Welcome to the Marketing Lego Thought Leader Interview. Today, we will speak with Mauricio Romero, CEO of DataBranding, about his journey and how he came up with his digital marketing agency. We will also discuss valuable insights on lead conversion, query-based terms, content planning and more.
Hi everyone, and welcome to today’s Marketing Lego’s Thought Leader interview. My name is Harshit Gupta, and I’m the Director of Business Alliances of two amazing marketing SaaS tools, RankWatch and WebSignals. We have a special guest and a brilliant marketer with us today, the CEO of marketing agency DataBranding, Mauricio. Welcome so much, brother. I’m so happy to have you across today.
Thank you. Mauricio, please tell us more about yourself and your journey so far. What were you like as a child, and how did you get to where you are today?
So, making TV commercials was excellent. So, I love that part. So, I started to get into that part of the agency, and we started producing the TV commercials for big brands, Coca-Cola, Procter and Gamble, and Hershey’s—every significant brand. We made TV commercials for them back then in those days. Then, I went to college, and I did my major in marketing and advertising. And when I finished school, I found my company. I was in Mexico City, and I was directing, at that time, TV commercials; because I started so young, I started doing the lamps and pulling up cables, and then I started to work as the assistant, and then to assistant of the producer and then assistant of the director. I ended up directing TV commercials.
What’s the role?
But remember that the internet changed everything, so people stopped watching TV. The budgets went down, and we had to reinvent ourselves because nobody was watching TV anymore. We didn’t have the previous budgets that we had, so we started struggling to make 200 commercials per year. We end up making 15 commercials a year or so. It went really down. We had to reinvent ourselves. So, we started making another service like activations and all that stuff. And it was at that time the transition when people didn’t believe in digital marketing. Still, they needed to have all the budgets or put the money into traditional advertising because it was starting to go down, and we had different results than the previous years. I started studying what was happening again and discovered digital marketing. So, this is where we had to go because of the results; you can measure everything. That was really great. Before, in traditional advertising, if you needed to make a study, making the study was the exact cost as making the campaign.
So, it was costly. Not all people had the money to spend and see what was going on or what was going on with the market. But with digital marketing, it was a must to analyze everything. You can analyze everything because you have data easily. That’s when I started to change all the agencies into inbound marketing. And, of course, being in inbound marketing is with HubSpot because they invented inbound marketing.
Mauricio, this transition happened in which year, approximately?
I’m sure because early 2007, 2008, was when even HubSpot was getting a grip of the market and not that famous.
Of course, you can also pay Google, but that’s another space. But if you don’t pay Google, Google must find good information. We will use other platforms if Google doesn’t give us good answers. I don’t know, maybe any search engine. Google needs good information. If your website is filled with that information, you will be successful. Of course, that information has to be written in two languages. The first language is for the user. You have to explain how you can help them solve their problem. But the other language, it’s the SEO part. You have to help the search engine understand how to index your content and how to classify it. So, when someone asks a question, they say, Okay, here’s a great answer, and here’s a website with many answers. So, that’s how Google will send you a lot of people. And, of course, that’s the beginning of digital marketing and the things that we’re doing. And we do. We specialize in content. Many agencies now specialize in CRM because CRM is also a good part of the system. After all, you must follow up on all the leads from marketing.
But the real engine is to attract people. If you have good salespeople, the CRM will make their life much easier. But even if you have a great CRM and a tremendous following and nurturing campaigns, if you don’t have good salespeople, it doesn’t matter. And salespeople are off our side of the agency. Salespeople should be on the client side. So, that’s why we are still specializing in content. And, of course, we can help all the sales teams to follow up. And we help them with the nurturing campaigns, and we help them with the lead scoring and all that part. But if the sales team is not good, it doesn’t matter. They are not going to close. That’s why it’s challenging to maintain the revenue in inbound marketing. You, as an agency, can do great work to attract people. But if the client needs to do their part with a good sales team and follow-up, all your efforts go down. That’s the trick when we need to select good clients. That’s a big part of it. It would be best if you had a client that is willing to adopt new technology, that is willing to adopt new ways of doing things.
It has to come from the top. It would be best to have the CEO sign in so the salespeople can start doing that. It’s an excellent project because when salespeople understand that when we answer a question, that question becomes a sales meeting, and that sales meeting becomes a sale and then a customer, that’s when they get it. Because salespeople need to get it from the beginning. They say, Okay, now I have more responsibilities. I need to learn a new platform. We were doing okay with our Excel or whatever they use to follow up, but we don’t need that. It’s a lot of extra work; we must help the agency make the content. It’s a lot of new work they still need to get. But when they start seeing the results and the blog that they help us with, they receive a comment that goes directly to him, and he follows up that lead, and then he earns that commission per sale. That’s when salespeople are happy.
That’s a perfect point. Many marketers and businesses need help bringing down the synergy between your talk and bottom-line activities and converting the leads to the clients. Please share a few tips with us. How exactly do you bring that synergy to your client’s business altogether?
We go, and we interview the expert. And, of course, we make the content. We convert that into a blog, an ebook, a video, whatever is needed. But when they answer that question, it has the special sauce of how they do things, and they are pleased. And, of course, when the last user, the actual client of our clients, reads the blog, he’s reading the real solution. It’s not something that we made up. We were used to that in traditional advertising because the clients didn’t know how to communicate anything. We gather a lot of copywriters and experts, put them into a meeting room, and just put them in beer and pizza. After two days, they came up with a great story. They made up the story around that and made it with an excellent way to communicate it. We don’t do that anymore. We can’t do that anymore. We need to do real stories from the companies. It changed many things, and we had to learn all that in these 15 years we’ve been doing digital marketing. It was a natural mindset change that we had to do because we were in the traditional advertising and thought, okay, making content.
We’ve been making content all these years. It’s the same, and it wasn’t the same because it didn’t connect to the audience they were looking for. And now, doing this, we have excellent results making that. Those tips are those that always try to educate your client. Everyone in the company needs to know what they are doing, because sometimes we have to work not only with the salespeople but also with the people who are making the product, with engineers as an example. And the engineer needs to understand that his answer is something that’s going to help salespeople to understand how they do things. For example, we have a tequila from Mexico, and one of our clients is the second biggest tequila brand. It’s Tequila Sosa. There were a lot of questions that people were asking. Is it reasonable to freeze the tequila or not? Should you make it frozen or not? We went to the expert, so he had nothing to do with marketing or sales. But that’s something that people were asking. It results that if you take a liquor and freeze it, you’ll lose a lot of aromas.
It’s not the best thing to do because if you have a terrible tequila and you freeze it, you won’t see the difference between a good one and a bad one. So it’s not the best idea. Of course, if it’s hot, it’s good to drink it with ice. But that was something. Another question is, how much tequila can you drink before getting drunk?
It’s brilliant. Even to come up with these questions, you need to do some due diligence. Like creating for saws or finding the right keywords on which you build those query-based terms. How do you go about that?
It’s amazing how we humans are starting to talk to the machines as if they were humans. This process is critical because when the salespeople catch a question, people are typing it just as they are telling you, How do you do this? How do you solve that part? And it’s incredible how that becomes SEO, a strong base of SEO. When you have those questions, then, of course, all the platforms of SEO can help you understand how they search or the exact words of how they search it. But the first part is to gather your sales team, gather those questions, and then put all those searches into your system, whatever system you have, and the system will help you with the statistics. And then, you have to see two parts of the statistics. People are looking a lot for a term, but the general terms have a lot of traffic, but it could be a better lead because they’re very generic. You have to balance a little bit with long-term keywords. That’s why I like the long questions. You have to think because we’re going to get more accessible to a long-term question or a long-term keyword, and we’re going to rank faster than a generic keyword. That’s another thing we’ve learned through the years.
You have a much more refined audience. The specific target niche that you want on your side.
No, Mauricio makes perfect sense because your salespeople are on the front line. They deal with the customers daily. They understand the customer’s needs and can act as a perfect fit for the marketing department to build content around those queries. One very intriguing question that comes to my mind is how exactly you plan the content. And what are the main KPIs that you keep track of to further go down in the future and improve that marketing piece of content also?
I tell them we need more specific questions. So that’s it. And you have to perform this every month to start improving. And that’s the way to improve it. And then, if you have the ten most busy blogs bringing you a lot of content and visitors, try to review them and see if you can improve them. You probably have a blog that is converting a lot. So, see what content you made and how you made that content. People are converting so much and try to copy that into the other blogs with a lot of busy, not too much conversion. It’s not only writing the content; it’s looking at which content is performing. The toolkit has many busy charts and conversions, and tries to see what things are converting, mix them, and rewrite them to make them better. That’s it. And, of course, when you convert, also it has to do with the offers. Remember that the offer is not lowering your price. I’m offering you more content where you can learn more about how to solve your problem.
And if the problem is significant to that person, they will read a lot of content. Because that’s another thing that many clients tell me my clients don’t read. And when I talk, I always ask people, Do we have pregnant women here or young mothers? There is always one saying: Okay, how many blogs have you read about changing a diaper, getting your child to sleep early, or making the formula for your kid? And they tell me more than 100. That’s how I tell the clients, okay, the same thing. People want to solve their problems. That problem is essential. They’re going to read a lot. So, that’s when inbound marketing or content marketing gets the power. You are telling them how they can do that. And after that, you are going to tell them my solution is a good way that you can solve that problem. Why don’t you try my solution? That’s the buyer’s journey.
One more very cool thing that businesses and marketers tend to do is when you search any query on Google, you get to search intent as well. Say what results Google prefers showing for that specific query. It could be a blog, a video, an image, or a recipe. There are tons of snippets that Google offers that help marketers plan content as per that particular strategy. Because of that, they guarantee quick wins and quick jumping on top of their phones again.
A blog should be around 600 words. There can be more, of course, but around 600 words, anyone can read it. If you make it shorter, it has to be excellent content, or people desperately need the solution to read 3,000 blocks; they don’t do that. So 600 words it’s the correct amount. Then, for video, it should be around two minutes up to two minutes. So try to do those 600 words in one to two minutes, at most two minutes, because you won’t read it. And when you try to do it in a podcast, people are used to listening for 15 to 20 minutes. So try to do that. It has the same content; start talking about it. It could be straightforward if you interview your client and put a camera in front of them. In those interviews, you can make their resume and make them one minute. Then, you put the cold content on audio and have 15 minutes. Then, you have your copywriter to make great content in 600 words. We also like interviews because we have the three contents in one effort.
That’s why we think interviews are so significant with the subject matter of experts. The only thing is that some people get nervous in front of the camera. You must know who inside your client’s company is willing to have a camera in front of them. That’s the only issue we found with interviews, not all people; when you put an in front of them, they freeze and need help to think of a good answer.
I recorded a lot of practice as well. When I started a video series, it took me a few interviews, and a will that I want to work my way through. And that was itself once you have a vision that you want to help the community grow generally gives you better drive. So you have a lot of practice, to be honest.
Mauricio, do you like to practise all inbound? What do they like to do outbound activities that your company practices?
Is your agency all focused on inbound now, or are their own activities, as you saw?
And if you don’t connect with that person at the right time, it might be the right person. But they will only take action if you connect it at the right time. So, it’s mainly based on hope. And you have to do a lot of effort and emails. It’s based on knocking on many doors. In the second part, I told the clients that it’s traditional advertising, making brand awareness. That’s what you are doing: making brand awareness. When you make brand awareness, you can justify your investment in terms of how many leads this investment gave me because you’re making brand awareness. You want everyone to know your product, service, and solution. Having the statistics, it isn’t easy. That’s something that traditional advertising struggles with. I remember clients in the 90s telling me, Okay, we’re putting a billboard on the most prominent street in the city. Okay, how many people went through that? We can know that. But how many people look at the advertising? And how many people who looked at advertising went to your store? And how many people went to your store to buy? We can’t know that. It’s impossible to know that.
That time was again very painful. And even like any traditional media, you can’t really measure that. Measuring that is such an impossible task. Even when you deal with multiple channels as well, attribution is something that is a pain point. And I would love to know how exactly you address it in your agency.
And so many little people will become your leads in Google AdWords. So, I tell them those are campaigns for brand awareness. So, if you want to gain brand awareness, that’s great, but it will cost you, and you can stop doing that. When? You don’t know. Imagine Coca-Cola saying we’re going to stop all our advertising. They won’t stop it, and they don’t care because it will have an impact. And the third way to attract people is to be present when they are looking for a solution. That’s why I tell them digital marketing or inbound marketing is the most intelligent way because, in the first one, you need the right person and the right time. The second one is that you must be present everywhere and always. You need to figure out how much money you’re going to spend. On your third one, you will attract people who need a solution. They are looking for a solution. So, what’s the best part of investing? They are ready to spend money investing in those customers to do the solution. Indeed, two others are not ready.
They only think of your solution once they need you. And you’ve been present so often that they think of you as a vendor for that solution. Those are the three ways. And I tell them we can do traditional advertising. And we were perfect back then doing that. But it’s a matter of money. Do you have the money? And all the clients say, Oh, I don’t know, I don’t want to spend my money like that. Of course, they can do that when there’s a big company. But a company needs to invest its money brilliantly.
But Mauricio, then one other contrary opinion comes. Inbound marketing does take time to build its momentum. Compared to paid ads, where you see quick results and targets and stuff like that. How do you convince your customer? In your experience, what is the average time you set your client’s expectation?
So how do I choose? And every time you contact someone, they will tell you, Okay, you want credit or the list? I know the difference. So it’s really simple. It’s educating your customers. And if you do that content, it will become an asset that will last a long time. Instead of traditional or paid advertising, the moment you stop your budget or campaign, you have zero presence on the Internet. You become, again, no one. And if you do content marketing with inbound marketing, those questions are really good, and they will perform for a long time because they are accommodating. And we want, as consumers, to understand which product will give us the best solution.
Are they following the same strategy, combining inbound and paid strategies, gradually decreasing the payout budget, and investing more or more inbound?
Over time, the numbers started increasing like crazy because the unstable system became predictable and replicable. And finally, this is scalability. That’s clever. This is exponential growth.
That’s true. That’s true. CTR on ads, even if you’re ranking on the top, it’s around 2-3% industry standard. So, when your organic wizard ranks on the job, the click-through rate tosses off the road. They’re not going to agree with the thought altogether. But simultaneously, I was trying to feel like it might be a struggle. Setting the expectation of playing that you’ll have to wait for, say, a year to see the actual benefit of the inbound strategy. And how exactly do you cope with retaining those customers, and how do you go about that?
Of course, it’s another part of explaining to the clients how Google thinks. You might have a great answer or the best answer in the world, and you have that answer. But if Google goes into your website and you only have a few answers around because there are a million websites with good answers, how does Google give you the first place? Well, having a great answer and many answers is a matter. And how many answers? I don’t know. It’s around 1,000 articles. So, you need a really big website. And to have a really big website and to be in the big leagues in my marketing, you need to do all that content. And to do 1,000 articles is going to take you four or five years.
Yeah. Even if you have a big marketing budget and go about it, it’s a matter of persistence. The authority in a domain gets formed with continuous effort, not just one-time effort, and it happens. Those are scenarios. Makes sense.
That’s correct. Mauricio, please share one of the most successful inbound campaigns you’ve run. And what main KPIs did you draw that could make a successful campaign?
And that’s true. You have to keep continuously putting your efforts into improving your already ranking blog page. Because at some point, you will slip into that position, and if you keep on not adding or improving that content, you may, like in a later stage, stay caught up.
Is that what you’re recommending?
Yeah, sure. It requires a lot of discipline to have that consistency. It makes sense. Is there any horror story that you would like to share? Because you’re getting so many years of experience, you’re starting to see anything that happened and are unhappy about it. And one lesson that you learned.
You can buy five brands in a row and try them all. We can do that, as an example, with a car. So we need content and that content to make our decision. And that principle is the only thing that tells me, okay, you’ve been doing that principle since you started with traditional advertising. It was the same thing. You talk about a product, show the benefits, show that the product suits these people, and show them the solution and the result. So it’s the same. As long as humans don’t change that part, we have an excellent strategy to keep following. The other important thing is that if you do the same thing every day to become a master in performing that thing. That’s the thing that I concentrate on to understand how people make decisions and what information is essential. Because of the other part, how will we give you that information? It will change a lot with the algorithms and everything that is coming. Those are the two things. The good thing is we are humans; we won’t change that part. And the scary thing is that we’ll need to learn many new skills.
That’s very nice. Mauricio, any final words or thoughts that you would like to share with us or viewers, please?
That’s true. And that’s very nice. Thank you so much, Mauricio, for all the useful tips you have shared with us and for sharing about you, your agency, and all your wisdom. I appreciate all your time.