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38
Published on
May 20, 2020

038 | Defending Your Digital Marketing ROI with Eric Vardon, CEO of Morphio

Summary

Eric Vardon is the CEO of Morphio, the world's first marketing security software. Eric is an AI tech entrepreneur, C-suite executive, and adviser with over 20 years of success in advertising and marketing. His vast experience spans vertically across several fields, from health and wellness to cannabis to technology and all things digital.

Highlights

  • Eric Vardon talks about being an entrepreneur and an executive in the marketing and advertising space.
  • How team structure can make or break your company 
  • How does Morphio distinguishes itself its from competitors
  • How company policies are being adjusted due to the pandemic

Mentioned Resources

Episode Sponsors

This episode is sponsored by Juhll. They are a full service digital marketing consultancy that has over 20 years of experience helping your business grow sales online. They've helped most of their clients grow more than 50% year over year by helping them meet their digital marketing goals.

Juhll Digital Agency works with companies who are doing $50 million in top line revenue that have a marketing budget of $2 million. They build your company from the ground up and they also help you in creating a strategy that will work best for your team.

You can email Chris Snyder, President of Juhll Digital Agency, at chris@juhll.com, or contact their team today and find out which of their services will work best for your success story.

Tweetable Quotes

Eric Vardon

CEO of Morphio

Eric Vardon is the CEO of Morphio, the world's first marketing security software. Eric is an AI tech entrepreneur, C-suite executive, and adviser with over 20 years of success in advertising and marketing.

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:06

Welcome to Snyder's Marketing Showdown and original Juhll agency production. In this show, you'll discover which elite business executives hold the strongest hand in business marketing and operations. Listen to Epic no holds barred showdowns debating the latest groundbreaking strategies this side of the internet WARNING This show ain't for rookies. So check your ego at the door with your host, president of Juhll Agency and founder-operator-investor in Banks.com, Chris Snyder.

Chris Snyder 0:43

Hello everyone. Chris Snyder here - host of Snyder Showdown, president at Juhll.com, and founder of Banks.com. On this show, we talk with top leaders, entrepreneurs, and subject matter experts about what's working and what's not with their growth programs. This episode is brought to you by Juhll. Juhll is a full-service digital consultancy, and we focus on helping executives solve their toughest digital growth problems while working as an extension of the executive team. We focus on three things we quickly identify the biggest problems impeding growth, we have 25 years of experience. So we've seen a lot of stuff. We propose solutions that give you the best opportunity for success. And finally, the works got to get done. So we bring a private marketplace of vetted world-class talent to execute the plan. Of course, we help manage that entire process. To learn more, go to Juhll.com that's J U H L L.com or email me personally. If you have questions, my email is Chris@Juhll.com. Without further ado, I want to introduce our guests. Today we have Eric Vardon CEO at Morphio. Morphio is the world's first marketing security software. Eric is an AI tech entrepreneur, C suite executive, an advisor with more than 20 years of success in marketing and advertising, Eric has covered verticals, from cannabis to health and wellness to technology and all things digital. Welcome, Eric.

Eric Vardon 2:13

Thanks for having me, Chris. Appreciate it.

Chris Snyder 2:14

Absolutely, absolutely. So let's kick off with how you got started in this business. I know a lot of people that I talked to, you know, some have very direct paths they've known they've always loved marketing, they want to get into marketing, or they want to be an entrepreneur, or so they thought, you know, or some just kind of fall into it. What's your experience with getting into being an entrepreneur and executive in the marketing and advertising space?

Eric Vardon 2:41

Yeah, I jumped in and I wanted to build websites as soon as I realized that that was a thing. So it's probably over 20 years ago is kind of it was mid 90s. I think I date myself a little bit. But a friend of the family was building websites and this was a at a time when the HTML rollovers were a big deal, but I just was enthralled with it. And you know, I think didn't really understand what being an entrepreneur was. But at the time, I just wanted to I wanted to build websites and get into technology. So that that was a constant and, and since then, was kind of thrown into being an entrepreneur was I was good at one thing, which was not listening. So as a terrible listener, I figured if I'm my own boss, then I can't disappoint anybody. And I kind of jumped into it. And it was a, you know, it's been an interesting ride and it didn't actually come to me that played a lot of sports growing up a lot of team sports and I think as always sort of falling into that leader role. It's probably where I got most of my passion for entrepreneurship and now I'm excited and, and every day I get to wake up and do a whole bunch of different things with a whole bunch of amazing people and pretty, pretty happy.

Chris Snyder 3:53

That's interesting. So do you have an actual tech background? Or are you more on the business and media side?

Eric Vardon 3:59

I am well, I went going to build websites, there was really no programs for it. So I actually went through advertising art slash graphic design with a focus on, on getting in into the development side at the time, it was a lot of Macromedia both flash and director. So it was nice where you could be visual, but at the time, be sort of a pseudo developer with basic programming language experience and, and quickly realized that my creative brain could only go so far. And then just Yeah, got forced into starting an agency of a small one. And somebody had to pick up the phone and call clients and answer calls and emails and handle the books and I just sort of gravitated towards that and trying to find people that were better at the day to day tactics than I, where just sort of fell into it, but really did love the business and the strategy and just connecting with people.

Chris Snyder 4:58

That's great. That's great. I mean, there's so many great stories from young entrepreneurs. And I think that, you know, you and I are probably similarly aged, but if you look back on how hard it was back in our late 20s or early 30s, and now we're into our 40s, for sure. I'm not sure if anyone would have told me how hard it was gonna be that I might have actually done it. You kind of fall into this stuff. And then you realize when you crack open QuickBooks, like what in the hell am I doing? And then you're making sales calls, which for me, that was my thing, you know, but for you, it sounds like you know, you may prefer to do something else. But there's just so many things that young entrepreneurs have to do. And it really is a journey over a number of years to get that capability and hone it in.

Eric Vardon 5:56

Yeah, yeah. Well, we would have went through the same. So I started my first business in 2000 2001. At the same time as the.com crash, which I didn't really know what that was and what a recession or hybrid recession was or downturn. And, funny enough, I started my last agency business in 2010. Basically, at the doubt Adam down absolute downside of the crash in 2008. And here we are, again, going through, you know, it really just started to launch another business at the exact same so you just sort of made me realize that, I don't know if it's strategic or just dumb locker, whatever. But yeah, going through it again. So you're right, we would have both went through those in different geographies, but at the same time, interesting.

Chris Snyder 6:48

Yeah, I've been through 2001. Obviously, we're a little bit younger, so when you only need a couple of grand a month to survive, it's not as big of a deal. The 2008 one kind of stunk. Right, because you, you begin to have a little bit more overhead and more responsibilities. You know, obviously, this being the third one, I feel a lot more .com in candidly, you know, I was fine and it sounds like you were fine to through both the other downturns. And, you know, I'll be honest, this is where I think, you know, people like to shine. And what we need right now is entrepreneurs that are problem solvers. They can see around these corners, they understand where the end is, they know how to generate cash flow, and they're just used to working through it .comly in being great leaders. So I think that's an interesting jumping-off point. I know that you'd mentioned you started your own agency in the, you know, in 2010, it's, you know, 2020. That was 10 years ago. Why don't you give us a few of the Guardians principles of that I think you and I are aligned on how we treat customers, how we measure ROI, things of that nature. And then after that, why don't you talk about Morphio? And why you went into that?

Eric Vardon 8:14

Yeah, yeah. And coming from my personal background of a more of a creative developer. I was always in that subjective world of being emotional with what I've created. And you remember the time where everything we did was from our own selves, you know, there were no templates, there were no how-t videos. There were magazines and then like, you had to figure it out. And so I had always I went through this journey, like a lot of us both as entrepreneurs and, you know, creative individuals, where you're putting your heart and soul into what it was that we're building. And like most of us in the agency side, we're probably very active in the business, whether it's on the digital marketing On the development side, or the creative development side, or design or writing or whatever, so we have our hand in the mix of what it is that we build, which ultimately our clients are going to buy. And that is a very emotional, subjective thing. Our business has always been like that. And it was so it was in 2010. Were clients Yeah, getting through and making it through 2000 at the end of 2008, and all of 2009 just having enough, you know, money to pay the bills, etc. where clients were finally starting to claw back and dollars were coming back into the system and, you know, clients were like, okay, but where's this money going to go? And what are you going to do with it? At the same time, there was more awareness of clients spending dollars on their agency in the agency traditionally, in the past, just marking that up 10 or 15%. And that was how they made their dollars. And so there was no accountability on both of those examples to what the results were but clients were asking for it but then you have the A legacy business model, which is really just a conflict of interest, which says the more I'm going to convince and pitch and ensure that you spend, the more I'm going to make, but again, I'm not accountable to the results. And so my business partner and co-founder, John, and I had this sort of rude awakening of like, what if we could tear that down. And just promise results? I mean, we see the data, we could build the analytics, we can run the Google ad campaigns and the SEO and all of the intangibles. We realized that people weren't doing it because they actually made them accountable to the results. It's not that they couldn't. And at the time, this was sort of just as Facebook was kind of rolling and social media became part of client strategies. You know, we said, well, let's just promise a return. And if we could put math behind it, and ensure the results, first of all, they're going to pay more. We're going to stay with us forever. But we're going to remove the subjectivity from the process. And then like anything will be you know, will be the experts and I always use a random analogy that you don't hire a plumber and bring them into your house. And you tell them how to fix your toilet or your sink or whatever. They're the expert but in our business of subjectivity, everybody's, you know, a design, a creative development marketer expert and, and so I think it was all of that put together, where are we really, you know, we wanted to change that around. And that's where we started our agency and promise results. And, again, got lucky at a time where clients were finally slicing over traditional media dollars to digital, we just got them hooked on the data. And once you, you know, can show that, that something is providing a return, it's no longer an expense. It's actually a predictable income generator, which became our mission statement. You know, it just kind of we grew so rapidly from there because everybody wanted a taste of it. And it just felt so good to help businesses and that's why we're entrepreneurs, right is to help businesses and help businesses grow. And to this day, that's what gets me up in the morning.

Chris Snyder 11:59

That's awesome. That's Awesome. So now pivoting a little bit into you've got, you know, 20, probably 25 years of client-facing experience delivering services, being an entrepreneur, and then bingo, you've got Morphio. Right? How did you make that transition? And why did you start? Morphio?

Eric Vardon 12:20

Yeah, so we actually realized early on with our business that from a service perspective, it was great cash flow, but we may not become wealthy. I think that was an always as a young kid, something you aspire to, you quickly realize that it doesn't matter, especially in times like this. But it was sort of, you know, through that, where we're like, okay, maybe we can build other businesses and be a part of other businesses with entrepreneurs. Maybe we don't have to run those businesses, but we could sort of not go through what we went through in 2008, and nine, which was all of our eggs in one basket. And so part of it was a struggle. strategy to just, you know, offer services at a discount or what have you to be involved with other, you know, other tech startups and so on and so forth and so kissed a lot of, you know, frogs and got lucky with a couple and a few that were still with today. Morefield on the same respect was more of an internal looking project where we started to see inefficiencies and mistakes, and in our business, and so as we grew, we ran into the complexity of clients growing media dollars, more responsibility, more intricate campaigns, larger campaigns more accountable. So as we're promising accountability, and we're getting more of it, the more complex and the compound side of all of the things that we're doing more people less time to monitor less time with clients. So we looked at our business and realized that it wasn't one major thing that was incrementally you know, impacting our margin. It was A whole bunch of things in a small percentage. And so that all those pain points that I kind of listed I, you know, we, again, my partners and I, as we're looking through our own data where our team is spending time, they're frustrated, they're busy, we're overworked, there's no time, you know, I'm in meetings, and they found that they have no time to execute. So our margin wasn't increasing our mistakes were, we're driving more revenue, we have more clients, our team mountain happiness is increasing, which is not great. You know, and at the end of the day, we're like, this makes no sense. We're spending all this time reporting. So we realized after looking at our own data, that majority of our time was in now at doing the analysis of data. And so we really had our own r&d department and we looked at every individual vertical or department within our business and said, What can we do to create some kind of automation whether we use someone else's tool or whether we build our own? Let's figure out a way to take out the mundane so that we have more time to get back to what we promised more results from a better product, more execution, more thinking more time with clients. And so that's where the idea of Morphio was born, was to create automation within a digital marketing stack for agencies or brands or consultants that are focused on providing a return for their, for their clients. Where it came into the marketing security is from our early adopters who came to us and said, We love it, we can see our insights we can report more quickly, you know, we have, you know, this, you know, this algorithm that makes us look great. But what you really have here is something in the background that keeps my team from sweating when they wake up in the morning or launching a campaign, or, you know, making sure that they can, you know, scrape their SEO for landing page uptime or whatever, all these little things that we had automated over time. They're like, you're just protecting our risk. We can now answer those questions we have with our clients or our bosses that say, How are you monitoring our data? How do you know that mistakes aren't going to happen? How do we know That you're actually managing the, you know, the variables of the data, etc.? And that's kind of a long-winded version  of where Morphio was built internally to solve our issues. But we quickly realized that for any digital marketer, they're all going through the same stuff.

Chris Snyder 16:12

Yeah, no, that's great. And I can agree with you wholeheartedly. I've been doing this since 2008 myself, and we have spent years and years and hundreds of thousands of dollars on database infrastructure. very highly skilled and highly paid engineers to hook up API's to databases that suck data out of, you know, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Bing, of course, they change all the time they update their API's, the Data Connector breaks, then, you know, if you're running 30 $40 million a year in measured media. This is a huge deal. You literally wake up at night sweating, like you said, it's just panic mode, man. So, you know, I don't think the timing could have been any better for you to launch more FeO, it's it's actually, you know, we're using it at Juhll and distributed amongst our clients. It's a great tool. So now that we've kind of covered off on that and I know Google has evolved their back end quite substantially, Facebook's back end has evolved quite substantially. You used to have to use other tools like Ken shoe and in Morin and you know, all there were a lot of other tools because these platforms from a usability standpoint, just they weren't where they needed to be. I think, you know, Google and Facebook and some of these other folks Amazon especially, they're a little bit behind in their, you know, functionality UI alert systems, but I think Eventually, what we will see and I'd like to hear your thoughts on this is, these campaigns will pretty much run themselves. And what we'll need to do as agency partners, consultants, digital natives, whatever you want to call it, we're going to really need to start doing a better job of focusing 100% on the messaging, the content and the strategy. And getting, it's almost reverting all the way back to 50 years ago, when they really spent a good amount of time on that. So if you could maybe walk me through now that we've sorted out the first part, let's start talking about the corners you can see around in the ad business or with entrepreneurs or even with your business. I mean, we've been displaced, working remote. How do you see this thing? You know, what are some of the things you've identified in the corners? You can see around moving forward?

Eric Vardon 18:54

Yeah. So directly on the digital technology side, you're bang-on and find out that usually there's a somewhat of a hurdle for smaller businesses that aren't quite ready to put their dollars into the Google Facebook algorithm and say, go optimize me to $100 cost per acquisition or whatever it is. But it's there and it's working. We use it and it's tested. And you know, you're right - the days of sitting there and incrementally managing your budget on a daily basis or whatever are pretty much gone. So yes, there's some time there will that has to lag to the rest of the user base, whatever. But I think it comes into you know, two things, which is your right so I'll hit your point on creative content messaging, how we can understand our audience segments and know what it is that they're doing ingesting, reading, looking viewing. It's become so hard to build a structure of US of A site, a funnel, a traditional funnel, where you can monitor everything so forget the just alone, the complexities have on off-page SEO, and managing your competitor keywords to ranking, etc. You know, it now has to get down to how far a through your site are people navigating how if you have videos, you know, how long are they watching the videos for and tying it into your CRM like there's on and on and on. And I can I just, you know, from starting a brand new business, like Morefield from a b2b perspective, excuse me to marketers, I've really learned that, you know, to answer your question, just how complex that is for any brand to do that on its own is where the time is going to need to go. So that's the first way I'd answer it is yes, getting away from the day to day algorithms. How it impacts I think us as marketers, is that with all that complexity, we actually need a centralized place that's going to help us inform decisions. So we started in this route of ensuring the data accuracy from a morpho perspective, the integrity of the API integrations that we have Ensuring that if you tell it to go get $100 acquisition that it's going to track against that. But as the complexity of the algorithms just manages the budget, then as a marketer, I'm going to need to know why this is happening. And why are my impressions up and down? Why were Why did my budget go up and down? How is that impacting my CTA or through rates, etc? Excuse me. So to me, it's that's the next phase of true optimization. And to house in "what's in the why" is going to come into informing me, okay, here's what happened to your data. Here are the three reasons why. And here are the three things in terms of "the what" you can do to actually impact those, we don't really have that yet. That is still completely manual. So as we have way more data, it may have a little bit more time, but we can trust our algorithmic friends at the Big Four. But we're going to actually have less time because we have more to manage and more data to actually have to worry about. So I think that's, you know, a big shift. At the end of it too. I think. With agency terms of where agency and brand, we're all the same now, consultants, agencies, brands that have a small team is basically an agency out of a brand. There's not enough of us that have been around long enough to manage the strategy side, it's just a gap in the population. We all know it. We have a growing and younger workforce. And then we have the boomers that are all retiring. And you know, that whole shift as traditional is now going to completely move to digital. eCommerce, of course, will reign and all things but it's the shift, I think, to the tools that we use are going to need more sophistication less around optimization and more about how are you going to help me as a digital marketer, and I think that's probably the biggest thing, protect me, but help me you know, realize my results because right now, it's still left to a lot of manual labor and we just don't have time for it.

Chris Snyder 22:51

Yeah, so I felt I feel like there's been somewhat of compression and a - I'll use this word - commoditization. Although I don't know if that's true, I agree I happen to agree with you that there are very few of the folks that have been doing this for 20 years, kind of the leadership in the chair that we've sat in to see the evolution. I mean, I, I saw the first cell phone, right. I mean, this. Facebook wasn't around when I was a kid. You know, I remember when beepers came out, unfortunately. I mean, this was, these were, I mean, the best thing I had regarding a mobile phone was an extended cord on a phone that was hooked to a wall and if you got a 30-foot cord, you are styling, right, because then your parents and then your mom could pick up in the bedroom and listen to what you were saying. Right. So yeah, I think people like us have seen a lot in that evolutionary process and tying that together and seeing the patterns. We do need, I think, more leadership and more strategic thinking around that. I guess my point is, is the commoditization of the business everyone kind of jumping in this and basically saying that they read a blog yesterday therefore they understand how to bid buy orbudget on Facebook or Google or whatever, any of the, you know, TikTok, Snap. There's so much of this going on. But, like, what happens when the whole world just starts to become do it yourself? I feel like there's you know HubSpot in we're a HubSpot partner and we do a lot of HubSpot work. But HubSpot produces more content, educational content that you can really shake a stick at. And honestly, there's so much content on the web that basically is promoting tools to do it yourself. How do we continue to thrive as a business and I know You know Morphio allows you to build some asset base, instead of just having to kind of stay on the agency treadmill. But how do we as consultants, professionals, how do we continue to survive and thrive in a world where I believe it's more geared towards doing it yourself?

Eric Vardon 25:22

Yeah, I mean, to me, it's back to the whole, doing what we do best as humans, which is creative problem solve, and no tool is going to replace that. So when I kind of think of the machines and AI and what they're supposed to do, they're supposed to crunch crunch through data to give us insights that we can then you know, use to inform decisions more quickly. We have to first trust the data so there's still time for us to you know, you know, build software it says a lot of people throw AI and machine learning around a lot and you know, always say, be skeptical. of how they've proven their algorithm works and all sorts of things. So I still think there's time there. But you know, as the complexity and the balance between awareness top mid and lower funnel, all, you know, work together, it does take a lot of time and a lot of data and a lot of information, a lot of testing, to be able to see what works and so that is only becoming more complex. So I think part of the commoditization side is, the analogy we always use is the check engine light. Right now our business is still in the old times like we do with our cars or we're checking the spark plugs manually, we're kicking tires to make sure we have enough pressure or you know, those kinds of things that right now, shift to we get in our car and if our tire pressure is low or oil is low, the check engine light comes on. We haven't got there as a business yet to trust the machine that's going to make sure that we have enough oil in there. So our way of working actually hasn't shifted yet. And so I think we have a long evolution of saying, okay, machines gonna take care of that part. But now I'm gonna sit in my spot. And I'm going to really think about - now I have 300 tactics as opposed to 10. I can commoditize and use machines to deal with that, I'm gonna have more information coming at me, I'm gonna need more time to actually sift through, make some decisions, deploy tests, and then go back. And so, to me, it's a shift of the way we work which we represent, and we love and we think that that's actually going to free up marketers to do what we do best, which is creative problem-solving. So it's not a replacement. I think it's actually a shift into a new way to work. And to me, it gives me some hope, because as marketers will always be needed for sure.

Chris Snyder 27:42

Yeah, no, that's a great point. You know, another thing I see as well as we are mostly we are the most successful when we have a number of different skill sets on a team. So there's an, it goes back to the comment you made about humans, right? There's some people that are really good at the quant side, there's some people that are really good at the qual side. There's some people that are really good at selling, there's some people that are really good at building. You know, I really find that, and maybe you can comment on this, once you get locked in with a great front end, a great back end. And I'm talking about, you know, real FTS and talent right now, a great front end, a great back end, a good croissant, a great creative and that creatives got to have some design UI UX capabilities. And they actually have to understand the business a little bit, not just pretend like they're an artist. They have to understand funnels and paths. So I'm putting that person into one box. And then you have to have a strategy person, I've just listed four or five people that I believe are absolutely necessary to be on that team to make a campaign go. It's not just hiring the Google PPC expert today, you will get, you know, one 10th of the way there with just that one skill set. Can you comment on what you believe the talent in the team structure is needed to actually move a business forward?

Eric Vardon 29:14

Yeah, so I'd say you're you are absolutely 100% bang on, depending on the business. If it's a startup, it's probably going to be the founder, which is managing then the sales acquisition support side. If not, then that will come from the CMO or whatever the case may be VP, so on and so forth. You do need a well rounded digital marketing lead that knows the tactics in the note. For sure, and then I think you need the only other thing I would say is missing is a business analyst who can handle the tracking complexities side so that is exactly the team I have now and it's a $10 million team as far as I'm concerned. We are fortunate with what we've got what we can do. In many cases, our platform itself is so far engineered compared to our competitors at our price point. But we know that that's our advantage because nobody really can catch us. So I think you're bang-on, it's not easy to do, you have to have the right mentality to assemble that group. And then you need them to be enough of a generalist mindset to take on other things that go out of their comfort zone. But that actually is what gets them up in the morning is trying and testing new things. And so, you know, we use OKRs like most startups do, and that allows us to, you know, really have company-wide objectives and then individual objectives and, you know, ever-changing and ever-growing, very agile kind of approach, but it allows for us to all align with other things that we can do to drive the business forward. You don't need a team of 20 or 50 or 100 anymore, right? We have a team of 10 including two founders, if you will, who always get in the way and annoy people. But you're right. Like it's that's the new workforce. And man, you can do a lot with that.

Chris Snyder 31:05

Yeah, no, that's, that's really interesting. So we've put a lot of focus on the marketing or advertising side of the business. I know you're a world-class operator. So let's talk a little bit about I know you've run, you know, some scale companies on-premise. I don't know what your work remote policies are how you guys view that. A lot of companies like us or tech companies, traditionally are okay, because they do you know, work from home Fridays, or when someone's out like they can get access to Google or they can get access to, you know, box or Dropbox or the company wiki. Like there's, I think, obviously, our businesses lend themselves to be better equipped to work remote. But if you could maybe walk me through what you have seen with your company on-premise versus work remote. Obviously, there's collateral needed by the teams that you just described, whether it be analytics or content or creative or Dev. So can you walk us through a little bit of that based on the new normal that we live in?

Eric Vardon 32:13

So in our, in our, in my sort of main day to day with three, three different businesses to one in service on the agency side, with about 75 people across the country, and then two other on the software side, all on-premise, in different locations. For the most part. I am probably more old school in terms of we didn't really have a work-life policy or work at home policy, we would always be flexible. But we really just aligned with maybe our old school bringing up of a team together is so much more powerful. And that's what we have onto that wall that was all thrown out of the window. Obviously a few weeks or months ago now. And you know, we invested in if 40,000 square foot head office with like, the most beautiful, amazing, you know, game systems and couches and flexible desks and organic fruit delivery and all the things that you know, we think mattered and they do, don't get me wrong. But now even just personally, being able to have the flexibility and still work with my team, and probably way more effective, less meetings, which were killing everybody. I am now completely reborn and say forget it. Like we don't need to run businesses like that. And if I can let somebody travel, be in a motorhome live on an island for a couple of months and really find who they are and not lose them, but really just continue to work with them and give them a life that means so much. That means more than anything now. And I wish I had that chance when I was 25 or 30, or whatever with a decent paying job, etc. So, I think there's a lot and again, I sit on a bunch of different business groups, and I know that that is going to fundamentally change our world. As a hippie and you've got your beach in the background, you know, I was probably very concerned of where our world was going. And now to see glimpses of, you know, planting kelp in you know, Australia, coral, sorry, to you know, LA not having as much smog, which I'm sure you know, and like, whatever the example is, just makes me feel so good that, let's figure it out. But maybe we'll realize our planet wasn't gonna last and maybe we don't need the things we needed. So let's bring us all together for the stuff that matters. And really, I think that was the biggest shift from a workforce perspective. Yes, we were lucky where everybody had laughs tops we already had zoom we had everything set up so it was although awkward where people were working from their home where they didn't have a desk or a chair, which we helped out with hopefully you know, we figured it out we were though one of the lucky ones that had all that remote stuff set up and I know a lot of others that didn't know they're still trying to figure their business out so we got lucky for sure. But definitely, everything has changed from here on in. Absolutely.

Chris Snyder 35:25

Yeah, you know, it's interesting, I feel like we were in front on the remote work we had installed you know, software on computers and you know, extended JIRA and Confluence and zoom and you know, it's real interesting to see the patterns. As you start to ramp everyone you start to see trend lines and productivity during certain times you start to see the difference in productivity between someone like a designer or a developer. These are Real quantitative numbers versus someone who might be more on the account side, and how they move and shift through it. It's just really fascinating. But in order to get those numbers and in order to really get to where you want to go from a lifestyle standpoint, you have to actually make everybody go remote. So, I'm gonna be real interested to see because my sample size is quite small relative to, you know, these massive companies out there. Every single person we've ever hired, they've always had the preconceived, you know, it's always been remote. There's never ever been a notion that it hasn't. It's always been. When we get on zoom, I want to see your face because we're actually having a meeting and we need to look at people in the face and their eyeballs when we talk to them. And we need to have that human connection. Even though you're planting kelp in Australia. That's cool, right? You know, but it's interesting to give them the freedom on where to work, but really have some constraints on how we do things. And it's really not that hard. Given all the tools that you have today, it's really not that hard. So I'm, I'm getting the sense that I dealt with LA traffic for many years. Unfortunately, a lot of the firms that I worked for did not allow for 100% remote work like we do. I was on the road a lot as a business development person. So that helped out a little bit. But if you can only imagine the amount of time people are spending on the 405 up to two or three hours a day, and I've always said, why would I want them to do that? Well, that is the dumbest thing. First of all, again, back to the, you know, the air quality and the pollution and more cars and more consumerism and you got to buy a nicer car because when you show up at the office, you got to have your Mercedes or you got to have it's just at which point Is it okay for someone to sit in their garage with a green screen in a zoom background and get the goddamn work done? That's all we really care about anyway.

Eric Vardon 38:13

Right? Yeah, no, it's completely cleaned that notion up. And what's so nice about it is now I've, you know, sequestered my family upstairs so my son's not screaming which he loves to do other than that it's like you figure it out but my Keith comes in here sometimes my daughter sits in here and says hello to some of the groups I sit on and like it's Oh, it's okay because that shouldn't matter anyway, we're so uptight and worried about the wrong shit pardon my French and I think that's so good for all of the shitty situations that a lot of people and families and beloved ones are in, you know this there's gotta be some good things as optimistic, you know, business people that we can take from this and, and yeah, let's do that. I mean, no, we're not going to get into politics. But let's get this economy going soon. Because, you know, like, I don't want to see more people lose their jobs and, and we got to get things, you know, back to normal here. So

Chris Snyder 39:10

yeah, I've in my neighborhood especially I see a lot of dads now. Again, similarly aged early-to-mid 40s. Their kids are between eight and 12 years old. And they've spent more time with their kids in the last six weeks than they have in the last 10 years. And you know, you don't have to do much. You just got to kind of be there. Right. And when dad leaves on Sunday night or Monday morning, it doesn't come home until Thursday and there's business trip after business trip. I know multiple dads that do that. And they make good money, I get it. But I also look at my lifestyle. Yeah, it's full of risk. For sure. It's full of risk. But it's also full of you know, I bought Coach football for my son on the side. And then I schedule his practices at 330 in the afternoon, and I'll pick up three or four kids from the school to ride my truck, we'll all go together to football practice, it's once a week. It's only a couple times a year like, these are the things these are the fabrics that I think hold us together these that hold us together as a society. And at some point, all of us are going to get more productive and more creative if we start spending more time with the people really care about instead of pretending that getting on an airplane and sitting in a conference room, or pretending that getting on an airplane and going to someone's office in New York City and listening to their bullshit for an hour and a half was meaningful at all. That's right. It's, it's, I would say less than 50% of these meetings are necessary, first of all, hmm, and then probably 50% of that 50 percent needs to be on-site like that you would go there literally, to shake their hand. If the deal was done in maybe take them to dinner because you're new partners, or it's a quarterly meeting, and you really like Jimmy, right? It's like, what why are we doing this? Why are we spending this time away from our families when we could be more productive? We're on and off airplanes. So I couldn't agree with you more. So where do you think, you know, we'll start at the beginning, before we actually started recording, you'd mentioned you are on some different boards. In different you're involved in different communities, young entrepreneurs, and stuff like that. Can you talk a little bit about that and in what's going on, from a communication standpoint, within some of the macro that you're involved in?

Eric Vardon 41:51

Yeah, I mean, I think it's, there's, there's no shortage of horror stories with a lot of businesses. You know, QSR franchise, you know, health and fitness too. I mean, it kind of goes on and on. And I think that's a lot of them are trying to figure out what they're going to do next with their business in many cases without devaluing, you know, where their business needs to go. So I think there's a lot of struggles out there outside of, again, our agency world or in the marketing world, that they're really trying to figure out what they're going to do next. And it's probably the biggest part that I hear is the uncertainty of timing, because it's hard to set a strategy when you don't really know what the timing is. And that's just the reality we're in. But there's a lot of support. There's a lot of like so many virtual events, and I think what I was getting into is probably try to do one or two a day, whether it's in the morning or at night when the kids are asleep and trying to really get a sense of where not as much where the economy is at, but where people are feeling and offering support. And in one of the groups I sit on, from a YPO perspective, all sorts of things,  conversations. But a lot of them just need someone to talk to, or figure out what to do next are simple questions and, and so a lot of that I think most of us just need to be comfortable, we wouldn't maybe have asked for help before is reach out Facebook, LinkedIn or whatever and say, it's okay to say I need some help. I need someone to guide me and let's be a little bit more vulnerable and what that looks like, let's get through it together. And I think as a business community entrepreneurs or whomever, if we can help anybody get through this, you know, and pass that on, I think that's probably the biggest message. A lot of people need help. They don't know who to turn to maybe don't have a network, you know, so Let's all try to reach out and figure out a way to provide some help.

Chris Snyder 43:40

Yeah, I'm actually really happy to hear you say that because a lot of people I think, especially leaders, especially entrepreneurs that are dealing with this, if if you're 10 years are junior or even if you're our peer or even if you're you know in a senior position In a much larger company, one of the things that I've started to I've got a list of, you know, CEOs within a certain, you know, customer profile in my asked to them is since I have this show, I don't get paid to do this show I don't intend on making money to do this show this is for, for me, and it's for the guests and it's for, it's a platform to allow people to get their own message out - however they want to do that. But one of the things I've been respectfully asking leaders is, look, you don't have to give 10 bucks to a charity, you don't have to give 1000 bucks to you don't have, you know what you need to do. You just need to come on the show and share your experiences because, like you said, there are a few podcasts that I listened to, that if I didn't have those voices of people that were doing the same things or similar things and sharing those experiences. It would be very difficult. To come in here every day staring at this computer screen, and not know, if I'm doing the right thing or what other things I should be doing, or whatever I should be thinking about, you know, so, you know, for you and everybody else that will come on the show, to just share your experience. That's actually good enough. You know you don't have to do much. Give us 30 minutes. Let's talk about what you're seeing. Let's talk about how you're innovating. Let's talk about the macro. Let's talk about, you know, you want to talk about politics, fine. We'll talk about politics. You want to talk about emotions or doing kelp in Australia, it's fine. All of this is good stuff, and people need it.

Eric Vardon 45:41

Yeah, they and they need it. And I think the other part too, is that there's a lot of great programs and options and you know, funding or what have you but it's can be complex and you may not have enough reach to understand it. And that's the type of thing where then they don't know who to turn to and some of it can be Maybe over their heads or they don't have access to it. And so we've got to share those kinds of things around the only way to do that is to offer up, like you said, some time, however, be little or a lot or whatever you can do. I think it goes a long, long way for people that don't have anywhere else to turn.

Chris Snyder 46:16

Well, that's great. I think unfortunately/not unfortunately. Unfortunately, we do have to end I think we could probably talk for two or three hours and I'd love to stay in touch about Morphio and anyone from any of your peer groups that want to get on and support entrepreneurs, that's what this show is all about. But before we let you go, why don't you tell us where people can go to learn more about you your email maybe or Morphio.com. Can you tell us where we can find you?

Eric Vardon 46:47

Yeah, well we don't have Morphio.com, but you can definitely go to morphio.ai - M O R P H I O.ai. My blog is up there to write a lot around, you know digital marketing tools. reviews and all those kinds of things of course more information on Morphio. I'd say LinkedIn just, you know, head on over to LinkedIn search for Eric Vardon, V as in Victor A R D O N and throw me a message touch base and we can chat and happy to connect with anybody that wants to talk about pretty much anything. So appreciate you give me that option, Chris, for sure.

Chris Snyder 47:23

Awesome, Eric. It's been a great pleasure. And I hope to see you again soon. Take care of time

Eric Vardon 47:28

anytime. Thanks for

Outro Speaker 47:30

Thanks for listening to Snyder Marketing Showdown. We'll see you again next time and be sure to click subscribe to get future episodes.


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