Marketing Industries with Customers from around the World with Aqaba Technologies Ramsey Sweis

Marketing Industries with Customers from around the World with Aqaba Technologies Ramsey Sweis

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This is Joshua Hoffman and welcome to another  episode of The Masters in Marketing Agency   podcast where we deconstruct the why and how  agency owners found their success and discuss   a few things they learned along the way today I  have Ramsay Swice the founder and president of   Aqaba a tech driven agency that brings consumers  and brands together through high impact tactical   digital marketing strategies and personalized  online experience welcome Ramsey hi Josh so   naturally I have to ask and open up with do you  have any story or anything around the name how   you got to it anything like that yes interesting  you ask back in the the.com bust or boom in 2000   I left the bay area and decided to go away on a  scuba diving trip in the port of Acaba Jordan and   trying to figure out what the rest of my career is  going to look like so what I did I went ahead and   was just a deep thought a transcendental thought  and I looked over to my left and there was a sign   that says welcome to Akba and then that was it  so I came up with Akaba Technologies at the time   it just hit me right then and there and problem  solved then when I returned home I was anxious   to start working on building out my agency from  my living room and here we are today as a result   I'm showing my cards a little bit here but  did you have any story about how you guys   picked the branding and everything yes so in our  office once we outgrew my home we went through a   branding challenge and what we did is we didn't  like the logo but it was just something to start   so we had 72 renditions of that logo at the time  and we have a long narrow hallway from our front   entrance to the back of the office where the sales  and the operations were and down that hallway we   had taped eight and a half by eleven sheets of  paper all along the sides of the walls the sides   of the cubicle partitions and each day our team  as they entered they walked from the front to   the back you would pass by these 72 renditions  which I still have each and every single one   of them by the way from 2004 and we would just  check off which one really stuck out the most   and then over time it just narrowed down to two  and they were close but similar in design but   close and count in terms of check marks and we  chose the logo that we have today I love that   did you have you done that with any other practice  whether it's in the company whether it's with your   kids have you applied that anywhere else it just  hit me because I knew I was onto something we were   originally a search engine marketing company  doing PPC and Google had just incorporated not   very long before then and things were simple  flat design and I wanted it to be similar   but the thought of simple I was challenged  with simple I wanted everything to be elegant   and overly eye-catching and meaningful so I've  learned to trim it back and keep things simple   I follow a similar process but we don't need 72  renditions we've narrowed it down that was just   me and being overkill as what I'm known for  doing that makes me think of the Starbucks   logo I think it's the first Starbucks logo  is this incredibly complicated thing yeah   and then over time it just gets absurdly  simple so I don't know if that's a tie   but okay cool so let's take a step back then  and can you just tell me more about the firm   yes so Aqua Technologies of today solves  problems unique to the internet marketing and   web design user experience world so our philosophy  is to provide meaningful user experiences on the   various different viewports and devices and doing  so there needs to be relevance so the audience   needs to be clearly defined the goals and outcomes  need to be clearly defined which call for a slew   of scientific worksheets that we've perfected  over time and constantly evolving and that's what   I really take great pride in this is the agency  who we are as of today and having this collective   thought process from our team invested in  these worksheets have really simplified and   narrowed the focus on the goals and outcomes as a  result so wait did you have a process before these   worksheets that were they from the beginning  like how did you come up with these worksheets   the worksheets it evolved into a formal  worksheet it used to be just a questionnaire   and then the more intuitive and sophisticated  the internet and the internet audience has become   and the saturation of social and paid and  organic platforms that we all are aware of   today including emails we get bombarded with data  it's just overload on a daily basis it needs to   be meaningful there has to be a purpose-driven  brand in terms of online where non-traditional   agency we have no experience of traditional media  it's it's all digital and it's all driven by data   so that's where we really invest and focus our  efforts in and how did you guys end up getting   your first customer or set of customers yeah it  was actually we were working on a referral basis   the prior company that I left when I  decided to part ways and go off on my own   a lot of those folks followed me wherever I went  and ended up becoming loyal clients which many of   them we still have to date so obviously that's  a great way to start a firm not just with one   client and a lot of times we're hearing stories  of usually it may be someone in their old job or   it's a friend that just needed help and then that  sparked their idea but it's very nice to just move   in that direction with your first customers but  more importantly how are you getting new business   well back then it was the Wild Wild West  it was simple competition was very thin   and for our agency and for me personally to  make sure that everyone is busy and earning   a living and happy we said yes to everything  and then figured out some of it along the way   and the the more experience we had  over time the more sophisticated   our customer base became and we pulled away  from saying yes to everything and became   more select and precise and even to this day  we turn away work for several reasons one if we   can be of benefit and help them great if we get  along and we are a good payer we'd love to work   with them and if we feel that we can't deliver  meaningful results we just turn them away we're   fortunate enough to be in this position because  we're very busy we have a very deep roster of of   clients loyal clients and friends and we cherish  that so why try to fix something that's not broke   was there a moment that you thought you  could make that change essentially going   from always saying yes to being a little  bit more selective efficiency profitability   the randomness of some clients once a year  update my website they didn't have the budget   for advertising they didn't get the internet so  it became more and more of a challenge and more   time spent trying to not convince but persuade  them to take the risk and trust so after a while   you knock on so many doors you decide sooner than  later hopefully you decide to find a path to least   resistance and align yourself with the right  people and clients and friends and he mentioned   I don't know if he was jokingly or literal  but you mentioned outgrowing your home when   the agency first started so when was that moment  also and who were your first hires was there a   mistake in hiring can you speak a little bit more  towards that my first hire was my biggest mistake   yeah it was the the worst decision  I had made every other bad decision   I made was far less that's the last impact  on our business but yeah I learned quickly   I learned how to delegate and hold people  accountable and teach them to hold themselves   accountable and that there's a bar and that you're  failing the clients and you're failing your team   if you don't deliver if you're not on point and  not attentive to the client needs higher education   too the constant need to feed yourself with  knowledge and increase your knowledge base because   the more knowledgeable that you become the more  knowledgeable your team becomes from a knowledge   based sharing standpoint and then your clients  are the benefactors and you have a job as a result   well speaking of higher education I think looking  at your LinkedIn I thought was very interesting   that I believe you went to Community College  but you did not go to a four-year or grad school   did you have an option of doing that is  there anything that you felt like you're   missing is there anything that gave you more  motivation how did that impact your your career   I had personal reasons from my lack  of of completing my four-year degree   and who knows maybe beyond not that I'm  against education but at the time I was   not fortunate enough to be able to afford  to go to school and get my four-year degree   I was head of household and took care of my family  as best as I could so I put everyone else first   and by chance I excelled in the automotive  industry as a design engineer and got into   production and learned how to work with very tight  tolerances and timelines project management all   the skill sets that that I adhere to today as  a result and our agencies foundation of project   management and product delivery and output follows  almost mirrors the same process that I was groomed   through in my upbringing in the  automotive career early on in my career   and now you are a board member of several  organizations you were actually an instructor   at was it the community college or is it Oakland  I think Oakland University Oakland Michigan yes so   how did those two positions whether it's the  board member and or being an instructor how   did that impact your job today whether  it's management skills or whatever it is   yeah so I served at the time and still do I  was co-chair and chair of the international   services business advisory committee to  automation alley and it had been comprised of   business professionals board members executives  instructors business administrative deans   and of the likes and in a presentation that my  team put together for the automation alley board   we were sharing data analysis analytics  trending data and the importance of it and   the late Ravi Parmeswarin who was the dean of the  business administration to OU approached me and   said hey we're trying to develop and mature the  curriculum and digital marketing and we'd like to   talk to you and I declined because I was just busy  growing my business and I was serving other boards   I was on the East Michigan district council which  is basically the Commerce Department division of   the Commerce Department supported by the Commerce  Department U.S Commerce department and then I just   met with him for lunch one day and he was sharing  with me some of the challenges they had and I   looked at their curriculum the syllabus and their  books and I was not very impressed at all and said   well if I were to do it I would I would request  under the contingency of a request of having new   books and rewrite the syllabus which he agreed he  already had that in mind on the syllabus but the   book it was all in Euros it was in metric system  and so you can tell it was a European book meant   for the European market educational market and  so we went through things and in my presentation   I defined what would become a a protocol for  the undergrad program and rewrote the syllabus   chose the books I became an instructor the  graduate level Professor sat in on a class and   got what I was trying to do and then  approached me and I was doing that part-time   so I had my arm twisted and decided to help  him teach and develop a similar type program   for graduate level students and in that program  we did the same thing and it was well received   and they did quite well I did that for two and  a half years and then I passed the torch to one   of my students who was a graduate and an intern of  mine from OU he actually taught me I believe as an   undergrad class that he sat in on and I recruited  him for an internship and then now he may still be   teaching and participating with OU so you had the  business you were teaching and then you're a board   member how the heck do you manage your time I was  single at the time and ultimate if that answers   your question and then my wife and things tapered  down quickly after that but I really enjoyed it   I think in my next life I would probably teach  or when I retire I would probably teach at some   level I really enjoyed being able to help folks  establish a career and apply real world practices   and not just textbook driven which becomes  dated the moment that book is printed it's dated   that was a very very big finding in in my  research with the university did you have   any tricks of the trade when it comes to managing  your time or are you just as long as your day was   scheduled then you just followed the schedule well  it evolves on an ongoing basis basically we have   a presence in the Middle East and big in Dubai we  for myself I start off my day checking my emails   and a chat app that we use with our team in  Dubai and that's the first order of business   because we're overlapping so usually I am an  early bird I wake up about 4 35 o'clock ish   each morning and I'll spend the first hour just  delegating tasks and supporting our team abroad   then my calendar I go through and I fill in my  calendar I also have appointments that are being   made from the different time zones we have clients  all over the globe so I'll oversee that make sure   that I've got my day planned and scheduled ahead  in advance while I'm having my first cup of coffee   and then when I make it into work immediately  pounding out emails and placing calls and   supporting our team so delegating is key when you  get to that point customers all over the globe   what differences do you see or do you have to  implement in the different countries is there   well everyone wants the same outcome the same  result their goals are economically driven   we do it's not about scheduling appointments  or visits to the website those days are done   anyone that's thinking along those lines  should really rethink their approach   it's a monetary outcome return on ad spend there  may be a variance in culture maybe a variance in   language mostly English speaking and the results  are pretty much the same so it's not what you say   it's how you say it and the same philosophy and  practice we implement in all of our product builds   and marketing there's some cultural learning which  usually the worksheets are the the same process   it's just a matter of understanding regionally  how our ad copy will work how our designs will   work a lot more a b testing which you should be  doing regardless whether you're localized or not   and and constant refinement same question  for industries marketing for different   industries do you find that there's huge  differences is there a lot of similarities   well I get bored by niching up that's when  things become in the form of a template   and you're not forced to think because it's kind  of done for you and those folks are a dime a dozen   that's just me personally that's that's my outlook  on that but we do have a depth of knowledge a   vast depth and knowledge in the automotive  industry manufacturing advanced manufacturing   technology SaaS some e-commerce healthcare  medical vanity so plastic surgery   invasive surgeries I would say gastric bypass  lap band sleeve very big in that plastic surgery   high price ticket items tend to bear results  quicker more profitable we lean more towards those   but then there's also the challenges where it's a  branding initiative it's not the metrics that are   followed are not sales it's how do we get to the  point of preparing for lead flow or sales so we   take a reverse engineering approach to that work  our way back to step one and then build it out   so it it all depends on the industry it  all depends on vertical sometimes within   an industry there's variation between verticals  and within the same industry that's where the   worksheets come into play and help prop you up  on a foundation that allows you to view it from   a lens with more clarity and then you you practice  our product build outs following these guidelines   so what percentage of your strategy and  implementation do you think is similar   across customers and what percentage has to be  very specific for that customer or that industry   I'll go very broad B2B yeah and B2B tend to follow  the same workflows it's just the delivery maybe   some timing and the promotions will vary but the  concepts the framework tend to be almost identical   oh I'm glad I asked that then you mentioned  earlier data analysis I think it was in   reference to when you're an instructor out of  curiosity what kind of data and reporting tools   do you use for your marketing firm while we have  multiple layers and it all depends on the goals   and the outcomes the amount of data that that we  need to manage in our care to get optimal results   but we use Hot Jar Google  Analytics Agency Analytics   Heat Map and then user experience of video  recordings of the human eye how it's working up   down left right what colors it gravitates to based  on a per user basis it's all this trending data   will really help this optimize the user experience  any way we can shorten the path these utilities   such as Agency Analytics for SEO and PPC we use  I believe it's Ninja for some paid ads we use   a lot of reverse lookups for lead generation it  all depends on what the goals and outcomes are I'm   speaking very loose tongue because if you were to  ask me about a specific business or business type   I pretty much know what systems we need in  place to provide better than average results   perfect and getting to the ends here and just have  a few questions if you had to teach something to   other marketers what would it be relevance that  was quick can you can you go into more detail yes   so you have an audience you have a pretty good  idea the range where that audience resides   how do you speak with that audience that's the  first question we ask ourselves what are they   looking for on and then how do we speak to that  audience on a per platform basis Facebook Insta   right TikTok LinkedIn it's more professional  the tone is different more serious than Facebook   which is more tongue-in-cheek not as serious  TikTok is more of a I like to call it gamified   YouTube you know it's a blend of everything  so relevance you need to be relevant your   ad copy your landing page your website copy  everything has to vertically align the journey   is established the moment you're outside of those  boundaries you're non-relevant there's loss right   so your design copy has to be in line with the  goals and objectives colors need to be relevant   landing page copy your tag lines your H1 if it's  SEO everything needs to be vertically aligned   based on the keyword the goal and the outcome you  could have derivatives of that in micro campaigns   or an ad group but your core your main artery that  you're tapping into if you're non-relevant they   look past you they look over you they look to the  right or left of you because think about it today   January 6 2023 open your email how much spam do  you have to go through to filter through to get   to something that's going to catch your  eye Facebook bombarded with information   right what sticks out you can remember you can be  looking at for tennis shoes for example performing   a search in tennis shoes and your Facebook picks  up on your search Google picks up on your search   that's relevant there's a reason why you have  these retargeting features and it follows you   it ghosts you everywhere it'll shatter you  wherever you go each step you take you're   being followed and ghosted by relevant material  oh I visited that website I saw those shoes here   right that's relevance that's a perfection  there that's a campaign that is articulated   well and the folks behind that campaign know the  audience know what they're looking for know what   they're looking for similar to upstream on page  downstream off page all of this has to be relevant   are there any common mistakes that you see  other marketers make in that aspect not zooming   in enough and over budgeting underperforming  throwing more money is not going to solve the   problem whether the client has the budget or not  if you ask any CMO you submit a proposal to a CMO   and in that proposal you're going to have  visitors these are the metrics I'm going   to increase your visitors I'm going to increase  the page the duration of time spent on a landing   page I'm going to build you a sales funnel  right I'm going to do all of these things   and at the end they're going to take your  proposal set it aside call the next person   until someone comes in with ROAs return  on ad spend our goal is to optimize so   the relevance the constant wrenching on all of  these assets take to bear the greatest results   which means sales booked appointments if it's  a professional they want their calendar filled   it's not about the visits it's the quality if  it converts what's my return on ad spend a lot   of mistakes too is that agencies and Freelancers  don't really understand business they wear a PPC   hat they wear an SEO hat their results are  I'll get you high rankings here you go I got   you on the first page we're within the top five  mission accomplished right folks that are not very   goal driven that understand SEO true  SEO is I need my profit center keywords   ones that will bear the greatest return on  investment that convert into sales not visits   to my site that's not the goal that's not the  metric I'm managing or monitoring so they're   going to fire you if you can't cover your basis  at least and shoot for profitability yeah great   answer and then the last question is any books or  podcast recommendations can be marketing doesn't   have to be business philosophy anything you  want yes good to great perfect and anything else   I follow Grant Cardone and the reason why I follow  Grant Cardone is he's wrong he's not reading a   script Gary Vaynerchuk as long as you're not being  convinced that nfts and crypto is the way to go   right now he's made a lot of mistakes on that but  the guy is very knowledgeable he understands media   and it's raw what you see is what you get and  he's built a successful following and career   as a result self-branding and I envy them  because I don't have that type of charisma   I'm a very black and white kind of person I  know how I am and I wish I had that type of   charisma to build a following such as they  have a been able to accomplish yeah I love   their work I think Grant Cardone to me is the  epitome of of brand awareness he is the brand   perfect I'm still a proponent of the long-term  view on nfts so I am too but I thought that in the   very beginning all those folks that that bought  the crypto punks the monkeys and all that stuff   Logan Paul they've all lost I just got it but  anytime there's this exciting new technology that   you usually get the money grabbers early but yeah  okay we don't have to go too far but Vader Check's   name is on that loss that's that's my point  right current loss might be a gain at some point   I actually do believe in his the restaurant idea  that he has awesome well as we do come up to the   end of the episode I just want to really give you  an opportunity to mention how people can find you   and anything else you want to end with  yes I'd love to help even if you just   want some advice love to give it if I can help  I will if I can I'll tell you and we'll enjoy   a cup of coffee together visit our website  www.akaba Technologies AQ a b a t e c h.com   and also web EXO dot IO is a new product that  we've launched and look me up on LinkedIn I   reply very well on LinkedIn more so than any  other platform so we learned to get you on   here so thank you so much for coming on the show  and I hope everyone has a great day Josh I had a   great time thank you so much thanks for listening  to The Masters in Marketing Agency podcast I hope   got a ton of value out of this episode and before  we go I just want to thank our sponsors Devnoodle   Devnoodle provides marketing agencies with  the ability to offer their clients unlimited   website design build and management services  with fixed monthly plans if website design   development and maintenance is holding your  agency back from growing please reach out to   us at devnoodle.com where we make websites easy  for you and easy for your clients devnoodle.com

2023-01-17 17:24

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