other than doing it, starting it? For instance, when I was told to start a blog I was like “Oh my God, are you kidding me? You want me to write stuff?” I had no ability to write like that. I talk. I speak. I burst out with information and this guy said to me, “Ted, you have to do this. You need a hub that you own. This was way before all this talk that has started now with “Oh my God, you can’t let Facebook own your property.” Everyone was like deciding not to even open websites for a while saying, “Hey, we can do this on other people’s platforms” until people started realizing they changed the rules or they shut down the platform. So I was told by this guy way before that don’t rely on these social platforms. You have to have your own personal hub and you have to learn how to write. It’ll be like anything else. It’s like getting better at any sport. It’s like drinking. The more you drink, the easier it is to do. The more you run, the farther you can run. The more you write, the more writing becomes second nature. Anything that you want to do, you got to start doing. So the beauty now is you don’t have to have a job to do it. You can start doing it on your own. I mean look at these mom bloggers and bloggers in general. Around the world that been doing work for brands from their home on the side, most of them and I tell you, I’ve worked with them for years. Back from my Elf days through Open Sky through Collective Bias where we had a community of 4000 bloggers. The vast majority of these women there were a lot of them who are well-educated, who had done other jobs but the vast majority which is figuring it out from home and I would tell you that a very large group of those are all making a living now and many of them have advanced to professional careers with agencies and brands. Why? Because they just started doing it and learning it and, yes, they did it for free at first and little by little they figured out how to earn.
MC: Well, the skill I was going to mention which…
TR: I jumped ahead of you. Sorry. (laughs)
MC: Yes, you jumped ahead of me but you got it. And this skill is courage.
MC: And I think that is the number one thing that I see that has levels of courage. It’s not very difficult to start a blog and start talking but then to give yourself exposure and to be vulnerable becomes the next level and I think the vulnerability piece obviously is a big component because that sort of allows that trust factor to be built once you start to become more visible.
TR: You know Matt, I’m sorry. I’m going cut you off for a second. Just because I’ve got something on my head and I don’t want to forget it. I have a slide that I use in almost all my presentations that has two words on it. Fearless. I’d just like to say that if you let fear get in the way, we trade innovation for stagnation, genius for mediocrity, etre for boredom. Fear is what blocks most of us and not only fear in that way but fear to just speak up in our organizations. Fear that takes out childlike imagination and takes it out of our heads because we’re scolded fist by our parents and then our bosses and we’re afraid that either our boss will think we’re too smart, not smart enough, and we don’t say anything. We go with what’s happening in these “brainstorming sessions” and there are no brains that are storming.
MC: (laughs) I’m picking that one up. I like that one. My brain is a thunderstorm right now. I’m laughing at that because it really had led me into the next question I was going to ask you. What holds you back from being even greater?
TR: Look, I’m like everybody else. Fear holds me back. Fear of changing something because it’s working. Fear that’s one thing. Fear of starting something new and it won’t earn me as much as I’m earning now and I’m at a point of my life where every year is critical because I want to get to the point, not that I’m abundantly wealthy necessarily. That was a goal of mine at one time but, now, it’s more like so I can do what I want to do, when I want to do it. And by that, I don’t mean that “Oh get on a plane and fly here, there.” I mean so I can speak at an event because I just feel like it and not because I’m worried about whether it’s the right audience or I’m getting paid or something like that. So that’s number one. And then the other constraint that we all have is time. Like I’ve said, I quoted Gary V. I love his expression that “just sleep less” but there’s still is only 24 hours in a day and if one of us could figure out how to extend that then we’d really have the golden egg. I keep trying to challenge myself. I accept things that I’m not sure I can do because then I have to do it because I’m one of those committed type of people. If Matt asked me to be on his show and talk about something. If agree to talk about that topic, well then, I damn well better be prepared which means now the clock’s ticking. I’ve got to figure it out. So I do that. I’ve done that a lot. I was not always a speaker. I was always good in front of groups but I made myself do it and, the first few times I spoke, I thought I totally sucked. To this day and one of the best pieces of advice I got from somebody who a mentor in the speaking area was number one was you have your own ways. Don’t let anybody restrain you. Keep doing what you’re doing. Be Ted. Don’t worry about what they want. They hired you to be who you are. And then the other thing was understand that nobody else knows the mistakes you made on stage. You know them all so you always think that you screwed up but most people have no clue so just go with it.
MC: I think it also might be thinking about the connections you want to aim for to connect with and moving up the chain to become involved in people that are at a different level. That’s one of the things that I really think is missing in a lot of things I try and think about is why am I not at a certain level. It’s because I’m not connected to those people.
TR:I would have to agree with you on that but one of the things I’m trying to do and there’s a few reasons for it but one of the things I’m trying to do is I’m trying to do what I do organically. I was a salesman in most of my young life and that’s where I got most of my skills and I like to say that I think the best marketers are former greats sales people because they know how to listen and hear and use that information appropriately. But what I’m trying to do is I’m trying to not sell now. I’m trying to sell myself by doing what I do, by putting out what I put out, by building my content, by speaking my mind and then yes, I do strategically put it out at certain times and connect with certain people. I certainly experimented, watched what happens and see how to do it better but I’m trying to get myself noticed organically the same way I did with brands before I started doing it for myself. I did it with elf Cosmetics. I did it with Open Sky. I did it with Collective Bias. I built their brands without just talking about them and their companies and what they do. I talked to people and what I did was I talked about what I believed in and wrapped the brand around those beliefs and that works and now I’m trying to do the same for myself and show that you can build a business that way.
MC: That’s great.
TR: I agree with you, Matt. I could make a lot of money if I picked up the phone and started cold calling people. I don’t mean like from the telephone book but I mean you’d say “Hey, Ted. I know so and so. You should give him a call.” And I could do more but I don’t because number one, I’m trying to show it can be done without that hard sell and number two, I don’t want to do that. I’m just kind of tired of that kind of selling. Part of that is I’m lazy and I only have so much of this energy to put forth the way I’m putting it forth. I don’t have more of it to go at and sell myself. I want what I do to be the selling on to itself.
MC: Totally agree. That’s a lot of information but very poignant that you pointed out that the top sales people are probably the best marketing people and I think it’s beyond listening. I think it’s interpretation or interpretative listening.
TR: You just put a much better term to it. I call it hearing. In other words, not just listening but hearing but I think sometimes people, they get my concept but I like interpretive listening. I think it’s a great term.
MC: Speaking of interpretative listening, let’s get a little bit deeper into you because we only have about five minutes left here. What is your favourite book that you’ve read recently?
TR: Okay, now you know first of all you had a thing in there. You asked about the last few books that I’ve read. Probably my favorite book that I’m kind of redigging into right now is Seth Godin’s book called “The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly.” I have to tell you, I’ve read all of Seth’s books. Yes, he was a big influence on me. I spent so much direct face to face time with him and learning from him but I just love the way he thinks. One of the things I say about Seth which I know he doesn’t love but I actually mean it as a compliment is that I think of him as the Jerry Seinfeld of marketing. Jerry takes ordinary daily situations and finds the humorous perspective in them and hands them to us in a different way to look at it and I think Seth does that a lot with the marketing world. He takes concepts and ways that people engage and he puts it in a way that we can better understand and better use. So I’ve just been rereading. Actually, I should say rereading it because I skimmed it the first time. I have so little time to read books and I spend some of that time just reading junkie novels because they take my mind of the world and, sometimes, I need to get my focus away because I can’t even watch TV without being online but I can’t do that and read a book at the same time.
MC: That’s awesome. So a couple more questions just on maybe knowledge based. Is there an application or a tool that you’d like to share with our audience that you really think is cool?
TR: I would and I want to just preface that in talking about, again, what’s important is relationship-building which is getting to know people and doing it properly. I tell people all the time, don’t ever reach out to someone on LinkedIn without a personal note. Not one of the canned notes that you can check a box on LinkedIn. The same thing for Facebook. Twitter’s a different story. Although if you’re being strategic and there are people you want to connect with, I like to let them know that I’m connecting with them so I’m not just another follower that they might not have even noticed. And also there’s never any excuse to show up at a meeting anymore without knowledge. So when I was first taught about how to meet people, I’m sure you went through this too, Matt, even people today, hopefully, kids are learning this from parents, that when you meet someone look them in the eye, concentrate on them, look at what they’re wearing. If you’re in their office try to see what’s on the wall, what photo they have, what diplomas there are. There was time for you and I where that’s all there was. It’s what we saw when we got there. Now there’s absolutely no excuse. You can research someone with a click of a button. And if you don’t know something they’re passionate about or what they like or that they love, then you’re dropping the ball. In that direction, there’s an app called Refresh. Are you familiar with it?
MC: I haven’t heard of it before.
TR: It’s awesome. It’s spelled just like it sounds. R-E-F-R-E-S-H and what you do is you allow it to connect to all your social platforms and your contacts file and your calendar. And then before any meeting and you can set the time it can be 5 minutes, 15 minutes, it can be a day, it gives you an update on that person from anything they’ve posted on their social platform if you’re connected with them or if it’s available without the connection. It will connect to your email so you’ll know the last couple of email conversations you had. It connects into your datebook so you know the last time you met with them. And it pops up and there’s just no reason not to know something about the person like for me to know that you went to New Mass or that you grew up in Massachusetts or that your business is in New Jersey or that you’ve been enjoying the outdoors with your kids this winter. Instead of me having to go to Facebook and go to LinkedIn and find your name, it all comes right up on your phone. Like most of us, if you don’t have time to do a lot of research before, it comes in there. I’m going to give another little tip to your audience and most of them probably won’t listen to me because everybody thinks nobody needs business cards anymore and I have a blog post that I wrote at tedrubin17.wpengine.com. This is, don’t tell me you don’t have a business card because to me that’s absolutely ludicrous. It’s a relationship builder. It gives you the opportunity to look at something and I don’t care what they do. Take their card. Look at it. Make a comment. Look at their name. Put it into your head. Make a little note on the card about when you met them. If one more person tells me “Oh, just look me up on LinkedIn.” Oh yeah, along with the other 300 people I just met at this event? I’m not only going to remember to look you up but I’m not going to remember how to spell your name. Actually connect with people and what I do, not only do I take any one of those cards, put them in my database, connect on every social platform where I can find them with a personal note but I add in my database where I met them, if we had a conversation and I remember it. I put a couple of notes if I have it. And then if they email me the first time they email me, I’ll cut and paste that email and put it into my contacts file so that I can get a context around who you are and what you are. So if I bump into Matt Coffy a year from now and you and I have not communicated since, I can quickly look in there and know that we connected because of your podcast and a little bit about our conversation. I’ve already out the questions in there that you proposed to me so I’d know something around that. Now one of two things happens. People say, “Well what if the guy sees you looking that up?” Here’s what I’ve learned: if I can look it up without them knowing, they’re surprised like , “Wow! It’s really cool that you know all these things.” If they see me looking it up, then the smart person says “Wow, you took the time to put that in your database so you can actually connect with me and engage in a meaningful way next time you saw me?” So I’m just going to tell your audience to take these extra steps. It’s very hard work and that’s why most people don’t do it but don’t think that just by connecting with someone on a platform, you’ve created that connection or that ability to delve into that information very quickly.
MC: Awesome, awesome. So last question here and we’ll wrap it up. Where are you going next? Where are you going to be next and how do we connect up with you?
TR: I’m in New York City next week for a brand innovators event but I’m back on the road the week after that. Next SundayI leave for LA. I am speaking at the Loews Hotel’s Annual Meeting. It’s their entire marketing staff from around the country and their sales and general managers then I’m on to South Bay to host the brand innovators event there then Miami to speak at Spanisize and Perry Ls Headquarters and then on to Seattle for some more from there and then finally back home. As far as finding me, Matt, I am so easy. I am @tedrubin everywhere: @tedrubin on Twitter, tedrubin on Facebook, tedrubin on Instagram, on Youtube it’s tedrubinUSA but if you go to either my Twitter handle @tedrubin or tedrubin17.wpengine.com, all the places to connect with me are all listed there and my email is [email protected] and my phone number is 516-270-5511. Feel free to call me or text me anytime.
MC: Great. Ted, awesome speaking with you. Lots of great information, a lot of nuggets in this conversation. I really appreciate you jumping in on Skype with me and going through what I would call the social media roundup, the first one we’ve had on this podcast.
TR: Well, Matt, I really appreciate it. I have to tell you. I really enjoyed chatting with you. You’re good at this. Thank you.
MC: Alright. We’ll talk to you soon.
Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode of the Step Up! Podcast with your host, Matt Coffy. We’ll see you next time.
- Ted’s Site: https://tedrubin.com/