Digital Marketing in a Clickless, Attribution-Free World

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

For many years, marketers have leaned hard into data for information and insight about how people interact with different activities.

But the landscape has dramatically changed. 

A lot of digital marketing can't be tracked or attributed. People see content but never click, or they learn about products on the Dark Web.

Spark Toro CEO Rand Fishkin says marketers need to return to the days of creativity and ingenuity to attract and engage customers. 

He says they need to make leaps of faith when making marketing decisions as opposed to depending on data to lead the way strategically and tactically. 

It's an insightful conversation with someone who's been in the digital trenches for a long time. 

For years, the marketing world has been dominated by data. Strategic and tactical decisions were made based on KPI s and data that provided insight into how prospects and customers were interacting with marketing. The data is important, but truth be told, marketing is a combination of art science. While data delivers facts and figures, marketing is also driven by creativity, talking to customers and sometimes doing things that simply feel right. Spark Toro Ceover and Friskin is someone who has been articulating the importance and challenges of non data activity at a time when attribution is becoming increasingly more difficult. If you read his posts on the spark Tora blog or linked in, he's talking about and exploring topics that resonate with people who believe in the qualitative side of marketing. Walk on the marketing spark rand. Thanks for having me, markot to be here. How's that intro? Does that encapsulate sort of your view of the world these days? Yeah, I mean I agree with you definitely that attribution is getting much more difficult, and yet the behavior of whatever you want to call them, um executive teams and leadership teams has not yet come around to this idea that that attribution might not be possible or reasonable as an expectation for marketers. I also think there's still a lot of marketers who are still who are just kind of addicted to it. Right, they learned marketing one way. They're not really going to change that. That's just how it was, right. I think the first, you know, the first ten fifteen years of my career doing s c O, right back in the early two thou into the same thing. Right, there were marketers who just they had learned marketing in the seventies and eighties and nineties, and they were not going to change. They were not going to evolve and become you know, digital mark getting gurus or or believers. They had their ways and they were set. And I suspect that happens every generation. So look, I think we're we're fighting against a difficult tide. But for those marketers and those teams that are willing to invest in serendipitous, hard to measure channels, it's gonna be it's gonna be good, good getting. Yeah, I've got a lot of ground to cover. I did want to start with how things are going at spark Toro, which launched in I believe April a pandemic had great timing. From the outside looking in, it looks like you're enjoying the latest chapter of your entrepreneurial journey. Our things going with spark Toro and what are some of the things you've learned over the last couple of years. Let's see, I am definitely much happier as a human being running a very tiny team and a small business versus a big, you know, venture scale trying to be a billion dollar company type of business. Um. I don't think hyper growth is something that interests me it um. And I also think that I like I like people too much to be a great leader of large teams. An interesting statement. Yeah, you have to have some ah, disassociative or psychopathic. I don't mean that in the bad sense, like you know, I realized psychopathy is a problematic thing. I just mean you you can't care deeply about every human being that you work with or who works for you in a scaling, fast growing organization, or you will be forced to make decisions that are either deeply that deeply hurt you because they hurt others, or you will make decisions that are not right for the business and you have to choose. Um, it's kind of a the downside of capitalism. Yeah, it comes down to where you feel comfortable, you know, where your swim lane is, the kind of company you want to...

...run. I think that's one of the realities of being an entrepreneur is everybody dreams of raising venture capital and be the unicorn, but the reality is far different than what your thoughts are of what it could be. Yeah. Yeah, I mean, and it's a big you know, it's a big gamble, right, So um, I think MAS was probably I think statistically in the top two or three percent of all companies that raise venture capital. And yet I think by you know, by any investors standard, it was a failure. It's sold, but it's sold for technically a lot of money, right, like a very large amount of money, but certainly nothing that would interest investors from a venture standpoint. Right. It did not did not return the minimum return on capital that was expected after you know what, Foundry had been in for seven or eight years, and I think Ignition been in for twelve. So um, that's that's pretty frustrating. And I think it's you know, it's kind of a privileged position to be like, well, you know, I made some money from it, and it technically, you know, it built a great career for me. But for a lot of people who work there, I think that was a very painful journey. And I think for a lot of other venture backed companies, they they don't get anywhere close to that. So and then there's all the companies that try and raise venture and fail. Right, so everyone who gets it, there's a thousand a thousand who are chasing it. We talked off the top about the marketing world been driven by data and the idea that everything that can be measured should be measured, and the fascination or obsession that marketers have with data. But it's clear that the marketing landscape has changed. Attribution is obviously a challenge these days. A lot of consumer behavior can't be tracked or measured, and you're hearing a lot of marketers talk about dark web and dark social. Let's talk about the shift to the non attribution marketing world and the impact that it's having on marketers. You've got a lot to say on that, and yeah, it's really it's it's almost like it's almost like the world has shifted under marketers feet recently. So I think the three biggest drivers of this, and every marketer or every digital marketer is gonna be familiar with these, right. So, Number one, all of the platforms, all the big tech platforms, after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, pseudo scandal, whatever you wanna call it, pulled back on a ton of the data that they used to provide. Right So, you used to get a tremendous amount of information about your audience in Facebook or Instagram, if if you had presences on those platforms, even Twitter, your Twitter analytics which show you all sorts of data about your um your audience on Twitter. There was tons of data available in Google Ads even you know, if you go back a few years prior, right prior to Google would tell you which keywords sent traffic to your website, even in organic. Now they only do it for paid. So lots and lots of these data sources sort of went away in that sixteen period under the guise of privacy protections. Then there were some actual uh legal things, right and in government regulation things that happened, the CCP and in UM Canada, California Privacy Act and and of course gdp R and the EU right and these things all had knock on effects on sort of what could be tracked and measured and how long. And oh, Mark, I see that you came to my website and then ninety days later you took this activity in another ninety days after that you did this other activity, and then you converted. And okay, I could measure all that not anymore. Right now, the you know, the track the window of tracking with cookies is um is shrinking, and of course cookies themselves are rumored to be going away sometime in the next few years. Uh. And then the third change, of course is Apple. So Apple essentially realized that their hardware business margins were not as good as potential software and ads business. And so Apple is basically vying to become another Google, uh Facebook player,...

And I think they're they're They're going to cost Facebook, you know, some tens of billions of dollars in advertising, just by forcing users to opt in rather than opt out of getting tracking on Apple devices when they use Facebook and Facebook owned properties. So those big things, those macro trends, all take away a ton of data on both the organic and the paid side of analytics. And that means that we live in a a world that's more like the world of twenty five or thirty years ago, right where what you can measure is sort of brand lift and total traffic and total conversions and conversion rate, and not each individual person and each individual person's journey too and through the web to get to your uh you know, email sign up form or your e commerce checkout page. That's what's changed. And unfortunately, not very many companies or marketers are behaving like that's changed. Maybe it's the time for the veteran marketer or to come back into the into the forefront. You think about years ago, Like I was a newspaper reporter years ago, so I worked on the In the age of print, we couldn't measure the effectiveness of a newspaper ad for the same reason you couldn't measure billboard ads or or direct mail or radio. Well, but you did write, You did measure and report on certain metrics. It just wasn't one to one. It wasn't well, you know, Alicia in Indianapolis saw this newspaper ad and then click to your website. No, it was oh, you know, we reach this many subscribers in Indianapolis and here's your same you know, you whatever corporation can measure same source, same store sales in Indianapolis versus Cleveland, and since those are similar cities, you can you can determine whether the ad that you ran and in the paper had an effect or not. On a related note, you've also talked a lot about hard to measure channels, things like organic SEO content marketing, earned media, organic social media. If I was a marketer and i'm I'm a data driven marketer, the the leaver's I could pull were very granular and now it's almost a guessing game. It's probably a little dramatic to say that, but there's a combination of you know, marketing is art and science. The science. We leaned hard in to the science, and now do you think we have to maybe swing back to the the art, the creativity, the maybe intuition is there's one way to think about it. I think, what's you know. The weird thing for me, mark is I almost wonder whether many marketers and entrepreneurs and businesses that leaned hard into that creativity intuition, harder impossible to measure channels even before the last you know, four or five years of changes, were more successful than those of us who tried to attribute every visitor and only invest in channels that produced you know, a certain amount of r all I based on our spend in them. I kind of think they might have. I I suspect that if you look at the most effective marketing over the last two decades, it was not the people who perfectly put a dollar into Google ad words and figured out that they could get a dollar and seven cents out of it and scaled that up. I don't think those were the big winners. I think the big winners were people who had these massively creative visions with their product and figured out how to position that product to a market that was deeply interested in it, and then told that story over and over effectively through all the places where that market was paying attention, and then maybe, yeah, ran some Google and Facebook ads to go along with it. I was watching a video recently. One of the founders of Weeten Kennedy, the big advertising agency in your neck of the woods,...

...was talking about the Nike campaigns and some of the amazing creative work they've done, and and that is marketing that resonates, that has an impact that lasts forever. You know, a lot of marketers talk about the wisdom of David Ogilvie, and I do find it interesting that even data driven types really are enamored and fascinated by the power of creativity and campaigns that just connect with people. I think it's I think creativity is is so important, but we seem to have forgotten its value in many respects. Yeah, so I have this, um, I have this suspicion that there was a sort of cultural shift as the as the web became, you know, very popular in the early two thousands, at least in the wealthy parts of the world, and then over the last ten years, obviously in every part of the world. I think there was this cultural belief that marketers should behave more like engineers and mathematicians, right, a storytelling, creativity, resonance, um branding, positioning that these things were like no longer relevant because you could now measure the impact of every buyer's journey, and and that addiction actually blinded you know, an entire generation marketers, myself included, like absolutely myself included. I'm as guilty as this as anyone to the power of those things and and the influence that those have. And it's only it's just really hard to prove to yourself or anyone else. Um, And I think the difficulty of that proof is what makes them so valuable, because if something is very hard to prove, right, it's hard to prove that a channel like PR or influencer marketing or content or going on people's podcasts, right, it's very difficult to say to prove that any one visitor, anyone conversion came from someone's pod casts. Even if somebody says, hey, I heard you on Mark's podcast, right, and you free count and I loved it. Even then we're kind of like, well, but can we try, Like can we believe them? Is that for sure the thing that captured them? Because if I, like, look at the visitor path, I could see all these other journeys. My sense is that that cultural belief is just going to be really hard to overcome. And the the other one, the other framing of this is the incentives marketing departments, the managers, the CMO, the VP of marketing, the CEO, the board, the investors. They want to see show me how much money you spent on which channel and how many conversions that produced, and what was the lifetime value of those conversions, And then I'll tell you how much we can invest to scale up doing more of that thing. And if you can't prove it, you're not getting the money and you're not getting the job. And so organizations that became data driven became addicted to those kinds of metrics, and as a result, we're in the world that we're in. I suffer from if we do that, this this should happen. Reality. A lot of my marketing is focused on positioning and messaging and it's important. I fundamentally believe that it underpins your sales, marketing, product customer success. But how do I prove to clients the r o I of position in a messaging It's so hard. It's sort of like trying to prove to I don't know an executive at Netflix that high quality storytelling and script writing is more important than special effects or getting a big name actor or something like that. Like it, it's more of a belief thing than a metrics thing. You just there's never going to be the kind of scientific quality, mathematical proof that you know would...

...overcome all arguments. And because of that, yeah, we we live in We live in this world where you have to you have to hold your own beliefs and you have to hold cling to them even when the evidence is weak or missing, and it's just it's just a very difficult thing to do. I think the other problem is in a lot of these areas, right, Mark, you're probably the exception. I bet all of your positioning and and branding and things like absolutely work the first time, but mine don't like. So I'll invest in something that I think is really important. Hey, I think we should reposition Spark. Toro's sort of, you know, the pitch of what we do from when we first launched it was audience intelligence. Now it's audience research, and I think that's a good thing. But it's pretty tough to prove that one or the other is better. You kind of have to go with your gut and if if you get it wrong, right, if it feels to you, you know, you have to use a lot of anecdotal evidence. Right. You have conversations with people, they tell you that audience research is something different than what you thought it was. And when they are talking about it on stages and they're talking about in conference rooms, it's just fundamentally not what you're doing. And you're like, okay, okay, I think I made a mistake. I should actually go back to the drawing board on that. Then gosh that you know, that feels pretty bad. It feels a lot worse than Hey, our Google ads effectiveness is sinking. We can see that our click through rate dropped six percent last quarter. Let's try and refresh those ads and see if we can bump that up right. Like, it's just it's not the same level of granularity and fine control, the qualitative versus quantitative thing that we battle with every day, and unfortunately I'm on the quantitative side of the house. The other way that I wanted to talk to you about, and which I find fascinating is the idea of the zero click marketing. It's the idea you of that a lot of digital activity doesn't result in a click, so there's no tracking or attribution, and and you look at platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat that are linkless. I'm just curious about sort of the genesis of zero click and the impact on marketers and marketing. Another one of these leap of faith marketing activities that we're doing these days. Yeah, yeah, it's it's super frustrating. So like if you go back ten years, impressions, followers, views, these were considered vanity metrics, things that smart marketers were supposed to ignore, not pay attention to, not put in their KPI s. Otherwise they would be misled into thinking that these pure engagement things which you know, built up i don't know, visibility on on a social platform or attack platform, but didn't necessarily lead to a conversion that you would get misled by them. Now they're kind of all we have, right because to your point, there's there's a bunch of linkless platforms. I would even put YouTube in there, although technically YouTube can you know, you can add a link. Technically Instagram you could add a link in your bio. Technically Reddit some subreddits you can add a link, right, But all of these big platforms are moving to the same thing, which is essentially either completely linkless. Sometimes a link in a bio is allowed, uh and always any link in content gets a penalty against its visibility, right, And that is because the platforms don't want you to leave. If you're on Reddit, Reddit wants you to stay on Reddit. If you're on Twitter, Twitter needs you to stay on Twitter. Well, who knows what Twitter is doing? Now that it's you can throw out everything we know about Twitter, Um, but linked in, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, all the rest. Everyone is the same Pinterest, Right, Pinterest is a link filled platform. But even Pinterest, you've got to click a few...

...times to get off of it, and then and even that will open a new tab. Right. The core idea here is that you can either fight against the platform's desires. Right, you can fight against the algorithms that these big tech companies have built and try and like eke out the last few clicks that are available to you, knowing that you know. Engagement rates on links on Facebook are you know, zero point zero one percent or lower even worse I think at zero point zero zero to three percent or something on Twitter? Right, so, um, the folks from rival i Q do this, do this data study every year where they show the relative engagement clicks rates. That fight is I think a long term losing battle. You're probably already losing, like it just it sucks to even try and fight it. Or you can decide, hey, wait a minute, these platforms capture a tremendous amount of energy and attention from nearly every audience. Right one or more of these platforms captures almost certainly your audience, no matter who they are, So you can choose to get in front of them with your messaging, with your positioning, with your branding, with your content, with your product, and you can choose to make the KPI visibility. Did we get high engagement when we shared our content on that platform even if it didn't lead to a trackable link that we could prove led to a conversion? And that answer is yes. You can do that. You can put out, you know, short video snippets. You can put out, you know, a little tweet. You can put out a Reddit post and you can you can put out a visual on Instagram. You can put out a video on TikTok and you can see how many people saw it, how much of the video did they watch, how many you know opens did it get, how many profile views did you get? Those kinds of metrics, and from that you can build your brand awareness on these platforms. MS. Can you track it through the conversion? No, M Some cmos, some marketers will not will refuse to invest in that because they can't track it through the conversion and some will say, I'm willing to build my brand in these places, right, I'm willing to do what marketers thirty years ago did and say how many people subscribe to the newspaper and saw this ad, how many people watch this TV program and probably saw my ad. How many people were listening to the radio on the drive this morning and probably heard my ad and that that's what we're doing. We're going is going back to the old school. When you think about it. On a related note, you know a lot of marketers spend a lot of time uh developing buyer personas and ideal customer profiles, you know, having a clear understanding of who matters to you as a no brainer. But a lot of buyer personas and I cps tend to collect dust and not deliver much value at all. And you've talked about a different approach called audience personas. Can you explain how they work and why they're better? Yeah? Yeah, so similar to zero click content, which which was developed coined at least as a as a phrase by um by my colleague commanded natividad similar you know, pitch from her on audience personas. Right, so she essentially so we were we were going through a bunch of how people use spark Toro, and many folks do use it to kind of develop a persona for their target customer, the person who's going to buy from them. But what Amanda realized is that the person who's going to buy from you is part of a larger group of people who might engage with your content, follow you, subscribe to you, be interested in what you're doing, even if they never actually buy. And in fact, those people are often more important to reach than the than the individual down here, because they're a bigger group and they're the ones that influence the people who eventually buy. They're the ones who can amplify your message. And so...

...reaching that bigger group, building up that audience over time that is a core important metric and an important tactic by itself. And so this idea developed of rather than targeting only the customer, you should target the audience that you're trying to reach with your message and everyone who that might be. So rather than saying, hey, you know, we sell I don't know a certain type of soil to particular agribusinesses, you could say, hey, we probably want to reach everyone who talks about soil health worldwide, like the global community of researchers and and marketers and content creators and journalists and bloggers and TikTokers and uh you know, people who post on Twitter, and people who go to conferences and events, and our competitors who sell soil and people who are are one level down and purchase you know, these agricultural products, and people who are one level up and are the suppliers to the agribusinesses, all of them. That's our community, that's our audience. What are their personas? Where can we find them online? What do they pay attention to? What do they care about? Who are they inviting to headline at their conferences? Who are they inviting to be on you know, the popular YouTube channels. What are the big podcasters in that sector? What? What are the big email newsletters where we could be president? Those are the questions you want to ask about an audience persona rather than just the target buyer, and when you do, you often have way more success. I think this this fundamental concept, the idea of audience personas, if you can embrace it in your organization and reach a bigger group of people with your messaging and realize that your messaging is not designed to sell right from the start right that is crucial to your success. So Mark, if you you know, if you and I are trying to reach customers, it's weird. It's almost sometimes people compare it to dating, like you don't want to pitch. You're marketing on the conversion event only right. You're trying to build a well rounded brand that like people are fundamentally interesting, uh interested in and that is a different game than cell cell cell. Hey, here's our product. Here's why you should buy our product. Here's where to buy the product. This is the u r L to buy the product. The products on sale, the product is this much. That kind of marketing does not work very well in the modern attention economy. So let's let's make the persona reflect the kind of marketing that we need to do. I hate to be over the dramatic, but it sounds like the days of individual based marketing are over. You can't track individuals, and you certainly should should target these sort of grandular buyer personas individuals. You know, Bob who VP of marketing, who has two kids and makes X amount of money. It's almost like we've taken a step back or step up in terms of our marketing focus and our activities. But it is very interesting. I mean there's like this, you know, there's a concept in B two B marketing of a b M account based marketing where you basically say, oh, I'm not trying to reach abroad audience, I just want to reach I don't know, you know, Dow Chemical, Like that's the one company that I want to be interested in my soil product, and you know, and you go after them individually and and try to reach them on their particular channels with very very customized messaging. I'm not saying that doesn't work for some people. It does. It's a fine way to go. But if you are, if you are investing in building attention, building a brand, building an ecosystem and a community, investing in channels like content marketing and PR, a b M is not the way to go, and individual focus is not the way to go. So yes, I would agree, right, take your focus off Bob with two and a half kids and a cat, who makes you know exactly...

...this amount of money and and put it into Oh, our audience is comprised of these diverse peoples who have these diverse behaviors. But the behaviors look like a lot of them. Subscribe to these podcasts, these YouTube channels, you can find them on these social networks, following these people going to these events, subscribing these these email newsletters. That data is incredibly useful. You can actually do something with it versus like well marketing. Mary gets her coffee, you know, at nine am, and then she like, why why do I have this detail in my persona? It doesn't matter. It would be remiss of me to not ask you about s c L. You spent a lot of time in that world, and I'm curious about your take on the SEO landscape. These days, we've seen Google declare that essentially content should be written for humans, not robots, and a lot of marketers are still leading hard into SEO to power organic search. Any thoughts about the changing role or or importance or reliance on s c O for marketers these days. Gosh, let's see. So, I mean, it feels this could be just my perspective. I mean, I have not been active in s c O for like five years, right, so you know, take what I say with a grain of salt. I'm no longer I would no longer consider myself an SEO expert, and certainly I'm not a practitioner either. However, Google has been saying those things since two thousand two. So if that's what's new to you, I'm worried that you're twenty years behind. I'm deeply nervous. You know, I've seen a lot of the I don't know, hemming and hying and sort of nervousness about AI generated content and oh well, it's scales so nicely is it going to do well in Google? Or is it not going to do well? What about scraped content? And that's been repurposed and sometimes that doesn't seem to do well and sometimes it doesn't. And broadly, my sense is that if if SCO is a great channel for you, keeping besting in it, stay up to date with people who are not me. I'm not your guy. But if s c O is feeling like a I think three things are going on with it, right Like, even when I left the field, it was getting incredibly competitive. You know, in two thousand five, very few people were doing SCO. Even if you were doing it well. A lot of people were doing SCO. Some of them were doing it well. Almost everyone's doing it SCO and a good percent are doing it really well. So you better be literally some of the best in the world if you're going to try and compete, because nobody clicks outside of those first four or five positions. Right. The second thing that's happening is Google is taking more and more of the share of clicks for themselves, right, So more going to Google property, Google's own properties than ever before, more going to more going to instant answers than ever before, more searches that are resulting in no cliques, uh, and certainly no clicks to the open Web, and even more clicks than ever going to a few leaders in you know, in every field. Right. So if you take you take out the top sort of hundred websites on the Internet, the sheriff clicks that's left for everyone else's shrinking, dramatically shrinking. So I'd be I'm nervous about s c O as a long term channel. I think it's just incredibly competitive, more and more difficult and um and also a shrinking opportunity because Google just can't find you know, there's not another seven billion searchers worldwide who are gonna you know, search thirty times every day. I think that that's also a fundamental issue for their for their growth and for anybody who who's investing in SC. If you're looking for other channels, that's where I think a lot of these opportunities that that we try and surface that I care about these days, are present, right, marketing through other sources of influence, going and finding that email newsletter that reaches exactly the target audience you want to reach, Going and finding those YouTube channels, finding those podcast us, finding those social accounts, finding those...

...niche websites, finding the conferences and events. I think there's a lot of opportunity in those places, and very few marketers invest in them. It doesn't even really have a name marketing through sources of influence. This is not there's no there's no job title for that, right. It's not like SEO or PPC or email marketing or content marketing. It's kind of absent, and because of that, just a lot of opportunity. It's part to Oorrow seems to be having a growing in reputation for naming new marketing initiatives. So maybe a mandate can focus on of her marketing, saving us on that in common. That's what I need. I need to be like Amanda come up with the zero click content for marketing through sources of influence exactly, exactly job one for her one final question. Over the past two years, many companies have embraced virtual events and conferences. To be honest, most of them have been okay at best. Could be the lack of connection opportunities for in person events or the content doesn't play well online. Yeah. Later this month, November ten, to be exact, Spark Torrow is hosting a virtual conference sparked Together. You've marketed it as as a different type of conference, so a how is it different? And be how is it going? So fundamentally I agree with you. I think that virtual events are are just kind of broken in a lot of ways, and I think oddly enough, in person events, while they still have their place, they can be very appealing. I was just at a conference um in the UK speaking in an event and uh, and then another one. Yeah, in person events are great, but they're also big vectors for getting sick at an event in April this year. And then I just got a cold at this event in in the UK and I was like, oh, man, I haven't been sick in a few years, right, right, Being around lots of people. That's gonna that's gonna do it. And also they're all of the in person events are still smaller than they used to be. In person events are just kind of we haven't quite gotten back to, hey, let's go out and do professional development the way we did in the twenty years before that, which is okay. I'm not sure how long it will take to return. It will probably be a while. Virtual events, though, I kind of feel like during the pandemic, they were the only thing we had right um, and a lot of them were trying to put a square peg in a round hole right there, trying to to shoehorn in this content, you know, speakers format that just weren't quite right. The advantage to me of a virtual event is you can have someone present visually and audio in a in short format bursts, as long as you keep them pretty darn tight and very focused, and as long as the event itself is not too long. So those two and three day virtual events, I don't think that works. I'm not even I don't even think seven or eight hours works. I think if you want to do you know, one day event, like the longest it can be is five and a half six hours, and then I think speakers to write like we have. We had a lot of these like hour long sessions, keynotes, whatever. I don't think that fundamentally works either. I think again, attention spans Wayne after twenty minutes, maybe twenty five. The cool thing about doing a virtual event is that the quality of the content, the educational focus can be what's really rich and powerful there as opposed to the in person thing where people are kind of you know, if you're in the conference hall, you're half listening, but you're also kind of half online, and you're also kind of networking, right, So it's it's about the whole whole experience and the virtual event. The idea is like, hey, this is kind of like watching an educational YouTube video, maybe with some interactivity and some benefits of being their live, but beyond that, not really. And so I think you know what we what we wanted to do was lean into the strengths of virtual events and lean away from the weaknesses. So yeah, as far together is, nobody goes longer than twenty minutes. The whole day is I think five and a half hours. The the interesting thing and the weird thing is we're not leaning into...

...one of those strengths, which is we are not recording the event because yeah, Mark, we had this this weird thing. So you know, let's say right now that you were like, hey, Rand, I really want to talk to you about the MAS exit, like the sale of mass my response would be Mark, I'm very sorry. I signed an n D A. I can't really talk about that, And that's because this podcast is being recorded, right, and it's going to exist out there. There's issues around that, right, there's people who might get upset, and there's also legal stuff. So for Sparked Together, we were like, hey, could we make our pitch to our speakers of would you be willing to share non public information one time, knowing that it's not recorded and that we're asking folks not to tweet and share and all that kind of stuff, would you be willing to sort of share real metrics numbers, data that you know, can show how these stories that you're telling around marketing success or failure have gone. And all of our speak ers said yes today. In fact, that was one of the big criteria that we had in finding speakers, was like people person with interesting story willing to tell it once wouldn't be willing to have it recorded. That's the person we want, right. We want those like after the after this recording ends. Mark, if you're like, hey, how'd that mouse sale go, I'm like, oh, okay, well now I can tell you because the recording has done right, and then then we can have you know, that conversation is what we wanted to get for Spark Together. It's one time only, it's not recorded. We think this is going to be very powerful because when you hear those stories, they stick with you. Stories are so memorable compared to I don't know, here's ten tactics to improve your PPC efficiency. That's good content, right, it's educational. It's just it's just it just doesn't stick with you. Like six days after you've heard it, you're like, I remember two of those. Maybe you've done a good job on LinkedIn of teasing the content some of the stories that thinks that you're talking about. So it's gonna be very resting to see how the conference is going to be Canna be different and how people connect with it and engage with it. One final final question. If people who are interested to learn more about you and Spark Toro, where do they go? Uh So, spark Toro dot com. We we we have we have forever free accounts. There's no free trial that you can sign up for forevery free account and try it out if you are interested in all of my weird and wack opinions on everything from economics to politics, to Halloween costumes to marketing thoughts. I am most active on Twitter, where I'm at rand Fish, at least for a little while. We'll we'll keep next Who knows what the next six months of Twitter will bring. Could be a tire fire pretty quick over there. We'll see, we'll see if we other people are going to walk the walk and talk to talk and jump off the platform. I was gonna say, my suspicion is my LinkedIn activity is going to be quite a bit more over the next year because of new ownership. Good to know. Well, thanks for being on the podcast, and thanks to everyone for listening to another episode of Marketing Spark. If you enjoyed the conversation, leave a review, subscribe via Apple podcast Spotify for a favorite podcast Apple, and share via social media. To learn more about how I worked with Bob sas Companies as a fractional cmament's Peachacher adviser and a position in messaging consultant email mark at market for dot c A. Or connect with me on LinkedIn, on Twitter,.

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