Episode 275: Technology in this Economy

Show Summary

Rob Cairns sits down with Ryan Waterbury in their monthly segment talking about how this Economy has impacted Technology.

Show Highlights:

  1. The economy is impacted technology.
  2. How the economy has impacted jobs.
  3. Where technology is going during this economy.

Show Notes

Hey, everybody.

Rob, Cairns here today I’m here with Ryan Waterbury and we’re gonna record our monthly segment kind of talking about a little bit about the economy, where agencies are going and we’re just kind of going to hash it out for you.

How are you today, Ryan?

I’m not doing too bad.

You sound better than me.

You’re saying before the show.

It’s been a week.

To say believe.

Ah, it has been a week.

You know, yesterday in my newsletter, I talked about unplugging from social media, even though it’s difficult and fall is my.

Favorite time of year?

We, uh in the state just experienced our first freeze of the season, so I’m happy about that locally that our first frost will be tonight into tomorrow morning, so I get happier when it gets colder.

Yeah, I don’t mind that. I’m, I’m actually, I was saying that somebody to as you know, I’ve got a new Pixel 6A cell phone.

And the nice thing about the 680 is it has a wide screen camera on it, so I’m dying to go for a fall photo walk very soon too.

Test out the capabilities of the new camera.

A couple hours out with nobody around will be just absolutely wonderful, so I’m with you on that one, my friend.

So we thought we talked a little bit about the economy, where agencies are going, where clients are going.

It’s a bit of a rough time coming out at a pandemic for a lot of people.

What are your early thoughts on that one?

You know, 2020 really crushed my business and I was really deep into hospitality, including some small independent travel agents.

A lot of restaurants that it just didn’t do well and or are utterly out of business now.

So I, you know, shifted at nitches a few times and finally starting to just see.

General small business resurgence uh in 22 it it was pretty tepid in warming in 21, but 2022 started to see some.

More confidence from some small businesses, but on the other hand some of my long term clients that weren’t in the the affected markets are are seeing some.

You know, other side of the coin that they’re, they’re not doing well as economically.

So it’s been kind of hard to predict on you know how are markets going to go.

Yeah, I I would agree with you and I think you know you were mentioning not so much from the agency side, but from the business side.

And I think one of the things that’s hurting small businesses right now, honestly, is and big businesses is the lack of customer service.

I mean, I’ve walked into multiple stores recently and had issues.

I’ve walked into multiple restaurants recently and had issues, one which I talked about on my Canadian Rant podcast, and I’ve had one more since then.

And I really don’t think.

The work ethic.

The work ethic of today’s worker is the same as the effort that you and I grew up with.

I think that’s part of the problem.

To be honest with you, I that it’s part of the problem and they I think a lot of today’s workers look at.

Their wages not rising to meet inflationary costs and that kind of goes back to my pricing is increased because my costs have increased.

Not only business, but you know my my personal costs year over year they always get higher and.

I don’t it.

It’s tough to keep pace with inflation on a a normal year where it’s two to three.

Percent, when we’re looking at, you know, in the US where it’s, it’s almost 10%, it’s actually more like 20.

But, you know, I think the the workers see that their pay isn’t isn’t going up and then they hear record company profits.

Which isn’t true.

The the gross profits may be there, but the net certainly is not.

Everything costs more.

So there’s just a I think we’re in that stagflation point where a lot of people aren’t very happy not seeing any movement forward movement.

Uhm, and?

Starting to look at the technology sector, you know, you talked about lack of customer service.

When you start to see the the big boys and I’m going to talk about one that I’ve had good customer service and one that I’ve had bad shuffling and getting ready for basically a mass layoff.

It it starts to make me think being in the technology sector that we should start tightening our belts.

And I’m talking about Google and Facebook, and we all know that Facebook has absolutely 0 customer service, but they are planning on mass internal restructuring.

During layoffs, Google is also planning on doing the same.

And when you see the technology giants that have some large locked in contracts with, you know, other large companies tightening their belts, that that kind of tells me that.

We’re probably in for a little bit.

Of hurt here in the future.

And we’ve even seen it in like even closer to home in our in the technology sector with web hosting companies.

You know, it’s it’s funny. I talk about that a lot. And we’ve watched GoDaddy basically reinvent our image.

We’re watching new fold, reinventing their image, and then you’ve got a company like Siteground who two years ago, as far as I’m concerned, totally killed their image with customers.

Support and customer service.

And then they go and do something like add Eddie Easy digital downloads to their offering and they think that’s gonna fix it.

And I took a poll on LinkedIn in the LinkedIn group I comanage couple weeks ago and 45% of people don’t care about DDD offering. Doesn’t that tell you something?

So they’re not making the inroads they think, and we’re even seeing it in our own space and I think.

What we gotta watch is throughout the whole tech sector, there’s all kinds of mergers.

They always say the best time to acquire is during an economic downturn.

And Amazon?

Point and check.

They’ve built a real estate empire, buying land when the economy is bad.

That’s how they built their business.

Oh, absolutely.

Yeah, you know.

McDonald’s actually is one of the largest real estate holders in the world, mainly because they ran out the property to all their franchisees and they have done the same over the years.

Yeah, they they sure haven’t. I just wanna jump in and add to that. I just finished reading Ray Kroc’s autobiography. And for those who don’t know.

A lot of people attribute Ray as being the founder McDonald’s.

He was not.

The McDonald’s brothers were.

He was the one.

Revolutionized McDonald’s.

And originally he started McDonald’s too, or got into McDonald’s with the McDonald’s brothers to sell for his.

Uhm, shake machine?

And then realized very quickly McDonald’s was not a hamburger company.

It was a real estate company.

And Ray, that’s one of the reasons why McDonald’s is probably in the top five most successful franchises in the world, because Ray identified that so.

Yeah. Sorry, go jump in.

I, I know and you know, it’s a good segue to and from and back to what the hosting companies are doing.

They have realized that.

Uh, you’re not selling hosting.

And I think so.

My customers have finally realized that.

I’m not telling hosting, and there there’s a good reason I don’t call it hosting.

I call.

It web care, it’s because I’m offering a platform and and service.

The hosting companies have finally realized that to differentiate themselves, they need to start offering more than that inexpensive hosting.

They have to have good customer service when there’s a technical problem and specific to the platform that’s become popular word.

But you know, you talked about GoDaddy. They purchased the sky verge.

Plug in suite.

And and are really building their woo commerce platform and offering.

They also have their own payment processing gateway which is pretty easy to integrate into woo commerce and they’re they’re starting to build a platform that once you’re in.

It’s kind of hard to leave.

And you know, it’s not necessarily a lock in, but by buying these software companies, you know they’re offering you a very specific service and if it fits for your business, it’s good, but if you ever want to go somewhere else, it makes you kind of tough.

It is.

So you know, you talked about siteground picking up easy digital downloads.

I think that’s good for them.

We on the inside know that hey, it’s, it’s you know, just more platform building.

You know the all the hosts have been doing it WP engine when they had purchased ACF and the plugins from Delicious brands.

They’re trying to be more developer focused and and sent.

Everyone is trying to carve out their their niche in the WordPress hosting offering community.

Yeah, a new fold with Jeff and Joost as well.

Need to throw them them in the markups.

I recently had a demo of the come a new fold offering from Dave Ryan.

Shout out to Dave about new fold and.

It’s interesting.

And they’re trying to make it easier.

So what do these hosts are becoming?

I almost think they should re market themselves as web integration specialists if you get where I’m coming from, because that’s what we’re starting to see in that space.

And and even look at our friends over at liquid web, they own stellar and I themes and all of that.

So you know they’re all going that way and frankly at the end of the day.

They’re the ones with the deep pockets, but I won’t jump back in the tech for a minute.

I I saw an interesting offering before we went to record this morning.

And we’re even seeing the economy impacting non agency stuff. Just for reference, Google is about to offer a new Chromecast at 2499 U.S. dollars.

That’s 4K and better than the previous one. So doesn’t that tell you what the economy is doing?

Oh yeah, the uh, I I think.

Advertising and technology are are two of the early indicators on you know what what’s happening with the economy.

So from you know when I talked about the the worker shuffle at Google and Facebook part of that has to do with the.

Work from home ethic. And you know, some of the CEO’s out there that are demanding that their employees get back to the office and there’s that struggle.

So that’s not, I don’t think that that’s a sperm of an indicator, but when you start seeing pricing changes, drastic changes.

Uh, for some of new new components and uhm.

New markets or you know, smaller markets for a company that tells you that they’re they’re trying to shift and adapt and evolve.

And you’ve even got some, you know, you watch the text space, you’ve got Amazon jumping in and having a second prime day this year right before Black Friday, interestingly enough, or very soon.

So you got some of that going on too.

So we’re all trying to jump start.

The market, by the way, worth mentioning if you’re a small business or an age or a.

Small business client or medium business and you’re trying to do anything for the Christmas season.

Your plan should have been in place like yesterday.

We’re at that point where we’re almost at zero day if you’re trying to market for the holidays I think but.

Oh yeah, Black Friday givingtuesday.

The uh.

The non profit niche is one of the other markets that I’d served and really found myself shifting to.

Because they were able to survive the economic downturn in 2020 and and moving forward and some of the giving Tuesday and you know holiday end of year request we started working on those programs in.

August and you know, just like we would with any other commercial Black Friday.

Uh, marketing plans that.

Really when the back to school retail timeframe kind of is winding down, you’ve already been working on your your next major promotional series for at least a week or two and you know that’s usually in August into September soft.

But yeah, you’re absolutely right.

If you’re not starting to think about or have plans in place to have Black Friday promotions starting today and getting ready for your marketing program, you’re really behind the the 8 ball right now.

It takes time to put that that today.

There we’ve talked about the the the kill of the tracking pixel, which makes gathering data easy, so it takes a bit.

We’re starting to see a shift back to more traditional timeframes with marketing that there’s a longer lead time to really understand.

Who you’re going to market to, who’s interested in your product and taking the time to prepare, prepare for that particular demographic.

Yeah, I I would agree with you.

Uhm, as an agency owner?

What should you be doing to weather the storm I was kind of looking at?

My agency the other day, and I think I’m in a better position than most people.

I’ve got care plans on the Gulf, lots of them.

I’ve got partnerships with a couple other big agencies, which helps.

But besides that and finding some reoccurring revenue.

You know.

I think a lot of it comes down to treating people the way they wanna be treated instead of just kind of doing it and and putting some personal service on it.

What do you think?

You know I really looked at my agency, you know pre 2020 I had a couple of of near full time contractors and had a nice small agency and it’s but I’m back to a company of 1. But I’m also making strategic partnerships, have web care.

Uh, I used to do everything.

PPC marketing, SEO, e-mail marketing, graphic design, print buying, web design and development, uh, web care, hosting and consulting.

I really decided that.

You can’t give the full service and the the service that customers are coming to expect and actually need and want that differentiates you if you’re offering that wide band of services, so.

I’ve tightened down to web development, design and search engine optimization and e-mail marketing for a handful of clients because it just it works well with some of the tools that we’ve built right into their websites, but narrowing down the focus and not.

Going into a particular industry niche, but doing a horizontal niche of here are the services that that ioffer with my agency.

And I’m going to give them to you at 110% and do them extremely well because I don’t think that’s being done out in the world with a lot of interest industries today.

And just the you.

You talked about it earlier and the customer service just isn’t there but by offering.

Less services and focusing on a few and doing them extremely well, I’m I’m finding that I can.

Give better service on on those.

Yeah, two phrases I’d like to throw out there, just for reference, is people.

Basically choose, UM, who they’re going to work with.

So a lot of our agencies have the same offerings, but a lot of it comes down to.

What people, whether they like you or don’t like you, I I hate to say that.

And this phrase and I know people just podcast and people like you are gonna get tired of hearing it.

I keep saying marketing this like dating it takes time and.

You need to put the time and the effort in.

So those are two things that really believe in strongly in this business.

Oh, absolutely.

And yeah, building a relationship with with your clients.

I have clients that have been with me since I incorporated my agency in 2016 and we’re working on some new projects.

They they’ve continually been good clients and I’ve built a strong relationship with them and I think that’s important for.

Everyone moving forward that you’re absolutely right, people don’t.

Don’t do business with you because you have the best price.

They do business with you because they trust you and they they like working with you if you make it easy to work with you.

Uh, you’ve already won the battle.

I agree, 100% agreed on that one.

Uhm, I also think.

You know, I think we’ve got to be flexible to a point, but I think we also gotta stop chasing as agencies, bad work, even though we’re in a tough economic time.

So give an example of that and then I’m gonna we were talking about this off air I had.

One client prospective client recently who was chasing me and chasing me and couldn’t make up his mind about getting his website back online even though his previous web care person brought their server down.

We were all set to go and then he writes me an e-mail this morning saying I’m not doing this.

And I thought really, so the way I look at it is a I dodged a bullet because he would have been probably a pain in my backside that I didn’t want at the end of it and be, uhm, we got it and I wasn’t prepared to turn around and he sort of alluded an e-mail and said I was expensive.

Why did you agree to it in an e-mail?

And uhm.

Do you not understand that I don’t charge an hourly rate and I’ve had this discussion with many people I’ve got over 14 years running an agency?

When you come to me, you pay for expertise, so if I can find a way to do it faster.

That’s great for you ’cause you get it done faster, but you’re not getting it any cheaper because it got done faster.

So your thought on that whole issue in scenario.

I yeah, and.

It sometimes it comes down to people not valuing your time and.

I have had a couple of clients in the past and I-1 currently uh, who is a lawyer by trade and they bill for everything. I mean you you pick up the.

Phone on their billing.

Uh, you would think that clients like that understand that?

Your time is worth something, and there’s a certain cost to do business.

I’m, I’m I’m all for value added services and helping a client out, but in the other sense.

Everything is getting more expensive.

You can’t afford to leave things on the table.

So when we start looking at as agency owners.

Uhm, you know, even though the economy is kind of looking into a downturn.

It’s still OK to say no, and it’s probably the right thing to do.

But it because there there’s work you know right around the corner I’m I’m, I’m I’m seeing the the bounce back from a lot of a lot of new clients that are ready to do stuff and they’ve been waiting for a right for a right time and some of them are realizing that there.

There’s no time other than now that’s the right time to fix some problems that have been on the table for a while.

And being able to say no to clients that don’t want to work on those problems.

It’s a skill that you acquire after you know, years in business and sometimes it hurts, especially when you’re new and you don’t have a lot of that recurring revenue, but.

It’s, you know, something that needs to be done.

Working with the wrong client certainly can cost you money versus making you.

Yeah, and it could cause your time and headaches and stress that you actually don’t need at the end of it.

So I think you know having the right mix and as I would say to people, discovery calls are not just for the client or for you, the agency owner as well because you can decide real quickly is this the right fit for me.

Is this gonna be OK?

Is this gonna fit into My Portfolio?

And so on and so on.

I in my lead flow and I I had in 22 it’s actually been closer to normal as far as new leads and requests coming in which it I think is a positive sign even though you know the economy is not doing very well. I’m I’m seeing new people.

And new clients requesting meetings and, you know, asking for business.

I have a a spot where I call it lead qualification and you know that.

It’s a 15 to 30 minute call will.

Give me an idea if that person is someone I want to work with and if we’re a good fit.

Not everyone is, and sometimes their expectations are not what you’re offering.

And if your service offering doesn’t match what they need or their personality does not work with your.

Personality and work ethic and expectation.

It’s it’s going to cause you more stress, anguish and anger, uh, before eventually parting ways, and usually not in a a good term.

So I take that that time to really try and get to know the client as much as I can in that short time frame and decide if we want to go to the next step, which is a discovery session and that’s paid.

Uhm, and that pain discovery session is always credited to a build if we move forward, but it clearly outlines very specifically what we’re going to do.

So usually have a sitemap built out and a structure so if they want to leave and have someone else do it, great.

But I’ve gotten paid for putting that work together and building the project plan, and nobody is out that they have an understanding of what they need.

I do as well.

And I have only had one person.

In the last.

79 years that has taken a, you know, a discovery plan. And I unfortunately it was during the time when I hadn’t learned my lesson.

It wasn’t paid, but they took a plan and left and decided to try and build it themselves and they ended up not doing very well.

Came back later and wanted help.

But yeah, yeah, really identifying people.

That you want to work with and can truly help make things easy for everyone.

No, no, I would agree with you.

Nikki is wanting to help within specific boundaries.

I mean everybody gotta agree to the boundaries at hand and I think that’s a a really big issue.

Uhm, So what would be your number one thing that you?

Need uh for if you’re suggesting to an agency to do to kind of weather the storm right now.

I I would invest in content marketing.

Honestly one of the things and I know in in our small mastermind group, we’ve you know talked about podcasting and you know I’m very fortunate that you’ve invited me to.

To participate in our monthly discussion.

But finding a communication medium that you can be consistent with, whether it’s blogging, podcast or an e-mail newsletter and something that is directly tide in and brings people back to you.

You know your website to get them to talk to you.

It really helps and I can tell you that every I do a biweekly newsletter every other week.

And every time I send out that newsletter, either a prospective client who’s book some time or a current client has reached out to me with something that I’ve said the newsletter and asked for help.

And I think it’s important.

With being consistent and staying in front of your current customer base, Olli, we’ve all heard that it’s cheaper and less expensive to keep a good client than it is to go and find a new one, and that’s absolutely true.

Uh, so.

Stay in communication with your current clients and your prospective clients at the same time through one of those methods.

You know the only investment is time in in those methods.

While aside from podcasting, you might need to pay for podcast hosting somewhere, but that’s a relatively small investment.

Compared to building a giant KV campaign, that will cost you a lot of money and might not get you the same results.

So that’s just my two cents, is invest investor time and content marketing and start to build your website, your e-mail list, your.

Listener volume for your podcast and you know, invest in knowledge and and things that that you can share with your clients.

That’s really good, thought Ryan.

Uh, thanks for joining me today.

And if somebody wants to get a hold, yeah.

How’s the best way?

On every major social media network, although I’m not there that much this season at onedogsolutions, you can visit my website, https://onedog.solutions/, or e-mail me.

That’s probably the best way Ryan@onedog.solutions

And make sure you ask him about his two office managers that don’t seem to be pulling their weight lately.

I don’t know why every time we do this.

Certainly, they certainly are not.

I would.

Have a great day.

Thanks for joining me.

You too. Bye.


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