The Sharpest Tool™

Leverage Marketing Technology for a Strong Online Presence

Cheryl McRae
Josh Smith
Travis Carter is the Vice President of Home Services Business Development at Scorpion. He is passionate about helping businesses get their story out in a unique way, subsequently growing their profits and revenue. As a former home improvement company business owner himself, he hopes to be the marketing guide that he wished he had.

Josh Smith (00:03):

Hello, and welcome to the sharpest tool where we take the sting out of marketing. My name is Joshua Smith. I am your host and it's an honor, really to be in the booth right now with Travis Carter, who is the vice-president of home services, business developments. Welcome Travis. It's awesome to have you in here and be talking with you. This is, this is great. This is such an honor. Tell us a little bit about what you do here at scorpion. What's, uh, what's your kind of primary role here.

Travis Carter (00:27):

I tasked with helping businesses to succeed, to get their story out there in a unique way and grow revenues, grow profits, and just be a guy to them. Make sure they're doing the right things at their, at the right time. It's really a unique thing to be in that position, to where someone's calling you their need. I used to be a business owner, home improvement company. So I've been through the ringer of the ups and downs company. Almost went bankrupt, had to dig my way out and I wish that there were better guides out there. So do the right thing.

Josh Smith (01:03):

Yeah. W what would you say being a business owner, having been a business owner in your career, what would you say is the biggest thing that business owners are facing today? The biggest challenge that they're facing today,

Travis Carter (01:13):

It would be in a polite way, would be an ignorance of, of what's going on. Sure. What can they leverage? What can they use? Because there's so many different levels you have, you have, I do at home services. So there's really big fish out there, big brands, big names. And then you have the midsize and the small guy, and they have a, it's a problem with finances. How can I compete with those people? And so I help all shapes sizes, if you will, businesses, and to help them to spend their money in a more efficient way and grow, that's the toughest part for them knowing what can they do?

Josh Smith (01:48):

Yeah. Where the knowledge gaps lie right. In between business owners. How do you think they overcome a lot of those obstacles and challenges? You mentioned a lot of big fish in the sea out there, a lot of competition out there. How do they overcome that in the long haul, given everything that we've been seeing change wise in terms of consumer behavior and such?

Travis Carter (02:07):

Okay. So with the consumer behaviors, we now know a lot more about consumer behavior because of technology. Sure. We, we can understand the trends where they're at, what they're doing, what they're, what they're buying, where they're hanging out online. So the, the key between the big fish and the small fish, I would tell any business owner, this is fine, determined, you know, really hone in on what you want to gain. What, what does that serve service? Is there a certain niche? Is there something that, something that is more profitable to you and then hone in on what's your unique offering you as a business? Is it your customer service? Is it your technology that you have? Is it your expertise? And then tell that story in a unique way, find ways to give away knowledge, find ways to be very community involved, because those, those are the separating things we all in business.

Travis Carter (03:10):

We're all going to say that we're great. We're all going to say we're going to be there for you when you need you. You hear the same speak, the same talk. Sure. But there's, it's about showing action and what you can do now online through different mediums platforms, you can show yourself in action. You can show certain videos, you can show what you're doing in the community, and you can really affect the heart of that consumer. And you never know what a consumer is looking at and why they're going to choose you. So, you know, I, I like to help businesses find that that, that mix sure. Of who they are, their heartbeat, their story. And then also saying that, Hey, we're good. We're okay.

Josh Smith (03:48):

Yeah. That's awesome. And I think you touched on something really interesting, which is actually something I really want to pick your brain on. I think it would provide a lot of value to everybody listening. Um, and, and that's this aspect of technology, you know, we think about marketing. I think a lot of people are a little fuzzy on what exactly marketing is or can do or what it does. You mentioned a lot about just understanding the consumer mindset, the journey where they're hanging out, what's going on in the mind of the consumer, um, and that technology can help us do that. So, um, let's, let's dive into that a little bit more because I think technology is really important. We're in a technological age. So why would you say technology is important to marketing in general? Okay.

Travis Carter (04:27):

Yeah. One technology lowers the costs. It levels the playing field, and now you don't, before you had to go, okay. I want to be seen, I want to get as many jobs. I want to sell my service as much as I can. So you have to go spend exorbitant amount of dollars on radio TV, buy the biggest page in the phone book. And if you didn't have the money to do that, you were at the whim of will I get, will someone tell, well, my brothers and sisters and mom and dad go tell their friends to come use me. And hopefully I can create a snowball effect of word of mouth, very reactive. Right. You know, you're just hoping and wishing with technology. You now can do certain things where it doesn't cost much to get, uh, uh, your, your iPhone out and have a 4k resolution and shoot your own video and, and, and go around and talk about your service show, what you're doing in the community.

Travis Carter (05:22):

You don't have to spend the exorbitant dollars to on different platforms. You do have to spend money. You may spend money to make money, but there's a lot of platforms where online, if you do the right things, you're going to, you're going to be seen, look at it this way. When we think of technology, if you look at a whole nother field like music or something like that, you'd used to have to go out spin about $50,000 to make a record, to make a whole album. Now you can spend $2,000, have equipment in your house, put out a record, put it on YouTube. And it goes, viral. People start sharing it. And then you've just made, got yourself out there. It made a lot of money. Well, same thing with businesses and marketing, their brand, you technology is allow the small guy, the midsize guy to do exactly what the big guy is doing and see a major return without having to go broke. Having that loss feel like, what do I do? Can I ever be seen, can I stand out Google being Yahoo? Uh, all these reviews sites that are out there.

Josh Smith (06:22):

And it seems like there's no shortage of sites either that are providing this kind of intermediary steps to allowing people to do that. I mean, you have things like, uh, anchor FM, you know, who handles like just free podcasting, the ability they understand that everybody's got a cell phone number in cords audio, and they provided a platform and an interface saying like, look, there are no barriers. You don't need to have a studio with fancy mics in order to record a podcast, like just upload with your phone in a really, you know, in a closed space in your car or something and put it out online and you have free subscriptions to like a SoundCloud, you know, very similar audio interface, YouTubes free, you know, Facebook's free. These are all platforms that allow people to get content out there that is ultimately, they get to mention going viral, providing a lot of value to these people.

Travis Carter (07:10):

Absolutely. And it is, there's no shortage on apps. Yeah. I would tell any business owner out there to put in the grind, put in some work researching once a week, the top 100 apps, like you said, you can create a podcast, even as a plumber or an HVAC. I deal with people in the home service industry and you can make it very interesting. There are always people looking. I'm a homeowner owner, myself and I was looking for solutions to convert my garage. I just bought a home into my man-cave cause I have seven kids. I need some space. There's not enough rooms in the house. So that garage is going to become the man cave. Absolutely. And I went online. I needed to read what's safe. What can I afford? What are some different things that I, that I can do? Um, how, how do I put HVAC in there?

Travis Carter (08:01):

Do I need a, uh, mini split? So I'm, I'm looking up all this information and I'm looking at the people, the, the, the businesses that are showing up and I'm clicking in the, the map section of Google map pack. I'm clicking in the organic, below the maps, reading certain blogs. I'm on Facebook. Yeah. I noticed some of those businesses were following me over. They would show up in my Facebook newsfeed and guess what? I would click on them because I had an interest. Yeah, there you go. Technology. And, and that, that's a way to re what we call remarketing in our business. That business remarked to me. And I was like, ha ha, they're being smart. And I'm going to click, I need this information. Yeah.

Josh Smith (08:38):

And you know, what's interesting too, about that is the technological platforms of the search engines of everything online. You mentioned, you went online as this first step to identifying what would fit your need. You've got a need and you needed a solution for that. You went online to figure that out. And I got to imagine that safety a ton of time, as opposed to going into a home Depot, a Walmart, a target, or an audio store and HVAC store, which would have taken time to drive there, get the consultation. Then you've got to vet whether or not it's valid because going into a store, you're not produced with a reputation or reviews or anything necessarily. And so online seems to save a lot of customers time at the end of the day, giving them time back that they can then use doing other things. Have you encountered that much in what you do? What's your beat on that?

Travis Carter (09:28):

You make a great point. And I like to, I like to speak to, to my own experiences in, in the consumer world, when I'm speaking to businesses to let them know, Hey, here's what I'm going through. So when you mentioned about when I had to put HVAC in my garage. Yeah. But when I needed the HVAC, I go online, I'm looking, I'm doing my research. The key of leveraging this technology is, is if businesses are online, putting themselves online, putting good content out there, they're going to meet a consumer at a point where the consumer's going to them when they want them. And they can, they can absorb things, think about things, not have having someone to say, buy, buy now, which can be, seemed like pressure. Sure. And then when you get that information as a consumer, if you do encounter someone in person or you do pick up the phone and then that HVAC technician is trying to sell you on something, you're actually more open and listening with a softer ear, if you will. Sure. So it it's, it's, you, you do have to position yourself. You, you make your life easier, your business, you make your transactions easier sure. By leveraging and being online at the right time. No, I think

Josh Smith (10:34):

Great point. And you know, it kind of, it's an interesting thought, just this idea of timing, you know, we're all so busy. We're all, there's so much noise in our day in and day out. W w we see we're exposed to so much advertising nowadays. Yeah. Getting something that hits us at the right time is so important to that process. And so alongside that, you know, we touched on it a little bit, but what would you say we have the ability to, to do now that we couldn't do before with marketing, given the technology.

Travis Carter (11:08):

Okay. That's great. So we can, now we can track those consumer habits through these apps, through Google analytics and, and being there's a ton of metrics and data that, that that's given to us. So we can see what a particular person is when they're searching for something on the web, all that stuff is tracked and a good marketing company. If they're they have good technology there, they're grabbing all of that information there. Their team is absorbing that information and making decisions for their client to say, okay, we can look at zip codes and demographics because of technology now, and look up within a split. Second, what is the median household income? Is, are they college? Are they seeing, or they're more married couples, or are they, you know, are they older than you can base what you're doing? What, you're more, uh, where are you, where are your marketing based on that technology?

Travis Carter (12:04):

And so we have, and there's more evidence. It's not that guessing game. Okay. I'm going to put the, this billboard up and they safe 10,000 cars drive by here in a week. And they may or may not need a roof at that time or electrical panel change out at the time. Maybe, maybe not, but I'm gonna spend my money. And I'm just going to guess, and they're going to call them and say, Hey, how did you hear about me? Uh, I don't know. I may have saw your truck. I may saw it. You just can't track any of that, sir. Now we can say, okay, I know how many people are on Facebook within this, within a five mile radius. I know how many people are using Google or being. And I can I've know that they've been looking, searching around for AC repair and I'm going to start showing ads or display ads. You can just direct things. She's smarter and more predictable. Yeah. That, that saves a business money. Yeah. And people's

Josh Smith (12:58):

Interests are so internal, you know, and not everybody always is wearing their interests on their sleeves necessarily. So you have, you mentioned cars on the freeway driving by a billboard. I mean, it's pretty tough to identify who needs a new roof in that bunch. Yeah. So you're just kind of slapping it up there, hoping for the best. And I think when it comes to this, you know, all the noise, we talk about noise a lot, you know, how much noise there is in the marketplace from an advertising perspective, the people that are really effective at this are cutting through the noise by knowing exactly who their client is, what they look like, where they hang out and delivering messages in a very pointed way that targets a very niche audience and that audience really flocks together. You know? And so it seems like the Mar the technology aspect of the digital world is allowing people to do that.

Travis Carter (13:47):

That's a lot better exactly. Finding like that niche. When you talk about that niche, and then the technology will allow you, if you do it the right way, what you're, you're able to be there. A business is able to be in front of a consumer at that, what Google calls the micro moment. And I was describing that to me, that micro moment is that point in time where you're able to have your message, your product, your service in front of the consumer, when they're ready to buy, uh, I can be, I can, I can know. I ha I have a need. I, I can put gas. I know that my car's running low. And then I guess I could say that I'm driving, I'm going in, and I'm not thinking about it. But then the red light comes on in, and I'm like, I'm two blocks away from an article marathon or whatever it is.

Travis Carter (14:33):

Or maybe there's only one gas station that's within a mile or a couple of blocks to me. They were there at my micro-moment at that time of need. So online, there can be the research mode, like where I was in looking up a poxy floors and mini splits, things of that nature, thinking about remodeling and doing something. And then as I'm searching, I'm getting more intrigued. And then something happens in, in my life where it's time, like my daughter's coming and live with me. Oh, shoot. I gotta, I gotta get this done within a week. I go back online. Now there's a pressure. The companies that I looked at last week show up in front of me a week later at my micro moment. And there is a way for companies to be, to follow that consumer, to stay in front of them at that micro moment.

Travis Carter (15:19):

And it's by leveraging technology and knowing technology and saying, okay, Travis Carter is on Facebook, usually at 7:00 PM taking a break from the world. And am I showing up in his newsfeed? Have I remarket it? Retargeted him sharing that? Are you there during the micro moment? And so that that's, that's what people have to really think about because I get people all the time say, you know, I don't want to do, they'll call me up and want help. And they say, I just want to do one thing. So helped me write some blogs. And we do blog. We, we blog for people. But let me tell you about all these other platforms and mediums and create a smorgasbord, if you will, so that you can stay in front of that consumer, you know, you bring up, that's a real,

Josh Smith (16:04):

Really interesting point. Just the facts that people come in, they have this one sliver thing that they want specific marketing companies to do. Do you think that there are benefits? And I guess what would be the benefits of working with a marketing company that really focuses on technology and not just like content generation, but the technology aspect as well?

Travis Carter (16:27):

Well, the, the trends, the data technology to create speed. Yeah. Those things will help as a marketing company. You want to help your client make money and grow for the least amount of money possible profitability. That's what it's all coming down to. If marketing other marketing companies and even business owners can say, okay, everything that I do, I want to have high level of technology. There are things there's, um, was a buzzword out here in California. There are synergies created. I have to say inefficiencies created through that technology because what we're seeing is times are, are changing. They change rapidly with technology. I mean, a lot faster things are consumed. People become famous who have no big business becoming famous because of technology. We want businesses to become famous if you will, and what we want them to do, be smart about it. More predictable.

Travis Carter (17:24):

I want companies to be able to hire technicians and know that they can keep those technicians and workers busy with. Sure. Well, technology will allow us to pinpoint how, when and where to do that and how much money to do that. So you're again, not, not guessing throwing your dollars against the wall. Like you've just boiled some spaghetti noodles and you throw them against the wall. See if they stick to see if they're done. No, that's the wrong way to do that. And with here's what happens? Yeah. You really have to lean on it because it's moving so fast. It's like a sprint. It's not a marathon. Yeah. I watched on, uh, [inaudible] was a, this young girl she had, there was an ailment with her and she would run cross country, long distance, great story. And one of the, her almost her last races, she, she falls down and I'm like, oh, this is horrible.

Travis Carter (18:11):

You know, she already has this element, but the marathon aspect of it, she was able to catch back up and she fought and she fought and she won. Yeah. Well, technology is Usain bolt in it's a hundred meters. If you fall down and you're racing, Usain bolt, and you already have to be perfect to beat him. You, you lose, you ever noticed that Usain bolt, he will win a race by only a fraction of a second. But that fraction of a second, if you look for, from the physical standpoint, you think that he beat them by five seconds, but it's only a fraction of second mate got him so much far ahead. Well, the digital aspect is just lifestyle. You want to stay up on that curve because it, if you can stay in front, you'll spend a lot less money. Yeah. And a marketing company. You want to interview your marketing companies to see what are they, not just, we're all leveraging and doing Google, social media blogging. You'll hear those same terms, but what are they doing from a technological standpoint? How innovative are they so that, so that your business can be the Usain bolt of

Josh Smith (19:15):

Businesses. Yeah. And stay in, say a front of the curve. You know, what, what it makes me think of too, is the it's an investment, right? Marketing is always an investment for a business. And it makes me think of the stock market. Right? You don't invest in the stock market without knowing what's going on in the stock market. And I think tech, it seems to me, technology is what allows us to see what's going on to identify trends, to identify what the seasonal aspects are of a particular business. So we can make informed decisions about where the investments lie to maximize the return. Yeah. It's, it's really an interesting thought. So when it comes to that aspect of leveraging the data, how can business owners leverage that to increase their business

Travis Carter (20:06):

Over time? Not just because I'm in marketing. Yeah. Do I say this, but from being a business owner and thinking about all the high level of the technology of my own business and home improvements and nest thermostats and all this things that HVAC guys have to think about, they have to stay up with their own technology, right? Yeah. They don't have time to go and learn. Every algorithm change. Every platform change. What you do need to do is you need to lean on a marketing company who has that time to do all those things. Because again, you think about the stock market. If you have a company that knows how to leverage and gather the metrics and the data and put you on the right place, right time, or if something's not working, move your monies around like stockbroker stockbrokers, going to look at different stocks, what is the market doing?

Travis Carter (20:50):

When's a good time to buy. When's a good time to sell well, a plumber who's under a sink right now. He can't look at those. He can't look at the proverbial stock marker to move his monies around. He needs a really, a good broker and a broker who has a big technological screen and can look at all these different movements and get emails. And in, in text messages, say, make this move right here. Your, your client's money is better spent right here. So if you have a technological database dashboard, if you will, that can do all of those things. Then again, you spend as a marketing company, you spend your client's money, better. You get them what they want and you help them grow at the end of the day. So it, you have to, as a business person, a business owner find and lean on that, right. Partner who's engulfed and has a mission to be like technologically advanced. Absolutely.

Josh Smith (21:49):

Well, Travis, I got to say, man, this has been awesome. I've learned so much just from this interaction. Um, I really appreciate you taking the time and letting us know all about this marketing technology aspect of what you do day in and day out and how business owners can leverage that. So thank you. It

Travis Carter (22:05):

Was great being here. It was

Josh Smith (22:06):

Awesome. Well, we'll come back and we'll talk more about more things, because I think it's really important for business owners out there, whether whatever profession they're in, I think this is really valuable for them to understand how to utilize this in today's marketplace.

Travis Carter (22:19):

Yeah. I hope, I hope that the, this gets to the everyone's ears, but to the right ears. Cause I really root for these business owners having been one to win in a major way. I'm like, I'm super passionate. I meet people out. I find out that they're a business owner, no matter what they're in. And I asked them what they're doing, how, how they, how are they leveraging technology and the internet? Because you know, there's something about that entrepreneurial spirit spirit that, that I root for. I just want people to win as a whole. So I do tell people to take these things in and not, not just listen to it, go out and practice it.

Josh Smith (22:57):

Yeah, definitely. Well, for everybody listening, if you found this valuable, definitely hit some subscribe button. So you can keep up to date with all of the future podcasts. Again, we want to interview all of our subject matter experts in a variety of different areas. So that way we can provide you with value about how to continue to grow and improve your business. We will catch you next time. Thanks.

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