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Nov. 5, 2021

Disrupting How Digital Marketing Is Being Done with John Readman

Disrupting How Digital Marketing Is Being Done with John Readman

This episode featured guest is the CEO of Modo25 and Ask Bosco, John Readman. John is working hard to disrupt the competitive agency space by offering a supportive digital marketing service.

Are you currently using an outside agency to handle your online marketing? Discover why you should consider bringing your online marketing inhouse including all the pros and cons.

Discover how Modo25 works with their clients to establish their goals to scale online growth through a variety of marketing channels and why it is important to establish your targets if you want to reach your goals.

In addition, listen how John believes that transparency and visibility is key whether you are working with an agency or whether you decide to bring your marketing in-house.

Episode Action Items:

You can find more information regarding John Readman or to request a demo of his services visit - Modo 25 (https://modo25.com) or Ask Bosco (https://askbosco.io).

ABOUT THE HOST:

Andy Splichal - Make Each Click Count PodcastAndy Splichal is the World's Foremost Expert on Ecommerce Growth Strategies. He is the acclaimed author of the Make Each Click Count Book Series, the Founder & Managing Partner of True Online Presence and the Founder of Make Each Click Count University. Andy was named to The Best of Los Angeles Award's Most Fascinating 100 List in both 2020 and 2021.

New episodes of the Make Each Click Count Podcast, are released each Friday and can be found on Apple Podcast, iHeart Radio, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts and www.makeeachclickcount.com.

Transcript

Andy Splichal  0:02  

Welcome to the Make Each Click Count podcast. This is your host, Andy Splichal. We are happy to welcome this week's guests to discuss today's topic, which is Disrupting How Digital Marketing is Being Done. Today's guest is the CEO of Modo25 and Ask BOSCO. He is working hard to disrupt the competitive agency space by offering a supportive digital marketing service. A big hello to John Readman. Hi, John.

 

John Readman  1:15  

Hi, Andy, thank you very much for having me on your podcast.

 

Andy Splichal  1:19  

You're welcome. I'm excited to talk to you about this episode to see what you're doing. So let's, let's just start talking about how you are disrupting the competitive digital marketing agencies space, what are you doing?

 

John Readman  1:33  

So we do two things. Andy, one is what we call a supported in housing model. And then which is our Modo25 business. And then the other is BOSCO, which is a digital marketing intelligence platform. So, Modo25, we work with brands, retailers and ecommerce companies, and we help them set their strategy. And we will do execution but with the end goal of in housing them over time. So that might include training that might include recruitment, I historically have helped scale and exit a few agencies in the past. And one of our biggest we lost a lot of clients to in housing. So I thought, Well, why don't we set up a business that actually helps people in house over time, if they wish to do that. And then what BOSCO does is then BOSCO is a central sort of nervous system and dashboard that connects all the marketing data in one place to enable people to accurately make decisions. And then predicts through its machine learning, and its AI predicts which channel to spend money in next, for the maximum return to help people make more money in the most effective manner. So and then all our in house clients would have access to Bosco. So if somebody left or they were off, work, email, or whatever, we could jump in and help out if needs be in the future. So we think it's a unique offering currently. And we think this is the way things are going to go for, for the big brands and the companies that that want the best of both worlds.

 

Andy Splichal  3:19  

Now, let's talk about the empowering of in house marketing teams. You talked about how you're doing it, but what kind of demand Have you found for this service? I mean? Yeah, I mean, I've found that either people don't have the resources to do it. Or they already have the in house marketing team, you're kind of focusing on in betweens. Yeah. So

 

John Readman  3:41  

I think the interesting thing is I think a lot of companies have got this ambition to to move in house, but maybe don't necessarily know how to do it, although a little bit nervous around well, if we do bring it in house, what if that person leaves? Or what about this? Or what about that. So in terms of I believe the demand is strong. And I also think post pandemic, a lot of people are nervous about working, they want to have control over their own future. And also, they sort of want to reduce costs. And I think certainly at the execution level of digital marketing and performance marketing, so actually sort of pressing the buttons and, and doing the keyword cleaning or doing the ad design. Those are skills you can do in house now. Maybe not at the forecasting or the budget planning or the strategy level, you may still want to get help from an agency. So we're seeing huge demand. But I suppose there's one thing I would say Andy is a lot of people have these grand ambitions about wanting to bring it in house. But then the reality over time of are you attractive enough to attract the right sorts of talent to join your business to make this a reality? And can you then recruit train and onboard to be fast enough, is maybe a separate thing. So I think the ambition is there and the demand is there. Over time, we will see how many companies actually complete the full journey. But we have a lot of interest for people wanting to to move their services in house.

 

Do you if they want to, and they just don't end up getting the resources or lose interest? Are you also offering kind of the traditional agency model of do it for you or no?

 

yeah, no, we do. However, we won't, we wouldn't necessarily start that journey with a company that would want to just do that forever. We really want to work with people to move along this journey. And our whole thing is all about transparency. And hence, we're giving them a platform where they can see all their data. And they can see all their data in real time across all their channels. And they can share that with their seniors or they're juniors or other VPS within the business. And they can also share that with other agencies. So the whole transparency of, of everybody looking at the same data, I think, is also a big USP, because historically, all the agencies and different accounts have been quite secretive. So we want to be the sort of the conduit in the middle that's promoting best practice and transparency. But yes, we do have many clients who maybe haven't gotten in housing plan defined. But over time, they do have that ambition, where they want to take control back.

 

Andy Splichal  6:34  

Now, I read on your website that you're offering support and quite a few different marketing channels, including SEO, paid search, paid social affiliate, Amazon, TikTok, data analytics, and digital marketing attribution. What is your most popular channel that's been provided? I'm guessing most of your clients aren't doing all of them.

 

Unknown Speaker  6:56  

Yeah, I think it's, I think everybody would like to say they've got an amazing TikTok plan, or they're all over their attribution, and they've got a really innovative model. But realistically, most of the teams spend most of their time managing Google paid search or paid shopping or Facebook paid social. However, we were one of the first agencies in Europe to become a Tiktok partner. And we have some really interesting and exciting, creative ideas around paid TikTok. And I think one of the areas that is increasing in popularity off the back of the sort of being able to connect all your data in one place with BOSCO is actually trying to understand your attribution, and which budget in which channel is really starting to affect performance. So I'd say right now, most of our effort is on paid social and paid search or shopping. And then probably SEO, but I'd say the one that is becoming very popular is attribution, where people are really starting to understand which channel is countries. And I think things like the recent changes in Facebook and iOS 14, have started to sort of make people think well hang on, if we can't measure that, let us look at what we can measure and what channel is having what impact and trying to understand what impact is maybe promoting the brand further up the funnel? And how do we measure that? So but yeah, it's the traditional channels are the most popular still. But I think attribution is it is a real area of growth.

 

Andy Splichal  8:40  

Alright, well run me through it, how are you delivering results for your clients?

 

Unknown Speaker  8:46  

So I suppose the main thing is, we, and this is different again, as well. And these we don't do what most agencies do, and say, right, we're going to do a time and materials and we can help you X number of days a month, we believe in agreeing some KPIs and, and working on outputs. So we all agreed on targets and then we will say, right, in order for us to deliver those targets, we need X dollars a month to do that. But also, we will put some skin in the game and say, Well, if we miss our target, we will charge you less. But if we exceed our target, we would like to charge you a little bit more. And...

 

Andy Splichal  9:28  

Do you have a manual, you have a team that's manually doing it and are experts in different areas. Is it? Okay, go ahead.

 

Unknown Speaker  9:38  

I'd love to say it's just one big AI machine that just does it all on. It's like this big mega bot, but it's not unfortunately, some of it is automated and some of it we have a team of practitioners we're now 33 people and we can do this in multiple languages. And they we have a head of all the different areas of specialty. So SEO, paid search paid social affiliate marketplaces, CRO, data analytics, and attribution would sit in. And we have a data science team of five people who are helping drive the algorithm behind BOSCO. So there's an element that is automated and, and I suppose within BOSCO that defines how the strategy should go forward. But we still have people checking and pressing buttons and, and using their years of experience to help clients optimize their media. And also, I think, work with the clients on what is the right strategy for their particular channel or their particular targets or requirements. So it's not all automated, and I don't think it ever will be, it's got to be humans and machines driving it forward. But we tend to also work on a very fixed sort of month on month, week on week trading calendar. And as an extension of our our clients teams in in a very open way. Rather than we do stuff in a black box, and then present the results back is a lot of our, some of our clients sit in our office, and some of our teams sit in our clients offices. So it's sort of a very different approach to things.

 

Andy Splichal  11:22  

Interesting. Now, one of the challenges for agencies, and I'm not sure if you guys go through this, but the bigger you get, you get a lot of you know, the first people you hire are going to be experts, right, have a ton of knowledge. But as you continue to grow, you're forced to hire more people. And maybe sometimes you have to bring in junior marketers and train them in house. But they're not going to have the same skill level is your your first people or your higher ups, how have you dealt with that kind of challenge?

 

John Readman  11:56  

So well, we have a very different and this my, I suppose because we're a global business, we have a team in some some guys over in Texas, and we have some guys in Canada, as well as the majority of our team are in Europe, in the UK. But we offer and this is a slightly different is to what we want to attract the best people who want to come and work here. So we offer some of the best employee benefits in the market. And one of those is we pay a four day, we pay a full time salary. But our team only only have to work a four day week. So in the UK, that's pretty different. And I imagine to some of the US listeners, that will be very different. But we believe that if you imagine that week before you go on holiday, or on vacation, how much work you get done in that week, because you've got to get it done. Because you don't want to be working on vacation, we tend to work like that all the time. So we're very focused on output, we're very focused on maximizing our time, being really efficient and effective with what we do. So we've created this culture of complete flexibility. Even before the pandemic, we would empower our team with the best equipment, the best training and the best environment that they could choose whether or not they came into the office or whether they work from home, or whether they work from wherever they need to work from. So we're trying to create the workplace of the future with the benefits of the future to attract the right people. So we have all the sort of little perks you'd expect around health care benefits and holiday benefits. But that four day week, and also a significant amount of peer to peer training. And industry training really helps us attract the right people. But it is globally a real war for talent at the moment and Israel and it's very competitive. But I'm hoping that our alternative way of inspiring and attracting people will work in the coming months and has worked we've gone from being two people sat in a room this time two years ago with an idea through to 32 people in four countries now, and we've got over 44 clients globally.

 

Andy Splichal  14:14  

Now let's talk about your your training for a minute in the people that want to bring in their marketing in house. Who are your competitors on on that side? Is it sem rush? SpyFu WordStream? Or is it someone I didn't even mention?

 

John Readman  14:31  

Well, I think it's those it's technology training people and people with platforms I similar webs in the spy foods and the SEMrush is SEO Moz I think all of those guys who do training is also probably Google, Facebook, and arguably all the free stuff that's available on YouTube. But I think the where we would differ where we may be different to the very long list of competitors is the training we would do would be specifically aligned to your strategy and the specific objectives you're trying to achieve. So we would train you on your own account against the specific company goals. So it's very much tailored, it's not just log on to this channel, watch this particular YouTube about how to set up a particular AdWords account or how to set up a particular Facebook campaign, it would be get your team together, and log into this training about your particular Facebook account or your particular AdWords setup. So it's, it's very tailored for each client. In the future, we believe there will be demand for more generic job training. And we're potentially going to work with accreditation bodies to give people a sort of certificate in digital marketing, because I think one of the challenges the world faces is a lot of brands and retailers and ecommerce brands want somebody who's got two years experience, they don't necessarily want to take a fresh bread on and train them. So I think there's an opportunity for us in there to help provide almost like a Digital Marketing Academy or something in the future. And we have a plan to do that.

 

Andy Splichal  16:14  

Now, do you have a favorite success story for one of your clients you could share?

 

John Readman  16:22  

Yeah, I do. I've got I've got several. Well, I suppose I'll take I'll take this one, there's a well I can I can share the name is a household name, good, oh, global beauty brand called Cult Beauty. And they were sort of, they were growing very fast. But they don't really, I suppose known the channels they'd known. So they were very, very good at Google Shopping, and very good Google search. But they were using a particular platform based on to help them better optimize. And that was based around budget on we sort of worked and coat wanted to grow. And specifically, they wanted to grow their team internally. And they wanted to empower their team with the best practice and best knowledge and the best software. And having behind that a strategy to help them get more new customers. So they were really focused on how could we acquire new customers to Cult Beauty that would, and then we can look at customer lifetime value to really scale them over time. So what we did is we went in and did a complete review of all their marketing channels, what was good, what was bad. And then we recommended that actually, there was a huge opportunity, within paid social, there was a huge opportunity within YouTube. But actually, we also needed to change from their existing platform that they were using to optimize to Google search ads 360. So there's quite a lot of change, and we manage, and they're spending between $500,000 a month to maybe a million dollars a month, every month to scale their business. So we put in place a new strategy, we then worked with their team to execute that strategy. We then migrated them away from the Adobe platform to the Google Search Ads 360 platform, and then trained their whole team on that platform. And then over time, and we're still engaged with the client now. And we're actually working with them across all their different areas of our business, and now putting in place an attribution model linked to customer lifetime value. And they've seen and I suppose the best bit about that Andy was we actually had a call with our Google account manager who worked on this particular client. And they were sort of saying to us, you've managed to get the client to do more in six months, and we've managed to get them to do in the last five years. So and I think that was really to our sort of transparent approach of saying, Look, if we do this, this is what's going to happen. And we can give you some accurate forecasts rather than often when you say, we speak to Google, you get the feeling of Google just wanting to spend more money. But we were like, well, if we do spend the money, this is what's going to happen. So called Beauty would be a real, real success story. And I think he's got more and more growth in the rest of the world.

 

Andy Splichal  19:24  

Yeah, that's a that's a great story. Now that's a big budget, a big budget. Is there a particular vertical you had mentioned this as an Ecommerce? Are you mostly ecommerce is there a certain budget that you specialize in do most ...

 

John Readman  19:42  

No, not all our clients are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a month we have clients who are spending so we have a very small equestrian, so horse horse blankets, and they are a sole trader, and we've helped them go from just selling things on their WordPress site to to understanding well, what's the opportunity in Amazon? What's the cost of the opportunity cost, I suppose, because we're a privately owned business. And it is my as my company, we want to work with people who are like minded. So people who have got an ambition, they want to grow their business, they've got great customer service, and they've got a really good product. So if we can take the knowledge and experience that our team have gained from working on some of the world's largest retailers, and help you accelerate your growth, if you're a smaller retailer, and you've got that sort of ambition, we'd love to talk to you. Because if you if you understand if I spend $1, to make $10, I'll keep spending dollars, we'll we can really help. So know when we're not one of those companies that says you have to spend X 10s of 1000s of dollars a month. It's more about the right sort of product, the right sort of people with the with the right ambition.

 

Andy Splichal  21:01  

You can mention if you have a good product, does that mean you guys are exclusively ecommerce?

 

John Readman  21:08  

No no, we help Omni channels for people who've got stores as well. And we do do b2b. And we do travel. And we we help I suppose professional services. But our most of our case studies and experience are more in Ecommerce and the bigger budget stuff. But some of our our experiences, we've helped legal services in the past and we've helped financial services, we've got lots of travel clients. So I suppose sometimes it's just it's more, there's often more channels and more data and more complexity in the problems are harder in the retail channel. So that's tends to be where we've ended up trying to solve those hard problems. But no, we aren't just just ecommerce.

 

Andy Splichal  22:00  

Now, have there been any challenges you struggle with and getting results for your clients? I know, you had mentioned that you set goals. And if you don't hit them, you can give them a discount on that month. But what are some of the reasons why you might not have hit a goal in the past? 

 

John Readman  22:15  

Oh, we always have challenges. And that's a big risk and a taking that approach is we aren't in control of all the variables is if the client's website is changes, or they don't take our advice, we potentially put our fees at risk. So I think some of the challenges. While we've had challenges at both ends, we've got an email today from a client saying please can you pull back on all our marketing, because we're going to run out of stock. And that's what I would call a champagne problem. We've sold too much stuff too quickly. But on our sort of serious now, I'd say running a business where you're an extension of your client's team. The challenge is often around communication, and around reporting and around visibility. And one thing I really want to try and work with our clients and our teams on this to reduce any friction around that. But yeah, of course, we've had challenges and particularly around the pandemic, we've had people working remotely. It's been hard. And the last 18 months, I think has been fascinating in terms of learning new ways to work with our clients, remotely, and also work with our teams remotely. And I'm pleased to say I think we're getting through that now and was coming out the other side. But I'd say communication is always the biggest challenge if you're providing a service, where there's a lot of money at stake, and it's about communicating both the good news and the bad news sometimes.

 

Andy Splichal  23:49  

Now let me ask, have there been any business books that you've read, that you can attribute to some of your success as an entrepreneur? 

 

John Readman  23:58  

Yes, a lot. So we have a Modo25 library in our office and in fact, I've just been taking one of our new starters around the library and and saying, Look, help yourself which books do you want? And one of the the go two books that I encourage all new starters to read is The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. But I also recommend people to read Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy as well and and I suppose day books, I'd recommend anybody in any level within business to read. And the other things I always give to newly promoted managers are the some of the one by Ken Blanchard, the sort of One Minute Manager series I think is very helpful to a newly promoted manager. And then I think the best thing I've found recently and I am a bit late to the party, it is a very interesting leadership and management type podcast called the High Performance podcast where they interview lots of sports people around the world, but then they get them to distill down. Well, if I'm not an international baseball player, or NFL player or basketball player, how would that fit into my actual life? And how could I apply that to my day to day life? Because sometimes, I think, when you're listening to a lot of those motivational type podcasts, it's you try and distill down Well, how could that affect me? Or what could I learn from Oprah Winfrey, it's hard sometimes. Whereas there's one called the High Performance podcast that I've really enjoyed listening to. But it's been out two or three years, and I'm a bit late to the party. But I've been going through all the previous episodes and really enjoying that recently.

 

Andy Splichal  25:55  

Well, you know, that's a great thing about podcast is you can always go back, for sure. Hey, your company names, Modo 25, and BOSCO. Those are both very interesting names. For a company, is there a story behind how you name those?

 

John Readman  26:09  

Well, I'm glad you asked Andy, we, when I set the business up, so I set the business up with a friend of mine, who I met on a charity bike ride when we were in the process of this bike ride. It's it's a bike ride that takes place over 25 years, where we're going to cycle from London, in the UK, to Sydney in Australia. So sort of more than halfway around the world. And we're doing this bike ride to raise money for an orphanage in Uganda in Africa to help feed, clothe, educate house and change the lives of 280 children. So Bonamy, who's one of our business partners and investors, who was the founder of Skyscanner, so the flight booking website and app, him and I are very passionate about helping the kids in Africa. And we were like, well, we're gonna give some of our profit away. We're gonna encourage the team to donate some of their salary. And we're going to do loads of charity events. How can we link this together? And when I was first setting up the business, Andy, I was like, well, let's call it probable or certainty, or one of those sort of traditional agency type names, or Tektite names. And actually, in the end, we said, well, actually, because we want people to ask us the question, why is the company called Modo25 We've named after one of the children's a Modo is the name of what Modo is the name of one of the children at the orphanage, and 25 represents the link between myself and Bonamy. Because of our 25, cycling bike rides to Sydney, in Australia, and then BOSCO is the name of our software that provides the vision and direction to our clients. But BOSCO is also the name of the gentleman who runs the orphanage who provides the vision and direction to the children in Africa to help change their lives. So there is a bit of a story and, and we make sure that we tell all our clients and all our partners, that we're not just digital marketing, we're a lot more than digital marketing and, and hopefully, through the work and money we raise from doing digital marketing, we can make a small change to a few people's lives.

 

Andy Splichal  28:21  

Well, isn't that a nice story? Now, I think you've already touched on a lot of this. But if you could just quickly summarize, what are the problems that you guys are solving for your clients? And how are you standing out from the competition?

 

John Readman  28:39  

I think the main problem we fix is that one of transparency, and visibility, or and I think some of the listeners may have had problems in the past where they're not really sure about the transparency of the data, though the results they're getting from the agency. So what we want to do to our BOSCO technology, and the way in which we work is give clients complete visibility and transparency over the results and the performance. And I also would say off the back of that our confidence in our own ability to deliver the results is we'll happily sign up to short term contracts that are also performance driven. So we will let our results do the talking. And then we will provide you with a dashboarding tool that will hold us to account. So we really want to create this sort of new type of digital marketing agency that ultimately hopefully you can learn from by training and strategy that maybe you can take control in the future if you want. So I think they are the two main reasons that we stand out.

 

Andy Splichal  29:47  

Now who do you find to be the perfect client for your agency if this this person is out there listening now what would make a great client for you guys?

 

John Readman  29:55  

Um, I think a brand who has, who really wants to scale, who understands the, I suppose, who, who's maybe got great organic growth to a certain point. And they've got really good product. And they've either got ambition, and they want to scale organically through more paid media or through a really well run performance campaign. And over time learn how to do that in house. Or one thing, we work very well with sort of privately owned companies who've maybe just raised some money through private equity, or venture capital who wants to scale into new territories or into new products. So we've got a lot of demonstrable, referenceable experience where we've helped P banks, private equity backed or venture capital backed businesses scale faster. And I suppose when you raise some money to grow your business, often the first place you want to go spend that money is with marketing. So we can help you provide forecasts and accurate spins. But I'd say ambitious companies who want to scale online, and I suppose also people who've got similar values. So we tend to work with a lot of companies who also do nice things for charity, or who are privately owned, who really care about their team.

 

Andy Splichal  31:19  

And how can an interested listener perfect or not learn more about working?

 

John Readman  31:25  

So we have two websites. One is modo25.com, which will tell you all about our in housing and strategy services. And then the other, our software can be found at askbosco.io That's askbosco.io. And both those websites or if people want to find me, they can just look for John Readman on LinkedIn, I'll happily connect and see how I can help.

 

Andy Splichal  31:54  

And you guys are based in the UK, you said, but you, you do take clients all over the world?

 

John Readman  32:00  

Yeah, no. So we've got we're global. So we have most of the team are in the UK. We have, however, our head of agency services actually in Canada, one of our we've got VP of partnerships in Dallas, and then our development teams based over in Prague, in the Czech Republic. And we've got some data science guys based out in Melbourne, Australia. So we are absolutely a global marketing technology, an agency business, and yet we work with clients all over the world.

 

Andy Splichal  32:31  

Well, this has been great today. John, is there anything else you'd like to add before we wrap it up?

 

John Readman  32:35  

No, I'd just like to thank you very much for for taking the time to have me on Make Every Click Count and really appreciate your interest in in our story.

 

Andy Splichal  32:46  

Well, great. Well thank you again for joining us today. For listeners. Remember, if you liked this episode, please go to Apple podcasts and leave an honest review. If you're looking for more information regarding Modo25, or BOSCO connecting with John you'll find the links in the show notes. In addition, if you're looking for more information on growing your business, check out the all new podcasts Resource Center available at www.makeeachclickcount.com we have compiled all the different past guests by show topic and included each of their contact information in case you would like more information on any of the services that I've discussed during previous episodes. That's it for today. Remember to stay safe, keep healthy and happy marketing and I will talk to you in the next episode.