This week, for episode 201 of the Moondog Marketing Podcast, I spoke with Gray MacKenzie. Gray is the owner of inbound marketing agency GuavaBox and co-founder of DoInbound, a project and process management tool specifically for marketing agencies. He’s also the force behind the Inbound Agency Journey, a podcast I’ve personally enjoyed very much as of late. After my time at the Fifteen Seconds conference, I was especially eager to hear Gray’s thoughts on inbound marketing. What is its status now, in mid–2017? What could your business be missing out on?
When Gray and his business partner, Andrew, were in college, they spearheaded an effort to highlight their university’s new lacrosse program. Gray built the website and Andrew led the social media campaign which brought legitimacy to the program in terms of both recruitment and recognition. The two business majors found this to be an eye-opening experience as to the power of content creation, and the enthusiastic response you get when you produce things people truly want. After seeing just how much they could accomplish from their small dorm room, Gray and Andrew began GuavaBox in 2011.
As it was their first venture into the world of marketing, the pair encountered the usual struggles.
They chose to focus on a few basic questions in order to succeed:
1. How are we going to help small businesses grow by implementing the lessons we’ve learned?
2. A consistent process on our end leads to consistent results for our clients. How do we bring consistency to our process?
His focus on consistency intrigued me, especially after seeing that so many marketers had pivoted to include tech services in their businesses. I wanted to know what Gray thought about some of the recent chatter in marketing circles regarding whether or not we’ve reached “content overload.” Is there too much noise, or is it still possible to achieve your goals? What can smaller to medium businesses do to stand out from the crowd? Does the focus really have to be on flashy, expensive tactics like strapping a camera to a bird of prey?
Gray shared some solid insights about how marketing approaches have changed over time. Right now, many marketers focus on quantity over quality, in particular, a flood of articles that offer little beyond the chosen SEO phrase. The efficacy of those tactics, however, is dwindling as we leave this era. We’re moving towards flipping the switch. As Gray sees it, the people reaping the most benefits today are going very in depth, with higher quality content.
During our conversation, Gray stressed the importance of understanding the space you’re in. As marketers, it’s critical that we understand who else might be out there, currently filling the needs of our potential customers. There’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” approach. Those of you in very niche spaces will connect differently than someone in a more competitive field.
In his own words, when discussing DoInbound:
“We knew there’s lots of bigger companies out there, with bigger budgets, so we can’t just try to be another project management platform. By focusing on a specific niche within project management, however, we’ve been able to differentiate in a way that doesn’t demand a bigger budget. GuavaBox grew through blogging and written content, while DoInbound primarily uses podcasting as go to market strategy. Embrace what makes you unique and what your audience needs. It really comes down to self awareness and an understanding of your environment.”
I really enjoyed my conversation with Gray, and his nuanced take on traditionally black and white topics. People in general (and marketers in particular) have a tendency to go “all in” and drink the Kool-aid of a particular approach. What Gray has done, instead, is use a customer-focused, multifaceted approach that has really paid off.
So do listen along to hear his thoughts on the role of social media, the old “organic versus pay-per-click” debate, and what he would do differently if he were to start over from square one today. If you’d like to get in touch with Gray, your best bet is to contact him on Twitter. Thanks so much as always for tuning in.