When it comes to your business, unfortunately, there is no one tool that rules them all. And in this episode of The Marketing Stack podcast, Burhaan talks to Dan Mcgaw, the CEO and founder of Mcgaw.io and author of the book Build Cool Shit. We talk about how things have changed in the MarTech (marketing and technology) space, where the future of technology is and how to select the right tools for your business. Dan lays out a framework for selecting these tools in a very easy and simple process. Enjoy the episode.
Text the word MarTech to +1 415 915 9011 to get a free copy of Dan's Book, Build Cool Shit
Burhaan Pattel: [00:00:00]
Welcome back to the Marketing Stack Podcast. And I'm sitting with Dan McGaw McGaw. Is it McGaw? McGaw Hey, Dan, Dan is a business owner. He's an award-winning entrepreneur. I want to dig into that a little bit. I don't know what that means. Speaker and the CEO of McGaw.io specialist in analytics and also has a SaaS platform called utm.io. Welcome to the show, Dan.
Dan McGraw: [00:00:26]
Thanks for having me looking forward to being able to chat.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:00:28]
Yeah, it's, it's quite interesting. One of the things that stuck out for me on your website, because you used the term marketing stack or tech stack. And so the name of my show is the marketing stack. So I want to know, I want to know what's your take on stacks in general and a little bit, I want to talk a little bit about surviving the stock-up stackopolis.
Dan McGraw: [00:00:53]
Well I mean, at the end of the day, your stack is ultimately the consortium of tools that you have basically put together to help you run your business. So marketing has their stack. Sales has their stack. Customer success product, they all have their own stacks and all that really has to come together and make one big giant tech stack for an organization. But really it's just the blend and integration of all of these different tools to make it so that you can efficiently run your organization and effectively accomplish your goals.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:01:17]
And also I have many chains in the link or many links that can potentially break, which is always a stressful thing. I always feel like businesses are put together with sticky tape when there's all these different things that are connecting to each other. And most of the time, the Zapier that's kind of holding everything together or another sort of integration tool. Uh, what's your feeling on that? Because I know companies like Kajabi are trying to market themselves as the all in one. What's your feeling on that?
Dan McGraw: [00:01:43]
Yeah. I mean, there's a lot of these duct tape tools out there, whether it be Zapier, Kajabi, Workado, Trade Audio. There's a lot of these tools that connect things together. And you know, some do a little bit of a better job than others. I mean, I think Zapier is a great introduction to these tools. But really when you start working with some of these better tools, whether that be Workado or Tray, they provide you a lot more data and a lot more ability to route things and have logical routing, same with like lean data.
Dan McGraw: [00:02:08]
So I think Zapier definitely serves a purpose and we use it tremendously here. I mean, we use a lot, so definitely things has a purpose, but at the same time, it, it can definitely feel like duct tape from time to time. But at the end of the day, that's how we connect all the data. And I think if anybody's going to really try to make magic out of their marketing technology, right.
Dan McGraw: [00:02:27]
One of the things you really have to do is be constantly refreshing and recycling your data. And you just can't do that without some duct tape, recycling all of your data through all of your tools is really, really important for success. And sometimes it means you need to add some duct tape to it, to really hold it all together.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:02:42]
So for, for the uninitiated, which includes me. When you say recycled, what do you mean?
Dan McGraw: [00:02:47]
Yeah. So there's this concept of, you need to have your single source source of truth, right? So typically people, when they think of their stacks, they're like, oh, we have Salesforce as our single source of truth, or we have Marketo as our single source, there are warehouses as, the single source, and we really don't believe in that model.
Dan McGraw: [00:03:03]
We think that you should be trying to make as many clones of your data as possible. So Marketo should have almost every single thing that Salesforce has and every single thing that's in Salesforce should also be duplicated in our analytics products. Right. So what we're trying to do is constantly recycle the data throughout the system.
Dan McGraw: [00:03:19]
And this is where customer data platforms, Zapier, Workato, Trade. All these other tools will help us be able to circulate that data because we collect data that winds up only in Salesforce from time to time. And it's like why does that only live in Salesforce when customer success or the support team could use that data if it was also in Zendesk.
Dan McGraw: [00:03:38]
So it's really, really important to recycle your data throughout the stack and really make sure that all the tools have all similar types of data. And it's something I talk a lot about in my book Build Cool Shit, which is a shockingly the only book that talks about how to build a marketing tech stack and like the problems and use cases you should do. But data recycling is really a fundamental part of our methodology here at McGaw.io, when we build stacks and it helps a lot of our companies or customers really grow their businesses.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:04:05]
Yeah, I saw, I saw the landing page for your book and the title caught my eye. I was just like, ah, that's interesting. I obviously haven't got it yet. I will. It's something that I'm interested in. So thank you for writing it .
Dan McGraw: [00:04:17]
Burhaan Pattel: [00:04:18]
Talk to me about sort of what you know people are saying that COVID has helped accelerate the growth of technology and the, and the advancement of technology. I've certainly seen a huge influx of tools and SaaS products related to multiple, various things on the marketing side of things. Obviously I only see, or I'm only aware of the marketing things, cause those are the areas that I work in. But, what's your take on, where it is. And from a consumer point of view, is it better or more confusing?
Dan McGraw: [00:04:49]
Mm, it's really, really good question. You know, I don't think COVID made it any more confusing necessarily with a number of tools. I think tools have been growing like crazy for years. And I don't think if anything, we've actually are seeing a slowdown in tool development, in MarTech. So I mean, the exponential growth was happening a few years ago. I think a lot of those tools that were created a few years ago, we're just now seeing though.
[Dan McGraw: 00:05:11]
And I think that's a little bit of the difference is that those tools are finally hitting an exposure point where we're really noticing them. And I do think COVID of course helped accelerate many of those businesses and their growth. So now we're just seeing more of them because the actual creation of new tools has slowed down dramatically in the MarTech space.
Dan McGraw: [00:05:28]
Don't get me wrong. Sales tech is still going and stuff like that. But many of these companies that you see as the high flyers. I mean they're, they're four or five, seven years old. You're just finally hearing about them and that's, that's normal for most businesses. But COVID has definitely accelerated digital transformation in general. I mean, one of, one of my favorite clients that we get to work with is King's Hawaiian bread. Have you ever heard of the King's Hawaiian bread company?
Burhaan Pattel: [00:05:50]
I have not.
Dan McGraw: [00:05:50]
So massive bread company, they sell these awesome Hawaiian rolls really, really popular across, across the United States. But they're a bread company, right? They sell their bread in grocery stores. Well, they have an e-commerce presence they're trying to do direct to consumer. They're trying to do more digital. But who would have thought a bread company is going to be doing digital transformation and overhauling their business from a tech perspective.
Dan McGraw: [00:06:12]
And we're, we're lucky enough to work with them on building. We just rebuilt their stack. We're now helping them rebuild their conversion funnels. So everybody was forced to go digital because of COVID. Right. So you're definitely seeing a lot of these companies that would have never have been as digital become digital. And you're also seeing a lot of tools get a lot more revenue because holy crap, like they need more, they need people need their tool.
Dan McGraw: [00:06:34]
But yeah. I haven't, I, you know, I, haven't seen a huge influx of new tools recently, but I will say that the big influx of tools that I have been seeing and don't get me wrong. I wouldn't say that I'm on the bleeding edge because there's just too much to keep up with, but I definitely hear the new stuff. Most of the tools that we're hearing about now are really around data governance, around being able to better track your data better set it up.
Dan McGraw: [00:06:53]
And most of these tools were created a couple of years ago. Again, just like utm.io. One of my companies, it's all about data governance, right. But that's really kind of the next evolution in marketing is better data governance and better data hygiene. So that's the reason why these companies are now really getting hot today is because everybody needs cleaned data.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:07:09]
Yeah. Well, I mean that, that also touches on like privacy and, and people being sensitive to the things that they're giving over. And obviously Facebook is at the forefront of well, you know, in a, in a, not so bright light, on that sense, but yeah, it's definitely interesting. I think you're right about the fact that just awareness is, is more, and, and people have been more active online than than ever before.
Dan McGraw: [00:07:36]
Yeah. For sure.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:07:37]
You mentioned the keeping up to date. And actually that was one of my questions is how do you keep up to date? Because clearly it is impossible as much as even I try to stay up to date with the news and, and try to figure out what's what's new and what's going on. Is there a methodology, do you have a process? Do you have a team doing research?
Dan McGraw: [00:07:56]
Yeah. I mean, one of the things that we're hired to do all the time is the diagnostics for our clients. So our job is to come in, they give us three to five objectives and a couple of key results. And then we, we help them build their stack. And they're basically hiring us to say as an example, we had a client come to us with an LMS project, a learning management system. So now our job is to go look at what they're doing, look at what their objectives are and then go research the market.
Dan McGraw: [00:08:18]
So we find out a lot of tools through those diagnostics, because we're basically doing the research on behalf of the client. So if you were to go to McGaw.io and check out our blog, like we have some articles in regards to CDPs multitouch retribution from previous projects we've done. But I will also say that we, we are not.
Dan McGraw: [00:08:33]
So when you think about there's a famous book called Crossing The Chasm, which talks about like the, the life cycle of a tech company, right. And the types of buyers there are, and there's the, the early majority, the innovators and all that stuff. And I would definitely say that we're kind of a little bit at the back half of the early majority.
Dan McGraw: [00:08:49]
We really don't want to be using a tool unless it's already been proven. It's been tested, because a lot of the new tools, when you sign up for them, one, they're not show ready in the first place. They're not able to integrate with many of your other tools. They have a lot of bugs. They have a lot of limited.
Dan McGraw: [00:09:02]
But the, the bigger problem is, is that getting somebody to work on that tool requires you to pay, to train them, to learn how to use that tool and then finding resources to manage that tool is even harder. So the common example that I talk to people about a lot is Webflow. Everybody loves Webflow. Right. And five years ago, four years ago, whatever it was, we were being pushed at it and stuff like that.
Dan McGraw: [00:09:22]
Two years ago, I had a client say, Hey, we want to use Webflow. And I was like, listen, I don't think this is good. I think you should stay with WordPress. And their experience with getting Webflow set up was extremely bad because the amount of money they had to pay for consultants and freelancers, and then people like us to fix what other people had broke.
Dan McGraw: [00:09:39]
It really got hacked together and it was like. If you just would've went with WordPress bud, like you would have paid half the price and consultants, to build it right. So like being an early majority isn't or being an innovator, isn't always the best thing. And we've seen that happen with many technologies, not just Webflow products that can Intellimize. Products, even like Segment, which I'm a big fan of today, their first four or five years.
Dan McGraw: [00:10:00]
I blatantly told people don't use it. It's data cleanliness is not good now I'm their one of their most famous partners. Right. But it took them a while to get over that hump and I wasn't willing to deal with the bad data. So when we think about keeping up with all these tools, luckily we get to do the research. So we find out about a lot of those tools. A lot of companies just come to us in general, since we're pretty well known in this space and try to get us to use their tool.
Dan McGraw: [00:10:23]
But at the end of the day, I'm also not trying to find new tools. That's not how we solve problems. What we do is we have an objective and we find something that solves that problem. So knowing of all the freshness really, that's kind of a waste of time. It's kind of like knowing like one analogy that I tried to help somebody understand. They're like, well, how do you keep up with all the new tools? I was like, well, how do you keep up with all the new rap songs? They're like, well, I don't have a need to.
Dan McGraw: [00:10:44]
And I was like, well, I don't have a need to keep up with all the new tools either. Right? Like. You, you wait until something is popular in many cases, and then you use it, or it's been tested. So it doesn't pay to be an innovator when it comes down to your stack. I can, I can be very transparent with that. In many cases that new innovative tool is buggy. It's going to require you more work. So we try to focus on tools which are a little bit more mature.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:11:06]
Yeah. And especially for larger organizations, the change that's required from one tool to another is immense. Not only the data side, but also the people side, because like you said, the training and all of those things. And funny enough, I am actually on Webflow and there's not a lot going on on my website. I love the CMS. But yeah you know, embedding a form, even this is a little bit it's, it's a challenging thing. And so, yeah. You know, Zapier Zapier is my savior there.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:11:35]
But one of the things that I always, when, when clients asking me or even, you know, people on Facebook, Twitter, whatever, they're asking me like, oh, what, what should we use for this? And whenever I ask about their use case, then it's always just very basic or very generic, or they haven't quite thought about the, the end goal. They haven't thought about why they're using a tool or a service to do a certain task. And then where does that lead to like, is there a back-end sales process?
Burhaan Pattel: [00:12:04]
Is there some sort of a support or, you know, what does it connect to? Where, where do you want to have the information? And one of the biggest challenges, well, in the small business market is the is email marketing? It's like, for me, I tend to like to keep a lot of customer information in the CRM or inside of the email system, because that's kind of where you're creating your messaging and having that information at, at the ready, when you're trying to figure out who's done what is important.
Dan McGraw: [00:12:35]
Yeah for sure.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:12:36]
So tell me a little bit about, about the book. Why did you call it? Build cool shit.
Dan McGraw: [00:12:42]
Really really good question. We probably spent two and a half months or something trying to figure out the right name. So the, the book's premise was based upon a webinar case study series that I had done. And at the end of the webinar I had said Don't be stupid hire the right people to build your stack and build cool shit.
Dan McGraw: [00:12:58]
And one of my team members is like, why don't we just call it, build cool shit. Like that's what the whole premise of the book is about is like going out and being able to build cool stuff. And I was like, I mean, sure. Why not? I mean, I'm known for swearing anyways. Our company used to be called F and amazing.
Dan McGraw: [00:13:10]
So it just kind of went along with our moniker a little bit there. But it really is the blueprint for helping you build a modern technology stack. So it's really, really helpful. It's a short read. And there's a lot of fun to put together. I mean, it's a full color book. So like you have color images of tools and things like that.
Dan McGraw: [00:13:24]
It's really high quality. So like like it's pretty easy. It was designed for an executive to be able to read like it's got color images. So yeah, it was a, it was a lot of fun to put together and it's, and it's a real world case study of a company called real thread. We talk about three objectives that they were trying to solve.
Dan McGraw: [00:13:38]
How we solve those objectives, how we accomplish the integrations and then as well as like, what was the follow through that we had to do to really make that all work. And also talk about the principles of like, how you should build a stack and some of the key tools that are going to help you with the basis of your stack.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:13:51]
So, yeah, that, that leads to what I said earlier about the confusion that's out there.
Dan McGraw: [00:13:57]
Burhaan Pattel: [00:13:58]
What is your, what are your top three to five tips on actually selecting a tool for a task?
Dan McGraw: [00:14:05]
Yeah, good question. And really, really a good one. So the first thing that we always recommend is first out the tools integrations at the end of the day your business is a, is a technology platform now, right? This isn't the seventies anymore, right? Where it's a bunch of stuff, file drawers. Your business is a technology platform, which is integrated in with many other things.
Dan McGraw: [00:14:21]
And if you add a new tool and it can not become part of that platform you've got a really big problem. And this is one of the reasons why for many years it was not the biggest fan of Salesforce because it's big, it's clunky, it does a million things. But at the end of the day, when you really do an analysis of their app exchange and what it integrates with, it integrates with everything.
Dan McGraw: [00:14:40]
And that's one of its huge superpowers is, it has this huge ecosystem of tools. And if you look like Scott Brinker, who made the landscape of MarTech, right? He's VP of HubSpot platform ecosystem and his primary objective is to get more and more tools integrated with HubSpot to make it more of a platform. So the first thing we always tell people is when you go to look at a tool and to choose one, make sure it's set up to be integrated. Does it have an API?
Dan McGraw: [00:15:03]
Does it have a direct connect integrations? Does it have this ability to pull the data in and pull the data out? Send it, do you actually have to use the platform to get things done. And that's where cool products like Twilio or Segment or SendGrid they're developer, first companies. So you can do everything in the product via an API. Like you don't even have to come to the product.
Dan McGraw: [00:15:22]
Everything can be done through an API. So we really do push on people to make sure that they are buying a tool which can be correctly integrated and well-integrated to share its data or consume data from other products. Don't get me wrong. Can't always win there. So Zapier exists. Workato exists Segment of course exists. That would be probably the biggest one.
Dan McGraw: [00:15:40]
The second thing that we always talk about when we are looking at tools is how, how expensive is the talent to manage this tool? How easy is it for us to hire, train and retain people to actually work in this tool? And one of the things that's coming up right, is like, if you use Salesforce marketing cloud, as an example. You're going to pay two to three times the amount of money to manage that tool than you may with a Pardot or or a Marketo.
Dan McGraw: [00:16:01]
And the reason why is because less people know Salesforce marketing cloud. Salesforce marketing cloud kind of requires you to really, to use it to its full ability, requires you to know sequel while, Marketo and Pardot don't. And there's many more people that know Marketo and maybe not as many know Pardot, but there's a lot more people in that space.
Dan McGraw: [00:16:19]
So you really have to better understand, can we use this tool? And this is something that we face as a problem when I first started the consulting is we would make a, make a recommendation for a tool because it was the best tool for the use case. But we didn't take into consideration the people that the company had to manage that. We took into consideration, we could do it.
Dan McGraw: [00:16:36]
So it's kind of like given a six year old, the keys of your Ferrari and say, good luck. Right. Or at the same time, you don't want to give your a 45 year old race car driver, the keys to your play school car. Right? Like you have to really make sure there's an alignment on the team. and of course the last one is, is it going to be able to achieve our objectives?
Dan McGraw: [00:16:52]
You have to stay focused on that. That should be your first thing that you're focused on. But again I like, I try to tell everybody you need to do a discount double-check on every single thing you do. And your objectives for what the tool is going to be used for need to be the thing that you do that discount double check on, for sure.
Dan McGraw: [00:17:07]
When you're picking these tools is we see so many people just buy shit. Cause the sales rep said to buy it. And oh, it does this and it does that. And then like we get in there and we're like, you don't need this. Like your organization is nowhere near this sophisticated. It's not like this magic thing where it just happened. It's like you've actually got to set this up and you, you have no idea what to do, and even if it is set up, you can't use it.
Dan McGraw: [00:17:28]
So why'd, you pay $30,000 a year for this additional whistle when you can't do it. But you know, marketing and sales, people especially in the MarTech space are so good that you'll wind up buying snake oil and drinking it the whole time. Still telling everybody that it's holy water. So you really gotta be careful there.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:17:47]
Well, I think that's one of the, one of the challenges, or one of the problems that, that exists today is, you know, this stackopolis is it's this this thing of, you know, you subscribe to things just to test them out or, or whatever the case may be. Maybe you end up using it for a little while, people in the team, or you may be using bits and pieces, but then you tend to forget, you know, it's one of those things that just. I guess gets expensive then, you know, if people are not using the thing, if it's not actually a, a major part of the business.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:18:17]
I actually went through a course recently with Ali Abdaal who had done a video on YouTube actually, where he spoke about all the things, all the tools that he has in his business. And he ended up saying that he had no idea that he had that many tools. So obviously you know small creator, he's got 2 million subscribers on YouTube, but he's built this sort of million dollar business teaching. But he's gotten to a point where it's, it's kind of like, okay, he's, you know, he's putting in a process to figure out what he's using and what he's not using. Have you seen a lot of that?
Dan McGraw: [00:18:46]
Of people having too many tools and they're just not aware of them. Yeah, for sure. I mean, most companies have more tools than I know. I mean, even us, I mean, we spend five to $10,000 a month on the tools to run our business. So there's definitely a lot of tools in people's stacks. We actually on our website. So if you went to McGaw.io and scroll down a little bit, there's a, uh, basically a Wiziwig stack builder that you can access.
Dan McGraw: [00:19:05]
And all you have to do is put in your domain. It will take you to a landing page, ask your domain. If you put in your domain there, it'll take you to another page and it'll actually load up all the technologies which are installed on your website, and tell you all the things that you have running, including the estimated cost that you're probably spending.
Dan McGraw: [00:19:19]
And you can use that visualization tool to ultimately move tools around, draw diagrams for how the data flows and stuff like that. It has a lot of tools to help you kind of track your stack. And we built that for our internal use case with ourselves and our clients, because we need to diagram data flows, but we also need to be like, you spend all this money on the tool, like who owns this tool?
Dan McGraw: [00:19:36]
There's like a kind of a management function to it as well, but you'd be surprised most people have no idea that they're spending 10 grand a month on technology, to, to help run their business. And they don't have a good way to track it or catalog it. So that's one of the reasons why we built our stack builder tool, which is it can be found on our website. We'll make it a little bit easier for people to track.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:19:53]
Yeah, I'll definitely link that in the show notes. Thank you.
Dan McGraw: [00:19:56]
Yeah, of course.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:19:57]
Yeah. It's, you know, with all of these things that are, like I said earlier, it's like, everything is sticky tape and we've got to try to piece it together. I'm sure that there comes a point where it's too much like, yes, it would be nice if it was all integrated. If there was just a few, just a handful of tools. But I don't know. Are we getting there? Do you think that we will ever get there?
Dan McGraw: [00:20:20]
No. I mean, it's always going to be a lot of tools. I mean, at the end of the day, the internet is accelerating. It's gonna get worse. We're going to continue to add tools. Tools are going to come out for tools and that's really the next big evolution that's happening. And that was something that Scott Brinker had talked about about a year and a half, two years ago was, is the hard part about tracking the new, amount of tools that are coming out is those tools are embedded inside of other tools.
Dan McGraw: [00:20:42]
So when you think about just Shopify, Shopify has its app store, right? So like, and that's growing at a really good clip. Well, each one of those tools is harder to find on the internet because it's just a plugin for Shopify, but it provides a really, really good value. And that's really where you're seeing a lot of these evolutions now coming where there's a little bit less of these big, robust tools, but the tools are getting harder to find because it's a new app exchange thing for Salesforce, or it's a new app for Shopify, or it's a new product that only works on, helping you fix HubSpot, or Chrome extensions.
Dan McGraw: [00:21:12]
The Chrome extensions have become extremely popular over the past couple of years. So it's less about these mega platforms because a lot of it's really hard to go compete with Marketo or Salesforce. So and a lot of these plugins are becoming where the growth is. So, you know, I don't really see growth in tech slowing down anytime soon.
Dan McGraw: [00:21:29]
I do think that we are going to have some sort of bubble that's going to happen in the next 12 to 24 months. You know, I've been saying that for a long time. So, but, you know, I was kind of right when COVID hit I had said in the spring of 2020, we were going to see something, something happen. We saw COVID happen, which of course caused a huge shuffle, but then the market re accelerated again, which is fantastic.
Dan McGraw: [00:21:48]
I mean, that's what happens when you dump billions and trillions of dollars into an economy. But something on the other side is still going to affect it right there, in the next 24 months. Like there's just too much turmoil going on around the entire world. With balance sheets, there's too much debt. So something will happen. I'm not really sure. I don't think it's gonna be like salesforce implodes, right? For all I know it's going to be Tesla employees. Like, I don't know.
Dan McGraw: [00:22:10]
I don't know who's going to fall. I don't know who's going to be the next Lehman brothers, but I can definitely tell you that somebody's balance sheet is a very good and they're too big to fail and we're going to have a domino effect. And naturally when there's any type of economy crash or recession everybody's going to be affected. And so is MarTech, right? Yeah.
Dan McGraw: [00:22:26]
The cool thing is, is that like we saw in the 2008 recession, it's the tech companies that really innovate and grow out of it. So while there will be another ruffle the feathers and it will slow some innovation down for a small period like COVID did at first Tech is the one who innovates really, really quickly pivots changes stuff and grows out of it in many cases. Where many other businesses just can't can't do that. Or can't be that agile.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:22:52]
Yeah, that makes sense. Talk to me a little bit about some of the findings that you had with that, that exploration you had with the learning management system and what you've seen in course, creation. I'm, I'm very curious, and I've worked with a number of clients pulling their courses, putting their stack together doing their marketing. What, what was that exercise like for you obviously coming in from the outside? Were there any findings, were there anything interesting or something or things that were glaring at you that were like, Hmm. Okay. That's interesting.
Dan McGraw: [00:23:20]
Yeah, of course. So, you know, I wasn't the lead on the project, so I'm a little bit of a step removed. What I can definitely say is that at the end, the biggest decision came down to how was the LMS going to be able to integrate with the rest of the ecosystem of our tools. And then also what was going to be the financial cost of us leaving one LMS, spinning up a new LMS. And then whether we should build our own or whether we should buy.
Dan McGraw: [00:23:41]
LMS has become really, really popular over the past few years. So there's definitely a lot more of them on the market, but they each kind of serve their own niche which is definitely interesting. We were working with a cooking school client. So this was for a little bit of a different setup and formats. So we decided they were going to, we were going to keep them on their own custom developed platform, compared to moving them to a separate LMS system.
Dan McGraw: [00:24:01]
Just because it didn't make the financial sense to move to a custom platform, to redevelop everything, to rebuild everything, and then to get on somebody else's platform for that platform to maybe one day fail, or even just not be able to keep up with the development growth that we intended to be able to provide as a customer experience. So I can't really speak too much to the individual tools themselves. So I do apologize about that.
Dan McGraw: [00:24:21]
But I will just say this over the last five years, the LMS space has really, really grown. Because there's just so many online education companies and that's really helped accelerating the growth. And there's also a lot of innovation going on in schools as well. So there's a lot of different ways that you can look at that. But, I, I'm not too close to the project, so I can't speak heavily to it.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:24:39]
Oh no, no worries. It's just, it's one of those things that that's interesting to me because like I said, you know, companies, are trying to mark themselves as the the all-in-one, you know, look at me, look at me. And I think you mentioned earlier that the marketing on, on these tools are just so, so good or, yeah, they're, they're smart in the way that they say things and they message on their website. And so people are being led into believing without actually understanding, you know, once they go in, what it can do and what it can't do.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:25:09]
There are a lot of clicks. There are a lot of like groups or cults that form around these sort of softwares. And that's always interesting, cause I, I feel like a lot of people have blind blinkers on when it comes to, you know, believing in versus the practicality of what they actually need for their business.
Dan McGraw: [00:25:27]
Yeah. You know, I mean, I personally did a large multitouch attribution study a couple of years ago. It's featured on our blog. So you can find all the stuff that we talk about. And I reviewed all the main vendors in that space. And you know, at the end of the day, the multi-touch attribution space for anybody who multi-touch attribution is very, very difficult to do.
Dan McGraw: [00:25:46]
It's very hard to understand, but the data methodology that these vendors have is really the way that you should choose them. And that's what comes down to once again, talking about how do they integrate, how do they connect? How do they store their data? That's really one of the most important factors that people just overlook.
Dan McGraw: [00:26:00]
And don't, one, it has a much of it has to do with ignorance. Like it's not it's not chosen ignorance, right? It's just, they, they, they don't understand the concepts, but if you can get down to those nitty-gritty things, you can make some really good decisions. And for this multi-touch attribution project, was super, super helpful for me.
Dan McGraw: [00:26:15]
I mean, I got to learn so much about the space, which was great. But for our client, they were just so sophisticated and so advanced that we were like, you've got to maintain rolling your own system, but we've got an out build out this integration with these five other tools and do all this other stuff for you to even be able to have that opportunity.
Dan McGraw: [00:26:31]
So it can be really, really, difficult to do. But you know, it's definitely possible, right? I mean, we've built custom multitouch attribution models using Looker to make it so that people can see whatever they need to see there. But some people can only use the tool. Right. It just really does depend.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:26:45]
Yeah. Yeah. You do mention automation on your website as well, and I'm a big believer of systems. So there's two ways to scale a company. One is lots of people. The other is automation. How do you balance balance the two, because there's this obvious fear that's in the air and it has been around for a while with AI taking over the world and you know, the matrix happening. What are you, what do you, what do you see? What what's what's happening at the moment? Is it as bad as the matrix? Are we getting there or like.
Dan McGraw: [00:27:18]
No, AI data's too, too jacked for us to get there. And if you know anything about the artificial intelligence space and machine learning space, you'll, you'll notice about five years ago, it became all the hotness and really, really started kind of going out there and going crazy. You'll notice over the past 12 to 24 months, it kind of died down. And the main reason is, is all these people threw money at these companies.
Dan McGraw: [00:27:36]
They became really big and they did a good project for one company. But the problem is, is all of our underlying data, as most companies are, is crap. So when you put artificial intelligence or machine learning on bad data, it made bad outcomes. So that's one of the reasons why I talked earlier. Data governance is becoming so important now because you can't effectively use AI or ML to do anything unless you have good data.
Dan McGraw: [00:27:58]
So definitely a really important there, but you know, in regards to automation in general, I'm a huge fan of automation, but I also think we have to be humans. You know, everybody's seven years ago was over automating and doing too much because we just could, like, it was this new superpower and it, it worked right. And then everybody was like, oh my God, another automated email from that guy. Right.
Dan McGraw: [00:28:19]
We all know that sales guy that just sent me an email. He didn't send me that, like, it was a spam email. So automation can be really bad, but you know, I'll give everybody a really good way to do automation. So one my book Build Cool Shit. You can get a free copy of it. Right. So what I want you to do is pull out your cell phone, right? So go to your text messages and your cell phone. And what I want you to do is I want you to text the word, MarTech.
Dan McGraw: [00:28:40]
So M A R T E C H. Just text the word MarTech to this number. So if you text 4, 1, 5, 9 1 5 9 0 1 1. I'll say that again. 4 1 5 9 1 5 9 0 1 1. If you text the word MarTech to that number, it will have an automated bot, which is going to collect your information. So you can get a free copy of the book. It's that simple, right?
Dan McGraw: [00:29:01]
That automation though is something which is magical to somebody when they first experience it. And it's really, really cool because they're like, oh, I can tell it my first name and it then asks me my last name. All that information is collected into our CRM and our marketing automation system. And then it's sent over to our shipping provider and it takes care of all that stuff.
Dan McGraw: [00:29:18]
Now that automation is extremely, extremely helpful and is, is helpful for us because it allows us to communicate with each other and things like that. However, the automation, when I just spam you with text messages because I can, is not helpful. It's not creating that human relationship. It's not building that bond between the two companies.
Dan McGraw: [00:29:36]
And that's where companies really get these things kind of wrong. You have to understand what automation, whether that be process automation, whether it be marketing automation. One process automation, if it's done behind the scenes, great, like I want you to automate your business as much as you can, but you have to remember, there's not a human helping you there.
Dan McGraw: [00:29:51]
So bugs and errors are going to happen, right? Mistakes are going to happen. The same thing comes along when you do marketing automation is sometimes we use the wrong message on the wrong channel and we try to over automate and we make ourselves look like a robot and humans don't want to talk to robots.
Dan McGraw: [00:30:06]
So I think people have a tendency to over automate. They need to humanize it a lot more, compared to when somebody signs up for your product, they'll just send them a 14 day drip campaign, right? Make that drip campaign based upon the actions that they do or do not take in the product. Yes, those can be day related, but if customer has not tried feature by seven day, send them an email saying we notice you haven't used this feature yet.
Dan McGraw: [00:30:31]
We think based upon your profile, this would be valuable for you. That's a much more human email compared to on the seventh day after I sign up, check out this feature, right? Like you really have to understand that you're still talking to a human, whether it's an automated message or not. And I think people just don't really take, they don't really go that deep into the process.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:30:53]
Well, I think the problem there also is one, a lack of understanding that it is possible definitely in the small business, or you know to start up as sort of companies that are still trying to figure it out. They're not sure exactly what's available, what's what's possible. And then two is hiring somebody who understands that and then being able to build those sequences out, you know, putting the logic in, putting the messaging in. That's also an expense.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:31:19]
And so from what I've seen generally in, you know, in my space with small businesses, they're buying the tool, expecting a magic formula and expecting it to just do everything without actually spending time to build, you know, put the, put the steps in, to pay for copy, to pay for somebody, to automate things, to pay for somebody, to help you with all the Zapier sticky, sticky type stuff.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:31:42]
And that's where I exist. That's where I sort of play because I'm a big believer of doing things the right way and being personal being sort of, yeah automate as much as you can to help you save time, because maybe your budget doesn't allow hiring an additional person or five additional people. But then at what point do we get to too much, right. There's there is this balancing act that needs to happen? And I, how do you measure that? Like how do you find that line.
Dan McGraw: [00:32:14]
Yeah. I, you know, I mean, I think it's different in every company. I mean, it really does come down to the people that you have or the budget you have to spend on people, because at the end of the day, it's the people who are going to build all of that stuff. Right. So it makes a little hard, but you know, I think there's like one like things platforms like Upwork or Freelancers and contractors out there exist that are going to be able to help you kind of push that over the edge there.
Dan McGraw: [00:32:36]
So, and like get that stuff done. But again, it can be hard to know who to choose, right? Like how do you trust these people and things like that. So it's, it's not easy. I mean, I will say that there's a reason why. I mean, compared to my closest competitor, I'm two to three times more expensive. Right? So like, we're definitely the premier shop. Like we work with high-end brands. We work a lot of really, really cool companies and that's because we provide a really valuable product and valuable service.
Dan McGraw: [00:32:59]
So, but I totally understand the problems that people go through a to get here. I went through it myself. I mean, I started from working with small businesses and worked my way all the way up over the past 15 years. So totally understand the, the, the conundrums that you get stuck in when, when you have these tools.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:33:16]
Yeah. And then, and then there's also the marketing or there sort of influencers that are saying, oh, you know, starting company's easy, like, you know, you just need to do it over a weekend or you see a YouTube video. It's like, oh, I built a thousand people email list over two days, like, yeah. Okay. But then, you know.
Dan McGraw: [00:33:33]
And most of that stuff's bullshit. Right? Like I love it to death. Like I, so like Neil Patel, who, so I worked for Neil Patel. I was actually Neil Patel's replacement, at Kissmetrics I was recruited in, I was brought in to replace Neil Patel at Kissmetrics Neil Patel went on to go do his thing. And Neil always has these challenges where it's like, Hey, I'll, I'll generate a million dollars in 90 days or whatever it is.
Dan McGraw: [00:33:54]
That's not a fair, like that's not a fair expectation for anybody else to set for themselves. I mean, like the, even the skills that I learned from Neil, right? Like have paid dividends in my career, but if you don't know what we know, or you don't have the resources or connections or the ability to do this thing at the rate that we do it, you can't compete.
Dan McGraw: [00:34:14]
So like, I think that there's a lot of hype. And I think that's my biggest frustration right now, is just all of the hype around like, oh, start an agency in three months and be successful. And it's like you know, if I'm going to give anybody, I know advice like the last business I'm going to tell you to go into is services.
Dan McGraw: [00:34:28]
The services business can suck, like go into SaaS. It's way easier, right? Like, but you've got to do what is ever your why on the inside. And you know, my why is helping people be able to be better at whatever they choose to be good at? Tech is just the areas that I get to do that in. So yeah, there's all these hype sauces out there, which is like, I get a thousand emails in a weekend.
Dan McGraw: [00:34:47]
It's like, well, great. Who cares that you got 996 emails, which suck. And you got four, which are good. I want, I want 4,000 good emails. Like I don't want a thousand junk emails. So you've got to, you've got to remember that everybody out there is trying to sell you something. Everybody's trying to convince you to buy something or manipulate you into buying something.
Dan McGraw: [00:35:06]
And sometimes you've just gotta be the bigger person and be like, this is fucking stupid. So yeah, I hate to say it, in that such negative term, but, I mean, how it look right? I I'm, I'm getting you guys in my book. Right. And come on, we're all here trying to sell something at some point. Somewhere.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:35:19]
Yeah. So just to end off, I, you drop the number to get the book, to get a free copy of the book that's the physical copy that you're sending out to people, right?
Dan McGraw: [00:35:29]
Yeah. We were going to actually mail you a physical copy of the book. You do have to pay for your own shipping, but, the book is $22. So like, I think it's a fair discount there. So yeah, if you text the word MarTech to 4 1 5 9 1 5 9 0 1 1, or if you don't want to give up your cell phone number, you can go to McGaw.io and it's available on the top of our website.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:35:48]
Cool. And then, and then there's also the, wiziwig, stack builder that you have on the website that I will also link in the show notes. Dan, thank you so much for, for being on the show. I really appreciate you coming on and spending the time with us.
Dan McGraw: [00:36:03]
Thanks for having me. This has been great. So I appreciate everybody listening.
Burhaan Pattel: [00:36:06]
Cool. Thank you.