The Hawke Method: Modern Marketing 101: EU 105 with Erik Huberman
Our guest for today is the author of The Hawke Method.
He launched The Hawke Method in 2014; it is the fastest-growing marketing consultancy in the United States and has been valued at over $150 million with 250 employees.
His name is Erik Huberman.
He has been awarded in Inc. Magazine’s Top 25 Marketing Influencers and Forbes Magazine’s 30Under30.
A sought-after thought leader who has recently joined XPrize as their key marketing advisor.
Find out here about The Hawke Method: www.hawkemethod.com
Be there for the opportunity to happen. [11:14]
Every business has a different marketing strategy, internal operations, and goals. [17:10]
Know when you are ready to outsource your marketing. [21:15]
Partner with someone that has best practices. [23:05]
YouTube is an advertising channel and not great as a content channel. [36:50]
… and much more!
EU 105 audio
[00:00:00] Erik Huberman:
You will make more money going and getting a job and starting an agency if you don’t know how to actually really grow a business. And if you haven’t done it, you don’t know how to do it. I don’t care what online course you took from Ty, like you’ve got to actually go and grow businesses, do it successfully, then you can start building a successful agency, or it’s just a house of cards.
You’re going to churn through clients like nothing. Your clients aren’t going to. Because they hired you and you don’t know what you’re doing and it’s going to be a miserable existence because you’re basically working as hard as a business owner but making less money than you could just getting a job.
This is experts unleashed, revealing how professionals and entrepreneurs transform experience into income while positively impacting the world.
For years, Joel Erway has helped entrepreneurs develop and launch their expert based businesses growing them beyond six and even seven figures a year. Now a professional expert serves their community through paid training education or service. This podcast will help you design and execute your plan to become a six or seven figure expert without a massive team.
To get more information or apply now, visit theperfectexpert.com. Let’s get started.
[00:01:13] Joel Erway:
Hey, what’s going on everybody? Joel Erway here and welcome from their very special episode of Experts Unleashed and I am really excited. Our guest here today is somebody who I believe you’re going to learn a lot from. We have a rock star, we have a unicorn, and somebody in the agency space who has taken a model.
Many people struggle with, many of my listeners, many of you listening right now, are agency owners and done some incredible things, scaled it to exponential proportions, and I’m really excited to dive into that conversation in just one minute. Before we get started, I just want to quickly remind you if you are interested.
In learning how to take your existing business, you might be a bricks and mortar company, or you might have an agency, or you might have your own proprietary way of how you’ve gotten clients and how you’ve grown your business. If you were looking to duplicate that into an education model, head over to your email and shoot me an email at email@example.com.
We are looking for our next eight. Figure partner to help scale them and build their exit plan using intellectual property framework. So if that’s something that you are interested, let’s go over an eight figure discovery plan and we’ll set up a quick call and see if this makes sense. I’m head over, firstname.lastname@example.org.
All right, so my guest here today is Eric Huberman, who is the author of the Hawk Method. Now, Eric went from making. $350 in his first year in business to growing and selling two successful companies. Sick of seeing that 99% of marketing agencies were useless and the other 1% inaccessible to small businesses.
He launched Hawk Media Today, it’s the fastest growing marketing consultancy in the US and has been valued at over 150 million with 250 employees. The company has serviced over 3,500 brands of all sizes, ranging from startups to household names like. Verizon, Alibaba. Eric has been awarded Inc’s top 25 marketing influencers and Forbes 30 under 30.
He’s also a sought after thought leader and has recently joined XPRIZE as their key marketing advisor. His new book, the Hawk Method, is launching in early 2022. We are synth passed early 2022. I’m assuming it’s already launched now. Yep. Eric, I’m excited man. Welcome to the show.
[00:03:21] Erik Huberman:
Yeah, no, thank you for having me.
[00:03:25] Joel Erway:
I want to dive in. And so I was listening to another podcast recently in the past, I don’t, a month or so. Neil Patel was talking about his agency that he’s grown to, God knows how big it’s, you know, an enormous agency. And he was on the. I think it was the, My First Million podcast and he was talking about, you know, his growth and his plan and whatnot.
There was a lot of really, really interesting conversations. Now, you know, Neil has a background in SAS and all sorts of different things, and one of the questions that they asked Neil was, how do you productize your services? Or how did you scale so big? And what they were asking was, you know, do you only offer like one thing or two things or three things so you can scale to the size that they are?
And he said, No, like, we are custom, like everything is, you know, spoken custom. I’m like, how do you scale that? So can you give me and my listeners a little bit of background? You scaled incredibly quickly. $150 million valuation is enormous. 250 employees. Can you talk about, you know, scalability factors and like how you got started in, in the agency space?
Cause I think so many people are listening right? Me included. We run an agency that we do niche down. Yeah, we do sell one to two things so we can scale. What’s your model?
[00:04:35] Erik Huberman:
And so I’d be careful when you hear anecdotes like that because Neil, more than anything is an incredible promoter. So knowing his agency, I know that a lot of what they do is actually productized.
Yes. Because that is what makes it scalable. So like, no, not everything’s bespoke, but you’d love to tell clients that. And that’s a great pitch. Now, I’m sure we could have a debate about it if I want to respect the fact that he is not here to defend himself. But there’s definitely nuance in that statement.
And when you make these broad statements like everything is bespoke, no, when you’re watching a brand new company’s seo, there are definitely check boxes that you provide, that you do the same thing every time to make sure that things are covered. Over time, most stuff becomes bespoke, and that makes sense.
But there’s a hundred percent for any scalable service business, a kickoff list that you’re going to do, that you’re going to check the box that a lot of times. A lot of clients for a long period of time because most people looking for services like mine or his are not even checking the basic boxes. So again, yes, it’s bespoke in the sense of like you’re still prescribing things to people based on what they need.
But it’s not like every single strategy is completely unique because they’re, you’re usually check, you know, using these set of tools to do these specific types of goals. And depending on what those, how those things match up, there’s a list of 20 different options that you’re going to play, so to speak. And so, Yeah.
So in terms of that statement, I, I would say the opposite, like how we got started is figuring out what the low hanging fruit is for most businesses. Figuring out what we need to, where we need to find that scalability in their marketing so they can predictably grow their business. That’s the part that a lot of people miss and creating that predictability, that reliability, and that consistency in their marketing so they could grow their business off of that.
That’s more how I look at marketing. A lot of people look at it as like, how do I get that viral video so I can get that sugar rush from my marketing and get a bunch of re venue? And what you know is, yeah, that feels great that month and then when you can’t replicate it the next month you’re screwed.
Cause you just ramped up an operation to feed that beast and now you don’t have any more food. So generally, how I look at marketing is how do we make something that’s repeatable and scalable, because that’s how we look at marketing. Most of what we do is repeatable and scalable. It’s how to run best practices on email marketing, SMS, Facebook, T dot, Google web design.
Overall marketing strategy, data, et cetera. And that’s why we’ve seen, like at this point we’ve grown over 4,000 brands successfully because the basics are tried and true and do work. And then it’s, I always think of it like a stock portfolio. Like we handle that blue chip, you know, 90% of your portfolio, that’s going to be consistent and then you can play with 10% on doing, you know, sort of moon shots.
And that’s totally okay. Cause then if they fail, you still have the 90% picking up and if they succeed, it all picks up together. You get that synergy. So that’s how I look at it. And. That 10% of moonshot, that’s where you get creative. That’s where you try crazy things. That’s where you’re being bespoken.
We, we do participate in that. We look at that too. But most of the side of the business is like, let’s be the, you know, consistency factor that allows them to grow as fast as they want to grow.
[00:07:24] Joel Erway:
When you started this agency, when you started your agency, did you start it with the intent? Grow it as big as possible, package it up and, and get evaluation in hopes for an exit?
Or was this initially like, Hey, I’m looking for, you know, maybe I need a cash cow. Like I’m just looking for something that feeds, you know, feeds a revenue arm or, you know, becomes an income source. Like what was, what was your initial goal starting out when, when you launch the agency?
[00:07:51] Erik Huberman:
It was, it sucks that all these companies I’m trying to help can’t find marketing help.
I’m going to build a team to do it. Like, sincerely. It was just like, this problem’s right in front of me, I’m going to solve it. And what there, you know, I think people get way ahead of themselves. You build a business to sell. It’s like there’s a great wine that if you build a business, if you don’t build a business, like you’re going to keep it forever, you will.
Where it’s like if you’re building to exit, I just heard this with another agency that’s like, Yeah, I’m going to build it for three years and then we’re going to sell it for a few million dollars and you know, and then I move on my next thing. And it’s like, person has never had success like that. It’s like, oh yeah, you just call in the shot.
Don’t get me wrong, one out of a thousand, 10,000 people, whatever it is, call that shot. And then everybody talks about that person. It’s not that easy. And you know, if I was going to take the exit, I should have taken, when we got valued on 150 million, I could have taken that number. I didn’t. We got an offer for one 50 is where that number came from.
And it was, you know, so it was never like, I’m building this for some goal. It’s just building it to build it, building it to solve problems, building it to be a good company and what the outcome looks like. Like it’s not, I think people focus too much on like, Oh, maybe I can get this a hundred-million-dollar exit, or maybe I can just cash cow and make millions of dollars a year, which thankfully we do.
But the other side of that, assuming that that’s going to happen, like there’s so much luck involved in that outcome that if that’s how you start out is, I’m building this cause I’m going to, you know, have a cash cow. Like there’s a reason it’s called the 1% and the 0.1%. Yeah. Like it doesn’t happen that often.
Even if you go for it, that doesn’t mean don’t keep trying, but like, I always say like you could be a level of successful, which has been so skewed, but you’ll pay the bills, you’ll be fine. You’ll buy your house. You’ll be successful. If you work hard and you’re smart, like smart enough, hardworking enough, you’ll get there.
How successful, I believe is all timing and luck. Like if you work 18 hours a day, 20 hours a day, whatever, pick your number. There’s a limit where it’s just you can’t work harder. Right. And only, only so smart. At the end of the day, a lot of timing circumstance, luck has to come into play too. And so, for, you know, anyone that’s successful works hard and you know, is smart and to some level, let’s say.
But then again, timing is a big, big, big, big factor in circumstance.
[00:09:58] Joel Erway:
Yep. You know, it’s funny, I was having a conversation with one of my other entrepreneurial friends recently because we were talking about, you know, we see so many people around us who are doing nine figures and eight figures and all this other stuff, and you see some people explode like through the Stratos field, fear incredibly quickly.
And then you see some other people who are having success, but it’s just a slower trajectory and, and you compare the two, it’s like person A and person B. There’s no real major intellectual gap between the two of them. They’re both very intelligent, but person B just happened to be in a. That exploded.
And I think the example that he was using was the CEO of ftx, you know, in crypto. Yeah. Like, it’s like, yeah, he’s smart, but like, are you trying to tell me that he’s like 400 times smarter than me and like a whole collection of my other friends, The entrepreneur’s space? No, he’s in an exploding market.
And did he make some really smart moves? I can’t remember his name, but did he make some really smart moves?
[00:10:59] Erik Huberman:
Yeah, of course he did. But it’s like, but I guarantee. At an event and met someone that opened a door that helped. You know, like it’s like these things that happen that, by the way, being out there is part of that.
Yes. Like you have to be there for the opportunity to happen, but also like if you get into it for the money, it’s not a straight line of success. I know, and this is a cliche, you see all the memes of like, this is what success looks like. It’s not a this, it’s this. Yeah. But it’s true. Like, and so if you’re doing it for just the cash outcome, you’re not going to make it through those years.
I’ve worn this this year. Cause this year I don’t give a fuck what the government says. Like, we’ve been in a recession. We have a ton of, like, we have a data platform Hawk ai. We have the data for almost 10,000 companies. Marketing data and revenue data. I know what’s happening in the economy. It’s a 99% correlation with Facebook, Google, and Shopify’s publicly traded data.
Like I can see what is happening. It’s been a tough fucking year for businesses. Yeah, a really tough year. What I’ve now learned though, If you don’t give up and you push through you most, I believe most businesses go out of business and fail because they give up. And I don’t mean that in like a, what do you call it?
Like almost a casual way. Yeah. I mean, like you get to the point where it’s like, You’re now 10 going to be 10 million in debt. You can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. You don’t know how you’re going to turn it around and you just go, fuck it. Like you have to make that decision at some point to say fuck it, or you just keep going and keep going and keep going.
And either you dig a deeper hole or you start digging out of it. And so why I say that is in those times, and I’ve been through them, when you’re watching this instead of this, it is, if you’re in it for just the money, you’re going to be fucking miserable. And you’re probably going to throw on the. Yep. So you got to be really careful why you get into business.
There’s just too much social media crap. By the way, you mentioned all these eight and nine figure CEOs and how everyone talks about their numbers. I’d guess that 85 to 90% of those people are full of shit. My favorite is like, you have the All-In podcast that got super popular recently where it’s, you know, billionaires talking about whatever.
Yeah. One guy on that podcast is a billionaire, but somehow, they all talk about themselves as billionaires. And these are successful people, Jason Cal, cans cetera. Like Jason Cal can is not a billionaire, but he calls himself a billionaire. So it’s this vernacular that’s come out like he is not worth a billion dollars.
Yeah. But there’s a vernacular that came. Now everyone thinks it’s created this weird societal thing where everybody thinks everyone else is a billionaire, a hundred millionaire, and it’s like there is a tiny list of those people. Yeah, it is a tiny billionaire, specifically a hundred millionaire is a bigger list.
But still, the likelihood of getting there is so low that if that’s your, that’s not a real aspiration. Your aspiration should be to create something and create change and make money doing it. But like if you seek out to just make money, you’ll give up when that money doesn’t seem realistic and so you’ll never get there as I guess the.
[00:13:39] Joel Erway:
So let’s go back to something you said earlier, which was, you know, identifying the low hanging fruit, like how you started your agency and just knowing that you know the problem in the industry. Why can’t people hire great talent for marketing? That was the problem you set up to solve. The world of marketing is so broad, right?
And so like calling yourself a marketing agent is GA billion things you could do SEO, website design, like you name it, right? So it’s kind of going back to like what are all the things that you do? What was that first low hanging fruit that you set up to solve when you started to create your prospecting list?
Like, okay, hey, this is low hanging fruit. I know I can solve for. My target avatar, like what was that first thing that you set out as your, your offer to get your foot in the door with the first handful of companies? What do I do?
[00:14:22] Erik Huberman:
It was pretty simple, and nobody knew what, No, still, but most business owners don’t know how to market.
They’re not marketers. So it’s just like, how do I build this thing? How do I get customers? How do I grow? Like what are the things I should be doing it. And you mentioned the book. That’s what it was. That’s what the book’s about. Like my favorite review for the book is my first day I got a one star review that said, I don’t get it.
It’s basically just modern marketing 1 0 1. It’s like, Yeah, no, that’s, that’s where it starts. But the thing is, most business owners don’t have modern marketing 1 0 1. So that was the start was just marketing strategy. We call ourselves your outsource cmo. It was like, Hey, we’re going to come in and identify where the holes are and what you’re doing, and help you figure out where the opportunity is to grow your business.
And it turned out just taking more of. You know, bird’s eye view of their business to start and then prescribing things was a much better way to go. Like, there’s plenty of companies that’ll sell you Facebook ads or Google Ads or whatever you named a list, seo, et cetera, and they’re going to be very biased towards the services they sell.
And try to say that for me, I was like, I’m going to start with like, what do you actually need? And then let’s figure out what we provide or what someone else will provide. So we also would refer business out, be like, You need pr. We don’t do pr, so you should talk to this. Yep.
[00:15:30] Joel Erway:
So you would reach out and do a discovery session first of like a, Hey, can we audit what’s going on in in your marketing department and find the holes, Then you would prescribe the solutions.
Right? So typical, you know, discovery, audit, process, and then prescribing. Yeah. Positive sales. So was that, was that primarily outbound? Was it primarily outreach? Like, Hey, you’re reaching out to these companies like, Hey, can we come in and look at and audit your marketing as simple?
[00:15:51] Erik Huberman:
It was more networking.
I’d go out, like I’d built a, again, the other issue people run into when they’re trying to build agencies or consultancies is like, they don’t actually have any expertise in it. Like, it has become a very shiny thing to build a marketing agency with guys like Gary Vayner check, and everyone thinks, you know, another guy that’s like, Oh, he’s made, you know, billions of dollars and so, you know, we, we should do what he’s doing.
And it’s like, you don’t win any prizes for copycat. Like, not a good idea. And so it’s, there’s no bear to entry in starting an agency. So everyone does it The problem. You will make more money going and getting a job than starting an agency if you don’t know how to actually really grow a business. And if you haven’t done it, you don’t know how to do it.
I don’t care what online course you took from Ty, like you’ve got to actually go and grow businesses, do it successfully, then you can start building a successful agency, or it’s just a house of cards. You’re going to churn through clients like nothing. Your clients aren’t going to sustain because they hired you and you don’t know what you’re doing and it’s going to be a miserable existence because you’re basically working as hard as a business owner, but making money, less money than you could just getting a job.
[00:16:48] Joel Erway:
That’s, I mean, there’s, there’s so much truth in that. Like, as someone who’s run an agency for seven years, you know, it’s, it’s trial by fire, you know, and, and you got to see the inner workings. And as much as you want a cookie cutter, every single thing. Every business is different, you know? Yep. Their marketing strategy, their internal operations, what their goals are, are different than, you know, another client who’s even in a similar space.
You might even working with competitors, right. But like, their goals are different than this person’s goals. These people want to grow as fast as humanly freaking possible at the expense of, you know, margins and anything. Cause they’re just trying to grow as big as possible. Whereas this person. It doesn’t have that goal.
All of that changes your marketing strategy and your messaging and and execution. So I agree with that 110%. So your initial launch, you leveraged your internal network first for like, Hey, you know, Let me share my expertise.
[00:17:37] Erik Huberman:
No, just kept a building network. I went to events. I just was out and about. Oh, I still am.
All the time. You go on the road, you talk to people, you become concise about your message. You, you know, it started with my own credibility, which is had built and sold to e-commerce companies and been successful in the space. So they wanted to know what I knew. And then from there we quickly did it well for some clients.
So then we had some case studies and things to talk to and good client, you know, flag shift clients that we could point to. And then from, you know, and just continue down that.
[00:18:05] Joel Erway:
So was it primarily e-commerce companies that you would focus on in the very beginning?
[00:18:07] Erik Huberman:
Yeah. Cause that was my back. Yeah. And then quickly it expanded though.
[00:18:13] Joel Erway:
Got it. Okay.
And so you’re out there networking. Do you have an outbound team? Like do you have a cold outreach team that’s setting up? Yeah. Yep. Okay, cool.
[00:18:21] Erik Huberman:
Well that’s not for a long time though, to be clear. Well, long time it was inbound network, like building our brand, that kinda thing. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:18:28] Joel Erway:
So you started out inbound networking and then eventually grew to outbound and, and whole nine yards.
Did you ever run outta curiosity, Did you ever run ads for your agency or was it primarily you did run answer for 80?
[00:18:38] Erik Huberman:
We still do, and yeah, it’s, and it’s not hyper effective, but it’s. It’s, it’s another compliment, I’d say. Yeah. So it’s like at some point you want to be kind of covering everything. Yeah.
[00:18:50] Joel Erway:
You know, we, we found the same thing, meaning, because there are so many people out there like, Running ads to get agency clients, like, Okay, yeah, it can be affected, but you, you better stand out. I mean, you better be really clear in your messaging. You better have a clear usp. And you know, a lot of people just, you know, in, in my world, we have a lot of lifestyle entrepreneurs, they only want to run ads because they don’t want to do outbound, they don’t want to do networking the whole nine yards.
It’s like, listen, like it’s only going to take you so far. It’s only going to take you so far. You know, your top tier clients, you know, your big clients probably aren’t going to. Responding to ads. Like, let’s be honest, you know, they’re, they’re going to want referrals. They’re going to be networking. So anyway, I was just curious.
You know, I, I always like asking different agents, like, how did you grow so big? How’d you grow so fast? And not many people say, Oh yeah, it’s because of ads. It’s like, no. It’s like we have, we have other channels that far outperform ads. We still run ads. They are effective, but it’s like, you know, 10% of what we, what we do.
Awesome. So how would you identify yourself as a personality type? Are you more so a builder or are you more so the idea person? Right, Because it’s all about that, that compliment of like when you grow a really, really big business, particularly an agency which is very service based or which is service based oriented, you really need great SOPs to make that scale.
Where would you say your strengths are? Are you more so the idea guy in startup and the big visionary?
[00:20:15] Erik Huberman:
Kind of, Yeah. I hate, I hate to keep debating, but I, I would say the idea, the sort of fallacy of the idea guy, I don’t think exists. I think there’s the, what do they call it? The visionary integrator is the way I think EOS puts it, which I agree with the visionary, but it takes execution too.
Yes. I’m definitely more the visionary than the integrator. My business partner or president Tony is more the integrator. He’s putting in process, procedure, you know, best practices, getting our team in line and running, you know, making sure the day to day runs while I’m figuring out where we’re going, where we’re expanding, and then doing it.
And I think that’s the part, like idea, people a lot of times don’t think that then they have to go run with their ideas. Like it’s more than ideas. It’s running with it, getting it done, teeing it up so that then I can flip it over to my partner to build the process around it once I’ve started it. Yep.
[00:20:59] Joel Erway:
One of the questions that you’ve got here of like topics that you like to talk about, you know, how to know when you’re ready to outsource your marketing.
So if you’re talking to, you know, businesses right now, like what are some indicators that they have to look at to say, Hey, listen, we’ve tried hiring in house in the past. We have some moderate success, but like when should they know that an agent can outperform what they’re doing in house?
[00:21:20] Erik Huberman:
Yeah. So a couple things there.
One, I wouldn’t hire anyone internal or external till you can spend at least 10 grand a month on marketing. So like, if you’re a small business, like you got to go build your business yourself and don’t try to outsource that initial growth because you’re just going to spend a lot of money to get whittle return.
You’re not giving someone. Sort of horsepower to be able to actually leverage someone. And if you find someone that’s going to take 500 bucks or a thousand bucks a month to go to your marketing, they’re going to be worth what you’re paying for. The next step of that is get away from the idea that it’s binary, meaning in house or outside.
And this is a mistake ton of companies make. The answer is both. The answer is there’s going to be core expertise that you should have in house generally around like core product expertise and things that you can do better in house. Like a lot of times content living in house, if you can find a great content person is a good thing because they can be around the product, they can be there full.
I would say when it, you need full-time, low level expertise, you’re probably better off in house because you’re paying a markup on people with an agency. When you need part-time, high level expertise, you’re generally better off outsourcing it. And so the example I give have, like email marketing is a small business.
You probably don’t need a full-time email marketer. So hire an agency. Same thing with your media. Spend your advertising, you don’t need a full-time person. I know having someone monitor it, quote unquote, feels. But rationally, it doesn’t improve your performance whatsoever. In fact, changing your ads on a every other day basis is the dumbest thing you can do to run your ads.
You need to let them optimize. You need to let them play out. And so I know that’s hard for a new entrepreneur, but that’s part of it is running. Partnering with someone that has best practices. And then we say like, obviously it depends on the agency. I still stand behind my belief that 99% of them are awful.
But agencies like ours, like we have full-time teams at Facebook, at Google, at TikTok, at Clavio, at all these platforms that like we are going by nature to know way more about these platforms and know how they’re changing and what’s coming than any. Individual brand, and so you just can’t compete with us inhouse.
So, and marketing’s a competitive landscape, so if we have all this information, we also have, as I mentioned, our AI platform where we have like 10,000 companies marketing data, and then we can see in real time how things are, everything and flowing. You can’t replicate that in house, and so you’re just going to lose.
So if you decide to do it in house and we go do it for our, your competitors, We’re going to outpace you, we’re going to perform better. And that’s what we see over and over again. We just got Google’s top award as one of their partners because like yeah, all our data and all our knowledge does actually turn into better returns, better performance for our clients.
[00:23:46] Joel Erway:
Where do you see as typically, this is going to be a broad question and you can say, I can’t answer that because it’s way too broad. Right? But like, if you’re analyzing, you’re doing an audit on, on one of your clients, The majority of the time, where do you see like the biggest levers to pull? Like, this is the first thing that we should pull.
If we pull that first, like we’ll get a really big win and then it’ll allow us to kind of coast and, and, and do some other micro wins down the road. Where do you typically see as that first big lever?
[00:24:13] Erik Huberman:
Yeah, it depends on the stage of the business. Assuming the business has been in business a little while, we see still so many people miss out on their, like the nurturing side of their business.
And like we talk about marketing in three categories, awareness, nurturing, and trust. That’s what the book’s about too. This book , and we’ve sold 25,000 copies of that this year. Basically what it is, is awareness. How you identify and get in touch with new potential customers, let people know you exist.
It’s what people think of as marketing. It’s advertising, word of mouth pr, et cetera. What most people miss isn’t that, cause that’s how most people think of is marketing. Cause that’s also what you see. Cause all that they miss nurturing, which you still see as well. But it’s like email marketing, SMS content, things that bring people back in the fold during what’s called a purchase cycle, also known as a consideration period.
That’s what people forget, and that’s what people miss is the idea that from the first time someone sees an ad to the time they buy, it takes time. And if you haven’t built a funnel and capabilities to make sure to nurture those people during that period, you’re going to have a lower conversion rate and you’re going to have.
A longer sales cycle, because you’re not going to be accelerating it by staying in touch. And so that most of the time is the low hanging fruit. Not always, but a lot of times they’re already driving traffic in. They’re getting traffic and we can just help choose their conversion, get a, you know, a faster conversion as well.
Help them track their marketing properly because that’s, The biggest issue in the entire industry right now is that Facebook’s tracking is completely broken, like not partially broken. Like it doesn’t work. And so people are still reading the Facebook dashboards as if they’re gospel, and it’s basically under reporting massively.
Yeah. So it’s driving tons of people to shut off their Facebook because they don’t know how to track it properly.
[00:25:46] Joel Erway:
Yeah. It, it’s, it’s always the, the same argument that we have with our, with our clients, you know, it’s, it’s like, you know, where do they see through the lens? You know, how far down the road do they see in most of the.
They’re only looking at the ads or like that, that first level of customer engagement, it’s like, okay, cause I’m, I’m cutting Facebook a check every single day. I’m cutting Google a check every single day.
So like their, you know, their focal length is really, really short. It’s like, well, how do I get that ROI higher?
It’s like, Okay, well if you want the ROI high, like. You got to extend the sales cycle, right? You got to actually do some nurturing because that’s where the real money has made. It’s, you know, it, it’s always like what they think is the problem is never the problem. You know, you have to reveal to them what the real problem is, is the back end.
You got to nurture, got to nurture. And sometimes that’s a, that’s you and I both know that it’s a big lever to pull. Having that conversation with the client can be a little bit more challenging. . Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So I want to pivot gears a little bit and check the time. I want to pivot gears and I want to talk about like, Hiring a team from an agency?
Like how difficult was that for you? I mean, you’ve all, you’ve built companies in the past. So I’m assuming that you, you obviously had experience, it was probably easier than most people, but did you have any major challenges as you started to really grow your over 250 employees right now? Like, What were some of those stages and hurdles that you guys had to overcome when you hit the different stages of growth in your agency, and did you have any plateaus that really held you back for a while before you overcame that?
When it comes to hiring?
[00:27:19] Erik Huberman:
Yeah, on the hiring, I mean, we ended up need recruiters because like at certain size you just, you are like two 50 people there. We have a, actually a pretty decent retention of employees and still we’re pretty constantly either having to grow and recruit people, replace people, something’s, there’s always job adds up.
And so getting to that stage was interesting. But listen, in terms of like culture and as the company scales, like just assume the entire company’s going to change every time you double. So going from 17 to 35 going, or 34 obviously, but going from 34 to 60, it was really year by year. We went 17 35, 65, 100 was I think, the original scaling.
And every year it felt like we were rebuilding an entire company. And it still feels that way. It still feels like, you know, I, there was a quote I heard from Eric Schmidt that like, he didn’t believe that a, an executive has more than a three year shelf life, an executive. And so not saying that that’s always true, That’s, you know, like anything, generalizations or generalizations, but there is truth to it where certain executives do not last more than three years.
And that means you’re having to rebuild them. And a lot of times, Redo that. You realize their entire department needs to be restructured in some way, and you have to piece that back together. And I see that with a lot of big business. If you’re in hyper growth like we have. Things change fast. Now, if you’re more steady Eddie, and you’re growing at 20% a year, 10% a year, 30, like depending on that speed is how fast things are going to change.
And I do, You know, And so that’s, that’s part of it too. And again, if you think about that, if you’re growing at 30% or even 25% after three years, you’ve about doubled. You’ve, you’re now going to have to figure out a whole new team. It goes about with that, that every time you double got to figure it out. And then there’s other factors.
The world changes like COVID-19. Caused a whole bunch of people to rethink everything. And so we, I mean, we had an employee quit after a couple years because he wanted to go start a t-shirt company on the beach in Hawaii and not deal with anything anymore. So like there’s a lot of that too that when you’re dealing with a people business, it’s volatile.
So there, I think that’s important to understand if you’re building any type of service, business is like, there isn’t really. A point where you reach stasis and it’s just like, everything’s good, Everything’s stable, No one’s ever going to leave me. Where employees will stay forever. Like that doesn’t exist.
It’s just a constant moving target and you’re putting in new processes, fixing things, changing with the times. There’s a lot of things that need to constantly happen there. Yeah.
[00:29:33] Joel Erway:
On a leadership team standpoint, like what had to be stable in order to handle that type of change, You know, that type of constant change, that type of entropy.
You know, it’s like if, if you’re, if you’re growing that fast, you’re cycling through people every time you double.
[00:29:49] Erik Huberman:
I mean, that’s, that’s a ton of what I wouldn’t say you cycle through the whole team to be queer. I’m just saying things shift.
[00:29:54] Joel Erway:
Got it. Okay. But I mean, like, obviously structure’s going to change as you, as you Exactly.
[00:29:58] Erik Huberman:
Double management layers. There’s people you promote, there’s people bring from outside, like there’s, yeah, you double, you’re going to need another you know, de
cent layer sometimes or not, but that’s what you’re figuring out all the. Got it.
[00:30:09] Joel Erway:
So is that something that your partner had experienced with in the past of like managing that type of growth and managing that type?
[00:30:15] Erik Huberman:
No, we, neither of us have, I mean, this is the biggest company we’ve either of us built. So it’s, no, it’s, it’s honestly, and it is a trial by fire kind of thing. You figure it out, you know, make decisions based on rational hypothesis and if it’s not Right, you know, divert quickly. Yeah. That’s, we’ve, we’ve made plenty of mistakes.
Hi, we, you know, one of our execs decided we needed, Get a ton of project managers to help everyone in the company and we’re going to hire like 40 people in the Philippines to do it. We did it and all it did was create redundancy and inefficiency, and we had this giant expense that literally just cost us money from the, you know, head count standpoint as well as just made everyone less efficient and reliant and like ruined the experience across the board.
And so that spun up in a month and was gone in three or something. Like, it was like, just like, boop, nope, never mind. So you go with a thesis and then you look at it and you go, That wasn’t a good idea. Let’s not.
[00:31:06] Joel Erway:
Yeah. That’s funny. Yeah. It’s you know, growing an agency, there’s just so many different layers, especially as you, as you grow, as fast as you.
So I always, I always like to hear like their experience, you know, as you grow that, a team that large, especially that much so many different. Skill sets and so many different services that you offer. Like it’s, my brain can’t comprehend it. I’m more the visionary. I’m definitely not the systems guy.
And so it’s, I, I do like looking at how people grow that on the systems side cause I’m in awe of it. Like you think way differently. Than I do. And I like, that’s why I am a partner, all that stuff. But I still like observing it because I’m like, I’m just kind of in awe of how people’s brains function in, in that, in that class.
[00:31:49] Erik Huberman:
Yeah. It’s just, if you see that you’re doing the same thing over and over again, create a process of procedure to it and that it’s like, and then make sure that that’s trained on, there’s a, you know, a consistency of delivery to on employees. That’s part that I think a lot of new businesses struggle with is like the creative process, but you got to manage.
Yeah, that’s important too. It’s an ongoing reminder. Like people forget. People start doing their own thing. You got to refocus them on doing it the right way. This is across the board. This is the way we service our clients. This is the way we sell. This is all of it. Like we have a process now that has worked for nine years that has done really well.
That doesn’t mean that we don’t have to constantly remind everyone in the company to follow those process.
[00:32:25] Joel Erway:
I think what fascinates me the most is really looking at org charts and seeing how people structure their org charts. Yeah. When you grow like that, Cause okay, yeah. Create the SOPs like that sounds, sounds easy.
Everyone needs, you know, and no matter how big your agency is, you need SOPs. Right? Yeah. But it’s, it goes way beyond SOPs. Like when you start to grow as large as a company like you. I like to look at the layers, like, okay, what’s the org like, where are people reporting? And you know, how many different layers are there.
And, and that’s why I like to analyze, like, you know, just kind of a, a hierarchy, structural standpoint of like, okay, well, you know, point of contact, like how does all that stuff work when you’re bringing on thousands of clients? And so, yeah. . Cool. Well, awesome. You know, so I guess the you know, the last question that, that I want to ask you is, one that I found was, was interesting.
You know, how do you get access to Fortune 100 marketing on a small business budget? You know, that’s one of the key things that was featured on your on your profile.
[00:33:17] Erik Huberman:
Yeah, that’s funny. I would just say like, the way we put it is like, we work with Fortune 100 s, many of them, and we work with small businesses, so it’s, the answer is Wikipedia, but yeah, no, what we, we’ve just figured out a model.
You know, it’s not easy. Like I love hearing it. Like we have some advisors and stuff in the company. They’re like, We built a hard business to run. But it’s rewarding because we’re able to bring, you know, literally we work with some of the biggest companies in the world. S the outer Nike, Unilever, et cetera, Red Bull hp, and yet we, and Facebook, Google, Amazon, et cetera.
But we also work with people building their first company outta their spare bedroom or their, you know, their garage or whatever it is. That was the idea, That was the original thesis is like, how do, like our mission is accessibility to great marketing. How do we be the best at what we do, but really easy to work with.
And that is the crux of what we’ve been trying to build. And, you know, the mission that gets me up in the morning, it’s like, that’s what we’re going to keep fighting for.
[00:34:08] Joel Erway:
Outta curiosity, where do you see the future heading right now with with social media? Ticks on the rise? It’s been on the rise, obviously.
It’s, it’s, it’s grabbing the most attention. You know, Facebook’s probably. Decline. That’s my opinion. That’s I agree. Yep. Totally agree. Facebook’s on the decline. I actually, I was primarily a Facebook user. I wasn’t on any other social media platforms. I’m only 36, but now I’ve started to migrate to Instagram and YouTube.
I still can’t do TikTok. But I will tell you, I’ve gone on a couple times and that is addicting. It’s. Terrifying. It’s terrifying how addicting it is. Yeah. I’ve got on probably three times and every time I’m on for at least like 20 or five minutes, just constant.
[00:34:46] Erik Huberman:
Yeah, no, I think the average user uses it in an hour a day.
It’s crazy average. It’s crazy.
[00:34:52] Joel Erway: Yeah. And so I had to just like manually tell myself, cause I can’t handle that many social media platforms. So right now, Instagram and YouTube are my two primary ones. What do you see as the, as the landscape right now? Social media, Do you see TikTok working for big businesses,
[00:35:06] Erik Huberman: or do you see No, it’s, Yeah, and we agree.
Basically Instagram and Facebook are still the best. You have to track it properly if you’re using it. If you’re using the native Facebook tracking, you’re screwed. So don’t do that. Use triple whale use, you know, third party tracking tools. We use Data Rama and then Haw ai, our own tracking tool that we’ve built, and that’s also that benchmarking tool.
So, Use third party platforms to make it work. But that being said, so I think it’s important to, like, when things are on the decline in marketing, it doesn’t mean they’re dead and people forget that way it can decline for a while before Facebook and Instagram don’t work. That being said, TikTok is doing the opposite.
It’s just skyrocketing and my team sees it. They call it one A and one B right now. So it’s not like, TikTok is number two to Facebook anymore. It’s just kind of right there. Yeah. And I think it’s just a matter of a few months before it beats it, and that’s, it’s just a function of making the ad product better.
The ad platform isn’t great yet, but the user base is there, The usage is there, the propensity to buy is there. So we’re seeing, we’re already seeing a lot of great performance. We’re starting to, instead of, if we get a. A hundred thousand dollars a month. Facebook, Instagram, budget. We’re starting to recommend 50 and 50.
Like what are we just splitting budgets and going on to TikTok cause they help each other too. So definitely believe in TikTok. Google’s great too, but that’s a completely different, like we could get into a lot more detail on how these different platforms work. YouTube is an advertising channel’s not great as a content channel.
It’s awesome. And as an influencer channel it’s great. Twitter, we all know is not a great ad platform. I think they’ve pretty much publicly said that at this point. . What else is there? Snapchat not doing great. I wish it was doing better, but they just haven’t ever really figured out their ad product properly.
And, you know, on the, on the other side, like people about two, no, it’s almost three years now. I think it’s three years now. SMS became a legal marketing channel and. Brands still are completely underutilizing. That like SMS to me is still just the holy grail of like the newest hot thing that should be used.
And it’s, it’s been three years, but you know, Facebook ads have been around, what, 12. So, you know, it takes some time for these things to mature.
[00:37:05] Joel Erway:
Yeah, we’re seeing a lot of success on YouTube, but we primarily focus on education based companies. So YouTube works really, really well for our clients and. You know, sort of Facebook, so does Instagram, but we’re, we find a lot of stability on the Google platform because it’s all search intent and it’s, it’s just easier to kind of scale there.
Yeah, we have just had always had a bear of a time scaling on Facebook. We’ve got some clients that do operate on TikTok a little bit, but it’s one of those things like, you know, tick is just fascinating to me. It’s absolutely. Fascinating because it is, it’s, it’s like you look at Mr. Beast and then you look at TikTok and the way that Mr.
Beast has driven, So I, I’m on YouTube a lot, so the way Mr. Beast has driven, the way that content is produced is, Just feeding into anybody who has attention deficit disorder, like it’s, he even publicly talked about every two seconds there needs to be a cut. So constantly it’s like boom. Like every two seconds you’re going from, you know, next thing to next thing to next thing.
And like that’s what TikTok is on freaking steroids. And so that’s why it was just so. Amazing to see TikTok and, and understand why people get addicted to that. It’s just absolutely, It’s, it’s fun to watch, but sometimes it can make you a little, little nervous , so. Well, awesome. Eric, this has been fantastic.
Your book, The Hawk Method, where can we find that? Is it at hawkmethod.com?
[00:38:29] Erik Huberman: Yeah, but at Amazon, Barnes and Nobo, it’s easy. It’s just the Hawk method, h a w k e.
[00:38:34] Joel Erway:
And so give us a little plug for the book, you know, why should somebody go check out the book?
[00:38:37] Erik Huberman:
Basically it’s, you know, the overview of modern marketing 101.
Like what, what are the ways to think about marketing and how all the channels apply to it so you can understand what’s missing, what’s not in your marketing strategy, and figure out where the well hanging fruit is. I mean, it’s literally what we’ve done to analyze 10,000 different marketing companies.
Marketing. It’s what we’ve done to grow over 4,000 brands. It’s what we’ve done to, It’s what I’ve been, I’ve done probably, I don’t know, hundreds and hundreds, probably a thousand. Speeches and lectures and colleges and conferences, et cetera, on how to do marketing. All put into a book that now we require our entire team to read.
We give to every client, like has been a really compelling asset to help people understand marketing and the feedback’s been awesome.
[00:39:16] Joel Erway:
Awesome. So we’ll link to that. That is hawkemethod.com. That’s h a w k e method.com or head over to Amazon and grab it. Eric, man, it’s been a pleasure getting to know you.
It’s been a pleasure to pick your marketing brain from agency owner and agency owner, and nothing but respect to see how big you guys have grown, and it’s, it’s very cool to see. So appreciate you spending some time with us. Go check out the book Hawk Method on Amazon or hawk method.com and we’ll see you on the next episode.
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