Ep 12: How to future-proof your business – Interview with Terry Dry

Ep 12: How to future-proof your business – Interview with Terry Dry

About this episode

In this episode, we talk to Terry Dry, the CEO of Future Proof Advisors, and his concept of future-proofing your marketing plans and how your company can future proof your growth plans.

So I’ve always kind of gone with this mantra of change is inevitable, but struggle is optional. And kinda take that mentality and go, okay.. things are going to change. How do I future-proof myself and my business? Because the one constant is change.

Terry Dry

Not only does Terry walks us through his 5-step future proof process but he also talks about how important a growth mindset is in digital marketing, and how to fully maximize customer data in the planning of product and marketing.

About Terry Dry

Terry Dry is an award-winning marketer, entrepreneur, strategic advisor, CEO, and executive coach. As the founder of Future Proof Advisors, Terry specializes in advising mid-market businesses and their executive teams on how to overcome barriers that inhibit growth.

Not only does Terry advise existing companies, but he also builds and transforms his own ventures. Most recently, he co-founded, scaled, and then profitably exited, RSVD, a SaaS business that provides digital capacity management solutions for retail, food, and hospitality industries. 

Terry is a consumer engagement pioneer, who prior to Future Proof Advisors, co-founded and scaled Fanscape, one of the first-ever social media marketing agencies, which he grew from an initial $10K investment to an eight-figure acquisition by Omnicom (OMC: NYSE). Terry began his career in the music industry, culminating with his role as VP, Artist Development at Interscope / A&M Records (Universal Music Group).

Key Takeaways

  • How to future-proof an organization?
  • How does digital marketing fit into the concept of future-proofing?
  • How does “Growth Mindset” impact digital marketing and how do you pivot your organization to embrace a growth mindset?
  • What is the biggest opportunity with social media data that is not being used today by most businesses?

Connect with Terry Dry

Find out what Future Proof Advisors is all about.

Future Proof Advisors company LinkedIn page.

Follow Terry on Twitter.

Connect with Terry on LinkedIn.

Linked Resources

Thank you for listening! 

If you’d like to know more about change-makers in digital marketing, celebrate their wins, and discover how they built a breaking ground career, subscribe, share and comment on the Digital Marketing Victories Podcast. 

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Katherine Watier Ong: Terry, thanks for joining us today. Would you please introduce yourself to our listeners?
[00:00:04] Terry Dry: Sure. Thanks for having me. It’s good to meet you guys. My name’s Terry Dry. I’m the CEO and founder of future proof advisors. A little background on me. I grew up in Chicago. I hate cold weather and wanted to be in the music business. So that brought me to LA. I luckily lived out all my music business fun in the nineties while it was still fun.
Then I kind of fell into running digital social agency in that whole world. And here I am now helping other agencies and other people succeed.
[00:00:32] Katherine Watier Ong: Awesome. Can you tell us a little bit more about how you actually got into the digital marketing part and then what do you do at future proof advisors? What is future proof advisors?
[00:00:42] Terry Dry: Yeah, no worries. On the first part of the question, I totally fell into digital marketing. I was doing what was called artist development at music labels back in the nineties. And this is sort of pre-everything right. Pre-social. And but our job was how do we keep fans connected with these artists and develop them?
And so I’m so old, I used to give like a spiral, you know, three ring binder notebook to like big artists when they were first starting out and said, put this at your merch table. Get people to write down their address so we can send them a postcard and stay connected. Then along came websites then along came email, and that was a whole new way to do quote unquote artist development.
And my happy accident was I came out of music, which was really one of the first industries to get so dramatically disrupted by digital. Think back to Napster and MP3s and all that. So to be in that space at that time, I, then fell into wait a minute, there was a way better way to do this, way better way to develop artists, way better way to introduce them to the world and keep them connected.
And hence, I quit my cushy record business job and started what wound up being one of the first social media marketing agencies, because we could see digital marketing was really the way to go and kind of growing up in marketing that was sort of my path. I couldn’t help myself. So I fell into it to answer, and I guess I’m old enough now to have evolved in it, which is a bummer, being old.
[00:02:07] Jim Keeney: Yeah.
[00:02:07] Katherine Watier Ong: And what is future-proof advisors about?
[00:02:11] Terry Dry: Yeah. So I went on a whole journey of a social agency and a digital agency. Then we had an exit and sold to Omnicom, which is one of the biggest agency holding companies. Then I had a stint after that as a CEO of a digital agency within Omnicom and then I got to what I guess is a midlife crisis. Although, I didn’t get the sports car and I still have my wife and all that, but I guess the rest of it I did hit and I was like, I want to do something that matters more and I want to be able to help.
And so it’s that point where you’re like, I achieved success, which has been great. And now my passion is to help others achieve success and then that’s where future-proof advisors was born from, which was how can I set up this sort of outsource board of experts and board of advisors to help small emerging and mid market companies kind of achieve success and unlock hidden value and transform, and really get meaningful growth.
And it’s all born out of what I wish I had 15 years ago when I was being entrepreneurial in the digital marketing space. And I didn’t have these experts or people around me who could help, and that’s what we’ve created. And we try to have kind of like superheroes in each category. So have a marketing expert, a digital expert, an operational expert, all these different people and I jokingly say it’s like walking into the justice league of America. That you’ve got all the superheroes who can help you get further, faster and it’s just something that wasn’t available to me and I want to help all these other companies do it, and that’s what we’re doing.
[00:03:44] Jim Keeney: Good for you. So, so then what is future-proofing and how does an organization do that?
[00:03:50] Terry Dry: Yeah. I mean, it’s really, it’s funny to answer the future proofing question is it depends, right? It depends on kind of what stage they’re at, but I think if anything, the last 18 months showed us all, is you better be ready for change.
[00:04:06] Jim Keeney: Significant change.
[00:04:07] Terry Dry: Yeah. And so I’ve always kind of gone with this mantra of change is inevitable, but struggle is optional.
And kinda take that mentality and go, okay. Things are going to change. How do I future proof myself? And my business, because the one constant is change. And I look at it like that creates this kind of limitless opportunity if you embrace it. So future-proofing has a whole process to it, but it really starts with the mindset and the willingness to know that in order for my business, myself, everything to evolve and succeed, I’ve got to embrace change and be open to change and continually optimize myself and my business.
[00:04:50] Jim Keeney: Right in that.
[00:04:51] Katherine Watier Ong: does that mean you’re handing out the who, who moved my cheese book to everybody you work with?
[00:04:55] Terry Dry: There’s a lot of books. Yeah, and there’s a lot of that stuff. Right. But it’s so, it’s funny though, you know, because having been through it and having built my own businesses and sold businesses, It’s so much about mindset and that might sound, like, cliche or obvious, but, everybody kind of skips that part just goes to like, go.
And so much of it starts right there from the leadership and the team and the culture. And then you can achieve great things when you’re kind of aligned that way. And in the case of future-proofing, it’s looking at everything. It’s the marketplace, it’s looking at the team, it’s looking at, you know, what value you can create, is that the right segment to be in, et cetera, et cetera.
So there’s a lot of components to it, but it’s a holistic approach.
[00:05:38] Jim Keeney: Well, it seems like you’ve kind of broken it down into a five step process. Do you mind kind of running us through that and what that structure is and how you look at it?
[00:05:48] Terry Dry: Well, Jim, first, I want to say, I’m grateful that you went to the website and you looked at these things like that’s, you know, that, that
[00:05:55] Jim Keeney: That’s my job.
[00:05:56] Terry Dry: Yeah. Well,
[00:05:57] Jim Keeney: I should at least do that.
[00:05:59] Terry Dry: we appreciate that.
the team appreciates that. So thank you. Yeah, we really kind of broke it down as to like, What did we do? Right? Like what matters?
There’s a five-step process of kind of getting you on this path. Right? So it starts with goal setting and what that means is what I was just getting at. What’s the personal goal setting? Like everybody jumps to the business goal, and then everybody forgets to talk to the leader or entrepreneur or marketer about like what’s in it for you.
What do you care about, why do you do this, and what are you looking to get out of it? What’s the outcome you want. So it’s getting that together. Then there is like once you know that you can evolve and part two is this north star alignment. What is your north star? I mean, I’m dealing with so many companies right now and they range from, I just want to buy out the owner of my company to, I want to sell my company for a hundred million dollars to it’s just, it’s all over the place and it’s getting aligned.
And sometimes when you have partners, it’s making sure they’re all aligned. Then once you have those goals in the north star for the business and yourself, then you can put together a strategic plan. Then it’s like, okay, what do we have to do to kind of future-proof ourselves? What are the areas? And we’re actually working on this right now for someone where it’s everything from the staffing to the marketing, to all the different things they can do in digital marketing, to the evolution of their sales force.
To the backroom optimization. So there’s all these things that become a strategic plan, which then beget step four, which is strategic initiatives and essentially implementing it and that’s where I think a lot of people fall down, you get the whole plan or the playbook. Everyone’s like, yeah, this is great.
And then two weeks later, the playbooks in the corner and you’re just back to doing what you do. And that’s why part five is the advisory and the continual optimization. Like, what we do is we help you set it up, but then we’re in there and it’s like, you’re essentially outsource board to keep you honest, keep you accountable, keep the business moving forward and then keep bringing new things to the table.
And that’s essentially what our process is.
[00:08:01] Jim Keeney: Well, I think that consistency that you’re going for that kind of north star concept it’s important that you start with that mental framework cause a lot of times when you deal with startups, entrepreneurs, small companies. There isn’t that connection between what the, you know, what the leadership actually cares about and wants, and what’s actually happening on the ground level.
So, you know, the fact that you take it from that and kind of use that as the consistent foundation for everything else is critical right?
[00:08:33] Terry Dry: That’s the idea and you want to keep reminding everybody of that. I mean, the both of you have, must have the same experience being on your own entrepreneurial journeys with your businesses too of, you know, really checking in with yourself. Is this what I want and sort of the myth of the entrepreneurial thing is, you know, you set this business up cause you, you want to work for yourself and have this life, and then you it’s there, you know, you quickly start serving the business rather than having the business serve you.
And so there’s lots of things that you want to. Really evaluate with yourself and then not lie either. Like I find that you know, some of the leaders and even, you know, people on the team, they’ll kind of tell you what you want to hear or even tell themselves what they think they want to hear. Or it goes back like what their parents would have thought or who knows, not to be a psychiatrist, but that’s what starts to happen and then it could really you know, offset you and puts you off balance. Cause it might not be really what you’re going for. So yes it’s a big part of it.
[00:09:34] Jim Keeney: So that’s the connection to your earlier statement about your midlife crisis, right?
[00:09:39] Terry Dry: Totally. Yeah, I know, look, I’m the first to admit it like you know, it was just it was funny the more, the bigger we got, the more successful, you know, it started, it was harder and then for me, I guess I, it took me until I was in my forties to learn that I was really an entrepreneur. I wouldn’t really allow myself to believe it, but I was like, cause I felt kind of arrogant or obnoxious about it and then you finally go, Okay, no, this is kind of how I’m wired. I like building things, I like the next thing, I like what’s new, I like leading more than managing, things like that. You start to just kind of learn and that’s helpful in, in for me it happened midlife I guess I got awakened a little bit more.
[00:10:17] Jim Keeney: Well, I’m in my fifties, so,
[00:10:19] Terry Dry: I’m almost there.
[00:10:20] Jim Keeney: and I didn’t get, I didn’t get the bug until late also. So you and I share that. That’s great. And yeah.
[00:10:26] Katherine Watier Ong: no, I just, you talked quite a bit about digital marketing with the clients that you’re working with. How much is, what’s the percentage of digital marketing that you’re sort of pushing them towards and is there any sort of format or framework that you use for them to understand how important the growth mindset is in digital marketing?
[00:10:44] Terry Dry: it’s funny. Thanks, Katherine. There’s the variety of companies that we advise, and they’re pretty much falling into two verticals. One is e-comm and one is marketing agencies, right? So there are a couple that actually just aren’t digital agencies themselves that we’re advising and then on the e-comm side, I have found just spectacular talent in digital marketing.
Which as you can imagine for e-comm, you’ve gotta be pretty spectacular.
So. There’s really only one company that we work with that’s not really sophisticated on digital marketing and all the rest are, and it’s so fun because I think I’m learning. I think I’m bringing something to them and then I’m always inevitably learning something back and forth. And that’s the whole idea, but they’re all pretty sophisticated in digital marketing.
As you, again, you would imagine if that was your specialty, as well as if you’re in the e-comm business, you better be good at it. And they are.
[00:11:39] Katherine Watier Ong: That’s so funny because I keep running into ones where it’s like, they’re finally finding digital marketing, the laggards. I’m surprised the laggards haven’t found you is all I’m saying.
[00:11:48] Terry Dry: no, you know, some of them have, but in the past, but currently where we’re sitting, they’ve found there’s some real, just special talent. And so it’s been this great refreshment and in fact, in one case, the owner brought me into like, Terry’s a digital marketing genius. He did this.
And I met with our team. Yeah.
They’re better than me. Like, I would’ve killed to have had these people work for my agency. Like where were these people? You know, when I had my hundred plus staff agency doing all this stuff where were these people? So,
[00:12:17] Katherine Watier Ong: Not applying to Omnicom.
[00:12:19] Jim Keeney: So,
[00:12:20] Katherine Watier Ong: Right.
[00:12:20] Terry Dry: Yeah.
[00:12:21] Jim Keeney: so, so, so in that situation where you’re coming in and clearly they have the resources and everything, what is the change you’re bringing that’s kind of an issue.
[00:12:31] Terry Dry: Yeah. That’s, it’s an interesting question. And I appreciate it, Jim, it’s like what I have found as we kind of come in, if they’re doing a lot of things, really smart digital, like almost the block and tackling there’s some sort of leveling up from a, I don’t want to call it like a, somewhat of an outsource, CMO type thing of asking different questions of, have you tried this?
What are you doing here? What are you doing with CRM? How much do you really know about your customers? What are you doing with the loyalty program? Do you know about this benefit here? All these little things like that, just. Asking a lot of questions and then seeing what you could do and talking about content strategies and things like that.
I’ve found that we’ve been a good sounding board and also a good advocate for often the entrepreneurs maybe are really hesitant to spend and really go big and digital and then when you uncover that their team really has it together and really know, but they haven’t been given the sort of license of like go for it.
And so in one case Jim, I went in and I’m like, let’s find out what, when we can get to diminishing returns. And they’re like, Well, what do you mean? They’re like, well, my row as is this, my ROI is like, it’s great. I’m like every time you’re going up, I’m like, what would you do if we gave you 10 times more money like to spend, like, how would you, and then their eyes lit up, oh, I didn’t know that was possible. And then you start hearing. I thought I had good ideas. Maybe I had two, and then you hear like 10 more that are way better. And you’re like, Hey, let’s go after that. So that’s a lot of, sort of the future proof adviser mentality, I guess, or issue. And for me, luckily having my background of working with huge fortune 500 companies, as well as working, you know, being an entrepreneur, myself and working in this, I’ve got sort of this landscape in my mind of what it looks like if you’re, you know, Snickers candy, which was one of our big clients, you know, when I was running an agency all the way down to like the smallest CPG company, who’s just a startup. And having that range can help, you know, structure things and help people kind of try things as well, and also connect them to new things.
[00:14:43] Jim Keeney: Well, you’re also kind of the way you just described that you’re giving them some cover with respect to leadership too, you know? Basically, You’re serving to validate their position and their function within the organization, which is something that Katherine and I have been talking to a lot of guests about, because one of the things that we keep running into is digital marketing is new, but everybody knows they need to do it, but they don’t know how much of that they need to do.
And what you just said is really critical is they don’t realize whether or not it can be scaled. And so the fact that you can come in and validate, Hey, they’re doing the right things, they’re a really talented crew. You just need to unleash the reins so that they can expand that aspect of your business, right?
[00:15:29] Terry Dry: Yeah, and not be afraid to fail. Like let’s get to the point where we think we spent too much, let’s get to the point where we may be screwed up, but we don’t know, but it’d be 10 X or not, but yes, there’s a big part of trying to be that catalyst and also just help them, and to your point about air cover. Yeah, I think there’s often the entrepreneur owner will say I’m not a digital marketing expert, but so I don’t know if my team’s right. or not, and I don’t know what I should or shouldn’t be doing.
And so it’s just sometimes bridging that gap as well. In that area.
[00:16:04] Jim Keeney: yeah. Do you ever, or also help, you know, because now you’ve got 10 choices, right? Suddenly they’ve come to the table. They’re really creative. They’re really energetic. And all these ideas are coming. Now you’ve started from you know, aligning the vision. So do you also find yourself helping them kind of focus and cull and stay consistent because consistency is so critical in digital marketing.
Do you also kind of serve as a bulwark there?
[00:16:32] Terry Dry: Yeah. I mean, we’re always trying to, yes. The answer is yes, where I was going with what you were saying, or at least what I thought. Is how does it all interconnect? How do you make it where marketing and digital marketing isn’t in a silo, but where it’s actually connected to that larger vision. But that means it’s also connected to operations and connected to product and all these other pieces.
Because as you guys know, you know, from being SEO specialists, to the things that you do, back room and front room, there’s so much that can be connected now and the more the data can be shared. The connectivity’s there, the better you can be and I think a lot of people still look at marketing as a one-way street rather than a two way street and there’s so much learning that comes from this being a great marketer that can influence everything from product to process, et cetera. And so I’m always trying to kind of integrate the pieces more and get them talking to each other and aligned towards something bigger.
[00:17:33] Jim Keeney: And that’s your critical fifth step, right? Cause, cause it’s when you start connecting things and start viewing your digital marketing efforts as a listening tool, as well as a broadcast tool that you have, because then you’re starting to real dialogue and that’s one of the things that’s changed so much as consumers now view themselves as the center of the universe.
And therefore, if you’re not dialoguing, if you’re not having that conversation, then they feel like you’re not listening to them.
[00:18:02] Terry Dry: And that’s where like, to Katherine’s point earlier, there’s a lot of laggards, right? There’s still people who don’t get what you just said, which is that people are media, right?
Like it’s changed and people themselves are media and, you know, coming from a guy who was early in social media, like that was really clear to me, but there’s a lot of people who still don’t quite get that like, oh, I have to still buy a TV spot or I have to, but like no, have a great product.
Do a great job with it and watch, you know, create advocacy, give them reasons to cheer and give them reasons to care, and this was easy for me at the outset for my business. Cause I was working with a passion product in the form of music. So I had, you know, huge online emails, street teams. If you will, of passionate fans of like a punk rock band or a pop artist.
So they couldn’t wait to tell the world, but you find as you go on that with any product has their kind of raving fans and it’s your job to embrace them, encourage them and make them part of it too. And then it’s a whole different process and then that helps SEO and that helps, you know, all the other benefits that come from just having really embraced your customer.
You know, and
[00:19:25] Katherine Watier Ong: know what you’re talking about. I think I run into clients all the time that are doing social media listening. What are you talking about? I don’t have clients that blast. None of them, none of the clients that I’ve talked to still do blast social. What are you talking about? I’m being sarcastic, of course.
[00:19:38] Terry Dry: You know, what’s funny, Katherine, is it those who do the listening and I get the sarcasm for sure. But what I find is the listening, then it’s rare that they then turn it into an actionable insight.
[00:19:50] Jim Keeney: Right.
[00:19:51] Terry Dry: So, where I’ll give them credit is they’re at least doing the listening and they’re like, oh Yeah.
well, people didn’t like this, but I’m like, yeah, but what are you doing with that?
How are you sharing it? And then what are you turning it into? And just those little nuggets alone, I’m like, the answers are out there. You just got to listen and pay attention and then, and be adaptable too.
But you’re not finding people who are even doing the listening is what you’re getting at.
[00:20:13] Katherine Watier Ong: Well, I, yeah, and I, you know, I was at Ketchum for five years running their online marketing seems so like I’ve seen all sorts of brands of all sorts of sizes that may or may not be doing listening. But back when I was using social media listening tools, which at this point is six years ago because I’m six years of running my own business.
But they didn’t make it easy for you to get the actionable insights. So, I mean, I fell in love with Brandwatch because I’m a data geek, I’m an SEO at heart. And so I wanted to make sure that we were integrating it. So, you know, when we watch New York state of health, we had an integrated into HootSweet, we’re literally interacting with people based on what they’re sharing on social kind of stuff, but that was a bit cutting edge back in the day and part of the reason we ended up with Brandwatch is that I hated all the other tools. I kept asking them where their metrics are coming from. Like, can I follow a conversation and a topic versus just the brand cause all of them set it up. So you just follow in your own name, which is not that helpful.
You know, yeah. You can compare Coke versus Pepsi, but I’m more interested to know what’s the share of voice that I have in the soda, and the pop conversations. Right. So I mean, how has that changed? Do you have folks that are doing social media, listening? The tools are crazy expensive. Do you have cheaper tools you encourage people to use?
I definitely know the listeners to this podcast would love to be doing some of this and integrating in their digital marketing, but oftentimes it’s the cost of the tools that is prohibitive.
[00:21:32] Terry Dry: Yeah. I mean, there’s so many tools out there it’s almost too many to name there’s you’re right about that. And where I come from, you got it. It’s, what’s your goal, right? Like what is it, what are you trying to find out and then there’s different tools that can be applied. But what I find is people will do it, but then they don’t actually pay attention to the results or they don’t understand the results or to your point, the inputs aren’t very good either.
So it is what I recommend. Number one is hiring an expert. So rather, don’t try and do this yourself because one of the number one jobs that’s out there right now is somebody who can translate data, right. Is data mining and insights specialist. So one of the investments that I encourage anyone who’s listening to make, is be that person. And if you invest in that person and if you are that person and you’re listening for digital marketing then is get to know all of these platforms because they all have their pros and cons. Some are really expensive. Some aren’t, some are and keep paying attention because I would almost say Katherine, and the ones that you and I used four years ago, there’s 10 better now and they’re cheaper.
And so it keeps changing. So, like, I keep, I just had some I’m failing on the name of it. We just had somebody who was doing a project with sharing with me. I’m like, oh, I’ve never heard of that. Like, oh yeah, this is a great tool. And I’m like, Okay, So, you know, because the tools are almost becoming commoditized, the real, real value is in that person who can translate it. And again, if the people listening to this are digital marketers themselves, then I encourage you to be well-versed in the five to 10 different tools, what the benefit is of them and make sure you can use one of them, because the way I’ve seen it, and Katherine, you know, more about this than me, they pretty much do the same thing, you know, in general, right. They’re going to spit out that stuff. So some index, one way, some index and others. That’s kind of how I looked at it. And the thing I would say going forward is pay attention to AI and the tools that are being coming up now that not only can analyze the data, but then can be predictive. And that’s the stuff that’s really interesting to me that I’ve started to see as well.
[00:23:47] Katherine Watier Ong: Do you also encourage your clients to pull some of that stuff into more of a focus group sort of? Like how often are you working with clients where they do have a very clear, unique brand value proposition and they clearly know who their audience are, or are you working with ones where, well, I think maybe I’ve answered my question because you have e-commerce clients, but I’m just kind of curious how many times you need to help them tweak who they are and who they’re talking to and whether or not you’re using social data to make that smarter.
[00:24:12] Terry Dry: yeah, we are. And we kind of have a team of people that we outsource ourselves that are part of our group that do that. But there’s kind of three key things we’ll look at. In fact, we’re doing it with one of the e-commerce companies, which is number one, really robust social listening, but not just the listening for listening’s sake, but what are the key insights we could take out of it And that listening is not just for them, but it’s their competitive set as well as their industry and their vertical. Then the second part of it is customer segmentation. So there’s a whole separate piece of let’s analyze all their data, let’s get, let’s really build out the segmentation, let’s look at the personas, and most importantly, let’s look at how their customer has changed in the last year and a half and what was something in February of 2020 before the world changed. It now it looks a little bit different. So that’s sort of bucket number two, is the segmentation and then we go totally old school interviews, customer intercepts, like let’s just have, one-on-one kind of touchy, feely.
Let’s get some quotes. Let’s get to be, let’s talk to some customers and know, and then our thing is we merge all that together into what have we learned here and what are we going to do about it? And then in fact, in this particular case, we’re taking all of that. And then the end result is redefining the brand of that company
[00:25:30] Katherine Watier Ong: Ah, yeah.
[00:25:30] Terry Dry: And working with them to do that.
And to the owner’s credit, she’s smart enough to go, like I’ve got my vision, but we’re doing well and we’ve been a business. I want to be informed also by what my customers are saying and what the marketplace is saying too. And that will help as we’re defining some things for ourselves. So it’s really a whole PR that’s a sort of separate process we’re doing, but it has all those inputs.
[00:25:57] Katherine Watier Ong: And how often do you recommend that a brand revisit that considering we just went through a very tumultuous time where things changed a lot and digital marketing changes a lot anyway, and there’s always new competitors. It seems like online. Is it a yearly process? Is it like every five?
[00:26:12] Terry Dry: Yeah. I mean, we.
[00:26:13] Katherine Watier Ong: there?
[00:26:14] Terry Dry: I hate saying the it depends answer, but it really does depend sometimes, but I think you definitely want to be looking at this once a year. You might want to redo it every two years or redo pieces of it annually. Like, social listening to me, it should never stop. And it’s sort of an annual refresh on what have we learned?
What’s changed. What’s the trend. Maybe some of the interviews you don’t have to do as often. And the detail of the segmentation, maybe not as much, but it really depends on the size of the company, how they’re doing, how they’re performing and you know, how insecure are they, right? Are they feeling great about it all?
Or are they getting a little nervous or they get, you know, but those are the kinds of things I’d look at because it can take, it’s not as much about the investment in money. It’s the investment in time.
[00:27:04] Jim Keeney: Well, and I think one of the other key factors is pushing the organization to get in the habit of experimentation, because it’s not just about reacting to changes that are happening. It’s about, you know, pushing forward into possible new avenues so that when the change happens, you already have something queued up that might be able to take advantage of that.
One of our podcasts was with Laurie Sullivan, from Fleetio, and and it was, she was very much talking about how they’re constantly. Reaching out within their organization to come up with new ideas for experimentation, but they have a very fast way of determining what fails and what succeeds, so that they can do that on a continuous basis.
[00:27:50] Terry Dry: Yeah, it makes total sense. I mean, One of our mantras is continual optimization. Right. And you just want to keep growing, keep learning, keep evolving and you know, there’s that old economist concept of creative destruction like we’re doing well, even when you’re doing great, you break it down and go, how can we do it better?
And if you keep with that in your culture back to sort of the mindset, if that’s the culture of continuous improvement, let’s keep trying to do something better. And you’ve done a carve out back to the marketing strategy, which I’ll tell that story in a second. Then you can really grow. We had an experience when we first became part of Omnicom and we were doing social media and this is like 10 years ago when social media was just getting.
On every brand checklist like, oh, I better do something in social media, but they had no idea what that meant, which was great for me while I was in an earn-out by the way. But it was there were some media companies and what I found the really good media buying companies did was they’re like, look in digital marketing.
I can get to my targets with 90% of my budget. Like I figured this out that so such that I could hit my goals with 90%, which means I get to take the other 10% and I get to play, you know, I get to try, I get to do R and D I get to you know, and that is just so important. So when that happened for us, it was beneficial because we were that 10%.
They’re like, we got to figure out this social media thing. So I’m going to give you a little bucket of money. Go try to do this. And then it grew and grew from there. So it’s that kind of discipline of, can I get to my goals with, you know, be very efficient, like, so I’m not trying to say like be too cavalier, but also don’t lose that element of trial and error and that element of I’m going to try this next new thing, especially in the digital marketing world.
Where there’s just so many new things, all the time, sort of new toys, new tricks, new stuff to play with, and you want to have that little carve out and you want to have, like, if you’re the person doing it, or you’re the person employing it, you want someone who loves that. It’s fun, you know, and you celebrate the fact that they tried.
And if it fails, you celebrate that you’ve tried and failed, but you keep that kind of carve out of budget. Because you will, all of a sudden like they did with social media, find that wow, with that extra 2%, I gave to those guys, it trumped all the, you know, 20% of what I spent in traditional and I’m going to move and that’s how you keep growing.
[00:30:24] Jim Keeney: Creativity is non-linear Katherine, please note, he said celebrate that’s our favorite word here.
[00:30:30] Katherine Watier Ong: Right. Exactly.
[00:30:31] Terry Dry: I get a prize?
[00:30:32] Katherine Watier Ong: no, we celebrate our wins. So your celebrate the failures too, right? As long as you
[00:30:37] Terry Dry: you know? Yeah. And if you recategorize your failure as a learning, then it’s great. You know, and there’s something to learn there. And it was, again, it was, we were so arrogant again, back with our social media. Cause we knew what we were doing.
[00:30:50] Jim Keeney: Yeah.
[00:30:52] Terry Dry: We’re in our, I remember being the guy’s office. He’s like, I’m going to give you this little budget, you know, and you better.
And I’m like, dude, don’t you worry. Like this is going to turn into something great. And luckily I was right in that case, but there’s been plenty of times I was wrong, but you know, you get bullish on what the new stuff can do and now it’s getting so automated and so optimized that there’s tremendous efficiencies.
[00:31:15] Jim Keeney: are there any just to kind of follow along with what you said have you stumbled across any kind of interesting twist to channels or new channels that, that kind of made you go, wow, that’s going to be really exciting.
[00:31:27] Terry Dry: You know, I’ve been, there’s two things. One is totally not digital. And then, which is really, it’s just the optimization of integrating SMS into what you’re doing, especially on e-comm with whether it’s a follow on verification or it’s just get like, so you can get them, but then there’s so much more activity there as far as engagement and if you do it right, there’s real value, not only for yourself, but for the end customer clients. So, I’m seeing some really cool developments with what we’ll kind of call rudimentary, you know, SMS stuff, but just remembering that, that can cut through some of the clutter of email. I’d also just, I always want to give a shout out to Etsy because I think Etsy does phenomenal email marketing tools that they put in place for people that are really customer obsessed, not just trying to shove something down your throat, then the old school thing that I’m seeing.
Is there’s value to mail, snail mail and packages, you know, and it’s really funny and I kind of joke with people that what’s old is new again, but it is interesting depending on your target audience, because if you’re going young with your target audience, like snail mail is exciting, and it’s different and it’s new. And so it’s something that people don’t pay attention to and maybe is not the thing to talk about on the digital marketing victories podcast. But it’s interesting when you co-mingle these things and you use the digital or the SMS to have something physical show up and have all of those things tying together.
It’s interesting. So I’m not telling you to send huge Sears catalogs, like when we were kids, but then there’s some value to something that comes in the mail or some little prize or gift or something that unlocked something that’s physical.
[00:33:21] Jim Keeney: You’re the second one to say that. So you’re not alone. I’ve heard that before. It’s like, oh, a postcard, just a postcard with a good picture and a good story on it.
[00:33:30] Terry Dry: Yeah. And just addressed to that young to that person. Who’s under 20 years old, if that’s your target it’s they don’t get mail.
[00:33:38] Jim Keeney: And just just techno SMS is text messaging just in case nobody knows what you’re talking about.
I doubt it, but I just thought I’d throw that in there. Go ahead.
[00:33:49] Katherine Watier Ong: I just want to make sure I touched on two different things before we run out of time. So one of them is that I noticed you still have your own music management company. And,
[00:33:57] Terry Dry: I don’t anymore. No,
[00:33:58] Katherine Watier Ong: you don’t anymore. Oh, okay.
[00:34:00] Terry Dry: Long gone for that. I used to be cool, Katherine.
[00:34:02] Katherine Watier Ong: I was just, curious, I’m in a music family. So I was going to ask you questions about
[00:34:05] Jim Keeney: Do you play an instrument?
[00:34:07] Terry Dry: No, I was never good at that. I knew I wanted to be sort of behind the scenes and I did all that, but yeah, we used to have music management and just it’s funny story was part of that was we were able to test all the social things we were trying to do. With music when sometimes the big record labels will get in our way.
So we could do it with the bands that we managed and there was a ton of learning there, but this is a long time ago now, 15, 20 years that I’ve been gone from that. That’s why I tell my kids how I used to be cool.
[00:34:35] Katherine Watier Ong: Just curious. I noticed that you run a smarter service. I’m not sure if this is still something that’s active particularly it says it’s outsourcing the tech issues that your mom throws at you to someone else. And I have a mom who throws tech issues at me, but I was wondering it looks like you literally have people show up, which I’m curious with COVID and secondly, is it only in Los Angeles or is it everywhere?
Because I’m going to sign my mom up for it.
[00:35:01] Terry Dry: I appreciate that Katherine, that is very active, so that’s really, that’s. That’s the, as we were talking about earlier, I still have the entrepreneurial bugs. What I’ve found is advising all these businesses makes me better building my own ventures and vice versa. Building my own ventures makes me better as an advisor because I’m still walking the walk and practicing what I preach.
But yes, that is our company, which is called smarter and it is purely to solve this problem. This huge tech divide that’s happened with essentially older adults or senior citizens that it’s just not native for them. And especially what COVID did is accelerated this sort of inevitability of, they need to be able to embrace technology to live a better life.
And then there’s the inevitable future of telehealth where they can just be better served by technology, but everyone’s developing all these technologies and then they’re forgetting this big problem, which is, they don’t know how to use it. It’s not native. And then to your point, Katherine, which is where mine is, they rely desperately on their middle-aged kid and, you know, to like be their IT person, their educator, their futurists. And I was just like, wow, I’m doing this for my parents, but I don’t even know that I’m that good at it and I really want someone who’s great and the research is that most people live more than 20 miles away from their parents.
And so we’re trying to solve that problem as almost like a proxy for me, with my mom and dad of somebody else who can really just answer all their questions, help them, but also set them up for the future. Like when I brought a voice assistant into my parents’ life, like game changer, you know, on so many levels.
And now with my in-laws, who aren’t as healthy and well, like we’re able to drop in via Amazon. Like that’s a game changer when they don’t realize their phones off the hook and things like that. So that is a business we’re very active with. We’re only in LA right now. So I’m
[00:36:59] Katherine Watier Ong: Bummer.
[00:37:01] Terry Dry: But it’s going really well and it’s really, we’re really exciting.
[00:37:04] Katherine Watier Ong: it becomes nationwide.
[00:37:06] Terry Dry: appreciate it. And it’s exciting and it’s it’s hard. It’s, we’re figuring it out cause it’s the cost to serve is high, but it’s solving a problem and that’s something advice for anyone who’s listening to this who runs their own business is just be sure you’re solving a problem, you know, and if there’s a problem out there, You’re exactly Katherine.
It’s exactly how I felt anyone I talked to who’s got parents, you know, struggling with this. They’re like, please solve this. I don’t want to spend Christmas day, like teaching them how to use an app and hooking up a computer and all this stuff. And that, you know, it’s just not the best use of time. And.
[00:37:42] Katherine Watier Ong: On a regular basis I’m frustrated by because here I am, like, I’ve been doing SEO for 17 years. I built my own website. I’m somewhat tech savvy, right? So I can confidently say I’m somewhat tech savvy and yet some of these like EHR’s online medical stuff that I have to help my mother with. Some of them don’t have a default for you to confirm except by text.
[00:38:03] Terry Dry: Yeah.
[00:38:04] Katherine Watier Ong: And she doesn’t know how to check the texts on her phone. She needs to be able to do it via a phone, like pick up and talk to somebody. She can not figure that out. Anyway, so I, when I saw that I got very excited temporarily and then I thought, ah, he’s probably still only in LA unfortunately.
[00:38:17] Terry Dry: Only in LA right now, but we plan to expand. So we will come to you, but Yeah, leave it to me to start another business. That’s totally labor-intensive so
[00:38:24] Katherine Watier Ong: right.
[00:38:25] Terry Dry: the genius that I
[00:38:26] Katherine Watier Ong: showing up to other people’s houses. You’re like an Uber for support
[00:38:30] Terry Dry: Yeah. I mean, that’s ideas we’re solving. We know it works so we know there’s demand. Making it profitable is a different experience, but it’s great.
And it’s, you know, what’s fun is when you see the aha moment with, you know, the 80 year old person, who’s like, oh my God, it was basically.
they just were afraid to. You know, and they didn’t know how this thing worked or they forgot. And then when you actually make it work or you show them how easy it is and you make them do it and they get it.
It’s the most gratifying experience because you’ve just brought them forward into this world where we all live right now that just, it can just make their life so much more convenient and easier and safe to moving forward. And that’s one of my passions is to do that.
[00:39:13] Jim Keeney: So, so you have a blog post on your site about being customer obsessed.
[00:39:18] Terry Dry: Yeah.
[00:39:19] Jim Keeney: What are the ways that you encourage your clients to kind of gather and implement insights from customer and social media and things like that and then how do you take that? This brings it all full circle. How do you kind of push them forward to be able to to use that to then incrementally improve or dramatically change their business?
[00:39:40] Terry Dry: yeah. I mean, I think it’s thank you. I think it’s a lot of what we’ve been talking about. Right. It’s you know, how do you. You know, really approach customer information and data and make yourself smarter. Nope. Number one, like can just learn and be detached. Like, like we’re all there. Like so many people, they’re emotionally attached to their product and their customer and they don’t want to hear the bad news. You know, whether it’s an agency who is afraid to look at glass door or it’s, you know, a product that just doesn’t want to hear that their baby’s ugly. It’s really important that you kind of embrace that and so I always come back to the customer obsessed is listen and really listen. Like don’t pretend listen, don’t say you’re listening, but really listen and focus on that because. If you do that, you’re always giving, you’re going to give value back and you’re going to show that you’re listening. And then that drives positive word of mouth.
And my entire career has been consumer engagement in one way or the other. And it’s been about developing sort of raving fans, like do something so well that people are going to talk about it and people are going to want it and that’s going to you know, inspire essentially positive word of mouth.
And there’s this great saying I love, which is advertising is the tax you pay for having a crappy product. And if you really think about it in that form, right? Like if I know everything about my customer and I’m serving my customer and I’m paying attention to their needs and they know. Good things happen.
And so to me, it’s about positive word of mouth and then trying to accelerate that, which you guys know this, right? So as an SEO expert, the more people saying great things about your brand or talking about your brand, the better for SEO and all these things kind of play off each other. So that’s where I come back to like, do you have raving fans?
Are they doing reviews? Do you have repeat customers? Are they doing referrals? Like what’s the spend, there’s all these things to look at and then they hopefully make it a question I like to ask is how discoverable are you? How discoverable are you as a brand, as a product? Because people, instead of listening, reacting, they’re so focused on I’m going to get the, you know, spots and dots.
I’m going to get the media out there versus like, am I making sure that anyone who actually wants my product or my offering can find me and that’s where SEO is like the greatest thing in the world. And SEM and all those pieces, but I kind of try to live off of that focus and that’s what I try to train them on.
[00:42:19] Katherine Watier Ong: do you elevate that to a KPI for the folks that you work with? How do you actually make sure that once you’ve formed them about how important the customer insights are, that they systematize it in some sort of way. So they don’t forget to keep talking to their customers or it’s data that gets reviewed along with other data.
Is there anything that you do sort of systematically with your clients that way?
[00:42:40] Terry Dry: I wish we had a systematic KPI for it, Katherine. I would say number one is just that there is a KPI, like what is good going to look like? And we have some squishy ones with people of like, I just want to see that 10 people said they liked this new feature. That was it, or I just want to know that a hundred people had a comment about our product good or bad.
I just wanna know they’re talking about it. I want to know they care. So sometimes it’s that squishy. Then there’s obviously a net promoter score. There’s all these other things you can look at, but I try to shy away from, like, you know, I think we’ve all been there. You’ve been there where the client would call you and say, how many likes do I have on Facebook?
You know, like get me more, like, I, I remember those calls I used to get from like huge brands, you know? So it’s about quality versus quantity would be my general mantra, and then are you in the right environment? Are you on the right platform? Are you in the right place? And I guess what I would say is the KPI is that you’re going to actually pay attention to the KPI.
If that makes any sense. Because so many people put some numbers up, they make the numbers, but are you, who cares? Is it a reach number? Is it a sales number, but what’s the learning.
[00:43:54] Jim Keeney: Well in what experiment does that number drive next? Cause then they’re coming back and they’re going, okay. You know, what does that actually mean? And how can I take it one step further and see what that, you know, what, how I can potentially expand or change the business based on that, if they start asking that second level of question, then you’ve got them really hooked into that continuous integration or continuous improvement cycle.
I think.
[00:44:22] Terry Dry: And I don’t know another way to be. I think that’s just what you have to be. Especially as a digital marketer, you’ve got to always be looking at. Yeah, What did I learn from this? Not just did I hit the number and so I always try to get people off the, like, I’m like, don’t just stare at your Excel spread sheet.
Like that’s informative. I get it. Tell me what it means. Like, I don’t want a presentation. I don’t want a bunch of numbers. What did you learn and what would, and then I often would ask, like, what would you do if you’re me, you know, if you’re in charge of this or your what’s the one thing?
[00:44:52] Jim Keeney: That’s a good one. That’s a good trick, I like that.
[00:44:55] Terry Dry: Yeah. it’s just, what’s, you know, the one I’ve been using lately is if I came in with a bag of cash and just dumped it in your office and you had to spend it on marketing, what would you do?
[00:45:05] Jim Keeney: Yeah.
[00:45:06] Terry Dry: And they always have an answer, you know, and if they don’t, then that’s, you know, there’s always something they’ve been thinking about. Right. So you just and usually they’re right. You know, and you want to encourage that and try, but sometimes somebody in that kind of linear mode might not think that they’re allowed to do that.
Right. So you want to just kind of free them up to try it. Marketing is fun. Like you want to have fun with it, especially now there’s so many ways to do it.
[00:45:34] Katherine Watier Ong: Awesome. So I wanna make sure that I’m responsible related to time. So yeah. If I can just ask you a couple other questions that we ask all of our guests. So as marketers, we’re always thinking about our customers and what makes them tick. Have you had a recent aha moment related to your client’s customers, something that surprised you that would be, that you could share with the listeners?
[00:45:54] Terry Dry: Yeah. The surprise for me really came from AI. So that somebody was using predictive analytics and AI tools to really cut down on or be, I’ll just call it the way smarter with how they were doing their marketing and way more efficient. And it was something I always knew you could do. I’ve seen it automated, having been in the big mothership of Omnicom.
I’ve seen, you know, how that stuff works, but to watch people do it. Even sort of at a small, you know, small business size and to really lean into it and use it from a predictive standpoint and from a marketing standpoint was the big exciting aha.
[00:46:39] Katherine Watier Ong: Awesome. And do you have any win or resource that you want to share with our audience today that you think would help them on this journey of becoming more future-proof.
[00:46:47] Terry Dry: Yeah. One thing I would recommend is actually a book. And it speaks to, I’m always preaching like be resourceful and don’t try to solve a problem that’s already been solved. And in marketing there, I think there’s a tendency to try to build the resource or build the asset or hire the people and there’s so many companies out there, or partners or tools that you can use that you can leverage and be like a marketing rockstar with a series of partners.
And I mean, the, both of you do these things, right? So there’s a book called the who, not how, which is written by Ben Hardy and Dan Sullivan. And it’s basically the concept of you need to get something done and change your mindset from like, how am I going to do it to who is going to get that done for me?
And I think as a marketer, Reading that book and it’s, you know, it’s certainly for entrepreneurs, but also as a marketer, just getting in that mindset of like, I, we live in a world now where you don’t have to do everything and there’s all these different leverage things that you can use, but it’s just such a, it’s a very simple concept, but it takes a little while to kind of embrace.
And so I’d recommend that as something to help you on your marketing journey, because. It just, doesn’t all have to be in house anymore and there are so many resources out there that can help you get further, faster.
[00:48:12] Katherine Watier Ong: Cool. And how can people learn more about you?
[00:48:15] Terry Dry: You could certainly just go to our website at future-proof advisors.com. As Jim did. Cause you could see the the five step process and things like that. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn too, just at Terry Dry at LinkedIn are the easiest ways. But that’s it.
[00:48:31] Jim Keeney: Excellent.
[00:48:32] Katherine Watier Ong: Great. Thank you very much. This has been a great time today. I learned a lot.
[00:48:36] Jim Keeney: it was great. Great conversation.
[00:48:39] Terry Dry: Well, thank you. I appreciate you guys inviting me on the show and I love kind of nerding out on marketing stuff and it’s so nice to meet you both. So thank you for having me.

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