Marketing, Success, and Risk-Taking: Mano Guiragossian


In marketing, nothing is guaranteed. Sometimes, it’s about taking risks and leaps of faith.

In a data-driven world, data doesn’t deliver all the answers. Marketing is an unpredictable and often surprising creature.

Last year, a lot of B2B wanted to de-risk marketing. They pulled back on spending, chopped staff, and counted every dollar.

But that approach only works for so long. At some point, you need to get back in the game and take risks to succeed.

On the Marketing Spark podcast, Mano Guiragossian talks about how he has navigated the risk journey with clients.

You're listening to marketing spark, the podcast that delivers insight, tools and tips from marketers and entrepreneurs in the trenches in twenty minutes or less. For Marketing Agencies and Marketing Consultants, two thousand and twenty has been well interesting. I suspect that many of us started the year well, then saw business disappear and then saw client start to return. To get insight into how our marketing agency has been doing business this year, I reached out to Mano Giagossian, who heads up your Egossian media. Mano offers some great insight on Linkedin about a variety of topics, so definitely follow him. Welcome to marketing spark. Thank you, market's, my pleasure the way with you to day. Among the many things marketing related that you talked about on Linkedin, video seems to be a very common theme and I've I've really learned a lot from you in terms of how to approach video and how, specifically, to take advantage of Youtube. So maybe you can talk a little bit about how you envision video in two thousand and twenty one. Everyone says that video is king and that we should all be embracing video. But the ball seems to be moving all the time. What's your take on how to take advantage of video next year? Yeah, so, you know, when it comes to market, think for me, like everything works and when pipe will say like video skink. Okay, I agree with them that it's one of the most important formats to do content in, but it's not for everyone. For example, I do videos, but I don't do it too much because it's not the best format for me. I do, for example, more written texts than videos. But yeah, I mean when it comes to video, it's really important and it's more efficient to do videos because you know, when you do like when you shoot a video, for example, you can like transform it into a written text, into graphics and like reproposit into different pieces of content. And whether if you are doing like organic marketing or paid marketing, for example, for paid advertising on Facebook, you can even create more custom audiences from videos, from people who watch the videos and those stuff. So yeah, I really think that video is like one of it's really big because also, like, people feel you more than when they radio post, like when you are talking with them directly to the camera. Day, feel your passion, they interact with you so I think it's going to stay in two thousand and twenty one. It's going to be big again, as platforms are pushing it as well. And few things that I'm also focusing on is more like doing live videos. I think live videos is going to be like huge in the next year because, like, people are staying at home, so they would like, for example, to open your life video and engage with you, and especially if you are a being influencer. I think people love interacting with people who who they like, for especially if it's live. So yeah, I think live videos would be huge next year. So that's one of my opinion about videos. What's your opinion about Youtube and the ways that people can take advantage of that platform? You taught a little bit about youtube shorts. Can you talk about what you expect from that format and Haw and maybe you perhaps best practices in terms of driving your audience, getting engagement, that kind of thing? Youtube is one of my favorite platforms because, you know, they like they reward. They reward the good content in a way like no platform does it. What I mean by that is when you publish a content, if it's if it's really a good content and people are enjoying it. They will keep pushing it for years and years. It like you will keep getting traffic on it organically without spending anything on it, and that's really huge because on... media, for example on Facebook, instagram or Linkedin, when you publish a piece of content, it might like keep getting engagement for day two or maybe for one, two weeks and maximum for one month, but after that it will die. But when it comes to youtube, it's a it's not a social media it's a search engine. It's the second largest search engine in the world after Google, and it belongs to Google as well. So, like, when people are searching for content, that's the first way that they might come across your videos and you will keep getting traffic on it. And the other way is that they're suggested videos on Youtube, which means, like, if your content is really good, youtube will keep suggesting it to people. So, for example, for my clients that I do youtube managing to them, like they have videos before, like it's published before a year or two and it's still gets traffic. When it comes to youtube shorts, you know, they launched it recently. It's not available for everyone now. I think it's just available in the US or maybe some other countries as well, but they just launched it for a small audience to test it. I don't know. Maybe it works, maybe it's it will find some success, but in my personal opinion I think people are not on youtube for those type of videos. People are on Youtube too for now. I mean they are used to watch longer videos and it's not it's not as social media platform. That's why I think like it won't be convenient for people to watch such videos on Youtube, and especially like now. Like many platforms are doing that, including ticktock, was the first one, and then in instagram launched it's reals now youtube, and maybe we can see in the future more companies doing it. I think so. It's not something different. In my personal opinion, it might work, but I think it won't find a huge success. But again, no one knows. Like, one of the things I want to talk to you about when it comes to video is video on Linkedin. You and I are people who like publishing text. I do, I do some videos. I just don't find that they get the same engagement when I when I do them on Linkedin. What's your take about videos on Linkedin? A lot of people do do them really well, like some marketer like Chris Walker. Are they effective and, if so, what kind of videos should people be doing on Linkedin? Yeah, it's definitely effective and you know, like the engagement you are getting on video. For me it's more quality engagement and text. And let me tell you why. Because when you are thinking, like in your Dashbot, that let's say five hundred people are watching your videos, they actually watched it, they spend time on it. But when you take, for example, a written text, might get twozo reach on it, but it doesn't mean that those two thousand people spent the same time like they spent to what your videos. I mean, like reading your text might take from them maybe one or not even one minute, but your videos might be three minutes, four minutes, and if they are actually continuing working and if they are completing it, it means like you are filtering your audience. You are getting more quality traffic from videos. So if you have a call to action at the end of your video and call to action at the end of your written text and you get traffic from both those pieces of content, the traffic you will get from videos, I think it's more of a quality traffic than the one you will get from written text, because actually those people spend more time with the new and the same way like, for example, everyone tells the audience you get from podcasting or more high quality audience for you, because those people are loyal to you and they are spending more time listening to... So the video works for sure, definitely, but again, it doesn't work for everyone. So if you are good at it, of course do it. If you are not so good at it, you might find like your best format. For example, you might to photos, you might do, I don't know, audio, written text or something else. So, while we're going down the linkedin rabbit hole, the other thing that I want to talk to you about is linkedin story. So I haven't used them very much, although last week I did a little bit of experimentation to see what kind of engagement I could get and, to be honest with you, it was at best minimal. I you know, maybe I got on one post, I may have got twenty five views, but I didn't see the Roy and and I still don't understand why people would use linkedin stories. It definitely would work on an instagram or snapchat, but linkedin strikes me as a different piece. JEM Any thoughts about linkedin stories? Yeah, I didn't spend too much time on it, but I think it works. You know, it doesn't work to attract new audience to you, like new followers. Maybe for some people it works for that specific objective as well, but for me I did it for air for a like short term, the same way you mentioned. Like I didn't get too many views on it. But you know, one thing that I would use the stories for is not to attract new follower but to engage my existing followers and audience and to warm them up if I'm going to sell them something, for example, as I provide marketing services, for example, I share in my stories some of my stats from my clients, like if I work for some clients, I shared some picks from the dashboard to show them the stats that I got for my clients. It's something that I don't like to post about because it's not a piece of content. I mean, I just like to do it in a quick way in a stories. So it's a way to engage your followers with you and at the same time warm them up to prepare them, like to buy from you later in the future. So I actually you can use it. I think there's no single feature that I hate on any platform. I like all the features and if I don't like it, I just don't use it. So there's no reason like, to hate it, I think. I think you can find some interesting ways to use it and if not, you are not losing anything. It's there and it's for free. Well, the other thing that a lot of marketers haven't braced this year's content. We've all become publishers and brands that we're publishing before are publishing even more content and brands that weren't really into content marketing have jumped on the BANDWAG. And what have you seen from your clients and and maybe you could talk about best practices as far as making your content stand out, because there's so much content these days that it's hard for any of it to capture the attention. Any thoughts about that? Yeah, sure, so the best way to stand out is to actually like, like, be like, be attentive today audience's behavior. For example, now, during the covid the pandemic, you know many companies, as you saw that, started posting content about what to do during the lockdown and this stuff. So actually, that's smart, because you know you don't have always to talk about your product, even no matter what you sell. Always talk about the customers problems and then engage with them and build that relationship and then start talking about your product. So one of the things I'm doing currently for my client is, no matter what product they sell, I always, for the first like, for the first phase of my content, I always talk about some different stuff which might not be related to their products, but it will, it would like, attract the right type of audience to their page or brand which might buy from them in the future. And, for example,...

...for some of the brands, we do some funny memes, for example, which attracts the right type of audience for them. So, for example, if we are selling a fashion product, let's sell, let's say, we do funny memes about fashion. So only people who are interested in fashion products would understand those memes and the engage with it. And in this way, like, we attracted more people to the page and brand, but we didn't sell them anything yet. And in the second stage we will start like introducing them our brand or talking about our features and products. So yeah, I think everyone is talking about their products, but no one is like producing engaging content. I'm talking about brands specifically. So no one is like producing content which is like talking to the audience's problems and what they face in their daily lives. Everyone is busy talking about their own products. Yeah, it's easy to be product focused because we're all desperate to attract the attention of potential show prospects and really start to deliver value in terms of how they maybe will help them. That's really great insight. I do want to ask you about I do want to ask you what it's been like to run an agency this year and and how your how it's been different to work with clients and vice versa. But maybe we could start by giving me an explanation of what your agency does. Yeah, so currently we work with ECOMMERCE businesses and we have some personal brands that we work with. We mainly provide facebook advertising services to help those brands generate more leads and sales through facebook advertising, and on the other side we do content marketing, like content strategies, distribution systems or social media managing. So basically those are the two main services we provide and if our relationship with the client is successful, we offer them more services like email marketing and youtube management as well. So, but mainly we start working with those two services, facebook advertising and content. On the other side, I do some consulting as well. I help people who are willing to start a new youtube channel to like give them insights about Youtube, how to leverage the algorithm, how to start their channel the right way so to get their videos suggested by youtube more and those stuff. I also provide like consulting services for personal branding through content, how to elaborate social media, to produce content and etc. Yeah, so, basically this year was a little bit hard to work as an agency because, you know, clients are looking for more safety. I mean, before, before the pandemic, like before this economic situation, people like we had many we had an amazing growth in the economic for the last maybe ten years. So people were like trying to test different stuff. If you, if you like, tell them that you have paid this much and they would pay it, for example, if you ask them for a let's say for a payment, they would like do it just to test it and test your services. But now they are more like not willing to take risks because of the economic situation. They are like trying to go for something which is like where they have guaranteed results, and that's really hard in marketing because you can't guarantee anything in marketing. Like you have to always test something, you have to lose money, you have to do different stuff until you find what's working. So that's been one of the hardest thing to convice like business owners or brands to do it because of the risks they will face. But I mean when you educate your clients about it, when you tell them that mark, that's how marketing works, and you explain them everything and... have to build this trust with them. For example, we started, like providing processes through pdfiles, we started doing more dem all calls with them to show them what we have done for different brands or what we can do for them. We started offering some free tests to them, so they will be like more, they will feel that safety in them to work with us. So it sounds like you've got a lot of people who previously would have jumped in the marketing, would have been happy to launch campaigns and become a long term client, but now there's maybe some skepticism. Perhaps they want to see examples of our why? The looking for results, of looking for fast results, because every marketing dollar counts these days. So how has it been to actually turn prospects into customers, like how long does it take and what are the things that you've had to do to ensure people that they're going to get good service at their marketing is going to work and if they make the investment, they're going to get our y? Yeah, you know, it depends on the client. For example, I have clients that I close them within two or three days and I also have some clients that I have been like this, negotiating with them for months, and after that they like start working with us. So it did depends on the client, but the average is if it's a new client, it's from one to two weeks for us. And at the same time, it depends on what the services they will take from us. For example, when it comes to something which is simple and they don't have like big payments to do for us, it doesn't require a lot of thinking from them, so it would be faster. But if it's something for long term, for example, we provide facebook advertising for ECOMMERCE businesses and there are companies that we have been working with for over like a year now and they invest like monthly ten to Twentyzero dollars in AD spense. For those type of clients it would take a little bit longer because they are they are like going to a little bit of risks, they are investing more money and our fees are hired for those clients. So it requires a lot of thinking for them, a lot of negotiations. So for those clients it would take longer. But if it's something, for example, I get too many consulting clients, so I can consult them in terms of content and person branding, those clients won't take too long like they like. They ask few questions and how the program will go and do? What about about the sessions and those stuff? And it would take few days to them to consider that. Now I know you get asked this question a lot, but you've got a very interesting background. Your personal journey is really fascinating. A lot of change, challenges and ups and downs. Maybe you can give me a snapshot of where you've come from and and where you're at now, because it's I find a personal stories to be the most interesting, because entrepreneurs come from these days, come from anywhere and everywhere, and even the fact that we're talking and we're doing this podcast demonstrates that we live in a global economy. We're connecting with people has been easier than ever. So I've been interested in a little bit about you and and where you're at now. Yeah, so I was born in Syria. I'm arminium, but I was born in Syria and in two thousand and fourteen I had to immigrate from Syria to Armenia because of the war and I came here to Armina. Now I'm living in Armenia as well, and when I came here in Armenia it was too hard for me. I didn't know English. English is my is not my native language. I used to speak Arminian and Arabic in Syria. So I came here I had to learn a new language. I didn't know anything about marketing. I had to go work for free four six months just to learn marketing. And then when I got into the marketing world, I started working for one of the agencies here in Armenia and there I learned everything and after I had like...

...great results there, they promoted me to lead the marketing team in that company and I worked there for three years. I let over a temper people team there and after that I decided to launch my own agency. After like I have had more than three years of experience in the area and I had amazing results and Pastier, like we did over million dollars in sales for different companies. And, if we know what's interesting, like in two thousand, from two thousand and fourteen to two thousand and seventeen, I didn't know English, I didn't know anything about marketing, and after that to now, all my clients, like ninety percent of my clients are from the US, Canada and those countries, and it's really interesting. Like I live in Armenia and I don't have clients from my from Armenia. I work with people like from the US and Canada, as you mentioned, like big thanks to the Internet. There are there are no limits. Now you can work with everyone and wherever they are. So, yeah, basically, that's briefly about me. I had, like a lot of challenges. It's hard, like I had some financial issues because of immigrating. I immigrated for three times before, of because of the war and those stuff. But you know, now we are living in the Internet world and there's nothing impossible, like you have the chances to learn everything for free. You can do a lot of tests for free, you can communicate with with a lot of people, like the same way we communicated through comments on Linkedin. Like you can just go on Linkedin or facebook, instagram, on any social platform, and you can just communicate with different people and have some insights from their like, from on their experience, build relationship with them or even like partnership with them, and then you start your business. So basically, the Internet was the game changer for me because I didn't have too much money before, so it was the reason like I could start my business at no at low cost or no cost at all. That's a really interesting and inspiring story. I'm really happy that you've you found personal and professional success. One of the one of the last questions I want to ask you is just maybe talk about your approach to Linkedin, because you've got a very solid presence, your content is great, you've got lots of connections and obviously it's working for you. So what is your approach to Linkedin? How do you leverage content comments, how you make connections with people? I'd be really interested to know your your personal approach. Yeah, so I will tell you my personal approach, but you know it again, it depends on on your goals and your business. So you might have to change it a little bit when you if someone is listening and wants to apply it for themselves, they might. They might have to change it a bit, but the concept is the same. Like the only thing I do on Linkedin is communicating with people. Like social media is a platform where you have to communicate with people. If you are there just to self your product, it won't work. So what you have to do is, like to continuously adduce content and provide value to the audience through it and not just sell your product. For example, you know my content. There's nothing that I write which sells something from my products. I just talked about marketing. I just provide value to people and then, once I start communicating with them or like knowing them better, know their business and this stuff, I may be start like offering them my services. So the first thing you have to do is to provide value through your content without selling anything. And you can just, for example, do some cells in the comments section, for example, you add some call to actions. Those are okay because it's not like hardcore sales. You can do that. And the other thing is that I communicate with people through comments.

I engage with their content, because people are always willing to give back. If you engage with their content, they would come back and engage with yours as well, which will increase you reach, and the more people you reach, like the more potential clients you might have in the future. So that's the second thing I do is that I engage with different people, and you can divide them, like, into three types of people you engage with. One of them are people with a big presence and Linkedin. So if you comment on their posts, they might not reply you, but they have too many people in their comments section and like big percentage of those people might see your comment and and con visit your profile and engage with you as well. And the other type of accounts are the average accounts, like they might not have too much engagement on their posts, but again, they have some sort of traffic there, so you can engage with them and those people might again come back to your profile and engage with you, and there's a lot of potential to partner with those people because they are in the same level as you, so they might be interested to work with you, for example. And the other type of accounts are the accounts with low influence, for example, not in low influence, but they don't have too much engagement on their posts. So those are again people that you have to support. Again, they might come back to engage with your content and actually they might reach out to you to help them in something. So those are the three types of accounts I engage with. And the third thing to do, which I don't do it too much but I'm, like, planning to spend more time on it, is to communicate with people through DMS. So you don't have just to comment on their posts or like it and that's it, but you will have to also DM them and message them, ask what they do and communicate with with them and build that relationship. That's something I don't do too much now because I'm not finding the time for it, but I'm definitely willing to spend more time in it. That's great advice because I think everybody should be looking to leverage linkedin and there are a lot of things around best practices and how you write content and comment and engage with people and accept connection invitations. So I really appreciate that insight. Many where can people find you on the web. Yeah, so, actually the best place is linkedin. It's real. I'm mostly active. I'm on every social platform. I have facebook, do you can connect with me on facebook, instagram, linkedin. I also have a podcast where you can listen to my interviews with different people from different industries. It's called the perspective podcast. So yeah, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me and let's talk about that. Thanks for listening to another episode of marketing spark. If you enjoyed the conversation, leave a review and subscribe by Itunes or your favorite podcast APP. If you like what you heard, please rate it. For show notes of today's conversation and information about metal, visit marketing spark dot Com blog if you have questions feedback. Would like to suggest a guest. Want to learn more about how I help bb companies, fractional, CMO INSALTS and advisor, send an email to mark a, marketing sparkcom. I'll talk to you next time.

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