CMO Insights: David Reske, Founder and President, Nowspeed

CMO Insights: David Reske, Founder and President, Nowspeed

January 15, 2019

This week’s guest on CMO Insights is David Reske, Founder and President of Nowspeed.

In this video, David talks about:

  • Using digital marketing to make a difference in the world
  • Adapting to the rapid shifts in the digital marketing universe as technology has advanced
  • The next big trends – AI and big data

Learn more about David from his LinkedIn profile and follow Nowspeed on Twitter.

For more great CMO interviews like this one, please check out our other CMO Insights Videos or our YouTube channel.

Full Transcript

Jeff Pedowitz:

Hi, welcome to Revenue Marketing Television, the CMO Insights Series. I’m your host, Jeff Pedowitz, President and CEO of The Pedowitz Group. Today as our guest, we have David Reske, who is Founder and CEO of Nowspeed. David, welcome to the show.

David Reske:

Thanks, Jeff. Thanks for having me.

Jeff Pedowitz:

You bet. So about 20 years now, you’ve had this company right?

David Reske:

About yeah, 15 years, but it seems like 20.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Yeah, I can relate to that. So tell us a little bit, not mass speed. What was your inspiration for starting it and, and who are you today?

David Reske:

Sure. Now speed’s a digital marketing agency. We help our clients drive demand. We’re a highly integrated team that that produces really good results for clients. I mean, my primary motivation for starting the company was we want to make a difference in the world through the the things that we could help our clients achieve. 

And so we started building marketing services back then around email marketing at is search marketing, digital advertising, social media marketing. So now we’ve got a fully integrated suite of digital marketing services and we like to help our clients be successful. So if you went back to 2003, what percentage of the marketplace do you think was actually responsible or cared about driving demand versus today? You know, back then it was a pretty early in digital marketing. And so there was still, you know, that was, you know, and I think if I look at the stats back then, I think Google ad spending was like 4 billion. And we were looking at these projections of it going to, you know, eight and 12, and now it’s tens of billions and Google’s worth hundreds of billions. So that’s just a, just a piece of it. But you know, what I’ve observed over the last 15 years is that money in advertising and marketing is moving into the digital space as rapidly as possible because it’s all very measurable, it’s highly accountable.

And so it’s been exciting to kind of ride that wave and, you know, help clients be successful on the way. So much changes in the marketplace over the last 10 or 15 years. So how have you adapted and in terms of what you’re providing for your clients? Well, as I mentioned, we really started in email. Cause that was a simple same with back in 2004, 2003, you know, starting with simple email campaigns. And then from there within a year we added search engine optimization services. Cause we knew that that was going to be, you know, important. And then Google AdWords back in the day, you know, when it was called ad words started with simple text ads. And then I think in 2007 we added social media services, mainly organic and then got heavy into social media advertising services. And then along the way, added marketing automation as well. So, you know, as the technology has gotten better in each of these tools has become better at results rather than just, you know, interesting things to do for clients. We really tried to focus on a relatively small set of things that make the biggest impact. I mean the exciting thing in digital marketing today is there’s just dozens or even hundreds of things you could do well, but we’ve tried to focus on the things that are really gonna make the drive the best results.

Jeff Pedowitz:

That is true. There are a lot of things that you could do. Do you think that that marketers are buying services from agencies different now? I mean, it’s we see so many industries being disrupted with all different kinds of models, whether it’s recurring revenue or subscription or packages. I mean, are people still doing the classic retainer agency or agency fixed price project, or are you seeing any changes?

David Reske:

Well, they’re still doing that and that’s, you know, definitely still keeping us in business and that’s a, that’s a really good thing. But what I have seen is that since the technology has gotten better and better, we probably all seen the chief MarTech slide that has 5,000 logos of tech.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Or even more now, I think it’s like seven or 8,000. That’s crazy. Yeah. They’re going to have to roll it out on a billboard team. So I think it’s.

David Reske:

It’s kind of crazy, you know, so that’s been just this massive investment in marketing tech really over the last 15 years. I mean, what was that slide like back in 2004, it was probably 20, 30, 50, and now it’s six or 7,000. Right.

Jeff Pedowitz:

They find their logo.

David Reske:

Yeah. So what that’s enabled companies to do is it’s, it’s just making it easier for them to do it themselves. So one of our biggest competitors is really, you know, companies who want to do it themselves. And so you know so we have to constantly stay on the forefront of technology and the forefront of innovation and forefront of services. I mean today, if, for example, anybody can, you know, with 50 bucks open a Google ad words account and start spending money with Google. And so the magic isn’t being able to turn on a Google account, started spending money. The magic is for us being able to turn that spending into business outcomes that drive real result.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Yeah. And I think we’ve tried to take us some more focus to that. The years is just really focusing on the outcomes. You know, one of the things I constantly remind my team about is, and we’re not, we’re not in the automobile industry, right? There are not high barriers to entry anybody that can, can start claiming that they’re an expert or go and to a myriad of agencies, sites, copy content, change a couple words. And then all of a sudden it looks like that they do what everyone else is doing. So it just means that we have to continue to innovate, continue to add value for our customers and stay and stay, stay on the edge. And that’s, that’s what our customers are expecting too. How, how have the people that you brought into your firm changed over the last, last few years? It is still same type of skill sets. Are they different?

David Reske:

Yeah, I think we’re looking for people that are more analytical now than we were. I think in the early days we felt we could take marketing, experienced marketing, generalists, and train them in digital and have them become effective. And so we hired a wide variety of people. And so today we often look for you know, people earlier in their career who are very trainable that come out of college, they’re kind of eager to learn. And so we’ve got a really solid actually we have a very structured three year training program for new college grads. And so we look for highly analytical people then kind of jump in with good communication skills and then grow through our training program. And so we’re more apt to be good at training people into this position, then taking experienced people and then plugging them into roles. And that really works well for our culture as well. 

We just get really good results that way, but it is a much more, you know, you have to be much more analytical. You have to be much more willing to learn new tech and adapt very quickly. I think I just did account, you know, out of those six or 7,000 tools on a daily basis, we’re using 50 of them. And that’s a lot to ask of a marketer, you know, who is working with multiple accounts. So, you know, switching between different tools sets and using the best ad products, not everybody’s using 50 every day, but you’ve gotta be able to really learn quickly.

Jeff Pedowitz:

That’s pretty amazing. Isn’t it? We were off a couple of years ago, we were just going through our internal budgeting and Laura and we noticed that our computer and software spending was just going up through the roof and our team did an inventory. And I was like, yeah, it’s something like 50 some technologies we were using internally just to run the business and service our customers. And so we’re like, okay, do we need, do we need all that? And then I can match it for a company of our size because we weren’t, you know, we’re a small to midsize business. I mean, what does it look like at the mid market or global enterprise? They must deal with hundreds. If not thousands of, of applications, it’s gotta be insane. Right,

David Reske:

Right. Yeah, it is. And that’s part of the value we provide. You know, when we come into a client engagement, we bring that whole tool set and we can really hit the ground running with great pool process like, Oh, well. And the thing that I tell my clients is when you hire us, we don’t show up and say, Hey, what do you want us to do today? We come in with a systematic process with the tool set and we just hit the ground running and we’re really driving the campaign, the driving the program. And I think that’s a lot of our value add we’re. We work well with clients who want to get things done and drive business results rather than just have another body can, who can do good stuff. You know, they can, they can hire that anywhere. And that’s a, that’s concerned, continue to serve as well.

Jeff Pedowitz:

You, you mentioned earlier that you try and stay focused with the services you provide, it’s the same thing on the customers that you try and serve and mean to you. Is there a certain part of the market that you really focus in on?

David Reske:

Yeah, we’ve really focused on lead generation programs. So by that, I mean, companies that have sell big ticket items that want to drive leads. And so the best industries for us are often B2B industries. We do a lot in tech, we believe in the business services. But we also do some B to C markets like education, where there’s a big ticket. So we work with a lot of universities where they’re trying to set up a signup, a you know, a graduate student and that’s a hundred thousand dollars sale for them. So anytime you can drive big ticket need or need leads for big ticket sales, whether it’s tech or education, you know, we’ve got really good programs and efficient processes to get that done.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Are your contracts pay for performance then based upon how many weeks you generate?

David Reske:

No, we’re not in that part of the lead generation mode really in the services mode. So most of our contracts are retainer based. Okay. So, you know, we’re, we’re really, you know, we work with, basically we have two types of clients, one client that will buy a specific service like SEO or social media and another client. That’s buying a whole outsource digital marketing team where they really want SEO, social media, digital advertising, marketing, animation support, email maybe some content development really for one integrated team. And then they, they know that lets the client focus on strategy and messaging and maybe some other content pieces where they’ve got really a team of people get things done.

Jeff Pedowitz:

That makes a lot of sense. So we all have favorite clients. Many we can’t talk about though, but just do you have one that you, that you can, that you think, Hey, you know, this is a really great story and we really help them transform.

David Reske:

Yeah. You know we work with, you know, some marquee clients so Nikia is a client of ours and and they’re great. It’s fun working on being global campaigns. I mean, we work with some of their divisions and it’s great to see, you know, you think of a global brand like that, but it’s really fun to work with individuals who are making a difference with specific divisions. You know, it’s sometimes it’s challenging to learn all of their language and their acronyms and their tech. And I love it when our people kind of dive into that and really, and get it and really make a difference. And so, you know, it’s kind of interesting to work with a large company like that, where you got to work with lots of process and lots of approvers. And I’m really proud of our team, the way we get that done.

You know, the other end of the scale, we’ve got some, you know, a relatively small wealth management firm that we work with where we’re their entire, you know, marketing department, if you will. And so for them, we’re running their email campaigns and managing their website and it’s just kind of fun at the other end of the scale, to see a small company where we kind of drive good results and get things done. So I, you know, I, I like both of those you know, it’s just, it’s just fun to make an impact wherever you can.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So as someone that’s been doing this for a now what do you think is coming next is some big trends that we should be paying attention to as agencies where we can provide value for our customers?

David Reske:

Well, I think that there’s, you know, a lot of potential in, you know, artificial intelligence and big data, and it’s going to be interesting to see if we’re going to be needed to kind of bring all that data together or some of the firms that we work with will provide all that for us. For example, you know, like Google has, you know, we use Google advertising product, so Google ads, right? And they have so many platforms and they have incredible amounts of data that, but we don’t have to manage any of that big data. We get to take advantage of all that big data. So I think getting smarter about how we’re using those products is a, is important. I think that, you know, the other big trend is where we used to put all these digital software pieces together to make things effective today.

We see some all-in-one products like HubSpot be really good and getting better at allowing us to do analytics in email, in marketing automation and advertising management, and maybe social media management in all in one. And then, you know, today they’re maybe not best in class in all those categories, but with their investment, will they get there? Will we be able to get to a place where we really have one platform where we can manage everything through? I think that’s something, you know, one of the biggest challenges I think that we often face is where do you make your bets, right? Which technology and which platforms are going to be the best. I don’t know if you get this experience, but I get three or four calls every day from different technology providers that want to sell me something new or work with me as a partner. So it’s, you know, making those choices, it’s hard. So you gotta kind of a constant

Jeff Pedowitz:

And costs from our clients. You know, they, they want to move from this platform to this platform. This vendor is giving them a better deal, but should they move because will it do what they needed to do? And certainly there’s more convergence, I think now, I mean, at least with the top four or five, six marketing platforms, I mean, they all have pretty much enough capability for most marketing organizations. They can do what they need, but then it’s beyond that. Right? It’s it’s where are you going as a company and where you’re trying to market to, or is it worldwide through what channels are you trying to reach your target audience? And it’s never a simple question. Once you get past the core platform, right? It’s a nine what’s the ecosystem. I’m not sure that we’ll ever get to truly one platform, but, but I can see an ecosystem of, of systems working together in a, in a more coordinated questions. Right. That makes sense to me. You know, I think a lot of people talk about AI at pontificate about it. You know, some people are gonna say, well, it’s just going to be like, Terminator machines are going to market to machines, or we’re not even going to need marketers anymore in a couple of years. What do you think?

David Reske:

Well, I think the technology will continue to get better. And so things like that were more manual in the past, like a, like a B and multivariate testing, where it took a lot of thought and a lot of detailed strategies to kind of manage those. I think those will become built into the platforms and make it will, it’ll be easier to really manage that the science of an AI will automate some of that and just give us the right answer, give us the best answer, but there’s going to be always a lot of thought required to build really good marketing campaigns that drive results. You’ve got to think clearly about the needs of the target audience, the content that’s going to get them to engage the right calls to action. And I think that there’s always going to be a need for thoughtful marketing that makes it work. 

One of the comments I got recently from someone who instantly bought HubSpot said, well, you know, Hey, I bought HubSpot, well, why do I need you? And I said, you know, just as analogy, I said, well, just before, because you buy salesforce.com, does that mean you don’t need a Salesforce? And of course the answer is no. Right. So, you know, just because you have a platform, you still need to think creatively about the content, about the messaging, about the design, about the flow and about how advertising and organic search and email kind of all blends together.

One of the initiatives that I’m really working on here is would be a big theme for the fall is integration. So, you know, we’re, we’re actively working on exactly the nailing, the integration points between all of these things, because one of the things I see all the time with our clients is we, we we’re building all these digital silos, right? The the content people don’t necessarily talk to the SEO people. They don’t necessarily work with the social media, people’s little driven than the ad team. And so, you know, we want to be the most highly integrated digital agency and provide all of that, those connections in a systematic way. So it makes everything work well together. And I think that that’s, you know, that’s, it’s a human piece that we can add value and bring, bring these pieces together.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Well said. And I love that analogy. Can I, can I borrow that? That’s great.

David Reske:

Sure, absolutely yes.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Great insights. David, thank you so much for being on the program today, and best of luck,and ongoing success for you and your team.

David Reske:

Thanks, Jeff. It’s great being here.

Jeff Pedowitz:

You bet.

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