In this episode, Michael Doyle, Owner, CEO, and Brand Champion of Brand Iron, discusses his journey from being an entrepreneur to the corporate world and back again. He highlights the challenges faced during the dot-com bust and emphasizes the importance of technology in marketing. The interview also explores the evolution of the industry, including the rise of new positions like analytics. Michael stresses the need for a good understanding of technology stacks, financials, marketing, branding, and packaging in pitch decks.
Michael Doyle is the Owner, CEO, and Brand Champion of Brand Iron, a branding agency that has raised over $5 billion for its clients. With over two decades of experience, Michael’s expertise lies in marketing, branding, and business development. He has a passion for helping companies strengthen their marketplace positions through holistic branding strategies, making him a valuable guest for discussions on branding, pitch decks, brand building, capital raising, and venture capital. Here are a few of the topics we’ll discuss on this episode of Masters in Marketing Agency:
- The impact of the dot-com bust on the marketing industry.
- The shift from a creative-focused agency to a technology-focused one.
- Learning financial basics and reporting to Wall Street during his corporate experience.
- New positions, like analytics, have emerged in marketing agencies.
- Relying solely on quantitative data can hinder decision-making.
- Soft skills, such as reading people and effective communication, are vital in marketing.
- Mentors play a crucial role in gaining real-life industry knowledge.
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- 01:09 – “Back in the late nineties, I had an advertising and marketing agency and we really honed in on working in the technology space and technology companies because we saw what was going on in the dot-com space and we said “Hey, we want to be a part of this. And there’s a huge growth in that sector and they’re buying companies like crazy. So if we start doing a lot of work in that space, there’s a good chance we may get acquired”. So it’s very intentional. And sure enough, one of my clients got acquired as a part of an IPO roll-up and they came to me and said “Hey, we got acquired. We want to acquire you guys. And since you’ve done all the branding and all the positioning and all the marketing to help get us to this point, we want to acquire you. We want to have you come on board and run our national brand.”
- 04:58 – “But what I really started doing was putting together what we call these analyst presentations and reporting to Wall Street about our results. And I learned this invaluable skill of working with all these investment banking firms that had invested hundreds of millions of dollars in our company and started putting together these decks and putting together these presentations. And I learned an invaluable skill that has helped propel Brand Iron and made us really successful.”
- 15:04 – Josh: “How do you then think about, quantitative versus qualitative decision-making? You know, it sounds like maybe before it was a lot more qualitative ’cause the, the data just wasn’t there and now the data’s there. Is it, can you go too far on the quantitative side? Is there no such thing? Like what are your thoughts on that?”
Michael: I think that you’ve got that balance between quantitative and qualitative data and decision-making. And I think that the people are very reliant on the quantitative and just don’t have the experience or the knowledge underneath their belt, if you will, to be able to bring those real-life business or life experiences to be able to help make those qualitative decisions and or the experience to know what really works and what’s really valuable from the data perspective and what’s going to help really move the needle.”
- 16:50 – “I had the really good fortune of I had some mentors when I was starting my agency that really helped me immensely. I had a leader of a design firm that I merged my firm with later, a couple years down the road. But I had a mentor like that and I had a mentor on the sales side who really helped groom me from that business development and sales side. And then I had also a financial person help me out as well too. And so having mentors and helping bolster that real-life experience or giving you advice is immensely important and can help bridge that gap.”
- 20:11 – “And then just as important, probably we see 95% of the companies out there don’t know how to tell what we call a good financial story. Why is your company so valuable? Is it because you have a reoccurring revenue model; it’s like a SaaS or a technology play, or it’s a cash cow and you’re producing cash on a regular basis, or what is it that’s so valuable about your company from a financial perspective that makes your company so valuable, whether it be cash flow or reoccurring revenue, or you have a great EBITDA or you’ve really grown this thing from a subscriber base and how do you package those things?”