Business

Furlough Mastermind with Jon Hinderliter, The author of Death of Content as King

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Join us every Friday at 12pm EST in the Furlough Community Discord for our Mastermind session hosted by Joe Casanova & Ophir Gadot. Our guests change every week and range from experts, entrepreneurs and creatives to influencers, brands, nomads, investors and more!

 

A Little Bit About Jon

Jon Hinderliter is the Director of Marketing and Communications for University College at Washington University in St. Louis where he manages integrated marketing strategies to help adult learners experience the impact of earning a world-class education. With over a decade of experience in data-driven marketing, he has managed hundreds of digital marketing campaigns, websites, social media properties, and mobile apps.

 

You can watch the replay here:

 

Joe Casanova  

Awesome. All right. Welcome to our Friday’s mastermind with the Furlough community today we have an amazing guest right here, a man that needs no introduction, but we’re going to have an introduction by him. Jon, please, if you can just tell us a bit about yourself. Those who have had the pleasure of meeting you, and are very excited for this deep dive into this digital marketing conversation with a bunch of well-rounded, you know, digital marketers here from all around the globe, so with no further ado, Jon, hinder Lee no leeter? How do I pronounce your last name?

 

Jon Hinderliter  

It’s Hinderliter, and no one ever gets it right. But I always just go by Jon. And, you know, I have no shame in doing introductions and introducing myself. As a new author, that’s just one of the things you have to get used to the idea of introducing yourself to other people. And so, a little bit about me, I’m the Director of Marketing Communications for University College at Washington University in St. Louis. University College is a continuing education division within Washington University in St. Louis. And from there, as the Director of Marketing, I essentially managed a full stack of marketing strategies, integrated marketing efforts to help adult learners, you know, come back and finish their education wherever they were in their education journey, whether they were partway through a bachelor’s degree or wanting interest in going back and getting a master’s degree, we’re there to help them essentially finish that journey at Washington University in St. Louis. And so I have over more than almost two decades worth of experience in data-driven marketing. I’ve probably done hundreds of digital marketing campaigns and websites and managed social media properties, created my mobile apps, and managed multiple mobile apps. I went to University here in the St. Louis area called Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where I got both my masters and my bachelor’s part-time and at night. So that’s very much why I identify and part of working with a continuing education division, I understand how important it is for adult learners to, you know, get an education. I’m also a veteran. I retired in 2018, after 20 years in the United States Coast Guard reserves with four years of active duty service after 911. But the big reason why I got invited to join your community today, the big reason why I’m here to talk is really about my book, I published a book in December 2020, called The Death of Content as King: how a data democracy has revolutionized marketing. So it’s been out now for a little over six months, and I’m super excited about it, it’s been getting great feedback. And by great feedback, I mean more than just my parents. Great feedback from other business professionals, other marketing professionals, it’s now won three awards for marketing, you know, from multiple businesses, multiple book competitions. And so I’m super excited about the response that the book has had so far. But I’m always looking for, you know, as a marketer, we’re always looking for new audiences to introduce ourselves to. And so I’m grateful that I’ll be able to introduce myself to this community.

 

Joe Casanova  

We’re very glad to have you here. And I feel like the first question might be somewhat a little cheap question. But I have to ask, how has data democracy revolutionized marketing?

 

Jon Hinderliter  

Well, I think when we look at kind of that full-stack, as a full-stack marketer, you guys talk a lot about full-stack marketing, you know, within your community as a full-stack marketer. You look at social media, you look at SEO, you look at advertising, you look at all the different ways that you can be gaining, you know, attracting new audiences. And I think for many years, you know, marketers have been hearing this phrase over and over and over again, “Content is King” “content is king” go out there and just produce more content, create more content, so it ranks higher, creates more content on social media. So it goes viral. And we’re just told to go out and do all those things. But I think in reality, if content was truly still King, then the number one companies in the world right now and the number one ways of advertising would not be Google, Facebook, and Amazon, three companies that don’t really produce any of their own content. If you look at what has made them dominating factors within not only technology and technology platforms, but also dominating the advertising and marketing sphere. It’s really data and it’s how data has created personalized experiences for every person, what, you know, my Google results are going to be different from anyone else on this, in this community in this lobby, because of our prior data, our prior searches and where we’re located. The same thing with how our Facebook feeds work, you know, how the algorithm is powered, is all by our data and the data that we’re providing to these major platforms. And so really, my book is an exploration of that, and how things have changed in marketing, you know, over time, and how some of these major platforms used to very much promoting content, but now have basically kind of like Brutus stabbed them in the back, you know, stab Caesar and took over. And that’s kind of what we’re seeing right now, in a lot of ways, you know, how far does your organic reach go on Facebook? How hard is it to rank something new on, you know, at the top choice, both on Amazon, if you have a new product? Or you know, on Google, if you have a new service or product in a very competitive space? How hard is it to get those number one positions? Extremely hard right now, if you’re not paying for that position, or paying for your stuff to be promoted? And then I also take a really look at- Well, what can we do with data? I think that’s the other part of data democracy, that term data democracy really came from my view that data is not a new king, because you can have all the data in the world. But if you don’t know what to do with that data, it’s useless. If it’s not constantly refreshed, and coming from new and exciting sources, it’s useless. And so data, really, to me is the voice and vote of the consumer. And if you don’t respect that consumer, they’re going to vote somewhere else, they’re going to go somewhere else, they’re going to go to another product on another platform, another service, and they’re going to be starting to give their data to that service. And that service is going to improve itself if it listens to the consumer. And so that data democracy that voice and vote is kind of where all of that comes from.

 

Joe Casanova  

So if content is king, I guess that makes data queen.

 

Jon Hinderliter  

Not so much data Queen, but think about it like this as you know,I view this kind of data as the new Central, on the chessboard, that the data democracy element of it, you know, is it’s, what would you rather have a single King or 1000 pawns?

 

Joe Casanova  

Good point, your pawns can become kings, if you play your cards right.

 

Jon Hinderliter  

Or queens or any other piece on the chessboard. And now take that by not just 1000s, not hundreds of 1000s, or millions, there are trillions of pieces of data being created every single day before we finish this conversation, you know, more data will have been created, then, you know, almost ever before. And data now outpaces content in terms of, you know, pages being created, and those types of elements as well. So that’s kind of the difference, I see, it would have been too easy to basically make the statement, while data is now the new king. You know, and making that kind of statement, I see it more as data is the result of listening, really being able to use data as a marketer is the result of being able to listen to your consumer, and the choices that they’re making and what they’re telling you in the data and then being able to as a marketer, whether that’s improving your product or improving your service, but more importantly, improving your campaigns and how you reach and find new, you know, consumers and how you respond to those consumers as well.

 

Joe Casanova  

Absolutely! I think this is an interesting conversation to have, especially in this community because we range from people just getting started and people that have been in this space for a long time. And, you know, I have been involved in the agency space, I can tell you, the majority of my clients come from me realizing that they don’t have a Facebook pixel on there. And if they have a Facebook pixel on their page, that means there’s a level of education there that they don’t have, but they do need. And you know, all we all know that to make money in this business, you got to provide service and more service and provide, the more money you make, because money is a financial compensation service rendered, you know, so on and so forth. So we do like to keep these conversations very high-level, and really just try to pick the brain as much as you can. And as you’re speaking, I was getting messages. So I know if you’re very eager to pick his brain, and

 

Ophir Gadot  

I just wanna I don’t want to kind of speak all over the place. But I have a question for you. Yes. You said basically took Facebook and Google as a platform and suggested that practice, they don’t need content, right? What they have is data. But to me, Google’s the big Google and Facebook are the biggest consumers of user-generated content. Google is a fuckin Ma.. powerhouse has user-generated content of all websites in the world. So they just don’t need content because they have it. Same with Facebook. This is one question I want you to address. Questions about data, but let’s share.

 

Jon Hinderliter  

So I think the way that Google and Facebook and even Amazon is using your content, okay, and how they’re serving that content up, is really based on the data that they’ve learned about how people are consuming that content. You know, so we take about you, we think about Facebook, you know, what it shares with other users of content that other users are creating is based on the engagement of the data signals that are coming from the likes and the comments and the shares. And those pieces and how often you’re engaging with those things and who you’re engaging with determines what’s going to be appearing in your feed. So Facebook is taking all of that user-generated content, and serving each individual user a personalized experience of dynamic content, but dynamic content based on data. The same thing within Google. Yes, it’s crawling the internet 1000s and 1000s of times looking for content. But the bigger thing is looking for the signals in the data in relation to all right, you went to the top result, the top search result on a page? Okay, you went to that first link? We all click on that first link because we think that’s where the answer is for that search result. And that’s where everyone wants to be right? Well, how does Google determine that that is the best result for that? Well, there’s, you know, obviously a very complicated algorithm that none of us have the secret sauce for. Okay. So we don’t have the recipe. So we all try to create content that might get us to that number one position, but Google is measuring every single click that is occurring to that number one position to that person, go to that web page, does that person, you know, purchase something? All of those things, it’s taking all those measurements, which is all data. And it’s taking all those things to determine does this link to this search result deserve to be in this first position, the next time someone searches for it, and the next time and the next time and that across 1000s of different keywords, you know, that their algorithm is serving every second of every single day? So yes, it’s taking everybody’s content, all of these platforms, Amazon is taking all of these products that are being listed on their marketplace. Okay, it’s taking all those things, but it’s using the data, the signals within the data, because there’s tons of noise out there, we’re all creating as marketers, and, you know, and consumers, we’re all creating tons and tons of content, but it’s taking the signal within the noise to determine, well, what should be the best result for these keywords, or what should be the next piece of content that we serve up so that you engage with us so that you say, stay on our platform, so that with those best experiences in mind, you stay on, you always turn to Google for your search, so that you always come back to Facebook to engage with your friends, or your frenemies or however you kind of view your Facebook experience. So that you always are coming back to Amazon to purchase, not just one product, but all your products from Amazon. And more than 50% of all product searches begin on Amazon in some way or another. So that you’re always coming back to these. And that’s what they’re wanting in terms of the result because that’s their business model. And they use data to be able to achieve that. And they use data to be able to inform those next decisions in those next pieces. 

 

Joe Casanova  

Amazing. Yeah. And it’s interesting because that was when I used to purchase data across partners and create these profiles with the sold companies to work with them when I was speaking about actually purchasing data. It was to my surprise, a lot of people had no idea that’s an industry in itself. And you create these comprehensive profiles, and then you can kind of predict, okay, cool, this is what they’re interested in. This is what they’re doing, this is you’re more inclined to your customers. And I’m just curious with all the hype and craze going on with the new iOS 14, the update of you know how Facebook, and it’s, you know, then now with that push notification saying, hey, do you want to allow this app to track your data? Where do you think the direction of all this is going?

 

Jon Hinderliter  

It’s going in the direction of privacy, and it’s going in the direction of consumer control. And, you know, really I kind of boil this down to who benefits when these kinds of things happen. For iOS, it’s the people behind iOS; Apple. And it’s Apple because Apple doesn’t you know, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. We’ve all heard that statement before, right? Why should Apple let Facebook or any other platform continue to suck money or suck data really, that data equals money, suck data from their users that they have created, you know, they have cultivated that they continue to make products from analysis, continue to pull all of that data out and store it over on the Facebook’s side where God knows what happens to it. You know, Facebook has had plenty of its data breaches and data concerns, you know, a lot of different ways over time. Why let all of our, you know, consumer data flow outside of our control, when we can keep it all under the auspice of privacy. And we can keep it all. And then also run our own ad business through essentially the iAds, you know, app search platform, where you could essentially then buy, you know, buy search keywords, and buy pieces of data through that. So who benefits? They’re benefiting through that the same way. You know, while Chrome, Google has delayed the death of the cookie, on Chrome side by a few years, that’s eventually going to be another piece that goes away. But Google doesn’t need that cookie, to be able to perform its ad business and its pieces of its elements. Because of Google everyone using Google Analytics, the way Google is used, the way Chrome is used, and how all that data comes together,

 

Ophir Gadot  

Yeah, but it does cause problems on the level of cookie tracking and contribution windows, within the advertising platforms.

 

Jon Hinderliter  

Within everybody else’s advertising platforms, but not Google’s

 

Ophir Gadot  

As well as Google ads, because you basically lose all the window of returning customers assisted conversions, all that is, is impossible to track without the cookie, right?

 

Jon Hinderliter  

That’s true, but that also makes you more reliant on the parts of Google’s business, like search, you know, in the search engine marketing component, it’s going to make people more reliant on that side of the business and it is going to drive those prices up, because that marketplace is going to become more competitive. After all, that’s where the more that, you know, the rich user experience is going to be. Because they’ve kneecapped everything else. They kneecap all the other programmatic platforms that you know, and they’ve kind of taken away the advantages of the programmatic platforms and other platforms that relied more on third-party cookie-based tracking and putting all those data pieces together, across multiple services, etc. And so again, it’s well, who benefits and I think that there’s a lot of you know, that going on in the larger industry, the only reason Google delayed anything is that they’re being essentially sued left and right for antitrust violations. You know, it’s not about them wanting to benefit us the consumer in any other way, other than the fact that well, they might be afraid they’re gonna get sued, you know, have an antitrust lawsuit thrown their way by 50 states. and Europe, you know, again, you know, they’ve already been sued multiple times in Europe,

 

Ophir Gadot  

How do you explain Facebook’s decision to basically go in the other direction, and pretty much say, screw it, Sue me?

 

Jon Hinderliter  

Well, you know, the Facebook side of it really kind of boils down to the idea that if you start cutting off third-party data from them, that’s going to seriously hurt, how their traffic or how their audience and how their data profiles are working together. This is why you see Facebook hiring 1500 engineers or whatever the number is in relation to their Oculus platform, they need a hardware solution, their phone flopped, they couldn’t get their phone to work, they couldn’t get anyone to buy on to their version of Android OS. So essentially, they’re going to need a hardware solution and they’re going to need a hardware solution within the next three to five years because they’re getting their butt kicked right now with the younger generation with TikTok. So, you know, they are having to pivot and then granted every one of their pivots when we talk about how they pivoted in from the news feed into making news more, making news more relevant, and then they got in trouble for making news more relevant than they tried to pivot into video and then essentially all their video metrics were fake and false. And then they pivoted into groups and you know, what is the next pivot for them, every single one of their pivots hasn’t necessarily worked too great for them in the larger space. Other than essentially the purchases they made many moons ago with Instagram and WhatsApp and those have been really paid off because Instagram has been able to copy Snapchat’s features and everybody else’s features etc. But they’re on a ticking time clock and a lot of it has to do with the fact that again, what you talked about with the iOS component that’s cutting off a segment of data. Android is really next in terms of how they’re going to start cutting off people or making their attributes more localized Chrome, etc. So they’re going to find a lot of where they used to get third-party data cut off. And so that leaves a lot of these first-party elements, which still, billions of people use Facebook, billions of people use WhatsApp and Instagram. So there are still billions of audiences that are going on to these platforms and hundreds of millions of people every single day. So there’s still a lot of data there. And there’s still a lot of great data there. I still, as a marketer, almost exclusively think of Facebook, when I build my campaigns or think of my campaigns, I almost start with the idea of, well, how is this going to work on Facebook? Before I start thinking about, well, how is this gonna work on any of the other types of platforms, because I feel like Facebook has that audience, especially in my area of the older adult consumer. And by older I mean, 35 and older, I’m in that category. You know, but I, you know, looking to try to find that audience and try to, you know, target it on those pieces, but they’re up against the challenge. And that challenge is the fact that you know, essentially, they’re being cut off from all of these sources of data they used to have, they’re finding the younger audiences where they used to start, you know, everyone started on Facebook in a lot of ways they’re finding that audience now fleeing off to TikTok is huge, unimaginable numbers. They’re basically what I read recently, they’re like, the third or fourth app to reach a billion, you know, essentially a billion users. But they’re the first one that’s a non-Facebook property. So I guess that would make it the fourth app. But they’re the first one to essentially be a non-Facebook property mob. So it’s a matter of time and resources. And their time is kind of on this kind of ticking type of clock in relation to that.

 

Joe Casanova  

I have quick-fire-off questions outside of the Facebook acquisitions. Are you bullish or bearish with Facebook?

 

Jon Hinderliter  

I’m always bearish with Facebook, I’m always very, you know, it’s one of those things of it’s a really great platform for a lot of things, but it’s also a really terrible platform for a lot of things.

 

Joe Casanova  

Are you bullish or bearish on Instagram?

 

Jon Hinderliter  

I think that- I put those in the same category, because it’s all it’s To me, it’s all if you’re all run by the same Master? 

 

Bogdan Popa  

Absolutely.

 

Jon Hinderliter  

Whether we’re talking the-

 

Ophir Gadot

Do you think about WhatsApp as well? WhatsApp is a powerhouse.

 

Jon Hinderliter

It is a powerhouse. And I will say the one space for me that if they continue to pivot in this direction, there’s a lot of possibilities for them. And that is within the messaging category, you know, Messenger, WhatsApp…

 

Ophir Gadot  

And By the way, coming back to your point, they just push the update on the privacy issue on WhatsApp. And I know more than 200 companies who manage the entire business on WhatsApp chat, so just think about the amount of data they have there. I mean, but like Facebook, in terms of strategy showed that they’re not hesitant to buy competitors that bring them what they need. So they can go after Slack, or something like that, and kind of, you know, get to where they started. I definitely don’t, I personally don’t worry about them.

 

Jon Hinderliter  

My bearish attitude is not whether or not they’ll be here next year or they’ll be here in five years. So, you know, they’re going to continue to be a powerhouse for likely the next decade, okay? Without a doubt, you don’t have billions and billions of users. In the same way, McDonald’s has billions of billions of customers, you know, as they like to say, without having some kind of longevity there. But really, you know, as marketers, you know, the other side of this is the public. Public perception is a very fragile thing, okay. And the public sometimes has, you know, a… can have reactions to certain brands and certain black platforms and certain services in such a way where they just start, they just start creating accidents, and we’re leaving this and we’re not ever coming back. And Facebook has had a lot of those moments over the years. Okay. Now, Instagram and WhatsApp have not had those same kinds of issues that the Big Blue app has had. But there are those other ones that you know, that have a lot of issues. So I see a lot. I really like the platform and as a marketer, as a citizen of the world, not so much. But I have to separate the two worlds.

 

Joe Casanova  

Absolutely. That’s amazing. And I have to kind of circle back. I saw Josh, I saw you laughing a little bit wakey trying to hold your tongue. I hear some comments because of the conversations that are happening now we’ve had over and over again. So I know you want to share something?

 

Joshua Butrum  

Oh, man. I mean, it was all about the cookie, right? We’ve been new. Like, I already said, like when Apple did that, so like, especially when it comes to like, first-party data, right? Facebook, Google, Apple, they already have that, like, that’s their data, you know, and no matter what, that’s their data, it’s their data. So when once they put out the iOS 14, and 15, updates and stuff like that, like, of course, they’re going to run ads for their app search ads on the apple search engine and stuff, of course, they’re gonna do it, they’ve been doing it, it’s just now they’re going to be able to get more of that revenue. it’s a basic business like I would do it too, you know, like, I’d do it too. Well, yeah, it puts Facebook in a rough spot, because the fact is, at the end of the day, they know that they have users on both iOS and Android, even though iOS spends more money. That’s the reason why they’re having a little fighting, you know, they’re, they’re doing a little brother-sister rivalry, you know, but at the end of the day, everybody’s gonna make the same money, like, you know, the cost is going to go up for everybody, and everybody’s gonna make more money. So whatever, it is what it is, like, you know, like Jon said, you know, as a marketer, I’m on every platform. You know, I love Facebook as a platform as a marketer. I try to keep my personal opinion separate from it. But yeah, like Facebook isn’t. Facebook isn’t going away within the next decade. It’s, maybe it will, it won’t have a MySpace death, we know that. It will never have a MySpace death. But even if it- I don’t know, I just think Facebook is just so powerful. Even if it did go away, I think it would be more like Zuckerberg would just step down, and then somebody else would be there. Like, you know, like, I feel like that would be that would, that’s what would happen before Facebook even dies, you know, but it’s just, I mean, Jeff Bezos stepped down, Bill Gates stepped down as CEO. It just seems like that’s the thing that, you know, that everybody’s going to be doing and in their perception goes up for the consumer, you know, when they like, oh, Mark isn’t in control. Alright, cool. I don’t even think he’s really in control, really, but whatever.

 

Jon Hinderliter  

Nah, I mean, if you read a lot of the new books that are coming out on Facebook, and there was one, I think it was written by some Washington Post reporters that just recently came out, and I’ve been hearing them on other podcasts recently. And they’ve talked about kind of the, you know, Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg kind of dynamics, the dynamics of their relationships and how these things have changed over many years. And but the point that they’re making is, it’s very much Mark’s Facebook, very much embedded throughout all the things, you know, and he’s not a… bear in mind, he didn’t have much of experiences, life experiences, regardless, but a lot of life, you know, a lot of experiences before creating Facebook, right now. And so most of his most of that, you know, is that space where, you know, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, they spent, you know, I’m in other you know, in other capacities in other realms, but they spent their pretty much their golden years as it were their most important years creating the platforms that they have. And then once there, you know, it’s established and their legacies established, and they feel comfortable moving on. And I don’t think Mark at his age feels like the legacy is there yet, yes, he has connected the world, by every definition, connected the world. But there are still billions of people that do not have Facebook or do not have one of them, one of the Facebook apps, so there’s still a lot more of the world to connect. But there’s also just that, that, you know, there’s that level of what is going to be the legacy of my platform, you know, over the long run. And so I think there’s a lot of those questions that he’s still not probably there. And granted, I’m not trying to get into his head or not saying I have special access to his head. But you know, it’s one of those things, if you just kind of see the reporting and the moves and those kinds of things, I think Mark’s gonna probably be there for at least another 10 to 20 years. You know, by and large, the next 10 years, but no one’s going to be able to dethrone him, they’re not going to be able to Steve-Jobs him out of the company. He set up the class shares and all those kinds of other types of ways in that no one’s ever going to be able to remove him in that regard. So he’s going to be able to continue down those roads. And as marketers, I think it’s important for us to be able to understand that, you know, we’re always going to be chasing the shiny new object in the room. 

 

You know, we like new platforms, we like, you know, growing new platforms, we like new ways to reach our audiences. And you know, the cheaper the better. But also the way we can reach more eyeballs, more effectively is really kind of the things that we go down to and I think as marketers, what we have to start to realize is, these platforms are not there for us, as marketers, these platforms are there for their users because the users are the number one element, the users are who generates the data, okay. And so their moves are all in relation to how can they increase the experiences to the users versus, you know, if they’re taking away Google’s taking away, because they handicap the cookie, coming back to a previous conversation if they’re taking away the cookie, you know, and it hurts a side of their business, you know, in relationship to the more programmatic level of the side of their business. But it helps boost the search and the mobile side of their business, that’s fine by them, they’re still getting business, they’re still getting marketers and users, etc, over on that side of their business. So it doesn’t matter they don’t mind handicapping one side of the business if it favors the other one for the next, you know, 20 some years because they have 99% of the search market in some way. But as marketers, I think we have to look at these things that can kind of say to us as well, they’re not out there for us. What are we doing for ourselves? Are we creating our own, you know, data, kingdoms? Or data democracies? are we creating our own data platforms? And you know, are we collecting our own data, are we relying too much on somebody else’s data, some other platforms data, you know, to essentially power our marketing campaigns in the future, because the next decision may come down the road, the next flashy thing may come down the road that takes away a really great opportunity, or a really great channel. Or, you know, just as I think we all find, as marketers’ channels dry up, we were very successful with this one, you know, the, with this one neat trick. And we really wrote a lot of great things and went to a lot of marketing conferences using this one neat trick. And then we find ourselves as marketers, the next year, or the next three months coming back to that one neat trick, and you’re saying it is up, God, the ROI on that’s gone away. And that’s not working as well, now I have to go find something new. And I think that that’s where the data really comes into play. If you have and if you’re collecting data, and using it in a lot of exciting ways, you know, and always collecting it from your consumers and your audiences, you’re not going to run out of that opportunity.

 

Joe Casanova  

Amazing.

 

Ophir Gadot  

I have a couple of questions, I’m sorry to jump in, 

 

Joe Casanova  

You’re good.

 

Ophir Gadot  

A business owner, I sit in my data center. Okay, whether it’s E-comm, whether it’s a service or SaaS, now, I’m constantly faced with challenges when I’m building my data centers, right, because I get data from multiple places, at different attribution windows when the places who are communicating this data are tagging it differently. So I like to get a lot of masses of data that are not matching with one another. I’m unable to understand through these pieces of data, the entire customer journey and what impacts what? How do you address that from your perspective?

 

Jon Hinderliter  

So I start with essentially creating a data framework model. And one of the things I talk about in my book is a concept that I kind of call the vote data framework model. Okay. And this is kind of how I think about organizing data. And I start with, you know, essentially, what is the most valuable data to your business as it relates to achieving your goals, whether it’s a quarterly goal, yearly goal? or what is the most valuable data? Because you’re gonna have, as you said, You got multiple sources, you got your first-party data, you got all your third party data, you have all this stuff coming in, but what’s going to be the most valuable data, okay? Because it’s not everything. If everything is valuable, nothing is valuable. Okay. So what’s the most valuable data? And the second thing, it’s got to be organized. Whatever data that you’re pulling in, it’s got to be something that you can organize, and then be able from that organizing that data storing that data. You know, it doesn’t work if it’s third-party data, that you know, you essentially you’re getting from a third-party source that can cut off that pipeline at any particular time. Well, that’s not data you’re going to be able to hold on to that’s not data, you’re going to be able to really store that’s not data, you’re going to be able to refresh and create and find new and new ways. And because it’s valuable, and because it’s organizable, it is useless if it is not targetable. If you can’t take that data and use it in a marketing campaign or in a marketing channel, or you know, in a marketing message as a way to be able to communicate to your, you know, your consumers or find your consumers, if you’re not able to use that data, to improve your product, or improve your service, if you can’t target that data to in one of those many different ways, that is, you know, specifically geared towards how you’re going to improve your business, then again, it’s not the data you need to be looking at in your data framework. And the last one, you’re the business owner, the last one I always say is explainable, you need to be able to explain to everyone’s got-, I always would kind of say everyone’s got a boss, okay. And as a business owner, really, your boss is the customer. But everyone’s got a boss, and everyone needs to be able to explain that. The reason why I want this data, or the reason why I think this data is valuable, organizable, targetable are these reasons because there’s a lot of data that you can collect from consumers, there’s a lot of data you can collect, you know, if we’re talking about a B2B world, etc, on other businesses, etc. There’s a lot of data you can collect. But if you can’t basically kind of pull your team together, pull your boss into the room, whatever the case may be, or request that data from the consumer. And explain why asking for your favorite color is going to help improve my marketing campaigns? If I can’t explain that to you, you know, then why am I asking for this? And what and what use is it going to be? I mean, think of all the required fields, we as marketers put on forms, and higher education is very much, you know, an element of this because we have these very long applications that ask very, a lot of different types of questions. You know, and a lot of it’s required, you know, types of fields, but how are we using those fields? And we take a long look at, well, how are we using those fields? And how and how, you know, there’s the part that satisfies the admission process, but what’s the part as marketers, we can, you know, be able to use to improve our picture of the consumer in those ways. So it has to be explainable, I think, is really kind of the front, you know, there is the end goal of that. So that’s kind of the voting model and a lot of different ways. And, you know, in a, in a very short, kind of elevator speech version of that,

 

Joe Casanova  

I have to ask, what’s your favorite platform for organizing such data?

 

Jon Hinderliter  

Really, I’ve had a lot of different ones over time. And so almost all of it just depends on what is the CRM system that we’re using today, we’re in right now, our CRM system is one called admissions pros, which is more focused on higher education. But it’s at the end of the day, it’s a CRM, and that’s where the bulk of our user data, our student data, you know, that is where that process starts, especially as a marketer, that’s where a lot of those pieces start. We also, I also take a lot of look at, because we have applications, but we also have core-, the core side of the data, cuz people take courses, you know, so think of one thing is service, and one thing is individual products, you know, so courses for us are sometimes the individual product element, and then being able to see how my marketing campaigns can either drive more leads interested in the service more leads interested in our degree programs, or at the same time, how do individual campaigns or individual efforts or different channels impact the product side, and people if they just want to take an individual course is essentially kind of by an individual product, and just looking at how all those different pieces come together. So it’s really that there, that CRM side and kind of almost, I want to say, and again, our CRM is more higher education based. But there’s also essentially the catalog side, your product catalog side, your product data element, and ours is entirely homebrew. In a lot of ways. And so I mean, our stuff is very much unique to higher education. I very much take a stance in the book that I’m really not for any particular no one’s paying, you know, no brand or platform is paying me to write these particular things about them. But I very much look at platforms from the perspective of ecosystems, you know, you know, places where we can store our data from the standpoint of, you know, how many people are developing around this particular ecosystem. How many people are developing around all those things so you know, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, I mean, these are all great, wonderful platforms, because they have a very large ecosystem, you know, not only from the first party customer side, but from the third-party vendor side, you know, obviously, as even the user of it, or the business of it, you can also develop your own stuff. And so I very much like ecosystems that you can build on top of, and that others are building on top of because you can get a lot more out of those particular things. And so that’s if I could be king of the world for a day at my level, but also have an unlimited amount of money, I would almost always go towards ecosystems that people can build on top of, but I do not have unlimited authority, unlimited time, or unlimited resources. So we very much have to use what we’re given. But I do think that when, as marketers, when we think about, well, what are we using? And what are our platforms? And where are we storing our data? And what are we doing with our data? We all love a good Excel spreadsheet, like the rest of us, not really. We go and see we go Excel blind, you know, and formulas and functions and pivot tables, and all that kind of other stuff. But, really, I look at ecosystems from our software, platforms, and ecosystems from that standpoint of, how can I How can I leverage what everybody else knows about this system? And then how can I leverage that and be able to do all of that? Because, you know, I think the other thing is marketers, we’re not ashamed of looking at somebody else. And they’re what they’re doing. I mean, how many of us have signed up for a competitor’s email list? Are you a marketer, if you’re not getting 15 emails about, you know, if you’re selling shoes, you’re not getting 15 emails from other people’s shoe companies, I don’t think you’re not a marketer, if you’re not doing those things, okay. 

 

Joe Casanova  

That’s True.

 

Jon Hinderliter  

We’re always looking at other people’s campaign funnels and campaign, you know, efforts, we’re also exposed to a lot of those types of things. And if we’re learning from those things, and using those different types of things, you know, what my favorite is today, maybe different tomorrow, or the next time my institution needs to refresh the technology cycle, you work with what you’re given you work with, what you have the resources for, etc. You know, but I always prefer those ones that you can build on top of a very long answer to ‘don’t use what I’m using.’

 

Joe Casanova  

Well, I have quick questions, but hopefully, we get some quick answers to them. If you were to start all over today, you know, at the age that you started, what would you be doing? What’s your roadmap?

 

Jon Hinderliter  

You know, I love what I do, from the standpoint of providing continuing education experience, you know, to lifelong learners, and helping them realize, you know, their education journey, we all come to edge in our education, the journey from different perspectives, different backgrounds, different sets of resources, I really love what I do, in helping people enable all of that, you know, I’ve enjoyed my journey in, in education. And I think if I had to do it all over again, I would still be in education, maybe different parts of it. I’m getting an opportunity, possibly next year, to be able to be an instructor for a few courses. I’ve done a lot of teaching, and kind of more at the nonprofit volunteer level for a lot of things. I’ve enjoyed those experiences. And being in front of groups of people, and talking about those experiences and talking about ways that they can leverage knowledge or that I’ve gained or over time. And so I’ve really enjoyed those elements. And maybe that would have been another way I could pivot myself, but I have this one life to live. And I’ve really enjoyed every element of education in that space

 

Joe Casanova  

Love to hear it. And my other short question, hopefully, gets a short answer. What was, obviously failures are the best education that you can get, what was your failure that projected your education forward?

 

Jon Hinderliter  

I think really, the biggest failure that I’ve had is in how I and I’ve learned a lot from this is how I deal with, you know, those interpersonal relationships with other colleagues. Because I had very much the attitude very early on in my career, I think. I doubt I’m alone in this that I know all the right ways to do things. And I would point out to my colleagues how they were doing it wrong. And that never goes well. That never goes well. And it took me more- that failure of putting forward good ideas, but in a really terrible way. Because I didn’t respect the other person on the other side and their feelings and it wasn’t that I had the best Data? Well, let me show you all the data for the reasons why you’re doing it wrong. Your form has an 86% abandonment rate? Don’t you think you should probably have a little bit less field, you’re doing it wrong. You know, reframing those conversations or focusing more on Well, how can I be not just a marketer, but as someone who provides solutions to my colleagues and to other departments, and in other types of ways, how can I help you help yourself, but doing it in such a way that I want to help you by telling you all the things you’ve done wrong, I think that’s been one of my life lessons through failure through not having those things go my way. And I think I’ve had a lot more success, and a more seasoned part of my career, working hand in hand with my partners across the campus and doing a lot better as a result of that.

 

Joe Casanova  

Amazing. And I really love that form example. Because that’s just such a simple example that people hear and understand. That’s how you look at data. And people think data is just a bunch of numbers and spreadsheets and things. But it’s actually your completion rate, look at that lower the amount of form. So I definitely don’t want to hog all your attention. And I’m opening it up, anyone has any questions that they want to go ahead and pick this wonderful guest for this wonderful session, his mind was open?

 

Bogdan Popa  

I have a question. I’m curious, what are the lessons that you learned from publishing your book?

 

Jon Hinderliter  

As a marketer, I think the first lesson is, it is extremely difficult to market something that you yourself own. And I’m sure the business owners here in this group, you know, have that when they’ve worked for other people. And they’ve marketed things for other products or other brands, the decisions you’re making do not seem as personal as the decisions that you will make as a, essentially, when you have something that’s your own product, or your own service, or your own business, etc. So having my own book, and marketing my own book, there’s a very humbling experience that goes along with all of that, that, you know, I really, I knew going into that there is no New York Times bestseller list in the future of the ‘Death of Content as King’. It is my very first book out the door. But how we’re going to be the ways that I create repu-, you know, a reputation for that book, and what are the little ways that I can leverage what I know about marketing. And the nice thing about the I think one of the things that everyone will appreciate in the book is that it’s not Jon’s opinion, that this is what’s happening in the world of marketing. There’s over 200- it’s a very thoroughly researched, researched book. And there are over 200 pieces of case studies and articles and sources that I kind of bring into the book throughout, you know, the kind that illustrate Well, this is not just Jon’s opinion about what’s happening. But here is the very well-researched reality of what we’re seeing out there. And because I had a lot of that going into the book, that really helped me understand that, yes, Amazon is king and Amazon will remain king, if you’re talking about publishing a book. So I mean, we, you know, you want people to not only buy your book, but the more important thing is to go and review the book, you know, I follow up with every single person who buys the book that I know, that bought the book through me or bought, you know, or told me, they bought the book, I follow up with every single one of them, Hey, I hope you’ve enjoyed the book, but you can you go back and review it, and leave a real review, you know, let me know if you don’t like the book. Building reputation was important, I have my own reputation as a marketer, I have my own reputation as a marketer in higher education, but I have no reputation as an author. So building a reputation is why I used a service called Book Award Pro, and I’m happy to plug them but Book Award Pro is an aggregate of book competitions. And so by putting- by using that service, I’m able to find the book, you know, competitions that I can enter in because they fit my category, etc. So instead of just spending hours upon hours searching for them on Google. You know, essentially they’re going they feed me kind of almost weekly recommendations of here’s competitions that are out there. And you can go and enter these competitions and I have and maybe you win an award, maybe you don’t win an award. And I’ve been lucky enough that I’ve been able to you know, as a result of that service, find you know, multiple competitions that I’ve entered in multiple competitions that I have now won and that creates that third party recognition, third party reputation, that third party affirmation, that kind of what you did you know was You know, kind of good, you know, kind of you know, it’s an award-winning book, I’m able to say that element of it. And I think that that piece also plays events so that that reputation factor, I’m very much always interested in how you create and build reputation, not just for yourself, the author or myself that you know, my personal brand, but how do you create a reputation for your brand? And how do you increase that reputation? Not so much how do you manufacture it? But how do you create it and move it up? And you know, how can you do all those types of things?

 

Joe Casanova  

That was amazing. I mean, as a self-published author, I could tell you my best review was a four-star review that actually gave great detail and told people what’s wrong with it to the point that people reached out to me and said, I bought your book because of that review. And I was so excited. But I didn’t realize he was helping me out. So that’s a great answer there. Now, we’re wrapping up. We’re about to close out on this session. Last Chance anyone else has any questions they want to sneak in here, and to wonderful guests that we have in this great session so far. 

 

Ophir Gadot  

I’m gonna get your book, please Roslyn, I spoke so much.

 

Roslyn Fawns  

What was your favorite portion of the book just for reference?

 

Jon Hinderliter  

I really think that one of my favorite parts of the book was talking about creating more personalized messages for consumers and using data to create more personalized experiences. And the reason why I was one of my favorite parts of the book to write is that I did a lot of research on how other companies, Netflix, Fanatics, many other companies, were using data to personalize the experience, for their personalize the content, personalize the experience for their consumers and for their audiences. And that was very eye-opening of just the different ways you can use data through localization, or through Association. I mean, there’s about six or seven different ways you can use data that I kind of map out in the book, that was the part for me that I enjoyed the most, well, you know, putting together that because I got to spend a lot more time looking at how other industries and other products were, you know, using data to reach consumers and to interact with consumers. Because I think we all experienced this as marketers, we get very hyper-focused in our own product categories. And because we’re focused on our own product categories, we don’t necessarily go and look at, you know, for me, it’s continuing education, you know, I get hyper-focused on how other education institutions are looking at it. But by writing that section, and doing the research for that section, I spent a lot more time looking at how a landing page company was using the data that they had to develop personalized pages for the different parts of industries that they were targeting, you know, I mentioned Fanatics and how Fanatics is, you know, I mean, gosh, they’re huge company now, but how they’d kind of grew their company and made it kind of a mobile, first data-centric company, that can do so many amazing things in an instant, because things are always happening in the sports world. And it’s not something that I pay attention to, you know, I’m just not a huge sports fan. So I don’t experience it in the same way that you know, I’m sure many others that are that, you know, that are signed up for those types of customer emails, you know, we got this new jersey, for sale. And a lot of those decisions used to be made based on who’s the biggest star and that’s the only jersey we’re making. Fanatics are able to make a jersey within a minute of someone essentially being drafted. And all it really is, is just the digital version, the digital image. And then they basically do the fulfillment side of it all on their own, but they’re able to then message, every single consumer that has either engaged with that team that just drafted them and engage with, you know, wherever that person was coming from just then they’re able to send that jersey out, and hundreds and 1000s of different ways through every, you know, different type of medium possible, and then be able to personalize that experience for those individual fans. And I think that’s always an amazing thing to kind of learn those elements.

 

Roslyn Fawns  

Well, yeah, absolutely. I think that when marketers go into the personalization aspect, it’s just like showing that the business actually cares about their consumers and the fact that they want to actually fulfill the consumers’ needs and that’s something that I’m very into. So yeah, that was really interesting to hear.

 

Joe Casanova  

Amazing, amazing. Okay, so, go for it Sajad.

 

Sajad Mahyaei  

Okay, this all looks a little personal. Assume you’re going back to 20 years ago, 20 years ago, and you don’t have the knowledge that you have now. How would you approach marketing? And how would you approach learning marketing that day?

 

Jon Hinderliter  

You know, I think going back to one of the things that I did a lot of was self-learning, I did a lot of platforms, every new platform came along, I did a lot of self-learning. And I did not really try to take advantage of because I thought I was smarter than every other marker in the world, I’m not, I did not take advantage of all of the other resources that exist, I didn’t join communities like this, I didn’t search out newsletters or learning modules or other types of ways I didn’t take classes in marketing. You know, I think that’s probably the piece that I didn’t, if I could go back and restart my education in marketing, I think that’s where I would definitely have started is learning more from others, and not trying to think that I can do it all myself and that I’m going to learn everything that there possibly is, at this point, I realized that at this point, I spend a lot more time learning from others and then trying to learn as much as I can from different communities and different audiences and different marketers of how I can improve what I’m doing because this world moves too fast. I think that’s another thing I’ve learned, you know, in the last 20 years as a marketer, this marketing world that we live in, this world that we live in, everything is moving so fast. And what worked today is not going to be what worked tomorrow. And so, we do not have time to keep up with everything, I mean, my Pocket, you know, I use Pocket to save my articles and tag all my articles and do a lot of my type of research. My Pocket feed is overwhelmed with articles that I have saved because I can’t get to all of them. I can’t read often. There’s a lot of stuff that’s created all the time, and I can’t get to all of it. But what I do find is spending time with others, connecting and learning from others helps me improve as a marketer, helps me improve as it’s strategic thinker, and as a leader, and as well as a fellow human being as well. So I wish I would have learned a lot more from others and taken a lot more opportunities to learn.

 

Ophir Gadot  

I love that.

 

Joe Casanova  

Amazing.

 

Ophir Gadot  

Have time for another question?

 

Jon Hinderliter  

I have time for another question as long as I’m allowed to do a plug at the end of all of this. 

 

Joe Casanova  

Yes, we’re gonna give you closing remarks. So I’m going to hold this last question, go into closing remarks, and then we’ll just hang out for a little bit after Go for it, Ophir, you got this.

 

Ophir Gadot  

How do you see the current Academy structure of digital and marketing talents? What is your perception of it?

 

Jon Hinderliter  

And when you say Academy, you mean?

 

Ophir Gadot  

The universities, my colleges. 

 

Jon Hinderliter  

I view it because there is a lot of great research that is going on within institutions. And so I view, you know, institutions as having worked, you know, working for a top-ranked institution in relation to research. You know, I think that that is an extremely important element to push the ball forward of human knowledge. And I think that’s where, you know, a lot of the great research that helps us understand consumers better helps us understand, you know, citizens better the world better platforms better. So I, you know,

 

Ophir Gadot  

I’m terribly sorry to interrupt but asking it from the student’s perspective, meaning, I want to study marketing. Do you think about the current Academy flow of someone who comes to the university or college and wants to study marketing? Let’s hear your opinion because you’ve been going through these institutions for years.

 

Jon Hinderliter  

I think it’s important to be able to have foundational knowledge within marketing, you need to have the understanding that the foundational elements of marketing, that are not about the platforms, are not about the technologies, that foundational element of marketing, I think that is extremely important. Second, critical thinking, you know, the ability to be able to have your own opinion, be able to back up your own opinion, be able to understand and look at something and break it apart and put it back together again, having your own understanding, and, and being able to put that understanding together and words and write it all down and be able to submit a memo to your boss that doesn’t get pushed back because you’ve just grammatically, you know, it just grammatic all over the place. You know, being able to have, you know, good critical thinking skills, good communication skills. Those are also again, things that are fundamental parts of the Academy of Higher Higher Learning institutions. So its foundation. It’s the critical you know, thinking element And then I think the last part is networking. You will meet hundreds of people as a result of going through the institutional process, whether they are fellow students, whether they are instructors, whether they are, you know, alumni, that you meet through business connections, and you maybe you go intern at their, at their companies, you will be networking throughout your entire process. And I think that is important as well because you know, where I am today is a result of many different things. But where I am today is also the result of my networking. And if I just went at it alone, I just said, I’m the smartest person in the room, and I can do all those things. And I don’t need anybody, you find yourself surrounded by nobody. But if you go through the process of education with an open mind that these years that you’re going to spend, there are going to be the most impactful years of your life. But you’re also going to spend a lot of that time around other people, even as an adult when I went back to get my education. So as I said, I was in the military for many years, I was on active duty when I was on active duty, that’s when I went to go get my education. So I went at night, I took night classes, I had the night schedules I had, you know, 16 18 hour days where I was getting very little sleep, I didn’t really spend a lot of time with friends on the weekends, because I was always doing homework. But I valued that time in the classroom, around other people that were like myself that was coming, you know, from that adult learner perspective, I valued the time I was able to have with instructors because those instructors knew that the people in this room wanted to learn and they needed to learn. So I think that the networking part, that piece of it is this extremely valuable element. And I think that is a very hard thing to replace. In other forms of learning that exist, I think you need to have that network just as much as critical thinking and just as much as the foundational knowledge.

 

Joe Casanova  

 Amazing,

 

Ophir Gadot  

Thank you. It’s a great answer.

 

Joe Casanova  

Thank you. And I have to say for those that are watching the recording, of course, we do these sessions every Friday linked in the description, and we will find all the ways to connect with Jon Hinderliter- I said that correctly, Right? 

 

Jon Hinderliter  

You got it right. 

 

Joe Casanova  

And of course, we’re gonna pass the ball to you, Jon, for your closing remarks. And anyone that’s tuned in this far, we appreciate you watching. Appreciate, you know, taking in and investing yourself and taking in all these insights. So without further ado, Jon.

 

Jon Hinderliter  

You’re pointing this way. But on my screen, I’m over this in this way. Yeah. And there you go. But first, I wanted to say thank you so much for inviting me to this and inviting me to take part in your community. I think this is something very special that you’ve created here. And a community that I think is representative of your members from a lot of different walks of life, a lot of different parts of the globe, you know, and so thank you for inviting me to this introducing me to this, I think there’s a lot of value here that people can get out of it. Of course, as an author, you know, the biggest thing that I also want to do is be able to provide value back and so I hope that this experience has been valuable for everyone, I think there’s been a lot of, you know, good head, shakings and noddings and agreements. So I feel like this experience has been valuable to everybody else in this room. And I hope to be able to continue that value. So one of the things that I want to offer to your community, if you go to, you know, essentially deathofcontent.com/furlough. And I’ll provide you with that link to you already. But if you go to that website,

 

Joe Casanova  

Link’s in the description, 

 

Jon Hinderliter  

The links in the description, Okay, awesome, wonderful. on that website, you’re going to get a 25% discount on my book. Okay. So if you go to Amazon, you’d have you’d pay the full freight, if you buy directly from me, I’m going to give you a 25% discount, I’m going to sign it, and I’m going to send it to you. I’m going to thank you, you know from bottom of my heart for helping support this journey. And hopefully, you’ll be able to find, again, something valuable, not just in this conversation and the recording of it, but also something valuable from the book as well. So that is my special offer to every member of this community. And I hope to be able to share more things with you guys in the future. So thank you again. 

 

Joe Casanova  

Okay, 

 

Ophir Gadot  

Absolutely Awesome, thank you so much for your time.

 

Jon Hinderliter  

Yeah.

 

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