In the digital world, growth needs technology. Tyler guest starred on the Inbound Back Office podcast to discuss just this. Listen to the episode to hear his suggestions on how to implement the right technology in your business to reach your growth goals.
Holly Reid: Welcome to the Inbound Back Office podcast where we chat with smart agency owners about agency challenges. I'm Holly Reid, strategist at Inbound Back Office, plug-and-play back office support for your marketing agency. Today on the show I get to welcome Tyler Pigott from Lone Fir Creative, who's going to talk to us about putting the right technology in place to support brand growth.
Tyler Pigott: Hey, thanks for having me, Holly.
Holly Reid: Yes. I'm so excited you're here. And I think I said your last name, right?
Tyler Pigott: Yeah it sounds great. I love it.
Holly Reid: Nailed it. Why don't you tell us a little bit about you and what you do?
Tyler Pigott: You bet. So I get the opportunity to lead the team at Lone Fir Creative as the CEO, but obviously wear lots of different hats. We have about 25 employees, give or take, and then a host of contractors and freelancers and such, all that good stuff.
Primarily we help brands in two different phases, if you will. Phase one would be that brand strategy, brand positioning, words they use to describe things, how they show up, if you will, to their audience that they're trying to sell to. And then the second half of the company, or the other side of the company, is really amplifying that message to those right customers for the brands that we're working with.
So, tons of different tactics, activities, pro campaigns, all that stuff, which is all boring and probably most people listening to the podcast would know generally some of the things we work on. So I won't jump into that, but yeah, we work with lots of different companies in that EdTech space, health tech space, technology, healthcare.
So, super fun. Have an incredible team. Been remote since the very beginning. My first employee, eight years ago was in a different state. And so it's been fun to see the remote land grow a lot in the last couple of years.
Holly Reid: Yeah, it is because I've been remote for gosh, like 12 years almost. And I was like, so this is all normal for me. Sure.
Tyler Pigott: Totally. Yeah. I remember when everything shut down or whatever, I hate saying the word COVID, but a couple of years ago, and I remember getting a text from somebody like, "Hey, have you heard of Zoom? We could connect on that."
And you're like, "Oh my word, I've been a paying customer of Zoom for a couple of years." But anyway, it's been fun to watch it grow leaps and bounds, but that's not what we're talking about today.
Holly Reid: Totally. Okay. So let's dive right into the topic. When we talk about technology and supporting brand growth, I've had some people come on and talk about it in different ways.
What is your take on it? As far as. How do what the right technology is? How do you position it to support brand growth? What are your thoughts?
Tyler Pigott: Yeah, it's a great question. And I'll give a little bit of an overview if you will, and we can dive into some specifics on it.
But technology is a wide — it's like a 30,000-foot-view type of a word. There's so many different things that could fall underneath it. I would say a lot of it is tied to using technology that helps the user experience like that customer experience. And so one of the things that we spend a lot of time with with customers is their customer journey.
So that customer journey being how they find you, how they get to the spot where they purchase something from you, and then how they have success after they purchase from you, and really mapping all those different things out. And so, like I said, there's lots of different types of technology that can cover that.
But I think if all of us think through different experiences that we have buying buying products online or buying from retailers or whatnot, big box, brick and mortar things or whatnot. We all have this weird list in our brains of: "Oh, these ones are really great to buy from. I like that. And these ones are a pain in the butt thing."
Right. And it's super funny because we all have those lists and we all have them. Probably based on experiences and so that's usually what examples I will bring up is specifics of even dropping words like Amazon versus Walmart and going, man, if you've bought products on either one of those, there's one that's really easy and one that's a little bit clunky.
And not saying that one's better or worse, it's just that you generally can see the ones that are growing faster. And those are obviously huge, huge brands. And we're not working with either of those brands currently, but even at the beginning — tying it back to COVID — at the beginning of COVID, when people would launch their stuff on eCommerce or eCommerce stores on Shopify, and it was like you could tell the stores that were on Shopify because sometimes it was super seamless because you bought something from one place and your information was stored to go to another place or whatever.
And, so anyway, so that's usually — there's tons of technology behind it, but usually that technology has to support however the customer journey is being architected or recovered or revamped or whatever word you want to use. But that's our approach to it a little bit more.
So as taking it from the customer first, you're putting yourself in the customer's shoes and then making sure there's like a backbone behind that, that supports it. So I don't know if that makes sense or if there's other questions, but I tried to give an overview.
Holly Reid: Yeah, no, that's a great overview.
And I do think that we all have those lists of, "oh, I tried this" and sometimes it's we either didn't have the right education, experience with that particular product that it was like so overwhelming, right, where it's like other people like swear by it, right? They're like this totally turned my business around and made everything seamless and and it just depends on I think how you get onboarded to a lot of the technology on whether it's gonna hinder you or serve you.
Tyler Pigott: Totally.
And then I think also it's important to think through. I've had this happen a couple of times, even in the last couple of months where you'll buy a product from something, whether it's a big product or small product, and you, if you are really realistic, you might say at the end of that, if it wasn't a great experience that, "Oh, maybe I'm just not the right audience that they're trying to sell to. Maybe I pay for everything on a credit card and they only have debit cards," or something like that and it's clunky at the end.
Yeah. But I'm just not the right customer for them based on that. I know that's a really funny example, but so I totally agree. I think it is like the, there's sometimes a learning curve based on certain brands and how people buy things. But you obviously want to have that perfect customer for your brand.
And then you just want to repeat, repeat, repeat, and find more of those types of people. And that's obviously super important and helps brands grow. And it's, like that uniqueness to how you purchase or how your experience with that brand is what makes people those raving fans.
Like you mentioned where some people just like, think it's the best thing ever. And then your first experience isn't the best. So, yeah, totally.
Holly Reid: Yeah, I think that's really important to consider. It's just like how, even the technology you choose, how are your clients experiencing it?
Tyler Pigott: Yeah, for sure.
I mean, we have specific tech platforms that we are a part of. So we're a HubSpot Diamond partner and help a ton of people across different Hubs on the HubSpot platform and all that stuff. But that's not obviously for everybody and there's tons of different tools out there. And so obviously I'm going to wear the t shirt that says, HubSpot and all that stuff, just short of getting a tattoo.
But at the same standpoint, it's not perfect for everybody. It's not perfect for every team and that thing. That's why there's lots of options and lots of people are successful with it.
And we do try really hard when we're working with brands to make sure we're pretty open. And so every client that we work with, we start with some sort of a strategic engagement. And so lots of times, and I mentioned this customer journey project, and there's, they'll shoot over a link to you.
So there'd be a link in the show notes of a blog post walking through that, and then we have a template, a journey map that people can download to get started with it. But, it is one of those kinds of processes we work with clients to really uncover their whole customer experience first and their customer journey first.
And then oftentimes if that can provide tons of different work, it can also be like that chest bump high five moment and just say, "Hey, you guys work with this and run with it. We just helped you with the strategic part." And that sometimes happens because they have like a proprietary tech in house or something that they're trying to integrate.
And maybe we're not the right fit for that or they need to go somewhere else. So to me, it's not all about like the perfect technology and everything that we recommend is that perfect technology. It's a lot more about every brand is a little bit different and some have different preferences and obviously, I have my opinions on that and probably you have your opinions on that.
But at the same standpoint, it is what's going to be best for that brand, as well as that audience, depending on obviously what they sell or how they interact.
Holly Reid: Well, I think it's important to what you're highlighting here is doing the work beforehand, like before even choosing or switching technologies just to have that journey mapped out.
Tyler Pigott: Yeah, yeah, for sure. I think one of the things that we've found just over the years, really, because we haven't always functioned this way. But oftentimes if you're brought in as an agency or a freelancer or contractor or whatever, and you're brought in to work on something, that company hands you a piece of the pie, if you will.
And then you just make it a little bit better and hand it back. And it's, that's not all working together, necessarily. And so that's one of the reasons I would say in recent years, RevOps has really taken off and that buzzword has really taken off and the activities around that have taken off.
And because a lot of that's just like looking at it more holistically. Yeah. And that's usually when we are able to have success with the clients that we work with. We're uncoupling all their technology and systems and processes and making them all work together so that then they're not losing leads and they're fixing their pipeline and they're retaining customers.
And , a lot of those in some ways basic, blocking and tackling things, but oftentimes those get the most results for customers or for our clients. So again, back to, hey, it's not all about the specific technology. Obviously I have my opinions and I've made that pretty clear, but at the same standpoint, it is going to be what's the best fix for those gaps that you uncover and looking at it from a holistic experience.
Holly Reid: I find that so fun and complicated. I remember doing that with some startups, like just helping them figure out their process. And it was a tiny tech startup. Right. And there's all these different pieces to it though, that one person may be manned, right. But there was no process and it almost felt like — or the process was intuitive, right?
But if you were to hire somebody, no one would know what exactly to do without spending weeks shadowing someone. And so getting all that into technology, listed out, it felt like overkill at some points, but then you can whittle it down a little bit, but then getting onto the marketing side and the customer journey and figuring all that out.
It's pretty fun if you're a strategic mind and an operations mind, but man, I remember some days it felt like I was breaking my brain.
Tyler Pigott: Totally. No, it's interesting. Cause I mean, that actually is where we've tended to have the most success is with companies that are growing and scaling because they are moving from that maybe one person marketing crew to maybe they're adding team members or whatever.
And so we're able to help them come in and build some of those systems and processes so that they can scale and it is super fun. I mean, you're totally right. It has to be how your brain's wired. Yes. That ability to back out to 10,000 and then like deep dive into stuff.
And I've always put it as being able to put legs to people's vision. That's how I've always phrased it. Cause that's a unique skill set and it's not better than somebody else's, but it's just unique to something that I carry. And, lots of people on our team carry that too, which has been incredible to watch.
But you're totally right. It is really fun. I think it is what gets the most, I hate using the phrase, like move the needle, but it is oftentimes what does, because you get everybody, every tactic, activity, campaigns, people are launching seasonal campaigns, whatever. You're getting it all aligned and going in the same direction.
Which versus sometimes you help some brands and you realize that this department or this person or whatever, or this technology is fighting against something else and causing a ton of friction, which is then you're going, "Man, if we got rid of that, what what does that make possible or what?"
People don't or customers or their clients don't fall through the mix then or fall through the cracks then. So yeah, no, I obviously am a nerd when it comes to this stuff.
Holly Reid: And I mean, it's so true because the thing about it is you can find the most ROI sometimes just cleaning up inefficiencies.
And it is, I mean, it does sound cliche sometimes to be like, this is what moves the needle, but it actually does. This is the one of the biggest ways you can't without having to spend a ton of money on advertising or all this other stuff. If you can just plug up the holes where people are falling through in your sales cycle or your marketing cycle.
I mean that right there, it costs so much money just to get a client. Or a lead that it's like, why not spend the time making sure that process is as smooth as it can be. So you don't let potential sales just fall on the floor. Yeah.
Tyler Pigott: Yeah. We've found that for sure in the last couple of years.
Where oftentimes as an agency owner or creative or whatever people would identify as, I guess, if you will, that listened to the podcast. But oftentimes people and brands highlight the new campaign, the new initiative, the new thing we're launching new channels we're getting into, and that stuff's really fun.
Yeah. But I think everybody that has experience realizes actually how long that stuff takes to get to take ground or actually show ROI or results. Yeah. Which is great, there's nothing wrong with that, but it's rare to find brands that will actually let you take that amount of time helping them.
And so oftentimes as an agency, you can come in and make a couple changes and make that sound really easy. Obviously that's challenging, but at the same standpoint, you do get to see the needle move or that ROI multiply because of the fact that you're fixing things that were already functioning, you're just making them more efficient or making them work better.
So, I mean, that'd be a takeaway for sure. People that are listening, if you're trying to figure out what services to either keep or cut or launch, oftentimes it's, Hey some people are. We're on a podcast right now. I talked to another agency that's just specializes in helping companies with podcasts, but they won't touch other brands that haven't started a podcast.
So they're not launching podcasts for people, but they're coming in and really helping them optimize their podcasts if they're a couple maybe 20, 30, 40 episodes into it. And so you're like, Oh, that makes sense. Cause they've already really figured out like the beginning phase of falling on your face or figuring out what to do and they're just coming in and lending their expertise to it.
And so I think that that's something that is a takeaway for people that are running their own shops to really look at and what their services really compliment versus are they startup type things? Just because it takes a long time for have brands have patience for you to help them get results sometimes.
Holly Reid: Well, and it's a really good activity for people to do. Honestly, when there's downtime, like November, December, people should have been doing that, right? That's the time to optimize your data, clean up your data and do all that. I mean, there's whole MBAs just around data science just keeping all those databases clean.
And how do you do that? And all this science and strategy behind it because it is so crucial to the business world. And I think if people are like, well, I do want to launch this new thing or get rid of this service, it's like, hey, go ahead and do that. But while that's taking time to ramp up, go back and do this.
Because again, even if you do launch something new or you change something or whatever. If that pipeline still has holes in it, it's not going to be as successful as if you took the time to clean it up first, and then launch something.
Tyler Pigott: Yeah. Yeah. No, I think that you're totally right. I mean, it's a practical example for us.
A couple years ago, we started — much of our content work for clients is revamping existing content. And obviously we're launching new things and there's new initiatives and that, but it heavily leans towards revamping things or reworking things or optimizing things that are already in play.
And it's because of that, the fact that we can actually get results much faster and oftentimes with greater impact. Then waiting, waiting for the wheels to start turning, if you will, with other things. So, that'd be another thing to chat through or talk about is just like how people are packaging their services for brands.
Because I know lots of people listen to this are agency owners or people working on teams and really looking at the problems that you're solving and bundling all those services that you offer together. Yeah. I do a lot of agency coaching. And one of the things that we jump into pretty quickly are your list of services and it is like that á la carte menu really doesn't work very well because then you're just assuming that brand that's coming to what they need.
Right. And that's a rarity. Yeah. They know what article they read, what Facebook posts they saw or whatever. And they're like, Oh, that looks cool. But rarely are they able to look at their marketing activity, sales activity, awareness activity, and go, "Oh, we need to revamp this, look at this, optimize this, change these things."
Cause they're just not able to see it. They're too close. And that's, there's nothing wrong with that. That's very normal. We hire consultants to come in and help us because we're too close to the things that we touch sometimes within our own organization. So, super normal, but that would be another thing to think through as people are figuring out how are they offering what they're doing?
It even goes back to customer journeys, RevOps, cobbled together technology much of that. And just what are those specific problems that you're solving and then packaging them to the industries and such that people work in or want to approach. That's been a huge success for us.
It's just we don't really very often talk about, "Oh, we only do this tactic for a client." We're, bundling them all together and then it's just, we're solving this problem for a client and that can have 25 different things that are associated with it. But that's been really helpful in helping create this customer journey process.
And there's having the right technology in place to help brands grow and those types of things, it's not a single service. It's a bunch of different things stacked on top of each other. Which I wish that I could say I started out that way and it was really easy, but I've definitely just fallen forward a lot in the last five years to figure that out.
But yeah, would want to make sure people walk away with that tangible thing if they're not doing that.
Holly Reid: Yeah, that's a really good point. And I think even when I started in marketing after college like ... I don't even know. How old am I? I don't even know. Like, 14, 15 years ago, it was very much tactical, and I started in HubSpot.
I learned really early. I mean, it was right when HubSpot really was starting themselves. And we had an e-marketing class in college, but it was like, here's a blog because they didn't have anything and I remember the stuff they would talk about like, here's what they're saying will come down the line when you can have a wallet on your phone and we're like, no way. I was like, man, we've come a long way in a very short amount of time.
But the point is, I remember everything was very tactical. And I started out just being a social media marketer, and it was very Facebook driven. Because Instagram was still pretty new. Facebook just went from being a college thing to be public. And it was very tactical.
And I think even as I've grown as a marketer, in business and stuff, I've realized you can't start with tactics. Tactics has to be the end of the line. You really have to go for what is the purpose of this? Like what problem are we solving? And if you start there, the tactic, the right tactics will actually be employed versus just throwing noodles on the wall and seeing what sticks.
Tyler Pigott: Yeah, totally. No, I mean, I think it's like I said earlier, I do some agency coaching. And the first question I ask is, what are you trying to build? What's the point because it can be the difference between hiring a team and bringing on investors or whatever, all the way to now just get a pool of freelancers and there's a very different thing that you would do.
And it's the same thing for brands. What are you trying to accomplish and everyone's going to say increased revenue and you go, cool. Why is that? You can talk about that now. So into that, it's like starting with vision the bigger the brand is, the more established their vision is, the more established their channels and all that stuff are.
But often sometimes you're working with that say 5-to-25-million-a-year businesses, they're just trying to figure it out. Still, they haven't really landed where they feel like it's "Oh, this is perfect." And they're just running with it.
And so, yeah, totally again, backing out and going cool. I know that you have all these tactical ideas, but let's back out and see how those all play together.
Yeah. And most of the time you're cutting half of the tactical things that usually they're doing. Maybe not half, but depending on obviously who you're working with, but yeah, I totally agree. I think starting with like that holistic 30,000-foot view of what you're trying to accomplish, what you're trying to do generally reads better results. Especially if you're working with marketing agencies and bringing on talented people and people with expertise to come help. So totally agree.
Holly Reid: And I think it helps dictate what technology you use and because if you start with the vision and you get down to tactics, you're like, okay, if these are our strategies and tactics what technology do we need to employ this?
And then you, I think can save money because you're not buying all these different technologies and trying to piece them together because what direction you're going and what you want to do with your customer journey at that point. And so you save both time and money because you started with the purpose and ended with the tactics.
Tyler Pigott: Yeah. No, totally, I think that there's a lot to be said about condensing technology because oftentimes we'll get in with brands and they're they're using however many, somewhere between 10 and 15 different marketing tools or sales tools and service tools and whatnot, and sometimes even more than that.
And one of the things that that's challenging with it is that oftentimes a department is really in charge of or operates that tool, right? And so you don't, then you're not really talking across departments because you all have your own silos. And so that's part of it is even just having a consistent backbone of technology.
Which is one of the reasons that we picked HubSpot a number of years ago was to focus on that "hey, we just need to get everybody talking." Right? In some ways we — no one knows exactly how this is gonna all work and all the jibs and jives and zigzags it's gonna take to get to the success. But man, if you're talking, at least it's more likely you're gonna go way further way faster.
And so that's part of that whole technology piece. And oftentimes it's the consistency and quality of data and all those types of things and even duplication of data, because the more tools you have that don't have a singular database, the more databases you manage and more, so we could go on that forever.
But, a lot of that's just again, back to what are you trying to build? What's the goal? How is it a size or volume thing that you're trying to get to? Is it more fine, finite or granular? Then those are going to be different technology applications. And I'm not even talking about like technology for different channels of marketing or anything.
It's a lot of what's the backbone of how you're functioning as you're marketing and sales team. So anyway, there's a million ways and a million million ways to talk about it or slice it if you will. But, I think it's an interesting and relevant topic today. Comparatively to say 5-10 years ago, because most companies now have technology, right?
And 5-10 years ago, lots of them I remember doing CRM implementations for. Six, seven years ago, and it was like, oh, you use Outlook and you're all using an Excel spreadsheet. This is going to change your life. But now that's a rarity. Now obviously people have data stored in those places, but they have other tech, whether it's a Salesforce or it's another CRM or HubSpot or whatever.
And so now it's different. So now you have to go, what's the right technology for what you're trying to accomplish versus just getting something in place, which is different. So, and like you said earlier, it's moving like at the speed of light. So keeping up with it and everything that's changing is complex for sure.
Holly Reid: Yeah, you feel like you have to get re-educated every six months. Totally. Is there anything else that you want to hit on before we end today?
Tyler Pigott: I'll just do like a quick wrap up. I mean I would say for most people listening, pick a technology that you're good at or you want to get good at. It's almost impossible to know all of them.
You can know the principles across numerous different platforms, but pick something you want to get good at because that usually helps find a client, find a skill set, what problem you solve, that whole thing. And so there are lots of agencies out there that just whatever a client works on is what they're good at.
And that's — I would say we're rapidly, if we're not already there, we're definitely getting there soon where that's really just not going to be an option because technology is getting so much more complex. So I just say people should find one that you're excited about, dig into one. You already use whatever and get good at that.
And then recapping some of the packaging your services together and making sure you've got some sort of strategic offering and how you're starting working with clients versus just jumping into some sort of tactical engagement. Some tactical engagements can be great, but it's a very low percentage. As far as not a race to the bottom on price or something like that.
So anyway, yeah, that's a recap of it. I'm trying to think of if there's anything else, but I think we talked around it and through it.
Holly Reid: Yeah, well, and if you ever want to come back on and talk specifically about how to package things, that would be a great topic to have you come back and speak on because I think a lot of people do struggle with that.
How do I package, what do I include? What do I not, all those things. So that would be great.
Tyler Pigott: Cool. Yeah. I look forward to it.
Holly Reid: Well, thanks so much for coming on the show, Tyler. I mean, this has been really awesome. It's been fun chatting with you. You're very, very knowledgeable in all things technology and strategy, I can tell.
So it was just really fun conversation. Why don't you tell our listeners real quick where they can find you online?
Tyler Pigott: Sure. Check out our website lonefircreative.com. And like I said, I'll include a couple of things in the show notes. I'll send those over to you, Holly.
And then the other place I'm pretty active is on LinkedIn. So first name is T Y L E R, last name is P as in Paul, I G O T T. Check me out there and feel free to reach out if people have questions, disagree with what I said, want to talk about something else, always feel free to reach out. I look forward to it.
Holly Reid: Perfect. Thank you so much. And thank you everyone for listening to the Inbound Back Office podcast brought to you by Inbound Back Office.