Ep. 100 – Don Philpott – “… You must address the customer, you must get the customer’s feedback, you must actually talk to customers…You MUST do the work”

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So, they (start-up entrepreneurs) read those titles and then don’t do the work!

 

Don Philpott Show Notes

Currently the CMO for Carista App, No.1 Product on Amazon UK and Japan. MD of AD360.co/AD360.eu – one of the world’s top marketing automation/inbound strategy companies.

I’ve previously consulted for some the World’s biggest brands, was subcontracted from Adecco as Google Maps Business View Marketing Co-ordinator. Outsourced to Honda from IBM. Business Development Director (EMEA) at Focusvision, Strategic Marketing Manager for Faceracer.com – the world’s first social network for karting and Business development Lead for BulgarianHeadhunters.com – a startup that both signed a global contract with IBM in one year and beat the pants off of our competitors in the BPO recruitment sector.

And more…

 

Most passionate about

  • I am currently a CMO marketing guide for a company called Carista, a global product that’s sold on Amazon. It’s essentially a tool that helps you customize your car care.
  • Todder, who is the CEO of Carista is essentially a very successful startup entrepreneur. His product is available globally, it’s available on Amazon, Ebay, and all over the world, but he is a guy who essentially doesn’t see himself as an entrepreneur, and he feels very strongly that he’s a software engineer. He creates a product and that product is a very specific product for a very specific function to customize a car. When he hired me, I brought with me the entrepreneurial mindset. I said, look, you are a very funky CEO, you’re a very presentable guy, you have the skills to speak very well, you have a face that looks very well, and you’re a guy who can present his topic, meaning the technical side of the product, very well. And he really wasn’t into it.
  • So, when you talk about entrepreneurialism, I’ve always been the guy who can market the entrepreneurial talent. I’ve had entrepreneurial products myself, I know how to brand stuff, I know how to send stuff to market, I know the channels to use, all of the stuff you and I are very well aware of. But the actual person to produce the product often is very specific about the product. They want it to be a great product and they identify with the product.

Don’s best advice about approaching customers

  • There’s a famous book by a guy named Eric Ries called The Lean Start Up. Essentially what he says, and many other guys who are starting up say, you must do it. You must address the customer, you must get the customer’s feedback, you must actually talk to customers, find out how they use your product, how they want to use it, and how they perceive it. So, there’s lots of this element in terms of specifically start up entrepreneurs, what they tend to do is, and I apologize for this but, they jump on entrepreneur porn.
  • So, they read those titles and then don’t do the work that those books tell you to do. They all have valuable insight, they all tell you to understand your product, understand your customer, and when I’ve listened to your podcasts, all the people you’ve had on say very similar things. They say there’s an actual list of things you should do and you MUST do them. It’s not that you think about doing them, you actually do them, and then there is a process that flows from that.
  • It’s one of the things about entrepreneurialism that people have a perception that it’s for young guys who are fancy-free and it’s for people who go it alone, who are innovator personality types. Now, the statistics don’t bear that out. If you spent 30 years in a large company and you have a certain amount of money that you take with you as a payoff, often that’s the best time to go and be an entrepreneur. You’re in your mid 40s, you’re solid, you have a certain amount of money to work on your product or idea, you have the network that you’ve built up while working for the past 20odd years. You understand your product, you know what the market is for your product and you know what your specific niche is. So, that’s a very different persona from the guy who is 20-21 he happens to be a software engineer and he wants to put something out in the market.
  • The piece of information that I think is most valuable is about putting your ladder up against the correct wall, which means that you focus on the goals that are most appropriate for you and you actually go in the right direction for you. I’ve explained that in terms of I think there are starter type personalities, visionary types, there are people in the middle, who do the job, who get things done, and then there are people in the end who finish something, who say “Look, enough is enough, I really don’t think we’re going to spend anymore money on this project, it’s time to finish it.” So, I’ve worked with all three types.

Biggest failure with a customer

  • This has happened at a lot of the larger companies. I’m really competent, and I understand people’s personalities but because you are so competent, they get defensive and they start putting up shutters in terms of I’m the marketing manager, you’re the sales manager, that’s the position, that’s were we get to and we stop. So, my biggest failure is being too competent!

Biggest success due to the right customer approach

  • I was Honda’s number one customer service agent in Europe for quite a while because I would listen to people and understand what their problem or issue was, try to find a solution, then work to get that decision implemented, then come back to them and say okay, this is what I’m going to do for your situation, and we’re going to get it done for you in this timeline and we’re going to achieve it for you, because that’s what we do. When people have a problem with their car, they deal with this multinational corporation, they have to call several numbers and get through to customer service and the very first person they get is me, who is a very different type of personality from the person who is not happy in their job, who’s being paid a little money, and who really doesn’t care so much. When you get someone like me, I want to get it right, I want to get it fixed. That’s essentially how Honda works. Honda wants the customer to be happy.
  • At Christmas time, Honda often give out these 500 pound vouchers and customers would call up and ask, I got a voucher from somebody pretending to be Honda and it says that Honda gave me 500 pounds for Christmas. That’s the greatest opportunity because you get to say, it’s actually from Honda, it’s because you have a Honda car, your last car was a Honda, your daughter has a Honda, and that 500 is yours and enjoy your Christmas! So, there are beautiful moments like that.

Don’s most recommended tool

  • I think I have the tool that every single digital marketing person that you’ve had on would say is valuable, which is IFTTT, If This, Then That. It’s a free tool that combines different services, so the simplest way of explaining it is, if I’ve got a post on Twitter, I can repost it across Instagram or Tumblr or Facebook, or whatever I choose to do with it. I can also send it as a message to my Gmail account, I can also put it as an Excel file; I can do millions of things with just an If statement and a then statement. They call it the digital glue. There are many tools I would use and if you go to my website, there’s a list of tools that you can use.

Don’s key success factor

  • I have a lot of determination, so if I set myself an objective, I will achieve it. It’s very straightforward. If I want to do something, I’ll achieve it, whatever I set my mind to.
  • If you look at any great sportsperson or any great achievement oriented individual anywhere, what they will do is they will be able to go to what I call the black spot. The black spot is where nobody has the knowledge, nobody has the experience, and they will go to that point. They’re almost open to the experience and because they are open to the experience, whether it will be bad or good, they go without knowing, and they go into that experience and they move humanity forward. It’s something to do with the hero archetype. That you have to slay the dragon and find the gold.

Don’s Mountain

Since we believe that the best way for entrepreneurs to get a fast, big, and sustainable success is by leading your (new) market category, and the entire entrepreneurial journey reminds me of mountaineering, or conquering the mountain; I want to ask you if there is a mountain you dream of climbing or a mountain you have already climbed.

  • I used to be an outdoor instructor, so sailing, kayaking, and mountaineering. Often, when I’m sitting on the side of a mountain, we’d have a group of 5-6 young guys, and one would sit down beside me and say, “Look, I’ve this issue or problem in my family situation…” and they would talk to me about it. This happened a lot, so you’re out with different groups of kids pretty much all year round, and this situation happened regularly because you are a person that has trust because you’re an instructor, and people feel able to talk to you. So, they would actually come to you because they needed to relieve themselves of this stress or they needed to relieve the burden and they would discuss it with me. I went to school, I studied psychotherapy after this and it was essentially that I was a person who listened, and they could understand or empathize with that, and they would open themselves up because you were the only person essentially they could talk to. So, this was a very common situation, and it went farther than that slightly because I started a company called Adventure Therapy Ireland, which was exactly this principal. You take young people into the outdoors, it can be older people as well; it’s not a counseling session, it’s not a psychotherapy session, it’s just you talking to somebody else and they speaking about their existence. It’s not your office, it’s not confrontational, it’s not you sitting on a chair judging someone, it’s just having a conversations outdoors. It’s a very freeing experience for people.

 

Recommended tool

  • IFTTT – IFTTT (if this, then that) is the easy, free way to get your apps and devices working together. The internet doesn’t always play nice, but we’re here to help.

The best way to connect with Don:

More resources for Entrepreneurs

  1. Don’t Miss – Customer Focus Strategy & Execution: Market Analysis for Fundraising
  2. Hayut Yogev’s Latest post100 episodes. And I never thought I would ever have my own company.
  3. Former interview: Eyal Feder Levy is a first time entrepreneur that managed to build a successful startup, from the 1st stage. Learn how.
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